Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Role of Repentance in the Life of a Bible Teacher, with Eric Mason, Day 2

Leslie Basham: Here's Eric Mason.

Dr. Eric Mason: God doesn't love the caricature and the action figure and the doll that we make of ourselves. God loves the actual person that we are! That's why I love the fact that the Bible says, "And while we were yet sinners Christ died for us."

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Lies Women Believe, for Friday, January 20, 2017.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: I started teaching the Scripture when I was a young girl, actually. Over these many decades of being a Bible teacher, it's always a pressing thing on my heart to have a life message that is consistent with what I am teaching—to be a responder to God's Word, even as I'm calling other people to respond to the teaching of God's Word.

Yesterday, Pastor Eric Mason began to tell us how important it is for us who proclaim the Word to others, to be responding to in in repentance ourselves. We heard part one of a message Dr. Mason gave at Revive '15, the conference our ministry hosted for women’s ministry leaders.

If you are involved with women’s ministry in any way—or if you’d like to be involved in Titus 2-type mentoring relationships—the upcoming Revive conference is for you. Revive 17: Women Mentoring Women. It will be held in Indianapolis September 29 and 30. I hope you’ll make plans now to join us because the capacity is limited. For more detail, visit us at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Now, before we hear part two of this message from Eric Mason on the role of repentance in the life of a Bible teacher, I want to remind us that we are all called to serve the Lord in ministry. All of us need to have a life of repentance in order to be effective in doing the work that God calls us to do. Here's Dr. Eric Mason.

Dr. Eric Mason:

If you're going to be a repentant teacher, you need this in your lifedesire to come fully clean of your sin. This idea of repentance here, it's a powerful word. In the Old Testament repentance, it's interesting, it means to turn back—turn back to someone, something, or some place.

In the New Testament, repentance is the Greek word metanoia, which means not just change direction but change your mind. In other words, to change your thinking about . . . See, at the end of the day, our need for repentance starts with a worldview transition.

When Jesus comes on the scene and says, "Metanoia, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand," He's saying, "I want you to change your mind about what you think I'm like and what you think the kingdom is like, and embrace what I'm going to give to you." Coming clean in repentance means the disposition by which you say, "God, help me to now have a change of mindset, not just my feeling about the consequences of my sin."

Real change is not just allowing the pressing of the consequences of your sin to merely make you feel bad (in order that you would want change), but change really comes from a mind change—which we'll see in a second. I like the way Augustine said it. He says, "God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, but He has not promised tomorrow for your procrastination."

Spurgeon on repentance. Spurgeon said, "I have learned from the Scriptures that repentance is just as necessary to salvation as faith is, and the faith that has not repentance going with it has to be repented of." I like that, because repentance is almost a marriage of the idea of faith together with repentance.

Look what David says in Psalm 51:3—something, to be honest, I'm still grappling with how to come to terms with this: "I know my transgressions." The word there for know is yada, which means, "to become intimately knowledgeable of."

In order to repent, you've gotta own the full extent of your sin. In other words, what you have to begin to do . . . because, in the role of a teacher, sometimes you can manipulate the people you're teaching and kind of confess but not really repent. In other words, you confess—so you acknowledge you did something—but you don't let your need to feel the impact of what you've done to somebody, or what you've done in your household, or what you've done in your life settle on you.

So what's David saying? He saying, "I've become intimate with the knowledge of the mess that I've made." In other words, a repentant person doesn't hurry people through the impact and the shrapnel that their sin has caused. A repentant person repents and allows the ground to be laid bare, so that they can feel the impact and know it, so that their repentance can become deeper. Christ paid for your sin, so you're not bearing the weight of your sin that leads to death.

You are listening to what Christ has died for. By listening and dealing with the impact and brokenness that your sin could have cost someone . . . letting it sit there and you begin to take it to the cross. However, you need to feel that you've sinned; you need to feel that it impacted people. Because what it does, it trains you to not want to do that thing ever again. It trains you to say, "God, I never want to be down that road again! God, I never want to hurt them like that anymore. God I never want to cause that type of pain! God, I want to know You! I want this to be off me."

And guess what that weight does? It makes you run to Him! It makes you run; knowing your sin makes you run. It's not this false depravity idea, when you're focusing on how depraved you are, because that's pride. That's not what we're talking about.

We're talking about knowing it and having clarity that you've made a mess. Then he says, "My sin is ever before me." David is saying this because this sin has sat on him for months. As a matter of fact, Nathan didn't confront him until the child was almost born. So he didn't get confronted, and everybody knew David did it.

Can you imagine sitting on something for eight months, like public sin? Bathsheba walking around, Uriah dead, people just serving David wine, serving him bread, cooking him lamb—coming in there and bringing people in. And David's sitting there, and a baby's growing in the stomach of a woman.

And then, finally! God gives the gall to somebody to jam David up. Look at what it says next. He says, "It's ever before me." So, you know you're a believer if you can't just sin! You can't just sin and be like, "La-da-de-la-da-dah," and you're just chillin'. I'm scared!

He said, "My sin haunts me." Really, it's not his sin that haunts him, it's the Ghost that haunts him. There's nothing like a Holy Ghost beating. You try to bob and weave the Holy Ghost, and you say, "I've got some training in this." (laughter) And the Holy Ghost says, "I've been knocking cats out for millennia," and boom!—hitting you in the ribs. Boom!—hitting you in the guts.

You've got to come to the point, David came to the point, where he said, "I give up! I'm tired of getting knocked out by the Holy Ghost." And he said, "My sin is ever before me."

And then, the centrality of his sin—he gets clarity. It's not some maximizing or minimizing, but to help him to see. He says something powerful here; he says, "Against You, You alone, have I sinned." He said, "I've done what is evil in Your sight." He's talking to God, telling God.

God already knows, but God likes to know that you know.

He knows that we don't know. David is not telling the omniscient One anything about how bad his sin was, but he's letting God know, "I know that this was a mess!" Some of us in here need to say . . . some of you have made some messes. You're great teachers, but you've been bobbin' and weavin' the Spirit, you've been bobbin' and weavin' people.

God is saying, "Sit down now and recount! Recognize the mess!" David says, "Against You and You alone have I sinned." I can see David rocking back and forth and feeling the crushing nature of what he's done. He says, "What I've done is evil in Your sight. I know that this is a sin against You!"

The hardest thing about sin is viewing it from God's perspective. You can't just view your sin from the perspective of the people who are mad at you, because if you only deal on the plane of the people who are mad at you, you won't repent, because you'll be mad at them because they won't let you go.

But when you know your sin was against God, "Oh!" Boom! Right then and there—then, now, family of God, the disposition has changed, because you know it's ultimately against God and God can deal with you. Once He deals with you, you can deal with others.

You won't be freed up as a teacher. Nobody likes to be around somebody who talks a lot of theology and talks a lot of Bible and knows everything—but when they're wrong, that theology doesn't call them to repentance. Nothing works in an old arrogant teacher, who has all the curriculum, all the information.

You've got Logos, the portfolio Logos—the highest version! (laughter) You done took online classes of Hebrew and Greek. You're the woman that doesn't just talk about marriage and children. You talk theology. The classics. You're killin' 'em, right? But when it comes to your heart, it's desolate.

The health of your ministry depends on you dealing with you! Your ministry is only as healthy as your repentance. If you can't repent, how can you teach and preach and call for a response? You heard Nancy earlier, "Call for a response." And you thought, Yeah, I'm going home and call for a response/ No! It's not about home; it's about YOU! When are you going to respond?

That's what David does here. David does it and helps us to recognize the glorious necessity of this. Look at what he says. He says, "So that You may be justified in Your words" (see Ps. 51:4). He's saying, "What You said through Nate, You were right." The Bible says, "Where words are many, sin is present." It's interesting that this is all David said after Nate got in his face: "I have sinned against the Lord." That's all he said.

He didn't say, "Well, if my momma didn't . . . if my daddy didn't . . . if I didn't grow up in a house with . . . if they didn't treat me like . . . my momma treated them better." He doesn't say none of that! He says this clearly here. David says, "God, You're justified in everything You say about me, because I know that this is a mess!" That's when you know you are free, when you can say that.

And look what he says next. David says, "This is deeper than me, though, God. You are blameless in Your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity" (see Ps. 51:5). He says, "I'm not weavin' this, God, but this goes deeper than me! It goes back to this original sin issue, and I need You to do more than just deal with this."

When he says, "My mother conceived me in sin," he's basically saying, "God, don't just deal with this sin, deal with the core of my issues." You know you're repentant when you're allowing God to deal with some core stuff in you. He said, "I want you to deal with my sin nature." That's the core of who you are.

That's why Christ came to die, to replace with a brand-spankin' new nature! Yet the residue of the flesh still needs mortifying daily and daily. Don't underestimate its need for mortification and destruction and crucifixion!

Last point and I'm out of your way. A teacher who's being transformed and walking toward repentance, number three, longs for real transformation. Somebody say "real." Real transformation! Look at our brother David, what he says: "You delight in truth in my inward parts" (Ps. 51:6). It's beautiful that God could even delight in us.

But really, what He's delighting in is what's in us. Now, the word "truth" here is interesting. It's not the word for Bible information. I was blown away at that. I thought, Yeah, God desires the Bible in us! And that's true, but the word here doesn't mean biblical information, even though it could be connected to biblical information. The word here for truth means "authenticity." If I could write a lexicon, in that section right there I would write that it means "straight up."

In other words, God loves it when we're honest about where we are. You can't repent until you're being honest about where you are. You cannot have a delusion about where you are. You could do your hair like you want, you could do your makeup like you want, you could go to Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and buy you some fly pumps, buy you a nice outfit and kill it! (laughter)

But one day, you'll have to take that makeup off, in Jesus' name! (laughter) And what God calls every human being to do, inside of them, is take off the makeup. Take off the makeup; take the wig off your soul. God says, "I want to see the real you. I can't deal with the dressed-up person in the soul. You're living out a reality and a model that doesn't really exist! I love you! I don't love that person that you've created. I love you, actually! As messed-up as you are, as triflin' as you are, and the decisions that you make. At the worst point of you committing your worst sin, I was still deeply in love with you!" That's the beauty of the gospel.

God doesn't love the caricature and the action figure and the doll that we make of ourselves. God loves the actual person that we are! That's why I love the fact that the Bible says, "And while we were yet sinners Christ died for us" (Rom. 6:230. Many of us believe, as believers that we still gotta get ourselves right to be liked by God, but God is still madly, desperately in love with you.

And so what does He tell David? God says, "I delight in you being honest about how messed-up you are and letting Me deal with it." And look what David says: "Teach me wisdom in the secret heart" (Ps. 51:6). Like this. So what he's beginning to say is, "God, I want to open up more than what I had opened up to You, that really caused the issue of my need to repent."

It reminds me of when we first got a building. Our church meets in North Philly, and we meet in an old industrial building; it's over a hundred years old. And when we first bought the building, I had to get an exterminator, because some things were running around and the women's ministry didn't like that too much. (laughter) Heh, heh, heh, heh. I wasn't laughing when they were looking at me, either!

So I got a guy to come out, and he said to me, "Pastor, tell your staff that when I come there, I need everything open."

I said, "What do you mean, you need everything open?"

He said, "Everything that has a knob on it, a lock on it, a door on it, open it."

We went in this one room, and it was just species of roaches I had never seen in my life. We had a bat problem—it was crazy! And he says, "If I exterminate this part, but these parts aren't open, then the part that has been cleaned will be re-infected by the parts that are closed. So what I need you to do is, I need you to open up everything. Every single area of the building, from the top to the bottom, I need opened when I come in there, so I can deal with everything in one fell swoop."

That's what God wants you to do. Some things in your life, that you've had locked away for a while . . . We know we've all got stuff. The gospel's for that. There are some areas of your life you haven't opened up to the God of heaven, and you're afraid to open them up. David says, "I want to be fully clean!" He says, "Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean, wash me and I shall be whiter than snow! Let me hear joy and gladness" (Ps. 51:7).

His sin had so clouded him that he couldn't even enjoy himself anymore. People are jumping and enjoying themselves around him, but his sin was weighing him down. He said, "Clean me up, God! Let the bones that You have broken rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart" (Ps. 51:8–10). He's almost prophesying here. He didn't even know the reality of the new covenant, but he was saying, "If You can do it, God—I'm pretty sure You can—can You just recreate me from the inside, out?" He's prophesying about the renewal and regenerational power of the Spirit, based on Titus 3:5.

"Renew my heart! God, give me a new heart, and renew a right disposition toward Your holiness, the right disposition toward Your glory, the right disposition toward Your people. Renew my spirit, renew the right spirit in me. Cast me not away from Your presence. Even though I'm hurting right now, it's Your presence. Take not Your Spirit away from me."

He's not talking about relational distance as much as he's talking about his kingly position. He says, "Don't take away the great promises that You've given me! Restore to me the joy of my salvation. Uphold me with a willing spirit" (see Ps. 51:12). 

That's what he says there. There it is. He says, "Then, when You renew me, I'll be ready to teach." Isn't that beautiful? "When You renew me, I still won't be perfect, but my life will be an open book to You now, practically. God, I know You can see everything, but I need to open up everything for me to see that You see."

Then you'll be able to go to people with mercy, not just the law. You'll be able to go to people with a different disposition because you've seen God transform you. When God transforms you and when God renews you and when God breaks you and transforms you, you'll be excited when He restores to you the fact that He changes people.

And when you know your mess, and you know that the gap between your mess and God was closed through Jesus Christ, and He's healing you and He's pushing you on, then you can believe God. You can stand here and pray for somebody after the gathering with the faith of a lion—praying over them and speaking the Word of God over them in faith, because He did it for you, and you're believing that He can do it for them! 

And so tonight, I want to invite you, by the power of Christ who has saved you, I want to invite you, teachers, to repent.

Nancy: That’s Dr. Eric Mason, showing us that in order to lead others in obeying God, we need to start with a heart attitude of genuine repentance ourselves. By the way, that's not just if you have a formal teaching setting. If you are a mom, if you are teaching your children, if you are involved in one-on-one mentoring relationships, that heart attitude of repentance needs to start with you and with me. 

Dr. Mason gave that message at Revive '15, a conference Revive Our Hearts hosted for women’s ministry leaders. The next Revive conference will be here before you know it. Revive '17: Women Mentoring Women will be in Indianapolis September 29–30. The theme this year is based on my newest book, which will be released in just over a week. It’s called Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together. It’s a word by word, phrase by phrase study of just three verses in Titus 2 addressed to women in the church. And that’s what we’ll be focused on at Revive '17 as speakers like Mary Kassian, Dannah Gresh, Blair Linne, and others show us how we can be effective mentors.

We can’t take on large-scale projects like Revive '17 or even bring you programs like today’s without the prayer support and financial support of listeners who believe in the ministry and want to get involved. When you support the ministry with a gift of any amount, we’ll say "thank you" by sending you the latest CD from Keith and Kristyn Getty. It's called Facing a Task Unfinished.

This is an exclusive version that Revive Our Hearts produced in partnership with the Gettys that also includes a DVD. You’ll see a behind-the-scenes interview that our team did with Keith and Kristyn, along with a video of Kristyn singing with Joni Eareckson Tada. And there are a number of other videos as well. I’ve been telling you about this opportunity all week, and today is the final day I’ll be letting you know about it. So don’t put off getting your copy of the Gettys' CD along with this DVD.

Call with your donation of any amount and ask for the CD. The number is 1–800–569–5959, or you can visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

On Monday we’ll explore authentic mentoring with Donna Otto. Donna has a fabulous life message in this area. If you've never heard her before, you're going to enjoy this conversation. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

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