HOW TO GO HOME
Intro: Amnesia is a strange condition that involves a loss of memory. There are cases on record in which the victim has forgotten his own name and address, the date of his birth, and his family relationships. These facts have been utterly blotted out of his mind. He has a mental block and cannot recall any significant events that occurred before he was afflicted. Even the most important milestones in the individual’s life mean nothing to him when he is told about them.
Just this week, I heard the story of a man in Colorado who was found on the side of the highway. He didn’t know who or where he was and he had no identification on him at all. This was five years ago and to this day, he still doesn’t have a clue as to how to get home.
I am afraid that there are many Christians who are in this same shape. They have a form of spiritual amnesia. It seems to me that they have forgotten all that the Lord has done for them. They have forgotten salvation and its blessings. They have forgotten the glory of being in a right relationship with the Father. They have forgotten how wonderful life is at the Father’s house. They have spiritual amnesia and they seem to have no idea how to get back home.
Well, this morning, we are confronted with a text that tells us in no uncertain terms exactly how to get home. In the story of the Prodigal Son, we are presented with the story of a young man, who for all intents and purposes, suffered from spiritual amnesia. We can look at his story and learn from his journey home. Let’s look together at this wonderful story and talk about How To Get Home. As we do, there are three questions that we want to consider this morning. These questions will help us make a safe and successful journey back home.
- v. 11-17 WHEN SHOULD WE GO HOME?
- v. 12-13a When You Leave The Father’s House Behind – (Ill. The Context, this young man made a very cruel request. In effect, he was wishing the Father dead. His desire was to throw off the authority of his father and live his life as though his father were dead.) For the Christian, the optimum time for coming home is the instant you realize that you have left the Father’s House. As soon as you feel that your love for Him has slipped, as soon as you realize you aren’t as close as you were, as soon as you see the signs of straying, that is the moment to bow in repentance before the Father. Backsliding doesn’t have to go on to its fullest measure. Repentance can head off tragedy!
(Ill. Simon Peter gives us a good example of this principle. When Jesus called Peter to walk on the water to come to Him, Peter began well, but as soon as he removed his eyes from Jesus, he began to sink. At that very moment, he called out to the Lord and said, “Lord, save me.” When he called out to Jesus, the Bible reports that Jesus reached out and lifted Peter from the waves that threatened to engulf him. Matt. 14:28-31)
- v. 13b When You Begin To live Like The World – (Ill. The Context – This young man left the Father’s house and began his downward spiral. The text says that he “wasted” what he had. This word refers to the winnowing of grain. This boy took his fortune, all the things received from his father, and he threw them into the wind of sin and watched as they were all blown away.) Let’s face it, there is a marked difference between the Christian and the world – 2 Cor. 5:17. However, when we see that line beginning to blur, that is an indicator that it is time to come home to the Father. Anytime we start to walk, talk, act, look, think, or anything else like the lost world around us, and we need to wake up and see the danger we are headed into. You cannot be right with God and live like the world! (Ill. Isa. 59:2)
- v. 14 When You Lose The Father’s Blessings– (Ill. The Context – This boy threw all the blessings of the father away and he was left with nothing.) Ill. This is the state of many believers this morning. When they left the Father’s house, they were full, but now they have seen sin and loose living take the blessings of the Father from them and they are left with absolutely none of those things which they had enjoyed from the Father.)
(Ill. You see, sin will take your peace, your assurance, your joy, your prayer life, your devotional life, you witness and testimony. It will take everything of value and leave you spiritually bankrupt and destitute. When these things begin to be stripped from one’s life, that is a good sign that someone needs to return to the Father’s house!)
(Ill. Israel in the wilderness. They were at the entrance to the Promised Land, but through unbelief and sin, they refused to go on with the Lord into blessing. As a result, they spent the next 38 years wandering around in the wilderness simply because of sin! Num. 13-14)
- v. 15-16 When You Are Left With Nothing – (Ill. The Context – This young man found himself flat broke, working as a swine feeder, watching the pigs eat and wanting their food because he had none of his own and no one to care for him.) This is a powerful picture of what sin can and will do in your life. When it comes in, it separates you from those who love you, it sends you away from the Father’s house and it literally strips you of everything and leaves you broken and starving to death. No wonder the Bible says, Pro. 13:15, “Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.”
(Ill. Sin brings it’s own club! Christian friend, you are deceiving yourself if you think you can sin without consequences. If you think that God will just wink and forget it, then you have another thing coming. When sin comes, it brings a companion that the Devil doesn’t advertise. This companion is called Chastisement. Every Christian who leaves the Father’s house and goes off into sin and remains there for any length of time will experience this companion of sin – Rev. 3:19; Heb. 12:5-12)
(Ill. God knows exactly what it will take to bring you home and He will not hesitate to do it!)
(Ill. Man in Georgia who got mad that the church and refused to go for years. His little 6-year-old son begged him to go to church with the family, but this man refused, often getting verbally abusive with the child. One Sunday morning as this father read his paper on the front porch, his son came and asked his father to go to church. The father responded hatefully with the boy and told him to never ask him that again. The little boy began to play in the yard, tossing a little ball into the air. After a time, he dropped the ball and it rolled across the highway. He ran after it and was hit by a car and thrown into the air. The father witnessed this event and immediately ran to the boy and picked him up. Just before he died, the boy said to his father, “Daddy, will you go to church with me?” This broke the father’s heart and there, holding the broken body of his little boy, he bowed his head and asked forgiveness from God. He came home, but it cost him his son. What will your sin cost you?)
(Ill. The time to come home is before these things begin to take place! As I said earlier, the best time to come home is when you see yourself beginning to leave. When it still just a seed in the heart. After it has grown up and choked out everything else, it takes far more effort to remove.)
- v. 17 When You Long For The Father’s House – (Ill. Context – This man came to himself and remembered that the servants back home had it made. They ate better than he did. They lived better than he did and they were happier than he was. He had a longing in his heart for the father’s house.)
(Ill. Backsliding is a form of insanity! It is insane to walk away from the Lord and all His blessings. Yet, no matter how far the Christian may go in sin, no matter how dirty he may get in the way of the world, there will come a day when there will be a longing for the Father’s house. He will remember the fellowship, the food, the joy and the peace he had there. The person who can walk away, stay away and not care, is a person who is probably not saved anyway – 1 John 2:19.)
(Ill. When there is that drawing to come home, that is the time to come. I promise you, God will never let you go, if you are truly His!)
That’s when you should go home. Now, there is another question.
- v. 18-19 HOW SHOULD WE GO HOME?
- v. 18a With Resolve – (Ill. The Context – This young man made up his mind that he was going back to the Father. Just as he had left the Father in the beginning, now he leaves everything else behind to go back home.)
(Ill. Christian friend, you have to decide for yourself just what being back in the Father’s house and under his blessing means to you. Then, you must be willing to pay whatever price in necessary to make that happen. It takes a resolved heart to get back home! You have got to want God more than you want this world!)
(Ill. If you are out of the Lord’s will today, then allow nothing or no one to hinder you return to the Father. No matter what the cost: A relationship, a job, friends, interests, addictions, etc, they must be given up if you want to come back to the Father. He is worth any price!)
- v. 18b With Repentance – (Ill. The Context – Not only did this young man experience a change of circumstances, he also experienced a changed heart. He was will to confess his sins and place himself under the authority of his father.)
(Ill. If you have strayed from the Father’s house, you need to come home, but you will have to do it on His terms! He will receive you, but it will demand that you repent of your sins – Ill. 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” When we become willing to admit our wrongdoing and confess our sins to the Lord, He is more than willing to hear us and forgive us. We can never come home until we first repent of our sins!)
(Ill. David – After his sin with Bathsheba, he repented of his sins, confessing them before the Lord and receiving cleansing and forgiveness in return –
Psa. 32:5 “I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.”
Psa. 51:3-4 “For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. (4) Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. “
- v. 19 With Respect – (Ill. The Context – This boy was willing to humble himself to the father. Before, he had stood defiantly before the father and demanded his own way. Now, he is willing to be a servant before the father. He is humble before him.)
(Ill. Remember when you were saved? How humbled you felt? It felt as though God were so immense and you were so small, didn’t it? Well, that’s is how it will be when you return home from a life of straying and backsliding. God will except the humble heart –
Psa. 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
1 Peter 5:6 “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:”)
(Ill. A humble spirit realizes that it deserves nothing but judgment and punishment. It demands nothing from the Lord, but it comes before Him willing to be and do whatever God demands. A humble spirit just wants to be back in the Father’s house!)
Now, we have seen when we nee to come home and how we should go home, but there is one more question that needs to be considered in this passage.
III. v. 20-24 WHAT WILL WE FIND WHEN WE GET HOME?
- v. 20-21 We Will Find Love – (Ill. The Context – This young man found something waiting at home that he had never experienced in the far country. That was the love of the Father!) This love was manifested in several ways:
- A Waiting and Watching Father – (Ill. No doubt, the father had looked for the son to return every day. Christian, God hasn’t stopped looking for you either.)
- A Father Moved With Compassion – (Ill. This father felt the pain of the son. Ill. No doubt the son looked terrible. Probably dressed in rags with the filth of the pig pen all over him. But, the father didn’t care. His son was home and that was the main thing!)
(Ill. Christian, you may have gone far into the world, but the Father still loves you. His desire, more than anything else, is to have you home and His heart is moved by your need. If you will come to Him, you find Him waiting and ready to restore your life.)
- A Father Who Ran To Meet Him – (Ill. It was considered undignified for an older man to run. Yet this father threw these considerations to the wind and ran out to meet this returning son.
Ill. There is a very good reason why he ran to meet this son – Deut. 21:18-21.)
(Ill. Christian, I can assure you, if you will take that first step, then the Heavenly Father will run to meet you and will restore that broken fellowship immediately)
- A Father Who Extended The Kiss Of Fellowship – (Ill. The Context. This father fell on this son and despite the smell and the dirt, began to kiss him. Ill. Kiss is in the present tense. This means that he kept on kissing him.)
(Ill. Christian, when you come back to the Father, He will extend to you the kiss of His forgiveness. God will love you back into fellowship with Himself.)
- v. 22-23 We Will Find Luxury
- A Robe To Cover His Filthiness – (Ill. This son was adorned with the best robe. When this robe was placed on his shoulders, all the filth of the pig pen was hidden.)
(Ill. Christian, when you come home, the forgiveness of Almighty God covers the stains of your sins and in your appearance, it is as if you had never been away from home. What God gives is total restoration!)
- A Ring To Wear On His Finger – (Ill. That ring represented the eternal love of the father. It also represented the authority of the father. The father had restored this son)
(Ill. Christian, when you return home, the Father will remind you of His unfailing love and care for you. He will also restore you to a place of authority. You see, when you are out in sin, you have no witness and no authority to speak for the Father. Yet, when all is restored, He gives you back that witness and that testimony and uses you in the lives of others!)
- Shoes For His Feet – (Ill. Only the slaves went barefooted. This father was determined to tell the world that this boy was still his son.)
(Ill. Christian, no matter how far you go into sin, you never stop being a son. You may not look like it, you may not live like it, but if you are saved, you are always the Father’s child! But, when you come home, He places the shoes of sonship on your feet and restores you to that place of standing before himself and before the world. Others may not receive you, Ill. The older brother, v. 28, but God does, and He will never be ashamed of you – Heb. 11:16.)
- A Place At The Father’s Table – (Ill. The fatted calf was killedonly at special occasions and this qualified! No longer would this son have to wish for the pig’s feed. Now, he was restored to the Father’s table and could eat to his heart’s content.)
(Ill. Christian, There is no need for any child of God to feed in the pig troughs of the world. The Father is waiting and His table is spread with plenty for all who will come home and join Him there.)
- v. 24 We Will Find Laughter – (Ill. The Context. When this son returned home, laughter filled a house that had been silenced by grief.)
(Ill. When a believer is out of fellowship with the Lord, there is a breakdown in their joy. but, when they return home, there will be great rejoicing in the Father’s house –
Luke 15:10 “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”
Wouldn’t you like to be the cause of rejoicing in Heaven? You can be if you are out of the Father’s will and make that decision to come home today.
Conc: Today, many are in the same position as this Prodigal Son. You have wandered far from home and now it is time to return. All you have to do is make that step and head for home. There, you will find the Father waiting to receive you. You will find Him just where you left Him. Will you come?
Some here today have never even met the Father. All you have ever known is the far country. You have never known the laughter and the joy of the Father’s house. You have never experienced the blessing of being one of God’s own. If that is your situation today let me encourage you to come to Him right now. The Father is always looking for new children to fill His house and He has a special place for you. Will you come to Him for salvation today?
Regardless of where you stand today, if you could see the Father, you would see Him standing, arms opened, calling you to Him. Won’t you come to the Father right now?