Repentance: The Lost Chord in Preaching, Part III
"REPENT ye therefore, and be CONVERTED, that your sins may be blotted out."—Acts 4:19
Text: "EXCEPT YE REPENT, ye shall ALL likewise PERISH--Luke 13:3,5
I. The Sobering Importance--it speaks of "PERISHING"
A. To "PERISH" PHYSICALLY means an eternal loss of life to our physical bodies.
B. As Christ declares "REPENT" or "PERISH", the writer intimate Christ is preaching that THIS "PERISHING" had to do with REPENTANCE.
1. Now our bodies do not repent, but our souls.
2. Therefore, this loss has to do with ETERNAL RUINATION OF OUR SOULS.
II. God is not moved by majorities, therefore though ALL should neglect to repent, they shall "ALL likewise PERISH."
III. REPENTANCE is an individual responsibility, for Christ says, "except YE repent, YE shall all likewise perish." Note, therefore--
IV. That God has laid a "stumbling stone" in the way of His people to prevent their perishing.
V. That "Stumbling stone" is REPENTANCE.
VI. This "REPENTANCE" is the ONLY plan God has to avert the utter ruination of any, for Christ declares, "EXCEPT ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."
Dear Reader: Has God ever stilled the sea of Rebellion in your heart? Has He ever laid your sinful pride in the dust of humility? Has He ever brought about such a sorrow for your sinfulness, such a sense of hopelessness that you cried out, "Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed, Save me and I shall be saved"? HERE IS HOW YOU CAN KNOW WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE REALLY SAVED: Has God ever changed your life? Or do you live as you have always lived?
But Wait! If God has given to you a desire to be saved, then look to Christ and be converted.
If you will, that is if today you will accept Christ as your Saviour, as your only grounds for forgiveness, will you take a few moments of your time and write me today? Thank you.
___________________________HEAR "The Angelus"__________________________
On WFNL—-1600 AM--Mondays through Fridays
Part I--His Life--Continued
What is to become of Augustine? Shall we snub him because he has lived with a woman for 13 years without ever marrying her? Shall we leave him to the judgment of God? We might, but God has in His own good pleasure set His affections upon this renegade youth.
Augustine was restless because his moral conduct haunted him. He was helplessly enslaved to his lustful spirit. This restlessness in his soul is a proof God has already begun to do a good work in his heart.
But the restlessness in his soul was mistaken by the youth who thought the secret of satisfaction was to be found in intellectual pursuits. He therefore turned his attention upon the Hortensius of Cicero. But it was through this work that he acquired a thirst for truth. He turned to the Word of God, but becoming distressed at his being unable to understand it, he turned away, but not before his heart winced in the guiltiness that lay in his heart.
Still refusing to own his utter unworthiness, he sought for truth, which would flatter his intellect instead of that which would lay him in the dust. It was now that he became a disciple of the "Manichaeans." For nine years he studied this religious sect which fused Christian doctrine with Persian Zoroastrianism. As it was amoral in practice, it was particularly to the liking of Augustine, and he proceeded to defend its teachings, and to lure his friends into it. At last be became disillusioned with them and then sought to encourage his friends to do likewise.
Upon completing his course of study in the classics, he taught rhetoric in the same city of Carthage. He remained here in the capacity of teacher for some 8 years. But yearning for new scenery, he resolved to go to Rome. His mother highly disapproved and accompanied him to the port, but he tricked her into spending the night at the Church of St. Cyprian, and before morning, he was sailing toward Rome. Sorrowing, Monica turned toward home.
After a year in Rome, he was offered a teaching position in Milan, Italy’s second capital city. He there taught rhetoric. He was not there long when he attended the preaching of Ambrose, the bishop there.
Ambrose had a profound effect upon Augustine because of his masterful preaching. In his Confessions, his autobiography, Augustine wrote, "I began to love him, not indeed as a teacher of truth, ...but as a man worthy of my love. I often listened to his public discourses, not, I confess, with a pure motive, but only to prove if his eloquence was equal to his fame. I weighed his words carefully whilst I had no interest in their meaning, or despised it. I was delighted with the grace of his language ...for, although it was not my wish to learn what he said, but only to hear how he said it... still, along with the words which I loved, there stole also into my spirit, the substance, which I had no care for; because I could not separate the two. And whilst I opened my heart to receive the eloquence which he uttered, the truth also, which be spoke, found entrance though by slow degrees."
Abashed by his inability to understand the truth in the preaching of the man of God, Augustine turned to the Bible, but once again, he became frustrated by the Word of God. He could understand the classics as Virgil and Cicero, but not the Book of God!
He resolved that before the truth of God would be revealed to him, he would have to break from his known sins. He therefore left the woman with whom he had lived for 13 years. Next, he resolved to abandon his association with the Manichaeans.
It was at this point that he fell under the sway of Platonism and Neo-Platonism. Philip Schaff says of this pagan philosophy, "It is genuine philosophy, or love of wisdom." "It is beyond all dispute the noblest product of heathen speculation, and stands closer in conduct with Revelation than any other philosophical system of antiquity. It is in some measure an unconscious prophecy of Christ, in Whom alone its sublime ideals can ever become truth and reality." But can Augustine perceive this? He has not been able to before? He has ears to hear, but can he now hear?
CONTINUED NEXT ISSUE