Apples of Gold
Radio Script for March 10, 2009
“What Do You Think When You Hear the Word Repent?”
Hello, I’m Doug Apple…with Apples of Gold.
When I hear the word “repent,” I picture an angry man shouting in a rage.
I picture Jonah, stomping through the streets of Nineveh, actually hoping they don’t repent.
It’s hellfire and brimstone. It’s condemnation, a bullwhip slashing your back with fear and guilt.
Repent is a message spoken by religious zealots, and no normal person gives any real thought to their ranting.
That’s the stereotype.
But that’s not what I get from Jesus.
In Luke 5:32 Jesus said that He came to call sinners to repentance.
Now what was the setting when He said that? Was He standing in the public square, shouting at people to repent, and scaring off more people than He attracted?
Actually, He was at a banquet held in His honor. Levi the tax collector hosted the party, and he invited a bunch of his friends.
They were all at this banquet, and some Pharisees asked, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
Jesus answered, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Now did you get that picture of repentance? He compared it to medicine.
Instead of an angry preacher inflicting pain, he pictured a doctor bringing healing to the sick.
Sunday night I spent several hours in the emergency room at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital – sitting with a friend who was in pain.
It’s quite a thing to sit and watch the humanity flow through an emergency room. They’re from all walks of life: rich and poor, professors and drop outs, beautiful and not so much.
The emergency room is an equalizer. Everyone is humbled. They are in pain and they need help. Everyone wants a doctor to make them better.
This is the way Jesus sees the world – like an emergency room full of hurting patients.
He has the medicine, and you know what it says on the bottle?
The sick need a doctor, He said, and that’s why He came to call sinners to repentance.
Imagine if you were on a medical missionary team. You go to a remote village where many are sick, and all they need is a shot to make them better. But the people don’t want to get the shot. They’re suspicious. There are rumors.
What would you do to urge people to get the shot?
Well you probably wouldn’t explode in a rage. That would just confirm their suspicions.
No, you would more likely urge them, plead with them, “Please, get the shot. It’s the cure. You’ve got to trust me.”
And that, I think, is how we should deliver the message of repentance, just as a doctor would offer healing medicine.
And notice that Jesus didn’t just open up a clinic and invite them in. He took His medicine out to the people. Yes, He called them to repent, but He offered it like medicine to the sick.
Romans 2:4 says that God’s kindness leads us to repentance.
How do you handle someone who needs to repent? With kindness.
Second Timothy 2:25 says to “gently instruct” them.
Second Peter 3:9 talks about being patient with people, because it says God is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
And when someone does repent, it is not met with indifference. In Luke 15 Jesus raved about the rejoicing that takes place in heaven when even one sinner repents.
So forget about any negative stereotypes the word repent conjures up.
We are called to spread the message of repentance and forgiveness of sins throughout the world – not as a curse but as a blessing – like a powerful medicine.
Acts 3:19 says, “Repent…and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…”
So don’t back off from this powerful little word. It’s not an unkind word, but rather a healing word.
Remember, Jesus compared Himself to a doctor coming to the sick.
And this is the wonderful medicine He prescribed for everyone: repentance.
E-mail me: email@example.com.
May God bless you today! With Apples of Gold…I’m Doug Apple.
© 2009 The Arrow’s Tip
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(Proverbs 25:11 – “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”)
Why “The Arrow’s Tip”? Each morning, after diligently seeking the Lord, I write Apples of Gold. Then before I release it to the public I pray one final prayer, “Lord, send forth your arrows.” I envision Apples of Gold as arrows, tips dipped in the river of the water of life that flows from the throne of God (Rev. 22:1), sailing toward the hearts and minds of men and women around the world.
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