For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened--not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes,
we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. (2 Cor 5:4-11)
What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation & call on the name of the LORD, I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people. Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds. I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD! Psalm 116
“This is my body which was broken for you…” “The soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor's headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. And they began to salute him, "Hail, King of the Jews!" And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him. And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take.” (Mark 15)
“This is cup is the new covenant in my blood…” “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds," then he adds, "I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more." Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. ” (Hebrews 10)
The Way Home • What does it mean to go home? To be at home? • Remember the prodigal son. When he came to his senses, he remembered home (Luke 15:17-19) • Home meant having a relationship with his father… A place of fellowship • Home meant having his basic needs met… A place of provision • Home meant relief from the problems world… A place of security • “Home” is seen in what took place when he returned (vs. 22-25) • The prodigal son wasn’t concerned about going back to his childhood house, or the land, or even the money really… Home was more. • Going home meant going to a place of forgiveness, a place of family, a place of restoration & renewal, a place of celebration, a place of feasting, a place of hope, a place of worth, and a place of life • Even though this son knew home is where he belonged and wanted to go home, he never fully understood what going home would truly mean until he actually returned. Home was so much more than he imagined!
The Way Home • What does it mean to go home? To be at home? • So when we plead with people to come, we need to plead with an understanding of what home is all about (1 John 1:3-9) • Going home means returning to fellowship with God – To return a child of God, as one of His people • Going home means returning to a way of life – It’s a return to walking in the light, living by faith, and serving God • Going home means returning to a spiritual family – There is no fellowship with one another without fellowship with God • Going home means returning to a place of hope, peace, rest, security, life, joy, purpose, and fulfillment. A return to eternal life! • Going home means returning to what matters. It means putting our life back in perspective. It is a refocus of priorities
The Way Home • What does it mean to go home? To be at home? • Well meaning attempts sometimes are misplaced: • Going home is not just about getting back in church – Being at church is important, but not the ultimate goal. People view the local church like it’s a hospital… The church doesn’t heal… JESUS HEALS! • Going home is not just about feeling guilty – Seeing & feeling one’s sinfulness is important, but that sorrow is a motivator not the end • Going home is not just about getting back into spiritual service – Teaching classes, leading prayers, singing, etc. Don’t rush, don’t assume • Going home is not just about getting in line with our expectations - Giving the right answers, saying the right things, following a party line. Is it a faith that is their own, or just doing what’s expected? • When people wander away from home, they are wandering away from God. They are lost. It’s not just about wandering lost in this life, but being lost for eternity! (2 Thess. 1:8-9)
The Way Home • What is the way home? How do I get home? • “The way home” meant humility for the prodigal son (vs. 17-21) • He had to “come to himself” – A self-realization of who he was and how he was living. He saw himself for who he really was. • He had a newfound awareness of the hopelessness of his situation and his helplessness to make things better • A determination to repent – He is going to return home, which he left for the world. He left a selfish man and is returning a selfless man. • A determination to seek forgiveness – He not only seeks to make things right with his father, but also Heaven. He understands that his actions impacted more than one person. He saw the spiritual side. • A completion of his decision – He didn’t get up from his knees in the darkness of the pig trough and forget about it once he stood in the sunlight again. He fully completed his return until fully restored!
The Way Home • What is the way home? How do I get home? • We have to remember that not everyone is at the same place, not everyone has the same path home: • Some have more obstacles to overcome than others. Some are more ready in their hearts to return home than others. • Some will have to make costly decision in repentance while for others it will be a matter of just getting back in it. • There is not one set approach. Some will need more admonishing while others need more patience. Like the prodigal son, those returning have to come to themselves, see where they are, and start home.
The Way Home • What is the way home? How do I get home? • Consider some parts of the path home: • The one who has strayed has to “come to himself” – He has to see himself for what he is and see where he stands before God (Luke 19:9-10) • A person has to reach a point where they are done with the world. This person gets sick and tired enough of sin to change (Romans 6:23) • Pride is replaced with humility. Pride not only takes a person away, but keeps them away. Like the poor in spirit & mourning (Jas 4:6-9) • Sometimes feelings of bitterness and resentment has to be set aside. Be it hurt from other Christians or disappointment in life (Heb 12:15) • Repentance & forgiveness – Things are made right with man and God. A change in behavior, decision making, & focus (Luke 24:47) • A return to service – It’s a return to the kind of things faithful Christians do. Service to God and others. Spiritual activity (Rev. 2:5)
The Way Home • What can we do to help others get home? • While it may seem nothing was being done to bring the prodigal son home, that wasn’t the case: • This son was in a special situation. He knew he was lost and the way home, yet he was choosing the life of a lost person. Something deep inside him had to change (Luke 15:11-16) • It was important that the father never gave up and never quit loving his son. He was ready & anticipating (vs. 20) • The older brother could’ve ruined it all, had he had the chance. He was not ready and his attitude toward his brother stunk. He was working to prevent his return (vs. 29-30) • There were memories of home – Memories of love, faithfulness, security, peace, and family. This was maintained in his absence so it could be enjoyed again when this son returned (vs. 17, 22-25)
The Way Home • What can we do to help others get home? • Sadly, sometimes we have to understand that there is nothing more we can do or say to bring a lost person home (Heb. 6:4-6) • When the gospel doesn’t mean anything, what can we say that will? • Some have to just “come to themselves” – It’s not that they don’t know better, they just don’t want better. There’s a major heart issue. • Be on the look out for a change their life that can soften their heart! • The prodigal son in real life action (2 Cor. 2:6-8, 10-11) • Be watching, eagerly anticipating their return. Don’t give up. Prepare yourself for their return. Be ready to give any support & rejoice! • Make sure they understand you haven’t given up on them. Remind them you want them back and their fellowship is missed. • If they begin the process of returning, don’t add to their sorrow. Don’t second guess their repentance and changes. Don’t be a booing spectator who whispers negativity to them and others.
The Way Home • What can we do to help others get home? • What about situations where we can do something… Words or actions can bring someone home? (Gal. 6:1-2; 2 Thess 3:15) • Remind those who have become unfaithful about their past, about what they are giving up, and the direction their path is taking them • Keep inviting them to services and other spiritual opportunities. Don’t let them forget where they belong and that they are wanted • Make sure that when they begin to show interest and make changes, you are there to encourage and support. • Host a Bible study in your home and invite them to attend. It’s a good idea to keep it small & invite people they are comfortable with • Use voices from the past – A respected preacher, a parent or other family member, or a friend who was faithful and interested in them • Be involved in their daily life. Set an example of godliness, spirituality, and faithful service to God. Let your life teach & admonish!
For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened--not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. (2 Corinthians 5:4-11)