Meditations

A Time of Introspection

instrospectionPrelude Ensemble

Opening Welcome and  Prayer

Opening Hymns :

2.11 – Brethren, We Have Met To Worship

202 – The Creator of Life

159 – O Day of Rest and Gladness

The ten days starting with the Feast of Trumpets and ending with the Day of Atonement are commonly known as the Days of Awe or the Days of Repentance. This is the time when we truly need serious introspection, an examination of what we did, repent and ask for forgiveness. The word “teshuvah” is often translated as repentance or more accurately, to turn back to God. It is turning away from evil, turning toward the good.  It is possible that we can regret our actions- affecting the intellect, pride, regret that we were caught but not repent. The feeling of remorse that makes us feel disgusted, in pain and guilt over what we did, is the first step towards repentance. Repentance means acknowledging that we learn, understand, perceive that we are mistaken about violating the laws and will of God, that we are alienated from God. Our change of mind – if genuine – will lead to a change of heart. These are not just mere action but have to come deeply into the mind and soul. These should affect the whole life, redirecting a person’s destiny from destruction to being at one with God.

What is the difference between regret, remorse and repent?  Readers will give us examples of people in the bible.  Notice the situations:

Reader 1 – Examples of Regret

Gen. 25:29-34- Esau Sells His Birthright

Genesis 27:30-34- Esau’s regret for selling his birthright

I Sam 24:8-21-Saul’s Pursuit of David

I Sam 26:17-21-Saul pursuing David relentlessly

Reader 2 - Examples of Remorse One Leading to Death, and the other Leading to Repentance

Matt. 27:1-5-Judas hangs himself - Remorse

Matt 26:69-74 -Peter Denies Jesus, and Weeps Bitterly

Reader 3 - Examples of True Repentance

Job 42:1-6-Job’s Repentance and Restoration

2 Sam. 24:1-4, 10, 19, 25-David’s trust in numbers instead of God

Hebrews 12:16-17- Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

Esau regretted having sold his birthright for a lentil soup.  Not only did he lose his birthright but blessings as well.  He cried bitterly for the loss but not repentant for taking light of his inheritance. After the death of Isaac, he even sought to kill his brother.

Saul regretted plotting against David. He asked for David’s forgiveness several times but still continued to pursue him. 

Judas, felt the guilt of betraying Jesus Christ, but was not enough to ask for forgiveness and change his ways.

Peter felt the guilt and wept bitterly.  He knew what pain it caused to betray the trust of His Savior. This led to his repentance.

David knew of his sins.  He asked for forgiveness and went out of his way to seek and please God.

Hymns  :               2.40 – Fools Have Said That There Is No God

                                100 – Wisdom Begins With The Fear of the Lord

What should we do in these days of introspection, leading to forgiveness of our sins?

1. Forsake the sin – sincere repentance is when one is being tempted over the same temptation experienced before and is resolutely resisted.

Reader 4 and 5 will read verses on forsaking sin

Reader 4

Prov. 28:13

Job 11:13-15

Isaiah 55:7

Ephesians 4:17-24

Reader 5

1 Pet 2:1-2, 11-12

Gen. 4:7

Psalm 39:1

Prov. 1:10

In order for a person to be forgiven of sin, he must confess that sin to the Lord. He has to own up to what he has done and agree with God about it, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9) However, confession alone does not bring victory over any particular sin; it only brings forgiveness. In order to find victory over sin, there must also be a forsaking of that sin. Remember that forsake means "to leave in a destitute condition without any further care; it is the opposite of holding fast.

Hymns        :     182 – If We Love The Word of God

                                      2.1 -- Trust and Obey

The second way to true repentance is :

2. Remember that we were once alienated from God - we then regret the breach in our relationship with Him when we sin.

Reader 6 will read verses on the effect of sin in our relationship to God

Reader 7 will read verses on remembering the sacrifice and love God has given us for us to be reconciled with Him.

Reader 6

Isa 59:1-3

I Pet 1:18-20

Heb. 10:26-27

Rom. 1:21-22, 24, 26,28

I Cor. 2:14, 10-12

Reader 7

Col. 1:19-23

Romans 5:6-11

2Cor. 5:17-20

I Pet 2:21-25

Sin creates a sense of estrangement from God. It creates a breach in our relationship with God. Realizing and understanding the effects of sin and the sacrifice of Christ for us to be reconciled must give us a sense of regret and move us towards repentance – to turn back to God and ask for His forgiveness.

Hymns :     124 – In Days of Old

                             141 – Arise, Shine

3. Confess our sins to God and to others whom we have wronged, ask for His forgiveness and make amends

Reader 8 will read verses on confessing our sins to God and make amends

Reader 9 will read verses on our responsibility as well to ask forgiveness to those whom we have wronged.

Reader 8

Psalm 32:1-5

Joel 2:12-13

2 Kings 17:13

Psalm 51:1-19

Reader 9 

Matt 6:12,14-15

Matt 5:23-24

Col. 3:12-13

Matt 18:21-35

In our confession of sins to God, we must realize that we have become desolate. We recognize that our failures are self-destructive.  We have betrayed our potential, our families, God Himself.

Hymns       :     227 – The Prodigal Son

                                   205 – Come Back To Me

4. Accepting forgiveness, change and move forward -  it is also important that once we truly repent of our sins, God, in His mercy will forgive us.  Therefore, we also must free ourselves from guilt and move forward. Be comforted by the presence of God in our life.

Repentance, as it was said in the beginning, means acknowledging that we learn, understand, perceive that we are mistaken about violating the laws and will of God, that we are alienated from God. Our change of mind – if genuine – will lead to a change of heart. These are not just mere action but have to come deeply into the mind and soul. These should affect the whole life, redirecting a person’s destiny from destruction to being at one with God.

Reader 10 will read verses on God’s forgiveness

Reader 11 will read on the change of heart, a change in life’s direction to be at one with God, pressing towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Reader 10

Isa 40:1-2

Isa 55:7

Phil 3:12-15

Eph 2:1-10

Reader 11 

Rom. 12:1-21

James 1:12, 19-21

King Solomon, in  Prov. 12:10 said, “For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again,”.  He says a righteous man falls not once but many times.  But who gets up after falling? A righteous man.  King Solomon’s distinction is not who makes mistakes, it’s who gets up afterwards.  Whatever happened, happened. We can’t undo it. We can’t turn back the time.  But we can choose to take responsibility, get up, and move on.

If we mean it, that we are not saying this out of guilt and fear, that we are not just going through the motion just because it’s commanded to observe the Day of Atonement or fear that we are not going to make it to the Book of life, if we go through the days of introspection because we realize that we can’t clean ourselves unless God forgives us, then God will say, “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.”

The Days of Awe leading to the Day of Atonement is for us to realize that deep, down inside, we want to bring back that connection with God. We want to follow Him as much as we can and though we can’t do it perfectly because we are human and will eventually fall several times in our lifetime, God will be there to help us and clean us.  He wants more than anything else for us to walk together with Him. Regret and remorse did nothing for the spiritual lives of Judas or Esau; it can do nothing for ours either. Only “godly sorrow” will lead to true repentance!

Closing Hymns   :               2.16 – Through All the Changing Scenes of Life

                                             220 – I want to Walk With You

                                             2.10 – Soldiers of Christ, Arise

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