CLP Talk 3 Repentance & Faith
MODULE 1: THE BASIC TRUTHS OF CHRISTIANITY
OVERVIEW OF THE SESSION
ANCHOR VERSE: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:15 (NABRE)
GOAL: To lead people to repent for their sins and turn to renewed faith in Jesus Christ.
The only proper response to all that God has done for us is repentance and faith. “Repent, and believe in the gospel” is precisely what Jesus calls for from the beginning of his ministry. Repentance and faith go together. It is a double-action response. But repentance is not just being sorry for sin because of adverse consequences. It is also not dependent on feelings. True repentance is metanoia, a change of mind, a change in direction. Repentance is turning away from sin and evil and surrendering to Jesus as Lord of our life. And if Jesus is Lord, there is no room for being lukewarm. Authentic repentance requires honesty, to admit that a sin is a sin, and in humility, to admit that we are weak and we need help. But true repentance requires faith in God. Faith is not a feeling or wishful thinking or a blind leap. Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. (Heb 11:1 NABRE) It is man’s response to God. It is belief in the gospel, a personal act and decision. Most of all, faith is a pure gift from God. The consequence of repentance and faith is a promise of salvation from sin and death, and at a personal level, freedom from fear of death. Jesus sounded the call to repentance and faith two thousand years ago. It is the same call to us today. Like the Blessed Virgin Mary, let us have complete faith in God and say, “Let it be done to me according to your word.”
TENOR: Enlightening and moving
1. Story telling with photos of the speaker’s personal transformation
2. Talk proper
3. Reflection (silence)
4. Discussion Group Sharing
5. Summary video (care of service team)
A CFC brother who had a Spirit-driven transformation, from a life away from God to a life filled with God’s presence and love through repentance and faith; he shall communicate this transformation in light of God’s powerful mercy and abundant second chances.
SESSION 3: REPENTANCE AND FAITH
THE EXPANDED TALK OUTLINE
FOR THE USE OF THE SPEAKER
“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mk. 1:14-15)
God loves us. And the love of God is most clearly revealed in the sending of the Son that we may have life eternal. This Son is our Lord, Jesus Christ, who has done so much for us. Now it is time for us to respond. Our proper response is repentance and faith.
Repentance and faith go together. It is a double-action response. We cannot just have one without the other. We need to believe in him and in his plans and promises. To simply believe without doing anything to reform our lives to become pleasing to God is also inadequate. Faith needs to be manifested in our way of life.Faith necessarily needs to be connected to morality. In other words, faith without works is dead. (Js. 2:14-17) .
I. WHAT IS REPENTANCE?
1. In Greek, the word for repentance is metanoia, which is literally translated as a change of mind. Repentance refers to a change in direction and not just a simple confession of wrongdoing. It is a significant change in the way you live your life: dropping an old set of ideals and values by which you live your life and adopting new ones. Repentance affects the way you think and act, your attitudes, motives, thought and behavior.
2. It means when you are with Christ, you turn away from sin, evil, and wrongdoing. It means asking God for forgiveness and availing of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, i.e. going to a priest for confession. There are specific sins we need to renounce, serious sins that are totally incompatible with a relationship with God.
▪ Among these serious sins are: involvement in cults such as Freemasonry and New Age; practicing the occult such as witchcraft, fortune telling, and séances; sexual wrongdoing such as sexual intercourse outside marriage, adultery, active homosexuality; serious crimes such as murder, rape, kidnapping, robbery, corruption; drunkenness (and not just drinking per se) and getting stoned on drugs.
3. It means breaking away from running our own lives. It means surrendering to Jesus as the Lord of our life. If we accept Jesus as Lord, then there is no room for being lukewarm. (Rev. 3:15-16) We cannot be halfhearted when approaching God for forgiveness. Repentance becomes complete only under the lordship of Jesus. There are two essential characteristics of authentic repentance: honesty and humility. When we ask God for forgiveness, we must be honest enough to admit that we made a mistake. If it is a sin, we must be honest enough to admit that it is a sin.
▪ If we are practicing artificial birth control, which we know is not allowed by the Church, we must be honest enough to admit that it is a sin and resolve to correct the situation.
▪ If we are not properly married in Church, we must be honest enough to admit that it is against the teaching of the Church and we should not rationalize the situation.
▪ If we are carrying on an affair, we must admit that it is seriously wrong and cut it off immediately.
II. WHAT IS FAITH?
1. Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. (Heb. 11:1)Faith is not just a feeling or a wishful thinking. Faith is man’s response to God, who reveals himself and gives himself to man, at the same time bringing man a superabundant light as he searches for the ultimate meaning in life. (CCC 154-155) Faith is a gift from God.
2. Faith is a grace from God. It is not something that we can earn or acquire by ourselves. It is a pure gift from God.
3. Faith is belief in the gospel, which is the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. Faith is belief in both the messenger, Jesus, and in the message that he brings. It means not just believing with our minds (an intellectual belief) that Jesus is the Savior, but believing in our hearts that he came to be our personal Savior.
4. Faith is a personal act and decision. It has several aspects. (Rev. 3:20) It is a definite act – we must open the door if Jesus is to come into our lives. It is an individual act – we need to decide on our own to open the door. No one can decide for us. It is a deliberate act – we do not have to wait for a supernatural light to flash upon us from heaven or an emotional experience to overtake us. We already know that Jesus came into this world and died for our sins. He is now standing outside the door of our hearts, knocking. The next move is ours. It is an urgent act – the future is uncertain and time is passing away. It is an indispensable act – it is part of our double-action response. It is the step needed to receive all that God had promised. Faith is relying on all that God had said.
III. CONSEQUENCES OF REPENTANCE AND FAITH
1. The consequence of repentance and faith is a promise of salvation from sin, Satan, and death. This is the promise of forgiveness and eternal life with God. (Acts 16:31)
2. At a personal level, one consequence of true repentance and profound faith is freedom from fear of death. If indeed we believe that death is nothing but a passage from a life of fleeting joy on earth to a life of eternal happiness in heaven, then we should not fear it. We are unable to overcome our fear because we have not fully repented and our faith is weak.
Jesus sounded the call to repentance and faith two thousand years ago. It is the same call to us today. We are called to turn away from sin and to accept Jesus as Lord. Like the Blessed Virgin Mary, let us have complete faith in God and say, “Let it be done to me according to your word.”
As we respond positively, God promises us salvation from sin, forgiveness and reconciliation, eternal life, and the power of the Holy Spirit for our lives.
1. Share with one another areas where you need to turn more fully to God.
2. Share areas where you need to grow in faith.