(all references form the NLT)
· Matt. 4:17 “From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
· Matt. 18:3 “Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.”
· Acts 20:21 “I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus.”
· Romans 2:4-11 “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 He will judge everyone according to what they have done. 7 He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. 8 But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. 9 There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile.[a] 10 But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.”
No one gets into heaven by the skin of their teeth. You are forgiven and changed or you are not. It is that simple. Much of this is the churches fault. In an effort to not offend, we have become soft on sin. We need to return to a balance of preaching grace and judgment. Heaven is real, but so is hell.
Heaven is forever, but so is hell. Some of you may need to come back to God and say, “I want you in my life and I don’t want to sin anymore.” We are not judging by making sin apparent in a person’s life. That cry is a cop out and expresses the human desire to half do what’s right. God desires, He demands, our full repentance. I freely take of the chains of sin and put on the chains of Christ.
May we always be ready to speak the truth, teach our children, and spread God's love. He is a God of love, but He does not tolerate disobedience.
"God give us the strength to live as we need to live, to stand as we need to stand, to teach as we need to teach. May our families not be lost, but may every member come to know you for who You are; a wonderful and merciful God who gave His life for us. May we be willing and ready to share this good news with our world. May you use our lives to touch the world...whether it be through adoption or loving those around us. Amen!"