THE MEANING OF EASTER – THE PRODIGAL SON – ARE YOU COMING HOME?

April 4, 2012

“Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 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. Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”

Luke 15:1-10 KJV

Joy in the presence of God is celebrating when one sheep is lost and then found. All the Angels in Heaven are celebrating when one comes to repentance. That’s what the gospel is about. But these two parables were just an appetizer to the next one Jesus was about to tell. The Story of the Prodigal Son. The Greatest Short Story of all times. Jesus gave us this powerful story in the Book of Luke. Think of a time when someone extended “grace” to you: they could have blamed you or shamed you but they didn’t. They gave you love and understanding when you deserved something else. How did it feel? This is the story of a father’s grace which witnesses to God’s grace in Jesus. The definition of Prodigal is: Spending money or resources freely and recklessly; wastefully extravagant. The story starts here in the Bible, and Jesus says, “And he said, A certain man had two sons: 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.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.” Luke 15:11-13 KJV Jesus sets up this scene with these two sons with a wealthy father. The younger son has this independent streak in him and he tells his father I don’t care if you live or die, just give me my inheritance now! He just thought life on the farm with his father, as lovely as it was, it was just holding him back from the good life. He wanted something more, he wanted something else. He was restless, he was running, he had to get a hold of what was forbidden. In doing this, he dishonored his father. He is so disrespectful, he disowned his family. It is an outrageous dis meaning request. Father give me what’s coming to me, I want it NOW! Sometimes love is tough, you have to let your child go when they are bound and determined to go his or her way. Well he is on his way to a far country. We don’t know where. Most likely it was a Gentile country. His heart was already there. He heard about the lights, heard about the parties, heard about the pleasures. He wanted it bad! When he gets there he is spending money left and right. He has friends all around him. Unfortunately the party doesn’t go on and on and on and on…..His friends bail out on him of course. They leave when the money runs out. This boy found out that his friends weren’t friends after all. They were just using him. When he hit rock bottom he was reaping what he sowed. His life is gone as he had known it. Have you ever been there? Have you ever had a D.U.I. and been arrested? Lost your job? Or maybe your marriage is on shaky grounds and your wife has come to you and asked for a divorce. Maybe you just feel you have hit rock bottom. Maybe your heart is far away from Jesus like both of the father’s sons. The son that stayed home with his father, his heart was just as far away as the Prodigal son‘s heart. It was just as the self-righteous people listening to Jesus as it was to this long-lost boy in this long-lost country. You could be someone raised in a christian home and grow up with a heart far from Jesus. Well by now the boy is now broke and hungry so he has to get a job. Jesus tells part of the parable here, “And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.” Luke 15:14-16 KJV This was about the lowest of the low to get a job feeding pigs. And if that wasn’t bad enough, he was eating not even good left over rubbish from the pigs. You see sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, cost you far more than you want to pay. Sin never delivers on its promises, sin promises freedom, but delivers bondage. Sin promises success, but delivers defeat. Sin promises that there is pleasure, and there is pleasure for a season, for a little while, but ultimately it delivers pain. “The wages of sin is death.” This boy thought happiness was not on the farm with his father, but in the big city with lights “doing his own thing his way.” We are all prodigal’s. We are all born with are backs towards God. We are all born with this rebellious streak, this attitude to live independent without the father. We have the idea we can live life our own way. If it weren’t for the Grace of God, we would all live in the far country, broken, wasted, and ruined. Maybe you are living the Prodigal Son’s life. Are you wasting your life away? This boy is representing all of us that is far from God. Finally the boy comes to his senses and says, I must be crazy to live a life-like this. He takes responsibility for his own sin. He takes responsibility of his life. He says, I own this, I did this. He came to himself. This is the turning point of the parable. Jesus tells it here, “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!” Luke 15:17 KJV It’s the turning point in our lives. When we come to the place in our lives where we recognize we need to repent. Repent means to change your mind. That is what the boy is doing here. He is coming to his senses. He wakes up, he remembers that he is loved at home. He remembers the joy and the provisions in the father’s house and he is home sick. Do you want to know why you are feeling alone, longing for a home that is secure, a place where it is safe. Maybe it is because you are far from home. This boy now knows that everything he’s looking for is at home with his father. And everything you are looking for is a relationship with God. It’s knowing the Father, experiencing His love, His Grace, His forgiveness in your life, that’s what it’s about. So the boy said, I will go home! He could have said one of these days I will go home. Just like you would say, one of these days I will come to Christ. I’ll get my life right with God. He could have said I’m to far gone. My life is so upside down it’s never going to be right side up. I’ll never get my life back and my father will never take me back, but then he remembers, yes my father will receive me again. It doesn’t matter how far gone you feel, God’s love and Grace is waiting for you. All you have to do is like this boy did and say, I have sinned, I have sinned against Heaven and Earth and my Father. Confess your sin and repent of it. Jesus tells some more of the parable here, “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 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 15:18-24 KJV His father came rushing to him kissing again and again and again……..It didn’t matter that he was dirty and smelly from working in the pig pen, and his clothes were like old rags. He had waited so long for this moment, for his son to finally to come home. When he embraces his son with his arms it is as if he is covering his sin. He is holding on to the one that is lost. His heart went out to him. What a “Picture of God” on a run to rescue us. If you will just take that first step home, He will run to you. He is standing at the door of your life and knocking, and if you hear His voice, open the door and He will come in. It’s not to late to say yes to Jesus. Just open your heart to him and confess your sins and commit your life to Him. Jesus’ death on the cross was in our place to pay for our sins through His mighty resurrection which has bought our Justification and purchased our Redemption through His blood, for the forgiveness of our sins. He will take off the rags of stench of sins, by the blood of His cross and the power of His resurrection He will restore and renew you as His son. And you will say this is where I belong, with my Father, with a relationship with God.

COMING SOON: http://www.thecupofsalvation.com

My Name is Jeff Ellinger

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I AM SECOND


WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT HAVING A PURE HEART – BE AN ORGAN DONOR, GIVE YOUR HEART TO JESUS !!!

May 19, 2011

               “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:”

   1 Timothy 1:5 KJV

   There is a very serious heart disease we should all know about, it is called “the disease of hard-heartedness.” Many times in the Old Testament, we read that God accused the people of Israel of being hard-hearted.  In the New Testament, Jesus would sometimes tell the religious leaders, and even His own followers that their hearts were hard. Jesus told a parable of a farmer who went out and sowed seeds.  You don’t have a to have a green thumb to know that the object of sowing seed is to get it into fertile soil so it can take root and produce fruit.  Jesus pointed out that often when a farmer would throw seed, some would land on hard-packed soil.  That seed was wasted; it would never grow.  Jesus went on to explain what He meant by this agricultural story.  Some people’s hearts are impenetrable, hardened, unresponsive, and callous.  The Word of God just bounces off.  It doesn’t even take root. One biblical character who had an iron heart was the man who was crucified next to Jesus.  When Jesus was nailed to the cross, there was a criminal being executed on His right and another on His left.  One was a repentant thief.  In the last moments of his life, he softened his heart and said, “Oh Lord, would You remember me?”  Jesus said to him, “Today you’ll be with Me in paradise.”  But the other thief, who was being crucified for a life of crime and violence, had a hard heart.  He was minutes from death, inches from the Savior, but his heart was like stone.  He was busy hurling abuse and insults at Jesus. And this is what will happen ultimately to those people who spend their whole lives with an attitude of hard-heartedness. In the Bible, “hard-heartedness” refers to the unresponsive, stiff, angry, insensitive, rebellious, and independent attitude ruling our hearts.  This attitude is first directed toward God, but also toward other people.  People in Jesus’ time, like those in the time of Isaiah, would not believe despite the evidence. As a result, God hardened their hearts. Does that mean God intentionally prevented these people from believing in him? No, he simply confirmed their own choices. After a lifetime of resisting God, they had become so set in their ways that they wouldn’t even try to understand Jesus’ message. For such people, it is almost impossible to come to God, their hearts have been permanently hardened. Other instances of hardened hearts because of constant stubbornness are recorded in the Bible here, “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was met. And even as they did not like to keep God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;” Romans 1:24-28 KJV  The Bible tells us that sin is a root cause for hard-heartedness. “But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” Hebrews 3:13 KJV  We learn to sin at a very young age.  We have a sin nature, and we make sinful choices.  Our sins can build up and harden our hearts. When our hearts become hard, Jesus is distressed or grieved.  He is hurt.  The result of an unrepentant heart is the eventual wrath of God.  Although God doesn’t always punish us immediately for our sins, his eventual judgment is certain. Our hearts are important to God.   What is the heart?  The heart is the soul or mind of man.  It is the foundation of our thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, and endeavors.God wants our hearts to be right with Him and not just our outward appearances and actions. In the Bible, “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 KJV  God told Samuel to go to the house of Jesse and anoint one of his sons to be the next king.  Samuel saw one of Jesses’ sons, Eliab, and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him.  The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  It’s the heart that matters to God.In the New Testament, Jesus condemned the Pharisees and religious leaders for outwardly appearing saintly and holy but inwardly remaining far from God. In the Bible it says, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” Matthew 23:27-28 KJV  Brethren, it’s what is on the inside that matters to God.  Since we are sinful people, we cannot create by ourselves the kind of heart that God wants us to have.  David recognized this when he wrote in Psalms, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalms 51:10 KJV  We need to go to God in prayer and ask Him to change our hearts. As Saul was being made the King, “As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart.”  Regardless of how far a person’s heart is from God; God can change it. Sin separates us from God.  If sin reigns in our hearts and lives, then we are alienating ourselves from God.  We have a heart problem when there is sin reigning in our lives. The Bible says, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” Isaiah 59:2 KJV  So what do we need to do to get our hearts back right with God?  We need to confess our sins to God. The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 KJV  We can’t hide our sins from God, we must acknowledge them before God. When should we confess our sins?  Right when the sin is committed.  We must confess our sins immediately to guard our hearts from sin.  A Proverb writer once wrote, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23 KJV   We shouldn’t commit a sin and let that sin dwell in us all day.  No, we need to guard our hearts from any type of sin that is trying to invade it!  We need to turn away from our sins.  Stop doing what God does not want us to do. The Bible says, “But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?” Ezekiel 18:21-23 KJV  This passage teaches that if we turn away from our sins, then God will forgive us and He will remember our sins no more.  Isn’t that wonderful!  That’s the kind of Loving God that we have.  If we stop the sinning, then our hearts can be brought back to God. The heart is very important to God.  It is the wellspring of life. We must guard our hearts against hardness and always have an open and healthy heart towards God.  When you have a new heart, you have a desire to be submissive to God.  Every morning you need to say, “I give You my life today, Lord.”  You can start your day singing, “Have Your own way, Lord.  Have Your own way.  You are the potter, I am the clay.”  You begin to pray, “Mold me, make me, do whatever you want with my life, it’s Yours.”  It’s a submission issue, a flexibility issue, a surrender issue.  Your life motto becomes: “Just say the word, Lord.”  Your soft heart says, “Whatever the Scriptures teach, that’s what I want to do.”  A responsive heart is one that always says yes to the Lord. Just be a donor and give your heart to Jesus ! We may fool others who see us only on the outside, but God sees the reality of our hearts, whether good or bad. It is wise, therefore, to humbly confess our faults to the Lord. He desires that we admit the truth. The only way to escape the sin and restore our fellowship with God is to acknowledge and confess it to Him. So why not today open up your heart to Jesus Christ, because He is the One that died on the cross and shed His blood and paid the penalty for your sins so you could have that free gift of eternal life. Amen


By: Jeff Ellinger


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