Robert Morris — The Way Home
All right, I want you to turn to two passages of Scripture, Luke 15, where the story of the prodigal son is found, and we're in a series called, "Lost and Found", so Luke 15, and then, if you can put a marker at Genesis 20. And we're in this series called, "Lost and Found", talking about the prodigal son, and I just want to remind you, the definition of prodigal is lacking restraint. Lacking restraint. What that means is that all of us are prodigal at some time in some area of our lives. All of us have been at some point, and maybe even right now.
So, this week I want to talk to you about, "The Way Home". If there's an area in your life where you're away from God, how do you come home? What's the way home? Luke 15, look at just these few verses, Verses 17 through 19. Verse 17 says, "But when he came to himself". Now, I underlined it because it's important and I want to come back to that phrase. "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? I will arise and go to my father and will say to him, "Father"... I underlined that because we're going to talk about the Father. "I've sinned against heaven and before you, and I'm no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants".
I underlined the word servants. Here's the reason, because I could sum up for you the way home in one word - honesty. Honesty, and I'm going to give you three points, but in essence, these three points are in that verse right there. "When he came to himself," that's when he got honest with himself. He was willing to go back and work as a servant, so you know the servants would know he was the son that had squandered everything, so he was willing to be honest with others. And he was going to confess it to his father, so he's willing to be honest with God... with his father, which would obviously represent the Father to us, all right?
So, three points. You ready? Number one, be honest with yourself. Be honest with yourself. Now, if you want to look at Genesis 20, I want to read you a Scripture about something that happened when Abraham was traveling. Genesis 20:1, "And Abraham journeyed from there to the South". I just want you to notice he went to the South. "And dwelt between Kadesh and Shur". "And he stayed in Gerar. Now Abraham said of Sarah, his wife, "She is my sister". And Abimelech, king of Gerar, sent and took Sarah. 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 man's wife".
Now, we're going to go on, but let's just stop for a moment. You're not having a good night when God comes into your bedroom and says you're a dead man. Would you agree with that? That could ruin your night. And Abimelech in essence said, whoa, can we just talk? Could you just put the sword down, just for a moment, and let's talk about this. All right? So, look at Verse 4. "But Abimelech had not come near her, and he said, "Lord, will you slay a righteous nation also? Did he not say to me, "She is my sister"? And she, even she herself said, "He is my brother". Now, watch this phrase. 'In the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands, I have done this'. And God said to him in a dream" ...this would be a great verse to memorize, "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".
Now, you just read something in your Bible that's amazing. Because he was walking in the integrity of his heart, God withheld him from sinning. Is that amazing? I mean, this is an unbelievable thing, and I'm calling it honesty so we can just catch the meaning of this, that we need to learn to be honest in our hearts. Now this word, integrity, means in the Hebrew, completeness. In other words, if you're selling something and you hold some back, it means not holding anything back, the whole thing. If you hold something back, then you're not dealing with integrity. It even refers to, if you were to cut part of it off, like cut some of it off and then say this is the whole thing. That's not integrity. Integrity means that it's the whole thing, it's complete. And I'm saying that if you're going to come home in any area of your life where you're away from home, where you're prodigal, you're a believer but you're not living for God in that area of your life, you're going to have to get honest with yourself about it. And a whole lot of times, we don't want to be honest with ourselves.
When I was a young preacher, I remember I was praying one time. I was about to speak that night, and I said to the Lord, Lord, help me do well tonight. And the Lord said to me, why? Why? Now, you have to remember that I lived a life of deception for the first part of our marriage, and this was after that, and I'd come clean, and I wanted to stay clean, and I didn't want to live a life of deception anymore. And so, when the Lord would ask me these things, I just had to be honest with Him. And so He said, why do you want to look good tonight? And I said, well, there are some people here that I'd like to impress.
That really was in my heart. And I'll never forget, He said to me, that is exactly right. That is why you just prayed that. You didn't pray, Lord, help me to minister to the people tonight. You didn't pray, Holy Spirit, lead me. You said, Lord, help me to do well, because there are some people here you want to impress. And then He said this to me. And if you will remain honest, then I will bring you to the place that you prayed, Lord, help me to do well tonight, for the Kingdom's sake. But I can't get you there if you won't admit it to yourself.
So, number one is to be honest with yourself. Here's number two, be honest with others. You remember he said, I'll just go and say, make me as one of your hired servants. He'd be working with the servants. You know they would know. They'd say, well, you're a son, what are you doing, doing this? Well, because I left the home and I squandered everything. So, he was willing to humble himself in front of other people and to be honest. Have you ever heard someone say, I'm going to be honest with you now? Doesn't that bother you? Don't you want to say, what have you been being? What have you been? What do you mean? And, I kind of want to say to the person, you know, I had no reason to doubt your honesty until now.
Now, I'm not picking on you, but if you've gotten in the habit of saying that, I'm going to be honest with you - not even now, but I'm going to be honest with you. I really think that you probably at one time were not honest, and that's why you started saying, I'm going to be honest with you. There's no reason to tell people you're honest, if you're honest. See, we've got to come to the place that we're going to be honest with other people. James 5, look at this verse. Verse 16 says, "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another that you may be healed". Confess your sins.
Now, I actually wanted to show you this Greek word because I like seeing what the meaning is, because it seems to more fully explain the word to me. The Greek word here for trespasses is paraptoma... paraptoma. Now, notice the P-A-R-A, because I'll come back to that, and I've shown you other Greek words that have that prefix, and I know you love Greek. I just know it, so that's why I'm going to show it to you. All right, but here it is, paraptoma. It translates as trespass nine times. Confess your trespasses. Offense, seven times - seven times, this word's translated as offense. Think about that. Confess your offenses. Confess your offenses to others.
Can you imagine if you brought your offenses out in the light? How many of those could be dealt with the right way, instead of holding on to it and being in bitterness the rest of your life over something? Confess your offenses. Look at this. Confess your sins is the next word. Three times, it's fall. Confess your falls. Confess your falls. And then, faults, confess your faults. That's something all of us look forward to doing, isn't it, telling everybody all of our faults? But if we do... I'm not talking about to the whole world, but there better be someone you can talk to. There better be some that you can talk to.
And then, here are the two definitions for the word. The first one is to fall beside or near something. To fall beside or near something. And then, the second one is a lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness. In other words, we need to confess our deviations from the truth. When we deviate, just a little bit, we need to be talking to someone about that, so that we can be healed, we can be made whole. This word says to fall beside something or near something. Here's why it's beside or near. I told you, remember P-A-R-A, para. Para means alongside or beside, alongside. All right, so why is this para in this word? Because it's right beside it.
Here's what I want you to notice. When you fall right beside the truth, when you just barely miss it, confess it. When you fall alongside... I mean, you're just right... not when you walk away from God five miles. When you just trip, which is what the word offense means, to stumble... when you stumble just a little bit beside the truth, confess it, and I'm going to tell you why. Because if you won't confess the little things, then you definitely won't confess the big things. But, if you get in a habit of bringing the little things into the light, then you'll understand that you can bring the big things as well. If you miss the mark by a mile, or by an inch, you ought to bring it out in the light, because if you're in a habit of bringing things into the light, Satan only works in darkness, he can't work in the light.
Now, I'm going to say something here, it's going to be very close to home, okay? I'm going to really talk to you straight about an issue. Can you confess to your spouse if you're struggling with lust? Here's another question. Can your spouse confess to you if he or she is struggling with lust? This is extremely important. And let me just speak to the ladies for a moment, because if he won't tell you, who is he going to tell? And if he can't tell you, without you blowing up, and without you getting offended, and without you getting insecure and fearful, doesn't that just train him to keep it in the dark?
Please, please hear me. You're training him to keep it secret. You're training him. Now, here's why I say this. I can share things with Debbie, my struggles. I can share it with her. Probably one of the reasons why is because when I was 25 years old is when I came clean with her, and God began to do a cleansing work in my life in this area. But what she understood, by God's grace, was that I love her, and if I'm struggling in an area, it doesn't mean that I don't love her. It doesn't mean that. You understand what I'm saying?
Now, listen to me. It would be better for him to struggle with you than to struggle with another woman. Please hear me. The only reason I would go so personal is to help you, and not just for married people here. Single people, you need to have someone you can talk to. And if you're engaged, listen to me. Ma'am, the worst thing you could give him is what the world tells you to give him so you can keep him, because you will develop an appetite in him, because it's outside of marriage. You'll develop an appetite in him that he may satisfy later.
And, I'd like to say something else, too. If you're here and you've gone through this horrible tragedy of infidelity in your marriage, I want to tell you something. It wasn't your fault. I do want you to know it. Don't hear me and say, well, we didn't have that open atmosphere, and we did have premarital sex. It still... it wasn't your fault, and I want to tell you why, because nothing excuses adultery. Nothing excuses it. It's not excusable because, well, I didn't do everything right.
You can't imagine how many couples I've walked through this and the spouse that stayed pure said, you know, I know part of it's my fault. No, none of it's your fault. None of it's your fault, because he still should have walked pure before the Lord. So, please, please hear me, okay? So, I came clean with Debbie when I was 25 years old. I sat down with her and I said to her, I need to tell you everything that I've ever done. I need to tell you everything. And I told her everything that I'd ever done, and I'll never forget her response. Here was her response. I knew you were bad when I married you. I didn't know you were that bad, but I knew you were bad. But, thank you for telling me. And I want to remind you, the reason I married you is because I knew you loved God, and I knew you loved me, even though you had struggles, and I love you.
Please, struggle together. Whether you're married or not, struggle with someone, talk with someone, all right? Here's number three, be honest with God. Be honest with yourself, be honest with others, and be honest with God. He was going home to be completely honest with his father. We see that, right there in the prodigal son. Now, let me show you another Scripture here about holding something back. Acts 5:1, "But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira, his wife, sold a possession". Now, watch this. "And he kept back part". That's not walking in integrity, honesty. "He kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostle's feet". In other words, like this is the whole thing, but it wasn't the whole thing. "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"?
Now, this is a truth that we need to catch. He lied to Peter. He lied to a person. And Peter said, "Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit"? He didn't say to me, he said to the Holy Spirit. So, you need to understand something. When you lie to yourself - Ananias and Sapphira did, they lied to themselves. When you lie to yourself and when you lie to others, you are lying to God. If you're not walking in honesty with yourself and with others around you, you are not walking in honesty with God. You're lying, and you're lying to the Holy Spirit.
Notice that he said, you kept something back. But, you think about this. You ever walk in a room and a child has something he's not supposed to have, and he immediately turns and faces you, and puts it behind his back? Right? And you say, do you have something in your hand? Nope. Have you ever been fooled by that? Have you ever said, okay? Do you think that God can't see it? By the way, did you know that God is actually on the other side of you, too? Looking at what you got in your hand? Do you really think, if you don't tell God about it, He doesn't know? Do you really think you can stand like this in the presence of God? And here's what you need to really understand. What you have in your hand? He's already died for it. He's already paid the price for it. He just needs you to bring it out, so He can help you with it.
Let me show you the best example of being honest with God that I've found in the Bible. Luke 22:41-42, "And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw". This is in the garden before He's going to be crucified. "And He knelt down and prayed, saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me, nevertheless" ...watch this. You want to see being honest? "Not My will, but Yours be done". Matthew tells us He prayed this prayer three times. "Not My will, but Yours be done". He's being honest with God. He's not sinning, because Jesus never sinned. He's being honest and saying, if there's any other way, then let this cup pass from Me. And in my opinion, He wasn't talking about the nails, and the thorns, and the scourging. He was talking about that He was going to have to be separated from God so that we could be reunited to God, and I think He was saying, God, Father, if there's any other way to redeem them to You than for Me to have to be separated from You, then please take this cup away from Me. But if there's no other way, then I'll die so that they can live. But, He was being honest.
See, the word will means desire. When you do your last will, you're talking about your desire. When the Bible says God is not willing that any should perish... in other words, it's not His desire that anyone perishes. So, here's what He was saying. God, this is My desire. He's being honest. This is My desire. If there's any other way, then please show Me now. Okay, listen to me. You will never pray truthfully, Your will be done, until you truthfully pray, not my will. And you will never truthfully pray, not my will, until you'll admit what your desire really is, and that's what Jesus was doing.
I told you when I was 25 that I got honest with Debbie. She was not the first person that I got honest with. I was too afraid to. About a year before that, and I believe this led to God bringing about a work in my life. About a year before that, I was praying one day and I said to the Lord, Lord, I feel like two people. I feel like the public person and a private person. I feel like everybody likes this person, but if anyone really knew what I struggle with, and what I've done, and what's in my past, and what I still deal with to this day... God, if anyone really knew that, they wouldn't even come hear me preach. And the Lord, He said, do you want Me to fix that? You want Me to fix that? You feel like two people, you want Me to fix it?
I said, yes, I do. He said, all right, I want you to write down everything that you've ever done that no one knows on a piece of paper, everything. Everything that you've done that no one knows, you write it down on a piece of paper. And the Lord said, you take that piece of paper and you read every bit of it to Pastor Olin. And so, we got alone one time and I said to him, I need to tell you some things, and I shared that piece of paper with him. I said, this is what people don't know about me. And he said to me, Robert, everything on that piece of paper, most people have done things like that. But, Satan has you convinced that you're worse than anyone else, and God just needed you to bring it out into the light so He could deal with it.
And about three days later, I remember, I woke up. Debbie was still asleep, and I woke up, and I was just happy. I mean, I was just happy. And the Lord said to me, why are you so happy? I said, don't You get it? I said, there's one person who knows everything bad about me, and he still loves me. And the Lord said to me, just one? And I didn't get what He was saying. I said, yes, there's one person who knows everything bad that I've ever done, and he still loves me. And the Lord said, just one? Are you sure there's only one person that knows everything bad you've ever done and still loves you? And He said to me, not only do I know everything that was on the piece of paper, I know everything that wasn't on the paper, son, and not only do I love you, I died for you. I died for you, son. I died for you. I'm telling you, there's someone who knows everything you've ever done, and He still loves you and He wants you to walk in freedom, but you're going to have to get honest. You're going to have to be honest with yourself, you're going to have to be honest with others, and you're going to have to be honest with God.
When I think back to that moment that the Lord said, I know everything about you, and not only do I love you, I died for you, I want you to know that the Lord knows everything that you've ever done wrong, and He still loves you. He died for you. He's not holding it against you. He's never going to bring it up again. It's covered under the blood of Jesus. But for us to walk in the type of relationship that He wants us to walk in, we've got to begin to be honest with Him, honest with others, and honest with ourselves.