Repent For the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand
When was the last time you heard a Gospel presentation that included, “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand”? Matthew’s gospel tells us that from the beginning of His ministry, “…Jesus began to preach, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” Later, He would underscore the theme of His message when he answered the Pharisees, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
At one point, a crowd told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. Evidently Pilate had killed some Jews while they were in the act of making a sacrifice before God. This, of course, infuriated the Jews! How would Jesus respond to such terrible news? In our day we have interest groups and movements everywhere, supporting this cause or defending that injustice. Where would we find Jesus in our day?
Listen to our Savior’s response when he is told of a gross injustice and blasphemous act committed by the Romans against the Jews. He said, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” And then as if to reinforce his response He said, “…Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Regardless of your political party, regardless of your ‘worthy cause’, regardless of your passion to defend the weak and the suffering, our Lord says, “Unless you repent you will perish in your good works.” Why? Because no one is righteous in our world, not a single person! This should be the message coming from the church today!
If this was the message of our Savior, to call people to repentance, then why aren’t we hearing the gospel presented in these terms in our day of opportunity?
True biblical repentance is to think differently and turn from sin. But of course, this requires that the sinner abandon self, and therein in lies the problem. Man is unwilling to give up his rights to a God who rules over him. So, in our pride and arrogance we create our own righteous cause or movement and foolishly think we can resolve our societal woes, all the while ignoring the fact that the only answer is God. But instead we create little gods after our own sensual desires that cannot demand our absolute surrender, and neither can they save or deliver us from our sins. What an asinine enterprise!
What we need today is a return to prayer and repentance so that God can bring a time of refreshing to our land! Anything shy of our individual confession and wholesale repentance and unified intercession will leave this nation spiritually bankrupt. I don’t care who the president is.
I want to say, respectfully, to every Christian… President Trump is not the answer for America. Former Vice President Biden is not the answer for America. While we should vote biblically and pray for the candidate who best shows us a healthy fear of the Lord, ultimately, the change that America needs starts in our individual hearts.
We need a fresh move of God to sweep across our land and bring a spiritual awakening unlike anything we have ever seen before! We need Christians to fall to their knees and repent, and then carry the message of repentance to our putrefying world.
God, help us to return to you and ignite in us a fire for souls! Put a spirit of boldness in every believer to share Christ the way Christ shared the Gospel. And most of all, may no man get glory, may you get all the glory!
“Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” Hosea 6:1–3
Pastor Greg Sempsrott