Jentezen Franklin - It's Time For A Comeback
Open your Bibles to Genesis 15. And I want to preach to you something that I feel heavy on my heart for everybody under the sound of my voice, those of you listening by television. Do you believe that God's word can change the atmosphere of your life? Watch this. Genesis 15. I'll begin reading with verse 13. "And He said to Abram, Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and they'll serve them; they will afflict them for 400 years. Also the nation, whom they serve, I'll judge afterward and they, speaking of your descendants, will come out of that", horrible situation is what He's describing, they'll "come out of it with great substance", great possessions.
Verse 15, "Now as for you", Abraham, "you shall go into your fathers in peace..." He's talking about the grave. You shall go to the grave in peace. "And you shall be buried", notice these words, "at a good old age", a good old age. "But in the fourth generation they", speaking of your children and descendants, "will return here..." And then, once again, in the 18th verse, he says, "To your descendants I have given this land".
I want to talk to you about this occasion in the scripture because I believe it speaks to us today in a significant way. I want to talk about God is planning your comeback. He's planning your comeback. God came to Moses and He said, "I want you to make a covenant with Me; and in this covenant, I'm promising you two powerful things. Number one", He says, "I want to reveal to you some things about your future. And I'm going to talk to you about how you're going to die. One day you're going to die, Abraham, but I don't want you to be afraid of death. I don't want you to worry about dying, so I'm going to go on and talk to you and reveal to you how you're going to die". And He said, "Here's how you're going to die. This is what it's going to look like".
God promised him that when he went to the grave, "you will go to the grave in a good old age". A good old age means "as my days are so will my strength be". A good old age, I believe, means we ought to just expect and claim that we'll have good memories and we'll have healthy, strong bodies. And I know we get older and everything changes, for sure, but I'm claiming today the good old age. When I die, it's going to be at a good old age. It lines right up with Psalms 91, "with long life I will satisfy you and..." I said long life, with long life.
Somebody's listening to me in tremendous fear of dying prematurely and early and you ought to grab hold of the covenant promise that God gave Abraham, that you will live until you die a good old age. I'll always have provision. I'll always be taken care of. Because man is not my source. David said, I've been young and now I'm old, and I've never seen the righteous forsaken, or His seed begging for bread. Why don't you smile, right now? And say, I see me in the future. And I'm gonna, at one day way, way, way, way down the road, die a good, old age. Isn't that good news? That's good news. Be free from the fear of what's coming. I tell you what's coming. Good is what's coming.
And then, the second promise, profound promise that God gave Abraham is "not only will you die at a good old age, but I'm promising you, Abraham, that when you go to the grave, you don't have to worry about your children. I don't care what it looks like when you go, I am making a covenant that will outlive you and I'm going to take care of your children". He did throw in there that "there's going to be a time of darkness in their lives whom I love, I chasten, I whip, I correct".
And if your kids, and they will, they've gotten off course, they will be oppressed. There will be a time when it won't be like you wish it was. There will be a time when it looks so dark and bleak for them. "But I'm promising you, Abraham, in the covenant that I make with you that your children will come back again to where I called them to be". There will be a comeback, not only for you, but there will be a comeback for your children. There will be a time when their captors will be crushed. There will be a time when their bondage will be broken.
The darkness and defeat is only a transit, fleeting moment. I promise you, whatever seems to hold them, will not hold them in the long haul. They will come back. Did you catch it? They will. They will come back. There's going to come, the coming back in the fourth generation You'll see the come back. No matter how pessimistic, no matter how negative it looks today, you're going to come back. It's a time of the comeback. It's time to get up off the mat if you've been knocked down, if you've been through something, if you've been through financial setback or some kind of terrible thing has hit you in your health or something's happened to your family, we need to believe that it's time for a comeback.
It's no time to quit. It's no time to give up. It's no time to moan and groan. "I'll bring you out with great substance. They're not just going to come back, but they're going to pick up stuff through the experience that they go through that I'll turn around and use for My glory. They're coming back with great substance". We may be down, but we're not out because we serve a comeback God.
Frank Wright was the second-string quarterback for the Buffalo Bills and he holds, to this day, the record in the NFL for bringing a team back from the greatest deficit in having to be made up in a football game. What happened in this particular game is the Buffalo Bills were losing 31-nothing at halftime, and the coach said, "I'm not going to waste my first-string quarterback on this game. It's impossible for my team to come back". So he pulled the first-string quarterback out, hoping that he wouldn't get hurt, and put the second-string guy in named Frank Wright.
Frank Wright goes out there and everyone else is thinking it's too late. Everyone else is thinking there's no way. But Frank Wright kind of has this mentality "it's never too late to win". It's never too late to win. He brought his team back to a 33-31 win. And when it was all over, they interviewed him and he said, "You know, I hear people say, 'We'll give 'em this one, we'll give 'em this one'". But he said, "My motto is, 'We'll give 'em nothing'". And I want you to know the attitude of our God is "I'm not going to give up on anybody".
2 Samuel 14:14 says this, "...as water poured out that can't be regathered", spilt water, "yet does God devise a plan" or a means "that the banished be not expelled from Him". He said sometimes, things happen in life and it's like spilled milk. It's like water poured out and there's no way in the world to get back. You'd give anything if you could get that moment back. You'd give anything if you could get that experience back and it didn't happen, but sometimes in life, stuff just happens.
And when it happens, the enemy whispers: "It'll never be good. You'll never be whole. It'll never be right. You'll never be the same person". But the Bible said when you go through a spilt milk scenario, you serve a God who devises plans whereby the scattered will be gathered and will be brought back. In other words, God has a way to regather, regain, restore, reclaim, refresh, and renew your life. No matter what came out, God says, "I'm devising a plan to bring you back to wholeness". God is a God that makes a way of return, a comeback, and it's time for you to experience the spirit of a comeback.
Job 14:7 said, "For there is hope for a tree, that when it is cut down, it will sprout again; thou the roots thereof get old and wax old in the earth and the stock of the tree dies, yet at the scent of water it will bud and bring forth". All it needs is the ability to pick up the scent of water, and that water represents the Holy Spirit. And maybe the enemy has cut down your family tree. Maybe it feels like that he's just devastated everything. But at the scent of water, the power of the Holy Spirit, I preached it when I'm on top of the world and I preached it when I've hit rock bottom, and I still believe that I serve a God who can give every family a comeback, every marriage a comeback, every situation, Every drug addict, every alcoholic, You can have a comeback.
You've been through hell, you messed up, you did something you shouldn't have done? It's time for a comeback. At the scent of water, The Bible said there is "a river whose streams shall make glad again". That's the river of the Holy Spirit, and if you can get a scent of that river while I'm preaching, God can orchestrate your comeback. There's a river flowing that the dead can come to life again, the out can get in again. "Well, I had the chance and I blew it".
Well, this is your comeback and the out can get in again, the down can get up again, the depressed can dance again. It's time for a comeback. Quit feeling sorry for yourself. Quit having a pity party. You've heard me tell you when you have a pity party, nobody brings gifts and nobody shows up but the devil. He's the only one who wants to come. So what do you do? You grab hold of the promises of God and say, "You know what? I wish I wouldn't have gone through that, but I'm coming out with great substance. I'm coming out with something I didn't have and I'm going to know how to be used even greater of God because everything I went through". Give God a praise if you believe it. Hallelujah. I believe it.
Watch this. Watch this. The prodigal son, in Luke 15, had a comeback. He jumped the fence of the hog pen and started back to the father's house. And while he was a great way off... That's what I love. I love the fact that he was a great, had a long way to go. We think that we've got to get our life all together before the comeback starts, but just the moment that you turn back to God, just the fact that you're watching this program, just the fact that you're sitting in church this morning, just the fact that you came to church and you really didn't feel like it and really you almost...
If the truth were to be told, I think we ought to have cameras in y'all's houses. I think we would hear all kinds of things and, "Are we going"? "I don't know". "Well, let's go". "Well, I don't know. It's pretty bad..." "I'm tired". "We've got to go get groceries today". But something in you said, "Let's go". And the fact that they were a long way off from their comeback. But the moment that he turned, the Bible said, "And when the old gray-headed father saw him from a distance, he took off running after him..." I love this wording. "...and fell on him..." That's tender, isn't it? "...and kissed him".
Fell on him. Fell on him. If you'll just turn back to God, "Well, I'm going to try to get my life together and if I can't quit doing this and quit doing that and quit going out with Sally Sue 'cause she's messing me up all the time, and if I could quit smoking that reefer and if I could quit... Oh, I tell you, I like my dancing in my club. I just can't hardly give that up". You just need to turn to the Father and let His love fall on you.
Now, here's something. I've preached on the prodigal son all of my preaching life and I don't know how in the world I missed this, but it's precious if you can catch what I'm saying. I don't know how I ever, I always wondered, and I've given a lot of different theories on it and truths on it, but why did the father come running? And I tell you, I felt like the Lord spoke to me so clear this week in my heart and He said, "The only reason the father went running is he couldn't come back on his own".
So many people try to fix their life, but he couldn't cover his shame and his stink of the, stench of the pig pen. He couldn't quit his habits. He couldn't cover up where he had been and what he had done. But here comes the father. He puts a robe of righteousness on him, puts shoes on his feet. You know, slaves in the Bible were not allowed to wear shoes because then they could run away. But here comes the father, before he ever gets home, orchestrating a means of his comeback; puts, covers all of his dirtiness, puts shoes on his feet, and then takes a ring and restores his gift, which means "you're now back in the partnership, you're now in the family business". And the Bible said the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance, which means you might have messed up.
You might be a preacher listening to me who went through a divorce and you've been sitting on the sidelines. But God says "it's time for your comeback and I give the gift back. I never take the gift. You've always had..." I'm preaching to somebody who almost gave up on your vision and your call. But it's time for the comeback and you can't come back without the Father out there bringing you back. Do you understand that?
And I tell you, if you'll just move toward Him, in His direction, something's going to fall on you. Favor is going to kiss you. Grace is going to kiss you. The love of God is going to kiss you. He's not mad at you. He's just waiting for you to jump the fence out of the pig pen and just start doing the best you can. Don't worry about your addiction. Don't worry about your mess-ups. Just start moving and the Father'll come running and something'll fall on you. And you can't make it back without that Father. You're trying to do it on your own. And when you get it together, "then I'm going to come to church and have a big service and celebrate what I have done".
You can't come back without the Father. He loves you and all He's waiting on is you, in this service, right now, to turn to Him and you can have a comeback. He had a comeback. You know, in the Bible, it talks about John Mark and how double-minded he was. And Paul got aggravated with him and said, "He's a loser, he's not determined, he's not dedicated, and I'm not ever taking him on a missionary journey with me. He's a weak, weak Christian. He's got a call on his life but he messed up the call and..." I tell you, that'd be humiliating for the great apostle Paul to say, "Disqualified". But something happened and he had a comeback because in 2 Timothy 4:11, Paul said, "I'm about to go on a missionary journey. Send John Mark for he's profitable unto ministry".
He had a comeback. I want you to see it. He was a liability; now he's an asset. He was a problem; now he's an answer. Wouldn't you like for God to move you from one side of the ledger to the other side, from a loser to a winner, from a problem to an answer? God can do that. It's called a comeback. Jesus was laid in the tomb, hell rejoiced, and they counted Him out, but on the third day He had a comeback. And when He went up on the clouds, and ascended into heaven, the disciples got a little down-hearted and the angels said, Why are you crying? This same Jesus is going to have to comeback. He's going to blow the trumpet, and He's going to comeback, and we're going to meet Him in the air. Maybe you're not shouting like you used to shout. Maybe you're not smiling like you used to smile. Maybe you're not joyful like you used to be, but the truth is, God knows how to orchestrate you to have a comeback.
Now, I want to close with this thought. Judges 16 says, Gives us one of the greatest stories of a comeback judge in the Bible. His name was Samson. Samson fell in love with Delilah and she shaved, the Bible said, seven locks of hair. He had dreadlocks because his hair was so long, and he had seven of 'em. And we know that as long as he kept the locks, the Philistines couldn't touch him. Those standards, there are things in our life that if we keep, we lock the devil out. We stay strong in the Lord and the power of His might. But she deceived him and he was willing to be deceived, and she shaved the seven locks off of his head, of hair.
The first thing the enemy did was put his eyes out because any time you start compromising your standards, you lose your vision. You can't see that "they that be with us are more than they that be with them". Anytime you start compromising, you can't see the opportunities. You can't see the goodness of God, the good that God is doing. He lost his vision. The first thing that goes when you start playing with the world and laying your head in the lap of sin is you lose the vision God has for your life. Then you have to go with Plan B. And then he lost his freedom because they put him in chains and he couldn't get his hands up.
You become a spiritual zombie during praise and worship because when you begin to compromise and the enemy's shaving the locks of standards off of your life, not only will you lose your vision but you lose your praise. You lose your prayer life. You lose your praise. There's singing but you don't feel anything. And then the Bible said he started going 'round and 'round, treading corn. He was making bread for the adversaries of God. He was feeding what he should have been fighting. He was raised and caused to fight the Philistines but now he's feeding it. And any time you start feeding things that you should be fighting, it's a sign that the enemy has you in a defeated place.
A lot of people are listening to me today and you're feeding those habits, feeding that uncleanness, feeding that stuff. And when you're feeding what you have been raised up to defeat, I believe this is a generation that God has raised up not to feed the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life, but to defeat it. Why are you feeding what you ought to be fighting? We've been called, in this generation, to make a difference. The Bible said, I really think they shaved his head. The Bible said they made sport of him, they made fun of him. They're having the biggest time. Look at him, feeding what he's supposed to be fighting. And everybody marked him off.
And I think the Philistines walked off and said, "We really did a number on him. Look at that haircut. Look at that buzz cut. Look at that". And they walked off laughing. They put his eyes out. Chains. That's what the enemy's done to many of you. But I love this verse, verse 22, "Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven". They clipped it short, but somebody really messed up in this story because they didn't have a barber in that jail cell watching the length of his hair.
And when they were not looking, something began to happen in his head. That's where a comeback starts. Before you ever get up physically, financially, spiritually, you get up mentally. When the Philistines were not looking, what they had taken from him was coming back. It was coming back. And I believe that when he cried, "God, do it one more time", it's the cry that God looks for from the person who needs a comeback. If you want a comeback, cry, "God, do it one more time".
The church in history laid its head down in the lap of compromise and the lock of purity, the lock of worship, the lock of faith, the lock of prayer, the lock of Bible reading, the lock of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, the lock of the second coming of Jesus Christ has been shaved off; and the church is nothing but a social club and the devil thinks that we're finished and done with. But while he's not been looking, God has been orchestrating our comeback. And the Bible said, "In the fourth generation, they're going to come back".
You see, it's the fourth generation. The first generation in a business, the corporate world, the first generation is one of sacrifices. Somebody sacrifices to start that business. The second generation enjoys all the benefits they inherit. But the third generation usually sells out in one way or another. Spiritually, in the church, our forefathers sacrificed and then my generation enjoyed it. The next generation wants to sell it out. But God says, "Before that can happen, there's coming a fourth generation that is going to come back. They're going to come back to everything that I've called the church to be".
And so I've just come to say that if you need a comeback spiritually, if you need a comeback physically, if you need a comeback in your family, I believe you're in the right place. And if it's the darkest it's ever been and if it's the coldest it's ever been in your life, you're the very one I'm prophesying to today. You are going to have a comeback, if you'll turn back to the Father. Give God a praise right now. It's time. I said it's time for a comeback.