Our spiritual development is a continual journey that requires diligence, faith, and surrender.

Unfortunately, far too many in the church have become satisfied, remaining stagnant, with no forward motion or growth toward discipleship maturity. Moreover, some Christians have even approached the things that are required of us as disciples of Christ and picked through what they are willing to do while discarding what is left over.

So how are we to live in order to pursue sanctification only found through Jesus?

Can You Discern Right From Wrong?

With its author unknown, the Book of Hebrews was written for the intended audience of First-Century Jews who had converted to Christianity. This group of people were contemplating returning to a lifestyle of Judaism, one of legalism and law-keeping,ultimately resulting in spiritual death.

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

Hebrews 5:12-14, NKJV

Are you drinking milk or eating meat?

Many in the church have been sitting in the pews long enough to know right from wrong. In fact, the longer you have been a Christian, the more in-depth your relationship with Christ should be; yet, some still are unable to discern evil from the word of God.

Here is what grieves my heart as a pastor – there are many in the church who are serving God on Sunday, and they still can’t see the difference between right and wrong. In fact, they have embraced the teachings of our culture, claiming that gambling, abortion, and same-sex marriages are okay.

What these thoughts and opinions are reflecting is that they do not know the teachings of the word of God. Let me be clear, church: there will come a day when every one of us will stand before the Lord and answer for how we lived on earth. This includes all that we have believed, shared, and turned a blind eye to.

We must get right with God and live an active life of repentance.

What is Repentance?

The definition of repentance is two-fold. Merriam-Webster defines it as to feel regret and contrition and to change one’s mind. It is the coming together of two convictions: grief and change.

Repentance Requires Us to Grieve

To repent requires us to be sorry. However, it is not merely being sorry that we got caught, but rather, we are significantly moved to a place where our hearts break in regards to how we grieved God’s heart.

The problem with our culture is that we aren’t truly sorry for what we have partnered with. In fact, we organize marches so that we would have the right to sin and do the opposite of what God says!

The legislatures in the state of Maryland are once again formulating a law to empower doctors to assist people in committing suicide. Maybe you don’t find it appalling that the Government will stand behind a person looking to end their life, but this goes against the very character of God. He is the sole Giver of life and does so for a very specific purpose.

Church, lets stand together and remain steadfast in God’s truth. You can fight this law by writing a letter to your state representatives and senator opposing this life-ending mandate. Remember, if they don’t hear from us, they won’t think we care.

Where in your life are you grieving how you offended the heart of God? Take it to Him and seek His forgiveness.

Repentance Requires Us to Change

Repentance doesn’t just stop at being sorry; it requires us to change and then further maintain this lifestyle of change.

So, how can you walk in the way of repentance? Here are three ways you can start.

3 Ways to Embrace the Change of Repentance

1.    Make a Change in Your Values

What do you consider significant in your life? Take some time and re-evaluate what you once thought important and align it with where you are currently. Does it stand in agreement with God’s word? If not, get rid of it.

2.    Make a Change in Your Lifestyle

One thing I have learned is that the closer I get to Jesus, the more he will reveal the wickedness in me. Is there a habit or regular pattern in your life that contradicts God’s character? Are these patterns challenging your identity as a disciple of Christ? If so, it is time to remove them from your life.

3.    Make a Change in Your Relationships

Relationships are important to God. While it may be justifiable and easier to walk away from those who have hurt you, God’s heart doesn’t align with that way of thinking. Is there someone in your life you have cut off because of an offense? Seek God and ask Him to heal and change your heart. We are called to be instruments of God’s love, and in doing so, we must change how we treat others.

Repentance From Dead Works

“Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgement.”

Hebrews 6:1-2, NKJV

This passage shares with us the six components of discipleship. Of the six, there is one that we are not to do: we are not to lay the foundation of our repentance on dead works. What are dead works? They are anything you seek to do by human effort in order to gain favor with God.

Scripture is crystal clear that there is nothing we can do to earn the favor of God. Furthermore, to prove this truth, the fact He woke you up this morning is not because of anything you did but because He is Sovereign, and His favor rests on those according to His perfect will.

If you are a part of the First Baptist Church of Glenarden community, then you know we don’t ask you to serve so that you can be saved. In fact, we believe that we don’t serve to be saved; we serve because we are saved. We don’t put our faith in the works we do with our hands; we put faith in the good work of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

When we accept Christ into our hearts, God’s Spirit dwells within us. This Spirit changes us from the inside out, and because of the love of God, we transform into beings who want to share the love, sacrifice, and grace of God.

Maybe your heart isn’t right with God. If that’s the case, I’ve got great news. He will wipe your slate clean and forgive your sin, giving you life unspeakable. You can embrace repentance of your sins and turn back to the heart of God. He will welcome you with abundance and unconditional love.

Saints, repentance isn’t a one-time choice; it is an ongoing lifestyle. And it is one that will lead us to spiritual maturity, growing in our relationship with Christ and with others.

For more on repentance, check out Pastor John K. Jenkins’ sermon: Repentance.

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