We MUST Tell People to REPENT!

And they went out, and preached that men should repent. Mark 6:12

A gentle reader recently asked about the people who say they believe in Jesus and still live like Satan’s world. I’ve encountered MANY, MANY, individuals who claim they’ve been Christians for years–but they can’t stand to hear about the things of God. Many go to church and think that it is a social club never preaching the gospel to a single soul. They are concerned with soup kitchens and hospitals and special music and newsletters which is would be okay if it were based on truth–but these people do not share the gospel with the lost! A man can go to hell on a full stomach. Then you’ve got the ones that go to church once a week and as soon as they leave out of the doors they get to cursing and doing whatever they please. All of these categories have something in common–NO REPENTANCE. THIS is an issue I’ve been wanting to address–badly.
We Bible believers have our little formulas for leading people to Jesus, but we are leaving out a most necessary part of sharing the gospel–the preaching of REPENTANCE. As a result, there are a lot of heathens walking around thinking that they are saved. We spend almost no time on this vital aspect of the gospel and then we spend a good deal of time on assurance verses when the person has not even repented! REPENTANCE is foundational–

Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the FOUNDATION OF REPENTANCE FROM DEAD WORKS, and of faith toward God,
The Lord Jesus had plenty to say about REPENTANCE–

Luke 5:32 “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to REPENTANCE.”
Luke 24:47 …[Jesus said to them] that REPENTANCE and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Mark 1:15 …”The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: REPENT ye, AND BELIEVE the gospel.”

Here is my response to the above-mentioned reader who reads his Bible and sees something is not right about living like Satan and calling yourself a Christian. I’ve added in a couple more comments to my original e-mail to him.

“[W]e Bible-believers have been doing the unsaved a disservice as we share the gospel with them. We say, ‘just believe’. But does not James say that even ‘the devils believe and tremble’? When soulwinning, we often tell people to just admit that they are a sinner and believe in Jesus. Then we go on to stress MANY assurance verses. This is terribly wrong. What we need to be stressing is REPENTANCE from dead works.
“We don’t need to spend half of our time on assurance. It’s okay for somebody to be scared when they are doing wrong. That’s called the fear of the Lord. That’s called working out your salvation with fear and trembling! They need to stop doing evil and be holy like the Lord. Yet we say, ‘Don’t worry, you can do any old thing and still get in. You can sin as much as you want to, don’t worry about God’s commandments.’ This flies in the face of many scriptures like–

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Romans 11:22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

2 Peter 1:10-11 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

“You see, many people pray, ‘the sinner’s prayer’ because they are scared of hell, but they still want to live like Satan. In other words, they are CONVICTED of their sins, but they certainly have not REPENTED of their sins. That’s why they don’t show up at your fellowship after you ‘lead them to Christ’. That’s why they don’t get baptized. That’s why they are still at the club on Ladies’ Night.

“Some of Jesus’ first words as he entered into his earthly ministry were, ‘REPENT ye and BELIEVE the gospel.’ He also said, ‘Unless ye REPENT ye shall likewise perish.’ When looking at the word repent, we find it, and the concept of it, throughout the ENTIRE Bible. Repentance is not simply a mental ascent to the fact that Jesus Christ is the only way to save your hide. It is about a change of AUTHORITY in your life. Before I got saved, I ran my own wicked life while Satan kicked my hind parts all up and down the street. When I got saved, I saw myself as a dirty rotten sinner who had transgressed the commandments of God. I knew that I needed to start listening to HIS AUTHORITY and to give up my evil ways. I was no longer in control, I was no longer the authority–JESUS BECAME MY LORD, MY AUTHORITY. Now many softie Bible college students (including one that wrote here) will call that ‘Lordship salvation’ and say that it is wrong, even heretical. To that, I say that my King James Bible CLEARLY shows me that anything less than making Jesus your Lord is UNACCEPTABLE to God. Many scriptures confirm this. 1 John is a good book to look at to see the differences between the true believer and the fake.

“We have an article entitled, ‘Ten Evidences that Someone’s Been Born Again’. This is the article that Mr. Smartie-Bible-college-student read me the Riot Act about. Nevertheless, I’ll stand by it to the end. Jesus didn’t save us to live like Satan’s world. He gives us plenty of scriptures to use as a mirror to examine ourselves to see if we be in the faith (as Paul saith). Jesus also said that our outer life will MOST CERTAINLY show if we belong to him or not. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit and an evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit. Yea, we have different levels of growth, but the growth WILL come. Our God is exceeding fruitful–remember how Jesus is the groom and we are the bride? In a man-woman relationship, children result from the union. In a relationship with Jesus, good works result–FRUIT!

Below, I’ve compiled verses and comments for those who are interested in further meditating on this CRITICAL doctrine of REPENTANCE…

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The following is an excerpt from The Hampton Court Papers by Dr. Robert E. Clark:

Never have there been more preachers, more missionaries, more evangelistic campaigns. There are more Christians studying God’s word by tv, cassette tape, and by classroom procedure. There are large conferences, seminars, but yet there is a critical lameness in the gospel ministry.
Today’s modern preaching suggests that Jesus Christ is a personal Saviour to help get people out of trouble and danger. Christ is shown today as standing ready to help all who will simply give Him permission to become a Saviour. I will indeed agree that Christ is a “very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:11) to all who trust Him, yet He never gives saving help to any who will not follow Him (see Mark 10:21b).

The Lord Jesus Christ never preached this man-made twentieth century idea that taking Jesus as Lord is optional. This altered message of today that you can gladly receive Christ without following Him, is a false humanistic teaching taught by media Bible teachers. Jesus’ invitation is: receive Me, then follow Me. How strange the preaching is today that demands repentance, faith and obedience. That is the kind of preaching we need in this hour. Let me give you a scenario of what is being preached today. Audiences are shown and reminded by tv media preachers that they are sad, lonely, discouraged and unsuccessful. Life has become a great weight for them to carry. The future looks dark. Then sinners are invited to put a smile on their faces. The gentle Jesus is pictured as a cosmic psychologist Who will patch up all their problems in one session on the inquiry-room couch. You say: what’s wrong with that kind of teaching?

The answer is, Christ demands repentance and obedience. Today’s preaching is minus sacrifice and pain. There is no mention of the blood, fire, and terror of the battlefield. The convert to this humanistic gospel message after a few months, become a statistic. The convert never gets baptized, never goes to Sunday School, he never joins a Bible believing church; he is merely one who enhances the evangelist’s or preacher’s reputation.

What happened to “take up the cross and follow me”? We must stay away from these evangelistic tricks and high presure techniques [editor’s note: YES SIR!!] of the modern personal workers and depend on the word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit. [Amen, brother!]

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If you want Jesus, you must repent.

Acts 26:20 …they should repent and TURN TO GOD, AND DO WORKS MEET FOR REPENTANCE.
Acts 2:39, 3:19 REPENT YE therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out…

Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to REPENT:

Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

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If a person wants eternal life, he must DECIDE for Jesus. Getting saved is no esoteric, mystical event brought about by saying a couple of words. Read on about the COST of discipleship from the gospel of Luke. This is the Lord Jesus talking–

Luke 14:27 And whosoever doth not BEAR HIS CROSS, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and COUNTETH THE COST, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

14:29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,

14:30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.

14:31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?

14:32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.

14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that FORSAKETH not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

14:34 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?

14:35 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

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What if I sin after I repent? Ask for forgiveness in accordance with I John 1:9.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
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Don’t be afraid to tell people to repent. It is okay for people to be convicted and told that they are not living right and that they need to REPENT or PERISH.

II Corin 7:10 For GODLY SORROW WORKETH REPENTANCE TO SALVATION NOT TO BE REPENTED OF: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

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The call to repentance is not only found in the New Testament. An examination of the Old Testament reveals that God has always implored man to repent and walk with Him. The WHOLE reason we were created was to walk with our God in HIS HOLINESS, not our sinfulness. Ye MUST repent. Just a few examples of repentance from the Old Testament–

Say we have sinned and have done perversely we have committed wickedness. TURN TO THE LORD GOD with all your heart and soul. I Ki. 47-48
Prepare your heart STRETCH OUT YOUR HANDS towards the Lord God Job 11:13

TURN to the Lord Zech 1:3

That which I see not teach me: IF I HAVE DONE INIQUITY, I WILL DO NO MORE. Job 34:32

Teach me thy way, O LORD; I WILL WALK IN THY TRUTH: unite my heart to fear thy name. Ps 86:11

Teach me, O LORD the way of thy statutes and I SHALL KEEP IT UNTO THE END. Ps 119:33

But I TRUSTED IN THEE, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God. Ps 31:14


I have perverted that which was right and it profited me not. Job 33:27

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Repentance is not lip service. Anybody can say “Lord, I repent.” True repentance is marked by some ACTION because you mean it.

John the Baptist said, “Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance.”

Jesus gave a parable in Matthew 21 where a man had two sons. He went to the first son and said, “Son, go work today in my vineyard.” The son responded, “I will not.” But then afterward he repented, and went to work in the vineyard. The man also went to his second son and said the same thing. The second son said, “I’m going.” But he didn’t go. Which one did the will of his father? The repentance of the first son was in his heart and as a result it showed in his actions–HE WENT. Repentance is not simply a state of mind. It is understanding your wickedness and saying, “I am a vile thing who has ignored the Lord of glory. I am resolved to live under the Lord’s commands and His authority–whatever it takes!” THAT is the kind of Christian that the world wants to see. Bold, serious, sold-out, and sanctified.

What are some actions that we should expect in new converts? Baptism, Bible study, a pronounced change in life, etc. We need to handle the new convert tenderly, soberly, gravely. We don’t need to bombard them with a bunch of jokes and dinners. We need to teach them sound doctrine thereby equipping them to go out and fulfill the will of the Lord in their life. And by example, we need to show them how to live the Christian life. All other activities should revolve around the work. Now, that is exciting to me. Getting on the battlefield for the Lord. Some interesting things happen in the battle. But too often Jesus is left outside while we have a “good” time at our jovial little fellowships.

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John the Baptist said “Repent” (Matt 3:2) Jesus said “Repent” (Matt 4:17; 9:13; Mark 1:15; Luke 5:42, ), apostles said “Repent” (Mark 6:12) Paul said, “Repent” (2 Cor 7:9) Peter said “Repent” (Acts 2:38)

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It’s okay to fear the Lord! It is the unbeliever that has no fear of God!

Romans 3:18 There is NO FEAR of God before their eyes.

THE LORD TAKETH PLEASURE IN THEM THAT FEAR HIM, in those that hope in his mercy. Ps 147:10-11

2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, PERFECTING HOLINESS IN THE FEAR OF GOD.

Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may SERVE GOD ACCEPTABLY WITH REVERENCE AND GODLY FEAR:

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Some Christians will scream, “Lordship salvation, Lordship salvation!” Look at those scriptures again and tell me that Jesus didn’t really mean what He said. I have not exhausted this subject at all. Those that oppose what I say here, please just open up your eyes to the scriptures and you will see.