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Just Like You Never Left


Luke 15:17-23

I have been a minister now for over 30 years…and I suppose one of the things that has been the most concerning to me is the number of Christians that are robbing themselves of the joy and peace that being in Christ affords, all because they are not sure they are going to go to heaven.

It is interesting that many who have not obeyed Christ are confident they are going to heaven.

We are not sure that God can or will forgive some of the sins we have committed.

I have on occasion talked with some who were not Christians who had it in their minds that “there is no way God would forgive or save anyone like me who has done all the things I have done.”

If that is the way you think you have some wrong concepts of God. Look with me at the passage that was read.

We have already read the passage…so for just a few minutes let’s get into the thinking of a couple of the different characters.

First, let’s consider the boy…the younger son.

But this boy comes to his senses…and in verse 18 he decides to go home…not as a son…but hoping to be a “hired man.”

That wasn’t asking much.

And so this boy gets up and he comes home, soiled and stained by the sins he has committed, and every step of the way he is thinking, “I am not worthy to be your son. Could I just be a “hired man” you use every now and then?”

And He doesn’t know what the father is going to say.

Now, as Jesus is telling this story, the people (Pharisees and scribes; vs. 1) listening at this point, don’t know how this story is going to end.

But that is not what the father said.

Notice what this father does in verse 20.

The father doesn’t do any of that!

That is not like us is it?

The father forgives…and he says: “Quick, put the best robe on him. Put a ring on his finger. Put shoes on his feet.”

The robe covers the marks of the “distant country.”

The ring is like giving the credit cards back to the boy.

And the shoes are important because in that culture slaves weren’t given shoes.

There is a lot of difference between probation and pardon.

In Romans 5:1 the apostle Paul says, “Therefore we have been justified by faith…” Do you remember in Bible class, the word “justification” and what your teacher said it meant?

And notice, the father is not only glad to see his boy…and not only does he restore him to son-ship…but he restores the boy’s reputation.

He is not saying to the boy, “Ok, you can be my son but I want you to stay out of sight.”

The father says, “You are the celebrity. You are the object of honor at this feast.”

The father restores him back to son-ship.

And God does the same for us.

In 1914 a great fire destroyed Thomas Edison’s factory…Thomas was 67 at the time.

Look with me at Col. 1:22. Paul says: …yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach–

 I have one question. How?

I have an answer. Gal. 3:27: For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

 When you, the prodigal, put on the robe of Christ, the only thing God sees is Jesus.

Widow…poor…made her living by doing laundry…and she was putting some laundry out on the line to dry.

Did you know that snow is not even pure white?

If you are one of those who are letting doubt destroy your peace and joy…God can pardon sin.

The only atonement that God accepts is Christ’s robes of righteousness.


Acts 22: 16

Acts 2: 38.