Weekly Teachings by Erik Momsen
Fruit of Repentance
by Erik Momsen
As a farmer looks for fruit or crops developing on his lands, I look around this church and long to see the fruit of God growing in all our lives. Some of these fruits, or changes in people's lives, are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. John the Baptist called out, "Produce fruit in keeping with repentance" (Matthew 3:8). It is useless to look for fruit when no seed of repentance has taken root.
MANASSEH NEEDED REPENTANCE
Few people will know much about Manasseh because we usually preach about the good guys. Manasseh was a bad guy for "he did more evil than the Amorites" (2 Kings 21:11). The account of his life in 2 Kings is a list of multiplying evil :
"He rebuilt the high places".
"Erected altars to Baal and made an Asherah pole".
"He bowed down to the starry hosts".
"In the temple of the Lord he built altars to the starry hosts".
"He sacrificed his own son in the fire".
"He practised sorcery and divination and consulted mediums and spiritists".
"Manasseh shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem from end to end".
He was probably the worst king of Israel. Hebrews 11:37 even tells us what he did to the prophets sent to correct him. He sawed Isaiah in half.
Strangely enough, 2 Kings 21 ends with the phrase, "Manasseh rested with his fathers and was buried in his palace garden" (v. 18). There is no record here that he was punished.
GOD MOVES AND MANASSEH REPENTS
2 Chronicles 33:10 records how God broke out against this rebellious king and removed him from Jerusalem. He does however repent when life turns against him, and he is restored.
LESSONS FROM MANASSEH’S LIFE
Sin has addictive power and increases in depravity.
Sooner or later God moves against sin.
Repentance often comes when we have wrecked our and other’s lives.
Repentance can be true or false. Thomas Watson (Puritan) said "repentance is the vomiting of the soul". Manasseh had the "dry heaves". He repented until he could no more.
God does not treat us as our sins deserve. (Psalm 103:10-12)
Our sins do not disqualify us from future service. Manasseh was restored.
His true repentance was seen in his later life. He rebuilt the walls, removed the idols and taught the people to worship God.
Your sins might come back to haunt you. (2 Chronicles 33:21) "Amon did as his father had done."
Manasseh could not stay in that Assyrian jail and feel remorse and condemnation. He left prison and rebuilt his own life and Israel’s. Would he remember that he had grieved God so greatly that God had to destroy Jerusalem? Would he remember that he has sacrificed his own son? Probably "Yes".
But God had promised even in the Old Testament that he would completely remove our sins (Psalm 103:12).
The great power of God to forgive and forget is shown completely in the cross. Jesus said, "It is finished" (John 19:29). This means that the sins of the world have been paid for (1 John 2:2) - for all those who believe and are under the Lordship of Jesus.
We are not to be like little elephants that are trained with a chain and a stake in the ground. As little elephants they are unable to break free from the chain, but as they grow up they are held by the memory of the strength of the chain over their smaller bodies. The bondage is in the spirit.
There is a story of a little boy who accidentally killed his grand mother’s duck and was seen and blackmailed by his sister. Finally the bondage of his sister was too great. He told his grandmother who replied that she had seen him, had forgiven him on the spot, but was wondering how long he would remain a slave to his sister.
Date Added: 2009-04-16
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