A Call to Repentance 2

Pastor Mike will be speaking on A Call to Repentance 2. He will be reading out of 2nd Corinthians 12:20-21.

You can’t be that old person that simply pleased self. You can’t be that old person that wanted to do whatever you wanted to do. The new self, this new person in Christ, this new person that has been raised in you by God is now living for him solely and wants him to be honored.

Broadcasting from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, this is Hope Worth Having. My name is Pastor Mike Sanders and I am the senior pastor of the Opendoor Church. Looking forward to being with you today and being able to share God’s Word.

Today we’re going to continue our study in 2 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 20 and 21. We’re dealing with this topic of repentance, a call to repentance is what I’m calling it. And God is certainly trying to get our attention and he wants us to be a holy people.

So I want you to grab your Bible and let’s continue to study together as we look at this passage. He is calling us to help others. And so when we look at our relationships, we can’t have this negative critical spirit.

It’s easy to find fault. It’s easy to say, hey, look, your life is a mess. What really God wants us to do is look at our own lives, take care of our own backyard before we start cleaning up everybody else’s backyard.

That it’s our responsibility to look at people in a way that we can build them up. So how can I do that? Let me just give you some suggestions. First of all, in all of your relationships, always seek to be a blessing.

Always seek to be a blessing. You need to be praying, God, help me to be a blessing to my spouse. Help me to be a blessing to my children. Help me to be a blessing to this person that you brought into my life.

Help me to be a blessing on the job. Help me to be a blessing to this person or that person. God brings people in our past, sometimes strangers, people we don’t know. God, how can I be a blessing? to them that ought to be our motive that ought to be our intent is we just want to bless others yes there are many flaws yes there are many failures yes there are many problems in people’s lives but you can’t focus on the negative you’ve got to ask God to forgive you of a critical spirit and focus on the positive and be someone who is building others up rather than tearing them down listen friends we are flawed people it doesn’t matter who you are you may say well listen I’m perfect and I’ve never made a mistake well right there’s your first one because you’re lying to us and so we must understand that God has not called us to find out what’s wrong with everybody he’s not called us to point out what’s wrong with everybody but he is calling us to be a blessing another way that I try to be an edifier is how can I Lord help this person how can I help them How can I help them?

So you’re here. How can I get you to the next level? If you’re this point in your life, how can I get you to take a step for God? How can I be an encouragement to you? See, when you are putting your self -interest on the back burner, and you’re putting the interest of others before you, and you go into every relationship that you have as, I want to be a blessing.

I want to be someone who helps. I want to be this encourager. The Apostle Paul was always someone who was trying to build people up. And that needs to be our ambition. And that’s what he says in verse 19.

He is saying to us, he wants to, in all things, in every aspect of their life, he wants to help them and edify them. You know what will change your marriage? It is for you to take time to write down all the wonderful things about your spouse, rather than spending all your time on all the negative things.

You know what will change your relationship with your children? Focus on the positive, not the negative. I’m not saying children don’t need to be disciplined, guided, and directed. And there aren’t times that things have to be confronted in our lives.

We agree with all that. But we just cannot be these people that are always tearing others down. Listen to what the Apostle says in Romans 14 verse 19. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

You see that? God wants us to live in peace, not just peace with him. We are to have peace with God by waving the white flag and surrender and say, Lord, here’s my life. I surrender my life to you. I want to live in peace with God Almighty, and I want to experience the peace of God in my life.

But I’m called to live in peace with others. I’m not called to go out there and stir it up. started up. I’m not called to go out there and start a conflict and try to rouse people up into a frenzy, but rather I am called to help people to live in peace.

And so my job is to live in peace with others by edifying one another. That’s what God calls me to do. And so I wanted you to evaluate your life. I want all of us to look at our hearts and say, look, if there’s anything in my heart or my spirit that is saying I’m critical, I’m negative, I’m hateful, I’m rude, I’m tearing down others, God forgive me.

I want to repent of that. I want to change that in my life. Bless me with a spirit of edification. Now some of you may be the recipients of criticism. You may find yourself where you go to work, it’s constant criticism, or you are in a relationship where it’s constant criticism, or there’s certain people in your life that are always negative and they kind of…

to try to bring you down, want to encourage you this morning and want you to know that there is no amount of criticism or opposition that should ever hinder us serving Christ. Now, unfortunately, the devil can use people indirectly, unbeknownst to them, influencing them to be negative people.

But you do not let that deter you from following Christ, loving God and choosing joy. Now, here the Apostle Paul was a man who had been ridiculed, he had been beaten, he had been battered, he had been criticized, he had been vilified, but his opponents were totally stymied when it came to shaking his focus on his mission.

Every one of us are on assignment from God. He has a plan for our life, he has a purpose, and we can’t get off that track. We can’t let the negativity cause us to get off focus for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Here the Apostle Paul is trying to do the right things for the Corinthians, and what are they doing? They’re attacking him, they’re criticizing him, because they are accusing him of taking money through the back door, and he says, that’s not me, that’s not me.

Look at verse 19 again, we speak before God in Christ, we do all things, beloved, for your edification. Can you say that? They tried to distract him, they tried to bring him down, they tried to discourage him, they tried to defeat him, but the Apostle would have none of it, and you should be the same, that you need to know that every day the devil is going to try to hinder you, he is gonna try to stop you from living for God, he is gonna try to discourage you from honoring your life for Christ, he is going to put people in your life that are gonna be negative, but you gotta rise above it through the power of Jesus Christ, and you gotta stay on mission for God, and you gotta…

You’ve got to stay focused on what the Lord has called you to do. Now the second area that God wants us to work on and remember those questions I presented to you at the beginning is our social sins or what I would call our relational sins.

We talked about a critical spirit. What else should I repent of is that is those social relational sins in my life. If look at verse 20, He says, I fear when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish, lest there be contention, jealousy, outbursts of wrath and anger, selfish ambition, backbiting, gossiping, pride, conceit and disorder.

Now the apostle has some very strong words for the believers, but it’s not the absence of love. He is trying to help them. to get off that track that is going to destroy their lives and ruin their relationships.

What is distinct about this is that this is all about our relationship with others. Think about it. Gossiping, outbursts of anger, jealousy, selfish ambition, contention between us and others. He’s warning us.

Unfortunately, within the Corinthian church and within the body of Christ, there had been some unresolved issues. What is it that is hindering the work of Christ in many churches? Unresolved issues between people, not making it right.

He calls us to address those issues. You can’t be right with God and wrong with others. You can’t have a mess in your life with relationship with other people, and then you are somehow right with God.

You got to know that to be right with God is to be right with others. Now, I want you to know that God is not calling us to be best buds with everybody, but He is calling us to make sure that we’re not harboring grudges and that we are not harboring anger and that we are not holding on to a spirit of gossip and pride and a desire to hurt other people.

You say, well, nobody can tell, Pastor. Nobody can tell in my life. They can’t tell that I’m angry at them. They can’t tell that I’m upset with them. Listen to what the Bible says in Hebrews 4 .13, no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him, to whom we must give an account.

You see, God knows. Other people may not know. The pastor may not know. And maybe even the people you’re mad at don’t even know that you’re mad at them. But God knows, doesn’t He? God knows where your heart is and you can’t hide it from God.

Everything that is hidden from man. exposed to God. God looks into our hearts and He sees our emotions. He sees our spirit. He sees the things that we harbor and the things that we hold on to. And the truth is that God is calling you to come to the foot of the cross, to come to the altar of God, and to just lay it all out there and say, Lord, I give it to you.

I give it all to you. That’s what God wants you to do. One may wonder, why is it that Christians have so many disagreements? It seems that so many times that the people that we love so much can hurt us so much and we have these disagreements with them.

But hear me, the real answer to our disagreement is rooted in our spiritual maturity. When we refuse to take the high road and we refuse to be spiritually mature and we refuse to handle things in a godly way, honorable way, rather than in a fleshly, worldly way, that’s where the contention starts.

That’s where the gossiping starts. That’s where the anger is. That’s where the outbursts of wrath. Some people say, what’s the matter with me? It might be that you’ve been holding on to things so much that you’re like a balloon that it just kept coming and and coming and coming and you finally exploded.

Because you never dealt with it. Because you never talked about it. Because you never brought it to Christ and you never put it on that altar and you never gave it to God. I want you to turn over to Ephesians chapter 4 and Ephesians chapter 4 verse 1, verse 1 through 6.

The apostle teaches us some really helpful relational skills that will help us to deal with things in our life as we are addressing people in our life. Remember a call to repentance and that is that I change directions, that I’m not going to handle it like the world, I’m not going to handle it like my flesh wants, but I’m going to handle it like God wants.

I want to tell you that making changes in your life is not easy because you’re never going to feel it. But you obey God and the feelings come later. You don’t wait for the feelings and then obey God.

You obey Him first. And He works in your heart. Ephesians chapter 4 says, I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling which you were called. How’s that? With all lowliness, gentleness, with long suffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

There is one body, one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope, and one calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God, one Father of all who is above all and through all and in you all. What is He saying is that first I need in my interactions with other people.

is I need to be humble. Loneliness means to be humble. What’s it mean to be humble? It doesn’t mean that you think bad about yourself. It doesn’t mean you beat up on yourself. It doesn’t mean you put yourself down.

That’s not what humbleness is. But humbleness is how we treat others. And it means that you don’t always have to be right. Did you know that? In all your relationships, you don’t always have to be a right.

And it doesn’t always have to be your way. That as Philippians teaches us, Philippians chapter two, that we put the interest of others above us, that we think about our spouse and we think about our family.

We think about our friends, our coworkers, our neighbors, our brothers and sisters in Christ. And we put their interests above our own interests. That’s what it means to be lowly. Gentleness, that our response to those that we disagree with Those that we find difficult and different than us, that we respond in the gentleness of Christ.

I got a news flash. People are different. But I let them be them. You see, the devil wants to use all this stuff going on, politics. He wants to use it to divide us. The Bible says, let every man be fully persuaded in his own minds.

Romans 15, 5, study that scripture. That’ll teach you, and listen, you don’t have to be like me, and I don’t have to be like you, but we all have to be like Jesus. And God created us different, and there’s not cookie -cutter Christianity.

And there’s times that we disagree, and I just look at you, and I say, that’s interesting. I try to respond in a gentle way to you. And that’s the way you should respond to each other. And I want to encourage you to show gentleness, long suffering.

It’s the idea of enduring with people that are difficult. God’s people are at different level of spiritual maturity. God’s people are at different level, but you’ve already done this. If you’ve raised children at home, you’d know that the two -year -old is immature and more immature than maybe the ten -year -old.

And you’ve got to put up with a little bit more. You’ve got to be long suffering. Because at two years old, you’re only at a certain place, at a certain stage in your life, and you can’t have your expectations that they would be mature.

And there are times in the body of Christ that the people of God are immature. It doesn’t matter how old physically they are. They may be only spiritually a few years old. And they’re still wrestling with things in their life, and they’re still dealing with things in their life, and so we long suffer.

We endure with them. We are patient with them. We are understanding with them, and we are helping them to edify them, and they may be here. We’re not there, but they’re right here, and we’re just trying to help them take a step.

We can’t go in there and crush them. Well, they did this and they did that. Yeah, shouldn’t have done that. That was all fleshly, worldly, but let’s work with them. Paul goes on to say that we’re to bear with one another in love.

We’re to bear with one another in love. You see, because I love God and because I love people, that we bear with one another. That is, we are willing to not only be patient, but we are willing out of love for you to keep working with you, to keep being united with you, to keep helping you, because we love God and we love you.

It’s not that we always like you. It’s not that we always feel like that you’re where you should be, but because we love you and our love for God calls us to be patient with you. We try to be understanding and we try to work with you.

Look at verse three, endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. So, endeavoring means to work hard. If you want unity in your relationship, you gotta work at it. If you want unity in the church, you gotta work at it.

If you want unity in your family, you gotta work at it. If you want unity in the community, you gotta work at it. It doesn’t just happen. And we do it with the bond of peace, the peace with God and the peace of God and the peace that we spread to others.

We don’t ratchet things up to where we wanna become violent, hateful, vengeful, attacking, but rather we strive to edify as we’ve already learned. These are the things that God calls us in our relationships.

He’s calling us to handle differently. He’s calling us to change the way we look at it. And so there may be some difficult people in your life. I’m not asking you to hang out with them every day, but I am asking you to be patient with them.

I’m asking you to pray for them. I’m asking you to be gentle to them. You may not like what they do, like what they say, but you give them to God. Here’s a new one. Not really a new one, but it’s an old one, but you need to remember it.

You can’t change people. Only God can. You see, so many wives are trying to change their husbands, and so many husbands are trying to change their wives and they’re destroying their marriage at it. So many parents are trying to change their children, and children are trying to change their parents, and it ain’t working good.

How about we just give them to God? Lord, you change their heart. Lord, you help them to see the light. Lord, you help them to grow. And help me to be better in how I respond to them and how I handle them and how I deal with them and let God do the mighty work, because here’s the beautiful thing.

When I change somebody, it’s only temporary. It’s always outward, and it’s only going to be accomplished through manipulation, and it never lasts. But when God changed someone, it’s inside, it’s forever, and it always is impactful.

Now, the last thing that I want to talk about relating to what God is calling us to repent is not only a critical spirit and social relational sins, but sexual sins. Look at verse 21 of chapter 12, staying with our text.

He says, lest when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn. For many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanliness, the fornication, and the lewdness which they have practiced.

Unfortunately, the Corinthians were living in a city that was deeply immoral. The city of Corinth was known for its immorality. It was an environment where people just did whatever they wanted, and it had creeped into the church.

And there was unrepentant people who had sexually conducted themselves in a way that was dishonoring to God. And as a result, they had not repented and they had not experienced the forgiveness and grace of God and the cleansing of God in their life, and it had been spreading and it had become infectious.

This is what we have to know. God is not against sex, but it’s in the bounds of marriage. It’s in the bounds of a committed relationship. It’s in the bounds of a covenant relationship between a man and a woman who are in a forever relationship.

God is wonderful. He has blessed that and He wants that relationship to be honoring and He wants it to be blessed. But when we use our bodies in a way that is dishonoring to Him and is totally about us and about what we can get and what our flesh wants, it is dishonoring to God and it is something that Christians should repent of.

The Bible says in Ephesians 5 .3 that sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you as is proper among saints. God’s people ought to be the leaders in how we behave ourselves and conduct ourselves and how we use our bodies for the glory of God.

Christians are not to tolerate sin within the church any more than they are to tolerate it with their own lives. The Scripture says again in Ephesians 5 .11, take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness but instead expose them.

You see, God does not want us to be a part of any sexual immorality. Why? Because the body is sacred to God. It is not meant for sexual immorality. So what we do with our bodies matters greatly. to God.

This is why the Bible says that the body is not for sexual immorality in 1 Corinthians, but for the Lord and the Lord for the body. It’s so unfortunate that there are many Christians, especially Christian men, who have become addicted to pornography, which is a form of fornication and a form of sexual immorality.

They have allowed that to destroy their lives. Christians have decided that they will just live like the culture, but God wants us to be different. He wants us to be distinct. We look around the culture, we see rampant crime, drug abuse, sexual perversion, rising suicide rates, and we see the abortion epidemic, and these are all symptoms that human life is being systematically devalued.

and that an utter sense of futility is sweeping across our young people. And why is that? Because we don’t look at life as being from God, in the image of God, and that it is valuable and important, and we need to recognize when we participate in these sexual immoral acts, or even thoughts, or things that we look at, that we are degrading the image of God, we are devaluing people, and we are destroying our own spiritual lives.

The Bible says in Colossians 3, 9 and 10, seeing that you have put off the old man with his deeds, and you have put on the new man, which is renewed in the knowledge after the image of him that created him.

That’s the key, is that our lives should bear an increasing resemblance of Christ, we should put on this new man by growing in our knowledge of Christ, by growing in our knowledge of God. The more God’s Word is in my heart, the more that I’m in the Bible, the more that I’m studying the Word of God, it becomes an insulation to the temptations of this world.

It’s not that I’ll ever be perfect, but when I do fail God, and when I do step out of what he expects out of me, so that my life would honor him, is that I am confessing that sin, and that I am building guardrails in my life and boundaries in my life, so that I can continue to stay on course for God.

Ephesians 4, 24, put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. You can’t be that old person that lived for self, you can’t be that old person that simply pleased self, you can’t be that old person that wanted to do whatever you wanted to do, the new self, this new person in Christ, this new person that has been raised in God, in you, by God.

God, and this new person that is called to live for God is now living for Him solely and wants Him to be honored. With everything that you do, say, look at, how you behave, what you do and don’t do, the truth of the matter is that the devil will show you the pleasures of drinking, but he will not show you the results of alcoholism.

The devil will show you the pleasure of illicit sex, but he will not show you the results of sexual diseases. The devil will show you the pleasures of drugs, but he will not show you the results of addiction.

And these are the things that the apostle says that these ought not to be among us and that they should be repented of, and he wants them dealt with before he shows up for his third visit, and so it is that God is calling us this morning to repent of these particular sins that are in our lives.

You say, I didn’t do that, Mike. But did you thank it? Are you allowing yourself? Are you dropping your guard and what you watch? What you allow yourself to look at? Now listen, these warnings that God has given us are not designed to crush us, but to build us.

They are designed to let us know the bridge is out. Don’t go down that road. So here’s what I want you to know, that the discipline that God gives us through these warnings are designed to be redemptive in your heart.

And the wonderful news is this, that Jesus Christ went to the cross for my sins and your sins, and that even if you have made a mess of your life, that God is ready to restore your life, that God is ready to pick up the broken pieces of your life and the bad decisions of your life, and He’s ready to restore you in the beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ.

How does that happen? It happens when I come to the Lord and say, Lord, I’m a sinner and I’m in need of grace and forgiveness. I’m in need of your work in my life. And you see, God doesn’t just tell us what’s wrong and leave us hanging, but He says, let me help you to make it right.

And when you humbly come before God, and you’re honest with Him, and you’re real with God, and you’re not pretending, and you’re not playing games, and you’re saying, Lord, here’s my life. Let me tell you something.

Little by little, He will transform you, He will change you, and He will direct you down a new path for Him. Maybe you haven’t gone to the extremes, but you’ve lowered your guard. Maybe you’ve let a little thing seep in.

Listen, bring it all to God, confess it all to God. Don’t let the devil get you off course, and stay focused for Him. Amazingly, the Corinthians had come to believe that the reason Paul declined their upfront financial offer to help them was because he was somehow receiving money through a back door, and the Apostle is letting them know that he is a man who operates with integrity, and that they don’t have to have a critical spirit towards him, and that he is trying to do everything right to bring honor and glory to God.

And in this drama that is unfolding in 2 Corinthians, the Apostle takes this opportunity to address each one of our hearts, and the integrity of our hearts, and the things that maybe we, and the reasons we do things, and the motives.

And so he brings some tough issues to the forefront, but he calls us to repentance. So I hope that this message has really helped you, and that in your heart, that you’re ready to take that step, and to be repentive.

and to also be willing to come to God and repent of your sins. And I pray that this will be true in your life. This is Pastor Mike Sanders reminding you that in Christ there is hope worth having.

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