February 20 2022
Today, Sunday February 20
“Repent, or Else…” Revelation 2:16-17 “Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it." '.
These seven letters to the seven churches in Asia have so much to say to us today! I want us to take a few minutes to think about something that was written to five of the seven churches. Five of these churches were told to “repent”. And at least twice we read, “Repent, or else …” (Rev. 2:5 and 2:16). And several more times we read, “Unless you repent…”.
The two churches that were not told to repent in their letters, were the church of Smyrna and the church of Philadelphia. Smyrna was the persecuted church and the trials and tribulation that it faithfully endured caused it to be a “purified” church. Philadelphia, as we will later see, was the missionary church with the open door of ministry and it stayed focused on God’s mission to share the Gospel with the world.
At least five times in the Book of Revelation we are told of people that, “did not repent” (Revelation 2:21; 9:20&21; 16:9&11). This was even after God sent His judgements to get their attention! How sad! Remember the New Testament starts with message of repentance! John the Baptist came preaching repentance (Matthew 3:1-2). Jesus began His ministry with preaching the message of repentance (Matthew 4:17).
The church of Pergamos was told “repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.” It is a dangerous thing not to repent. There can be no salvation without repentance. Without repentance we can’t find forgiveness of our sins even as believers. (1 John 1:7-10)
What is repentance? Repentance is a both a change of mind and a change of direction. To simply say, “I have sinned” is not enough. Several people in the Old Testament said, “I have sinned”, but didn’t mean it. People like Pharaoh (Exodus 9:27), Balaam (Numbers 22:34), Achan (Joshua 7:20), and King Saul (1 Samuel 15:24).
Many people have regret for their sin and say they are sorry. But that is only mental. And in most cases they are only sorry they got caught. Others not only feel regret, they feel remorse for their sin. But this is only emotional. They cry and shed tears and beg forgiveness but turn around and do the same thing again. True repentance is not only regret and remorse it is spiritual. Repentance involves all three!
King David committed the sins of both adultery and murder. And when he was confronted he said, “I have sinned greatly” (1 Chronicles 21:8). Read his prayer of repentance in Psalm 51. True repentance turns us from our sin to the cross of Jesus Christ! And we walk in a new direction.
It is so interesting to me that the New Testament begins with the message of repentance and also ends with this same message! I believe the church today needs to hear this message: “Repent, or else….”. In other words, if we don’t repent we will face the judgement of God for our sins! We need more than regret and remorse! We need to turn! We definitely don’t need the Lord to “fight against us with the sword of His mouth”.
If there was ever a day we need the Lord to fight for us, it is today! May the Lord grant us the spirit of repentance every day! When we truly repent He will restore to us the “joy of our salvation.” (Psalm 51:12)