"The Father's Battle"
Pastor Robert jumps right into this message with three points and waits to discuss what the father's battle actually is until the end of the message.
Luke 15 tells us some things that we need to know about ourselves.
Pastor Robert believes that is what Jesus is trying to communicate in all three of his parables in Luke 15, not just in the prodigal son parable.
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
15 Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man [a]receives sinners and eats with them.” 3 So He spoke this parable to them, saying: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them,‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’
The shepherd represents Jesus.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.
This is really simple according to Pastor Robert. He thinks that the Lord wants you to hear that you, individually are precious.
Pastor Robert did a study using the phrase "He, Himself."
He found the phrase in several places in the bible.
Here are a few places:
18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being [a]tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Isaiah 59:16 is a Messianic scripture telling about Jesus in the Old Testament.
This verse does not contain the phrase but
the verse demonstrates that Jesus, Himself came to get you.
Pastor Robert wants you to
understand that Jesus
did not send someone else to come get you.
He left the 99 and came to get you personally!
Years ago, Pastor Robert read a story that reminded him about
what the Lord has done for us.
This story happened after World War I when the US allocated funds for orphans. There was a father who had been in prison camps. He was too old and too sick to take care of his young daughter. He took his little girl to an orphanage and asked them to take her in and take care of her. Without the orphanage's care, the little girl would die.
Pastor Robert thinks that Jesus clarified with the Father
The Parable of the Lost Coin
8 “Or what woman, having ten silver [a]coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?
Pastor Roberts thoughts on the this parable:
-Jesus used a coin in this parable to show value.
-The main character is a woman because Jesus is trying to show the Holy Spirit.
When you study the Holy Spirit in the bible, you see emotion. Women understand emotions much better than men do. The Holy Spirit gives us the fruit of the spirit including joy. Also, the Holy Spirit is sometimes grieved. When a believer goes into sin, the Holy Spirit is grieved.
Jealousy is also an emotion of the Holy Spirit.
5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?
Pastor Robert points out that there is bad jealousy and good jealously.
Bad jealousy happens when you are jealous because of what it means to you.
Good jealousy is jealously for how it affects the other person.
The Lord has good jealousy for us.
The fact that the coins are silver is meaningful.
The root word of silver means desirable.
Pastor Robert urges us to think about the fact that the woman had 9 other coins and the shepherd had 99 other sheep but they both yearned for the one they had lost.
Remember this conversation in the bible...
The Pharisees: Is It Lawful to Pay Taxes to Caesar?
15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. 16 And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not [a]regard the person of men. 17 Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 18 But Jesus [b]perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? 19 Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. 20 And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription isthis?” 21 They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render[c] therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that areGod’s.” 22 When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way.
"Whose image is on you?"
Pastor Robert reminds us that we were created in the image of,
likeness of God!
He continues by stating that the value of anything is determined by what someone is willing to pay for it.
God also paid the same price for you as He paid for any leader in the body of Christ. There's not one person that you have ever seen or read a book from that is more valuable to God than you!
These coins all had the same value, but the woman wanted to find the lost one because each coin had value!
The Parable of the Lost Son
11 Then 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 falls to me.’ So he divided to themhis livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with [a]prodigal living.14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then 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 gladly have filled his stomach with the [b]pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. 17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” ’ 20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.
Pastor Robert states that he does not mean to use the following illustration in an insensitive way, but this is the way the Lord showed him this truth. Robert goes on to say that he and his wife have never lost a child or had a miscarriage, but they do have grandchildren who are already in heaven.
If you loose a child, even if you have other children, you still grieve. It still breaks your heart because that child was unique!
You are unique to God!
Pastor Robert points out that it is easy for us to think about that God loves us as a group, but God loves you each as an unique person!
He asks us to think about the fact that God created all the animals (each with their own unique shapes, sizes, colors, etc), all the mountains, valleys, streams, stars, planets, and solar systems. He has the ability and the knowledge to create every detail that we see around us, so we must understand that God has the ability and knowledge to know each of us personally! He knows us! As a matter of fact, He created you uniquely. There is no one living now or that has ever lived, that has the exact DNA that you have. God designed your DNA!
That's why the Father was grieving for the son that was lost. He missed his son!
That is why He grieves when a person that is His sheep,
who belongs to Him,
becomes a prodigal.
His image is on that child!
So what is the Father's battle?
Pastor Robert explains that there is something in these three parables that he had never seen before. The third parable was different!
1st parable: A shepherd loses a sheep.
2nd parable: A woman loses a coin.
3rd parable: A father loses his son.
Here's what is different:
-The shepherd goes and finds the sheep and brings it back home.
-The woman searches the house, finds the coin, and puts it back in her collection.
The father did not go get the son.
Because the son had a choice!
The reason the father didn't go get his son was because his son's body would be home,
not his heart.
God created you in His image.
Since He has a will, so do you!
The father was looking for his lost son just like the shepherd was looking for his lost sheep and the woman was looking for her lost coin.
Pastor Robert tells another story that occurred many years ago before Gateway Church had even started. He was on the rotation to preach at the church he and his family were attending. It was his weekend to preach. He said there was a man who hadn't been to church in ten years. This man was a believer but had been angry with God. He had to decided to go back to church that Sunday. As he was driving to church, he suddenly pulled off the road. He was upset. He told his wife, who was a believer, that he felt like the prodigal son and he didn't know if God would want him back. He felt like God was going to ask him where he had been and what he had done. His wife then prayed for him. They got back on the road and drove to church.
Pastor Robert said he didn't remember what he preached about, but he remembered doing an alter call and asking if anyone needed to come back to God. If so, to come to the alter. He looked up and saw the same man standing at the alter crying. Right then, Pastor Robert got an impression from God and went to talk to the man. He told the man that the Lord told him to tell the man that He knew that he felt like the prodigal son.
Pastor Robert challenges us to take a moment and ask the Lord what He is saying to us in the message.
In conclusion, remember the following:
-Regardless of the number of God’s children, the Lord considers each one precious to Him.
Lord, thank You for creating each one of us in such a uniquely marvelous way and for treasuring each of us as a precious child. You are a good Father, Lord, and we love You. Draw us near to You this week and show us any part of our heart that is not turned toward You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
"The Trump Card Battle"
None of us want to be a prodigal so we are learning revelations from Luke 15!
In other words, he says when we are doing well, (playing our high cards by tithing, going to church, taking classes, participating in small groups, etc.), but there's an area of our life that is not surrendered to the Lord, Satan will then throw down a trump card. All of a sudden, we are out...we have fallen away....something has happened!
According to Pastor Robert, the prodigal son had a trump card!
For example, he has heard people say that if that (a particular bad thing) ever happened to them, that they don't think that they would continue serving God, or if their husband every did that it would be the end of their marriage.
Why would you ever say that?
Pastor Robert continues by asking if we understand what the enemy does with that. Satan actually says thank you for making it clear which area to work on us with. He can forgo working in the other areas he has been trying and just focus on that one area of destruction.
3 Areas that can be Trump Cards
from the story
of the Prodigal Son:
The Parable of the Lost Son
11 Then 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 falls to me.’ So he divided to themhis livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with [a]prodigal living.
Secrets are thoughts in our hearts and minds that the enemy might plant,
or that we allow him to build a case in our minds.
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
2 Corinthians 10:5
Image is a Latin world meaning "I make" or "I become."
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
Pastor Robert warns to not have a picture in your mind that is ungodly!
An example would be not to imagine a good marriage with anyone else other
than your spouse.
Imagine a good marriage with the person you are already married to.
The prodigal son had different thoughts that were secrets. He never told anyone his thoughts. He had a secret and as soon as he had the funds, he fulfilled the secret.
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
6 And the angels who did not keep their [a]proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;
Satan and his fallen angels (demonic spirits) live in darkness.
Question: Where are the secrets?
Answer: In the darkness
Pastor Robert tells a story about a friend of his who had fallen morally and ended up loosing his family. This happened not long after they started Gateway Church. His friend was going to step into the calling of God in a greater way and that is when Satan attacked.
He told Robert that he had connected deeply with another woman and had shared things with her that he had never shared with his wife. He told Robert he really loved her. Pastor Robert said that the trump card in this matter was that if his friend had connected emotionally with his wife he would have never fallen in love with the other woman.
Satan used this trump card.
Pastor Robert warns us not to have a secret!
We know that the prodigal son went into sin. Remember the word prodigal means without restraint and has the implications of drinking and immorality.
Pastor Robert says that sin was already going on in the prodigal son's heart. People don't just trip one day and start doing that!
It had been going on for a long time in his heart!
Esau Sells His Birthright
29 Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.” Therefore his name was called [a]Edom. 31 But Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright as of this day.” 32 And Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?” 33 Then Jacob said, [b]“Swear to me as of this day.” So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob.
Pastor Robert explains that there is much more meaning to the above scripture that we may think!
The birthright was phenomenal in the Jewish culture!
Most people don't understand this from the culture that they grew up in. The birthright was so much more than just the inheritance.
Esau gave up his birthright for a bowl of stew!
The bible likens this to sexual sin.
Pastor Robert points out that most of us would think that we would not give up our birthright for food, but what about any fleshly appetite? He says he knows those who have given up everything ( a marriage, family, kids, grandkids, a business, the call of God in their life, etc.) for one short moment of gratification.
Pastor Robert reminds us that Romans 8 tells us that Jesus was the first born of many brethren.
Let me tell you what He did!
He made us the first born of God!
Jesus was the first born of many
so we have all the rights and privileges of the first born of the Father who created everything!
That's what sin does. It causes us to give everything up!
Pastor Robert deals briefly with a difficult passage of scripture. He says that several times in the Old Testament, God would say whenever you go into this conquered land to kill them all, even the children. That is a difficult passage of scripture for many believes to get around, but we have to know that those nations had been given an option to repent. God had given them this through Joseph's time, and through Joshua's. These nations would not accept God and they continued their false worship of idols. God told Saul to destroy all the Amalekites but he did not do it. As a result, Saul fought against the Amalekites his whole life and he died in an Amalekite battle.
Pastor Robert continues by asking why God would say to also kill the little ones. The answer is because they grow up and continue to be enemies of God and to reject Him. Pastor Robert says we have to understand that God is still good.
1 Corinthians 10 tells us everything the Old testament represents to us.
Little ones grow up.
People tell him that they don't have a big sin in their life, just a few little ones.
Little lies grow up!
If you don't kill those little sins , they come back and kill you!
Pastor Robert tells a story of a member of the church that ended up crossing a line that should not have been crossed. He sent texts to members of a committee with good intention. He, however, started sending personal texts back and forth with one female member and eventually fell morally. He had sin in his heart before he ever crossed that line physically.
So we must beware because secrets and allowed sin are trump cards that Satan will play on us one day.
Shame is the result of the fall of Adam and Eve.
Shame is the first thing that they felt after the fall. They hid from God.
Remember God knows everything and He is a person.
The bible tells us He has joy and He grieves.
How do you think God felt when He walked through the garden and Adam and Eve hid from Him? He had never given His children any reason to hide from Him or to be afraid of Him. They said they were afraid so they hid. They felt shame for the first time ever.
Every person goes through shame.
Think about the prodigal son.
He came home and the Father threw him a party. How do you think he felt after the party or for the rest of his life?
Pastor Robert says in his own life shame has been a battle. He knows he is forgiven and he doesn't carry the shame, but he is still ashamed of the life that he lived at one time. He has learned to trust God and to roll the shame onto Him, but if he is still ashamed of what he did. He wishes he had never done it.
Pastor Robert challenges us to think about the prodigal son and what he went through even when he just went to the store. People would be talking about him. They would say that is the son that broke his father's heart and squandered his inheritance on prostitutes. They would say that is not the son who stayed home. That's the one who left home.
Also, remember that although his relationship with his father was restored, his inheritance was gone.
Pastor Robert says that he deals with the same thing in his life. He knows he is loved and forgiven but he once lived a sinful life. He has seen and has done things that he should have never seen and done. He has memories. He is grateful to be healed and have a joyful life but dealing with the shame has been a battle and he wonders if we can relate?
There are two types of people who have shame, those who talk too much and those who don't talk very much. Pastor Robert states that he is not talking about personalities.
People who talk too much are trying to cover up and appear to better than they are. Pastor Robert says actually that these people are great because God has saved them but they don't feel like who they are, so they feel like they have to convince us that they are great.
People who don't talk much have shame also.
So what is the answer?
The answer is found in Hebrews 12:1-2.
(The great cloud of witnesses are referring to the Chapter 11 Hall of Fame of great men and women of God.)
The Race of Faith
12 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the [a]author and [b]finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We must lay aside every secret, sin and all the shame.
Look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
Jesus took our shame on the cross.
Christ the Power and Wisdom of God
18 For the [a]message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18
Pastor Robert reminds us that in the process of being saved, we are also being converted or changed in to the image of Christ.
The answer is to always take our secrets, sins, and shame to the cross!
Lord Jesus, we thank You for the cross. Thank You for bearing our sins and shame so we can be free of them. Lord, we lay at Your feet anything hidden in our hearts that is not worthy or holy. Please forgive us for what we have allowed to build up in our minds that is not of You. We ask You to refresh our minds with things that are pure and holy and protect us from the enemy’s lies and accusations. Forgive us of our sin and teach us to live without shame. Thank You that we can come to the cross boldly in freedom as Your children.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
"The Brother's Battle"
There are two sons in the story in Luke 15,
the prodigal son
the older brother.
Pastor Robert comments that some people may relate more to the older brother in this story than the prodigal son who left home.
He challenges everyone to think about how the older brother felt that about his younger brother, who left home and squandered his inheritance, and then was thrown a party by their father when he returned home.
How do we feel?
Jesus tells this story to help us understand.
25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’ 28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.
What is the Brother's Battle?
Pastor Robert says the brother's battle is keeping our hearts right when the Father is rejoicing over sinners coming home.
It's not allowing jealousy, envy, anger, or bitterness to come in even when the prodigal son hasn't come home yet.
15 Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man [a]receives sinners and eats with them.” 3 So He spoke this parable to them, saying:
3 Things the Brother's Battle will do:
1. It affects how we see ourselves.
29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.
Pastor Robert points out that what the older son says in verse 29 above is
because the older son was human!
Remember Romans 3:10?
As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;
The ONLY Son that can say He never transgressed was Jesus!
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’
Luke 18: 10-12
Pastor Robert points out that the emphasis is on what the Pharisee does.
13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be [a]humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
In verse 14 above, justified means saved.
According to Pastor Robert, when we talk about low and high self esteem,
the battle is really with self!
Pastor Robert says it doesn't matter if it's low or high esteem,
the focus is on self rather than Christ!
The focus has to be on Christ!
If you have a good week, thank God!
If you have a bad week, thank God!
Pastor relates a story about a pastor who made a comment that his church was not doing well. Another pastor pointed out, that if this pastor would take the blame when the church was not doing well, that he would also take the credit when the church was doing well. That is called pride.
2. It affects the way you see others.
A Sinful Woman Forgiven
36 Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. 37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped themwith the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this,he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”
40 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher, say it.”
Mary in the above scripture, is not John's sister. This woman was a prostitute.
Note, that the Pharisee spoke to himself in verse 39.
Pastor Robert says another way to say it is that the Pharisee thought.
He thought if Jesus were a prophet.
At that moment, Jesus answered the Pharisee!
If he was thinking something and Jesus answered his thoughts,
it's proof, Jesus was a prophet!
41 “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.42 And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” 44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which aremany, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
Remember that Jesus is answering Simon's thoughts.
This passage doesn't teach that there are some people who have been forgiven more who are better than others.
It doesn't teach is that
some people are worse than others either.
What is does teach is that
there are people who think
that there are people who are worse than others.
The bible says that if you have broken one commandment,
you have broken them all!
What Jesus is saying to Simon is that because he thinks that he didn't owe Jesus much,
he loved little.
If Simon understood that he owed Jesus as much as the woman did,
then Simon would have loved Jesus a lot!
Pastor Robert continues....
It is not at all saying that we need to go out into the world and sin so that we will love God more.
This scripture is saying that we need to understand the price Jesus paid for us!
3. It affects the way we see the Father.
Jesus told these three parables to emphasize that someone lost something precious.
The shepherd lost a sheep.
The woman lost a coin.
The father lost a son.
Pastor Robert explains that the older son did not understand this.
The older son actually told two lies.
The first one was that he had never transgressed his father's commandments.
The second was that the father had never even given him as much as a goat.
Both statements are lies as proved by scripture.
The Parable of the Lost Son
11 Then 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 falls to me.’ So he divided to themhis livelihood.
Pastor Robert points out that the older son actually received twice as much as inheritance as the younger son because he was the first born.
31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.
always with me - represents the presence of God
all that I have is yours - represents the provision of God.
The older son had his father's presence and provision.
The problem was that the younger son missed out on the father's presence and provision because he left home.
The older son missed out on the father's presence and provision
because he left home in his heart!
The older son never left home physically. He sat in church every week but he allowed insecurity, fear, anger, bitterness, envy and jealousy to build up in his heart toward his father and toward his own brother!
How do we win the Brother's Battle ourselves?
Pastor Robert states the answer is that we all have to be mature believers realizing that we are all sinners saved by grace!
This is how the Apostle Paul achieved this:
In 66 AD, Paul died.
In 56 AD, 10 years before his death and about 20 years after he got saved, he wrote
1 Corinthians 15:9.
9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
1 Corinthians 15:9
Seven years later, three years before he died, Paul wrote Ephesians 3:8
8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,
Two years later, one year before he died, he wrote 1 Timothy 1:15.
15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
I Timothy 1:15
Paul calls himself
the least of the apostles,
the least of the saints,
the chief of sinners.
Pastor Robert says that Paul is going to the correct way in his opinion of himself!
How is Paul doing this?
Paul said that he died daily.
He said he was crucified with Christ.
He said he nailed his fleshly desires to the cross.
Pastor Robert stated that Paul's remark in 1 Timothy:15 reminds him of John Newton
Pastor Robert explains that the only way we can win this battle
is to stay close
to the cross!
Pastor Robert ends this message with a story about his wife Debbie. Her story is centered around the part of the parable in Luke 7 about those who have been forgiven little, love little. Pastor Robert says many people believe they can't love God because they weren't in a lot of sin. He says his wife Debbie used to believe this. She was saved as child and had never gotten into a lot of trouble like Robert had in his life.
She saw Jesus standing a little way away from her. She took off running toward Him. All of a sudden, she tripped and fell into a mud hole. She was covered in mud so much so that none of the white material could be seen of her wedding dress! Her face and skin also were completely 100% covered in mud! She was down on all fours in the mud hole.
The Lord then brought to her mind attitudes that she had had even as a child. They were sinful attitudes. She started realizing just how sinful she was with those horrible attitudes and even times of silent rebellion. She felt so broken, and in this vision, when she opened her eyes, she saw a nail scared foot standing on top of the mud. (Pastor Robert reminds us that we know that Jesus can walk on water and mud)!
Jesus had no mud on His foot and He had been the One to come to Debbie. When she looked up, He was dressed in a white robe and He was reaching out His nail scared hand to her. When she put her hand in His, the mud went completely off of her, and when she looked at the mud hole, it turned to gold! Jesus lifted her up and she was completely clean! She knew that He had cleansed her! She knew that the same grace that had gotten Robert out of sin had protected her from never going into such sin. She knew that she could love God as much as Robert could!
Pastor Robert summarizes the message with the following points:
-Everyone is precious in the eyes of God; He loves us all.
-He calls the sinner to His saving grace and welcomes back those who stray.
-Our attitude may distance us from God; our hearts may deceive us.
-God’s Word helps us understand what it means to die to self.
-An attitude adjustment can work wonders in our spiritual life.
Lord, thank You for saving me! By Your grace I have been redeemed. Forgive me for the times I have thought myself better than someone else. Help me to see others through Your eyes. Please show me who I might be feeling jealousy, anger, bitterness, or fear toward so I can adjust my attitude. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
"The Way Home"
In review, prodigal means to lack restraint.
Pastor Robert reminds us that what that means is that all of us are prodigal at some time in some area of our lives and maybe prodigal even now.
17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” ’
According to Pastor Robert, there are three points in the above scripture.
1. when he came to himself- means when he got honest with himself
1. Be honest with yourself.
Abraham and Abimelech
20 And Abraham journeyed from there to the South, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur, and stayed in Gerar. 2 Now Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. 3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, “Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is [a]a man’s wife.” 4 But Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, “Lord, will You slay a righteous nation also? 5 Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she, even she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the [b]integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands I have done this.” 6 And God said to him in a dream, “Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her.
Pastor Robert states that we need to learn to be honest in our hearts!
As believers, if there is any area in our lives where we are prodigal (where we are away from God), we are going to have to be honest with ourselves about it. A whole lot of times, we don't want to be honest with ourselves.
Pastor Robert discussed a time in his life when he asked God to help him to do well at preaching. The Lord asked him why. Pastor Robert said he was honest with God. He told the Lord it was because he wanted to impress some people that would be at the service that night. The Lord then told Pastor Robert he was correct in that he hadn't asked to do well so that he could minister to the people, or ask the Holy Spirit to lead him. The Lord told Pastor Robert that if he would remain honest, that He would bring him to place where he could pray Lord, help me to do well tonight for the Kingdom's sake. The Lord told Robert that He couldn't get him there if he wouldn't admit it to himself.
2. Be honest with others.
The prodigal son said he would ask his father to make him like one of his hired servants even though the servants would knew he was a son and knew his history of squandering his father's wealth. The son was willing to humble himself in front of others and be honest.
Pastor Robert advises us that we have to come to the place where we are going to be honest with other people.
16 [a]Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, [b]fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
Trespasses are sins.
We must confess our sins to someone we can trust.
The Greek word for trespass is Paraptoma.
Para is a prefix meaning along side or beside.
Translates as trespass- 9 times
as offense - 7 times
as sin - 3 times
as falls - 2 times
as faults - 2 times
Again, the prefix para means along side such as in the word parable.
A parable is a story that Jesus throws along side so that we can understand the truth.
When we fall right beside the truth and barely miss it, we must confess it!
We do not want to end up miles from God.
An offense is when we just stumble or trip.
Pastor Robert warns us that when we stumble a little bit beside the truth, to confess it!
Because if we won't confess the little things, we won't confess the big things!
Pastor Robert gives an example of the temptation of lust by asking the following questions.
Can we confess to our spouse if we are struggling with lust?
Can our spouse confess to us if he or she struggling with lust?
Pastor Robert continues by asking the ladies if their husbands can't tell them about their struggle, who are they going to tell? Can the husbands share their struggle without the wives blowing up, getting offended, becoming insecure or becoming fearful? If not, Pastor Robert continues by asking if that just trains the husbands to keep their struggle in the dark, in secret? He states that it doesn't mean that the husbands don't love their wives if they are struggling with lust.
Pastor Robert says that comparing lust to overeating is a poor example in some ways, but does make sense in other ways. He points out that a wife will still know that her husband loves her even though he struggles with overeating. She will know he has a fleshly appetite for food and must deal with it in a Godly way. In the same way, lust is an appetite of the flesh and can be dealt with in a Godly manner. It is better to have the husband struggle with his wife in dealing with this temptation than for him to struggle with another woman.
Pastor Robert states that the reason is being so personal with the discussion of lust is that he wants to help others who are struggling.
He states that this discussion is not just for married people. It is also for single people, especially engaged couples.
Pastor Robert encourages us to struggle together whether we are married or not. We must talk with our trusted someone.
3. Be honest with God.
The prodigal son was coming home to be completely honest with his father.
Acts 5 talks about holding something back.
Lying to the Holy Spirit
5 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?
Pastor Robert states that if we are not walking with honesty with ourselves or others, then we are not walking in honesty with God. We are lying to the Holy Spirit.
Jesus has already paid the price for our sin!
We need to bring our sin out in the open so He can help us with it!
Pastor Robert states that the best example in the bible of being honest with God is actually a prayer by Jesus Himself when He is in the garden before He is going to be crucified.
41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; neverthelessnot My will, but Yours, be done.”
Jesus states "not my will."
Matthew tells us that Jesus prayed this prayer three times.
Jesus is being honest in saying if there is any other way, then let this cup pass from Him.
In Pastor Robert's opinion,
Jesus wasn't talking about the nails, the thorns, the surging...
He was talking about that He was going to be separated from God so that we could be reunited with God. Robert believes Jesus was saying that if there was any other way for us to be redeemed to God other than for Him to have to be separated from God, to please take this cup away from Him. But, if there was no other way, then He would die so that we could live.
The word will means desire.
Jesus was being honest with His desire. It was if there was any other way, for God to please show Him.
According to Pastor Robert,
we will never pray truthfully God's will be done
until we truthfully pray not our will
we will never truthfully pray not our will
until we admit what our desire really is.
That's what Jesus was doing in His prayer in Luke 22.
Pastor Robert shares a time when he was honest with God.
He said that he told God that he felt like he was two different people, a public person, and a private person. He said he felt like if people really knew the private person, the things that he struggled with in his past and the things that he deals with today, that they would not like him and would not come to hear him preach. Pastor Robert said that the Lord answered him by asking him if He wanted Him to fix that.
The pastor went on to say that Satan had convinced Robert that he was worse that anyone else and that God just needed Pastor Robert to bring it out into the light so that he could deal with it.
Pastor Robert said three days later he woke up feeling very happy. The Lord asked him why he was so happy and he responded by saying that one person now knew everything he had done and still loved him.
In conclusion Pastor Robert reminds us that there is someone who knows everything we have ever done and He still loves us and He wants us to walk in freedom but we are going to have to get honest with ourselves, with others, and with God!
Pastor Robert encourages us to take a moment to pray and ask the Holy Spirit what He is saying to us personally through this lesson.
"The Believer's Battle"
Lesson 1 is based on a story told by Jesus in Luke 15 about a prodigal son.
Pastor Robert believes the son in this story is a believer because although he goes astray, he is still a son. Pastor Robert believes that believers can go astray and that the Father is waiting for them to come home.
Pastor discusses how we can all become a prodigal in an area of our life, or maybe for a short time and how we handle that.
The Parable of the Lost Son
11 Then 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 falls to me.’ So he divided to themhis livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with [a]prodigal living.
prodigal living - dissolutely (according to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance)
dissolute - a person lacking restraint marked by indulgence in things such as drinking or permicious sex (according to Webster's Dictionary)
So why do we have a tendency to be a prodigal?
What is a believer's battle?
dust - body
breath of life - spirit
(Breath is sometimes translated as the spirit of God that He breathed into us).
soul - living
Pastor Robert explains that it is important to understand that God created our spirits so that we could be able to relate to Him.
He created our bodies to relate to His creation.
He created our souls to relate to Him and His creation.
He wants us to enjoy His creation.
Our soul is our mind, will, and emotions.
Here's the problem:
When Adam and Eve sinned their spirits died.
God said, "If you eat this, you will die."
Their bodies did not die. Their souls (minds, emotions, wills) did not die.
Their spirits died.
The book of Ephesians explains that before we accept Christ we are dead in our transgressions (our sins).
We are actually born on this earth with a dead spirit.
Our spirits do not come alive until we accept Christ.
For years we learn to relate to God only through our souls.
In other words, we relate to God through what we can understand about God (through our minds), how we feel about the situation (through our emotions), and what we desire to do (through our wills). We make our decisions based on our thoughts, our feelings, and our desires.
God never intended for us to live that way!
The problem is that for years we live with our souls in charge.
This is the believer's battle!
1. The soul is selfish.
2. The soul must submit to the spirit.
In a millisecond our minds search all the files and assess every situation that we are in.
Deja vu (a feeling of having already experienced the present situation) can occur because of this.
For example, how can you be in a conversation and instantly become very angry and not know why you are angry? It's because your mind has assessed the situation and your subconscious has told you that the last time you where in a conversation like this, you lost the conversation because you were not forceful enough. It tells you that in this present situation you need to be more forceful. As a result, you respond with insecurity in the form of anger. This all comes from your soul.
Your spirit says to lay your life down and turn the other cheek. You soul says to protect #1.
This is why you respond sometimes with fear. It's not because you are in a fearful situation currently, but because you have been in other fearful situations that remind you that this situation may turn into a fearful one.
This is why you can meet someone new and not like them. You mind has questioned whether or not you have ever met anyone like this new person before.
Pastor Robert says this is how strongholds work.
Strongholds are the believer's battle.
For example, lust is a stronghold. Your mind has categorized every perverse thing you have ever seen. When you see something that reminds you of that, you may begin to have lustful thoughts.
According to Pastor Robert, the problem occurs because people don't understand how grace works.
They don't understand the finished work of the grace in their spirit and they don't understand the progressive work of grace in their soul.
They need correct theology.
Many people on the grace side really preach unrighteous living (horrible things of which grace would never permit).
Many people on the works side really preach legalism which only put people in more bondage.
Pastor Robert says what we need to know is that the battle is in the soul.
The only reason we ever loose the battle as believers is that the problem is in our souls. Our souls are selfish.
They are born selfish and they need to be
converted, renewed, and transformed.
Many people don't understand scriptures about the soul - "to believe to the saving of our soul"- has nothing to do about eternal destination
It has to do with you.
The word saved come from the Greek word "Sozo" meaning to make whole.
Your spirit has to be made whole.
Pastor Robert remind us that we can not do something to earn our way to heaven. He states that if we believe that way, we will always have a works mentality about us, a perfectionism, a legalism, a judgementalism, and a criticism about anyone who doesn't live up to our standards.
Furthermore, Pastor Robert states that the scriptures about the saving of your soul are true. Your soul needs to be saved not for your eternal destination but for you right now so that you will not go back to pig pen living. Your soul needs to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Your soul says "not without a fight"
and that is where the battle is!
Are you going to respond the way your soul (your mind, your emotions, your will) tell you to respond,
are you going to respond like Jesus in that situation?
So, what you have to do is to feed your spirit.
Your spirit has to grow up.
How much time do you spend reading the internet?
How much time do you spend reading God's Word?
Which one are you feeding?
You are feeding your soul believe everything you read on the internet.
You need to feed your spirit!
This is the believer's battle!
You are going to be in trouble if your don't feed your spirit!
Here's how David talked about this battle in Psalm 131:2.
He gives us a clue.
According to David, you have to wean your soul. The only way to calm and quiet your should is to wean it.
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able;
1 Corinthians 3:1-2
12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the [a]oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are [b]of full age, that is, those who by reason of [c]use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
3. The soul must die.
Why does a baby cry when you are trying to wean him?
Because he believes you are trying to kill him. You are taking away the only food source he has ever known.
In the case of the soul, he's right!
Your selfish thoughts need to die!
"I'm crucified with Christ."
We need to die to self!
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
division of soul and spirit: what we think vs. what God thinks
Take Up the Cross and Follow Him
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
The Greek word for life is psyche.
Pastor Robert reminds us of Jesus' words and Paul's words about dying daily to ourselves.
Take Up the Cross and Follow Him
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross[a]daily, and follow Me.
21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:21
Living Sacrifices to God
12 I beseech[a] you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your [b]reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.