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First Sunday in Lent

March 5, 2017

Repent, Rebirth, Reconcile, Rejoice, Redemption, Restore

Scripture References:

Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7 (2:15-17; 3:6-7)
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

Psalm 32 (5-7)
Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Therefore, let all who are faithful offer prayers to you; at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them. You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance.

Romans 5:12-19 (18-19)
Therefore, just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

Matthew 4:1-11 (1-4, 8-11)
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Again the devil took him to the very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away with you Satan! for it is written,‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’” Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came down and waited on him.bowing

From Clarence Jordan, Sermon on the Mount:

For unbelievers, Jesus had but one word: “REPENT.” It’s a tremendous   word. We must examine it. The Greek word from which it is translated means “to change one’s mind for the better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins” (Thayer’s Lexicon). So when he called on men to repent, he really demanded that they change their way of thinking, abandon their false concepts, forsake their wrong methods, and enter upon a new way of life. No one has a right, however, to call on men to change their ways unless he has a more excellent way to offer.

Forsaking the wrong way is only half of repentance; accepting the right way is the other half. The call to repentance, then, must always be accompanied by the glorious announcement, “for the kingdom of God is here!” Jesus proclaimed it as “the good news.” For him, it was the way, the only way, for men to live.

This week, instead of quickly passing through repentance, draw your attention this day to how you have lived till now. Live in the darkness, recognize your culpability, and hear your own voiced confession.