J. Gordon Duncan

Culture, Business, Fitness, Etc.

A Note on Repentance from a Sermon Intro that I Scrapped

I wrote this intro for a sermon that was eventually scrapped.  Not knowing what to do with it, I decided to post it here.  The thoughts are not fully formed but oh well.  Enjoy…

Repentance is rare.  When I first wrote that statement, I almost wrote, “True repentance is rare,” but you know what?  There is no repentance unless it is true repentance.  Let me explain what I mean.  The language of repentance in both Greek and Hebrew is the image of walking in one direction and then turning 180 degrees and walking in another direction.  Repentance isn’t that simple but the image is that simple.  Repentance is not just a change of action.  Before God, repentance is walking away from sinful thoughts and actions, but that walking away must be accompanied with a very specific heart cry of remorse and sorrow accompanied with crying out to Jesus for forgiveness and help.

I don’t mean to make repentance sound complicated, but I do want to emphasize that it is rare.  It is hard.  In fact, I would say that genuine repentance is impossible without God gifting it to sinful hearts.  Peter makes that clear in Acts 5:29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

If any of us are going to truly repent, then we need to cry out to God asking Him to gift us repentance from Jesus as He sits at the right hand of the Father.  We are often lacking repentance and real change because we don’t ask God for it.  We short circuit the process by skipping repentance and just asking God for forgiveness, but the two go hand in hand.  Repent and be forgiven.

Because of this, the church is often weak and lacking real Godliness, obedience, and mission.  “So if you really want to know why people just go to church without engaging community or mission, you don’t need to look far.  It’s not that the pace of the world is too fast or the forces of darkness are too great.  It’s that we’re fighting against ourselves.”  Halter and Smay.


July 13, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,


  1. I really like this sermon….I don’t know why you scrapped it. It applies to most of the people around here. May God Bless you or He already has.

    Comment by brenda clayton | July 13, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks, Brenda. This intro will find its way into a sermon eventually.

      Comment by jgordonduncan | July 14, 2011 | Reply

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