TEXT: Matthew 11:20-24
20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:
21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
A.W. Pink said, “The wrath of God is His eternal detestation of all unrighteousness. It is the displeasure and indignation of Divine equity against evil. It is the holiness of God stirred into activity against sin.”
C.J. Mahaney said, “Some might find it surprising that I would teach my nine-year-old about God’s wrath toward sin. But I find it surprising that any loving person would withhold this truth from another person they love. Because only when we understand God’s wrath toward sin can we realize that we need to be saved from it. Only when we hear the very bad news that we’re deserving of judgment can we appreciate the very good news that God has provided salvation through His Son.”
In our last message we looked at how Jesus mourns for those who repent. Now we see how Jesus looks for sincerity and sorrow in those who repent.
Ray Fowler said:
A third thing we learn from our passage today is that Jesus looks for sincerity and sorrow in those who do repent. Look at Matthew 11:21 where Jesus says: “if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.”
In Biblical times it was common for a sinner to repent in sackcloth and ashes. Sackcloth is a symbol of humility before the Lord. The ashes are a reminder of death, which is itself a result of sin. Jesus looks for sincerity and sorrow in those who repent, as represented here by sackcloth and ashes.
A. We should express true sorrow for our sin
When we repent, we should express true sorrow for our sin. In Psalm 38:18 David writes: “For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.” Are you troubled by your sin? Or do you not really think a whole lot about your sin? Are you sorry when you repent, or do you simply confess out of habit or rote? Or even worse, do you take God’s forgiveness for granted? Not David. David said, “I am troubled by my sin.”
Paul writes to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 7:9-10: “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.”
What’s the difference between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow? Godly sorrow is sorry because you have sinned against God. Worldly sorrow is only sorry because of the consequences of sin. Godly sorrow is sorry for the sin. Worldly sorrow is sorry because you got caught! Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. The Bible says we should express true sorrow for our sin.
B. We demonstrate true repentance through our actions
The Bible also tells us that we demonstrate true repentance through our actions. John the Baptist told his listeners in Matthew 3:8: “8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:” The apostle Paul says in Acts 26:20: “But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.”
Jesus looks for sincerity and sorrow in those who do repent. We should express true sorrow for our sin. We demonstrate true repentance through our actions.
A 13th century Christian hymn reads:
Day of wrath and doom impending.
David’s word with Sibyl’s blending,
Heaven and earth in ashes ending.
Oh, what fear man’s bosom rendeth,
When from heaven the Judge descendeth,
On whose sentence all dependeth.
Wondrous sound the trumpet flingeth;
Through earth’s sepulchres it ringeth;
All before the throne it bringeth.
Death is struck, and nature quaking,
All creation is awaking,
To its Judge an answer making.
Lo, the book, exactly worded,
Wherein all hath been recorded,
Thence shall judgement be awarded.
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 18:8: “Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.