July 30

Today's Bible Readings:
     Judges 13
     Acts 17
     Jeremiah 26
     Mark 12
''Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent," (Acts 17:30)
            Perhaps the greatest tragedy in the organized church is the multitude of local church members who are unregenerate. They have been attracted by Bible studies, worship, activities, camps, Vacation Bible Schools, and other events that have drawn them to wonderful people who accept them readily. They have made decisions, prayed prayers, joined organizations, signed cards, and gotten wet in the baptistery. In the process, however, no one has mentioned repentance to them.
            It is impossible for a lost person to come to Christ and have eternal life without repentance. Jesus made it clear: “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Matthew 9:13) “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3-5)
            Peter made it clear that he understood the necessity of repentance. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise,  as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance ." (II Peter 3:9) Repentance was also central to the theology and the preaching of Paul. ''Testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." (Acts 20:21)
            Yet, because repentance is considered offensive, seldom mentioned in modem preaching, and certainly repulsive to the independent spirit of modem man, it is often overlooked, ignored, and neglected. Because of that, we have multitudes occupying the pews of our modem churches who have never experienced genuine salvation and found themselves constantly frustrated in the spiritual realm. That is why there is so little repentance in local churches and among backsliders.      In II Corinthians  7:9, we discover that  even among believers,  sorrow over our sin, and backsliding  demands   repentance.
Even the church must repent. In Revelation 2-3, Jesus called upon five of those seven churches to repent:
The Church at Ephesus was to repent because she left her first love.
The Church at Pergamos was to repent because she committed false doctrine.
The Church at Thyatira was to repent because she allowed a false teacher to teach and seduce God's servants to commit fornication.
The Church at Sardis was to repent because she was a dead congregation.
The Church as Laodicea was to repent because she thought she was rich and needed nothing and, in her opinion, she was self-sufficient.
            The threats of the Lord against these churches were very severe in light of their unwillingness to repent. So what does it mean to repent? It means as you walk down the path of life your way, and God puts His finger on sin, you must be willing to change your mind, your heart, your will, your conversation, and your conduct about that sin. There will be no salvation and no fellowship with God without repentance. One can go to Heaven without religion, or ritual, but we cannot go to Heaven without repentance. Repentance is a change that results in joy and victory. Ask God to reveal areas in your life requiring repentance.
Approximately 9 million people live in the European kingdom of Sweden. This is a highly socialized country with great development in the areas of industry and information technology. The extensive social welfare system requires high taxation, which is lower than the national competitiveness. There is a complete freedom of religion. The church of Sweden (Lutheran) was the state church until 2000, and still has an important role because of its size and history. About 50% of the people claim to be Christian and, of these, a large majority is Protestant, mostly Lutheran. At the turn of the century, less than 48% of Swedes even believe that there is a God and only 5% regularly attend church. The hope for Sweden is a genuine spiritual awakening and a mighty move of God that will enable the people to see the emptiness of secularism and the hope and joy of a true commitment to Jesus.
''TEMPTATION is the fire that brings up the scum of the heart."