What is your relationship with God like? God will certainly make a way for those that genuinely believe in Him. Faith is certainly required to receive of the Lord. If you are of no faith in God but want the Lord to make a way for you, I tell you that genuine repentance is required. This means that you must turn from the way in which you are going and turn to the Lord.
Last week, I preached that God will make a way for you. If you read last week’s sermon, you will recall that I mentioned that there are two trains of thought when it comes to the phrase, “God will make a way.” I focused a great deal on the second group: believers that feel they are unworthy of the Lord’s blessings.
Today, I want to focus on the group that was made up of people that simply doubt God. Many of the people in this group will hear it said that God will make a way and they think to themselves, “God hasn’t helped me yet so why would He help me now?” I want to focus on this train of thought today and talk about how the Lord can make a way for you. To do so, I must also take time to focus on genuine repentance.
Repentance and forgiveness
Genuine repentance is required. Repentance is turning away from a way that is opposite of the Lord’s way and turning to God. (Keep this in mind throughout today’s sermon.)
I have learned there is much confusion when it comes to repentance. When we hear the word repent, many of us simply think of forgiveness and so we confuse the words to meaning the same thing. We will tell somebody (or maybe somebody has told you) that they (or you) need to repent for their (or your) sins. How many of us have heard that or had that said to us before?
The dictionary defines repenting as sincere regret or remorse about one’s wrongdoing or sin. How does that fit your definition of repentance? The dictionary defines forgiveness as the canceling of a debt. Do those definitions sound similar to you? We would answer no.
We must change our thought process on repentance and forgiveness. Repentance and forgiveness are two completely separate things that can and does work together when it comes to the Lord.
Forgiveness defined by scripture
Jesus taught Peter that if one sins against him that he should forgive them of their sins every time (Matt. 18:21-22). (I preached a sermon earlier this year using this scripture on forgiveness that you might want to read – Is It Possible For You to Forgive?)
We should “cancel the debt” of others who have sinned against us or done us wrong. “Why should we do this?” somebody may ask. Jesus taught that we should forgive others because God has forgiven us for our sins against Him. So, genuine faith in the Lord calls for the genuine practice of forgiveness. For example: if your girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, or wife does you wrong, you should forgive them. When somebody lies on you, you should forgive them. If somebody steals from you, you should forgive them. As genuine believers, we certainly know this.
Forgiveness is a subject that really bothers many believers. The idea behind forgiveness is that we “cancel someone’s debt of sin against us and easily trust them again.” (That idea is somewhat a misunderstanding of scripture. Jesus says to forgive them, but we add more to our idea of what forgiveness is.)
Born in our idea of forgiveness is an issue. You see, we have this issue with whether or not we should trust someone again after they have done us wrong. “How can we trust someone again after they have lied to us?” somebody will ask.
Repentance defined by mankind
Repentance is the key to the answer to our question. When somebody does us wrong, we would look for them to take certain actions before we can have faith in them again. Let’s consider the actions that we expect from somebody when they have done us wrong.
- We look for them to acknowledge that they have done us wrong.
- We then look for a genuine apology for doing us wrong.
- Some will ask the one who has done wrong to promise that they will never do it again.
- Depending on how often this has happened, we take all of this into consideration on whether we will have faith in them again.
We would look at all of those steps and would see the steps of forgiveness. Truthfully, we say that we will not forgive someone unless they go through these steps. I tell you that these steps are not necessarily the steps of forgiveness but they are actually the steps of repentance! (Most of us will not have faith in somebody again unless they repent of the wrong that they have done to us!)
So, let’s understand what we already know about repentance. Repentance is on the individual that has done wrong – it is their responsibility. Some people will realize when they have done wrong and they will repent for the wrong they have done (or at least attempt to repent). We also find that repentance is the way to at least begin to trust somebody again. When our trust is earned back, we will try to be with somebody again or give them our love.
So, the question is: why do we believe repentance is not important when it comes to the Lord? How can the Lord trust us again if we never repent of what we have done? (Remember what I said repentance is.)
God does nothing for me
This gets me back to a thought I touched on last week: the person that cries, “God does nothing for me.”
We are in a relationship with the Lord whether we realize that or not. The doubter even has a relationship with God, but sadly that relationship is a one-sided affair. Though they may not realize it, God still provides for those who do not believe in Him, even without their repentance. You have heard me quote Jesus say this before (Matt. 5:45), “for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Without turning to the Lord, the doubter still receives of this world (bad and good). God does not keep the sunshine for just those who have faith or the rains just for the believers; He gives the sun and the rain to everybody. Worldly blessings are something that everybody experiences. Let us also understand that the Lord pours out spiritual blessings and makes a way for many but is the doubter part of this group?
Without turning to the Lord, how can anybody expect for God to pour out His spiritual blessings on them? Many are in need of spiritual healing, spiritual guidance, and a spiritual blessing but have refused to turn to the Lord. Those things of God are only for those who turn to the Lord.
Repairing the relationship with God
God is a faithful God and wants to redeem mankind from its sin. John wrote:
When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, mankind messed up its relationship with the Lord. (Mankind “cheated” on God with sin.) The Lord still wants to be in a relationship with mankind. (This was clearly shown to us by the giving of His only begotten Son to make this possible.) There are many people who want the Lord to provide and make a way for them, but they don’t want to have a relationship with the Lord.
You cannot ask the Lord to provide and make a way for you spiritually if you do not want to be, nor strive to be, in a spiritual relationship with Him.
The repentance of David
Our sins will torment us and holds us hostage when we choose not to repair our relationship with the Lord. The decisions that we are going to make are always going to play out – good or bad. However, it is those sinful decisions that we make that really can hold us hostage. As I said in last week’s sermon, there are many people who feel so guilty about the sinful things they have done that they hold themselves back from the Lord’s blessings.
When David is mentioned, there are two things that we will think of: that he was a king of Israel, and that he committed a horrible sin that displeased the Lord. Many believe the horrible sin was that he had committed adultery by sleeping with the wife of Uriah, Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11). However, I want you to notice what the Lord was upset about.
9 Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon.2 Samuel 12:9 NKJV
David truly acted with evil towards Uriah. Some people go down the path that David went down and they are never able to come back from that path. When we have sinned, there are many times when the Lord approaches us about that sin we have done. (God did this with Adam in the garden.) The Lord wants to see if you will be accountable for the sin that you have done.
This is the same thing that people do when somebody has wronged them, right? (Remember our steps of repentance from earlier.) So, will you run from your sin or will you acknowledge your sin?
David could have tried to hide his sin from the Lord; he was already trying to cover it up from the people and thought nobody would know what he had done. God is all powerful – He sees all things, knows all things, and is everywhere at all times. There is nowhere we can run from the Lord and there is nowhere we can hide our sins from the Lord. God knows that you have sinned, but He wants to hear you acknowledge your sin.
David was a man of faith. Like all of us, David committed sins against others and against the Lord. However, David did what many today have not done – he acknowledged his sin. David said to the prophet (2 Sam. 12:13), “I have sinned against the Lord.” David does not run from his sin, he gives an admission to his sin.
The Lord’s response
I want you to see what the prophet says next to David on behalf of the Lord.
13 So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”2 Samuel 12:13 NKJV
And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.
Immediately following David’s admission of his sin, God had already forgiven him! “The Lord also has put away your sin,” is what the prophet said to David. I want you to understand that God has already put away your sin, but you have to be able to acknowledge and admit your sins to Him!
We have an elaborate repentance process for those that do us wrong, but God’s process is not elaborate at all for repentance. God simply wants you to acknowledge your wrong and admit it. He’s not going to make you say sorry and pinky swear to never do it again. The biggest problem that many of us face is that we cannot acknowledge when we have sinned against somebody nor can we acknowledge when we have sinned against the Lord!
God is faithful and just
The scripture proclaims that God is both faithful and just to forgive us of our sins. God is faithfully trusting and believing in you and wants to make a way for you spiritually. However, we must be willing to turn to God and genuinely repair our relationship with Him. Are you willing today to repair your relationship with God?
If you want to receive the blessings of God, make sure that you’re in a good relationship with Him. Acknowledge the wrong you have done, admit them to Him and the Lord will forgive you of your sin. When the Lord cleanses you from your unrighteousness, you will gain power over your sin. We were a slave to sin, but the Lord’s cleansing has freed us all from the bondage of sin.