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Ostentatious Repentance

Gen. Deborah Green

P RAISE GOD. Welcome to Battle Cry POUNDING/ Battle Cry Sounding. The Lord is on the move, and the Lord is on the move, and the Lord is moving by His wrath, His fury, His indignation; and He is pounding the proud, He is pounding the rebellious, and He is pounding the defiant, the stubborn, the ones who refuse the way of the Lord.

But, He's also sounding the call, the cry to repentance revolution. In other words, "Turn from your wicked way, bow yourself unto Me, humble yourself unto Me that I can give you MERCY in the midst of my WRATH."

Now, the Lord spoke to us yesterday, and He said that He is the ark of safety, that He is the One that is truth and light, that He is the one that we can, through repentance, enter into and be kept in a nation, a generation that is literally being flooded by waves of iniquity, that is being overwhelmed by the floods of demons, by the floods of ungodliness, of filthiness, of vileness, of perversion, of wickedness on every hand. THAT IF WE WILL BE A REPENTANT PEOPLE, AND CONTINUE IN THAT REPENTANCE, THEN WE CAN BE IN THAT ARK THAT HE PROVIDES.

And you know what? God wants us to know, understand, and realize that He is the ever present help to every generation that will cry out unto Him; if we will cry out unto God, that God is here to keep us. It's not how many guns, and cigarettes, and beer, and supplies you can crawl off in some cave in the mountains and hoard. If you want a "bulletproof faith," then get it in Jesus; because it's Jesus who will be our source, who will be our strength, who will be our safety. But, in order to BE in Him, we must be a repentant people. Amen.

Now, the name of today's message is, "Ostentatious Repentance." Now, this word, "ostentatious," means, now I'm taking the "ostentatiously" because it was here in the Amplified version. But, the word "ostentatious" means, "Pretentious display, outright display, showiness, exhibit, and boastful exhibition."

Now, what did it say of the Pharisees? It said that they were RELIGIOUS TO BE SEEN OF MEN. In other words, they had to make wide their phylacteries, they had to make sure they got the utmost seats in the synagogue, and they had to make sure that everybody recognized them when they walked the streets of Jerusalem: "Oh! Rabbi So and So," or you know, this title and that title, or this honor and that honor.

In other words, they were boastfully exhibiting themselves because why? Because they were highly religious. Because they were highly religious. Now, the Lord, today, impressed upon me that in both of these instances here, we see when men are ostentatious in their so-called repentance...now see, repentance means that you thoroughly AMEND and CHANGE your ways, and it means also that you have a change of mind, and a change of heart.

SO, OSTENTATIOUS REPENTANCE IS FAKE REPENTANCE; PLAIN AND SIMPLE. Because if you don't change your doings, and you do not alter your thinking—to the degree that you come into agreement and obedience unto, and submission to the will of God in your life, then you can put on a display to be seen of others, and they can say, "Oh, look how submitted they are to God." But, if your life does not reflect that submission, you are a pretender.

 If I could say, "Oh God, give me another chance; I'll obey you," then God gives me a chance, and I go backwards; I RUN from obedience. Now, in a sense, you could say that Jonah, who we learned about in "Repentance Rebel," was an ostentatious repenter—because he declared to God in the whale, or the big fish's belly, "I love you, and I'm going to serve you, and I'm going to do whatever you want me to do!"

But then when he was given the opportunity to do it, he did it out of an attitude of resentment, and he was mad at the fact that God allowed a gourd to die, and he didn't even care that 120,000 PEOPLE WOULD DIE if they did not repent.

So, it's easy folks, to set up in self-righteousness, which is pride, and imagine that we are better than everybody else when we make a declaration unto God, but are we really making a declaration unto God, or are we making the declaration to be heard, seen, and approved and applauded of men? So, this is where the rubber hits the road in this repentance factor—is that we must stay sincere, and we must stay real with our repentance.

Now, we'll see here as we read the first example of two men who went to the temple to pray. And, it gives us a display of ostentatious repentance, versus true repentance. Chapter 18, Luke, I'm reading out of the Amplified version, beginning here in verse 10.

It says, "Two men went up into the temple [enclosure] to pray, the one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector." Now, tax collectors were probably a very crooked bunch of people. In other words, they did things according to how they felt about it, not according to the dictates, or the rules they were supposedly under. In other words, if they choose to find somebody, or to DELEGATE TO SOMEBODY THAT THEY HAD TO PAY HIGH TAXES, THEN THAT WORD WAS LAW.

So, they had a lot of power; they had a lot of disgrace attached to their profession, and they had a lot of hatred—kind of like the IRS. Now, whoever loves the IRS, raise your hand. I knew it! Thank God for Americans!

Now, going on, this one was a Pharisee. So, that means already, that he's covered in a covering of smugness, of religious pride, of assurance of his own greatness, and his own skill, and his own capability. In other words his god was self.

The other fellow is a sinner—in the sense that because of his profession, and because of his behavior in his profession, there are probably many who despise him. He's probably cheated people, he's probably lied on people, he's probably done a lot of things that are unbecoming.

And yet, when he's going to pray, there's something real that happens in his life. In other words, he is the one who is bowed down in repentance—TRUE REPENTANCE; in the presence of God. He doesn't go in there, as the other one does, and want to make God bow to his god of religious pride and self esteem, but he goes in there subjected to the presence of God; to the extent that he sees his own sinfulness.

And you know, that's what God wants us to do. He wants us to be subjected to God—to the extent that we see our own failure, our own sinfulness, and we see our own need to repent. Now, who in here has outgrown repentance? Raise your hand. Oh, great! That was the best show of hands I've seen all day!

Ok, so back to the chapter, back to the Scripture, it says, "The Pharisee took his stand ostentatiously…" Now, what does this "ostentatious" mean? It means "Pretentious display, outright display, showiness, boastful exhibition and exhibit."

Now, I've heard before some people say, "Well, I left Christianity and I became a Muslim because Muslims will pray anywhere when it's their prayer time."

So what do they do? They come in with their little carpet, they put it down in an OSTENTATIOUS DISPLAY—so that everyone can see how HIGHLY RELIGIOUS they are, and better than everyone else—better than the infidels, better than the dogs, the pigs, whatever they call other people. AND SO MUCH BETTER THAT THEY SHOULD EITHER MURDER OR ENSLAVE ALL OTHERS. Quite a merciful religion; wouldn't you say? It's an ostentatious display.

But, this Pharisee, it says, "took his stand ostentatiously and began to pray." Now, you could say, "Well, he wasn't praying repentance." Well, he should have been. He should have been. He should have been saying, "God be merciful to me that I have been full of religious pride, that I have contempt for others, that I despise all others, that I see myself as better than I am, that I'm full of all manner of evil, that I need your help, that I need your mercy, that I need your forgiveness because I'm a fool."

Now, that would have been true repentance. But, instead he wanted to put on this big display— in the temple, that called attention to God, NO, that called attention to HIM; that he was the I AM.

You know, God says when people depart from Him, what can they do except get locked in the PRISON-HOUSE of pride, religiosity, and promotion of self? Ok, and so they're locked there in that prison-house of self.

And, some of them even go to the degree that they refer to themselves as the "I AM." Now, this is true, we just had a witness of that yesterday. Someone is literally referring to themselves as "I AM the I AM." In other words, "I am the one you've been waiting to hear from; I am the one who is the celebrity; I am the one who knows everything; I am the one who is the whistle blower; I am EVERYTHING, so worship me." Now, that's disgusting! There's none that needs to be worshiped—IT IS JESUS CHRIST THE LORD, AND GOD THE FATHER WE ARE MEANT TO WORSHIP. Amen.

So, here we have Mr. Ostentatious repentance putting on his pretentious display, his outright display, his showy display, his exhibit, and his boastful exhibition. So, who is he bragging on? Is it Jesus? No, it is himself. Who is he humbling himself unto? No one. Who is he yielding himself over to be searched by? No one. He's very secure in his prison-house of pride.

In other words, "You're not going to bust through my armor, because I am." Yes you are—a fool. Did you know that pride will make you a fool—to where you cannot receive reproof, you cannot receive correction, and you cannot receive instruction in righteousness—because you are so sure of your own greatness, your own goodness; it's deceitful.

Ok, so he's here, and he's letting everyone know how great he is. "And began to pray thus before and with himself…" So, the real god that he's praying to is HIMSELF. The real god that he's reinforcing, the real god that he's lifting up is SELF.

So, he's putting on his ostentatious EXHIBITION for anybody else that might be there, that they would hear him and have to agree that he was the great one. So it says, "God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men—extortioners (robbers), swindlers [unrighteous in heart and life], adulterers—or even like this tax collector here."

So, he's put out, mind you, he is literally put out at the very fact that Christ forgives sinners. He's put out by the very fact that God allows sinners to repent. And he's also put out by the fact that this scummy tax-collector is in the same temple that he's in.

So, he's locked in the prison-house of self-idolatry, he's locked into the prison-house of pride, and he's locked into his own religiosity, self-righteousness. And he's letting "god" set the record straight, that he IS the next nominee for the I AM power; He's the runner-up, ready to boot Jehovah God out of the way and become the new I AM.

Now, that's where religious pride will take you, folks. Religion is REBELLION against God; because it makes you the ruler of your life. Did you hear me? I said it makes YOU the ruler of your life—rather than being subject to God.

So, going on, he's giving more of his presentation of ostentatious repentance, which means he's merely using the opportunity of prayer, when he should have been humbling himself in true repentance unto God, he's using it in falsehood to promote himself.

Now, that is ostentatious repentance; because it is a proud display; it is a showy pretentious display; it is an outright display; it's a BOASTFUL EXHIBITION. Now, let's get into some more of the boasting: "I FAST TWICE A WEEK; I GIVE TITHES OF ALL THAT I GAIN."

I wonder if he gave a tithe of his pride? That seemed to be his greatest gain. Did he give a tenth of his pride to God? No, he wouldn't give to God any of his pride because HE WAS UNWILLING IN HIS REPENTANCE TO BE REAL.

You know, we can get that kind of an attitude—"Ok, if you say I have to repent, then I will!" And we can come to the Lord and say, "Lord, I'm thankful I'm not like that other guy over there, and look at these sinners out there, and look at all these fools, and look at that guy, he fell down and then got up, and look at that one, he confessed his sin, and look at that one, he's just got a dirty job, and I'm better than him, and blah, blah, blah, blah." So, that's resentful repentance. That's resenting the very notion of repentance, because pride will tell you, "You're too good to repent."

Now, do you think this Pharisee had this pride? Of course he did. That's where the ostentatious repentance came in, because he had to let everybody KNOW that was in the temple HOW GREAT HE WAS. And then he had to let the other one who was going to pray, the tax collector, know how scummy, and unworthy of God he was.

Did you know that God's heart is kindled towards sinners who repent? Did you know that the angels rejoice over one sinner who repents? This Pharisee had a self-centered theology. It was not centered on God, it was not centered on Christ, it was centered on self. It was centered on him; and HOW GREAT his religious display was ABOVE EVERY ONE ELSE.

And he says, "I do this, and I do that." And yet, as I asked the question, "Did he give 10 percent of his pride? Did he give 10 percent of his religiosity?" Those were the things that he was being increased in every day as he lived in his self-imprisonment world.

People, we cannot make it in God unless we allow the Lord to rule our lives, unless we allow the Lord to show us our sinful state, to show us where we miss Him, to show us that we are not the perfect ones; and that we need help. We need HELP. And when we admit we need help, guess who's there to help us? It's not "Samaritan's Curse;" it's the Lord.

It's the Lord Jesus Christ who will reach down in compassion, who will reach down in mercy, who will reach down and acknowledge the fact that we've offered to Him true repentance; and He is just to forgive. Ok, going on, after Mr. Fast-twice-in-a-week, and give-tithe-of-all-that-he-gains, guess what? The tax collector.

"But the tax collector, [merely] standing at a distance, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but kept striking his breast, saying, O God, be favorable (be gracious, be merciful) to me, the especially wicked sinner that I am!"

So, what is he doing there? He is MAKING CONFESSION THAT HE IS A WICKED SINNER. In other words, his cry for repentance, his cry for forgiveness, his cry for mercy, is coming out of a sincere and true revelation of his own sinful state.

AND SO HIS REPENTANCE IS REAL. It's not an ostentatious display to call attention to his god of self, but it is a PLEA of a wretched man. It is the plea of a wretched sinner, it is a plea of a man who is very aware of the evil that he's done in this life, very aware of the fact that he's not lived up to the standard, that he's failed God, that he's walked afar off, that he's cheated, that he's schemed, that he's lied.

And he's aware of his own condition, and he's crying out to God for mercy. And it says that he just “stood afar off.” In other words, he did not have to come up to the very front and put on a display, and glare at everybody that could possibly be in the temple to let them recognize his greatness. He just said, "God, I need help. I am the wreck, I am the sinner, I am the failure."

You know, WHEN YOU GET REAL WITH GOD, GOD GETS REAL WITH YOU. I believe that's one of the biggest hindrances in the development of Christians—IS THEIR FAILURE TO GET REAL WITH GOD. They think, "Oh, if I just put on this religious display, then I'm all right." No honey, if you just get down and gut it out, and confess what you are, and what you are not, and how much you need God, God will hear you, and God will accept your repentance, and God will forgive you.

How can you really be repentant, and CHANGE your mind, and CHANGE your behavior, if you are believing in your self? You cannot. I tell you, self is a wicked foe of the purpose of God in your life.

Ok, then going on, it says, after we have him here striking his breast saying, "God, be favorable (be gracious, be merciful) to me, the especially wicked sinner that I am!" it says, "I tell you, this man went down to his home justified (forgiven and made upright and in right standing with God), rather than the other man; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."

And do you know how we are exalted? We are exalted when we OFFER TO GOD TRUE REPENTANCE, and God accepts our repentance. It says that that man went home justified because God accepted his repentance. Mr. Ostentatious Repentance went home rejected because God resists the proud.

Now, let's go quickly to the other Scripture, that's Luke 18:18, and I'm going to read fast here because we want to cover the ground before my time is up. Now it says, "And a certain ruler asked Him," this is when Jesus was teaching: "Good Teacher [You who are essentially and perfectly morally good], what shall I do to inherit eternal life [to partake of eternal salvation in the Messiah's kingdom]? Jesus said to him, Why do you call Me [essentially and perfectly morally] good? No one is [essentially and perfectly morally] good—except God only. You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, do not witness falsely, honor your father and your mother. And he replied, All these I have kept from my youth."

Now, we have here another ostentatious individual who is exhibiting his great religiosity. And then it says, "When Jesus heard it, He said to him, One thing you still lack. Sell everything that you have and divide [the money] among the poor, and you will have [rich] treasure in heaven; and come back [and] follow Me [become My disciple, join My party, and accompany Me]."

So, what's Jesus doing? HE'S PIN-POINTING HIS SIN. He's pin-pointing his failure, He's pin-pointing the thing that he lacks in his so-called religious perfection.

Now, what does the guy do? say, "You're right Lord, I'm going to do it!" No. It says, "But when he heard this, he became distressed and very sorrowful, for he was rich—exceedingly so. Jesus, observing him, said, How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to enter through a needle's eye than [for] a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

So, we see here that Jesus is giving the indictment against this man's presentation of his own greatness—the same greatness the other one was presenting: "I do this; I've done that; I am this; I am that."

And when Jesus said, "Hey, wait a minute, one thing you lack, now go do this, and then you can come back and join with me." Because the guy was inquiring, "What do I have to do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus was answering him—despite his ostentatious presentation of his own greatness religiously. Jesus answered him with the truth when He said, "You lack to do this thing!"

And it said that, "He went away sorrowful." That means he didn't do it. That means he failed to carry out his presentation through true repentance. Because had he really been true in honoring God, he would have said, "You're right Lord, I have failed to do that. Now I've got to take care of that so I can truly be your disciple."

If we want to be the true disciples of the Lord, then we cannot offer to God ostentatious repentance, we must offer to God REAL repentance, and take action to revolution against the very things that Jesus says we lack, that Jesus says we need to correct, that Jesus looks upon and says, "Un-uh, you will not get in carrying that."

 So, we need to what? We need to submit. Ok, let me say it again REBELS, "SUBMIT TO THE ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY OF THE LORD OVER OUR LIVES!" Because the truth of it is, they are not OUR lives.

And, let me get on this matter of riches: we can be rich in our own REPUTATION, we can be rich in our NAME, we can be rich in what OTHER PEOPLE THINK of us, we can be rich in our RELIGIOUS WORKS, we can be rich in our KNOWLEDGE OF THE SCRIPTURE, or we can be rich in our LOVE OF OURSELVES. “GET RID OF YOUR RICHES! AND THEN COME AND FOLLOW ME.” So, what are we supposed to do? Get rid of the things that offend God through REAL REPENTANCE AND FOLLOW HIM. AMEN.

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