Cause and Effect Part 2

No Repentance without Remorse

2 Corinthians 7: 8-10

Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while—yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

Last Sunday we began a new series entitles cause and effect.  Cause and effect is the understanding that certain actions or events result in other actions or events.  For example…

If you play with fire you will get burned.

If you play in the dirt you will get dirty.

If you play in the rain you will get wet.

If you go to work you will get a pay check.

If you don’t go to work you will lose your job.

If you pay your bills your utilities will stay on.

If your don’t pay your bill your utilities will be shut off.

If you work hard you can achieve your goal.

If you don’t work hard you will not achieve your goal.

If you believe in God you will go to heaven,

If you don’t believe in God you will go to hell.

You see, cause and effect!

I explained to you that we would be talking about a couple different cause and effect scenarios throughout the month of April.  Last week we looked at the life of Sampson.  One of the physically strongest men in the Bible.   We discovered that there is no strength without struggle.  I shared with you that I believed that Sampson’s true strength did not come from his hair, but from his faith.  Sampson was able to gain strength in the midst of his struggle because he belonged, he behaved, and he believed.  Now today we are going to look at a different cause and effect scenario.  There is no repentance without remorse.  Let’s talk about that for a moment.  

How can you truly repent if you do not feel remorse for what you have done?  

How can you turn away from what you don’t regret doing?  

Better yet, how can you turn away from what you enjoy doing?  

It is hard to turn away from what we enjoy doing.  That is why so many of us are still doing it.  

It is hard to turn away from what we enjoy doing.  Why do you think it took some of us so long to turn away from it and give our lives to the Lord.  

The problem is church that many church people want to act like they have been saved all of their lives.  They want to act like they never struggled with anything.  They don’t drink, smoke, or chew, and they don’t hang around people that do.  The issue with that family is that they can be so heavenly bound that they are no earthly good.  And to truly have an impact on the kingdom you have to understand that there is no repentance without remorse.

For this scenario we are going to look at a portion of the second letter that Paul wrote to the church in Corinth. 

Shall we look at the text…

Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while—yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance.  For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us.  Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

Now this is Paul’s follow up letter to the church in Corinth.  In the first letter he emphasized the authority that God has over their lives as believers as well as addressing the following subjects:  Christian unity, morality, the role of women, spiritual gifts, and the resurrection.  He was both chastising them and encouraging them at the same time.  You know how that is?  When someone is telling you about yourself and at the same time trying to make you feel better at the same time.  They say stuff like you’re not doing the job right, but they like your hair.  What does my hair have to do with the fact that I am not doing the job right.  Or they open up with a positive before they drop a bomb on you.  Like i really enjoyed your presentation today, but your zipper was down during the entire presentation.  Or they say do you want the bad news or the good news first.  Deacon Freeman hit me with this one a while ago when we were having technical difficulties with our WiFi…  

But back to my point.  Obviously this letter struck a cord or two with some of the believers in the church, so Paul is trying to smooth things over.  Now don’t get it twisted. Paul is not apologizing for what he said.  He is not back peddling or trying to take back what he said.  He meant what he said and he said what he meant.  He was only trying to give them a better understanding of what he was trying to convey to them.  And this is where we pick up in our text today. Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while—yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us.  Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but

worldly sorrow brings death.  

I know I’ve read this text three times this morning, but I really want you to see what Paul is telling the church.  He is saying I know my letter made you feel bad.  I know my letter caused you pain.  I know my letter caused you remorse. But I do not regret it.  I know it hurt you, but you were only hurt for a little while.  You were only licking your wounds for a little while.  You were only down for a little while. Well, I may have regretted it a little bit, but now I am happy.  I am not happy because I made you feel sorrow, or that I made you feel remorse.  I am happy because your sorrow or your remorse led you to repentance.  You were sorrowful as God intended.  So you were not harmed by us.  God used us to cause godly sorrow that will bring repentance which leads to salvation.  Which is much better than worldly sorrow that leads to death.  Look at your neighbor and say, “You can not have repentance without remorse.”  You need remorse to lead you to repentance in order to have salvation.  Somebody say cause and effect.

Now in order for remorse to cause repentance the following three things must happen.  And these three things must happen whether you are saved or unsaved.

First we must be confronted.  Paul confronted the church in Corinth.  He told them about themselves.  Every now and then we have to be told about ourselves.  And truth be told, we do not like to be told about ourselves.  Now we love to tell others about themselves, but leave us alone.  We need someone to hold us accountable.  We need to hold others accountable as well.  I think that is one of the biggest problems in our world today.  Nobody wants to be held accountable.  And no one wants to hold anyone else accountable.  We just want to make excuses.  He didn’t comply.

He was resisting.

I thought he had a gun.

I feared for my life.

He had on a hoodie.

I didn’t think they lived in the neighborhood.

I felt threatened.

He has a record.

He was high.

He smoked weed three years ago.

Excuses! Excuses! Excuses!

I am so tired of excuses that is why we need to be confronted.  We need to be held accountable for our actions.  In order for remorse to cause repentance.  We must be confronted.

Not only must we be confronted.  Secondly, we must be convicted.  Once confronted you must be convicted.  This is when the spirit makes you aware of your wrongness and you feel remorse.  Anyone ever feel convicted before.  I mean you really feel remorse for sin that you’ve committed.  You can’t eat, sleep, or get the thing off your mind because you feel so bad about what you’ve done.  This is true conviction.  This is true remorse. That is why you cannot go into sin with the mind set that God will forgive you.  Yeah, I about to go rob this back, but its all good I know God will forgive me.  Because without true conviction, without true remorse your petition for forgiveness is not genuine.

First, we must be confronted.  Secondly, we must be convicted.  Thirdly, we must be converted.  Once we are confronted, we can be convicted, and then we are ready to be converted.  We are truly ready to repent.  To turn away from our wicked ways and be the man or woman that God has called us to me.  We are ready to change.  Have you every been stuck on stupid and waiting on dumb for so long that once you were confronted, you were instantly convicted and you knew without a shadow of a doubt that you needed to be converted.  You needed to repent.  You needed to turn away.  And the moment you did your life changed for the better.  Because God came in and gave you the power to walk right, talk right, and to live right.  Let me share this story with you and close out this sermon.

Robert Robinson

Source: reported in R Kilpatrick, “Assurance and Sin” in RC Sproul (editor), Doubt and Assurance (Baker, 1993)

Robert Robinson was an English clergyman who lived in the 18th century. Not only was he a gifted pastor and preacher he was also a highly gifted poet and hymn writer. However, after many years in the pastorate his faith began to drift. He left the ministry and finished up in France, indulging himself in sin.

One night he was riding in a carriage with a Parisian socialite who had recently been converted to Christ. She was interested in his opinion on some poetry she was reading: Come thou Fount of every blessing, Tune my heart to sing thy grace, Streams of mercy never failing, Call for hymns of loudest praise.

When she looked up from her reading the socialite noticed Robinson was crying.

“What do I think of it?” he asked in a broken voice. “I wrote it. But now I’ve drifted away from him and can’t find my way back.”

“But don’t you see” the woman said gently, “The way back is written right here in the third line of your poem: Streams of mercy never ceasing. Those streams are flowing even here in Paris tonight.”

That night Robinson recommitted his life to Christ.

I don’t know about anyone else in the room, but I am so excited the the steams of mercy are never ceasing.  

That no matter how far we may drift we can always come home.  

No matter how many times we fall we can always come home.  

No matter how many mistakes we make we can always come home.   

No matter how many times we mess up we can always come home.

Your grace and mercy brought me through

I’m living this moment because of You

I want to thank You and praise You, too

Your grace and mercy brought me through

Thank You for saving a sinner like me

To tell the world salvation is free

There were times when I, I just didn’t do right

But You, You watched over me

All day and night

Your grace and mercy brought me through

I’m living this moment because of You

I want to thank You and praise You, too

Your grace and mercy brought me through

Justice demanded, that I should die

But grace and mercy said, “oh, no, oh, no, oh no

We’ve already paid the price”

You see, I once was blind, but thank God I can see

It was because grace and mercy came along

Came along and rescued, rescued me

Your grace and mercy brought me through

I’m living this moment because of You

I want to thank You and praise You, too

Your grace and mercy brought me through

Amazing grace how sweet the sound…

Amazing grace shall always be my song of praise…

Is there anybody here excited about his grace and his mercy

Is there anybody here excited about the fact that there is no repentance without remorse.

Well if you are not excited, let me tell you why you should be excited.  That feeling of guilt, sorrow, and remorse is God’s way of letting you know that it is time to come home.  The remorse will lead to repentance, and the repentance will lead to salvation and or recommitment.  That is why Paul was happy that he made them feel sorrow.  And that is why you should be excited if you’re feeling remorse, because remorse will lead you to repentance, and repentance will lead you back to God!  There is no repentance without remorse.


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