Repentance: The Missing Response


The Missing Response!

(Study Outline)


(1) Repentance has been called the hardest command in the Bible to obey.

If one is willing to repent (in true faith), other things will fall into place!

It cuts across the flesh, the self, the ego-centricity, the self-direction.

(a) It calls us to surrender the will to God (Acts 17:30).

(b) It calls us to deny ourselves (Mark 8:34).

(c) It calls us to crucify our old self (Rom. 6:6; cf. Gal. 6:14).

(d) It calls us to make God and Christ the center of our life (Col. 1:18).

(e) It calls us to bow the knee to the absolute sovereignty of God and His Word (Acts 5:29).

(2) How important is repentance?

“UNLESS one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).

“UNLESS you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3,5).

Repentance is just as essential as the new birth is!

(3) How is this command compromised and neglected in our day?

(a) The teaching of easy-believism (a little “sinner’s prayer”).

(b) Some dispensationalists deny the need to repent of sin. (Some say for Jews only!)

(c) Some simply neglect to emphasize.

(d) Some say that sin should not be the focus of our preaching to the lost.

(e) Even some who preach repentance fail to deal with any specifics (specific sins needing repentance).


(1) What is repentance? It is a change of mind or heart or purpose.

Noun: metanoia

Verb: metanoeo

(2) What is involved in this change of mind and heart?

(a) Repent of wicked ways (Acts 3:19,26).

(b) Repent of wrongful thoughts (Acts 8:22).

(c) Repent of deeds that lead to death (Heb. 6:1).

(3) How does your will enter into repentance?

(a) Prodigal’s will caused him to go to the Father (Luke 15:18).

(b) The son regretted and did something (Matt. 21:29).

(4) What are some things that stimulate or motivate one to repent?

(a) The Kindness of God (Rom. 2:4).

(b) A sorrow that one has sinned (2 Cor. 7:9-10).

(c) A fear of God’s coming judgment (Acts 17:30-31).

(d) God’s own working through the gospel (Acts 11:18; 5:31; 2 Tim. 2:25).

(5) Is repentance negative or positive?

(a) Positive: repent toward God (turning to God).

(b) Negative: repent of sins (turning from sin).

See: 1 Thess. 1:9-10; 1 Peter 2:24; Acts 14:15; 26:18,20; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Ezekiel 33:14-16.

These verses show that we must turn from something (sin, idols, self, etc.) and turn to something (righteousness) or someone (God).

(6) Notice some of the false “gods” that we must renounce and turn from:

(a) Bodies (Rom 1:24-25).

(b) Sex (Rom. 1:24-25).

(c) Money (Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13-14; 2 Tim. 3:2).

(d) Material things (Col. 3:5; Eph. 5:5).

(e) Earthly things (Phil. 3:19).

(f) Appetite/stomach (Phil. 3:19; Rom. 16:18; Luke 12:19; 1 Cor. 15:32; Matt. 6:31-32).

(g) Family (Matt. 10:37; Luke 14:26).

(h) Strength, military might (or business) (Hab. 1:11,16; Psa. 20:7).

(i) Pleasure (2 Tim. 3:4).

(j) Self (Luke 12:21; Mark 8:34).

(7) Repentance means that we actually FORSAKE our sins:

Isa. 55:6-7; Prov. 28:13; Isa. 1:16-18; Jonah 3:4,5,8-10

(a) This repentance can be COSTLY! (Can you think of examples?)

(1) Levi (Luke 5:27-28)–he lost his occupation.

(2) Zaccheus (Luke 19:8-10)–he gave away money.

(3) Simon (Acts 8:9-13)–may have given away popularity.

(4) Rich man (Mark 10:21; cf. vv. 17-25)–had to give up his property and possessions.

(5) Any Jew who confessed Christ (John 12:42-43)–security in the synagogue.

(6) Anyone who must be celibate (Matt. 19:12)–perpetual singlehood.

(7) Any Christian (Acts 9:15-16 with 2 Tim. 3:12)–persecution and suffering.

(b) Any person today must be willing to turn away from all wrong and this can be costly sometimes (with the young people I formerly knew–ones unattached–there was not as great a sacrifice):

(1) Man living in fornication–must leave her.

  • 1 Cor. 6:9-10
  • Samaritan woman–John 4:17-18,39,41

(2) Adulterous relationship

  • 1 Cor. 6:9-10
  • (see Ezra 9-10)

(3) Wealthy person and materialism

  • Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:5–covetousness is idolatry
  • 1 Tim. 6:9-10,17-19

Must give away or be generous

(4) Employment

  • Craftsmen at Ephesus–Acts 19:24-25,27
  • Occult workers–Acts 19:18-19
  • Disciples left all–Matt. 4:18-22
  • Someone with high income and enjoyable profession
  • Consider: public school teacher, entertainment, defense industry or military man

(5) Family

  • Luke 12:51-53
  • Mark 13
  • Matt. 10:34-37
  • Husband or wife will not tolerate
  • Mother or father will not accept

(6) Education

  • This may be a hindrance to true spirituality.
  • It may lead one into manifold temptations.
  • But without it, one may be hindered in finding work.
  • Col. 2:8

(7) Hobbies and pastimes

  • Sports, games, amusements, television, music
  • Toys (occult, military, violence, monsters, etc.)
  • Foolish computer games, etc.

(8) Religion

  • Many friends developed in a religion
  • Much money invested in a religion
  • Humiliation in admission of wrong.

(9) Associations

  • Masons, Eastern Star, Odd Fellows, Rainbow Girls, Demolay
  • Labor unions

(c) Results of repentance:

(1) Restitution

(2) Financial hardships

(3) Material sacrifice

(4) Rejection of family and friends

(5) Loss of security

(6) Loss of tranquillity

(7) Loss of excitement and “fun”

(8) Repentance means that we actually have a changed life, a change of conduct:

Not only must we REGRET our sins and RESOLVE to turn from them, we must also actually REFORM–a practical change of conduct and life, a bearing of fruit.

(a) Good deeds (Acts 26:20; cf. Rev. 2:5).

(b) Good fruit (Matt. 3:8; Luke 3:8).

(c) Fellowship with other believers (Acts 2:42-47).

‘Tis not enough to say

  • I’m sorry and repent
  • And then go on from day to day
  • Just as we always went.
  • Repentance is to leave
  • The sins we loved before,
  • And show that we in earnest grieve,
  • By doing them no more.

(9) How does repentance relate to the two greatest commands in the Bible?

Matt. 22:36-40; Mark 12:28-34; Luke 10:25-37.

(a) Love of God. Instead of loving self and pleasure (2 Tim. 3:2,4), we begin to love God with all of our beings.

(b) Love of others. Instead of loving ourselves, we begin to love others as we already do love ourselves.

We must have a genuine care that God is foremost in our life and must have a genuine concern for the welfare of others–especially other believers (Gal. 6:9-10).

(10) Consider how repentance relates to these aspects of your own life:

  • Speech
  • Thoughts
  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Brothers and sisters
  • Extended family
  • Friends
  • Neighbors
  • Fellow-believers
  • Occupation or job
  • House
  • Car
  • Money
  • Denominationalism
  • Support of false teachers
  • False teachings
  • False gospels
  • Sexual activities
  • Amusements and recreation
  • Appearance and clothing
  • Education
  • Reading materials
  • Music
  • Sports
  • Television
  • Use of time
  • Failure to pray to God
  • Failure to read and study His Word
  • Failure to meet with the saints
  • Omission of positive commands: Baptism, the Lord’s supper, singing, etc.
  • Occultism, demonism
  • Negative Attitudes: Anger, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness
  • Positive Attitudes: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
  • Failure to help and build up people
  • Failure to teach and train your children
  • Various sensual sins: Smoking, drinking, drugs, overeating, love of sleep,
  • Junk foods, non-nutritious foods, lack of cleanliness
  • Sex sins: Fornication, adultery, homosexuality, sodomy, unnatural sex in marriage, masturbation, pornography, molestation, etc.
  • Adultery within a legitimate marriage, or adultery after a wrongful divorce
  • Husband’s failure to love and care for his wife
  • Wife’s failure to care for and be submissive toward her husband

(a) Thoughtfully consider and ponder how all of these relate to you personally.

(b) Ask yourself: Did I truly repent of such things at the point of my baptism?

(c) Ask yourself: Since coming to Jesus, have I fallen into various

compromises in which I need to repent anew for God’s forgiveness? (cf. Acts 8:21-23)

(11) Does emotion have anything to do with repentance?

  • Matt. 26:75–Peter “went out and wept bitterly.”
  • 2 Cor. 7:11
  • James 4:8-10
  • Jonah 3:5-10
  • Psalm 38:1-8

Why is sorrow and grief and the feelings of a heavy burden so seldom experienced today?

–Superficial view of sin

–Not realizing the eternal peril of sin

–Not understanding the results of sin

–Thinking of sin in an academic way and not a personal way

(12) How was true repentance expressed in Scripture? Through RESTITUTION.

(a) What is restitution? Making reparation or amends for wrong deeds done.

(b) Examples:

  • Steal a horse—-Pay the horse back to the owner.
  • Steal a car—Pay the car back to the owner.
  • Steal money from a bank—Pay the money back.
  • Burn down a house—Pay the owner for the house.
  • Marry another person’s spouse–Leave the adulterous union.

(c) Old Testament teaching:

  • Lev. 6:2-5
  • Lev. 5:15-16
  • Num. 5:6-7
  • Exod. 22:1-5,7,9
  • 2 Sam. 12:5-6

(d) General teaching:

  • Ezek. 33:14-16
  • Prov. 6:30-31

(e) Principle in the New Testament:

  • Luke 19:8-10 (Zaccheus)
  • Phile 18-19 (Onesimus)

Can you think of any examples in everyday life? In your life?

(13) Public Demonstration of Repentance:

(a) Acts 19:18-20–burning at Ephesus

(b) What would this destruction of evil items or items of temptation mean in our our day? How could this be carried out regarding:

  • Records
  • Tapes
  • Drugs
  • Drink
  • Tobacco
  • Literature
  • Televisions
  • Immodest clothing
  • Occult items

(c) Consider the destruction and burning in the Old Testament:

  • Deut. 7:5, 25-26; 12:3
  • Num. 33:51-52
  • Exod. 23:24; 34:13
  • 2 Kings 18:4 (2 Chron. 31:1)
  • Psalm 101:3

(d) I remember a 20-year-old girl who was baptized (just before I visited an assembly of Christians).

There was a box of things she had broken and thrown away: immodest clothes, records, makeup, etc.

(e) When I was 15- and then 16-year-old, I too threw out things as I came to understand that they were wrong. (I memorized 1 John 2:15-17 and this made a great impact on my resolve!)

(14) How important was repentance in New Testament conversions?

It was integral to them. There could be no genuine conversion to Christ apart from repentace!

  • Acts 2:38
  • Acts 3:19
  • Acts 5:31
  • Acts 11:18
  • Acts 17:30
  • Acts 20:21
  • Acts 26:20

(15) How was repentance related to baptism?

(a) Repentance was expressed in baptism (cf. Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3).

Compare Acts 2:38.

(b) Baptism was a commitment to a life of repentance (Matt. 3:11).

When one repented, he chose to be baptized. When one was baptized, one could assume that he had repented. Both repentance and baptism occurred at the same time. The significance of baptism was repentance. It was “a baptism of repentance.”

(16) What if there is a DEFECT in repentance (when one has claimed conversion)?

(a) He did not have genuine faith (since they go together–Acts 20:21).

(b) He was hypocritical or insincere at the time.

(c) His baptism was invalid (Acts 2:38). (Since a lack of faith or repentance invalidates the baptism which is intended to express both faith and repentance.)

(d) He remains unforgiven.

(e) He needs to go back and truly repent at this point and seek the forgiveness that God graciously provides (Heb. 6:1).

(17) Must one repent of ALL of his sins at the point of conversion?

(a) All sins of which he is aware (Acts 2:38; 3:19,26).

(b) We cannot know of everything at the point of conversion (consider those on the day of Pentecost).

(18)The IMPLICATIONS of repentance:

(a) We will live a repentant life (Matt. 3:11; cf. 1 John 1:9).

(b) We will turn from sin in the future when we realize that God is not pleased with something.

(c) We will be eager to learn about sin and how we may better please God.

(19) Repentance may begin long BEFORE salvation.

(a) The Ethiopian had to have had some repentance in order to become a Jewish proselyte–needing to repent of immorality and paganism (Acts 8:35-39).

(b) The Ephesians must have repented before they were baptized with John’s baptism (Acts 19:1-6).

(c) Cornelius must have repented extensively before Peter came to him–but he needed to repent even more (Acts 11:18).

(d) Paul must have lived a repentant life before Ananias came to him (Acts 22:16).

All of this means that you may have repented to some extent long ago–many years ago–and yet you may not be saved at this point. God wants a person to repent of all of his or her sins (as fully as he or she is aware) and express this repentance in baptism (Acts 2:38-41).

Note: We are living in unusual times when some religious people have partially repented (and assumed that this was their salvation experience), whereas they have not fully yielded their will to the Lord and submitted to God so as to be truly saved. Such people must go back to the basics and experience a true conversion experience (including authentic baptism) so that their repentance and faith may be truly Scriptural repentance and faith.

(20) What are the RESULTS of repentance? What spiritual blessings are associated with this vital response?

(a) Forgiveness (Luke 24:47, NASB; Acts 2:38; 5:31).

(b) Salvation (2 Cor. 7:10).

(c) Life (Acts 11:18).

(d) Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-39).

(e) Added to the body of believers (Acts 2:38,41-47).

(f) Sins wiped away (Acts 3:19).

(g) Joy to God and the angels (Luke 15:7,10).

In summary, all of God’s spiritual blessings are given when one genuinely repents of his sins and comes to God through Christ Jesus.

(21) What are the CONSEQUENCES of unrepentance (a failure to repent)?

(a) The Wrath of God (Rom. 2:5; cf. Matt. 3:7-8,10).

(b) The Judgment of God (Acts 17:30-31).

(c) One will Perish (2 Peter 3:9; Luke 13:3,5).

In summary, the unrepentant person will suffer all of the punishment that is due one who has rejected Christ Jesus the Lord.


Now is the time to settle this vital matter with the Lord. He calls upon each of us to repent of our sins and come to Him as the Savior through Christ Jesus. . . .

Richard Hollerman




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