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Repentance From Dead Works (36)


In our last broadcast, we summarized that unless a born again child of God crucifies the flesh, and its passions and desires, he will not be able to yield to the Holy Spirit; unless he yields to and heeds the Holy Spirit, everything that he does is dead works; unless he acknowledges that all that he has been doing without the Holy Spirits leading, are dead works, he will not repent of them; and, unless he repents of the dead works he has been doing, turn to God, and begin to learn how to do good works, he will continue to do dead works, and may suffer loss in eternity! We therefore must renounce every dead work; seek Gods help to crucify the old nature of sin in us; and, ask God to ingrain in us, the desire to do His will. Fasting may be necessary to destroy vestiges of dead works, as well as every unfruitful work of darkness in your life through the cross of Jesus Christ!

Having studied the two components of the first foundational teaching; that is, Repentance and Dead Works, we are now set to put them both together to establish the foundational teaching of Repentance from Dead Works. We had stated in the early stages of this study, that true repentance is to renounce and turn away from engaging in an act which a person is now convinced is not good, and to begin to engage in acts which are good. It is important to note that for true repentance to be said to have taken place, there must first be a turning away from a wrong way of life, before you can really turn to a right lifestyle! Thus, repentance is something that can be seen by all and sundryit cannot be hidden! Repentance from dead works then, is to renounce and cease from engaging in activities which do not have the life of God, activities that lead to death, and, activities which God has not authorized, and to henceforth only engage in activities which are full of the life of God, activities which lead to eternal life, and activates which are approved by God. Repentance from dead works is to renounce and permanently turn away from doing things with wrong and ulterior motives, and to start doing things out of a pure heart. Repentance from dead works involves a permanent change from living in carnality or by your natural senses, and to begin to live as you are led by the Holy Spirit. Repentance from dead works will require that you cease from religious formalism (that is, merely attending church, or merely speaking in tongues, with no corresponding change in behaviour), and enter into a vibrant personal relationship with God. Repentance from dead works is evident when we have ceased from praying lifeless, selfish, and lustful prayers, and turn to fervently praying the will of God in every circumstance Thy will be done.

The main objective of our study is not just to define repentance from dead works, but to teach the practical aspect of manifesting a life of good works. The issue with some people who are born again is not that they are ignorant that what they are doing is dead works, but their unwillingness to do what is necessary to ensure that they never again go the way of dead works! If you are to manifest the fruit of true repentance, you must first be willing to change your lifestyle! In Ephesians 2:1-3, the bible makes us understand that those who are born again have been revived from spiritual death. Spiritual death is a state in which a person engages in sin, and calls it enjoying life; for example, drinking alcohol, lying, cheating, sexual immorality, and so on. Having been revived from spiritual death, you should no longer live as you used tono more wild parties, sensual dressing, and so on. In Galatians 5:16, the bible says, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. Thus, if indeed you have been revived from spiritual death; that is, you are indeed born again, you must cease from the lusts and desires of the flesh, and begin to follow the direction and leading of the Holy Spirit. For instance, attending church services with a view to showing off your worldly possessions is not only dead works, but also a sign that you are still dead in your trespasses and sins! In Ephesians 4:21-24, the bible says that we must put off (or discard) the old nature of sin, and must put on (or adorn) the new man which has now been made to live as God wants, having renewed our minds. Following your revival from spiritual death, you are to be renewed in your mind, otherwise, you will not be able to do good works. In Romans 12:2, God tells us not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. The renewing of the mind is achieved when a person who is born again, deliberately and continually imbibes and lives by the word of God. Indeed Romans 12:2 goes further to tell us that unless our minds are renewed or changed (through learning and living by Christs teachings), we will be unable to prove or ascertain, the will of God, which is always goodnot dead works; which is acceptable to Godit may not be acceptable to the flesh, but it is always acceptable to God; and, which is perfectnothing is to be added, and nothing is to be taken away from it. The implication of Romans 12:2 is that for as long as your mind has not been changed or transformed, through the agency of the word of God, you will continue to live like a person of the world, and will not have the inner witness or assurance of faith about what the will of God is or entails. And if you are not doing the will of God, then you are living by your own standards, which is how the world lives, and all your works will lead to death! In 1 John 2:15-17, the word of God says, Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. We usually imitate the behaviour of a person we are attracted to, or love. To love the world then, means that you will desire to imitate it! If you are drawn to the world, you will behave like the people of the worldevery fashion of the world will be your fashionand in the end, you will, like the fashion of the world, fade away. But if you are transformed by the renewing of your mind, you will imitate Christ, and live like a true child of Goddoing the will of God. Today, we see people who claim to be Christians designing apparels that are sensual! We see people who claim to be Christians singing gospel songs for money. And I ask, how does singing for the pleasure of man, money and musical awards, translate to the worship of God? Then, there are those who make jokes about God, and claim that they are Christian comedians. How does making jokes about God and the worship of God, which sometimes is staged on the altar of God for that matter, translate to doing the will of God? And what is sad about it is, seeing the pastor or bishop unguardedly throwing up his legs in the air enjoying such uncomely jokes; all in a bid to increase church attendance! Friend, seeking to increase the size of a church by worldly means does not move God one bitit is not only dead works, but a sin before God; and you, sir, ought to repent, if you are thus engaged! Indeed, every activity that is engaged in with a view to pleasing the flesh, the eyes, and the ego, is clearly not of God, neither is it from God: it is of the world, it is fleshly, and definitely, dead works!

In John 5:30, the Lord Jesus said, I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. What the Lord Jesus was saying in this verse is that everything He did while here on earth was as He was instructed and shown by His Father [Who is also your Father, if truly you are born again]. Indeed, you cannot do good works, which is the will of God, if you have not heard from heaven about what you should do! It is safe to say that many of the activities and programmes in many of our churches today, are dead works, because they were not ordered by Godthe pastors or ministers just felt that such activities or programmes will bring in the crowd, and so, they went on ahead to implement. Friend, if you must cease from dead works, hearing from God must be a priority! What this means is that if you are doing anything now, which you know God did not ask you to do, then, you must stop and retrace your steps: Did God ask you to start that church? If not, shut it down! Did God ask you to plan that programme? If not, stop forthwith! Did God ask you to preach that message you have been preaching? If not, stop immediately! Did God tell you to make financial prosperity a life-long theme? Did God tell you to hold a miracle service? Did God ask you to pay a courtesy call to the governor or the president? These are issues that you must deal with if indeed, you are to truly repent from dead works! At this point it should be clear that it is easier to define repentance from dead works than to implement it.

The Lord Jesus came to the earth to show us how we are to live for, and worship God, and thereby do good works. We must therefore look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, and see how He did good works and follow in His footstep. There is a song that you may know: Prayer is the key, prayer is the key, prayer is the master key; Jesus started with prayer, and ended with prayer; prayer is the master key. In simple terms, if you want to engage in good works henceforth, prayer is indispensableand this is not the prayer of give me this! or give me that! No! We are talking of the prayer that seeks to enable you to do the will of God, which had been established from the foundation of the world. Friend, you may have a large congregation, but if it was not borne out of prayer, or based on Gods leading, it is dead works! Also, in Acts 10:38, the bible tells us that Jesus was able to do good works, because God anointed Him with the Holy Ghost and with power. What many of us call anointing today, is just the laying on of hands, by a man, without the authorization of Godthis kind of anointing does not translate to good works; in fact this kind of man-orchestrated anointing is itself dead works. So, instead of pursuing the anointing of a man, you should seek the anointing of God (which can take place in your prayer closet), and in no time, you will be doing good worksyou will find yourself only engaged in activities initiated by God!

There is so much to say about repentance from dead works but the critical and needful issues are:
1. Realize that anything that you are doing now, that God has not asked you to do, is dead worksthat church you planted without Gods authorization; that church you are attending that God did not direct you to; that gift you gave to the pastor to draw attention to yourself; that dress you wore so that heads can turn; and many more, are dead works.
2. Having realized that you are engaging in dead works, you must now go to God in a prayer of repentance, telling Him that you no longer want to engage in dead works, but good works.
3. In order to begin to do good works, you must of necessity be renewed in your mind by imbibing and living by the word of God; you need to pray without ceasing; and you must be anointed by God with the Holy Ghost and with power. Praying without ceasing simply means that you need to be in constant conversation with God, our heavenly Father, as to whether or not you should take up that job offer or bid for that big contract; which church you should be attending; where to travel to for your next vacation which really may be a missionary journey of a few weeks, and so on. Friend, our many travels for our own pleasure must cease; inventing programmes that will pull crowds must ceasethe early church grew, as the Lord added to their numbers those who were being saved (Acts 2:47); it was not by programmes! Let us henceforth, preach the good news of the kingdom of God to sinners; not some get-rich-quick message! You are called to do good works; not to draw attention to yourself in any shape or formno life size photographs of yourself; no slogans like, the God of pastor so and soyou are not the one they should see, but Jesus, and He said, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: (Exodus 20:4).

Let us turn away from engaging in the things that will not count in heaven; rather, let us turn to God in prayer, seeking His face, to know His heart; not just to obtain things from His hands, for our own personal consumption, but most importantly, to do His will. Beloved, there are many who are daily walking into hell, and if indeed you have been saved from hell, it is absurd that you can be preoccupied with yourself. Evangelism is not a church department; it is the spreading of the good news of the kingdom of God by all who believe in Jesus Christ! Turn from your dead works and turn to God today; begin to do good works, by entering, through prayer, into the will of God!

Let us pray!