/
/
/
/
Back to Sermon Index Page
Back to Classic Sermon Index/
Back to Index Page
Many of you have reached this page through a Search Engine.
Please check out our Index page here to find out about
all our content.  We invite you to visit this site again soon!

The Monster Sees Himself In the Mirror
A Halloween Message on Repentance

by Robert L. Cobb
-Administrator, News For Christians Dot Com

America loves a holiday.  Today, we celebrate holidays with more enthusiasm than ever before.  And probably no holiday has gained in popularity in the last 20 years than Halloween.  Once just a children's night out in costume, Halloween has become a million dollar industry to business, and a day of numerous opportunities for entertainment. 

Let me note in passing here that, as Christians, we do not condone the concept of Halloween.  It began, and remains, a pagan holiday.  The ancient catholic holiday of All Saints Day was November 1st.  It was the day designated for the long-dead "saints" of the Catholic church to be praised and venerated.  If the religious crowd was going to have a day for their dead saints, the pagans of the day crafted for themselves a holiday.  The night before All Saints Day, All Hallows Eve (or Halloween) would be the time for ghosts, ghouls, and witches to be praised and venerated. 

And thus the tradition continues to this day.  TV networks run horror flicks; offices have their own Halloween parties and workers even dress in costume for their work day; spook houses and haunted trails dot the roadside where folks pay $5 to be frightened by costumed creatures. 

But with all the "frightening fun" of the day, a major thought has been lost.  Humankind is the author of real-life horror and hatred.  While we are celebrating the evil of a make-believe world, many men and women are reveling in real-life terror and evil.  What can we possibly say to address this evil?  Does the Bible have an answer?  What is God's message to this world in the midst of this yearly celebration of evil? 
 

And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:  Acts 17:32

Repentance is a forgotten doctrine in pulpits today.  Even in Bible-believing churches the concept of repentance is not explained fully and taught completely.  John the Baptist preached repentance.  More importantly, Jesus Christ preached repentance.  The early church fathers preached repentance.  The preachers in the Church's golden age preached repentance: Spurgeon, Finney, Whitefield, Edwards, etc.  The preachers of fundamentalism preached repentance: John Rice, George Truitt, Oliver Greene,. Harold Sightler, etc. 

I propose that we examine the doctrine of repentance in it's entirety.  What is it?  What does it mean to us?  How do we repent?  Must we repent to be saved? 

I.   EXPRESSING REPENTANCE

Please allow me to use a halloween illustration to begin our study of repentance.  In the original movie from the 1930's, Frankenstein, a scene played out that might shed some light on our subject.  We all know the story of Frankenstein's monster, originally a novel by Mary Shelley.  The monster has been on the loose for a while and the townspeople have gathered as a mob to try to destroy him.  The poor monster cannot understand why he is the object of their fear and ridicule.  As he flees from them, he comes to a small cabin and goes inside.  He remembers this house as a place of peace and friendship.  Once inside, he sees his reflection in a mirror.  He is at first frightened, then repelled, and lastly horrified that his image belongs to him.  For the first time, the monster has seen himself in the mirror. 

His horror turns to anger and he shatters the mirror in a rage.  What do the evil men and women of our age need to do?  Repent!  To repent, you must first see yourself as God sees you --as the Bible describes you.  At the moment of recognition, the monster rebels against what he sees.  But before that, he is brought face to face with himself. 

Let me further illustrate with a Bible story.  Remember King David?  He sent for Bathsheba and lay with her even though she was a married women.  She became pregnant from the tryst, and now David had a problem.  After trying numerous things to cover his sin, including murdering Bathsheba's husband, David thought is secret was safe.  He had married the now widowed Bathsheba and he would be the baby's father.  But he had not foreseen the prophet of God, who visited him with a parable of how a family's little pet lamb was stolen by a rich man who had many lambs of his own. David was enraged. 
 

...As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:  And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity. 
And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man..... Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword...             2 Samuel 12:5, 7, 9

David had seen his sin in the mirror of the prophets words!  The rest of the passage in addition to Psalm 51 tells us that David did indeed repent of his evil. 

Perhaps the best illustration of repentance in the Bible is a parable Jesus gave on the subject. 
 

28 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.
29  He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.
30  And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
31  Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
32  For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.   Matthew 21:28-32

With these illustrations in mind, let us proceed to examine the doctrine of repentance in depth. 

II.  EXPLAINING REPENTANCE

In any message on repentance, the question of God's repentance arises.  In Genesis, the Bible says, "And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart."  (Gen. 6:6)  The word used here means "to grieve, to regret, to be sorry."  The New Testament word that we translate "repent" means "upon reflection, to change the mind, the heart and purpose for good."  (W.E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of NT Words, pg. 280)  There is much more to repentance in the New Testament than just being sorry.  Let us continue. 

1.  Repentance is a Collision of Perception with Truth.
Modern humankind thinks its okay.  They judge themselves by others like themselves and come away feeling good.  Society approves of their thoughts, desires, and deeds.  They are not going to be browbeaten by a gospel preacher or Christian witness and told that they are wicked and evil according to God's Word.  God spoke to Israel through the prophet Malachi: Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?  Mal. 3:7  The Jews could not understand God's judgments because of their wrong perceptions about themselves and God.  The first step of repentance is a warring of our own perceptions with the truth of God.  In our movie illustration, the monster thought of himself as just like everyone else until he saw himself in the mirror. 

2.  Repentance is a Confusion of Old Thinking With New Doubts
When faced with new information, a person begins to assimilate and process it in his mind.  It is during this time that God begins the convicting process.  Sometimes we witness to others and see no fruit, but if we give out the truth of God, it will collide with the old thinking.  Rest assured, God will do His work in the mind and heart of man. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. (Hag. 1:7)  I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Luke 5:32) 

3.  Repentance is a Consciousness of Sin Against God.
The conviction of God brings consciousness of sin.  David said in Psalm 51:3,   For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.   As a lost 17 year old young man, I became under the conviction of God.  I began to question everything I had believed up to that point.  Politically, I leaned to the liberal side.  As a student, I believed in evolution and all humanistic teachings.  Religiously, I believed in the universal good of man.  But all those beliefs faded into the background when God began to show me my sin.  I had never been conscious of it in such a way before.  1 John 3:20,  For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

4.  Repentance is a Courage to Agree with God and Disagree with the World
Now comes the hard part.  It's one thing to hear new teaching and question old beliefs.  Its quite another to agree with God against yourself and take His side. 
 

4  Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. 
Psalm 51:4

40  If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; 
41  And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: 
42  Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.   Lev. 26: 40-42

6  Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
7  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.   Isaiah 55:6-7

Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.  Job 42:6 

5.  Repentance is a Continuation in the New Walk Supernaturally.
Lastly, repentance is continuing to walk in the truth after the initial revelation.  Many people make "changes" in their lives, or "turn over a new leaf" like a new year's resolution or a new diet fad.  Real repentance is lasting.  Remember the parable of the two sons as seen above.  The second son actually went to the vineyard to work.  The final stage to repentance is putting feet to what you have repented of.  You do not do it in your own effort, for repentance is such a life altering process, the natural result is to have a positive effect on your daily walk. 
 

2 Cor. 7:9-10  Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.   For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

III.  EXPERIENCING REPENTANCE

We have studied the doctrine of repentance.  Now comes the question:  Have you experienced repentance in your own heart and life?  To help us determine our state, let us look at one last scripture.  It is the story of the Prodigal Son.  He rebelled against his father, demanding to be given his inheritance at once.  He left his home, his family, and his heritage and moved to a "far country."  There he wasted away his fortune on wine, women, and song and come to a place of utter poverty.  The monster then saw himself in the mirror. 

1.  A Private Knowledge
Luke 15:17 says And when he came to himself...   This tells us that repentance is a personal thing between yourself and God.  We must always remember that repentance is a gift from God.  The Bible tells us that God grants us repentance. 
 

2 Tim.  2:25  In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
Acts 11:18  When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

2.  A Personal Inventory
The person under the conviction of the Holy Spirit undergoes a personal battle in the mind.  It is a back-and-forth war between good and evil.  The prodigal thought within himself, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger. I will arise and go to my father...  He had come to a place of sorrow and want.  Sadly, that is the state most of us must come to before we repent. 

3.  A Public Confession
Lastly, the prodigal comes home to his father and announces, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.    He publicly confesses the change that has come to his heart.  If you have sincerely repented, you cannot hide it.  It will be revealed by your speech, your decision making, your walk. 

Conclusion: My friend, repentance is the need of the age.  Repentance is needed by lost people and disobedient Christians alike.  It is demanded by God for the sinners salvation and the saints happiness.  Are you one who sees yourself as "a good person."  Or have you seen yourself in the mirror of God's Word as a sinful monster?   For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing:  (Rom. 7:18)    And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.  (Mark 10:18)  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one... there is none that doeth good, no, not one.  (Rom. 3:10,12) 
 

Back to Index Page
.

.