Repentance 5 – a New Day

The aim of this devotional study is to consider God’s way for a fresh start, a clean slate – each new day.

This short song will greatly add to your devotional time study today. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnOFh9WFe6k]

Scripture

Lamentations 3:20-23, 40-42a

20  My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. 21  But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22  The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23  they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!

40  Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD! 41  Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven: 42  “We have transgressed and rebelled [against You].”

Observations and identification

  1. Notice two related movements of the prophet Jeremiah in these two portions quoted:.
    1. Describe the first change (v20-23).
    2. What caused this shift?
    3. Describe the second change (v40-42a).
    4. What caused this shift?
  2. The prophet calls the nation to “examine [their] ways and return to the Lord!”
    1. What do you understand from “lifting” both “hearts” and “hands” to the Lord?
  3. Identify the following elements of repentance in this Text by identifying the verse and phrase that reveals that aspect of the truth:
    1. “Godly sorrow produces to repentance” (2 Corinthians 5:7)
    2. “It is the goodness of the Lord that leads us to repentance” (Roman 2:4)
    3. Repentance requires taking responsibility for your own sins.
    4. Repentance requires turning away from your sinful ways.
    5. Repentance requires turning towards the Lord.
    6. Repentance requires confession of sins.

Prayer and Personal Reflection

Pray slowly and repetitively through this portion of Psalm 24, allowing the Lord to search your heart and hands. As the Holy Spirit reveals confess and repent of your transgressions and sins.

“3  Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? 4  He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully. 5  He shall receive blessing from the LORD, And righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6  This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face.”

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Repentance 4 – To change your mind

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the need to re-evaluate and change the way you perceive life and respond to it.

Scriptures

Colossians 1:19-21

19  For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20  and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. 21  And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled [to himself]…

Romans 12:1-2

1  Therefore, I beseech you brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

2  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Observation

Note: Romans 12:1-2 is the turning point in the letter where Paul moves from orthodoxy (“right thinking”) to orthopraxis (“right behavior”).

  1. Concerning Colossians 1:21
    1. In which way were the Gentile readers “enemies in [their] minds” towards God? (1:21)
    2. What was the result of being “enemies in [their] minds”?
    3. What has God done to bring an end to the enmity?
  2. Concerning Romans 12:1-2
    1. What is the “therefore” that Paul begins this section with? In other words, what is the motivation for rendering one’s body in service to God and renewing one’s mind? [Hint: Look at the Note above].
    2. What is the two-fold appeal to the Roman readers? And what is the link between the two?
    3. What is motive for mind renewal? [hint: “and do not be…”]
    4. What is the motive for mind renewal? [hint: “that you may…”]

Personal reflection and application

Paul comes to the end of his glorious teaching God’s righteousness in his letter to the Romans.  He comes to the consequence of (or response to) the Gospel – how one live it out, end appeal to the readers: based on the mercy of God I just presented to you, it is reasonable to give your life in service His will.  So don’t live like non-believers!  Change the way you think so you may serve Him rightly.

  1. How does Romans 12:1-2 relate to “repentance”?
  2. In which way have you become aware that you were an “enemy in your mind to God” by the way you used to reason?
    1. How did you realize it?
    2. How did you change the way you think?
  3. Is it possible that there are ways you reason that are opposed to God’s will?
    1. How will you know which thought patterns are against God’s will?
    2. What will you do to respond to God’s mercy and transform your thoughts?
    3. Who must keep you accountable in this pursuit?

Repentance 3 – Turning around

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the need for repentance and Jesus’ heart for sinners.

Scripture

Luke 5:27-32

27  After this [Jesus] went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.”

28  And leaving everything, he rose and followed him. 29  And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them.

30  And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31  And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32  I have not come to call the righteous but [to call] sinners to repentance.”

Observation

Note: “repent” is “metanoeia” in Greek from which we get our word “metamorphous”.  Literally means “to have another mind”, or a conscious decision to change one’s attitude and/or ways.  It means to change the way you think or your behavior.

  1. Retell the account in your own words.
    1. Which characters/parties are involved?
    2. Describe their unique natures/characters.
  2. What is significant about Levi leaving his tax booth and following Jesus? What happened there?
  3. What is significant about Levi hosting a great feast, so that Jesus, his disciples and Levi’s friends sat around the same table? What do you think was Levi’s motive?
  4. Why did this bother the Pharisees? [think a bit before you answer]
  5. Consider Jesus’ statement in verse 31-32.
    1. Consider the parties / characters mentioned in this account. Who present would be “the physician”, “those who are well”, “those wo are sick”, “the righteous”, the “sinners”, and “the repented”?
    2. What are the two consequences of this statement? [hint: what does this imply for “sinners”, and what does this imply for “the righteous”?]
    3. We often hear “Jesus loves sinners” and “Jesus came for sinners”. Look at verse 32 again and rewrite these two phrases into more accurate statements.

Personal reflection and application

  1. In which way do you identify with Levi?
    1. Have you ever repented, like Levi who left his old life and followed Jesus?
    2. When and how did that happen?
    3. What “old life” did you leave behind? And how did your life change that testifies of your repentance?
    4. Have you ever hosted a “Levi party” where you invite all your old friends and shared how you left your old life and followed Jesus? Who will you invite to such a dinner party? When can you do that?
  2. In which way do you identify with the Pharisees?
    1. Do you feel uncomfortable around “sinners”? If yes – why?
    2. What is the difference before God between yourself and a “sinner” a.k.a. “bad person”? [or what make a “sinner” bad in the eyes of God, and what makes you good in the eyes of God?]
    3. Pray that God will remove any form of self-righteousness and judgment from your heart.
  3. Which friend/ family member/ or co-worker that “is seek” and needs Jesus to heal them/ lead them to repentance? Pray for him/her now.

Repentance 2 – Coming Clean

The aim of this devotional bible study is to reflect on the importance and need for conviction and the confession of sin.

Scripture

Psalms 51:1-19

A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had sinned sexually with Bathsheba and orchestrated the death of her husband Uriah.

1  Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.  2  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!

3  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.  4  Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. 5  Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6  Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

7  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. 9  Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10  Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 11  Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 12  Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. 13  Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. 14  Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.

15  O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16  For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. 17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. 18  Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; 19  then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Observation

  1. Read this Psalm of David’s penitence (confession of sin) again, summarizing what he prays in your own words in these sections:
    1. V1-2
    2. V3-6
    3. V7-14
    4. V15-19
  2. Describe David’s emotional state in writing this Psalm. (v3-6)
  3. What does David want from God?
  4. Who was involved in this sin of David? (see the heading of the Psalm before verse 1).
    1. But against whom does David say he sinned? (v4) Why does he write that?
  5. David starts two sentence with “BEHOLD”
    1. He writes “BEHOLD, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (v5) What does he mean to say?
    2. He writes “BEHOLD, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.” (v6) What does he mean to say?
    3. With these two lines next to each other and starting both with “BEHOLD”, what do you read from it?
  6. Personal reflection and Prayer

David was moved with the conviction of his personal sin after the prophet Nathan (relaying God’s message) revealed his secret sin. He suffered from guilt and sorrow of heart when he wrote this.

  1. David ran to God and confessed his sin openly, knowing he would find mercy. Do you have that conviction, that God is merciful?
  2. Can you identify with David’s feeling of a weight of sin – either some “transgression” (v3) or a more general “inborn sin” (v5)? Pray your own words to God in the way David did, knowing you will find God “and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 86:15). (look at your summery in Observation 1 above).

Repentance 1 – Return to your first love

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the ongoing need for repentance.

This version of “Man in the Mirror” from the movie “Joyful Noise” will greatly enhance today’s devotional study as it will stay in your head and make you remember the need for repentance.

Scripture

Revelation 2:1-7

1  “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:

2  “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3  and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.

4  Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5  Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place–unless you repent.

6  But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

7  “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ‘

Observation

Note: Repentance was the basic message of the prophets (Ezekiel 14:6), the message of John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2), the first sermon of Jesus (Mat 4:17) and of his disciples (Mark 6:12), the core of Peter’s sermon at Pentecost (Acts 2:38), a foundational teaching of the church (Hebrews 6:1-2) and clearly a prerequisite for salvation (2 Peter 3:9). But repentance is not a once-off event as we see in today’s study.

  1. Read through the message of Jesus to this church in Ephesus (AD 92) and identify:
    1. How does Jesus reveal himself to them and how do you interpret it? [7 is typically symbolic of fullness or perfection in this type of Jewish writing] (v1)
    2. What does Jesus affirm or approve of them? (v2, 3, 6)
    3. What does Jesus accuse them of and what does that mean? (v4)
    4. What does Jesus instruct them to do? (v5)
    5. What does Jesus promise as reward and how do you interpret it? (v7)

Personal reflection and application

  1. When did your spiritual life flourish the most? Reflect on that time.
    1. How did you express your faith? In other words what did you do much of? (like prayer, or Bible study, or worship, or share your faith, or care for the sick or poor?)
    2. Why did you do those things?
    3. How does your current expression of your faith compare to that time?
  2. Does your heart love God now? How do you measure it?
    1. How does your love for God now compare to the season mentioned above?
  3. Jesus accused the church in Ephesus of losing their “first love” and then instructed them to “repent” and to “do the first works”.
    1. In which ways have you turned from your first passion of God? How have you “relaxed” you devotion to God and His truth since the time mentioned above?
    2. Which “first works” must you do to rekindle your “first love”?
    3. When will you do these things?
    4. Tell a friend to keep you accountable by sending a message now.

Prayer

Personalise this prayer in Isaiah 26:8 (Good News Translation) as you ask the Lord to revive your heart: “We follow your will and put our hope in you; you are all that we desire.”