In the time before MP3’s (long, long ago) music was played on a device called a “Record player.” When your favorite hit song came out there was no iTunes to download from, so you had to purchase songs on a small disc (record) called a “45.” There were 2 songs on every record – one on each side. It seemed to be a universal law that the song on the “other side” of the hit song was rarely played. So what’s this have to do with evangelism?
There are two truths that are so tied together that they are like the two sides I’m describing. I’m speaking about Repentance and Faith. Faith is obviously the “hit” message – repentance is the message on the other side that rarely gets played these days.
Preaching the Gospel means to tell the story that God became man in Christ – He lived perfectly before God and died in our place. His resurrection verified His identity as the Son of God.
What about our response to this message? According to Scripture we are called to repent and believe. (Usually repentance is mentioned before faith.) Much is said, preached and written about faith these days, but barely and rarely is anything mentioned about repentance. Yet without real repentance, you don’t have real faith. They have been wrongly separated and set against each other, yet they are both gifts of God’s grace (Acts 11:18; Eph. 2:8).
Repentance is to turn from our sin and faith is to turn toward God in complete trust. Spurgeon said they were like two sides of the same coin.
Paul said I was sent to open their eyes so they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God (Acts 26:18-20). See it? From darkness…to light. In Hebrews 6:1-2, the foundations are described as repentance “from” dead works and faith “towards” God.
When the people heard the Gospel at Pentecost they asked, “What must we do? Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized” (Acts 2:38).
Jesus preached it, so did Paul, Peter, along with all the Apostles, so why don’t we? Why is this part of the message omitted? Maybe leaders feel this will turn people off, but to fail to mention repentance will lead to failure in evangelism.
In reality, repentance is a wonderful word. It’s full meaning is to “turn around.” We laud CEO’s that turn around companies or coaches that turn around teams, yet Christ is the great turnaround specialist. When we recover this part of the message we will begin to see genuine conversions and real change happen in the lives of those who desire to follow Christ.
Remember, if we flip the message of faith over and play the other side – it’s a real hit as well.
(We have a helpful tool called The Purple Book that can assist in laying the foundations of repentance and faith in the lives of those we reach out to. Order it at RiceBroocks.Com.)