Matthew 4:13-17 — Repent and Turn To God — This is the Gospel Message, Offensive 2,000 Years Ago, Offensive Today!

Posted: September 15, 2015 in Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 4:13-17 — As we finish up our look at Matthew 4:13-17 today, there is a theme that has been driven home to me over the past few days. That message is that the gospel in its simplicity is offensive. The message is simple – repent of your sins and turn to God. That message is as simple today as when it was uttered by John the Baptist and Jesus Christ some 2,000 years ago. The message has not changed nor will it ever. The message, though simple, is offensive. Why is this simple message so offensive? It was then. It is now and ever it shall be. It is offensive because it requires us to admit that God exists. It is offensive because we must admit that there are moral absolutes in this world. It is offensive because it requires me to turn from my selfish ways and submit to a holy and perfect God. Pretty offensive, huh?

Repent of your sins and turn to God. Simple statement, right? However, for many, that requires that admitting that God exists where they do not presently believe that. With alcoholics and drug addicts, the first problem that they have to overcome is denial. Before they can begin recovery, they must first admit that they, indeed, have a problem. Are we not the same before we encounter Jesus Christ at the foot of the cross? We go as far as saying that God does not exist when we are rebelling against God. At the very least, we ACT as if He does not exist. If God does not exist, there is no higher power to the universe. If God does not exist, we are each our own bosses. We determine our destiny. We decide how we relate to others. We decide what is best for us. We decide. We decide. We decide. We are our own gods when God does not exist. When we remove God from our lives there are no consequences to our actions. It is funny that those that say God does not exist are often those that are heavily involved in humanitarian causes. This to me is the ultimate hypocrisy. For if God does not exist, where does the sense that there are social injustices come from. They say that it comes from man’s heart. How did it get there? We were wired to know right from wrong by a Creator. Regardless of whether we recognize His existence or not, He endowed in our hearts the knowledge of right and wrong. There is no morality gene. It is not something that you can point to in a DNA scan. It was put in our souls by a holy and perfect God. Just because one says that God does not exist does not make Him no less exist. Repent of your sins and turn to God. God exists. He imprinted you with morality. In our sin nature, we have ignored His existence so that we could be like that kid who can’t wait for his parents to go away for the weekend so that he can do whatever he pleases. Just because the parents are away doesn’t mean that they cease being. They will return. God does exist and He does want you to live according to His Word because He knows what is best for us just as a good parent knows what is best for his child. God does exist. Turn to Him.

The gospel message is offensive because it is unchanging. The truth is the truth. God’s Word is unchanging and unflinching. What is imprinted in our hearts as wrong will always be wrong. Why is it that you see so much time in the media, movies, newspapers, television, books, you name it, defending the gay marriage lifestyle? It is because you have to defend it. You have to make it into court cases. Why is it that you do not have to spend all that time, effort and money to defend male-female relationships. It is because it is the timeless truth of God for one man and one woman to be in a marriage relationship. It is the natural order of things established by God. The truth requires no defense. The truth requires no alibi. The truth is the truth and we all know that. We have been wired by God to understand what is morally right and that which is morally wrong. So much time is spent defending and forcing others to accept behavior that is in opposition to God’s Word is not because we have to rationalize our alibis for immoral behavior. The gay marriage thing is simply sinners trying to justify their sin. You see the same thing when adulterers try to rationalize why they have broken their wedding vows. All sin must be rationalized in order for us to participate in it. So, what do we do, we rationalize it. We push the boundaries of what is acceptable. We say old, ancient and eternal truths are just old fashioned myths so that we can continue our behavior. We melt the lines and pour them into a container and move the line and then pour it out just beyond what behaviors we want to continue. The trouble is once you melt the line it is easy to move it again and again because oh that felt good now I see what is beyond the line. That looks like fun too! Why can’t I experience that? I deserve it. That line that we just laid down that we were not going to cross, well, let’s move it again. Having sex with anyone you want whenever you want…oops…pregnant…well life begins here now…abort the baby…its more convenient to end a life than for me to be inconvenienced. Moving the line. There are no moral absolutes for those who rationalize away the imprint of God in our souls. We have to shout and justify and make it court cases. There are moral absolutes established by God and imprinted in our souls no matter how much we try erase them, ignore, rationalize them. Sin is sin. We know what God imprinted in our souls. The lines did not move. There are there and immovable. Repent and turn to God.

Repent and turn to God is the message and will always be the message. It will be until the end when Jesus is trumpeted in the eastern sky and He returns to make final judgment. Repent and turn to God is offensive. It means that I am not my own god. It means that I must admit that I am a sinner who cannot delude himself into thinking that if I just do more good than bad that I will live in eternal peace and tranquility. It means that I must admit that no matter how much good I try to do that I will never reach perfection. I am stained by my first sin and all sins after it. I cannot reach one with the universe. There is no state of nirvana. I can work forever to improve myself but when it comes down to it, I am a sinner. That’s an offensive message. I can’t get to heaven by my works. Every other religion and cult on the planet says that if I do good works I get to heaven. In other religions, its all self-improvement. It’s all risk-reward. It’s all reaching a higher plane through effort. The gospel message says yo dudes, no matter what you do, it’s never going to be good enough in and of itself to offset the fact that you do actually sin daily and just one sin is enough to separate us from a perfect and holy God. There is only one answer, the grace of Jesus Christ. He was God in the flesh who loved us so much that he came into human history to live a perfect life and through having lived that perfect life offered himself as a sacrifice for our sins and to take the punishment from a holy and perfect God that we deserve for the taint of our sin, that first sin and the daily, daily ones after it. The Christian faith is the only honest one about man. He needs help. That’s an offensive message. Man can try to improve himself and become one with the universe and all that but our sins are imperfections and WE ALL have committed them and will commit them to the day we die. Imperfections in the presence of a holy God cannot exist together. We need a covering. We need Jesus. Repent. Fall on your knees at the feet of Jesus and ask Him to cover your imperfections in the presence of a perfect and holy God.

The truth is the truth and it will not change. There is a perfect and holy God that exists. He created you and me. He gave us free will and we used it to rebel against Him to this day. Our rebellion in sin separates us from Him. No matter how we try to justify our behavior, we know from His imprint in our soul that we are doing wrong but yet we enjoy it so much that we justify the wrongness away. No matter our justification we cannot change the eternal truths of God. We need to recognize and repent and return to Him. He loves us enough to send His Son to reconcile ourselves to Him through His Son. He is the only way. No self help, self actualization, good works over bad deeds, can erase our stains. Jesus is the only way. The only way. Repent and turn to God through His Son. This message was offensive 2,000 years ago. It is offensive now. Why then should we as Christ followers think that its going to get less offensive? We must strap on our big boy Christian pants and share the truth in ways that are compassionate and loving but yet unyielding on the message that Jesus preached, Repent and turn to God. Amen and Amen.

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