Today's Bible Readings
     Exodus 10
     Job 28
     Luke 13
     I Corinthians 14
''. . .unless you repent you will all likewise perish.'' (Luke 13:3)
            There was a common belief in the day of Jesus that if someone met a tragic and untimely death, or if a great catastrophe came into someone's life, it had to be the result of sin. The people who met tragedy were looked down upon. Examples of this were Galileans being sacrificed by Pilate. Another example was the eighteen people on whom the tower of Siloam fell and killed. They were looked down on because they had met a tragic end. It would be like our generation saying the victims of a bombing, an earthquake, or a storm were being punished for their sins. One of the reasons for this false teaching is that it makes us feel better about ourselves when we have not come to a tragic end.
            Jesus repudiated that false teaching with a simple statement. ''Unless you repent, you will all perish." He was telling this religious crowd they could live a lifetime without tragedy coming to them or coming into their lives, and still perish for eternity.  The one thing that would make the difference would be their willingness to repent and turn to Him.
            It is a most appalling fact that in modem Christianity we have removed the necessity of repentance from our theology. Instead we have adopted  a user-friendly theology that seeks to make people feel good about themselves instead  of calling them to conviction and repentance. To fully expound the word of God we must make use of words like sin, judgment, wrath and repentance. According to this statement of Jesus Christ, one can be made right with God without religion, without ritual, but never without repentance.
            It is important that we understand the meaning of repentance. To repent simply means that a man is walking in one direction and God puts His finger on sin in his life. Repentance means that he changes his mind, his heart, his conduct and his conversation about that sin. He does an about-face and walks in the other direction.
            I remember on one occasion overhearing a young believer counsel an older man seeking salvation. The older man asked, ''Do I have to give up my smoking to be saved?'' I was startled when the young man said ''sir, do you know that smoking is a sin for you?'' The older man responded, ''why yes, I have known it to be sin for me for many years." The young man said ''yes sir; you must be willing to give up your smoking to be saved.'' I could hardly believe my ears. I made a mental note to talk to the young man and straighten out his theology. It was my desire to be a good mentor for him. The longer I thought about what he said, however, the more I knew he was absolutely right. To repent means to turn from anything God puts His finger on to be sin in your life.
            The very reason that many in our churches today cannot break the power of habitual sin in their life is because there was never repentance in the first place. You can join a church without repentance, but you cannot enter the kingdom without repentance. That is why Paul said, ''you are saved by repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ.'' (Acts 20:20) That is why Peter affirmed ''He is willing that none should perish, but all should come to repentance.''  (II Peter3: 9).
            Would you examine your past? Can you say with absolute certainty there was a time in my life when I turned away from sin through repentance and committed my life to Jesus Christ? If not, nothing is more urgent for you than to repent of your sins and commit your life to the Lordship of Jesus.
            The Republic of Yemen, with its more than 18 million souls, is one of the world's least evangelized countries. This predominantly Moslem country has less than one-tenth of one percent Christian. This is a generous estimate, because there may be many who are saved who will not admit their faith in Christ, which could cost them their lives. These few believers desperately need our prayers since it is illegal for Muslims to proselytize, and also illegal for Muslims to become Christians. Pray especially for the ex-patriots (outsiders working in Yemen). The Christians among them may be the greatest opportunity to touch this needy place with the Christian Gospel.
''The man whose little sermon is “repent” sets himself against his age and will for the time being, be battered mercilessly by the age whose moral tone he challenges. There is but one end for such a man – “off with his head”. We had better not try to preach repentance until you have pledged your head to Heaven.” Joseph Parker'