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A Word from the Lord

with Archbishop Foley Beach
Some Christians Easily Walk Away from God, But God Rejoices When They Return Sunday, October 6, 2019
MESSAGE SUMMARY: From the Gospel of Luke (Luke 15:11-32): Rejoicing in Heaven As Christians, we tend to easily walk away from Jesus, but He rejoices when we return. Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son – As Viewed through the Eyes of the Young Son: The younger son, firstly, took his inheritance, for which he was not yet entitled, and abandoned his father and family to move to a “distant country”. These were the actions of someone who abandoned his responsibilities, disrespected his father, broke off his relationship with his father, and then treated his father as being dead. In the “distant country”, the younger son quickly squandered his inheritance through sinful living. Being destitute in the “distant country” that was experiencing a severe famine, the younger son hired himself out to tend pigs (NOTE: For a Jewish person of that period, it was an abomination to work with pigs.). Also, he was starving; therefore, the son ate the food rejected by the pigs. However, in the desperate situation in the “distant country”, the young son “came to his senses” – he had an inner awakening. As a part of coming to his senses, the son, as described in Luke 15:17-20a, remembered and returned to his father: “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.’ And he arose and came to his father.”. Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son – As Viewed through the Eyes of the Father: As requested by the younger son, the father gave the younger son his unentitled inheritance; and, without resistance, the father let his young son leave. When the young son “came to his senses” and returned to his father from a “distant country”, the father saw his son returning; and the father ran, thereby disgracing himself, to meet the young son while the son was still a great distance away. The father’s heart was filled with compassion and love upon the return of the young son – the father was expressing unmerited and unsolicited love for his returning son. The young son had disgraced and disrespected his father, and the young son deserved to be punished. However, the father took all the hurt, disrespect, and punishment merited by his young son on himself. The father expressed this punishment merited by the young son when the father ran to his son; accepted and restored the son back into his family without question; and celebrated the return of the young son. The father, in this parable, demonstrates God’s love that God gives to us when we return to Him from a “distant country” of sin and broken fellowship. When we return to God, we see His love for us, but not for our sins and our actions that broke our personal relationship with Him. We and the young son must face the consequences of our sin when we walk away from God: but through Jesus’ acceptance of the cost of our sins on the cross and through our repentance, we can return to the love and fellowship offered by God. Summary: When we return from walking away from God, He rejoices; and there is rejoicing in heaven. God’s perspective, regarding someone who has walked away from Him, is expressed, in Luke 15:31-32, when the father is explaining to his older son why he is accepting and celebrating the return of his young son from a “distant country”: “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”. This parable clearly reflects that God wants intimacy and a personal relationship with us, and it hurts God when we walk away from His relationship with us. However, God and Heaven rejoice when we repent and return! As we consider those around us who have rejected and walked away from God, what should we do for them? We should: 1) pray, asking God to invade their life and circumstances to the point they will want to return to Him; 2) love them where they are – we can’t rescue them; 3) “let them go” – they have intentionally rejected God (as the young son rejected his father), and our chasing after them may harden their heart to God; and 4) like the father in the parable, “be looking and expecting” their return – when they return, we need to embrace the one returning, with the love of God, like the father embracing and accepting his young son in the parable. TODAY’S AFFIRMATION: I affirm that because of what God has done for me in His Son, Jesus, I AM RIGHTEOUS IN GOD’S EYES. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21).   SCRIPTURE REFERENCE (ESV):  Luke 15:11-32; Luke 15:7; Luke 15:10; Psalms 45:1-17.   SCRIPTURE REFERENCE SEARCH: www.AWFTL.org/bible-search/ WEBSITE LINK TO DR. BEACH’S SERMON VIDEO – “Are You Committed to Spending Personal Relationship Time with God Through Prayer?”: www.AWFTL.org/watch.   A WORD FROM THE LORD WEBSITE: www.AWFTL.org.   DONATE TO AWFTL: https://mygiving.secure.force.com/GXDonateNow?id=a0Ui000000DglsqEAB

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