Zechariah 1:4
Do not be like your forefathers, to whom the former prophets proclaimed: This is what the LORD of Hosts says: 'Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds.' But they did not listen or pay attention to Me, declares the LORD.
Sermons
God's Call to RepentanceW. Forsyth Zechariah 1:1-6
The Importance of RepentanceD. Thomas Zechariah 1:1-6
The Divine Order of All True ProgressT. Whitfield, M. A.Zechariah 1:3-4
The Importance of RepentanceHomilistZechariah 1:3-4
Repentance is turning from sin unto God.

I. THE CALL IS FOUNDED ON GOD'S ABSOLUTE RIGHT TO OBEDIENCE. "Lord of hosts." Sublime title. Thrice used, to give the greater impressiveness. Implies that God's rule is wide as creation. Mark the "host" of stars (Isaiah 40:26). Higher, behold the "angels and principalities and powers" (Psalm 103:20, 21). God is Lord of all, and it is this God that claims our homage. To turn from him is folly and ruin; to turn to him is the highest wisdom and blessedness.

II. URGED BY GOD'S JUDGMENTS ON TRANSGRESSORS. Israel is our "ensample" (1 Corinthians 10:11). The sun dues not ripen the corn more surely than God's favour attended the Jews when they were steadfast to walk in his ways; nor are thorns and briars more certain to spring up in a neglected field than God's judgments to fall on Israel when their hearts were set in them to do evil. God is not changed. The world is governed now on the same principles as in the past.

III. ENCOURAGED BY GOD'S PROMISES. "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." So of God's Word. It reveals his heart. There is no bar on God's part to the sinner's return. He himself has opened the way, and his promise is to those who turn to him. "I will turn unto you." Here is hope held out, help graciously offered, joyful welcome assured. We have not only doctrines, but facts. Great cloud of witnesses, who can say each for himself, like Paul, "I obtained mercy."

IV. ENFORCED BY THE EXPERIENCES OF LIFE. Every man's life is separate. But much common. The brevity of life. Delay is dangerous. The confessions of life. God's Word is truth. Faithful are his promises and his threatenings. The monitions of life. Voices of the past, of the good, and of the evil, of earth and heaven, all combine and cry with awful and convincing force, "Repent!" - F.







Turn ye unto Me...and I will turn unto you.
The first step is at all times to turn to the Lord; the second follows, "turn you now from your evil ways, and from your evil doing." The motive and the power to forsake evil must be found in himself. Once know Jesus and His love, experimentally, and you possess a motive for holiness, greater far than either heaven or earth can furnish. It is the expulsive power of a new affection. And yet, as in all advance, there is reciprocal action. The first step must ever be to Jesus. When the man is in Christ he possesses the power. But in turning away from evil, new light and life are thrown back upon the starting point. We see truth more clearly, and embrace it more earnestly. Thus there is growth in grace. To every step of faithfulness on our part the Lord adds new light; and this light is reflected in the face of Jesus Christ. He becomes more known, more loved; and this produces its effect in more likeness to Him.

(T. Whitfield, M. A.)

Homilist.
Urged from —

I. THE DIVINE DISPLEASURE TOWARDS THE IMPENITENT MEN OF THE FAST. "The Lord hath been sore displeased with your fathers." "They had shown a mournfully strong and inveterate propensity to depart from God and from His ways. They had needed incessant repetitions of Divine admonitions, entreaties, promises, and threatenings; and manor a time all had proved unavailing. Jehovah bound them to Himself with 'cords of love.' But 'they brake the bands asunder, and cast away the cords from them.' They chose their own ways. They thus provoked Him to anger. Their fathers had by their sins brought that heavy seventy years' judgment upon themselves." Now the displeasure of God to sinners of the past is here referred to in order to induce the Jews to repent of the selfish negligence which they had evinced concerning the building of the temple (Haggai 2:5-7).

II. FROM GOD'S ASSURANCE OF A WELCOME TO ALL THAT TRULY REPENT. Proved —

1. By His invitation to the impenitent. "Come now let us reason together, saith the Lord," etc. etc.

2. By the experience of mankind. Manasseh, David, Saul, Bunyan, and millions more returned to Him, and He not only received them, but rejoiced over them.

III. FROM THE TRANSITORINESS OF HUMAN LIFE. By the "fathers" are meant those with whom God was displeased, An argument —

1. For the wicked to repent.

2. For faithfulness, and for persevering zeal.For we shall all soon have finished our mission.

(Homilist.)

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