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Repentance to Restoration
Gen. Deborah Green
P RAISE GOD. Welcome to Battle Cry Sounding/Battle Cry Pounding. And you know, it's regretful that God has to pound the battle cry. It's regretful that God's people—over the last 30 something years, have refused to hear the battle cry sounding, and now it's come to the point where God is demonstrating the battle cry POUNDING!
But, you know, if we will learn to be responsive to God through repentance, by continuing in repentance, then we don't need to be pounded, but we can simply hear His voice and obey.
In other words, when He sounds the battle cry in any given instance or circumstance, we can respond favorably unto Him and obey Him—because that's what God wants—is an OBEDIENT PEOPLE; and that's what God intends to bring forth.
Now, each of us in this walk with God has responsibility, and accountability, and if we loose out with God, we can't go around and blame everybody else, but we have to come to the place of thorough, and deep, and complete repentance before God in order to gain restoration.
Now, the name of today's message is "Repentance to Restoration." If we want to be restored to that place of favor with God the Father, then we need to repent. And not just a boo-hoo drunkard’s repentance, you know, "I'm sorry!" and then five minutes later, or an hour later, or two days later do the same thing again.
But, a real revelation as to the fact that if we are left to ourselves, we are ultimate wickedness. But, if we remain in God, then we can be blessed by God, and covered by God, and have the cup of mercy—rather than the cup of wrath.
Now, today, in this teaching, we're going to Luke chapter 15, if you'll turn there with me. And I'm reading out of the Amplified version. Now, this is so good; it's just so full of truth, and it's so full of light, and it's so full of instruction. And yes, we've read the chapter before—Luke 15, and as I say at the market when I'm preaching, "that's found in the New Testament portion of the Holy Bible."
So, in Luke 15, it's Jesus giving demonstration through these parables, stories, whatever you want to call them that He's telling, how it is that things are in His Kingdom, and WHAT it is that GOD RESPECTS, and WHAT it is that GOD ABHORS.
So, beginning here, I'm going to go before we get to the major text, we're going to start in about verse 3. It says, "So He told them this parable;" and that's because the Pharisees and scribes were "muttering and indignantly complaining, saying, This man accepts and receives and welcomes [preeminently wicked] sinners and eats with them."
So, He told them this parable, "What man of you, if he has a hundred sheep and should lose one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness (desert) and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his [own] shoulders, rejoicing. And when he gets home, he summons together [his] friends and [his] neighbors, saying, Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep which was lost. Thus, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one [especially] wicked person who repents (changes his mind, abhorring his errors and misdeeds, and determines to enter upon a better course of life) than over ninety-nine righteous persons who have no need of repentance. Or what woman, having ten [silver] drachmas [each one equal to a day's wages], if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and look carefully and diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she summons her [women] friends and neighbors, saying, Rejoice with me, for I have found the silver coin which I had lost. Even so, I tell you, there is joy among and in the presence of the angels of God over one [especially] wicked person who repents (changes his mind for the better, heartily amending his ways, with abhorrence of his past sins)."
So, Jesus is giving them, right there, those two examples of the JOY THAT COMES FROM TRUE REPENTANCE. In other words, that which is lost is found; and that which is strayed, is restored.
So, He's manifesting to them, through the telling of these two little excerpts, or stories right here, that THERE iS JOY IN HEAVEN WHEN THE WICKED REPENT.
Ok, and the reason that He's giving them that understanding is because they're accusing Him—the Pharisees are accusing Jesus because of what? Because He is reaching out to the sinful, to the lost, to the dying, to the perishing, and He's offering unto them the way of mercy; and they're mad about that.
They're mad about it because they want to keep their religious denominations forever and ever. They're mad about it because He is reaching out through the compassion of the heart of God and they can't stand that. They're mad at that because He is basically showing that, as the good shepherd, He goes out for the lost, he goes to bring the lost into the flock.
In other words, He's the One who goes through the effort to look for the lost and they don't even care about the sheep—lost, found, all around, dead, in Hell, THEY DON'T CARE. ALL THEY CARE ABOUT IS THEIR RELIGIOUS ACTIVITY, and their religious pride which they strive to keep in the utmost seat in the synagogues.
So, as we go farther into this chapter, beginning here in verse 11, it says, "And He said, There was a certain man who had two sons; And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the part of the property that falls [to me]. And he divided the estate between them. And not many days after that, the younger son gathered up all that he had and journeyed into a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and loose [from restraint] living."
So, of course we know that this was the prodigal son; we know that this individual demanded of his father his share of the inheritance, then he took it, and HE WASTED IT COMPLETELY: in riotous living, he wasted it on drinking, he wasted it on vile companions, he wasted it on loose women, he wasted it probably in gambling, and probably the use of drugs if they had them in his day; which they've always been around. He just wasted it, and he himself was wasted in the process.
Now, you wonder “Why was this son such a fool? Why did he choose to take such a route; and why is it that he was so demanding of his share of the inheritance; and then he was just burning with lust to use it all up?” It's because he was probably very proud, he was probably waiting from the time of childhood, to the time that he could be his own boss.
When I grew up, they used to put that on matchbook covers—"be your own boss;" to appeal to the rebellious, to appeal to the independent, to appeal to the ones who were full of pride—"YOU can be your OWN boss." Well, I got news for you: YOU'RE NEVER YOUR OWN BOSS. Either God is your boss, or the devil is your boss; so choose your boss; and you'll get the wages of the same.
But, it was a delusion that little kids reading matchbook covers could dream about, "Be your own boss." But, this is what this younger son apparently had spent his time involving his thought life in—was the day when he could get away; get away from his father's house, get away from his father's rule, get away from his brother, get away from those things that weren't exciting, get away from the dull routine of working, and supporting yourselves, and paying your bills, and paying your way.
"Oh, what a drag! What an ultimate drag! I mean this is like out to lunch dad. I'm getting out of here." Little know-it-all; little know-it-all. He probably scoffed at his father, he probably mocked his brother, he probably just imagined himself to be the best dancer, the best drinker, the best womanizer, the best gambler. What goals in life!
So, the little brat, who was by then a big brat demanded of his dad his share. Then he went and got his share, and after he got it, he was burning with lust to show his stuff—to let everybody see that man-about-town was no longer going to be around in this podunk place, but he was going to the city.
Do you know how many country bumpkins go to the city only to get wiped out, wasted, disillusioned, pathetically in despair to the point of suicide; many of them COMMIT SUICIDE. Why? Because the glitter of the lights, the call of the streets, the fantasy of the life of vanity are always there for every generation.
And the city cesspool was calling this young man to his "greatness." Actually, he was very deluded. And when you listen to demons, I don't care who you are, and I don't care who your father is, you're going to be DELUDED.
Now, the father, I'm sure, was a reputable man. I'm sure that he had established himself in the community that he lived in, that he was able to take care of himself, that he was able to take care of his family, to provide for them. Obviously, he was because he had an inheritance that was to be left to his sons upon his death; and then young-stuff had to get his early because he was so ‘great.'
So, his father, I'm sure was a respected man in his community, and yet it didn't matter—because when young-stuff lent his ear to the devil, he knew it all. When you start thinking you know it all, guess what you need? TO REPENT.
Don't forget we're in REPENTANCE REVOLUTION, and that means that we are to REVOLT against the works of darkness; we are to revolt against sin, and we are to revolt against the suggestions of the devil.
Ok, when he says, "Hey city-stuff, why don't you come on over?" Tell him, "Why don't you shut up and die where you're at? Let your face hit the concrete, with your teeth in the asphalt and lay there in your own slime." I've been to a few cities, I've seen people laying in their own slime, and it's ugly.
Ok, so we got here little know-it-all, who's now big know-it-all, all decked out in his fancy clothes. "Not many days after that, the younger son gathered up all that he had and journeyed into a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and loose [from restraint] living. And when he had spent all he had, a mighty famine came upon that country, and he began to fall behind and be in want. So he went and forced (glued) himself upon one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed hogs."
What I say about that there is when we go to the world, when we are meant to be in the kingdom of God, we are no better than this boy; or this young man. Because it's like you throw yourself upon the world and say, "Ok, I've made a mess, I've refused to repent, I've refused to walk in honor of my father, in honor of my brother, I refused to do what was right, I know everything, and now I've been made a fool. Now you take care of me."
How many Christians end up on welfare? How many Christians end up on SSI? How many Christians end up on all kinds of hand-outs from the government—because they will not manage their affairs, because THEY know better than God, because they know better than the elders, than their father, than anyone that would guide them? They know it all. And they have to throw themselves upon the mercy of the world, which is very short-sighted, in order to make it through.
Now, you look at people who pick up besetting sins and allow themselves to become addicted, habituated to substances to drugs, to alcohol, to all manner of addicting things, and then they have to end up BEGGING the world to take care of them.
What happened to the big “drink everybody under the table” hero? "Oh, he's just a shaking, quaking, vomiting, gagging blood coming out of his stomach alcoholic. Didn't you hear he sleeps in the port-a-potty?" Oh, how great! He's really the man about town.
Or, how about Denny the drug-addict? "Oh, yeah, I heard about him; I heard that he got so many infections in his arms from his needles that they had to cut his arms off. Well, he was a great old guy. He really could handle his stuff." Do you know what? The world is full of fools. THE WORLD IS FULL OF FOOLS.
Go to any big city, and you look in those streets, and you will see the vermin that are there, and all of them started out like this young fool—knowing it all. Honey, we don't know it all. None of us knows it all, and we should seek for repentance revolution in our lives—that we are in a state of continued repentance before God—that pride does not rush in on us like a flood, convince us how great we are, and get us in the place of desolation, the place of famine, the place of poverty, and destitution of God. Destitution—the soul DESTITUTE OF GOD.
Here he is now begging this guy to let him feed the hogs, and the guy's not paying him. It's only obvious—he's doing this job for nothing—that he can get some hog food.
You think you won't be forced to beg if you choose the devil as your covering? Of course, you will. I mean, I see it every week—people FORCED to beg because they gave themselves to the deception of the devil. And I mean when I'm saying, "forced to beg," it means even for a crumb of bread. Lose everything they had—all their fortune, all their substance, to pursue the life of sin.
Now, this is where this young fool was living. And he was forced into this place of humility; and how much pride hates humility! He was forced to humility by his own choices. Did you know if you reject the humility that God has in true repentance, and walking subjected to God, that God will make sure that you are humbled by the devil. And you will walk in the very humility you resisted; only you won't do it for God, and you won't get any credit for it, you won't get any glory for it, and you won't get any reward for it—except the rewards of the devil who will only BEAT YOU HARDER.
People go down, and guess what? They don't come up; they go down lower, and lower, and lower, until they're dragging their tongue in the gutter licking up the slime. Now, that's where the devil will end you.
So, he's out there feeding the swine, and he's eating the food. "And he would gladly have fed on and filled his belly with the carob pods that the hogs were eating, but [they could not satisfy his hunger and] nobody gave him anything [better]."
So, he wasn't earning his way; he was basically in SLAVERY. He had enslaved himself in order to eat the hog food. And did you know, when you turn to the world, you literally become a slave of the world to eat the hog food? To eat the HOG FOOD! That's how LOW it takes you—from a fine table, spread with all kinds of delicious nourishing food, to being out amongst hogs, living with the hogs—in order to steal some of the hog's food.
How low can you go? If you lock yourself into stubbornness, you can go so low that you would be amazed at how degraded you become—because of stubbornness, because of pride, because of resisting God.
Ok, then it says, "Then when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father have enough food, and [even food] to spare, but I am perishing (dying) here of hunger!"
So, what is he doing? All of a sudden, rich boy has come down to face his own reality, and he's facing the fact that hey, EVEN THE HIRED SERVANTS ARE EATING BETTER THAN I EAT. And guess what, folks? The hired servants get wages. And, not only do they get wages, but they get fed from the master's table with food much better than the hog food that the know-it-all is eating.
So this guy didn't have a good character, he didn't have a good profile, and he was WICKED. This kid was wicked, and he had chosen wickedness. But then it says, "He came to himself." How do you think he came to himself? How do you think that he came to himself? Why does it say, "When he came to himself?" It's because REPENTANCE STARTED MOVING IN HIS LIFE.
It was probably his father's prayers that moved away the cloud of demons that had overshadowed him and led him down to the ditch of despair, to the place of absolute poverty, to the place where he was a slave to hogs in order to steal their food.
Now, you think how DEGRADING that is. I don't know if you've ever lived around hogs, but they are creepy, and they will even eat you if they get hungry enough. So, here he is trying to outsmart the hogs.
First, he thinks he outsmarts his dad, his brother, the whole family, takes off, does his thing, thinks he can outsmart his filthy, vile companions and all the time they're stealing him blind, and they end him up in a desolate place. Women, wine, and song. He thinks he's got it; he's got nothing.
So it says, “he came to himself,” and how did he come to himself? By repentance revolution—by literally seeing that even the hired servants were better off than him—the ones he probably scoffed and mocked all the time he was Mr. High-Rise, Mr. Penthouse, Mr. Jewels, Mr. Fine-Clothes, Mr. Elegant-Foods, Mr. Fine-Wines. He wasted it. And they were better off than him. THEY WERE BETTER OFF THAN HIM.
It says, "He came to himself," and he said, "Hey, you know what, the hired servants are doing better than I am." It says, "have enough food, and [even food] to spare, but I am perishing (dying) here of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; [just] make me like one of your hired servants."
Do you know what's beautiful about this fool? Is when he came to himself, that is when he was penetrated by the Spirit of repentance and the light shined in his mind, he said, "I will get up and go to my father." He didn't say, "I'm going to stay here and feel sorry for my self," he didn't say, "I'm going to hate all of them back there because of the wrong they did to me."
He said, "I will get up and I will go to my father, and I will tell him, I'm no longer worthy to be called your son, just let me be a hired servant." In other words, "I will plead for mercy from the one who is merciful, and I will tell him, I have sinned against you, I'm sorry I have sinned against you to the extent that I'm no longer worthy to be called your son."
So what happened? HE CAME INTO THE REPENTANCE MIND, HE CAME INTO A REPENTANT HEART, he came into a place of humbling himself, he came into the fact of facing that he was the sinner, he was the one that was lost, he was the one that had thrown away his father's goodness. And he came to the revelation, the humility revelation, he was no longer worthy to be a son of the father, he was no better than a servant if his father would even give him mercy there. So what brought that change of mind? It was repentance.
So we read farther here, and what does it say? "So he got up and came to his [own] father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [fervently]. And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight…"
Now, do you know what? That right there shows a change in character—because he didn't satisfy himself, and connive himself with manipulation of his dad's emotions, and his dad's love, and think: "Ha, I've got him back in my hand again"— when his dad came and showed a display of affection for him. But, he went along and continued in his resolution that he had made in repentance; he took ACTION TO REVOLUTION IN REPENTANCE REVOLUTION—in the fact that he went along with what he had declared that he would say.
In other words, when he had his dad back in his grips by the emotional attachment, he did not go back to his wicked behavior, his wicked thoughts, his wicked manipulation. He said it, he apologized, he repented, he humbled himself. And he said, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son [I no longer deserve to be recognized as a son of yours]! But the father said to his bond servants, Bring quickly the best robe (the festive robe of honor) and put it on him; and give him a ring for his hand and sandals for his feet. And bring out that [wheat-]fattened calf and kill it; and let us revel and feast and be happy and make merry, Because this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found! And they began to revel and feast and make merry."
So what happened here? We see that this son, despite the fact that he was wicked, despite the fact that he was evil, despite the fact that he had committed many sins, that he had wasted the inheritance, that he had scorned his sonship, that he had scoffed, and mocked, and made a fool of his father's time he had put into him in bringing him up in the way of righteousness, and instructing him in the way of truth; he'd done all of those things and he had a mark on him that said, "GUILTY."
But, when he came to himself, by repentance, and HE FACED THE MESS THAT HE HAD MADE, HE CARRIED THROUGH. And what was the consequence? He was restored to the father, he was restored to the house of the father, he was restored to the companionship of the father, and he was restored to the love of the father. Why? Why? Because he entered into, and he carried on out his repentance revolution.
In other words, HE CARRIED IT TO THE EXTENT THAT HE GAINED RESTORATION. He didn't go back and try to manipulate dad one more time, to squeeze a little more out of him. He went back and thoroughly, completely, humbled himself, and received the divine reception, the restoration. HALLELUJAH. AMEN.