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2. The Unconditional Love of God

Stephen Bohr

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Stephen Bohr

President/Speaker of Secrets Unsealed

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  • May 22, 2015
    11:00 AM

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Tonight we have one of the most fascinating presentations in the whole series in this seminar the unconditional love of God you know the Lord Jesus had a favorite way of teaching and that method was the use of parables. Now parables were stories drawn from real life in his day that illustrated tremendous spiritual crew. Now we need to understand that parables generally teach one central truth but parables also have different actors and different action and each actor is symbolic of something and each action is also symbolic of something. Now in this seminar we're going to be studying a lot of parables of Jesus because the parables of Jesus illustrate many of the great spiritual truths that we find elsewhere in God's word. Now there are some theological words that we've all heard. For example we speak of reconciliation the Apostle Paul uses that word reconciliation. We find in the Bible the word repentance. We find in the Bible the word justification. We find the word sanctification. We find the word regeneration. You know usually these words are used in the writings of the Apostle Paul. Now this evening we're going to study a story that doesn't use any of these theological words. However the story contains in principle every single one of these theological ideas that I've mentioned just a moment ago. I'd like to invite you this evening to turn in your Bibles with me to the Gospel of Luke Chapter fifteen. The Gospel of Luke Chapter fifteen. Then you should have your list of Bible texts so that you can follow along and we're going to begin with verses one and two because the parable that we're going to study tonight has a special historical study. In fact this parable speaks about three kinds of sinners. The first kind of sinner is the on righteous in the second kind of sinner is the self righteous sinner and third kind of sinner is the repentant sinner. So we're going to deal with three types of sinners in this parable of Jesus this evening. It's known as the parable of the prodigal son who doesn't know the parable of the prodigal son but want to learn many interesting things tonight perhaps new things that you haven't thought of before. Now as the setting of this parable in Luke fifteen verses one and two it says then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to him to hear him you know I find it very interesting that the greatest sinners in the days of Christ were the ones that were most attracted to Jesus. Here you have Jesus wholly blameless without sin and the publicans and sinners. They just enjoying themselves in the presence of G.-D.. Ironically the Pharisees and the scribes who considered themselves to be righteous and holy felt very uncomfortable in the presence of Jesus and the reason is the scribes and Pharisees had sin inside that they needed to hide and they knew that Jesus could read them like a book. The publicans and sinners on the other side. They know that Jesus knew that they were sinners. They didn't have anything to hide and besides definitely even the scribes and the Pharisees. I felt a need and that's the reason they were attracted to Jesus because they said maybe this individual can help us in our knee so it says in verse one. Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to him to hear him then you have on the other side and the Pharisees and scribes heard saying this man receives sinners and eats with them. Basically what they're saying is that if Jesus eats with someone he should eat with us he should not be meeting with those publicans and sinners. If he's going to invite anybody to lunch or he's going to accept an invitation to lunch he should accept the invitation to our houses and he should invite us out to lunch. Now one of the parallel passage that we find in the Gospel of Mark Chapter two and verse fifteen this is speaking about the experience of Levi Matthew who was a patch collector. When Jesus called him it says that Levi called upon his house and he invited Jesus and he invited several of his friends not us verse fifteen. Now what happened as he was dining in Levi's house that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together sat together with Jesus and His disciples for there were many and they followed him and when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eating with the tax collectors and sinners they said to his disciples how is it that he eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners. When Jesus heard it he said to them those who are well have no need of opposition but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. So we have two groups. Then are spoken of in these two introductory passages that we've read this evening as we start. We have on one side the publicans and the sinners and on the other side we have the scribes and the Pharisees the sinners and the publicans. They feel their need. They're attracted to Jesus the scribes and the Pharisees they feel no need and they feel repelled from Jesus. Now in this context Jesus tells this wonderful story known as the story of the prodigal son. And as I said this story illustrates three kinds of sinners in the first place the I'm a righteous sinner in the second place the so righteous in her and in the third place the repentant sinner. Now let's begin our study at verse eleven. Then he sent a certain man had two sons and the younger of them said to his father Father give me the pleasure. In other words that falls to me. Sarai divided them. His livelihood. Now it's going to tell us in the next verse that this son this younger son decided that he was not going to stay at home anymore. No that's what it says in verse thirty and not many days after the younger son gathered all together. Journeyed to up our country and there are ways that his possessions with prodigal living now immediately we ask the question why would this son get the preposterous idea of leaving home. There's no doubt whatsoever that this son felt restricted by the laws of the household. He wanted to be free. He wanted to be independent. He conceded that the laws of his house the laws of the Bible were true right spread it obvious. So he said I want to be independent. I want to live my own life. Also he thought if I have to wait till much later to get the inheritance then I won't enjoy it now instead of living for the Sweet By and by he said I'm going to live for the here and now because I'm not I'm not sure whether the Sweet By and by is actually going to end or come and so I better enjoy life in the present. I better enjoy life right now. So he takes the inheritance according to the story. Tired of the restrictions of the home tired of the rules of the father tired of being watched by his father tired of working in the household and he says Now I'm going to be independent of the house I'm going to be independent of the father I'm going to be happy. I'm going to be free. But it didn't work out that way. Notice when you continue saying in verse thirteen and not many days after the younger son gathered all together journeyed to upon our country. Not if he wants to be as far away from home as possible as far away from the supervision of the Father as possible as far away from the rules and regulations of the house as possible. And it says there he wasted his possessions with body to live in. Now there's no doubt that at first as long as he had the money from his inheritance things went well in the far country where he where no doubt he had lots of friends in fact the story tells us later on that he had lots of friends. That is he had lots of so-called friends as long as they had the money but when the money was gone. We're going to find that the friends were also gone in a moment. In other words they were not real friends and the irony of this story is that this son who wanted to be free from the laws of the house he wanted to be free from the supervision of his father now. When he goes to this far country but I also waiving inheritance living for the present thinking nothing of the future and the one who wanted to be free. Not how it ends up being a slave. Now in this story the father represents God the home represents the household of God the church. So in other words this individual saying I would be happier without God in my life I would be happier without the church in my life I would be happier if I just have my freedom and independence and I don't have to worry about the rules that my father and the rules and regulations and the law of the house and I think is going to be a lot happier when he's free at last and deepen. But it doesn't work that way. You see when he leaves God when he leaves the house like when we leave God and we leave the church God's household on earth we think we're going to be three three but the Bible says that we end up slaves. We end up in bondage. It says in verse fourteen. But when he had spent all their beer in that land and he began to be in one. Isn't it sad that many times we have to hit rock bottom before we feel our need of God I find it ironic that when things go well we have a tendency to forget God and then when we hit rock bottom and things go bad suddenly we are in need of God And so this young man he ends up with out anything no money no friends and now he says maybe it wasn't a good idea to be independent of my father. Maybe it wasn't a good idea. To leave the household to leave home and things get so bad. According to verse fifteen There he is drawing to a citizen of that land. Now let's read verse fifteen and then I will explain something to you about this it says in verse fifteen. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country. Now that expression joined himself in the Greek language in which the New Testament was written because we're just reading from the English which is a translation from the Greek in which the New Testament was written the word is used in other context to speak of googling something to something else. In other words it can be translated that this young man drew himself to a citizen of that country. Now I believe that a citizen of that country that this individual was group to is really a symbol of sleep. And as you read the story becomes clear because this person was no friend of this young man. In fact this citizen was this young man meant to be in bondage. He turned him into him or into him for a way in order to survive. In other words there's was no. I'm benevolent citizen who wanted to help the young man. He actually enslaved him. In other words when this young man left his father and left him he had to glue himself to this citizen that enslaved him. An insult of insults. It says in the last part of Verse fifteen that this citizen sent him into his fields to feed swine. Now in this parable as I mentioned the persons and the events and the actions are symbolic. The father represents the House or the home. Present the church the young man who felt that he could like he was free from the laws of the house so he would be happier represents many who believe that a life away from God a life away from church will be a happy life without having to worry about the restrictions of the Christian life. The citizen to whom this individual joined like their enslaved him and made him very welcome on this line is a symbol of the fact that we become slaves of Satan when we accept His ideas of becoming independent of the household of God. Now it's interesting that this young man ends up working among this line the citizen sends him to work among the swine. Now do you know in the Bible Satan and his demons are called Collene spirits. Did you know that now in the sanctuary service in the Old Testament only clean animals were sacrificed. There were no unclean animals because clean animals represented Jesus Christ who was pure and clean in pagan rites and ceremonies in pagan temples they offered wine but never in God's temple because clean animals were a symbol of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ but as clean animals are a symbol of Jesus Christ. I'm clean animals sir. Satan and his angels. In other words this young man ended up in the web site than any sane jewels and you say how do we know that. Go with me to Revelation Chapter eighteen Revelation Chapter eighteen Let's let Scripture explain scripture. Revelation chapter eighteen and let's read verses two and three at speaking here about in time Babylon. But the principle is that we want to notice that demons are compared with and queen bee. It's here in verse two and he cried mightily with a loud voice saying bad I am the greatest fallen has fallen and has become a habitation of demons a prison for every foul spirit and a cage for every unclean and hated bird for all nations have drug of the right of the right approach on occasion the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury particularly notice verse two it says that Babylon the Great is fallen and has become the habitation of demons a person for every fire a spirit and a cage for every unclean and I hated that bird So there you have demons represented by unclean animal. Incidentally you probably all know the story of when Jesus passed the unclean spirits into the swine. Once again unclean spirits are identified with swine with unclean animals in other words this young man ended up in the realm of Satan and his angels. He was glued to this citizen. He became a slave wanting to be free. And then in verse sixteen we find the following. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate in other words he had to compete with his food for his food with the slime and no one gave him anything. Now I want you to notice that up till this point this young man is living in sin. He's hit rock bottom. He thought he was going to be free but it's going to be three years a slave he thought that life without the father would be better but it was worse. He thought the pain in the bed of the house was good but it turned out to be evil. Now he's a slave to their cynicism. He's letting a man among these I'm clean animals. That's why he's eating there. He's out of it but now we notice in verse seventeen that something happens to this young man. It says in verse seventeen but when he came to himself you know what that means it means that he came to his senses in other words when you're in the car and you're out of it you're not yourself. Basically what it's saying is you're out of your mind in the sight of God and that's the way that it that you read it in the Greek in which the New Testament was written it says that suddenly he came to him so suddenly he was himself which means that before he was not himself because he was being controlled by someone else he was a slave of Satan. He was a slave. Evil. If you think that life in the world is so much better than it is in the church then a life without God is so much better than a life with God. Think again it is never so and so he comes to himself for seventy and he says he thinks to himself how many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare and I perish with hunger and so now he prepares a speech. Let me ask you has he repented of what he has done. These sorry for what he's done. Yes even though Repentance is not used the expression he came to himself means that his mind was straight. Now he says he's sad for what he's done and that's what repentance is repentance inside for sin and a willingness to turn away from it. So now he says he prepares a speech in verse eighteen. I will. Arise and go to my father and I will say to him Father I have sinned against heaven and before you was it a sin for him to leave home. What was the problem of this young man was it sin. Yes Let me ask you what is sin according to the Bible verse John three four says that sin is the transgression of the law. Now the question is which commandments of God's Law that this young young man break. Well I can mention at least two. Number one there is a commandment this is honor your father and your mother. Did he break the command. He most certainly did he sell me she says Give me not the story starts by him saying to his father give me a little bit later on he's going to say Make me. He's changed in his life. But anyway he's repented and now he prepares his concession speech. He slammed and since transgression of the law another commandment that is broken is the commandment that there's doubt and I commit adultery because his brother later on the story complains that he's visited the harlot while he's been gone so he's broken God's law he's a sinner. Because he has this honor his parents and because he has committed adultery probably many other sins as well and so he prepares his concession speech not us. You have his simple names you have the fact that he repents even though the word is used now he prepares his concession speech knows what he's going to say. Verse eighteen I will arise and go to my power and will say to him Father I have sinned against heaven and before you let me ask you was this young man sad for the sin he had committed or was he said for the consequences of this. In that he had committed was this true repentance. Yes because he's confessing his sin is not saying and I'm sure tired of trying to compete with the swine flu. I'm so tired of living in the pig pen. I need a better life. So I'm coming out now. He recognized his sin he can pass a season does he not. And George says I have sinned against heaven and against you and I am no longer worthy to be called your son was he right now to be worthy to be called the Father Son No he was not worthy he was worthy to be perhaps accepted as a route as a servant but not as he was right in what he would say. Now notice how he has changed in verse nineteen he says make me like one of your hired server. What did he say when he left home. Give me a year now since now I don't have one now I want to be independent now I don't like heroes I don't like your regulations you're going to be free but now when he comes back having repented and confessing it. Now he doesn't say give me he says make me like one of your hired servants. Did he have an inadequate view of his father at this point that he fully comprehend his father. No By the way what is it that led this young man to repentance. It was the memory of his father it was the memory of home that drew him back to the father that drew him back home. What is it that draws us back to God the love of God The memory of the goodness of God knows what it says in Romans. Two Romans chapter two and verse four. Here we have this idea of why we come back to God when we got astray. Romans chapter two and verse four the apostle Paul says. Or do you despise the riches of His goodness forbearance and long suffering not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to not to repentance. Why did this young man return home because he says I know my father is basically work good. So he's drawn by the love of the Father. He's drawn by the loving environment that is at home but he still has an inadequate view of his father because he considers that his father might make him a servant a hired servant. Treat him well yes but as a servant he doesn't have any idea what's in store. Now I know that's what it says in verse twenty. You know we reached the climax of this wonderful story and he arose and came to his father. Then it says that that his father standing there with his arms crossed waiting for him. Just wait till he gets here. Now what my bible says Now does this by the way this is the Apostle Paul calls reconciliation the all of these ideas are in here. But the apostle Paul does is that he defines them theologically. He kind of he kind of takes this story and he explains theologically what repentance is what confession is what reconciliation is what justification is what sanctification if he just explains all of the basics that Jesus has in this story and so it says in verse twenty and he arose and came to his father but when he was still right where you must this father have been waiting for him. I'm looking out for him absolutely. The bible says his father saw him and had compassion and ran and there on his neck and kissed him and I want you to notice that the young man begins his speech very Never in verse twenty one and the son said to him Father I have sinned against heaven and in your sight and I am no longer ready to be called your son. What was the rest of the speech. Make me like that like one of your hired servants. But the father doesn't allow him to finish his speech. In fact you know it's interesting in the story the father doesn't rebuke him. Hi Tom Jones but if you left that was going to happen. Now look at it like OK son I'm going to take you back. But remember you're on probation. If you just step I don't know I don't know let you know my son anymore. The patter say Now from your pretty smelly from Maine and that pig pen got taken back and then I might receive you now. The father received to this young man was repentant he recognized his sin and he confessed his sin and the Bible says that if we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from Iowa and righteousness and so he says I have sinned against heaven and your side and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. And now notice what the father does but the father said to his servants Bring out the best road. Let me ask you what is the role of representing the buyer. Go with me to Isaiah Isaiah Chapter sixty one Isaiah Chapter sixty one and verse ten he had the part that says I will greatly rejoice in the Lord my soul shall be joyful in my God for he hath told me with the garments of salvation he has covered me with not with righteousness as a bridegroom decks I'm stuck with elements and as a bride adorned herself with her Jew by the way do you remember that when Adam and Eve sand they were not naked but a sacrifice was made and the skins of the animals were taken by God to cover the shame of their nakedness. In other words don't know that The Father gives to a son is done there that is righteousness by the way. Theologically This is called justification. Just a vacation simply means forgiveness. Pure and simple that means accepting the son as if he had never sin that means receiving him with the arms up and giving him strong and complete pardon for everything that had taken place and so the father says bring out the best robe and you'll robe the best role for his tire instead of his town a stinky robe the father gives him the best robe his righteousness and then it says put a ring on his hand by the way this is just not a piece of jewelry. This is most likely the signet ring that people in authority have you see they had a ring and the ring was a seal and they used it to seal documents. It was a sign of the authority who had the ring in other words the father is returning to his son the authority a son he's not accepting him as a slave he's accepting him as a first fledged son and then it says and sandals on his feet do you think its feet were probably torn and bleeding and tired. The father says you know take away those tattered clothes given the best robe he says and those hands are the leading and broken for a man who went on the signet ring their feet their tired and bleeding. Get the best sandals for his speech and then to continue saying in verse twenty three and bring the car here and kill and let us eat and be merry and I want you to know that something very interesting here in the Old Testament sanctuary service. Many animals were sacrificed. In all of those animals when they were sacrificed became symbols of Jesus Christ who was going to be sacrificed for our sins. Do you know that as you examine for example Leviticus Chapter four you'll discover that the fatted calf or a young bull was one of those sacrifices which were offered in the Old Testament sacred sanctuary service in other words this animal is being slain as a sign that this young man is forgiven by the shedding of the best known well or this young pair and incidentally this comes out in verse thirty. If you go there just for a minute it says but as soon as this son of yours came who has devoured your livelihood with harlots you killed the fatted calf for him in other words the death of the captives were not for him. The death of the cap symbolizes the shelling of my brother the care symbolizing the symbolizes the shedding of the blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins and I want to notice that there's a tremendous emphasis here on being glad and merry. You know sometimes it happens in the church when somebody who has gone out into the world has gone astray as a band and the way of God. They come back to church. There are always some saints that are standing at the door looking and saying I wonder how long it'll be until the next time. And yet we find that this father receives his son and I want you to notice the emphasis on being Mary six times starting with verse twenty three. The emphasis is given up being mary being drunk or celebrating a penalty because of the return of this young man not as what the father says verse twenty three and bring the fatted calf here and kill it and let us eat and be merry for this my son as well. But what's dead. How does he didn't physically literally know you know him. Paul says that when we were dead in our trespasses and sins. Jesus Christ died for us. So this young man was dead and now he's alive he illogically this idea is called regeneration. If the all of these ideas that Jesus has in this story are further developed in the writings of the Apostle Paul the only thing is the PIO Paul who was a rabbi was a scholar you know. He doesn't simply tell us to write he uses theological terms to explain this. Now regeneration means that you were dead spiritually and now you are right and now you are alive because you are prepared. You have confessed your sins but has justified you he has given you a clean slate. He's removed the past he's cast your sins into the depths of the sea. Who can say amen to something like that. The unconditional love of God is revealed in a marvelous way. In this story. So he says verse twenty four. This son was dead and is alive again he was lost and is now and they begin to be there. Can God receive anyone who has committed any sin back into his fellowship. Yes we can. There is no sin no matter how large in your mind how great that God cannot forgive. That's the message of the story if we repent if we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. It doesn't matter how far you've gone out into the world how big of a mess you made out of your life it doesn't matter whether you've got drowned or whether you've been involved in drugs and alcohol. Whether you're divorced whether you suffer from depression none of those things really matter to God when we return to Him His arms are open wide waiting for us. Sometimes I wish the story would have ended here but there's another son in the story. Let me ask you is Jesus condoning people who are unrighteous sinners is it OK to be an I'm right of center. No but there's another kind of sinner in this story and most of those centers are in the church have mercy that is the self-righteous You see sometimes we forget by the way the older son represents the Jewish nation because they were called first. And the younger son represents the Gentiles because they were called Left and the Jewish nation looked down on the Gentiles but the Gentiles worked and the Jewish nation was rejected. But we won't get into that application of this parable at this point. But now I know that's what it says in verse twenty five now his older son was in the field. Well what are you doing in the field. Or he was working was this a good sign. Well see a lot deeper. Was he obedient. Was he willing to wait till the future for this inheritance. Yes he was a son with the mentality of a slave. He felt he needed to act in his father's whoever he had. But in order to get that inheritance he had to be good and he had to rock and of course he was critical of everyone Good good work like him. Verse twenty five again now this elder son was in the field and as he came and drew near to the house he heard music and dancing. Probably there would be a better way of princely music and dancing. The word music in the Greek language is seen fornia. What word in English do we get from Sinfonia symphony he called out the symphony and dancing is the road I don't know I love you are not Spanish. Hey I don't quite know what is chordal could hire him and the choir I mean I mean a good time. I mean the return of this time. Oh yes then I mean a party you know. Verse twenty six. So he got a lot of his one of the servants and asked what these things meant and he said to him notice this your brother has come and because he has received him safe and sound your father has killed the fatted calf. What does this son think they do you know that is that his brother had become a great sinner by leaving or dishonored his father that he nobody had done any of the work that was supposed to be done at all. Did he know that he had gone and lived in the Highlands. Yes because he says so in a few moments. So I said No I don't at a party and I don't have anybody because I was a party it's me because I'm behind right now because I want to wrap up our history what me this is an individual who thinks that he can be saved by works. It's an individual who thinks that because he is good his father will accept him who was thinking that he can. On the future inheritance by what he does. There's a lot of these types of people in the church so he says Your father has killed the fatted calf verse twenty eight but he was angry and what not but when you know the irony of this story this son was lost at home. In fact his father had to go out to look for it. He's the one who was well known as verse twenty eight but he was angry and what not but when what is he saying I'm not going to socialize with this sinful brother of mine and I'm not going to condone the way my father treats listener it says therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father listen to this. Know these many years I have been serving you can you catch the tone of what I say I have been slaving away all these years. That's what he say he's a son. Where the manpower the other side and the other side that the father would receive him as a slave. Restored him as a son. So he says all these years I have been serving you and none of this I never transgressed your commandment at any time in other words I was a perfect law keeper the son like the apostle Paul says with regard to the law. Blame ruler of the tribe of Benjamin circumcised to be a burial. A legal it by the way let me ask you Do you think that this son who came back home was never going to do again what he had done before. You think it was ever going to come up with the brilliant idea that freedom away from home was better than being home with his loving father of course not when he was drawn back the result would be that he would say find a cure for everything be me back and stand. Now I'll do anything you want by the way that is called in the illogical terminology sanctification. So he says in verse twenty nine so he answered and said to his father in law all these many years I have been serving you I never transgressed your commandment at any time and yet you never gave me a young goat notice you killed for him the fatted calf and you wouldn't even give me a young girl. Why do you say it is you have done the maximum to remain a sinner and you have done the minimum to reward and you haven't even done the minimum to reward a righteous person like me. Verse thirty. But as soon as this son of yours came. What do you think that they think as soon as this brother of mine came. Yeah right as this is it my brother my father did not accept that in a sense but he's not my brother. Are there many people in church when a person has been out into the world comes back to church you know what they've done out there there are there are always people in the church who say well God might have accepted him and so on but I'm not going to accept him or her as my brother or sister. So he sets. But as soon as this son of yours came who has your livelihood with harlots you killed the parent care for him. Let's go to another story briefly that illustrates the same point that we have here about salvation by the way who is what is the third type of sin or it's the repentant sinner. What do I mean by repentance and you know Martin Luther the great reformer of the sixteenth century. He used an expression in Latin femal used those C. moved their capital or at the same time righteous and at the same time sooner so you can speak about a righteous sinner and wait a minute you say bastard I just said yes let's this young man a center there is Father put on him. I just miss them they deserve it. Then you own it. No I was about to break ranks and so he's a senator but he's a justified too. He's a sinner that has been declared righteous and accepted as righteous before his barber and then Martin Luther added another expression is that an individual is seen at the same time just seem all picked up or which means at the same time because that person is the moon. Many Pencey because at the same time he has been so in other words we might be able to call this son when he came home and was received and he was regenerated. You might call him the regenerated sin or the justified sooner we prevent sin or in other words he was the one who was accepted by God go with me to Luke Chapter eighteen and let's not as a very interesting parable that illustrates the same point. Look chapter eighteen and let's start in verse nine. Also when he spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others'. You know one of the great characteristics of a Pharisee or a self-righteous person is they always compare their piety with the piety of others. Whenever you find someone in church who says what are you seeing with Brother So and so has been doing pretty nasty huh. That's the person you see the truly righteous person compares himself only with God not as the so righteous person is always comparing himself with other people. Notice the story. Verse ten to man. Just like there were two sons right. Two men went up to the temple to pray one apparently and the other effects click. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself. I like that he prayed with himself God I thank you that I am not like other men extortioners unjust adulterers as collector. So if I am I just mentioned so we could sin but there's another person in this story before that let's read what else is there as he said First well I passed twice a week. I give times of all that I possess surrounding him time is Jesus tell the story because he says well I don't want to drive anymore I don't get a pass. When you were not asked because that would Jesus say no you say paying your time and fasting is OK as long as it is a result of being safe. But not in order to earn brownie points with God and to help him did you say not by so that's why so many times about what I possess now we have the other individual and the tax collector standing up bar with not so much as raise his eyes to heaven. Are they truly repentant. Yes but I believe his breakfast saying God be merciful to me a sinner. You see the story of the Prodigal Son in the story the same story but what then. Actors now notice verse fourteen. I tell you this man went down to his house just to find you know this is the only time that Jesus ever in the Gospels uses the word justified. In other words he went to his home what I heard the word forgiven. I tell you this man went down to his house justified rather then the other or everyone who exalts himself will be our based and he who humbles himself will be exalted. What a marvelous story the story of the Prodigal Son illustrating three kinds of people in the world and even in the church the prodigal while he was away from home the righteous sinner who when he hit rock bottom felt his need of God He repented he confessed his sin he went and then is regenerated by God Now he's a lie he's justified he's forgiven his father is reconciled to him and he. When they have each other when they embrace each other. Now he says Father I'll stay in your household wherever because you're my loving the I'm right is in a second the self-righteous I'm the one who considers himself better than the others because of all of the work that he performs because he thinks he keeps God's commandments. He can earn salvation he can earn his eternal inheritance sons who have a slave mentality. There are many in the Christian world today there are like that. But folks what God wants from us he wants us to be repentant sinners. He wants us. They'll be sorry for our sins. He wants us to be sad for our sins not because of the consequences of our sins but because of the things themselves because sin is breaking God's law. And when you break God's law you break a relationship with him. So when this young man see him by leaving home his relationship with his father was broken. That's what breaking the law is all about. When you break the law you break a relationship and then that relationship has to be restarted. The people have to be reconciled. So what God wants is for us to receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord to recognize our sinfulness to recognize our need of God. We come back to the father to come back to the home of the fire which is the church and to serve God not because we have to serve him not with the mentality of a slave but to be willing to serve The Father because we love him so much because of what he has done for us. Folks no matter what you've done in your life no matter how terrible the things that you have done no matter how horrendous the things that you are hiding in your heart there is room in the arms of God for you and also for your own self right of centre person who don't know the story about him if lives are in first then about the older son it doesn't say that the father where they went to raise them. Then he accepted the father's reasons he came into the office. It doesn't say there's hope also of the self-righteous in you know there will only be one kind of person in heaven and that is those who thought of the grace of God. Because they've been attracted by the beauty of the love of God commend their lives totally and completely to Jesus as Savior and Lord. What a wonderful God we have a God that will receive us unconditionally who loves us unconditionally and will accept us with open arms if we just come back to him. I would like to invite you to bow your heads with me and every eye is closed in this place. I would like to ask would you like to raise your hand and ask me to pray that God will give you the experience that we have spoken about tonight if that's your desire just raise your hand while I pray Father in heaven. We've studied tonight this marvelous story that was told by your Son Jesus. What a marvelous story it is all of the elements of salvation. Lord I come before your throne tonight to pray especially for everyone who has raised their hands. Lord if there is any unrighteous sinner in this place I ask that you will help them to see that there is room for them in your arms. If there are any self-righteous sinners I ask Lord that you will help them to see the light that you will help them to repent of sin and to focus their eyes on Jesus and also come to Jesus not as a slave master but as a loving father. Lord I ask that you will give us all the spirit of repentance that there's anybody here who is struggling with one specific sin in their lives. Maybe it's depression maybe it's a divorce that has just taken place. Maybe it's a relative that has been lost through death. I don't know what it is. I've asked you will come close to those people and touch their hearts tonight. They might have the assurance of your presence and your love and your blessing. Thank you Mark for having been with us and thank you for answering our prayers in Jesus' name. 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