Repent: the First Word of True Salvation


“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” – (Mt.4:17).

“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” – (Mt.3:1,2).

It’s very important to know how to be saved. What exactly is involved in getting saved? Repentance is a key part of true salvation and yet it is missing from most preaching today. The first word that John the Baptist preached in preparing people for salvation by the Lord Jesus – was repent. He preached repentance and then pointed to Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” – (Jn.1:29). This is true salvation, “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” – (Acts 20:21). And faith toward Christ is expressed by truly believing on Him in your heart. Jesus preached early in his ministry exactly as His preparer John the Baptist did – “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is as hand” – (Mt.4:17).


God give us some prophet preachers who will call us back to real Bible preaching – who will call both sinners and saints to repentance. If we get revival, it must come from genuine repentance. We need more people to repent and believe on Jesus and get saved and we need more Christians to repent of besetting sins. God give us more repenters. God give us preachers with Holy Ghost boldness to preach on sin, not sin in general, but specific sins. It’s time for the church to repent of sin because the church is the same as the world today – a worldly church.


Far too many grow up in Christian homes, make a profession of faith and become active in a church building, but they know deep in their heart, that they have never been born again and become a new creature in Christ. Scores of people come forward and make altar calls but don’t repent of sin and consequently never get saved. They bear no Holy Ghost fruit in their lives – no old man and new man.


Some say the fist word of the gospel is ‘believe.’ Others say ‘love’ or ‘faith’ or ‘hope’ or ‘heaven.’ But the first word is repent. Repentance is a turning away from sin and turning back to the Lord Jesus. It is repentance and faith, which are two sides of the same coin. By repentance, one turns away from sin and by faith one turns to the Lord Jesus – a two-fold turning. It is turn ye, turn ye – repent ye, or God’s Judgment will fall upon you in hell. It’s turn or burn. Whoever turns from their sins and turns to Christ by faith will be saved.


Even earthly judges look for signs of repentance of criminals (sinners) before sentencing them – should the Judge of the Universe do no less. Before God will pardon us and forgive us our sins and send us to heaven instead of hell, he requires us to repent and turn away from sin in our hearts and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ by faith. You cannot love your sinful way of life and still be saved.


When Jesus sent his 12 apostles out to preach two by two, the fist thing they preached was repent. “And they went out and preached that men should repent” – (Mk.6:12). Orders for preachers from our Lord. True preachers of God, are you listening? It was our Lord’s final instructions to his disciples. In (Luke 24:46,47) it is written that the whole purpose of His death and resurrection was – “That repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations.” This also is a part of the great commission. Some preachers say – “Just preach on believe and they will repent” - only some will. Jesus told us to preach both – are you afraid to?


It was the fist word in the mouth of Peter after his great sermon on Pentecost. When he reached the climax of his sermon, his hearers cried out in conviction, “What shall we do? Then Peter said unto them Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” – (Acts 2:37,38). At the end of Peter’s second sermon in (Acts 3:19) he said the same thing – “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.” No repentance – no remission of sins – no salvation. Yes – Repent – the first word of salvation. “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” – (Acts 5:31)


The apostle Paul preached the same message of repentance after his conversation in Damascus. Many years afterward, Paul declared what he had preached immediately after getting saved. “I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: but showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance” – (Acts 26:19,20).


In the book of Revelation, Jesus preached to the seven churches and he focused on the urgent necessity of repentance in 5 of 7 letters to the churches. Repent is 12 times total in Revelation. Repent is in the bible 110 times – 56 in the Old Testament and 64 in the New Testament. God required repentance and a bloody sacrifice in the Old Testament and he requires repentance and the bloody sacrifice of the Lord Jesus on the cross in the New Testament. Jesus said twice in (Luke 13:3,5) “I tell you, Nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Don’t perish in hell. Repent of your sins and turn to Christ and be born again. We need repentance today – both for the saved and unsaved. “And the times of this ignorance God winked at: but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent” – (Acts 17:30). Peter preached again in (2 Pet.3:9) “But is longsuffering to us ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Don’t perish – repent.


Sad to say, repentance is missing in most preaching today. It’s scarcely heard in the church today. I met pastors and workers in churches all over, straining and striving to have revivals. Church bulletins, activities of all kinds, visiting, inviting, singing, praying – and all this is good. But the most important thing is left out – the need of repentance. The average church evangelistic revival is a drive for new members and the present membership is left untouched. Jesus did not say to the church in Ephesus “what you need is a bigger evangelistic program” – he said repent. He didn’t say to the churches at Pergamos and Thyatira “What you need is to step up your missionary giving” – He said repent. He didn’t say to the church of Laodicea – “You need more witnessing” – He said they needed to get over their lukewarmness and come to a boil by repenting. We need more repenters in our churches.


And people will never repent of sin unless we preach on sin. I mean specific sins – not sin in general. I mean naming sin exactly and probing with the sharp two-edged sword of God’s Word. Preachers are dancing around sin today and tickling ears and are afraid to preach the truth. They will even get themselves a coward’s Bible like the N.I. perversion which has watered down sin words. (Like fornication which is removed and replaced by immorality). And they won’t begin to preach on Sodomy.


Many make altar calls and don’t get saved. They spend three minutes at the altar while the preacher continues to preach and the music plays, being “led to Christ’ by someone who doesn’t even mention the word sin. Instead they should wait till the service is over and take them in a back room and spend all the time necessary to present salvation, which is most important, and not hurry it up. Seekers need to feel they’re sinners and that they must turn from their wickedness and turn to Christ.


Calling churches to repentance is unpopular and thankless. People are going to churches today to be entertained and so the churches are providing comedians and singers and actors instead of true preachers. They ‘hire’ evangelists who will jump up and down behind the pulpits and run around the church and slam stuff around and ‘act out’ sermons. You don’t really think Jesus preached like that? It’s not how you preach, it’s what you preach. Preaching the truth is the power of God. But remember there’s a price to pay for preaching the truth. It can get very lonely and even dangerous. John the Baptist was beheaded for preaching straight on marriage and the Lord Jesus was crucified. Yes, dangerous but very, very necessary because there is no salvation without it.


Many church members give no evidence of being born again. There is sin in the camp and few repenters. Pride keeps a person from repenting of their sins. Unrepentant people will finally receive judgment from God. When the great tribulation comes, even then most will not repent – (Rev.9:21). Self-righteous people need to come to the place that Job did and see themselves as sinners. Job finally saw himself as a lost sinner and that he needed to repent of his sins in order to get right with God. “Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” – (Job 42:6). He was a Godly and self-righteous man that needed to repent. Our churches are full of them.


(2 Chr.7:14) says – “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal the land.” And if you don’t repent, God won’t forgive your sins – Amen. Because you won’t turn from your wicked ways.


Many say, just believe, that’s all that’s necessary and they throw the repentance scriptures out the window. This “easy-believism” is a perversion of God’s grace. You don’t truly believe unless you repent. The difference between true faith and false faith is lack of true repentance. You need to call upon the name of the Lord in truth – God’s way and thou shalt be saved. Jesus commanded me to preach repentance and remission of sins in His name, all of the salvation scriptures, and that’s who I follow. No sinner ever was or ever will be saved without it.


Are you truly saved? Are you born again? Have you repented of your sins? It’s repent or perish time. “God now commandeth all men everywhere to REPENT.” “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth – (Luke 15:10). Amen and Amen.


Repent: the First Word of TRUE Salvation



Pastor Mike Storti

5000 N. LaCholla- Lot 76

Tucson, AZ 85705