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Repentance from Dead Works (37)

Let us begin today, by reminding ourselves of the first principles of the doctrine of Christ as enumerated in Hebrews 6:1-3; Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. The six foundational principles enumerated in these verses, are: repentance from dead works; faith toward God; the doctrine of baptisms; the doctrine of the laying on of hands; the doctrine of resurrection of the dead; and the doctrine of eternal judgment. It is clear from these verses that we shall not be able to move on to perfection as we ought, until we have imbibed, and are living by these foundational principles; and this is our objective: to ingrain the foundational principles in you, and then move on to perfection, and this we will do if God permits!

So far, we have been looking at the first of the foundational principles; Repentance from Dead Works, and will proceed to study the second principle of Faith toward God. But before leaving the subject of repentance from dead works, let us be briefly reminded of what its about.

Repentance from dead works is what happens when a person has realized that he had been engaging in dead works, though he is born again, and then, having been thus convinced and convicted by the Holy Spirit, he turns to God in repentance, asking for forgiveness and the crucifying of the fleshfor it is the flesh that makes a born again person to engage in dead works. After such a person has been crucified in his flesh through the cross of Jesus Christ, he must then begin to yield to the leading and direction of the Holy Spirit, Who was given to him at the new birth, to transform him into the image of Christ. The essence of this transformation is so that we can live as Christ lived while He was here on earthpleasing His Father by doing His Fathers will, regardless of what it cost Him to accomplish the doing of His Fathers will. Pleasing the Father, is what we call good works, and it is the utmost that God, the Father, expects of every born again child of His. To be able to please our heavenly Father, we are anointed by the Father with the Holy Spirit and power, and through our constant communion with the Father in prayer, we come to know what the Father will have us do, and as long as we are yielded to the Holy Spirit, we will do good works. It is important to note that without our yielding to the Holy Spirit, we will not be able to do good works, but will rather, engage in dead works! For instance, you may, as the slang goes in modern society, be making money, but if God did not instruct you to make money, the making of money becomes dead works. If on the other hand, God enables you to make money, then the making of money is good works! Please know that God does not enable you to make money just so that you can become proud and a show-off. No! The bible says in 1 Timothy 6:17-19, Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. To get a better understanding of what is being said in these verses, let us read from three other translations of the bible.
The Easy-to-Read translation states, Give this command to those who are rich with the things of this world. Tell them not to be proud. Tell them to hope in God, not their money. Money cannot be trusted, but God takes care of us richly. He gives us everything to enjoy. Tell those who are rich to do good--to be rich in good works. And tell them they should be happy to give and ready to share. By doing this, they will be saving up a treasure for themselves. And that treasure will be a strong foundation on which their future life will be built. They will be able to have the life that is true life.
The Philip New Testament states, Tell those who are rich in this present world not to be contemptuous of others, and not to rest the weight of their confidence on the transitory power of wealth but on the living God, who generously gives us everything for our enjoyment. Tell them to do good, to be rich in kindly actions, to be ready to give to others and to sympathise with those in distress. Their security should be invested in the life to come so that they may be sure of holding a share in the life which is permanent.; and,
The New Living Translation states, Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.

From the principal King James Version and these translations of the bible from which we have read, it is clear that the essence of wealth in the hands of the children of God is so that they can do good works, with the wealth; and in so doing, store up treasures for themselves in heaven for all eternity. May we make some further observations here concerning the matter of money or wealth as it concerns those who are born again?
1. Money or wealth is a gift from God.
2. It is not to be the basis for your confidenceyour confidence should be in God; not in your money or wealth.
3. It is to be used to do good works. By good works, we mean that money is meant to be shared or distributed to those who are in need, as God will lead or direct you.
4. When money or wealth is used to do good works as instructed by God, the child of God who has complied, will be storing up for himself a guaranteed habitation in heaven in eternity with God.

You will observe that we were very clear about Gods purpose for wealth for His children. What this means is that if you are not a child of God, what we have said here does not apply to you. Also, if you say that you are born again, and find it difficult to accept these precepts as laid out in the word of God, it is either you are not really born again, or you are yet to crucify the flesh. Either way, all that you have been doing with money, is contrary to the will of God, and are therefore dead works. If the case is such that you are yet to crucify the flesh, then you need to go to God in prayer right now, and ask Him to crucify the nature of sin, carnality, and worldliness in you. If on the other hand, the issue is that you are not really born again, then you need to invite Jesus Christ into your heart and surrender your life to Him, in order to be genuinely born again; and this is why: The one need of all men, regardless of who and where they are in society, is salvation from the stranglehold of sin. Sin is not a respecter of personsit is in all men, be they politicianslocal, regional, national, or international, policemen or policewomen, Justices of the Supreme Court, businessmen or businesswomen, Nobel laureates, drivers, gatemen, street sweepers, indeed everyone. It is sin in man that makes a man or woman to act selfishly, wickedly, cruelly, and to do evil things. As long as sin is in a man, he or she will not be able to do good, not to talk of doing good works. Some people erroneously think that by merely giving alms to the poor, they will be accepted by God. Others think that by sweeping and arranging the church, they are doing good works. For this reason, it is imperative that we address the matter of repentance from sin, as distinct from repentance from dead works. Repentance from dead works is for those who have already repented of sin, but who are still doing things their own way rather than submit totally to the will of God, after realizing that they have been engaging in dead works. Repentance from sin on the other hand, is what happens when a man or woman comes to the realization that he or she is a sinner, and desires to be delivered from the stranglehold of sin, and, the evil and eternal consequences of sin. Please note that you are a sinner, first and foremost, because you were born into sin; and secondarily, because, being born a sinner, you cannot live any other way, but to sin. Therefore, it does not matter how much you try to be good, you will just find yourself doing bad and evil things. Not only will you do evil things, you will find that you think about doing evil things, and at the first opportunity, you will implement them. Before God, both evil thoughts and evil actions are sin! Having come to the realization that you are indeed a sinner, the next thought naturally should be, How do I get out of a life of sin? How can I be delivered from the far-reaching consequences of my sins? and, How do I ensure that I dont return to a sinful lifestyle? The answer to these questions, is where Jesus Christ comes in. You may have heard the slogan or seen car stickers or signs with the inscription Jesus is the answer! It is to these questions that He is the answer! Jesus did not come to be a religious leader or the founder of a new religion. No! The Lord Jesus came to pay the price for the sins of mankind in a manner that is acceptable to God. You see our sins deserve punishment, and the punishment is deathnot just a temporary death, but eternal death in hell. Eternal death really means to be separated from God for ever. A poor and understated comparison will be to be locked up in a Nigerian police cell for the rest of your life with some hardened criminals. In hell, Satan is the leader of the criminals, and they are not a pretty bunchthey are evil, wicked, and show no mercy. It is what they are, which is why they are called demons! So, to make man avoid going to hell, the punishment for sin had to be borne on behalf of man, by someone who is without sin (someone who does not deserve to die the death of a sinner). It is like a mother accepting to be flogged instead of her child! This is what Jesus did when He, Who was born without sinand this is the essence of Him being born of a virgin birthin obedience, allowed Himself, Who committed no sin, to die the death of sinners, as payment or punishment for the sins of all of mankind. In dying on the cross willingly, Jesus Christ did the will of the Father, and was therefore accepted by God, so that sin and its consequence was atoned for by the Lord Jesus. Having atoned for sin on behalf of all of mankind, it is now left for a person to appropriate Jesus gift of salvation from sin for himeslf. As many as are willing to appropriate the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and the gift of salvation which it brings, they are assured of salvation from sin here on earth, and in eternity, everlasting life. This message of salvation is the good news! Upon this message hangs the faith of man in God. John 3:16 tells us, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. If you; that is, whosoever you may be, believe that Jesus, the Son of God, came and paid the penalty for your sin, and you renounce your sins and ask for Gods forgiveness, then, you will be saved, and the Spirit of God given to you. Only then can you begin to do good works.

Next week, we shall commence our study on Faith toward God, but at this time, may we apologize to you, if you have been misled into believing that by doing some good or great deed you will be saved. It is only by accepting the offer of salvation which Jesus has already won on the cross at Calvary that you are savedsalvation is free, and it is for all, especially you, regardless of the terrible things you have done. And after you have received Gods salvation, you must immediately start to live as God wants you to live. Would you like to receive Gods salvation right now?

Let us pray!