Coming To Yourself Before You Come To Jesus

The Holy Spirit dropped this scripture into my heart last week, Luke 15:11-24. This is the story of a father who had two sons. The younger son asked his father for his part of the property. The father divided the land and gave it to him, and the son left home and wasted his fortune on reckless and immoral living. A famine came and the boy ended up feeding pigs and starving for food. Finally, when he came to himself, he began to look around and think about those of his father’s house who had it better than he did. He decided to get up and go back to his father.

The son realizes that he had sinned against heaven and in his father’s sight. He brought it in to the deep reality that he needed to get it right before God, the Father, and in the sight of his natural father. He said he would tell his father, “I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Just make me like one of your hired servants.” In other words, he was saying that he realized he’d broken covenant and was away, and he would be satisfied if he could just be a servant in the house. While he was a long way off, his father ran and embraced and kissed him. His dad was a very wealthy man with servants that worked for him. In the culture of that time, showing any outward display like that would not have happened. He probably alarmed those who were assigned to watch over him. His father told his bondservant to bring his best robe of honor, and give him a ring for his son’s hand. He said, “Bring out the fatted calf and kill it, and let’s make merry. This, my son, was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found.” They began to feast and make merry.

There are three of these parables in this portion of scripture. There is a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. There’s a lot in this!

Favor is prearranged. Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew and approved of you.” God approved of you before He saved you. Why is it that so many, today, get saved and they’re struggling to be approved? It’s because you’re not looking for God’s approval. You’re looking for mom or dad, or a man or a woman’s approval. Because we’ve got all that mixed up, we never get a hold of the God approval. 95% of all the young men that come through this church have father issues. And, that’s why many of them, that should be in ministry, get disqualified, because they never get that right. They fail to look at scripture, and here’s Jeremiah saying that before God formed you, “I knew you and I approved of you.”

We have been talking about how favor is prearranged for you. Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew and approved of you.” Before Jeremiah sinned or did anything wrong, God said, “I approve you.” When a mother and father give birth to a child, they approve of that child before that child has a chance to grow up. Yet, we have hoards of people in God’s church that go around under condemnation and self-pity, and all this false sense of identity because they won’t deal with this thing biblically. They only want to deal with it emotionally. They say, “I can’t get right with my dad. All men are that way, and I cant get right.” Because of it, we go around wounded and trying to overachieve, frustrating everything we do. We start things and don’t finish. We don’t follow through, and run from the call of God. It’s because we have this other issue that was settled before we got saved.

I was fortunate to have a good dad. I didn’t say perfect. My dad drank and was a roughneck. He had eight brothers who all played music and hunted bears, ducks, possums and raccoons. I grew up with a shotgun, shooting it before I could hardly get it up and hold the thing. I learned a lot of things about life from my dad. But, I can tell you this… There are a lot of people in church that can’t get things right. They can’t get in ministry. They can’t get things accepted. They’re always mistrusting people because something is out of whack. You’ve got to come to yourself before you ever come to Jesus!

The whole parable of Luke 15 is an answer to the accusation of the Pharisees and Scribes, in verse 2. “And the Pharisees and the Scribes kept muttering and indignantly complaining, saying, ‘This man accepts and receives and welcomes wicked sinners, and he eats with them.'” They’re accusing Jesus of hanging out and eating with sinners. But verse one is really what got them… “Now, all the tax collectors and notorious and especially wicked sinners were all coming near Jesus to listen to Him.” Something was magnetically drawing them to the Savior. And, it led Jesus to tell these three stories in Luke. There was a man with a sheep that got lost. There’s a man with a coin that is lost, and the story that has to do with this son that left home and lost his way.

Jesus was making a place for them at his table, and he was encouraging them to stay and eat with him. Jesus wants every one of us to get to the place that we’re comfortable sitting with Him. Some of you run in, and are like drive-by shooters. You drive by and shoot out a prayer. “Help me Jesus! Thank you, Lord!” Or, you have that little breakfast prayer. Jesus wants you to feel comfortable sitting with him, hanging out with him, and spending time with him. If we’re not comfortable sitting with Jesus, we’re going to have a hard time walking with him.

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