Fear of God Devotional: Characteristics of False Repentance

What are characteristics of false repentance?

Carlton McCleod explains in this video that it is often difficult to determine whether where a person is demonstrating true or false repentance from one encounter. False repentance springs up quickly and is accompanied by emotion but there is no life to it beyond the moment.

Simply because an individual is emotional and there are tears doesn’t necessarily mean that he is truly repentant. False repentance springs up quickly and is very quickly taken away by worldly concerns. We must walk with people for awhile to fully ascertain whether they are truly repentant. It is easy for someone to apologize for something but later do the same thing later that day. 

1 John 3:9 (NKJV) – “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Why Is the Need for Repentance Sometimes Disregarded?

Why is the need for repentance sometimes disregarded?

Anthony Mathenia explains in this video that many churches in our day ignore the need for reforms primarily because they are more concerned about pleasing people than they are of pleasing God.

We default to self-preservation. Repentance is not always easy. It is much easier to simply do what we have always done. We must be servants of God and do what Scripture requires. 

1 Thessalonians 4:1-2 (NKJV) – “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.”

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William Perkins on How to Maintain a Good Reputation

Do you have a good reputation? Solomon said that a good reputation was better than “silver and gold” (Prov. 22:1). The apostle Paul said one of the qualifications for deacons is that they must have “a good testimony” (1 Tim. 3:7). So how should we think of our reputations, when Jesus said, “Woe to you when men speak well of you”  (Luke 6:22-26). While it is a blessing to have a good reputation, it is also possible that a good reputation could be a bad thing – a sign of the fear of man. Man-pleasing can get you a good reputation with man, but not with God. The father of the Puritans, William Perkins speaks to these issues in his commentary on Hebrews 11. 

Below are citations from Vol. 3 of The Works of William Perkins, on how a pastor can have a good reputation. In this volume, Perkins is commenting on the phrase in Hebrews 11 and the phrase in verse 2, “elders by faith obtained a good report.”

He writes:

“[H]ere we learn the readiest and surest way to get a good name. A good name is a good gift of God. “It is a precious ointment” (Eccl. 7:3). It is a thing that all men would have. These elders had it, and they have laid us down a platform how to get it. And it is this: first, get into favor with God. Please Him, that is, confess your sins, bewail them, get pardon. Set the promises of God in Christ before you, believe them, apply them to yourself as your own. Be persuaded in your conscience that Christ did all for you and that He has purchased your acceptation with God.”1

First, he speaks of our conscience before God regarding our reputations, and God’s sovereignty in how men speak of us:

“Thus, when you are assured that God approves of you, God can easily give you a comfortable testimony in your own conscience. And He can move the hearts of all men to think well and open their mouths to speak well of you, for He has the hearts of all men in His hand. And therefore, those that are in His favor, He can bend the hearts of all men to approve them.”1

Then, Perkins qualifies and warns of wrong thinking about ones own reputation:

“Yet this must be understood with some cautions:

First, God will not procure His children a good name among all men, for then they should be cursed, for, “Cursed are ye when all men speak well of you” (Luke 6:26). But the Lord means that they shall be accepted and have a good name with the most and with the best. For indeed, a good name (as all other graces of God) cannot be perfect in this life. But they shall have such a good name as in this world shall continue and increase and in the world to come be without all blot, for sin is the disgrace of a man. Therefore, when sin is abolished, [a] good name is perfect.

Secondly, God will not procure all His children a good name, nor always; for a good name is of the same nature with other external gifts of God. Sometimes they are good to a man; sometimes, hurtful. To some men, good; to others, hurtful. Everyone therefore that has true faith may not absolutely assure himself of a good name, but as far forth as God shall see it best for His own glory and his good.

Thirdly, the good name that God will give His children stands not so much in outward commendation and speaking well of a man as in the inward approbation of the consciences of men. They must therefore be content sometimes to be abused, mocked, slandered. And yet notwithstanding, they have a good name in the chief respect; for they whose mouths do abuse and condemn them, their very consciences do approve them. Out of all these the point is manifest that God will procure His children a good name in this world as far forth as it is a blessing and not a curse, and that because they are approved of Him and by faith justified in His sight—for so to be is the only way to get a good name. For in reason it stands thus: that those who are in estimation and good name with the Lord Himself, much more will God make them esteemed and give them a good name with men like themselves. Hence we learn, first, that the common course of the world to get a good name is fond and wicked and to no purpose.”1

He continues later on the next page speaking about the difference between the approval of God and the approval of man:

“First, we must labor to be approved of God, and then after the good name with God follows the good name in the world. He therefore that labors for favor with men and neglects the favor of God, he may get a good name, but it shall prove a rotten name in the end. “The memorial of the just shall be blessed, but the name of the wicked shall rot” (Prov. 10:7). The good name of the wicked is rotten: first, because it is loathsome and stinking in the face of God, though it be never so glorious in the world; secondly, because it will not last the wearing out, but in the end vanishes and comes to nothing, unless, as a rotting thing leaves some corruption behind it, so their good name in the end being vanished leaves infamy behind it. And this is the name which commonly is gotten in the world, because men first seek not a good name with God. But that good name which is obtained by faith will stand and continue all a man’s life and at his death leave behind it a sweet perfume and abide forever in the world to come.”1

Finally he closes this chapter with these words of realism about having enemies:

“If you have true faith, you are sure to have enemies. First, the wicked of the world will never brook3 you but openly or privily hate and hurt you. Then the devil is your sworn enemy. How can you deal with so powerful an enemy and all his wicked instruments? Here is sound comfort. If you have faith, you have God [as] your friend. Labor therefore for this true faith and then care not for the devil and all his power. Night and day, sleeping and waking, by land and sea you are safe and secure. The devil cannot hurt you. Your faith makes you accepted of God and brings you within the compass of His protection. That same little spark of faith, which is in so narrow a compass as your heart, is stronger than all the power and malice of Satan. As for the malice which his instruments, wicked men in this world, show against you in mocks and abuses, much less care for them; for their nature is to speak evil and cannot do otherwise. Look not therefore at them, but look up into heaven by the eye of your soul, where your faith makes you beloved and approved of God Himself and honorable in the presence of His holy angels.”1

1. The Works of William Perkins, Reformation Heritage Books, Vol 3 p17-20

The Works of William Perkins is a remarkable and wonderful resource from Reformation Heritage Books. Reformation Heritage is in process of publishing his works… they have finished the first four volumes. Treasures! The first four volumes of his works, (his exegetical works), are available on special offer ($130).

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Fear of God Devotional: Do You Apologize or Repent?

What is the distinction between a mere apology and true biblical repentance?

Rob Ventura explains in this video that a mere apology conveys how a person feels, that they feel bad for what they did. Instead of apologizing, they need to repent. 

This involves explaining that they have sinned against that person and ask for the other person’s forgiveness. Repentance involves an understanding that you have sinned against another person. 

James 5:16 (NKJV) – “Confess your trespasses[a] to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

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Trials Are the Looking Glass Showing Our Faults

Thomas Brooks helps us see how trials refine us:

“By trials, God reveals much of a man’s sinful self to his pious self. When the fire is put under the pot, then the scum appears. So when God tries a poor soul, Oh! how does… 

– the scum of pride
– the scum of murmuring
– the scum of distrust
– the scum of impatience
– the scum of worldliness
– the scum of carnality
– the scum of foolishness
– the scum of willfulness

—reveal itself in the heart of the poor creature? 

Trials are God’s looking glass, in which His people see their own faults. Oh! that looseness, that vileness, that wretchedness, that sink of filthiness, that gulf of wickedness, which trials show to be in their hearts! “Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction” (Isa 48:10).

From Thomas Brooks, The Mute Christian under the Smarting Rod, Chapel Library, http://www.chapellibrary.org/files/8914/0171/9774/mcut.pdf

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Fear of God Devotional: Repentance and Faith Are Two Sides of the Same Coin

How are faith and repentance related?

Jason Dohm explains in this video that there must be repentance towards God and faith in Christ. They are distinct but they are inseparable. Repentance is a turning from while faith is a turning to God. There is a very close relationship between the two.

We should think of them as being two sides of the same coin. Repentance is a turning from something while faith is a turning to something. 

Acts 20:20-21 (NKJV) – “ I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, 21 testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

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Fear of God Devotional: Repentance in the Life of a Pastor

What does repentance look like in the life of a pastor?

Paul Carrington explains in this video that a repentant pastor examines his life by the Word of God. He understands that if he is going to preach to his congregation, he must be willing to humble himself and repent of sin in his life.  

Repentance involves humility. Elders need to be willing to repent and ask for forgiveness. He shares how he has seen examples of this in the church he attends.

Acts 20:28 (NKJV) – “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God[a] which He purchased with His own blood.”

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What it Looks Like when Fathers and Sons Follow Jesus


In this message I outline six marks of fathers and sons who are following Jesus.

  1. When fathers follow Jesus it is because their hearts are miraculously turned, Malachi 4 :5-6
  2. When fathers follow Jesus, they walk with their sons and teach them what they love, Deut 6:5-9
  3. When fathers follow Jesus they explain the greatness of God, Psalm 78
  4. When fathers follow Jesus, they take their sons on a journey of obedience, Gen 18:19
  5. When fathers follow Jesus they nurture their sons, and sons honor their fathers and mothers, Eph 6:1-4
  6. When fathers follow Jesus, they become like Jesus, John 5:17-22; Psalm 40:6-8  

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Fear of God Devotional: What Are Marks of False Repentance?

What are marks of false repentance?

Joel Beeke explains in this video that a person who falsely repents is ultimately concerned about themselves. They want to avoid the consequences of sin. False repentance will always lead you away from Christ.

But, a person who truly repents is concerned about sin itself instead of its consequences. They want to please God and are concerned about what sin does to the glory of God. True repentance leads a person closer to God.

2 Corinthians 7:10 (NKJV) – “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”

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Pride and Immodesty in Men

In this message I examine pride and immodesty in men. I address to matters of pride which the father and son relationship reveals. Further, I speak to the subject of pride and male immodesty. When most of us hear the word, “immodesty,” we think of women. However, the Bible does speak of how men are immodest. It’s source is pride, which is revealed in the father son relationship. 

A Relationship that Reveals Pride

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Fear of God Devotional: When Church Leaders Repent

What is the effect of church leaders exemplifying a lifestyle of repentance?

Kevin Swanson explains in this video that the church leaders need to be the ones to exemplify a lifestyle of repentance to their congregations. They need to be the first to confess their sins and plead for God’s mercy – for themselves first and then for the rest of the congregation. 

They need to be overwhelmed with the holiness of God and their own sinfulness. If that is exemplified by the pastors and elders in the way they speak with others and their congregation, we would see a tremendous transformation in the churches.

Hebrews 13:17 (NKJV) – “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”

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Fear of God Devotional: The Importance of Keeping Short Accounts in a Marriage

What does repentance look like between a husband and a wife?

Dennis Gunderson explains in this video that a marriage where the husband and wife are one flesh is a relationship that is the closest human union there is. It is a picture of Christ and the Church. 

If unity between spouses is to be enjoyed, deepened, and enriched, both spouses must keep short accounts with one another. They must not let great gulfs of time go between instances of sin. If one spouse sins against the other it is important to repent and make it right as soon as possible. 

Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV) – “ And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

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Central US Church Leaders Meetings

I'd like invite you to one of the church leaders luncheons in the three following cities at the end of January. Ill be traveling with Kirk Smith, our “Regional Facilitator” for the area for these meetings. Various local pastors will be joining us and delivering messages to encourage and exhort us including, Doug Barger, Justin Huffman, Kirk Smith, Kert Martin, Gary Powers, Chris Law, David Feddes and Michael Johnson and others. These meetings begin at 10am and end at 2;00pm.

Jan. 24: Indy

Jan. 25: St. Louis

Jan. 26: Chicago

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Four Ways to Catch Up When You Fall Behind Reading the Bible

I predict you will sometimes fall behind. Our family did – many times each year.  Don’t say, “We might fall behind so we shouldn’t try.”  It is usually a mistake to neglect a great thing for possible failure. Yes, you will fall behind from time to time. Life happens! Our family used different methods at different times when we fell behind.  Here are four ways the Brown family bounced back when we fell behind the schedule:

First, spread it out
Let’s say you’re 16 chapters behind. Add one extra chapter for the next 16 days and you’ll be caught up in sixteen days.

Second, grind it out
Just grind it out and read those 16 make-up chapters over a day or two.  Take a couple of hours and read, read, read.  Just “Git ‘er done!”

Third, listen up
Catch up by listening to an audio bible while you are driving or working around the house.

Fourth, jump ahead
Simply jump ahead to the section allocated for the current day in the schedule. Chalk it up to, “It’s not a perfect world, we are not a perfect family and sometimes we fall behind”.  BUT, we are not giving up!”

This is an excerpt from the article, “Ten Tips for Reading the Bible as a Family.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Are You Reformed or Reforming?

What is the difference between repentance and reformation?

Jeff Pollard explains in this video that there is a specific connection between repentance and reformation. In one sense, as the Christian continues to repent, he also continues to reform. He explains that he prefers the word “reforming” over “reformation.” We will never get to a state where we are completely reformed – rather, we will continue to be reforming (and repenting).

A Christian’s desire, what ought to burn in their heart, is to strive for a life that reforms as it conforms to God because they have been transformed by the grace of God. The Christian is always reforming. Whole families should always be reforming. As soon as they identify sin in their life, they ought to want to repent of that.

Romans 12:2 (NKJV) – “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

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