329. Christ’s First and Last Subject — Matt 4:17; Luke 24:47 (Repentance)

Divine transformation is not merely in act but in the very soul; the new man not only does not sin as he used to do, but he does not want to sin as he used to do. – C.H.S.

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”—Matthew. 4:17.
“And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem”—Luke 24:47.

Main Points:
1. Origin of repentance – 5:01
2. Essentials of repentance – 11:46
3. Companions of repentance – 30:16
4. Excellencies of repentance – 36:50

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Man by nature is impenitent, because he does not know himself to be guilty. There are many acts which he commits in which he sees no sin, and even in great and egregious faults, he often knows that he is not right, but he does not perceive the depth, the horrible enormity of the sin which is involved in them. Eye-salve is one of the first medicines which the Lord uses with the soul. Jesus touches the eye of the understanding, and the man becomes guilty in his own sight, as he always was guilty in the sight of God.

Has God, who said to an unformed world, “Let there be light,” has he said, “Let there be light” in your poor benighted soul? Have you learned that your best deeds have been vile, and that as for your sinful acts they are ten thousand times more wicked than ever you believed them to be? I will not believe that you have ever repented unless you have first received divine illumination. I cannot expect a blind eye to see the filth upon a black hand, nor can I ever believe that the understanding which has never been enlightened can detect the sin which has stained your daily life.

The soul having seen itself, bows before God, strips itself of all its vain boastings, and lays itself flat on its face before the throne of mercy. It could talk proudly once of merit, but now it dares not pronounce the word. Once it could boast itself before God, with “God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are;” but now it stands in the distance, and smites upon its breast, crying, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Now the haughty eye, the proud look, which God abhorreth, are cast away, and the eye, instead thereof, becomes a channel of tears—its floods are perpetual, it mourneth, it weepeth, and the soul crieth out both day and night before God, for it is vexed with itself, because it has vexed the Holy Spirit, and is grieved within itself because it hath grieved the Most High.

…if thou hast not felt that hell is thy just desert, and that if God banish thee for ever from himself, to the place where hope and peace can never come, he has only done with thee what thou hast richly earned. If thou hast not felt that the flames of hell are the ripe harvest which thy sins have sown, thou hast never yet repented at all. We must acknowledge the justice of the penalty as well as the guilt of the sin, or else it is but a mock repentance which we pretend to possess.

There is no repentance where a man can talk lightly of sin, much less where he can speak tenderly and lovingly of it.

My hearer, if thou dost not so hate thy sins as to be ready to give them all up—if thou art not willing now to hang them on Haman’s gallows a hundred and twenty cubits high—if thou canst not shake them off from thee as Paul did the viper from his hand, and shake it into the fire with detestation, then, I say, thou knowest not the grace of God in truth; for if thou lovest sin thou lovest neither God nor thyself, but thou choosest thine own damnation. Thou art in friendship with death and in league with hell; God deliver thee from this wretched state of heart, and bring thee to detest thy sin.

Divine transformation is not merely in act but in the very soul; the new man not only does not sin as he used to do, but he does not want to sin as he used to do.

His very heart longs to be free from every sin, and if he could be perfect he would.

I tell you, brethren, there is no man in the world you will hate so much as your old self, and there will be nothing you will so much long to get rid of as that old man who once was dragging you down to hell, and who will try his hand at it over and over again every day you live, and who will accomplish it yet, unless that divine grace which has made you a new man shall keep you a new man even to the end.

Repentance and desires after holiness never can be separated.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon


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