Repent, and then you rejoice.
MARCH 20, 2023
Repent, and then you rejoice. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Being adopted into the family of God is not about doing more or trying harder. It’s about being welcomed by God because of his radical grace, free from the penalties of sin and never alone in your suffering. That grace is what Key Life is all about.
Thank you Matthew. Hope you guys had a great week-end, and I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’re just joining us, we have taken a break from our study in the book of Acts and we are looking at a book that I wrote and that came out recently called Laughter and Lament: The Radical Freedom of Joy and Sorrow. And I’m taking some time and I do that whenever a book comes out and it’s sometimes embarrassing. You know, I never look at the book after I write it, but this forces me to look at the book after I wrote it. And frankly, sometimes I blush and I think, I don’t believe I said that. Or I sure could have said that better or that was dumb, but at any rate, we do it anyway. And during these weeks, we’re looking at some of the themes in that book, Laughter and Lament. And if you’ve been with us recently, you know we’ve been talking about repentance, but not the repentance that some people think repentance is. Repentance isn’t change, you don’t have that in you. Repentance is changing your mind, from a Greek word. So, it means, knowing who you are, knowing who God is, knowing what you’ve done, and telling him about it. Sometimes with sorrow and sometimes not, but once you’ve done that, you’ve put the ball in his court. And you have successfully repented, and we spent the last few days talking about repentance. I’m going to say another word about it and then we’re going to turn to a happier subject. Life is hard and then you laugh. But first, let’s pray. Father, we come into your presence, thankful for your word and the clarity of your revelation. Thank you for writing it down cause we would’ve gotten it wrong. Father, we praise you because you’re worthy of our praise and we worship you because you’re worthy of our worship. And you are the only one. Father, we remember where you found us and how dark it was. We remember the coming of the light and the love. We remember your promise of home. Father, we do worship you. You know everyone who’s listening to this broadcast, the hard and the soft, the laughter and the tears, and we praise you also because you’re the sovereign Ruler, Creator, and Sustainer of everything, and you’re always good. And Father, as always, we pray for the one who teaches. Forgive him his sins cause there are many. We would see Jesus and Him only. And we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. Okay, let’s say just one other word and wrap up all this talk about repentance. Do you know the source of true joy and freedom? It’s surprising because it’s repentance before a God who should have disciplined, but instead he hugged you. It’s walking into a dark room and then someone turns on the lights of a Christmas tree. It’s expecting to be condemned, but finding that you’re loved. It’s lamenting who you are and then realizing who you really are, the child of your Father, the King. It’s no longer having anything to prove or protect. It’s no longer having to be right or to pretend to be good. The most powerful and perhaps scariest prayer we can pray is.
Search me, O God, and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts, and see if there be any grievous way in me.
That’s Psalm 139. That’s also a prayer that when prayed by a Christian is always answered, God says, child, this will hurt some, but don’t leave until you get loved. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or where you are, what you’ve done or what you’re doing, who you’ve hurt and who you still hurt. And the sins you’ve committed are the ones you’re still committing. Repentance and lament are an order and worth it cause of the freedom and the laughter that is a part of it. There is one other thing that I need to say before we turn to a lighter subject. I’ve said that repentance and lament aren’t changed, but God’s methodology to change us, if that’s what he wants to do. Sometimes he changes us quickly and other times not so much. It’s why a Christian doesn’t just repent, but we rather live a life of repentance. But it is how we get better, it’s because we know that if we don’t get better, he will still love us. There’s no place where this change is more apparent than our relationships and judgments of others. In John 1:7, the text says.
But if we walk
that’s I John, not John. I’m an old guy doing the best he can. In I John 1:7, the text says.
But if we walk in the light,
lament and repentance
he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
In the Lord’s prayer. Jesus taught us not to only pray. Forgive us our debts. He said, as we forgive our debtors. Self-righteousness will kill us. How freeing it would be if we didn’t have to be anybody’s judge or mother because God is our judge and our Father. How different it would be if our political and relational vitriol, if we cut slack for them because so much slack has been cut for us. I have a dear pastor friend whose father, also a pastor, had committed a horrible moral sin. My friend refused to allow his children to have anything to do with his father. In fact, the relationship between the father and son wasn’t just bad, it was nonexistent. Then my friend fell in the same way his father had fallen years before. My friend’s father called and said to my friend, can I help you move, which was required by the sin of my friend. Dad, I would like that, my friend said to his father. So, the father rented a truck and they loaded it up with the family belongings and proceeded to drive to the new house in another state. On the way, they stopped at a light, looked at each other, began to weep, and then fell into each other’s arms. The father said to his son, now, now maybe we can talk. Well, maybe we can, it’s part of the fruit of repentance. We live in a canceled culture where there’s no forgiveness, and I think that we’re sitting on top of an awakening because that canceled culture will run out of enemies. They eat themselves, eventually they die. And then like a drunk who has a choice before him or her, it’s either die or repent. And repentance opens the door into relationship. And that’s how we learn to love each other. All right, enough on repentance. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of talking about it. Let’s talk about something that’s a little bit better. We’ve seen that life is hard and then you die. And that life is hard and then you repent. And life is hard and you get angry. But now, life is hard and then you laugh, Proverbs 17:22.
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
And I’ve got a lawyer friend in malpractice who was reading the Bible for the first time and he said to me, Steve, God isn’t exactly what I thought he was. He’s killing everybody off, nations and children and cattle and everything. And then my lawyer friend stopped and said, now don’t get me wrong, he’s my kind of guy. Well, God is our kind of guy. And he’s a God of laughter. And the laughter is his gift to his people. You think about that. Amen.
And that was Steve Brown, of course, getting us back into our exploration of the Biblical themes that inspired his latest book Laughter and Lament. Tomorrow we’ll explore the idea that God is a lot different than we’ve been told. You won’t wanna miss that, so you know, we’ll save a seat for you. Well, you just heard me mention it, Steve’s new book Laughter and Lament. But maybe, maybe you don’t have a copy yet. Hey, and you know what? That’s fine. In fact, that’s why I think you’ll be interested in our new Laughter and Lament booklet. It features several excerpts from the book. Could we just send that to you, for free? Just call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that booklet. Or to mail your request, just go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses for the U.S. and Canada. Just ask for your free copy of the Laughter and Lament booklet. Finally, would you consider partnering in the work of Key Life through your giving? Giving could not be easier. Just charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or simply text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Text that to 28950 to give safely and securely. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. Both of those organizations assure financial accountability. And as always, Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.