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Romans Series #16


      Title:         The Goodness of God Leading

              to Repentance


      Text:                                  Romans 2:4

      Subject:               Repentance

      Date:                                Sunday Morning — June 8, 2014

      Reading: Luke 13:1-35



The title of my message is — The Goodness of God Leading to Repentance. I want to begin in 2 Corinthians 11. Like the apostle Paul, I am jealous over your souls. I want you to know Christ. I want to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I am fearful. Look at what Paul says to the Corinthians in verse 3.


2 Corinthians 11:3 “I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”


I am fearful for you, lest Satan should corrupt your minds, or turn your minds from “the simplicity that is in Christ.” There is no substitute for simplicity and sincerity, especially in the preaching of the gospel.


If I had the ability to do so, I would not strive for soaring eloquence, flowery oratory, moving illustrations, or impressive words of man’s wisdom, education, and intelligence (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). I want always to preach the gospel to you with utter simplicity. God’s preachers seek to be understood, they strive for simplicity and sincerity.


1 Corinthians 2:2-5 “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”


When the Lord Jesus preached, he spoke in language that people understood. No one ever had to go home, get out a dictionary, and look up the words he used. Our Lord spoke with simplicity and sincerity. There were no hidden meanings to his words. Everyone who heard him understood what he said.

·      They may not have believed him; but they understood him.

·      He may have crossed their traditions, offended their pride, and shown contempt for their customs; but they understood him.

·      Perhaps they were unwilling to bow to his claims as Lord and Savior; but they understood him.


Matthew 15:12 “The Pharisees were offended, after they heard his doctrine.”


Luke 4:28-29  “When they heard these things, (they) were filled with wrath!”


John 10:30-33 When our Lord said, “I and my Father are one, Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him,” because he made himself God.


It is essential that those who preach the gospel do so with great plainness of speech. “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” (1 Corinthians 14:8). Paul wrote, “I do not frustrate the grace of God” (Galatians 2:21). He was saying, “I do not confuse, complicate, distort, and make void, or nullify the gospel of God’s grace.” He was saying, “I sound a clear, unmistakable note regarding salvation by grace.”

·      I cannot force men to turn from their idols.

·      I cannot compel sinners to bow to Christ as Lord.

·      I cannot make you believe the gospel of Christ.

·      But I can warn you in plain language and exhort you in words that are easy to understand.


You may not believe my message, but you will understand my words. There is absolutely no reason for all the confusion there is in the religious world today. “If,” as Bro. Scott Richardson put it, “preachers would just stand up on their hind legs and tell the truth,” God just might use them. And there is no reason for not telling the truth. It is as plain as the nose on your face. The Word of God is perfectly clear about...

·      What happened in the Garden (Romans 5:12; Psalm 14:2-3).

·      What happened at Calvary (Galatians 3:13; Hebrews 9:12; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

·      What happens in a sinner’s heart when God saves him by his almighty grace.


When God saves a sinner...

  • There is a regeneration, a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
  • There is a work of conviction (John 16:7-11).
  • There is a divine revelation (Galatians 1:15).
  • There is a reconciliation made — surrender (Colossians 1:20-21).


Proposition: The gospel of God is a profound mystery, so great, so deep, so wondrous that no man can comprehend it. Yet, it is a mystery revealed and preached with such great simplicity that any sinner who will can see it and believe it.


If you will give me your attention for just a little while, I want, by the grace of God, to shoot 9 sharp, straight arrows right at your heart. Turn first to Romans 2:4.


Romans 2:4


1.     I don’t know if you will ever repent, but I know that “the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance” (Romans 2:4).


Romans 2:4 Despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?


Oh, how good God has been to you!

  • Your Parents
  • This Assembly
  • Good Health
  • Deliverance from Great Danger
  • Deliverance from Grave Sickness


The goodness of God, we are told, “leadeth thee to repentance.” The relentless goodness of God you have experienced ought to bring you to his feet in repentance; but you despise that very goodness that ought to lead you to repentance! God the Holy Ghost gives us an example of others, like you, who had been spared the wrath of God for a season and therefore presumed that they had nothing to fear (Luke 13:1-5).


Luke 13:1-5 “There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”


We know nothing more about these events than that which is stated here. So I will offer no speculations about them. This much is obvious — Those who were here speaking to the Lord Jesus obviously reported the event concerning these Galileans with an unmasked air of superiority and self-righteousness, suggesting that the things that happened to them was the result of well-deserved divine judgment.


Let me give you the long and short of what our Savior here tells us. He looked these people square in the eye, just as I am you, and said to these men and women who thought of themselves as good, upright, righteous men and women, just as I am you — You are just like those multitudes of the damned in hell, sinners under the wrath of God. And “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish! Oh, may God make you hear me. You who believe not are condemned already. The very wrath of God that fuels the fires of hell is upon you. Except you repent, hell shall be your everlasting portion.


John 3:36 “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”


I am here to persuade you to repent.


2 Corinthians 5:10-21 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. 12 For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. 13 For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. 14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”


“Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7).


I cannot give you repentance, or make you repent. But it is my responsibility to tell you what repentance is. Repentance is...

·      A Change of Mind!

·      A Change of Masters!

·      A Change of Manners!

·      A Change of Motives!


Repentance is essential. — “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish!” You must repent of…

  • Your Sin!
  • Your Sins!
  • Your Righteousness!

The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance!


Repentance is the gift and work of God. You must repent; but you never will unless God gives you repentance.


Jeremiah 31:19 Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth.


Psalm 65:4 Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.


Psalm 110:3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.


Acts 5:30-31 (30) The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. (31) Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.


Jeremiah 31:18 I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the LORD my God.


John 3:3-8


2.     I don’t know if you will ever be born again, but I do know that “except a man be born again, he cannot see, or enter into the kingdom of God.”“Ye must be born again!” (John 3:3-7).


John 3:3-8 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”


The new birth is more than a reformation. It is a regeneration. It is more than a decision. It is a creation. It is more than a renewal. It is a resurrection (John 5:25; Ephesians 2:1-4).


Illustration: Ezekiel’s Infant (Ezekiel 16).

                                                                                    The Valley of Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37).

                                                                                    Lazarus (John 11).


  • The New Birth is the work of God the Holy Spirit (John 6:63).
  • The New Birth is by the Word of God (James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23).
  • The New Birth is a New Creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). — “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 20:5).


Jeremiah 29:10-14


3.     I don’t know if you will ever seek the Lord, but I do know that all who seek him are sought of him and shall find him (Jeremiah 29:13. “I will be found of you, saith the Lord!”


Jeremiah 29:10-14 “For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.”


Illustration: The Farmer Who Lost His Check.


“Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”


  • Salvation is a heart work (Romans 10:9-10).


Romans 10:9-10 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”


  • Repentance is a heart work.
  • Faith is a heart work.


I don’t claim to know much about many things. But I do know this. If you seek Christ you will find him.

  • Those who seek the Lord know their need of him.
  • They seek him in his Word and in his house.
  • They seek him diligently, with all their hearts.
  • They seek him always.
  • They find him.


1 John 1:7-2:2


4.     I don’t know if you will ever be washed in the blood of Christ, but I do know that “the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7-9). I know that through the blood, “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).


1 John 1:7-10 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”


1 John 2:1-2 “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”


There is a fountain filled with blood

Drawn from Immanuel’s veins,

And sinners plunged beneath that flood

Lose all their guilty stains.


The dying thief rejoiced to see

That fountain in his day;

And there may I, though vile as he,

Wash all my sins away.


How I rejoice in and give thanks to God for the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ! His blood is “precious blood” indeed, because...

  • It is divine blood!
  • It is eternal blood!
  • It is atoning blood!
  • It is effectual blood!
  • It is cleansing blood!


Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood

Shall never lose its’ power,

`Til all the ransomed church of God

Be saved to sin no more!


Romans 9:32-10:4


5.     I don’t know whether you will ever be robed in the righteousness of Christ or not; but I do know that “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth” (Romans 10:4).


His name is Jehovah-tsidkenu — “The Lord our Righteousness!”


Multitudes, like the Jews, stumble over and miss Christ’s righteousness, because they seek to establish righteousness for themselves (Romans 9:32-10:3).


Romans 9:32-33 “Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; 33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”


Romans 10:1-4 “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”


Our Lord said, “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). — (5 things about righteousness!)

1.    Righteousness was lost in the Garden.

2.    Righteousness is required by a Holy God.

3.    Righteousness was established by Christ.

4.    Righteousness is imputed in justification.

5.    Righteousness is imparted in regeneration.


John 3:36


6.     I don’t know if you will ever believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, trusting him alone as your Lord and Savior; but I do know that “he that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life” (John 3:36).


Mark 16:16 “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”


John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”


John 3:36 “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”


1 John 5:1 “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.”


1 John 5:10 “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.”


The foundation of faith is the Word of God.The object of faith is the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.The warrant of faith is the command of God. — “God commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” God commands us to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. God commands us to repent. That is our warrant for doing so.


Read John 3:14-16.


John 3:14-16 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”


1.    The Remedy of Sin (v. 14).

2.    The Result of Christ’s Death (v. 15; John 12:32).

3.    The Reason for Grace (v. 16).


Revelation 20:11-15


7.     I don’t know when you will die and meet God in judgment; but I do know that you will die at God’s appointed time, and when you do you will meet the holy Lord God in judgment (Hebrews 9:27).


Hebrews 9:27 “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”


Revelation 20:11-15 “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”


Illustration: Rowland Hill’s Dream.


8.     I don’t know whether your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life or not; but I do know that “whosoever was not found written in the book of life (shall be) cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).


  • There is a Book of Life.
  • It is the Lamb’s Book of Life — Substitution — Suretyship.
  • It was written before the world began — Election — Predestination.
  • All whose names are in that Book must be saved.
  • Only those whose names are in that Book shall be saved.
  • If you trust Christ, your name is in that Book!


9.     I don’t know when the Lord Jesus Christ shall come again; but I do know that he is coming again to this earth in power and great glory! (1 John 14:1-3).


John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”


  • “This same Jesus” (Acts 1:11).
  • “Behold, he cometh! And every eye shall see him!” (Revelation 1:7).
  • “Every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess” (Philippians 2:9-11).
  • “Then cometh the end!” (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).




The gospel of God’s grace has been preached, is being preached, and shall be preached in this place. When gospel issues are clearly laid down, lines are drawn. — Men and women choose up and take sides, just like they did long ago. — “Who is on the Lord’s side?” That division is hard to bear. But only when the gospel is preached, will God be glorified and sinners saved.

  • Men sometimes tell me, “It is difficult to find God’s salvation.” But it is not. It is only difficult when you look in the wrong place. God’s salvation is in Christ.
  • Men may be baffled as to “why” God saves sinners, but it is no mystery “how” God saves (Ephesians 2:8-9).
  • It may indeed be difficult for proud sinners to bow to the royal claims of King Jesus, but bow they shall.
  • Salvation is not difficult at all, except to you who are working for it. — Rest is easy! The only time you can’t rest is when you’re trying to work something out yourself.


Matthew 11:28-30 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”


Romans 2:4 Despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?





Don Fortner








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