Sermon #114††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††† Luke Sermons

 

†††† Title: †††† ††† The Parable of the Prodigal Son

†††† Text:††††† ††† Luke 15:11-24

†††† Subject: ††† The Grace of god

†††† Date:†††† ††† Sunday EveningóDecember 28, 2003

†††† Tape #†† ††† X-97a

†††† Readings:†† Bob Poncer and Bobbie Estes

†††† Introduction:

 

Turn with me to Luke chapter 15. Letís read The Parable of The Prodigal Son together, beginning at verse 11.

 

"And he said, A certain man had two sons: (12) And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. (13) And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. (14) And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. (15) And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. (16) And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. (17) And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! (18) I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, (19) And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. (20) And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. (21) And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. (22) But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: (23) And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: (24) For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry."

 

My Lifeís Story

 

This parable stands out to me as the most blessed story ever to fall from the lips of our Savior. It touches my heart as no other because it is the story of my life. Have you walked the prodigalís path? I have, both literally and spiritually. I have been with him in his proud rebellion and in his riotous living. And I have been with him in the fields of this world feeding swine, living in poverty of soul, spiritually bankrupt, isolated from descent society, but too proud to plead for mercy and grace. But, blessed be God, I have also been with him in his happy return to his fatherís house.

 

I pray that God the Holy Spirit will give me your attention, as I tell you the story of the prodigal son. In doing so, I want to show you Godís method of grace, the method by which he sovereignly, irresistibly, and effectually brings his lost sons home to himself. Every part of the story is rich in spiritual instruction.

 

Proposition:In this parable our Lord Jesus Christ shows us how pleasing it is to God to save sinners by his matchless, free grace in Christ.

 

Divisions:†††††† As we go through this story of redemption and grace, I want to call your attention to four things. They reveal four spiritual lessons that we must learn.

1.    The Prodigalís Haughty Rebellion (vv. 11-13).

2.    The Prodigalís Humbling Realization (vv. 14-19).

3.    The Prodigalís Hopeful Return (vv. 20-21).

4.    The Prodigalís Happy Reception (vv. 21-24).

 

I. The first thing we see in this story is The Prodigalís Haughty Rebellion.

 

Luke 15:11-13"And he said, A certain man had two sons: (12) And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. (13) And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living."

 

Here is the first lesson taught in this parable. It is established by the actions of this young man. ― Sooner or later, in one way or another, the pride and rebellion of every sinnerís heart will display itself. The prodigal displayed his pride and rebellion in a life of profligacy and licentiousness. His elder brother showed his pride and rebellion in his self-will, self-righteousness, and self-centeredness. And, my friend, sooner or later, in one way or another, the pride and rebellion of your heart against God will show its ugly face. Your heart by nature hates God. You may hide it pretty well, but sooner or later, your hatred of God will be made manifest.

 

       The father in this parable represents God the Father, the source and cause of all mercy, love, and grace.

       The elder son represents the Scribes and Pharisees, self-righteous, moral, religious men and women. To all outward appearance, they seem to be, above all others, the children of God, and loudly profess to be. But their profession is a sham. Their morality, their righteousness, their religion is all put on, nothing but an outward show.

       The younger son represents publicans and sinners. Though to all outward appearance this younger son was despised by his father, though he fully deserved his fatherís wrath, he was in reality the object of his fatherís love.

 

It is this younger son, the prodigal, who first catches our attention. He is the obvious rebel. He is the thankless, ungrateful wretch. This younger sonís conduct is a clear representation of the pride and rebellion of our hearts by nature.

 

This is a picture of your heart and mine by nature. You may, like the elder brother, hide under a cloak of outward morality, religion, and self-righteousness, but this is what you are; and this is what I am. There are no exceptions.

 

Mark 7:21-23"For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, (22) Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: (23) All these evil things come from within, and defile the man."

 

A. Look at what this younger son did.

 

Following the natural inclinations of his depraved heart, he rebelled against his father. He hated the restraint of his fatherís rule. He wanted his independence. He wanted the liberty to do his own thing, to gratify his own desires, to take control of his own life. It is written in Romans 8:7 ― "The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."

 

What was the problem here? This young man hated his father. That was the problem! In irreverence, impudence, and haughtiness, he demanded his portion of his fatherís estate, as though he had a claim to it.

       He was tired of his fatherís discipline and influence.

       He wanted to be out from under the pressure of his fatherís influence and restraining eye.

       He did not trust his father to manage his affairs.

       He was very proud, conceited, and in his own eyes self-sufficient.

       The only thing he wanted from his father was his money, the benefits of his wealth.

 

Pride

 

The prodigalís problem was pride. He was a proud rebel. How many there are like this prodigal! Indeed, pride is the common sin of mankind. Pride is the root of all sin. We all want to be God, living by our own laws, answerable to no one. Pride brought Lucifer down from heaven. Pride drug Adam out of the Garden. And pride will take your soul to hell.

 

As soon as the prodigal got his fatherís money he fled from his fatherís house. ďGathered all.Ē

 

It is true of us all! ďAll we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own wayĒ (Isa. 53:6). ďThe wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking liesĒ (Psa. 58:3).

 

As soon as a man has the exercise of reason, as soon as he can think or speak, as soon as he is born, he goes astray from God. We are all born sinners. It is the nature of all Adamís race to flee from God and hide from him.

 

B. Look where the prodigal went. He ďtook his journey into a far country.Ē

 

This proud rebel got just as far away from his father as he could. So it is with every sinner. Ever since Adam and Eve tried to hide from God in the Garden, man has been fleeing from God. Hiding behind everything imaginable (Rom. 1:21-22). Every man by nature is so far off from God that he cannot return to him of his own accord. ― Sinner, hear me, you are far off from God, far off from...

 

       Godís righteousness!

       Godís promise!

       Godís covenant!

       Godís Son, Jesus Christ!

 

C. Then, look at how the prodigal conducted himself in that far off place. ― ďThere (he) wasted his substance in riotous living.Ē

 

This poor, deluded soul spent all that he had upon the pursuit of his unbridled pleasures. He spent his money for that which satisfies not. He spent his youth and his strength in rioting, drunkenness and wild pleasure with harlots. He had a grand time. He was doing his thing. He found, at least for a season, great pleasure in his rebellion and sin.

 

But his pleasure soon ended. And his misery began. So, in the second place I want us to observe -

 

II. The prodigalís humbling realization (vv. 14-19).

 

Luke 15:14-19"And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. {15} And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. {16} And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. {17} And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! {18} I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, {19} And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants."

 

Here is our second lesson. ― Before anyone will ever come to God, seeking mercy, through the merits of Christís righteousness and shed blood, he must be brought down in the dust of humiliation. He must be made to see his sin.

 

If ever the Lord God does a work of grace in your heart he will first bring you down. And, believe me, God knows how to bring sinners down. When the Master comes to fetch sinners by his grace, he always says to the chosen object of his love as the did to Zacchaeus, ďCome down.Ē And when he says, ďCome down,Ē you will come down.

 

It is a painful, but blessed work of his almighty, irresistible, effectual grace that brings sinners down (1 Sam. 2:6-8).

 

(1 Sam 2:6-8)"The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. {7} The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. {8} He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and he hath set the world upon them."

 

       A Work of Providence (Ps. 107) ― In his wise and gracious providence, our heavenly Father often brings the objects of his love down in terribly humbling circumstances, so that he may bring them down in their hearts.

 

Illustration: ďI thank God for Folsom Prison.Ē

 

       A Work of Revelation (Isa. 6; Zech. 12:10). ― If ever God does for you what he did for Isaiah, you will cry, ďWoe is me! I am undone!Ē Blessed is that sinner who is made to be utterly undone by the revelation of Christ.

 

       A Work of the Gospel (John 16:8-11) ― Sinners are brought down by the gospel, in Holy Spirit conviction.

 

If ever God saves you by his grace, you must come down from yourÖ

       Self-sufficiency!

       Pride!

       Self-righteousness!

 

Mark the steps of the prodigalís humiliation, and be assured of what I am telling you. ― If God ever brings up to sit among the sons of God around the throne of grace, he will first bring you down to the grave.

 

A. First, ďHe spent all.Ē

 

By reason of his pride, rebellion and riotous living, this man lost everything he had. He spent all, but had nothing! Do you see what a deceiver sin is?

 

       It promises pleasure, but gives pain!

       It promises riches, but gives poverty!

       It promises fame, but give isolation!

       It promises friends, but gives loneliness!

       It promises fulness, but gives emptiness!

       It promises liberty, but gives bondage!

       It promises life, but gives death!

 

Oh, what a mocker sin is! It has stripped man of everything good, noble, and valuable. Through the sin and fall of our father Adam we lost everything. Man had all that his heart could desire in the garden; but he despised his bountiful Benefactor and lost everything.

 

Here is the work of manís imaginary free will. ― It has brought him into a state of misery, wretchedness, emptiness, and vanity! By an act of his free will man is a poor, blind, bankrupt, naked, corrupt, desperately needy creature. And every choice he makes only worsens his condition! ― We have spent all!

 

Have I described you? Is this your condition? If so, hear what the Lord God has to say to you (Isa. 55:1).

 

(Isa 55:1)"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price."

 

B. Second, we read, ďThere arose a mighty famine in that land.Ē

 

Having spent all, the prodigal had nothing. Because there was a mighty famine in the land, he could produce nothing. When famine comesÖ

       People are hungry.

       They are dying.

       There is nothing they can do.

       There is nowhere to go.

 

You may not yet know it, but there is a famine in the City of Mansoul.

       You are guilty of sin; but you cannot satisfy the justice of God.

       You owe God righteousness; but you cannot produce righteousness.

       Your heart and soul cry out for peace; but you cannot find peace.

       And you have no strength to help yourself, or change your condition.

 

C. Third, ďHe began to be in want.Ē

 

Oh, blessed condition! He who is made to feel the pinch sin and begins to be in want is in a hopeful condition. The needy sinner will seek the Savior.

 

This is, indeed, a hopeful condition. Though he had not yet come to his fatherís house, he began to see his need of his father and his house.

 

D. Then, this poor, deluded soul tried to save himself (vv. 15-16).

 

Luke 15:15-16"And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. {16} And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him."

 

There was a great famine in the land; but the prodigal hired himself out to a hog farmer. His grand employment was slopping hogs! John Gill suggests that this ďcitizenĒ to which the prodigal joined himself was a Pharisaic, legalist preacher, who sent him out to work his way back into his fatherís favor. Hard, humbling work that is; but it is still work. Hard as he worked, his need only got worse.

 

Can you get the picture? Here is a man who only a short while ago was a wealthy, happy, popular man, slopping hogs. He tries to fill his belly with the husks the hogs ate, but there was nothing in those dried husks to satisfy the hunger of a man. ― The husks of self-righteous, free will, works religion can never satisfy the hunger of a manís soul!

 

Then, we read, ďand no man gave unto him.Ē Not one of his former friends gave him a thing. They had no compassion on him. And the ďcitizenĒ (the preacher) to whom he joined himself, for whom he worked so hard, had no compassion for him. He just used him!

 

This is a sad, but very accurate picture of man. The natural man will do anything to be saved. When his conscience is pricked with guilt, when he senses his soulís danger, his immediate question is, ďWhat must I do?Ē Give him something to do to make himself righteous before God, and he will do it, or try to do it.

       Join the church.

       Get Baptized.

       Read his Bible.

       Pray.

       Fast.

       Tithe.

       Reform his life.

       Live by the commandments.

 

He will do anything except trust Christ, anything except seek mercy at the hands of the sovereign God through the merits of a crucified Substitute, anything except submit to the righteousness of God ― Christ (Rom. 9:31-10:4)

 

(Rom 9:31-33)"But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. {32} Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; {33} As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed."

 

(Rom 10:1-4)"Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. {2} For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. {3} For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. {4} For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."

 

E. At last, we are told, ďHe came to himself.Ē

 

Not until your self-sufficiency has been destroyed will you turn to the all-sufficient grace of God in Christ. Once he had lost everything and every self-righteous hope of improvement was destroyed, ďhe came to himself.Ē

 

I presume that our Lord intends for us to understand that until this time the man had been beside himself. What madness it is for a sinner to despise the goodness of God! What insanity is that man possessed of who goes about to establish his own righteousness before God!

 

When the prodigal came to himself, he was faced with a sober, humbling realization.

 

       He had been a terribly sinful fool (v. 17).

 

Luke 15:17"And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!"

 

       He was resolved to repent of his sin (vv. 18-19).

 

Luke 15:18-19"I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, {19} And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants."

 

       He would now count it a great mercy to be numbered among the hired servants of his fatherís house.

       He made up his mind to go to his father, spread his case before him, and sue for mercy.

 

It is a blessed work of God the Holy Spirit that brings a sinner to himself. ― If God does this for you, you willÖ

       See what you are ― sin!

       See that your only hope is Christ.

       See the fulness of Godís in Christ.

When you see your sin and see the fulness of Godís grace in Christ, you will take your place in the dust before the throne of God, take sides with God against yourself, and sue for mercy in Christ.

 

This is the turning point. The prodigal would not return to the fatherís house until he was brought down and made to need what none but his father could provide. And I am here to tell you plainly that no sinner will ever look to Christ for everything his soul needs until he is made to see that he is nothing, that he has nothing, and that he can do nothing to please God.

 

III. Now, in the third place, I want us to look at the prodigalís hopeful return (vv. 20-21).

 

Luke 15:20-21"And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. {21} And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son."

 

Here is the third less taught in our parable. ― Every awakened sinner will arise and come to God, hoping to find acceptance, forgiveness and life through the mediation of Christ.

 

It is not enough that you see your need of Christís fulness; you must come to God by Christ (Heb. 7:25; John 10:9; 14:6).

 

Faith in Christ is a spiritual thing, an act of the heart, illustrated and described in many ways. Faith isÖ

       Coming to Christ.

       Believing on Christ.

       Trusting Christ.

       Calling upon (worshipping) Christ.

       Receiving Christ.

       Looking to Christ.

       Leaning upon Christ.

       Touching Christ.

       Laying hold upon Christ.

       Venturing upon Christ.

 

A. Here is a sinner coming to God, hopeful that he will have mercy upon him.

 

The poor prodigal had no idea what would happen when he got home. At best, he only hoped to be made as one of his fatherís hired servants. He had no idea that his father would receive him as his beloved son. But he was resolved to go home and throw himself upon his fatherís mercy. He had no choice.

 

1. So it is that a sinner, convicted of his sin, ventures his soul upon the mercy of God.

 

You know that you deserve Godís wrath. But, for Christís sake, you hope that God will be gracious. It would be your soulís utmost delight to be received as a doorkeeper in the house of God. So you knock at Mercy Door. You must at least seek pardon. So, with trembling, but hopeful, faith you go to the throne of grace and make your plea.

 

ďCome, humble sinner, in whose breast

A thousand thoughts revolve,

Come with your guilt and fear oppressed,

And make this last resolve

 

ĎIíll go to Jesus, though my sin

Hath like a mountain rose;

I know His courts Iíll enter in,

Whatever may oppose.

 

Prostrate Iíll lie before His throne,

And there my guilt confess;

Iíll tell Him Iím a wretch undone,

Without His sovereign grace.

 

Iíll to the gracious King approach,

Whose scepter pardon gives;

Perhaps He may command my touch,

And then the suppliant lives!

 

Perhaps He will admit my plea,

Perhaps will hear my prayer;

But if I perish, I will pray,

And perish only there.

 

I can but perish if I go,

I am resolved to try;

For if I stay away, I know,

I must forever die.

 

But, if I die with mercy sought,

When I the King have tried,

This were to die (Delightful thought!)

As sinner never died.íĒ

††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† Edmund Jones

 

2. But I am sent of God to tell you that you have a much better ground of hope than this prodigal had.

 

Sinner though you are, God has promised in his Word that he will never refuse any who look to him for mercy in Christ.

 

B. Here is a God willing to receive and forgive needy sinners (v. 20).

 

Luke 15:20"And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him."

 

So far as I know, this is the only place in the Word of God where God is pictured as being in a hurry. Here the Lord God is portrayed as a father running to greet his sinful son! What a picture we have before us! There is none like anywhere else. Here is a poor, self-condemned sinner coming to God, coming in faith but with hesitation, coming with hope but coming in fear. And God Almighty jumps up from his throne and runs to greet the object of his everlasting love!

 

Blessed be God! This is what he has done for us! When we were yet a great way off, God came to us in mercy. We were guilty, vile, wretched, and undone. We were despairing, fearful of death, fearful of being rejected, fearful to come but more fearful of staying away. We felt our need of Christ, but had not come to Christ. Then, our Father, the God of all grace, came to us and received us unto himself!

 

Look at the blessed, active verbs our Lord uses to describe Godís grace toward sinners.

 

1. The father saw him.

 

The fact is the father never lost sight of his son. Apparently, he secretly had one of his servants looking after his boy all the time. We are told that the father knew every detail of his wayward sonís life. When the prodigal came home, his father was expecting his return. He was not surprised by his arrival. The fatted calf, the robe, the ring, the shoes, and all those in the fatherís house were ready and awaiting his arrival.

 

You can be sure of this. ― Godís loving eye never loses sight of his elect, not for a moment. His chosen are kept and preserved by him in all their ways unto the time of their calling (Jude 1).

 

(Jude 1:1)"Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:"

 

His holy angels are ministering spirits sent forth to minister to those who shall be the heirs of salvation (Heb. 1:14). And he has already prepared all things for those who shall be saved. The salvation of a sinner takes the sinner by surprise and may take the church of God by surprise, but it never takes God by surprise. ― ďHe saw him!Ē ― The father sawÖ

       Who he was.

       Where he was.

       All that he had done.

       All that he had been.

       All that he would soon be.

       And there was no anger!

 

2. His father had compassion on him.

 

3. His father ran to him.

 

4. His father fell on his neck.

 

5. And his father kissed him! ― That word, ďkissed,Ē cannot really be translated by one English word. It would be more accurately translated, ďHis father fell on his neck and kissed him, kissed him tenderly, and kissed him again and again, covering him with kisses.Ē What do those kisses mean? Do they need explanation? They meanÖ

       Much love, truly felt, and freely given!

       Full forgiveness, graciously bestowed!

       Complete reconciliation, perfectly accomplished (2 Cor. 5:17).

 

This is the thing I want you to know. ― God is ready, willing, anxious, and delights to forgive sin for Christís sake! God is more willing to show mercy than you are to seek mercy. He is more willing to forgive sin than we are to commit sin. ďHe delighteth in mercy!Ē Our God is a God whose glory it is to save sinners and forgive sin. Come to God now, by faith in his dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he will receive you graciously for Christís sake. He will fall on your neck and kiss you, kiss you tenderly, kiss you again and again, and cover you with kisses!

 

C. Here is the sinnerís free, full confession of sin (v. 21).

 

Luke 15:21"And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son."

 

Here the prodigal shows us by example how sinners may approach the God of Glory and be saved (1 John 1:9).

 

(1 John 1:9)"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

 

IV. Fourth, I want you to see the prodigalís happy reception (vv. 22-24).

 

Luke 15:22-24"But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: {23} And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: {24} For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry."

 

Here is the fourth lesson to be learned from this parable. ― Every sinner who comes to God by faith in Christ is welcomed in the Fatherís house and accepted as Godís own Son.

 

A. The returning prodigal is fully restored to the fatherís favor. ― The sinner is consciously fully restored to the favor of God!

 

You will notice that the father graciously interrupted his sonís confession. Even while he was in the process of abasing himself, his father began to lift him up. And God, through the finished work of Christ, has fully restored chosen, redeemed sinners to his favor, even before they come to him (Eph. 2:4-5, 13; Rom. 4:25).

 

Now, watch this. It is as blessed and delightful as it is wondrous beyond imagination. ― There are several things obviously missing in the fatherís words to his son. There is not a wordÖ

       Of anger.

       About the sins he had committed (Rom. 8:1).

       Of warning.

       About chastisement.

 

You see, coming to God by faith in Christ, we are fully restored to the family of God as sons, unconditionally! ― The finished work of Christ is imputed to us.

       Our heavenly Father gives us the best robe, the robe of Christís righteousness.

       He places upon us the family ring. It has the family seal on it ― Covenant Grace! It represents the Fatherís love ― Without Cause, Without Beginning and Without End! It is a ring of gold, assuring us of endurance.

       And our heavenly Father has shoes placed upon our feet, both to protect us and make us comfortable, and to give us stability as we walk through this world. ― The Preparation of the Gospel of Peace!

       All this, given to us by grace, was prepared for us and purchased for us at Calvary, by the precious blood of Christ.

 

Being reconciled to God, we are made to feast continually upon the fatted calf slain for us. ― Christ crucified, his blood and righteousness! ― We now have every reason in the world to be merry!

 

And the return of Godís elect to the sweet fellowship of his grace, to the sweet fellowship of his family, is the cause of great joy. The three Persons of the eternal Godhead, the angels of light, the saints in heaven, the saints on earth, and the sinner saved by grace all rejoice in the great display of Godís glory and grace!

       We were dead. He gave us life!

       We were lost. He found us!

       Shall we not rejoice?

 

Illustration: ďWelcome home sister!Ē

 

ďWhen this passing world is done,
When has sunk yon glaring sun,
When we stand with Christ in glory,
Looking o'er life's finished story,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know ―
Not till then ― how much I owe.
 
When I hear the wicked call
On the rocks and hills to fall,
When I see them start and shrink
On the fiery deluge brink, ―
Then, Lord, shall I fully know -
Not till then ― how much I owe.
 
When I stand before the throne,
Dressed in beauty not my own,
When I see thee as thou art,
Love thee with unsinning heart,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know ―
Not till then ― how much I owe.
 
When the praise of heav'n I hear,
Loud as thunder to the ear,
Loud as many water's noise,
Sweet as harp's melodious voice,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know ―
Not till then ― how much I owe.
 
Even on earth, as through a glass
Darkly, let Thy glory pass,
Make forgiveness feel so sweet,
Make Thy Spirit's help so meet,
Even on earth, Lord, make me know
Something of how much I owe.
 
Chosen not for good in me,
Wakened up from wrath to flee,
Hidden in the Savior's side,
By the Spirit sanctified,
Teach me, Lord, on earth to show,
By my love, how much I owe.
 
Oft I walk beneath the cloud,
Dark, as midnight's gloomy shroud;
But, when fear is at the height,
Jesus comes, and all is light;
Blessed Jesus! bid me show
Doubting saints how much I owe.
 
When in flowery paths I tread,
Oft by sin I'm captive led;
Oft I fall ― but still arise ―
The Spirit comes ― the tempter flies;
Blessed Spirit! bid me show
Weary sinners all I owe.
 
Oft the nights of sorrow reign ―
Weeping, sickness, sighing, pain;
But a night Thine anger burns ―
Morning comes and joy returns;
God of comforts! bid me show
To Thy poor, how much I owe. 
†††††††††††††††††††††††††† Robert Murray MíCheyene