Topic: Change Your Ways [Friday 14, April 2017]
Memorise: Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: – Matthew 3:8
Read: Acts 3:13-19 (KJV)
13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.
14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;
15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.
16 And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
17 And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.
18 But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.
19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
Bible in One Year: Leviticus 26-27, Jeremiah 13:15-27
Since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, hypocrisy has been a character trait of mankind. For this reason, God has continuously reached out to man with message of living a changed life. The Mosaic Law was all about making the Israelites live a life that was different from that of all the other nations around them, a life of change which confronts to God’s expectations. At different points in time, when they erred from the Mosaic Law, God still sent prophets to them with the message of change. One of such prophets was Ezekiel. Speaking through him, the Lord demanded that His people repent and change from their hypocritical ways (Ezekiel 14:6). The Lord also spoke through Prophet Ezekiel about the change of life He would bring about by the regeneration of the human spirit through Christ (Ezekiel 36:25-27). When this prophecy was to be fulfilled, the Lord sent John the Baptist to preach the baptism of repentance. However, John discovered that some people were just coming religiously for baptism without any intention of changing their ways, and he had this to say to them:
“8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” – Matthew 3:8-9
The apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ also had the message of change forming the central theme of the gospel they preached. In spite of the demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit with signs and wonders, the apostles did not mince words in declaring heaven’s demand for a change of life to the people of their day. Peter in Acts 3:19 boldly declared thus:
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;”
It is sad, however, that many modern-day preachers have deleted the message of change from their sermons because they would not want to be “offensive” to modern minds. What such preachers fail to realise is that the message of change is the only hope for the world. The message of change brings repentance, and repentance brings times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. I therefore beseech you to effect the necessary changes befitting of a Christian pilgrim in your life today. Remember, tomorrow may be too late!
Prayer Point: Father, grant me the grace to change my crooked ways, and give me the strength of character to walk with You on the straight and narrow path all the days of my life.
Open Heavens Daily Devotional guide was written by Pastor E.A. Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, one of the largest evangelical church in the world and also the President of Christ the Redeemer’s Ministries.