Lost & Found - Luke 15:14-20
What should be our response to Jesus’ resurrection? Our new eternal life does NOT begin with resurrection but begins now! Easter is a celebration of life!
“Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:11 NIV
How to Count Myself Dead to Sin? I must R.E.P.E.N.T. Jesus’ resurrection should lead to our repentance. It is the sign of our death to our sins and our new life in Christ. But what does it mean to repent?
Two Greek Words for Repentance - often used interchangeably in NT.
μετανοέω(34x) - meta (change) noéō (understanding, mind).
ἐπιστρέφω(36x) - epí (to) stréphō (turn)
Example Acts 3:19 - “Repent (metanoeo) therefore and turn (epistrepho) again that your sins may be blotted out.”
What does this actually look like? Is it something that we do at one time when we become a Christ-follower or is it ongoing? Parable of the prodigal son shows us what it means to R.E.P.E.N.T.
R - ____________ what got me here .
“And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need.” Luke 15:14 NIV
Sometimes we have to hit bottom before we can repent. Here we have a lesson for loving parents who desire to assist their children. Of course family means we love and help. But sometimes, when a child is prodigal, the greatest, most loving help we can provide is to allow our children to hit bottom. In fact, by preventing them from hitting bottom we are delaying God’s work in their life. It was only after the prodigal son had spent everything that he recognized his need.
Consider how the story would have gone had verse 14 included, “And Dad came along and provided a low interest loan to bail out the son just until his next paycheck.” It was because he spent everything that he then began to think about the ruin he had created for himself. Who is the prodigal in your life that needs tough love?
Sometimes we confuse REGRET with REPENT. Just the beginning.
E - ____________ myself .
“So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.” Luke 15:15-16 NIV
Our first effort to turn, to repent, is not always the best choice or our most successful. For this reason many are skeptical about initial efforts at repentance. “Oh, he’s repented many times before. Is it real this time around?” But what we don’t realize is that repentance is a process. It’s education - the school of hard knocks way. What will work. What won’t work?
The prodigal’s first “solution” was not his best. He hired himself out. His loving father is looking daily for him to return, yet the child’s first solution is to stubbornly try to figure this out on his own. Isn’t this how you were taught to respond to tough situations... to do it “MY WAY?”
That intensity of independence that is so admirable to Americans is folly when it comes to the spiritual life. For there is no spiritual life without spiritual rebirth and this rebirth is impossible without God.
P - _____________ my reality .
“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!” Luke 15:17 NIV
True education comes as a result of failure. Often figuring out what works is by first figuring out what doesn’t work. The prodigal could only recognize the truth of his situation by figuring out what didn’t work. Even his father’s hired servants, he reasoned, were better off than he was.
It is exactly at this point that the great enemy of our souls, Satan, rushes in. He really cannot stop the inevitable regret that comes from your separation from God. And he cannot stop you from figuring out that doing it YOUR WAY is the WRONG WAY. So he does everything he can to keep you from pondering your reality. He will try to distract you. Anything but PONDER!
E - _____________ my intent .
“I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.’” Luke 15:18 NIV
It’s during the pondering times that we are most likely to ask the hard questions in our lives. “What in the world am I doing? Why am I here? Where am I going?” Repentance begins in the heart. Begins with intent.
Note that the prodigal came to the realization that NOT ONLY had he offended against his own father BUT HE ALSO sinned against heaven. This is the where repentance begins to gain real traction, when I connect the earthly and heavenly, the temporal and the eternal. What I do now WILL HAVE eternal consequences.
N - ______________ through my emotions .
“I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.” Luke 15:19 NIV
Repentance is an emotional experience. Anyone who reads the words of the prodigal when he finally comes to the end of himself and thinks there is no emotion involved should think again!
_________ - contrition, deep regret, guilt, penitence are all normal experiences for someone repenting. “I wish I hadn’t have gone here, done this in my life.”
__________ - Beyond remorse, I experience sorrow, sadness, heartache. A recognition of my sins to God.
__________ - I see myself in relation to God. I lose pride, a view of myself as god in center of universe.
Healthy and Unhealthy - These are all normal, natural responses. But the key is that I NAVIGATE my way through these emotions. I do not stay here (unhealthy). It’s healthy to remind myself occasionally of my repentance (Ash Wednesday) or to repent of sins as growth. But ultimately, this should lead me to a healthy, positive, safe, secure relationship with God as my loving Abba Father.
T - __________ from myself towards God .
“And he arose and came to his father.” Luke 15:20 NIV
Good intentions alone does not make for true repentance. The intentions of the heart must be translated into actions. “And he arose.” When I’ve gone through all 5 of the previous stages, I’m ready to turn. I can’t wait to turn. I’m disgusted with myself and with my own failures. There’s both a turning away (from me) and a turning towards (to God).
Conclusion: Where are you at today? Are you celebrating your own repentance this morning, knowing that you have fully turned toward God and now are relying fully upon Him and His grace and mercy for your life? Or are you in the midst of this struggle?
This is God’s entire intent for Easter. It’s not just a religious holiday. It’s sure not about the Easter Bunny. It’s not the day we dress up. It’s the day we are reminded of new life. OUR new life in Christ.
“Just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Romans 6:4 NIV