Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Church Must First Repent

"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent." (Revelation 3:19)

The occurrence of the word "repent" in the messages to the seven churches is truly remarkable. I don't know about you, but I used to think that the word "repentance" was only connected with unbelievers and not with Christians. And yet I was reminded that the word used throughout the New Testament in the presentation of the Gospel message to unbelievers is exactly the same word repeated by our Lord in His messages to the churches.
  • Ephesus - an energetic church and sound in doctrine. Nevertheless Jesus said they had left their first love, so need to repent.
  • Pergamos - holding of the hated doctrine of the Nicolaitanes. Our Lord said, "Repent!"
  • Thyatira - also rebuked and repentance urged.
  • Sardis - the dying Church commanded to repent.
  • Laodicea - neither cold nor hot - need to repent.

The word in Revelation 3:20, which so often is preached to people who don't know the Lord, is in fact to the believers in the church.

Therefore, the church must first repent. Let us be in earnest, change our warped mind, change our heart and wrong attitude, change our contrary direction. Let the church repent!


Gary Wood said...

So true. The closer I get to Christ the more sin I see in myself. Then I need to repent. Good post.

John Dekker said...

Yeah, this is really important. Like faith, repetance is not something we need only at the start of our Christian life, but something that should characterise every step of our lives.

It's interesting comparing the gospels on this issue - in Matthew 16:24, Jesus says "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." In Luke 9:23, on the other hand, he says "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."

These are not contradictory, of course, because both are essential.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Good post, Kitty.

A lot of confusion is caused by people treating repentance as a condition for eternal life, rather than as an act of obediance. If we fail to repent, we will not go to hell if we have trusted in Christ, but we will fail to be disciples.

With regard to the Seven Churches, we do not know their response, but we have little reason to be optimistic.

Of course, the seven churches were actual recognisable churches.

John would not be able to write a letter to the church in Melbourne, as there would be no identifiable church of God meeting in unity in that city. Which congregation would he write to? Of which denomination? There is no Church of Melbourne. Nor of Sydney, Worcester or New York.

The professing church has indeed fallen into the judgments that are warned of in this passage.

Every Blessing in Christ


Bruce said...

Oooooh Kitty,
You are red-hot: and I don't mean in the way of the world (though that might be true too!)
No I mean that you are a red-hot zealot!

Bruce said...

And Gary,

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
1 John 1:8-10

"When we acknowledge our conditions of separateness and distinction from Father God we are immediately reconciled to Him once again. For those who take it upon their own egos to assume that the closeness is automatic, without the searching, there can be the illusion of Presence, without the actuality. Better to confess to an emptiness and call upon Him to provide, than profess a spiritual abundance offering no vein for the inspirative force to pour in."

Best Regards,

Kitty Cheng said...

Hi Gary, I experience the same thing too. We need to repent in Christ constantly. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Kitty Cheng said...

Hi John, I agree more and more that repentance is something that should be in every step of our lives.

Interesting comparison between Matthew and Luke in terms of following Christ.

Kitty Cheng said...

Matthew, I agree that looking at repentance as an act of obedience is really important. Often times we go on our own way and follow our own desires and agenda, and we do constantly need to obey God and turn away the other way towards God's way (which is essentially what repentance means).

I suppose the church in Melbourne, or Sydney, or Worcester or New York is part of the Church universal. And we all have the Word of God written in the Bible, so what John wrote in Revelation has been given to us all. I believe if the Scripture is our authority, the letter from John can change the lives of the professing church, if they are willing to repent and obey.

What do you think Matthew?

God Bless you brother!

Kitty Cheng said...

Bruce, I don't think I have ever been described as 'red-hot zealot'. But I want to thank you for your 'compliment' - if that was your intent hehe ;)

And what you said to Gary was sooo true!

nice to 'meet' you Bruce!

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Well the Church of God in Melbourne is in a state of ruin. It is not an identifiable body. It si dificult to see how such a state of disunity could be remedied.

The Bible provides no optimism as to the state of the professing church in general. However, those who do act in obediance to God's Word can know His blessings even in the midst of apostasy.

Every Blessing in Christ


Bruce said...

I was not using it in the pejorative, Kitty. I meant filled with Divine Zeal. Do you know the etymology of "zeal"? It is related to "jealous".

"So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth."

Better be red-hot.


audrey` said...

It's so important to repent and learn.
We just need God's grace :)

Kitty Cheng said...

Matthew, I believe that if we all repent, pray, turn from our wicked ways, then God will hear from Heaven and will forgive our sin and heal our land. (2 Chronicles 7:14). Disunity can be remedied, and revival can still happen, not only in Melbourne, but in various cities all over the world.

Surely those who do act in obediance to God's Word can know His blessings even in the midst of apostasy.

Kitty Cheng said...

Thanks for your kind words and encouragement Bruce :)

Kitty Cheng said...

Audrey, yes we do need God's grace in our lives!

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

"Surely those who do act in obediance to God's Word can know His blessings even in the midst of apostasy."

That is exactly what I said.

Hiwever, the pattern of Scripture is that apostasy is nver completely removed. The professing chruch has been spued from the Lord' s mouth like Laodicea. The Mystery of Iniquity was at work in Paul's day and it was to continue until the end.

Every Blessing in Christ


Kitty Cheng said...

Matthew, I am not sure what you mean by 'the professing church' - do you mean that the professing church cannot be those who act in obediance to God's Word?

I don't think if the professing church obeys God's Word, it will not have the same experience as the Laodicea church did.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

By the professing church I mean those who profess to be the church, but who are in fact merely a mixed company of believers and unbelievers who meet in their own name. All denominations come into this category to varying extents.

There cannot be true obediance without separation from such congregations as far as is possible.

We can only know the presence of the Lord in our midst when we meet in His name (Matt 18:20). If we meet as .... Church of ...., we meet in the name of some denominational idea. By meeting according to a set of ideas or denominational distinctives we set ourselves apart from the body of Christ and remove our focus from Christ.

Every Blessing in Christ


Garth said...

And without repentence we cannot be transformed....God's primary plan for our lives. I have a post brewing on this at the moment.

Kitty Cheng said...

yes I agree that transformation comes through repentance, which is so important. Looking forward to your post on this Garth.