Goal: Help the student understand the nature of repentance and help him determine whether or not he has repented. If he has not repented, help him understand why he should repent.
Luke 9:23 & 13:3
Instructor’s Notes: Jesus makes it very clear that we must repent of sin or we will perish. People cannot live self-centered and sinful lives and be followers of Jesus Christ. Before one can be saved he must be willing to turn away from sin and submit to the authority of Jesus Christ. Someone who has repented still has sinful desires, but they daily choose to deny their desires and do the will of God instead.
- What is repentance? (A complete change of heart towards God and sin. A repentant heart hates and turns away from sin and it honors God and submits to His authority.)
- What areas of your life are offensive to God?
Instructor’s Notes: Since repentance is a determination in our hearts to stop rebelling against God, His commands and His ways, no one can truly have this change of heart without showing it in their actions. If someone says they have repented, but refuses to change sinful habits in their lives, their repentance is imaginary, not real.
- Has your heart turned from rebellion against God?
- What changes have you made in your life in order to follow through on repentance?
- If you have not repented, why not?
Matthew 5:29-30, Luke 14:33
Instructor’s Notes: In these verses Jesus is not telling us to actually cut off our hands or pluck out our eyes, He is illustrating how we should deal with temptation. When a person repents they have determined to live in obedience to God. There are many things in a person’s life that they will need to change, some of them will be hard to let go of even though they cause them to be tempted. They might have certain people, places or things that consistently lead them into sin. Jesus is saying that in order to leave sin, we are going to have to leave many things that cause us to sin, even though those things feel as precious to us as our right hand or our right eye. If we are going to walk with Christ we have to be willing to leave everything behind that keeps us from obedience.
- What are the primary temptations in your life?
- How can you avoid these temptations so that you can live in obedience to God?
Instructor’s Notes: Repentance does not earn us acceptance with God, only the sacrifice of Jesus Christ can do that, but we can’t enjoy God and His benefits without coming back to Him. In our rebellion we have left God and chosen our own way. When we repent, we turn away from sin and submit to God. If we don’t come to Him, we cannot fellowship with Him. If we, like the sinful son in this Bible passage, refuse to leave our rebellion and return home, we cannot enjoy fellowship with God or share in the benefits of living in His house. We cannot be reconciled to God unless we are willing to leave our life of sin and submit to Him.
- Why is repentance necessary in order to fellowship with God? (God will not compromise with evil. He will not meet us half-way between righteousness and sin. He is holy, and in order to fellowship with Him we must turn from sin and go towards holiness.)
Summary: We cannot remain in sin without remaining under God’s wrath; we must repent of our rebellion towards God. A person who decides to turn from sin will show it in their actions; if their heart turns from sin, their lives will change as well. The key to leaving sin is being willing to leave behind everything that tempts us to sin. Repentance doesn’t earn acceptance with God, but we cannot be reconciled with God unless we turn from sin.
Challenge for the student: If someone offered you a million dollars for one of your eyes you would probably not make the deal. And if they offered you ten million dollars for both of your eyes you would surely not make the deal. Your eyes are more precious to you than all the money in the world. Your soul is much more precious than your eyes. In fact your eyes are only valuable because your soul sees the world through them. What sin are you willing to give in exchange for your soul? There is no sin, habit or pleasure that is worth going to hell for. You must turn from your sin.
Read and discuss Mark 8:36-37