Sin. It is the real issue, the root problem, the reason for every broken heart and home. And the only solution for sin is a Savior. This is the redemptive message of the Bible from start to finish. Sinful men need Jesus. Until the sin problem is addressed there is no lasting help or hope for broken people.

That’s why the first message of John the Baptist was repent (Matthew 3:2). It was Jesus’ first message (Matthew 4:17). It was the first message that Peter preached (Acts 2:38), and it was the constant message of Paul (Acts 20:21). In fact, it has been the central message of every true spiritual awakening. Sinners must repent.

Repentance has never been a popular message, but it has always been a vital one. Only God can correct the sin problem and He will only do so when we turn to Him. 

People today want a “relationship” with God apart from repentance, a salve for the conscience instead of a thorough cleansing of the heart. This will never bring God’s blessing. A holy God doesn’t forgive man so that he will feel better or go right on sinning! He forgives to cleanse and He cleanses to transform (1 John 1:9).

  • Sinners must repent and believe the gospel. Paul’s preaching is the pattern for all New Testament ministry: “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Everyone needs this message: repent and believe.
  • Believers must repent and seek God. Did you know that in Scripture the word repent is used more for God’s people than for lost people? Look at the emphasis on repentance to the seven churches in Revelation, culminating with Christ’s message to the church at Laodicea, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Revelation 3:19). 

I can tell you personally that I have done much more repenting since I got saved than I did on the day I got saved. There have been so many times on this journey with Jesus that I have had to turn away from my own way and look to Him afresh. Repentance is not just an event – it is to be a way of life.

How do we expect lost men to repent if God’s people will not?

Now is the time for all of God’s people to repent. “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face! And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” Look away from self and sin to Christ!

Now is the time for us to call all men to repentance. The social gospel and health and wealth preaching do nothing to prepare men for eternity. Addressing felt needs does nothing to prepare believers for the fiery trial that is ahead. If we want revival we must call people to repentance.