Forgiveness Brings Blessings

Blessings Through Forgiveness

2 Corinthians 2

We know our Churches face the challenges of this world just to survive and that is bad enough, but when there is internal turmoil and divisiveness inside the Church body, then that is even worse.

Satan will try His best to make the power of the Church go away in this world and he has in many places already.

In 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul had addressed many issues that had divided the Church in Corinth.

By ignoring blatant sin among its members, the Corinthian church was further contributing to division and weakness in the members of this Church.

The Apostle Paul had given practical instructions from the Word of God on for how to deal with immorality in the church.

Today we are reading why Paul could not return to this Church at this time and why he wrote the second epistle to this Church at Corinth.

The biggest reason the Church faces so many challenges is because even though we are a saved people, we are still human and we still live in these sinful bodies of flesh!

Gal 5:17  For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

The Apostle Paul understood these things better than most other Church leaders.

One lesson we should learn is, that our Pastor should not be the cause of pain in Church discipline, this is the responsibility of the church body.

It is the “Body of Christ”, the Church members that should bear the pain of Church discipline, guided by the Pastor and sticking to the Word of God in every step!

*****2Co 2:1  But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. 
2Co 2:2  For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me? 

We can actually see the love that Paul had for this church.

We need to clearly understand the purpose of Church discipline!

The purpose of Church discipline is:
(1) To bring glory to God and enhance the testimony of the “body of Christ”.
(2) To restore, heal, and build up sinning believers.
(3) To show the need for sound doctrine.
(4) To win a soul to Christ, if the sinning person is only a professing Christian.
(5) To silence false teachers and their influence in the church.
(6) To set an example for the rest of the body of Christ and promote godly fear.
(7) To protect the church against the destructive consequences that occur when churches fail to carry out church discipline.

Until the Church in Corinth had done these things it was not so important that Paul made another appearance to this Church.

It is never so important for a Pastor to pour his heart out to people who reject the Word of God, his time is better spent on those with receptive ears and open hearts!

Paul was committed to the purity of the Church and he would have been even more severe if he had come and none of his directions had been followed.

Heb 12:11  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

These things had brought much ridicule to the Apostle Paul and it would be best if if he was not attacked again.

Our Pastors do not deserve to be attacked for preaching the whole council of God!

AND, The “Body of Christ” must stand up and insist on the truth of God coming from the pulpits.

*****2Co 2:3  And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. 

Paul’s reason for writing was that if those in sin would repent, then there could be joy to all when he returned instead of more sadness on the part of Paul himself.

We can be sure that Paul was following the lead of the Holy Spirit in this case and had not done this thing on his own.

It is also best that the Church put the Lord first, for He is the foundation of the Church and put an end to all controversy.

We would be foolish to believe that everyone in the Church is saved but we cannot allow our Pastor to be the center of any controversy by undisciplined members!

*****2Co 2:4  For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.

Paul had shed many tears over the things that were going on in this Church.

SO, Paul was writing this time to show his love for them all.

The purpose of the Pastor is to reach out to this lost world, lead the lost to Christ and then disciple them to give them strength!

This must be the goal for every Pastor!

This must be the exact same purpose for all the “Body of Christ”!

Just as Paul wanted no part of controversy, the same then should go for the Church.

Paul had only one desire for his children in the Lord.

Rom 1:11  For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, “to the end ye may be established”; 
Rom 1:12  That is, that I may be comforted together with you “by the mutual faith” both of you and me. 

We must realize that it only takes one person to stir up trouble in any Church.

*****2Co 2:5  But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. 
2Co 2:6  Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.

We must never forget, Church discipline has only one goal and that is to restore that one who has fell from “Grace”.

Church discipline is not to run people off that we simply do not like!

There was a single person who had caused grief for this whole church.

It could have been that one who been so immoral but we also know that there were those in this church who had become opposed to the Apostle Paul and there is always a ring leader and some think this is the one because immorality is not mentioned in these Scriptures.

The truth is there was some one in this Church that was attacking God’s man and causing much grief and pain and bringing this Church near to collapse.

**This thing had to be dealt with.

1Co 3:17  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. 

**This man had to be stopped so God’s man (Paul) could do what he was called to do.

Rom 14:4  Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. 

We are not called to judge a man called of God to preach.

Many today are Mama called and Daddy sent!

If God is his master, then God will cause him to stand or he will fall.

**This Church at Corinth had many problems like all Churches do but this controversy could cause this Church to fail.

Php 1:27  Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 
Php 1:28  And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. 

We know we have a good Pastor here at Gethsemane and we simply cannot allow anyone here in our church to stir up any controversy because of the message he preaches.

But we also must be willing to forgive everyone who repents of their evil doings!

Remember it is not the Pastor who disciplines, it is the Church, the “Body Of Christ”.

Paul had insisted this Church deal with this problem before he would return and they had.

But it was just as important that if this person repent that he also be forgiven and welcomed back into the family of God.

BUT, Some now felt that this should not happen and this person never be allowed back into the church.

We must first understand that church discipline is never to be about legal matters because church discipline is to only be about the will of God for His Church. The Church belongs to God!

The government disciplines those who break those laws

There will always be different opinions about church discipline and just like everything else we must depend on the Word of God to know what to do in these things.

What we know:

1) There was a man causing controversy in this church, in fact so much controversy that the Pastor had to ask this church to deal with it.

2) This church followed the advice of the Pastor and dealt with this problem.

3) Not everyone agreed that discipline was needed.

Not everyone agreed with the amount of discipline.

Some even believed that it was never to responsibility of the Church to do such things.

The pure fact is, that church discipline should have taken place before this controversy was allowed to fester and divide this church but also according to the Word of God.

AND, If this church had not done the right thing then the Apostle Paul would have stepped in and remember Paul had all the powers of the Apostles just as Peter and John and the other 9.

We know that the 11 Apostles had chosen a 12th and this is no slight on another good man but Jesus chose His own Apostles.

Paul cautioned this church:

2Co 13:2  I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, “I will not spare”: 

2Co 13:10  Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present “I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification”, and not to destruction.

This church had forgotten the purpose of church discipline as most have today!

*****2Co 2:7  So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. 
2Co 2:8  Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. 

The Lord Jesus made these things pretty simple for us all:

Mat 18:15  Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 
Mat 18:16  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 
Mat 18:17  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. 

First: any believer who attacks God’s church and God’s preachers must be corrected most of all, for his own sake.

Second: this person must be restored to a point that he loves God and all the people of God.

**There must be “forgiveness”, if this person repented!

Luk 17:4  And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. 

**There must be comfort and encouragement given to this person, if he repented!

It would be shame and embarrassment to be told to repent or to leave the church.

1Th 5:11  Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
Th 5:12  And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 
1Th 5:13  And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves. 
1Th 5:14  Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 
1Th 5:15  See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. 

**There must be repentance from that offender! Once he had repented and demonstrated godly sorrow then the purpose of the discipline had been achieved!

If this person is not accepted back into the fold, these things could be more destructive instead of correcting, if “he be swallowed up in much sorrow”.

Act 20:35  I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. 

**The church must go out of it’s way to assure this person of the love of the church!

One of the greatest testimonies of the church is love. This is always notable to visitors. If we cannot show that same love for each other we are failing as a church.

If the mess has been straightened out, its time to get back to the work of God, the quicker the better.

Eph 4:30  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 
Eph 4:31  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 
Eph 4:32  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. 

Joh 13:34  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 
Joh 13:35  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. 

It is this love that shows the proof of each and every church!

*****2Co 2:9  For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. 

Most of us when we think about Church discipline, we always forget the purpose of the Church.

As long as any church knowingly compromises with those who commit the sins of the world, then the church cannot focus on it’s mission and it’s ministry.

Any church that is being disobedient to the Word of God will allow controversy and division to rule in the church rather than God.

Remember the Church was purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ our Savior!

Rev_1:5  And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and “washed us from our sins in his own blood”,

Eph_1:14  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

These things being true, if that person or persons repent of their evil ways, then that same merciful love of God is to be shown to them!

The same condition of pardon and life that we have been given from the Lord, is that we believe that person or persons and offer that same mercy and love to them.

The Church is to be obedient in all things!

The Bible says: Let our conversation be as it becometh the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ.

We are always to love one another!

We associate sin with the soul but we are to hate the sin but never show hatred to the soul which is of great value to the Lord!

The Church is in the business of saving souls!

We can only be the fishers of men and only the Lord can save!

*****2Co 2:10  To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; 
2Co 2:11  Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

**Notice the Apostle Paul forgave this man in order to help this church but also to help himself.

The entire nature of the Lord’s Church is based upon forgiveness!

The Church exists only because God has forgiven our sins because of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ!

When the Church is unforgiving it is denying it’s purpose of existing!

The church that does not forgive and restore after repentance, needs to close the doors because it has no reason to exist!

This is when the true Pastor of that church should take the lead, as did Paul.

**Paul also forgave this person for the sake of Jesus Christ (“in the person of Christ”).

We must remember that Our Lord is so displeased with an unforgiving spirit that He will refuse to forgive anyone who is not forgiving themselves!

Jesus Christ expects us all to be just as forgiving as He is!

**Paul also forgave this man for another great reason, to keep Satan from taking advantage.

1) Satan would take advantage with that man if the church had not forgiven him and he would become a witness against the church and remain out in the world.

He may also have fallen into depression and despair and be swallowed up in sorrow.

2) Satan would take advantage on the Pastor. The ministry of that Pastor or church leader would have become ineffective. God would no longer bless the ministry of such an unforgiving man of God!

3) Satan would get a foothold in the church for the same reason. God will never bless the ministry of an unforgiving church!

Just as Paul states we must always be aware of Satan’s techniques!

We should always consider that Satan has never had to change the way he does things, because his ways have worked for several thousand years, because we fall into his traps so easily.

Satan’s mission is to tempt and destroy people and we must never help him because we will be betraying the reason Jesus Christ went to the cross, which was to save people!

We must remember the Word of God, our enemy is never our fellow man.

Eph 6:10  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 
Eph 6:11  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 
Eph 6:12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 

Satan is always determined to cause the church to fail in it’s mission!

1Pe 5:8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 
1Pe 5:9  Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 

AND, We should never question Paul’s love for this church nor any church.

As men we can only be at one place at a time. Paul was lead by the Holy Spirit as it should be!

Besides, if Paul had spent all his time running from church to church at every little problem, his own ministry would have failed!

For this reason, God chose to give us these wonderful epistles to teach us the truths of God!

We need to listen as Paul describes what God had called him to do and in these things we can learn about our own Pastor.

*****2Co 2:12  Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, 
2Co 2:13  I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia. 

A true pastor will always be gripped with passion to answer God’s call!

Every man called to preach, is called to preach “Christ’s Gospel”!

We see Paul as a pastor who was gripped by passion to preach the full council of God.

We see that Paul still had a deep concern for a troubled church but Paul also had to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit!

Paul had planned to go to Corinth but God had other plans and those attacks on Paul’s person had also made it an unwise thing to do.

Paul instead had sent his first epistle by Titus to this church but Paul’s passion to preach could not be quenched and he answered what we know of as the Macedonian call, but Paul was saddened because he had not heard back form Titus.

Notice Paul could not sit still while waiting on Titus!

We know that our own Pastor simply cannot sit still when he knows that there is another soul that could be reached for the Lord!

Notice when God’s called men are faithful to follow His lead, God will always open up another door for them.

What had God said?

Mar 16:15  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 

How did Paul feel about his calling?

1Co 9:16  For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! 
1Co 9:17  For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. 
1Co 9:18  What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. 

No matter what Paul was doing or where he was preaching or what church he was staring, he still had a great concern for troubled churches and we know for certain that every church has it’s own problems.

Paul said “he had no rest for his spirit”.

Here again we can see our own Pastor and see that no matter what he is doing or how busy he is, he has a great concern for his church!

Paul also had great “faith” in the Word of God as does our own Pastor!

*****2Co 2:14  Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. 

You see no matter what the world brings to hinder the “Gospel of Jesus Christ” if we follow in the will of God, and go through the doors that He opens there will always be victory!

The thing we need to remember is, just as Paul said the triumph was Christ’s, Paul may not have felt a great victory for himself in Corinth but he knew Christ was victorious in Macedonia!

When Jesus Christ has triumphed over us, we will certainly have victory in our lives. Paul felt this victory even in his sadness for Corinth.

We can all be apart of this same victory of Paul when we yield to the calling of the Lord Jesus Christ!

You see no matter who that Pastor or that missionary is, there can be no triumph without the Lord Jesus Christ!

Our one job is to make known the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ wherever Christ has placed us. This is our missionary field until God opens some other door!

As ambassadors for Christ, we must believe in Christ, trust in Christ, be called of Christ, serve in Christ, minister in Christ, live in Christ, move in Christ, and be in Christ!

It is never about us because it must always be about Christ!

When we do these things then we become a sweet savour to Christ.

*****2Co 2:15  For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 
2Co 2:16  To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? 

It is obvious that not everyone will respond to the “Gospel” but that is not our calling. Our calling is to make known the “Gospel” to all people.

We are not to pick and choose who we witness to!

Everyone who is a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ is very precious to Him!

The message of the “Gospel” is either life or death to that one that hears it!

The the unsaved lost,”those who perish”, the “Gospel” we will then be the minister of death.

This is why the Christian is so hated!

The fact that they do not believe the Word of God is there own death sentence and all those who are dead to Christ now will remain dead to Christ throughout eternity!

This is another reason Christians are hated so, it is this message, but it is the Word of God.

AND, this is also the reason the world is trying to silence our true Pastors!

Joh 3:19  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 
Joh 3:20  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 

All those who accept the truth of God and believe, will pass from life to life. These can live now and then live eternity with God!

Joh 3:21  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. 

The Pastor who holds to the complete Word of God without compromise, is being sincere to his calling.

*****2Co 2:17  For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ. 

Without a doubt even in Paul’s day, he knew that there were many more who corrupted the Word of God than who preach the truth.

The true Pastor and the true Christian will always speak in communion and fellowship with the Lord!

The true Pastor and the true Christian will always have motives that are pure!

Our ministry is to serve God and help people.

Tit 2:7  In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, 
Tit 2:8  Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. 

The true Pastor always speaks in the power of God and the presence of Christ Jesus and is therefore able to share that fellowship with others!

Mat 28:20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 

Was Paul perfect absolutely not.

Is our Pastor perfect, he cannot be.

Are there any perfect pastors, preachers, missionaries? No

Our job is not to be perfect, our only job is to be true to the Word of God as best we can!

Questions?

Let’s Pray!

We Can Be Certain Of Christ’s Forgiveness

The Certainty Of Christ’s Forgiveness

Book of Luke 15

Forgiveness of our sins is the first part of our justification before God.

We are justified by our “faith” in the work of Jesus Christ.

Rom 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
Rom 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

BUT, We are saved by God’s “Grace”!

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

As sinners, with faith in the work of Jesus Christ to erase our sin debt, we are forever freed from the guilt and penalty of sin.

Justification is the exact opposite of condemnation!

We already know that Jesus used many parables to teach the truth of the “Gospel”.

The parable of the Prodigal Son is the greatest and most beloved story ever told in human language.

The title “prodigal” describes someone who is given to live an extravagant lifestyle making expenditures on things that go far beyond their actual needs. A prodigal will also possess a very liberal attitude toward the Word of God and the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ.

What is the truth of God?

God loves and reaches out to all the prodigals of this world!

God will run to embrace any prodigal who calls on Him for salvation and repents, no matter how terrible their sin!

*****Luk 15:11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:
Luk 15:12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
Luk 15:13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

Here is a man who is the son of his father by birth.

He belonged to the estate(the world) by natural birth of his father.

The facts will show that he did not belong to his father with his heart, his mind, nor his spirit.

This son wanted two things:

1) He wanted his inheritance given to him. Which means “dad I wish you were dead”.

He wanted all the worldly possessions which he would inherit.

He wanted to get all his father would give him in order that he could enjoy it in that day and time.

We should consider:

a) He had not earned any of it, it was all his fathers, therefore he did not deserve it.

b) He was selfish, self-centered, rude and unkind. He demanded for his father to just “give”. (Not please nor may I have) He cared not what effect this would have on his father’s estate or on his other brother.

Kind of sounds like the world we live in now where the many want handouts of things they did not earn themselves and feel like this world owes them something. They are all, selfish, self-centered, rude, and unkind to those who work and contribute to the system that provides all these things.

The Bible says:

2Ti 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2Ti 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
2Ti 3:3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
2Ti 3:4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
2Ti 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

This prodigal said “give me my independence” and “finance me” the way I want to live because “I refuse to live by your rules”.

We know that so many of our youth have these very same thoughts today!

He felt he was tied down by his family and was held responsible to help care for his father’s property.

He felt his father made to many demands on his life.
He felt his father hindered his freedom.
He felt his father restricted his pleasure.
He felt his father just had to much control of his lifestyle.

SO, His father gave him his freedom and his portion of possessions at that time. His father let him go to live as he wished to live.

He rebelled, he revolted and he went to a far country.

He chose a place that had different rules and a place that was full of sinful pleasures.

He chose the pathway to death and Hell, though he did not realize it at first.

And what did he do?

“He wasted his substance on riotous living”.

Jer 44:16 As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee.

What would this prodigal find out about the world?

He would find that this world would leave him homeless.
He would find that worldly happiness is unsatisfying.
He would find that this world will degrade and humiliate those who place their trust in it.
He found out that he did not possess the knowledge of his own future as he had thought.

What is the truth of of these things?

Men will desert the world when the world deserts them!

This is the feeling many of our young have today.
This is the feeling many of black community have today.
This is the feeling many of the so-called middle class have today.

There is already a famine of those that trust the Word of God in our world today!

Amo 8:11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
Amo 8:12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.

Tit 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

*****Luk 15:14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
Luk 15:15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

What happens when we abandon the truths of God?

What happens when we underestimate the value of our Heavenly Father?

What happens when we pursue our own will and ignore the will of the Heavenly Father?

We will begin to be in want!

Instead of finding happiness, this prodigal is over taken with poverty.

He can no longer provide for himself.

Things happen in this world that are far beyond man’s control and he had no more control of his surroundings.

The fruit of evil deeds will always reveal it’s poison!

He has not become a citizen in a better land, he has only become a stranger and a slave to a citizen of that place where he had searched for happiness.

A worldly lifestyle cannot bring a life of peace!

To a Jew to play any part in the care of swine is about as low and degrading as they can become.

The lust of his flesh had brought poverty.
The lust of his eyes had brought no satisfaction.
His pride of life had brought humility.

1Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

This world will never have anything better to offer than these 3 things!

He found out husk are only food fit for swine!

For the most part swine are heavy, stupid, animals, that delight to wallow in the mire of this world!

He was destitute of all spiritual help, and left out in the world.

In the world as long as you have money you will always have friends to help you spend your money but when the money goes so goes those friends.

Eph 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

*****Luk 15:16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

This man was suffering through a natural disaster that affects all in an area, good or bad.

This man had lost all his friends.

This man was a Jew in the world of the Gentile.

Those husk were actually the fruit of the Carob tree.

This tree is very common in Syria and Egypt and produces pods 6 to 10 inches long and shaped like a horn.

These husk were part of the diet of the truly poor but were for the most part used to feed the swine.

This young man would have never seen such a thing as a meal in his father’s house but even these things were denied from him.

We see that this Jew in a Gentile world was being spiritually, mentally and emotionally drained for he had allowed his riches to be his god.

He had become a slave to the world in a far country and sought refuge with another man far away from God.

He had allowed sin to lead him into the “hog pens” of the world.

That’s what sin does!

Sin will take you farther than you want to go!

Sin will keep you longer than you want to stay!

Sin will cost you much more than you want to pay!

Pro 5:21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.
Pro 5:22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.
Pro 5:23 He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.

2Pe 2:19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.

This world we live in makes great promises but just ask the older generation how true those promises are.

The truth is, nothing in the hands of man can ever satisfy the spiritual needs of any individual!

This young man finally came to his senses.

*****Luk 15:17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

This young man began to realize the worth of his father’s house.

This man was finally taking the first steps to repentance.

Repentance begins when we realize we are traveling down life’s roadway in the wrong direction!

He thought upon life in his fathers house. (In type our Heavenly Father)

He thought upon the riches that even the servants had in his father’s house. (In type the believers, the children of God)

His father had provided abundantly for all those in his house, even the lowest servant.

He finally realized the sense of being in a loving family and belonging and having purpose.

He finally realized he had chosen a path to an early death. (“I perish”)

He was already perishing in this life.

He was also doomed to perish eternally.

Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Joh 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Joh 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

It was time to make a move before he was unable to do so.

2Co 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

It would be a humbling thing to go face his father but he would first have to repent.

*****Luk 15:18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
Luk 15:19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

What is the definition of repentance?

He had to arise!
He had to go away from his sinful life!
He had to humbly turn toward his father!
He had to admit he had sinned against the God of Heaven.

We have to have a true sense of our own guilt.
We have to realize that the mercy of God will only come through Jesus Christ.
We have to hate sin.
We have to walk in the ways of God.

He had to realize his unworthiness!

Up to this point he had only a head knowledge of what to do, but a head knowledge will simply not get you saved!

It was time to take action!

*****Luk 15:20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
Luk 15:21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

This prodigal son came to himself, and snapped back into reality.

He then arose to return to his father!

Of all the decisions he had ever made in his life, this was the most important decision he would ever make!

Once we realize we are just dirty sinners we must make the personal decision to remove ourselves from that filth. No one can do this for us!

He arose and he turned away from his sinful life.

He realized that there is a God in Heaven and he had sinned against Him and his father.

Sin insults the purity and despises the love of God.

Sin destroys the morality of man!

We can confess that we love the Lord but until we repent we have not given God anything to work with.

Act 8:22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.

Isa 55:6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
Isa 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

What is the truth of God?

“While he was yet a great ways off, his father saw him, had compassion, and ran, and loved on him”

The truth is God can see into the heart. He had not seen his father yet but his father could see him.

Psa 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Psa 22:24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.

It would not have done this prodigal any good just to realize his sin, if he did not also arise and go unto his father.

Repentance is a sign that we are sincere and have returned from our wicked ways!

God forgives as soon as we repent and this is the reason this father could run to his son.

This exactly what happens with our Father who is in Heaven!

God is full of “Mercy”.

God is full of “Grace”.

God is so full of “Mercy” and “Grace” that He is always bursting at the seams to show His love for us.

But we must first believe and then we must repent!

Pro 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

So simple, but most of us are to stubborn and to foolish to say that we are wrong in our way of thinking.

1Jn 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1Jn 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

A true parable always represents a Heavenly truth.

We should be able to see that the tenderness of our God, who is also the Most Powerful of beings, is so wonderful.

Our Mighty God is also a God of compassion!

Our God is showing His eagerness to run to us in our hour of repentance to catch us lest we fall!

God will make haste to save all that are lost if they will have faith and repent!

We must never overlook God’s readiness to accept and pardon each of us just as we are!

We must never allow our unworthiness to get in our way, God knows exactly what we are!

Remember God sent His Son Jesus to save us “because we are all sinners”.

And remember God made this plan before He created Heaven and Earth.

God just knows!

*****Luk 15:22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
Luk 15:23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
Luk 15:24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

We should understand that God recognizes the earliest beginnings of conviction because when he was still a great off, his father recognized him.

He had not seen his father but his father saw him.

What this son had not recognized the love of his father had been drawing him all along.

If he had ever lost the image of his father from his memory, he would have never returned.

When many would have rejected their son for such things, God shows compassion and mercy.

This prodigal was accepted and restored because he had returned.

Again the key to being accepted by God is faith, then repentance!

If this were not true then this parable would have little meaning at all.

A Parable is an earthly story that reveals Heavenly truths!

Before this son even had a chance to clean his life up, his father had accepted him back into the family.

We cannot clean ourselves up because that is the thing that God will do.

His father gave him the best of robes.

Symbolizing his acceptance back into the family in son-ship and honor.

**The robe symbolized his being clothed in righteousness!

2Co 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Col 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

His father gave him some new shoes.

**The shoes immediately elevated him above servant-hood. He became a free man. Free from the bondage of sin!

2Co 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Joh 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall “make” you free.

This son was now equipped to carry the “Gospel” wherever he went.

His father gave him a ring.

**The ring restored him to a position of authority.

The son could now represent his father and his kingdom.

Gal 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Gal 4:7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Rom 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
Rom 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Only then can there be a celebration!

It is God’s own joy that He would have all Heaven rejoice with Him and proclaim a sinner returned to the flock of Heaven.

Luk 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Luk 15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

The father celebrated his son’s return.

All that his son needed was provided to him.

The father proclaimed his son’s new life!

1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

He, who was once lost has now been found!

1Pe 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
1Pe 2:25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

The truth is a life without God is a wasted life!

Sin in all it’s forms is a waster of life!

Sin may have it’s own kind of liberty but this liberty will always lead to misery and degrading bondage.

The soul was made by God, the soul was made for God and the soul was made for the delight of God and sin prevents this from happening and therefore there must be suffering and loss.

Because God is God, He cannot deny Himself!

Because God is Holy, He must be an active opponent of sin and once saved, He expects the same from each of us.

The biggest problem our world has today is that the modern day Church has forgotten what it’s job is!

Jesus Christ came to seek and to save and He has now given this job to the Church until He returns!

We have seen that God gets great joy in our salvation and that is only because we can be certain of Christ’s forgiveness.

Questions?

Let’s Pray!