We all know the frantic, panicked feeling we have when searching for something that’s lost, such as our keys, wallet, or phone. Hopefully, we’ve never known the sheer terror of losing a kid in a store, or if so, hopefully we know the sheer joy when that object or person is finally found. That’s God’s joy in finding us when we repent and turn back to Him.
Most of the time, however, we are like the German groom in a 2013 Daily News article who didn’t even realize that he’d lost his bride when she went to the restroom at a gas station until he had driven 125 miles. Sadly, many of us are lost in sin, just driving through life, but don’t know it.
I. Luke 15:1-24. We will never realize that we are lost in sin and want to repent until we realize our worth to God and His incredible love for us. For Jesus not to eat with sinners, as the charge was made, He couldn’t eat with any of us (Romans 3:23), but the truth was that He was eating with repentant sinners. In all three parables that follow, God’s love for us and, thus, the reaffirming of our value to Him are the focus–even in the indignity of the watching Father running to His returning son.
II. 2 Corinthians 7:8-11. A parent will demand his kid say he’s sorry to someone, but this just reinforces worldly sorrow in that child. Even if the kid means it but continues to do the wrong behavior, he may have reached godly sorrow but not repentance. Repentance produces actions that are consistent with a change of heart, mind, and attitude toward sin and selfishness. When the lost son’s money ran out, he tried to fix his own problem by hiring himself out but found his life empty, physically and spiritually, as the pigs were eating better than He was. Godly sorrow led him to consider that his father’s hired hands did better than he was doing at that moment. But, it wasn’t until he “got up” and “went” to his father that true repentance was produced.
III. Romans 2:4-7. Just as Simon the Sorcerer believed and was baptized but was not living out repentance (Acts 8:13-24), it is quite possible that those who have obeyed the gospel warm our pews with only a godly sorrow or worse–a worldly sorrow. We need to produce fruit in keeping with repentance daily. Eternity is at stake!
So, what stage are you in: sinning because the money has not run out yet? Hiring yourself out to futilely take care of the problem by your own resources? Or, is your stomach growling while you watch the pigs eat better than you do? If this brings godly sorrow to you, let it produce repentance. Get up and go to your heavenly Father. He’s watching and will run to you with open arms.