We are in a mess, aren’t we? Murder is so often in the news it sounds almost normal. Adultery is glamorized and glorified in commercial after commercial and in one television program after another. Homosexuality is applauded along with transgenderism and every other kind of morally questionable “ism” as well. Divorce is so common-place that it is increasingly difficult to find a kid who lives with both parents. Political corruption abounds. Anger is destroying businesses and families and even lives. I live in small-town, rural, conservative, churches- everywhere, southern America and our neighborhood has recently been plagued with drive-by shootings and national-news-making murders. Every perusal of a Facebook newsfeed provides increasing evidence of the mess we are in morally, politically, and even religiously.
Here is how Peter addressed the moral corruption of his day. “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17). Surely this is a call to repentance for those of us who are born-again followers of Jesus Christ. So, let’s repent. Let’s change our mind! Let’s seek God! Let’s turn from our wicked ways! Let’s “arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord: lift up thy hands toward him for the life of thy young children, that faint for hunger in the top of every street” (Lamentations 2:19). Shouldn’t Christians “humble themselves, and pray, and seek [God’s] face, and turn from their wicked ways” (2 Chronicles 7:14)? Peter is issuing a call to repentance. Consider:
We should repent when we are better Americans than we are Christians. We talk and discuss politics while the world around us is empty spiritually. And searching for answers! And in need of the truth that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).
We should repent when we can’t remember the last time we tried diligently to win someone to Jesus Christ.
We should repent if we can’t remember the last time a sinner prayed to be saved in our services.
We should repent if our baptistries are empty of water and filled with cobwebs.
We should repent when we seldom pray, never fast, and don’t even remember how to seek God.
We should repent when we never pray with our spouse.
We should repent when the Bible is never read and never taught in our homes.
We should repent when we are too busy to pray daily with our children.
We should repent when we are failing to train our children in obedience, respect, purity, a good work ethic, and so forth.
We should repent when we are filled with covetousness. It shows up in our unthankfulness, our debt, and our ever-increasing desire for things that will not satisfy because they can’t.
We should repent when our homes are uptight, tense places where fussing, griping, yelling, grouchiness, and unkindness are par for the course.
We should repent when we consider ourselves the model standard of true righteousness. We too often believe we are pretty much the only right ones left anymore. We are convinced that others would be Godlier if they would only be more like us. We would rather people follow our standards than follow Christ and the leadership of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God.
We should repent when our churches are full of people who are angry at home, flirting with pornography, involved in adultery, losing their children spiritually, and consumed with a steady diet of worldly entertainment.
We should repent when our services are predictable and “business as usual.”
We should repent when our churches have no “real” and “meaningful” times of powerful, miracle -producing prayer. Pastor Jim Cymbala says that if you can pack a building on Sunday morning or fill a building at $20 a person for a concert, but can only get a few people to attend a serious prayer meeting, you had better call for a time-out in your ministry. I think he is on to something there.
We should repent when we are divisive and jealous and can only speak in derogatory or condescending terms about our fellow believers.
We should repent when we are in the habit of treating others with contempt or rudeness.
We should repent when we are easily bothered.
We should repent when we are harsh and cutting in our speech.
We should repent when we seldom show compassion on the needs of others.
We should repent when things are not well between us and another brother or sister.
We should repent when we find ourselves speaking evil of others.
We should repent when we “come alive” at preaching that defends or promotes our favorite positions but become somber and suspicious at preaching that address areas like gentleness and kindness and compassion.
We should repent when we enjoy arguing and striving with anybody who is willing to engage with us.
My dear brothers and sisters, we should repent! Don’t you agree?
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.”
Thanks for reading,