I had the privilege of speaking to the fine folks I’m honored to Pastor Sunday, March 15, 2015 about salvation! What a novel idea! For a Pastor of a church to encourage and challenge the congregation to be saved, get saved, and stay saved! Do churches still do that?
Anyways, I felt convicted that I was not preaching and teaching Biblical, Acts 2 salvation properly, or emphasizing it’s entirity. Don’t accuse me of being a heretic just yet, hear me out. My theology is okay. I’m proud to be an Apostolic Christian, that is 100% committed to the Acts 2:38 plan of salvation. In case you’re wondering, the plan of salvation consists of, what I like to call “The Big Three”. In Acts 2:37, the question was asked what does it take to be saved? The great Apostle Peter’s response was (verse 38): repent, be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
As a life-long Apostolic Christian, I’ve noticed that we generally focus our attention on what is visible: baptism, and receiving the Holy Ghost. Meanwhile, repentance gets lost in the shuffle, it’s simply something that we hastily do, as if it were just another item to check off of our spiritual to-do list. Additionally, repentance is a difficult metric for us to measure. If I were standing in front of you right now, it would be impossible for you to discern if I were truly repentant or not. Make sense?
However, this is the predicament. Repentance is an absolute necessity on the road to salvation, in fact, one might conclude that it’s a matter of life or death (see Luke 13:1-5). I’ve yet to see anyone excitedly share via Twitter or Facebook their recent numbers on how many have truly repented. I look forward to rejoicing with my peers on Sunday nights and Mondays as they testify of God’s generosity and grace, to celebrate the fact that 8 were baptized, or 13 received the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues! Yes! This is REVIVAL! This is what it’s all about! But what about THE BIG THREE! How many repented? How many experienced Godly sorrow, not worldly sorrow…because yes, there is a difference.
Worldly sorrow (the Greek word metamelomai) is essentially you’re sorry, not because of what you did, but because you were caught. You know, that time you were caught with your hand in the cookie jar before dinner, and you were sorry your Mom busted you! However, the case I’m making today is, when true Godly sorrow (the Greek word metanoia) takes place, there is regret, there is sorrow, but it also connotes that a radical change will take place, and those “sins” you carried into the church, and brought to an altar, will be left there, never to be picked up again! See 2 Corinthians 7:10.
Repentance must take place. Otherwise, those that are (and I thank God for them) baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost have done what needs to be done to clean up the outside, but the inside is left full of dirt, debris and is unclean. Uh oh, sounds eerily familiar to what Jesus accused the Pharisees of doing in Luke 11:38-40. Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the power of repentance; remember that there is joy in heaven among the angels over one sinner that repents (Luke 15:7)!
Please understand, I’m not angry, mad or bitter. In fact, no one was more excited than I was yesterday as we were able to baptize Jason at our church! My feeling, and my opinion is, our retention ratio would significantly, and exponentially increase, if we gave as much attention to repentance as we did the other two vital components of The Big Three!
Here’s the deal, let’s start with ourselves. Acts 3:19 (KJV) Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. More than anything else I want to be saved, and I want to see you saved. Experience The Big Three, and let’s watch God do some amazing things in these last days.
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