Rolfe Barnard: "The Message Of Repentance Is Of Paramount Importance"

...from the beginning of John the Baptist's ministry throughout the lids of the New Testament, repentance is the watchword of the hour...

We’ve been speaking to you…on the necessity of repentance and how John the Baptist was faithful to keep sinners’ feet to the fire and tell them that God demands and will settle for nothing less than all-out, unconditional surrender to the claims of Christ – and that,

only those who bow to the sceptre of King Jesus may know Him in the pardon of their sins and what we call salvation…

You know, my friend, from the beginning of John the Baptist's ministry throughout the lids of the New Testament, repentance is the watchword of the hour.

The Message Of Repentance Is A Core Emphasis Throughout Scripture

Every prophet and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself in His prophetic ministry, down through John the Seer who wrote the last book of the Bible, rings the charges on the truth that God is a Holy God, that His demands have not been lightened, and that men are still called upon to repent toward God and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Immediately we open the Word of God — whether in the Old Testament or in the New — we find that the subject that is paramount is REPENTANCE.

The Old Testament Prophets Preached Repentance

In the Old Testament the prophets were all the time, forever and eternally, calling on the people to give up their sinful ways and to live a righteous life.

John the Baptist Preached Repentance

When John the Baptist hit the deck to prepare the people's hearts to receive Jesus Christ, he immediately announced in Matthew 3:2,

"Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

The Lord Jesus Christ Preached Repentance

The first sermon the Lord Jesus ever preached as a Prophet, He demanded repentance.

The Apostle Paul Preached Repentance

The Apostle Paul is the author, as the Holy Spirit gave him utterance, of that eternal command as recorded in Acts 17:30:

"And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent."

God Commands Repentance

It is God's command, and back of God's command is God, the character of God and the requirements of God. In the Bible, my friends, the word "repentance", the act repentance, the duty repentance, the command repentance, the gift of repentance is the first step. (I don't like that term "first step," but I don't know how to put it any better!)

There is no use for us to deny that God Almighty demands repentance.

He commands repentance. The duty of all men, Paul says — now since Christ has come God doesn't overlook anything now and ignorance is no excuse — the first duty of men and women is to repent.

Modern Churches Have Forsaken The Message of Repentance

You know, my friends, in our zeal we have lowered God's standards. We have widened the door of the professing church, but we have not been able to widen God's door to glory. Those doors that mark the difference between hell and heaven and between bliss and torment in eternity cannot be changed.

The Doorkeeper is God Almighty Himself. These doors to glory were fixed forever in eternity in the eternal counsel of Almighty God, and the price of that fixing was wrought out in the agonizing blood of the Lord Jesus Christ at a place called Calvary.

I know that I am preaching in a day now when we have made it too easy; we have made it far too easy. And today, God pity us, to many, it costs nothing to come into our churches. It costs nothing to go out. We give up nothing when we come in, and we leave nothing behind when we go out.

Evangelist Rolfe Barnard (1904-1969) Be sure to follow Rolfe Barnard quotes on Facebook or Twitter, and check out the Rolfe Barnard archive page.

This excerpt is from a Rolfe Barnard sermon entitled, "The Sermon That Cost A Preacher His Head" (John the Baptist Comes To Town, part 3). Edited by Eulala J. Bullock. Free PDF edition by Subtitles added by for web readability.