Saturday, November 16, 2013


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Saul of Tarsus Repents
Repentance is a change of direction, giving up our plans and dedicating ourselves to God's plans. Paul continued to Damascus, but for an entirely different reason than he had planned. Now he was going to Damascus to learn how he could be saved and learn to follow Jesus. He had turned away from persecuting believers, followers of Jesus, and had become a follower. So he did as Jesus commanded, though blind, he went to Damascus and waited for Ananias to come and tell him what he must do. No, Paul was not saved on the road to Damascus. He repented and prayed, and followed the instructions of Jesus. 

Act 9:1  But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2  and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 
Act 9:3  Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4  And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
Act 9:5  And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6  But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do."
Act 9:7  The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 
Act 9:8  Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.  And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank. 
Act 9:10  Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am, Lord." 
Act 9:11  And the Lord said to him, "Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12  and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight."
Act 9:13  But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14  And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name." 
Act 9:15  But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16  For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name."
Act 9:17  So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." 
Act 9:18  And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 19  and taking food, he was strengthened. For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. 
Act 9:20  And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God." 21  And all who heard him were amazed and said, "Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?" 
Act 9:22  But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.  New English Standard (all other scriptures following also NES)

Later Paul explained to the Jews at Jerusalem what had happened, at Damascus. 

Act 22:12  "And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13  came to me, and standing by me said to me, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight.' And at that very hour I received my sight and saw him. 
Act 22:14  And he said, 'The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; 15  for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. 
Act 22:16  And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.' 

Yes, the penitent Paul who had been blinded and healed, who had been chosen by Jesus to be an Apostle to the Gentiles, was told to be immersed to receive cleansing of sin, thereby calling upon God for salvation. It was not the immersing in water that took away his sins, but it was the response of a penitent heart that took Jesus at His word, and was cleansed by the power of God.

But repentance is not a one time deal. Paul spent the following years often trusting his own provision as he traveled throughout Asia preaching the gospel. Paul confessed that one time he was let down over a wall to escape, because he did not trust God to protect him. It was after Paul was stoned and left for dead that he finally learned to trust in God more completely. 

2Co 1:8  For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9  Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 

So repentance is not just for sinners, but also for those who are following Jesus. We need to learn to trust and follow Jesus way beyond our comfort zone. We need to give up our own notions of what is needed, and listen to Jesus. Jonah learned this lesson the hard way. God called him to carry a call for repentance to a city that Jonah hated. So he ran from God's command. But you cannot hide from God. After three days and three nights in the belly of a great fish, Jonah was spit out upon dry land. After he rested a bit, God told him again to go and preach repentance to Nineveh. Jonah went this time, and Nineveh repented. They turned from their sinfulness and turned to God.

Yes, we need to repent and learn to trust God. His power is beyond our understanding. He can change the hearts of mankind. But He has given the message of repentance to us, clay vessels. We are not worthy of His trust, but when we repent of self and learn to trust Him, we will be amazed.

Yes, it was a message calling for repentance that went forth from Jerusalem on Pentecost following the crucifixion of Jesus, repentance and remission of sins beginning at Jerusalem. The message went out into the world, and where it was received, it brought life.

Luk 24:33  And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34  saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" 
Luk 24:35  Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. 36  As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, "Peace to you!"
Luk 24:37  But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 
Luk 24:38  And he said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39  See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have."
Luk 24:40  And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41  And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?"
Luk 24:42  They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43  and he took it and ate before them. 
Luk 24:44  Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." 45  Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46  and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47  and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 
Luk 24:48  You are witnesses of these things. 49  And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."
Luk 24:50  Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51  While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 
Luk 24:52  And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53  and were continually in the temple blessing God. 

The call to repentance went out from Jerusalem into all the world, the message that Yeshua, Son of David, Son of God, Jewish Messiah, won the victory over sin and death. He fulfilled the requirement of the death penalty for sin, rose from the grave, appeared to many who gave their testimony recorded by reliable witnesses, and is ruling from the throne of David. He fulfilled the Holy Scriptures, Isaiah 53 and Psalms 22. He calls everyone to repentance.

Today the call to repentance has come back to Jerusalem. It is past time for those who live in Israel to recognize their Savior. God has brought them back from the nations where they were scattered and persecuted, a ragged remnant that needs to learn to trust the God who created the Universe. But they curse the people who dare suggest that they should open their hearts to their King. Yet Psalms 2 calls them to repentance. 

Psa 2:1  Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 
Psa 2:2  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, 3  "Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us." 
Psa 2:4  He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. 5  Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 6  "As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill." 
Psa 2:7  I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you. 8  Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9  You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." 
Psa 2:10  Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 11  Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12  Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. 

תהילים 2 The Westminster Leningrad Codex (WLC)

לָ֭מָּה רָגְשׁ֣וּ גֹויִ֑ם וּ֝לְאֻמִּ֗ים יֶהְגּוּ־רִֽיק׃
יִ֥תְיַצְּב֨וּ ׀ מַלְכֵי־אֶ֗רֶץ וְרֹוזְנִ֥ים נֹֽוסְדוּ־יָ֑חַד עַל־יְ֝הוָה וְעַל־מְשִׁיחֹֽו׃
נְֽ֭נַתְּקָה אֶת־מֹֽוסְרֹותֵ֑ימֹו וְנַשְׁלִ֖יכָה מִמֶּ֣נּוּ עֲבֹתֵֽימֹו׃
יֹושֵׁ֣ב בַּשָּׁמַ֣יִם יִשְׂחָ֑ק אֲ֝דֹנָ֗י יִלְעַג־לָֽמֹו׃
אָ֤ז יְדַבֵּ֣ר אֵלֵ֣ימֹו בְאַפֹּ֑ו וּֽבַחֲרֹונֹ֥ו יְבַהֲלֵֽמֹו׃
וַ֭אֲנִי נָסַ֣כְתִּי מַלְכִּ֑י עַל־צִ֝יֹּ֗ון הַר־קָדְשִֽׁי׃
אֲסַפְּרָ֗ה אֶֽ֫ל חֹ֥ק יְֽהוָ֗ה אָמַ֘ר אֵלַ֥י בְּנִ֥י אַ֑תָּה אֲ֝נִ֗י הַיֹּ֥ום יְלִדְתִּֽיךָ׃
שְׁאַ֤ל מִמֶּ֗נִּי וְאֶתְּנָ֣ה גֹ֭ויִם נַחֲלָתֶ֑ךָ וַ֝אֲחֻזָּתְךָ֗ אַפְסֵי־אָֽרֶץ׃
תְּ֭רֹעֵם בְּשֵׁ֣בֶט בַּרְזֶ֑ל כִּכְלִ֖י יֹוצֵ֣ר תְּנַפְּצֵֽם׃
10 וְ֭עַתָּה מְלָכִ֣ים הַשְׂכִּ֑ילוּ הִ֝וָּסְר֗וּ שֹׁ֣פְטֵי אָֽרֶץ׃
11 עִבְד֣וּ אֶת־יְהוָ֣ה בְּיִרְאָ֑ה וְ֝גִ֗ילוּ בִּרְעָדָֽה׃
12 נַשְּׁקוּ־בַ֡ר פֶּן־יֶאֱנַ֤ף ׀ וְתֹ֬אבְדוּ דֶ֗רֶךְ כִּֽי־יִבְעַ֣ר כִּמְעַ֣ט אַפֹּ֑ו אַ֝שְׁרֵ֗י כָּל־חֹ֥וסֵי בֹֽו׃

Jonah Repented

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