Word of the Week: Repent


Rick Stacy, a Michigan preacher, tells a neat story about a man named Ken Bailey.

Ken was a laborer on the Alaska Pipeline back in the mid 1970’s. He worked a year and came back with $30,000. That was a lot of money 30 years ago! He blew it all in a month.

He went back and in six months made another $18,000. He came home again and this time he decided to visit the church where Rick preached.

Rick said that the first Sunday when Ken walked in and sat on the back seat he  had two thoughts: (1) He looked just like Grizzly Adams – beard and all and (2) “Here was a man who would never become a Christian!”
When Rick finished preaching and extended the invitation, to his shock Ken Bailey came rushing down the aisle.  “I thought he was going to crush me!” Rick recalls.  He recounts how tears were streaming down Ken’s rugged face as he gave his life to Jesus.

When Ken returned the next Sunday, Rick said he didn’t recognize him. Ken was dressed in a 3 piece suit and no beard! When he asked the new brother what caused him to shave and dress up he said, “Jesus changed me on the inside and I want people to know it – so I changed the outside.”

The word of the week is repent.

While a nice suit and clean-shaven face doesn’t prove repentance, Ken Bailey did have the right idea.  Inward change should issue itself in outward actions.

In the first gospel sermon on Pentecost, when the apostles were asked by the convicted crowd, “What must we do?”  Peter responded, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Ax 2:38)

The word repent literally means “to perceive afterwards.”  It implies a change of mind.  Of heart.  Of will.  Of purpose. Dr. A. T. Robertson said that Peter’s command to repent meant, “Change your mind and your life.” Turn right around, and do it now. You crucified this Jesus. Now crown him in your hearts as Lord and Christ.”

Frequently we hear of a sports star, politician or a celebrity getting caught in some scandalous action and they make some admission of wrong doing.  Yet one wonders if there is true repentance for sin?  We don’t know.  However, we can observe whether one brings forth the fruit of repentance.  But more importantly, we can get inside our own heart and mind and be honest with ourselves.

Based on Bible case studies of repentance like King David, the prodigal son, and the apostle Peter, here are six observable steps in repentance.

(1) Recognition of Sin.  The prophet Jeremiah condemned the people of Israel who plead, “I am innocent….I have not sinned!” (Jer. 2:35)  Yet they were guilty before God.  In contrast David said, “I have sinned.”  (2 Sam. 12:13)

(2) Remorse.   The Bible says,  “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Cor 7:10).  There is a huge difference for being sorry for our sins, and feeling sorry that we got caught!   Suffered embarrassment.  Or lost position, prestige, or income.

(3) Resolve.  When the lost son in Jesus’ parable “came to himself” to decided to make things right.  To go home.  To confess sin.  And accept the consequences.

(4) Reformation.  The fruits of repentance are realized in a reformed life.  A changed life.  A different life.  A new life.  A change both inside and outside.

(5) Restitution.  When possible, repentance results in restitution.  In making amends.  In repairing damages. In restoring what is right.  This was the spirit Zachaccus, the tax collector, had when he told Jesus, “If I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” (Lk. 19:8)

(6) Rejoicing.  When we really repent, we will feel joyful.  Real repentance results in restoration.  Renewal.  And revival.  Sins are remitted.  Relationships are repaired.  Spiritual regeneration is received.

Repentance is required for God’s forgiveness. But the ancient Augustine was right, “God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, but He has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination.”

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Filed under Repentance, Word of the Week

9 responses to “Word of the Week: Repent

  1. I like the lesson, and the six “R”s to help us remember the lesson..


  2. Larry Ray Hafley

    Thanks for the additional points. Looks like a new sermon outline to me!


  3. Marilyn Nash

    Restitution~restoring what is right~ is a part of repentance that is not heard in many sermons, especially how it applies to marriage, divorce, and remarriage. Is that why so many divorces and remarriages are accepted by so many in the church? And allowing men in unscriptural divorces, and with multiples marriages, lead the congregation in prayer, and women teaching children. We need to remember it is GOD who matters in our repenting, not elders or a congregation. I like Zacchaeus as a good example. Also Onesimus to Philemon.
    I like the list of the ‘R’s!!
    Very good!!! I’ve looked for some good lesson on repentance. Thank you!


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  6. Change. When Peter says, “Therefore let all Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ!”(Ax 2:36) Peter is showing and telling Israel and all those rallying round her that her ENEMY has died. Simon the Father of the Pharisees is no longer in denial. He is no longer fishing either. He he is no longer her ENEMY and nor is She his. The Risen Bride has found her LORD, the Shepherd of her Flock and her ROCK is boldly singing out. He is taking charge and cleaning his house and letting his pals and her lambs know and all who are watching and listening…CHANGE is COMING!!! Peter is singing to his beloved…this is a new day, a new dawn is dawning and I’m “Feelin Good”!

    He rejoices when the Advocate confesses “if I have taken anything away from anyone by false accusation, I will repay him fourfold!

    This news cuts people’s to the heart and they respond saying…what are we to do? And Peter says. GO HOME, confess your sins…step up. Don’t hide what you have done to protect your reputation or your family’s honour. Don’t falsely accuse someone or pin the blame on someone else or make him or her your scapegoat. Believe the Advocate, the VOGT. Jesus Barabbas met the Advocate out by Jericho (Luke 19:4) and he said…”hey hurry down I need to stay at your house today.” Open your hearts. He spent the night. The Advocate did not send him away. From that day on, people’s hearts were opened and they were out to stone the Advocate and remove her crown of thorns. Her husband Steven was not the right crown for her. Everyone new it and it was a very bitter truth to admit. He was not really her husband her BELOVED! Nor was Jesus Barabbas. It took the visit of Jesus Barabbas, his accusation of Blasphemy and many anxious hours and days for her to turn and face the Truth and for Peter to realize she was the CATCH he was fishing and waiting for. So it is a Great NEW DAY when Peter stands up in front of a large gathering…singing…the day has arrived! REJOICE AND BE GLAD!


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