The Repentant Heart

By: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne

Publish date: 01/12/2020

Foundations of My Faith—The Repentant Heart

Foundation Scripture:

So repent (change your mind and purpose); turn around and return [to God], that your sins may be erased (blotted out, wiped clean), that times of refreshing (of recovering from the effects of heat, of reviving with fresh air) may come from the presence of the Lord. Acts 3:19 AMPC

1. Repentance.
a. Repentance is a change of mind (and heart) and purpose.
b. It is deep sorrow, compunction, or contrition for a past sin or wrongdoing.
c. The only way to repent is to have true godly sorrow.
d. 2 Corinthians 7:10 NKJV — For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 
e. There is a difference between regret and repentance.
f. Some people are sorry for being caught in the act of sin but not for the sin, itself.
g. Sin is not a weakness, an unfortunate happening, or a mistake—it is a transgression of divine law; a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle; any reprehensible or regrettable action, behavior, or lapse.
h. Sin is a personal guilt—each person will give an account to God for his/her own sin.
i. Sins of the heart (attitude and thoughts) also require repentance. 
j. Repentance through the grace of God. 
k. Acts 11:18b NKJV — Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.
l. 2 Timothy 2:25b NKJV — …if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth.

2. Repentance for the Sinner.
a. By the preaching of the Gospel.
b. Acts 2:37-38 KJV — Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
c. Through the goodness of God.
d. Romans 2:4 AMPC — Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)?
e. God’s mercy is extended to ALL.
f. 2 Peter 3:9 AMPC — The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people’s conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance.  
g. You repent by believing God’s Word. 
h. Jonah 3:5 AMPC — So the people of Nineveh believed in God and proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth [in penitent mourning], from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

3. Repentance for the Believer.
a. Through God’s reproof and chastisement.    
b. Revelation 3:19 AMPC — Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude].
Hebrews 12:9-11 NKJV — Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
d. Turn to God, acknowledge your sin, confess your sin with godly sorrow, and ask the Lord to forgive you. 
e. 1 John 1:9 KJV — If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
f. The loving reproof of a brother.
g. 2 Timothy 2:24-26 NKJV — And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

4. Don’t Take God’s Mercy for Granted.
a. Some things can never be changed, no matter how sorry you are afterwards.
b. Esau sold his birthright for a single meal and it could never be restored to him.
c. Hebrews 12:16-17 AMPC — For you understand that later on, when he wanted [to regain title to] his inheritance of the blessing, he was rejected (disqualified and set aside), for he could find no opportunity to repair by repentance [what he had done, no chance to recall the choice he had made], although he sought for it carefully with [bitter] tears.

5. Three Fruits of Repentance.
a. Acknowledgement and confession of sin.
b. Humility—asking God for mercy.
c. Luke 18:13 AMPC — But the tax collector, [merely] standing at a distance, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but kept striking his breast, saying, O God, be favorable (be gracious, be merciful) to me, the especially wicked sinner that I am! 
d. Very, very important—making restitution (or apologizing).
e. Luke 19:8 AMPC — So then Zacchaeus stood up and solemnly declared to the Lord, See, Lord, the half of my goods I [now] give [by way of restoration] to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone out of anything, I [now] restore four times as much. 

6. Staying in Right-Standing with God.
a. Maintain a repentant heart toward Him.
b. When you sin, confess immediately and make it right. 
c. Never be self-righteous. 
d. Keep your heart humble and thankful and have a teachable attitude.
e. Check your own temperature on a daily basis. 
f. Do not associate with, or allow yourself to be influenced by ungodly people. 
g. Allow the Word of God to be your guide and the peace of God to reign in your heart.