Summary: Christians need a revival of repentance in a day when arrogance flies in the face of Almighty God. Zechariah challenges us to remember God's warnings, repent, receive God's blessings.
MINORS’ LESSONS THAT HAVE MAJOR IMPACT III: REPENTANCE – Learned from Zechariah
Today we continue our study of lessons learned from the Minor Prophets. Question: What’s the good word from Zechariah?
The good word from Zephaniah was Humility . . . The good word from Haggai was Commitment . . ..
The good word from Zechariah is Repentance.
Someone might ask, “How can repentance be a good word? It seems to me that repentance would be an admission of sin in my life!”
Perhaps the best way to answer that question is by asking other questions:
Can repentance of sin lead to salvation for the unsaved?
Can repentance of sin bring revival to the saved?
The answer to both questions is “yes” . . .. For the unsaved to get saved is a very good thing. For the saved to get revived is a very good thing.
So, we would have to say that repentance is indeed a good word – IF we take it seriously and repent.
Zechariah began his prophecy with a passionate plea to the people of Judah to repent. We have already seen that their ancestors refused to repent, and therefore suffered the consequences - destruction of the temple and exile of the people into captivity.
Zechariah directs his prophecy to the children and grandchildren of those who had brought destruction and exile upon themselves in prior years.
In the passages we look at today, I see four positives associated with repentance that make it a good thing.
The first positive is about God’s INVITATION to sinners --- Zechariah 1:1-3 . . .
Just how angry was God with those ancestors whose sins allowed the temple to be destroyed and themselves to be taken into captivity? Extremely angry! How had God expressed His displeasure with the sins of His people? God allowed enemies to destroy the temple and take God’s people into captivity.
What does God invite His people to do? Repent of their sins. What does He promise will be the result of their repentance? Return unto them.
Just think about it. God created us to enjoy fellowship with Himself. Yet, if we get out of fellowship with God by sinning against Him, He still loves us and extends an invitation to us to repent and thereby be restored to fellowship with Him!
It’s hard to get away from God. His love pursues us wherever we go. You might say that we have a standing invitation to return to God the Father and be restored to fellowship with Him. That’s a good thing!
The second positive is a sinner’s REALIZATION of a need to repent -- Zechariah 1:4-6 . . . There comes a time in our lives when we had better come to grips with the realization of some facts of life that we cannot afford to ignore. One fact is that all have sinned and must repent to be saved – and we see here that God was very adamant about it.
Why would God be so harsh with Zechariah’s generation – those who were children and grandchildren of Judah - by issuing a warning that was so emphatic? “Do NOT be like your ancestors.”
Their ancestors had been warned by earlier prophets.
Their ancestors had paid little or no attention.
Their ancestors kept on sinning against God in spite of the warnings.
Why do you suppose their ancestors had disregarded the word of the Lord spoken by the earlier prophets? Was it that they did not believe the warning or was it that they chose to reject?
What a question God asked about the ancestors as well as the earlier prophets! “Where are they?” “Do they live forever?”
Be aware that there comes a time when those who disregard the word of the Lord will come to the harsh realization of the error of their ways – not only at the time of judgment to come, but also when they suffer the consequences of their disobedience.
After the temple had been destroyed, and after the ancestors found themselves suffering the consequences of their sins, they finally came to the realization that they had been wrong and the prophet had been right.
Who would NOT be willing to repent if they woke up and found themselves in hell – whether a figurative hell on earth or the literal hell?
Would you agree that people today, while still in good health and of a sound mind, would do themselves a favor if, while drawing up their last will and testament, also came to grips with the realization that there is a final judgment as well as the IRS to avoid?
Let me remind you of a piercing question asked by the apostle Paul:
“How shall we escape if we neglect or ignore such a great salvation?”