I. II Cor. 7:8-11
A. I’ve read this passage numerous times, but I just recently notice how completely it defines the idea of repentance.
II. What is repentance?
A. Repentance begins with regret for the things done in the past
1. Sorrow is not repentance, but an attitude that leads one to repentance.
2. At times we realize on our own that we have done wrong, but most often we find out because someone took the time to point out our faults, as Paul did with the Corinthians.
a. Being told that we are wrong, even when we know it, is never fun - Heb. 12:9-11
b. Too often, to cover our embarrassment, we turn on the one rebuking us. - Prov. 13:1
(1) In our own shame, we don’t see those delivering the rebuke are doing so out of love and concern for us. - Rev 3:19
(2) God doesn’t enjoy rebuking the sinner, but He wants us to repent Lam 3:30-40
c. Instead, we need to appreciate those who chasten us - Prov 9:8
B. But sorrow is useless if it doesn’t cause an improvement.
1. Some sorrow, not over their wrongs, but over the fact they were caught.
2. The word repentance means to change direction - Acts 26:20
3. Acts 14:15 - We should turn from this useless world towards the living God.
4. Paul called it a sorrow that leads towards salvation - II Cor. 7:10
5. If we stay in our sins, we would die, because the wages of sin is death - Rom 6:23
C. If we truly realize that changing our life towards the better is important, then you will make every effort to make sure the change is correctly implemented.
1. Earnestness or carefulness - II Cor 7:11
2. Tit 3:8 - Careful to maintain good works
3. Prov 14:16 - A wise man is careful and turns from evil
D. There is even some disgust with ourselves for falling for the trap of sin
1. Ephraims’ disgust with the sins of their youth. - Jer 31:18-19
2. Indignation, as the King showed when he was forced to send Daniel into the lions’ den - Dan 6:14
E. If we truly realize that we were wrong, then we will work to clear our misdeeds.
1. Repentance is useless if we don’t take it personally, as a matter of honor, to fix our mistakes.
2. Show by our good works - Acts 26:20
3. Eph 4:17-24 - A change in life
4. I Pet 1:14-16 - Be holy like God.
5. I Pet. 4:2-4 - We are no longer living as the world.
6. I Pet. 2:11-12 - A change that those in the world notice.
7. Zaccheus showed that zeal to change - Luke 19:8-9
8. Isa 55:7 - Let a man show his repentance in what he then does.
F. There is fear of the consequences if we do not make some change.
1. God is impartial, so we ought to conduct ourselves with fear - I Pet 1:17
2. We don’t want to come short as Esau did - Heb 12:15-17
G. There is a strong desire, a zeal, to do the best that we can.
1. Rev 3:19 - Be zealous and repent
2. Tit 2:14 - Zealous for good works
H. With the decision to change our lives, there is a change in our attitude about ourselves.
1. Sure, I did wrong, but I found out before it is too late and I’m going to do something about it!
2. Our sorrow is replaced with dedication and joy.
III. The Corinthians did not stay in their sorrow, they changed their lives for the better and in their eagerness to please God, they cleared themselves of the wrong they had done.
A. They showed the world that they were now innocent.
B. Repentance is not some invisible change in thought, it shows itself in all that we do; both in correcting our past wrongs and living righteously in the future.
C. If we are going to live righteously, we must first prepare ourselves by removing the wickedness from our lives - Jer 4:1-3
1. To attempt to do righteousness without first removing wickedness is like a farmer trying to plant a crop without first removing the weeds.
IV. Will you change your lives this day? Repent of your past wrongs, do the works suitable for repentance, and live righteously before our God.