Scripture Reference:

“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. 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.  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: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” Luke 15:20-24 (KJV)

 

 

Today’s Message: “The RETURN of the Prodigal Son”

In the parable of “the Prodigal Son.” The story shows a picture of our own lives before God. There must come a time when each of us say, “I will go back to my Father and say to Him, I have sinned against you. Forgive me.” God has accepted the death of Jesus on the cross on as full payment for all our sins.

My prodigal moment happened in January of 2001, and once again in November of 2010.  Somewhere between 2001 and 2010 I had wandered away, and found myself in the pig pen of life.  I loved the Lord, and had sort of dabbled in serving Him.  I had even received personal instruction from Him as to the correct division and understanding of His Word.  He gave me my foundation, and lead me to several key men of God that made sure my foundation was firm and planted on the solid ground of Jesus.

My last prodigal moment in November of 2010 was the one where I decided to stop playing around, and get serious about God.  Since I did that God has taken me on a journey that can only be described as the “But God” in my story.  In February of 2012 I officially launched this ministry, and I haven’t looked back since.

What was the result of the Prodigal Son’s decision to move away from his father? Have you ever experienced anything like that? What do you think motivated the Prodigal Son to change his mind and return to his father?

I have been in the pig pen of life, and the thing that motivated me to get out was probably the same as what motivated the prodigal son…he was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  That moment when we realize that what we’re doing isn’t working, and that we’re so far down the only place to look is up…and I don’t know what it was like for him…but for me when the only thing I could do was look up…the first thing I saw was the same thing Peter saw when he stopped splashing around in the water…the outstretched hand of Jesus.

There were two things that lead me into the pig pen…but in the end the truth is there was only one thing that really lead me out to the wilderness until I wound up in the pig pen.  The first was fear.  Doubt that there was anything God could do in, with, and/or through my life.  The second was fear.  Fear that people would see me for who I was instead of who God was working within me to get me to become.

So the main thing that really lead me to the pig pen was pride.  It’s prideful to think that your life is so messed up that the Cross is incapable of fixing it.  It’s also prideful to think that you’re so beyond help that God cannot use your life as proof of His power. I am living proof that if you’ll surrender your life and your talents that He will not only pick you up, dust you off, and set you on your feet…He will take you places you never dreamed of going.

This parable is about our relationship with our Heavenly Father who loves us so much. God loves us so much more than any earthly father ever could. He loves us like a father and a mother combined! What was the Father’s attitude when he saw his son walking down the path? What can we learn from this about God’s love toward us?

I think my favorite part of the story is found in verse 22.  You see, I gave God all kinds of excuses myself as to why I wasn’t worthy of what He was calling me to do, I wasn’t worthy of His grace, His mercy, or His love.  I listed all the reasons that I wasn’t worth what He was offering…but He didn’t even listen to them.  I often speak of the moment that changed my life was when He simply spoke to my heart that He loved me…and my life really hasn’t been the same since.

Love from people in the world is barely unconditional, but God’s love isn’t just unconditional it is perfect.  It is His love that our hearts are searching and longing for.  It’s His love that drew me out of the pig pen, it’s His love that picked me up, cleaned me up, and set me back upon my feet.  It’s His love that continues to work within me today to bring me to become the person that He sees.

You see, for the longest time the main reason I kept running from Him was the same reason I found myself in the pig pen.  I never was able to see myself through His eyes.  I always saw myself through the eyes of what I saw in the mirror.  However, when He spoke to my heart that He loved me, the next thing He did was introduce me to my helpmate, and through her He loved me and got me to take my focus from what I see in the mirror to what He sees.   He’s taken me even deeper than that thru the eyes of my baby girl.

What I learned, friends is that there is only one person keeping us in the pig pen, and it’s not God.  The reasons may be different, but we all get there because of pride.  We think we can do life on life’s terms on our own.  We may even get a taste of what it’s like to walk with God like I did, and then with a prideful heart we think we can do some and God can do some…when the truth is…God wants to do all of it…and for us to trust Him with every part of our lives.

There are basically 3 types of people in relation to the Father. Which one are you?

(1) RELUCTANT: I’m still in the far country living my life the way I want to

(2) REALIZED: I’m just now coming to my senses, realizing I need to turn to God

(3) RETURNED: I’m enjoying the Heavenly Father’s forgiveness and acceptance

If you feel like you are #1 or #2, you need to come to God like the Prodigal Son – humbly asking forgiveness and mercy. Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, God the Father will totally forgive us of our sins.

If I’m being honest, and in this message I find myself being quite transparent and open…I have found myself being all three types.  For much of that time between 2001 and 2010 I found myself in that reluctant place where I wasn’t ready to do and be what God was calling me to be.  I wanted to serve God on my terms, but it doesn’t work that way…and that’s how in November of 2010 I found myself in the realized place.  I realized that if my life was ever going to change for the better that I was going to have to get out of God’s way, and allow Him to do what He wanted…when He wanted and how He wanted.

I realized that the longer I stayed in His way…the more I was going to find myself in the pig pen.  We’re designed to have God lead, guide, and direct our steps…and when we don’t allow Him to do that…we’re just simply in His way.  He can’t accomplish anything in our lives if we’re going to insist on being in the drivers seat…nor can He if we’re in the passenger seat trying to direct God as to where we want to go.

The truth is.  God can’t be our co pilot.  He can’t be our co-anything.  He has to be THE Pilot.  He has to be THE Potter and we the clay.  He has to be the One directing our steps.  He has to be in complete control…or we’ll find ourselves back in the pig pen…and that’s the biggest thing I learned from my time in the pig pen…the only way to stay out of it is to make sure God is in control.

Today, I’m in the returned place where I understand that everything I am, everything I have, and everything I can do is because of His grace, mercy, love, and guidance.  I don’t even write a message without the anointing to do so because without the anointing I can’t write anything worthy of His glory.

If you feel like you are #1 or #2, you need to come to God like the Prodigal Son – humbly asking forgiveness and mercy. Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, God the Father will totally forgive us of our sins.

I have found that the best way to stay out of the pig pen is to stay out of God’s way, and allow Him to have full control.  That’s not to say that I don’t ever get in His way because I do…but more and more I’m learning to get out of His way faster than I used to.

If you feel like you’re in a place where you need to come home to the Father…you know you don’t have to wait any longer.  You can come to Him even if you’re still caked in mud.  You don’t have to clean yourself up, you don’t have to put clean clothes on or anything…all you have to do is come home to Him…He will do the rest.

How do I know?  Because that’s how I got to be where I am today.  I came to Him as I was caked in mud and all…and four years later I’m on the path to being all that He meant for me to be and more.

If you’d like to find yourself on that path yourself…all you have to do is come…and if you need help knowing how to do that…let’s just say this simple prayer…

Lord, we confess that we are all sinners and in need of forgiveness. Thank You, God, that You are a good Father who loves us very deeply. Thank You that You are willing to forgive us. Help us understand more about how to come to You in the way that pleases You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

In Closing:

If you have never trusted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior it’s really easy to do.  Maybe you’re like the prodigal who was once a son, and you’ve strayed and want to come home.  No matter what…the way home is just as simple…

Just pray: “Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and life. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank You for saving me. Amen.”

Friend, if you said that prayer…you’ve just returned home.  Get yourself into a good, solid Bible based church.  Tell them that you’ve recently returned home, and need help getting started on your way to making sure you stay out of the pig pen.

Thank you so much for joining me in this series.  Message number two will hopefully be written and posted tomorrow.  Stay warm and safe out there.

Blessings & Grace to you.

Bryan Kizer – Pastor