The Foundation of Repentance
The Foundation of Repentance
Words of Faith 5-17-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 (All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus' words, acknowledged that God's way was right, because they had been baptized by John.  But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God's purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)
 "To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like?  They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: " 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.'
 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.'  The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners." '  But wisdom is proved right by all her children."
How did the people respond to all this? Some said "God's way is right" and others rejected God's purpose for themselves. That really is the struggle. That was the struggle for John the Baptizer. Do I accept God's way as right or do I reject the purposes of God?
What is that dividing line for these people in their response? Those who had been baptized by John said, "God's way is right!" Those who had not been baptized by John rejected God's purposes for themselves.
Why was that significant? It was because John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. Those who were repentant had turned away from the world and toward God and accepted God's way as right. The same is true today. Repentance is fundamental. Those who are repentant will accept God's way as right. Those who are not repentant reject God's purpose and want God to adjust to them.
Repentance is much more than shedding a few tears during an altar call. Repentance means turning toward God and turning away from self. As long as we demand our way we are not repentant and we are not in line with God. We are not adjusted to His will. Repentance is more than just being sorry for our sin. Being repentant is a complete adjustment to the agenda of God. God's way is right.
Jesus made an observation about those who reject God. "To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: " 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.'"
Jesus was not talking here about those who repent and affirm God's way is right. Some commentators suggest Jesus was talking about religious "leaders" who have rejected the way of God. They attempt in childish way to control others. They complain when they cannot dictate the game or the celebration. They act like children as if they were in a children's game. "You didn't do things my way!"
Jesus also observed that such people make accusations with exaggeration. "For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners." ' But wisdom is proved right by all her children" (Luke 7:33-35).
It is interesting that the critics said that John's lifestyle was too extreme and Jesus' was too lax! John must not be of God because of his asceticism, his radical self denial and commitment to God. The exaggeration was when they said "He has a demon!" They criticized Jesus saying that His lifestyle was too liberal. He did the normal things of Jewish life like eating and drinking and because he actually mixed with people, they said that Jesus was a glutton and drunkard.
Jesus spoke to the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law saying beware of the voice of criticism that exaggerates. Such criticism comes from an unrepentant heart that is resisting the way and work of God. Jesus does not really offer a solution. He just observes that this is the way that generation was. It probably is the same today.
How do we apply this? How might Jesus instruct us? When we contemplate whether God is at work in a particular place or situation we do not judge by what God has not done our way, we judge by what God has done. Look around. There are folks among us who were blind, but now see. There are those who were deaf, but now hear. There are those who were lame, but now walk. There are those who were imprisoned, but are now free. There are those who had leprosy, bitterness and anger who are cleansed. There are folks who were dead but who are now alive. Yes, there are also some who are still blind, still deaf, still lame, still prisoners, still unclean and still dead. But we do not judge the presence and work of God on what is undone, but what is done.
Jesus is saying do not fall away because of what is undone. Do not judge those who appear to have no miracle in their lives. Repent and make a decision to be a part of what God is doing saying, "We agree with God's Way..." Beware of criticism that tries to control God or His message, especially with exaggeration.
Lord, we confess that we often do not understand Your ways. Your ways are not our ways and Your thoughts are not our thoughts. We surrender to Your way because You are God Almighty. Your way is right. In Jesus' name.