SermonLenten Repentance Continues
An all-creatures Bible Message

Lenten Repentance Continues
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
31 March 2019
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Joshua 5:9-12
Psalm 32:1-11
Luke 15:1-32

Our Lenten repentance continues, or should continue, not only for the animal exploitation we talked about last week, but for every other aspect of our lives.
 
When people live in the corrupt ways of this world, they actually contribute to the suffering and death of millions of humans and billions of animals every year.
 
We need to see ourselves as we really are and as God sees us in His eyes, and ask ourselves what we need to do to become peacemaking children of God, and then repent for our sins and for the Lordís forgiveness.
 
So as we near the end of this Lenten season let us not forget that our Lenten repentance continues.
 
As we look at Joshua 5:9-12, letís consider how it relates to our theme of Lenten repentance continues.

9. Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you." So the place has been called Gilgal to this day.

It may be helpful to think about the reproach of Egypt as the curse or shame of being in captivity in Egypt, but that is also connected to the sins of Egypt, which the Israelites brought with them, and we know from other historical comments in the Bible that the majority of the people were not following the ways of the Lord; instead they continued to follow the corrupt ways of this world, of which Egypt was an example.
 
Thus, we believe that the Lord rolling away the reproach was meant primarily for Joshua so that he was to be freed from the burdens of the things that happened in Egypt, and could concentrate on the job of leading the Israelites into their new land, which was hopefully to be also freed from the sins of the world, which the people never really accepted.
 
Likewise, today, when we repent and receive the Lordís forgiveness, we are to accept the fact that we have been freed from our past sins, and no longer have to carry them into our new life, which unfortunately most people donít do; they may claim to be free of their past sins, but they continue to follow in many of their old worldly ways.
 
The name Gilgal in the context of this verse may mean to roll, as in rolling away, but more literally it means circle of stones.

10. On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover.

We cannot be sure what the people ate at this meal, because the only bread they had was the bread from heaven, manna, which was vegan, and there is no mention of sacrificing any animals or putting their blood on anything, as they were told to do in Egypt.
 
It wasnít until after this meal that the Israelites began to eat some of the produce of the land, which in turn stopped the manna, as God had told it would.

11. The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain.
 
12. The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate of the produce of Canaan.
NIV

This is what the Lord said would happen.
 
Psalm 32:1-11 is a psalm of David, and while he wrote a lot about repentance, we also need to remember that he did many things wrong in the sight of God.

1. Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.

One thing that David always did after he had sinned was to truly repent, and God seemed to accept his repentance, but also with some consequences, such as when God allowed the baby of his adulterous relationship to die.
 
However, we should only be like David as a last resort, for it is far better to have such a repentant nature that we wouldnít sin at all; we need to weigh all our pending actions to see if they will be in the heavenly will of God, so that we can avoid doing them if they are not.
 
This is what our Lenten repentance continues is all about.

2. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him
and in whose spirit is no deceit.

Having no deceit is never doing anything that we know is against Godís heavenly will.
 
Then if we do something wrong and truly repent, God is faithful to forgive us.

3. When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
 
4. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
Selah 

This is what happens when our conscience bothers us; we are haunted by our unrepented sins, but how much better it would be, if we always tell God we are sorry when we inadvertently do anything He doesnít approve of.
 
5. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD" ó
and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Selah
 
This is really in the Lordís nature to do this, so we shouldnít wait to do this; our repentance should be an almost spontaneous reaction when we realize we have done something sinful.  

6. Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found;
surely when the mighty waters rise,
they will not reach him.

It is only when we knowingly hold back our repentance or constantly repeat the same sins that God might not listen to us, but if we are faithful to repent, He is always there to hear and forgive us.

7. You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Selah 

We need to remember even after people have repented, there are recorded cases where they have not been saved in this manner, but have been saved from this corrupt and evil world to live with the Lord forever in heaven.
 
This really is all a part of why we are talking about our Lenten repentance continues, because we should all realize that there is no end in this corrupt world for us to have a repentant nature.

8. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you.

If we focus upon the heavenly will of God, the Holy Spirit is faithful to do this all the time.

9. Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.

Horses and mules do have understanding of the things pertaining to their own lives, but not necessarily in ways that we can understand, so human beings exploit them and control them to do what we want them to do, which we strongly believe is wrong.

10. Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the LORD's unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him.

Again, this is not always true, but things are usually a whole lot better if we trust in the Lord.

11. Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart!
NIV

And when we do trust in the Lord, this is the way we feel.
 
In Luke 15:1-32 Jesus tells us several reasons why our Lenten repentance continues throughout the whole year.

1. Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him.

We should all recognize the fact that Jesus didnít turn away sinners, and he never participated in their sins but did everything He could to bring them to repentance, which we should do.

2. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."

Like these Pharisees, many of our church leaders and their followers just complain about sinners and those who are with them without doing anything to help them; we are not to be like them.

3. Then Jesus told them this parable:
 
4. "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?

Even the parable that Jesus told the people was based upon the worldly ways of the people; they were exploiting animals which is not in the heavenly will of God; they were to be our companions, and not a commodity that we were to own or consider part of our wealth.

5. And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders
 
6. and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.'

If people think this is a sign of empathy, they are sadly mistaken, for this lost sheep was destined to be exploited along with the other 99.

7. I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

This is true, because there is always joy in heaven when someone truly repents and becomes a child of God, just as they must have done with the righteous people repented of their former sins.
 
Then Jesus goes on and tells another parable.

8. "Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?
 
9. And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.'

This may not be the way that we would react, but we would most likely search for what we have lost.

10. In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

We also look back over our own lives and wonder why it took so long for us to feel the pain and suffering of the animals and stop eating and wearing their by-products or otherwise exploiting them.
 
We also keep wondering why the animal exploiters of today, who include all of the people who eat and wear animal by-products, donít see or care about the pain and suffering they are contributing to, and become vegans like we are.
 
And, we rejoice over those who do change, just as the angels in heaven rejoice over a sinner who repents; and if we think about this, it is really the same thing; we all need to be the peacemaking children of God that Jesus calls us to be.
 
This is also why our Lenten repentance continues, not only during this Lenten season, but throughout the entire year, and throughout our entire life here on earth.

11. Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons.
 
12. The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them.

This young man is like every one of us who believes that they know better than God.

13. "Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.
 
14. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.

This is also what happens to a lot of the people who live in the corrupt ways of this world.

15. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.

Sometime this kind of embarrassment is necessary to bring people to the point of starting to really follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit to lead us back to living in the heavenly will of God.
 
So Jesus gives us an example of these inner thoughts and how they lead back to God.

16. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
 
17. "When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!
 
18. I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
 
19. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.'

This happens when we allow our conscience, or more accurately the Holy Spirit to bring us to the point of repentance, but how much better it would be, if we would learn to simply repent every time we do something wrong.
 
We would never have to go through the kinds of troubles that this man experienced if we had a truly repentant nature.

20. So he got up and went to his father.
"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

We believe that this is the way that God feels about every one of us who has wandered off from His heavenly will, to seek the fleeting joys of this corrupt and evil world that is filled with so much unrepented violence that it causes millions of humans and billions of animals to suffer and die every year.
 
Then the young man comes to his fatherÖ

21. "The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'

This is probably the way we should feel when we have sinned against the Lord and His heavenly will, but when we are sincere, God doesnít treat us in this manner.

22. "But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.

This is the way a loving father should treat a wayward child if they sincerely come back in a truly repentant manner.

23. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate.

Why should this calf or any other animal have to suffer and die at any festive occasion?
 
This is the way a corrupt world views animals.
 
The simple answer is it shouldnít; if anything it should be able to celebrate life with everyone else.

24. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.
 
25. "Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.
 
26. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.
 
27. 'Your brother has come,' he replied, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.'
 
28. "The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.

The older brother is thinking as the world thinks, and this is not the way that God wants us to be; we are to be forgiving, just as God feels about us when we truly repent.

29. But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.
 
30. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'

We hope we all can see the worldly thinking of the older son.

31. "'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.
 
32. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'" 
NIV

Letís now consider why we are talking about our Lenten repentance continues, for this is a time of reflecting upon our own lives and the ways of the world around us.
 
Do we see the warring madness that is going on in the world that causes millions of people to suffer and die every year?
 
Do we see the hardness of heart that is causing billions of animals to suffer and die every year?
 
Do we see the human indifference that is causing a large percentage of our global warming to continue?
 
We sincerely hope we see it all, and have the heart and soul that is willing to help end it, for this is how repentance is supposed to work; it should inspire us to actively correct the problems in the world around us.
 
This is why our Lenten repentance continues on and onÖ
 
Amen?
 
Amen.

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