Intro: What does it mean to have a repentant heart? In order to understand a biblical definition of repentance, we must be willing to first see it as a gift from God to bring humanity into a place of divine peace and wholeness. Repentance has to do with turning away from sin and evil and returning to God and His goodness for salvation. Although this is truly a great definition all by itself, I think it is also important to recognize the state or position of the heart for genuine repentance since our heart is connected to what we treasure (Mat 6:21).
To have a repentant or a contrite heart is to be broken-hearted and grieving about our sin against God (Acts 2:37). We must acknowledge we have allowed sin to interrupt our personal relationship with the glorious One who died for us to have victory over sin. If we have a repentant heart, we find ourselves being filled with a greater desire to fight against the temptation to sin in order to abide uninterrupted in the glorious goodness of God found in Christ! It is in the glory of God’s presence we experience His miraculous power and grace for living. When our greatest desire is to dwell with the glorious One [our Treasure], sin loses its power.
In the Book of Acts, Peter proclaims to the crowd that the crucified Jesus—through his life, death, and resurrection—is the promised Messiah foretold in the Old Testament. Peter goes on to tell the people that the apostles—all chosen by Christ himself—are eyewitnesses to the miracles of Jesus and repentance from sin is the way to know this God of all miracles. Peter tells the crowd having a repentant heart and a willingness to follow Christ away from sin would bring them the greatest miracle of all—salvation life in the Spirit and fellowship with God and His family. Three thousand repentant hearts responded to the truth spoken by Peter.
Acts 2:37-42 37 NLT Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”
38 Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” 40 Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!”
41 Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.
The Believers Form a Community
42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the gift of repentance you have provided. Stir within every one of your children a passionate desire for you as our Treasure. Please destroy the sin that tries to rob us. Fill us with the Holy Spirit and help us to love and care for one another. In Jesus’ name. Amen.