A Repentant Son
Luke 15:11-20

Luke 15:11-20 (NAS)
11. And He said, "A certain man had two sons; 12 and the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.' And he divided his wealth between them. 13 "And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. 14 "Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 "And he went and attached himself to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 "And he was longing to fill his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving {anything} to him.   17 "But when he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! 18 'I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men."' 20 "And he got up and came to his father. . . . " NAS

Luke 15:11-20 KJV
11 And 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 falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.    13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.  14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.   15 And 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 fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!    18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20 And he arose, and came to his father. . . . " (KJV)

I love my children, and my grandchildren. When there is great love their can also be great sorrow. I would have great sorrow if one of my children, or grand children were living away from the Lord. I would want them to come to repentance.

I would be making them a matter of prayer, their name would be in the prayer room and I would regularly ask for prayer for them in prayer meeting.

The text today has one primary meaning. It is to point out to the Pharisees and scribes that they are like the elder brother. They do not rejoice over the lost being saved.

But today I want to use the details of the prodical son to point out repentance. This young man demanded his inheritance early he thought he knew more than his dad, and he wanted away from his father's rules. He came to some changes in his life and they are classic examples of one who repents. Please not these 3 points of repentance.

1. The Attitude of Repentance.

2. The Affection of Repentance.

3. The Action of Repentance.

1.    The Attitude of Repentance.v 17  (A Change of Mind.) 

17 "But when he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!

A.    The Attitude has . . Changed. v 17 a
            "But when he came to his senses . . . "

    1.    After Change, the Far Country is not so . . Appealing.
    2.    After Change, the Fathers Rules are not so . . Annoying.

B.    The Attitude has . . Correction. v 17 b
        ". . . 'How many of my father's hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with
            hunger! "

Question: How Long Since you had a change of Attitude?

God creates out of nothing. Therefore until a man is nothing, God can make nothing out of him. Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Charles Colson told the following story in an address at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi:

John Eckerd "You're born again!" He said, "No, I'm not, I haven't felt anything." I said, "Yes, you are! Pray with me right now." After we prayed he said, "I am? Marvelous!" The first thing he did was to walk into one of his drugstores and walked down through the book shelves and he saw Playboy and Penthouse. And he'd seen it there many times before, but it never bothered him before. Now he saw them with new eyes. He'd become a Christian.

He went back to his office. He called in his president. He said, "Take Playboy and Penthouse out of my stores. The president said, "You can't mean that, Mr. Eckerd. We make three million dollars a year on those books." He said, "Take 'em out of my stores." And in 1,700 stores across America, by one man's decision, those magazines and smut were removed from the shelves because a man had given his life to Christ. I called Jack Eckerd up. I said, "I want to use that story. Did you do that because of your commitment to Christ?" He said, "Why else would I give away three million dollars? The Lord wouldn't let me off the hook."

And in a period of twelve months, 11,000 retail outlets in America removed Playboy and Penthouse, not because somebody passed a law, but because God wouldn't let one of his men off the hook. That's what brings change.


True repentance has a double aspect; it looks upon things past with a weeping eye, and upon the future with a watchful eye.

2.    The Affection of Repentance. v 18-19   (A Change of Heart.

18 'I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men."

A.    Changed Affection toward the . . Father. v 18 a

        1.    Before he wanted to leave his father.

B.    Changed Affection toward the . . Fulfillment. v 18 b

        1.    Before he wanted to leave this country, no thoughts of heaven.

C.    Changed Affection toward his . . Foundation. v 19

        1.    Before he wanted to leave family and associations.

Question: What is your heart set on?

Illustration Longer, Daddy, Longer By John Trent

Recently a woman grabbed my arm at a conference after I had finished speaking on the enormous need we all have for affirmation.

"Dr. Trent, may I tell you my story?" she asked. "Actually it's a story of something my son did with my granddaughter. My son has two daughters, one who's five and one who is in the 'terrible twos." When a grandmother says this child is in the 'terrible twos,' believe me, she is!

"For several years, my son has taken the oldest girl out for a date time, but he had never taken the two year old out until recently. On his first date with the younger one, he took her out to breakfast at a local fast food restaurant.

"They had just gotten their pancakes and my son decided it would be a good time to tell this child how much he lover and appreciate her." "Jenny," her son had said, "I want you to know how much I love you and how special you are to Mom and me. We prayed for you for years, and now that you're here and growing up to be such a wonderful girl, we couldn't be more proud of you."

Once he had said all this, he stopped talking and reached over for his fork to begin eating but he never got the fork to his mouth. His daughter reach out with her little hand and laid in on her father's hand. His eyes went to hers, and in a soft, pleading voice she said, "Longer, Daddy, longer."

He put down his fork and proceeded to tell her some more reasons and ways they loved and appreciated her, and then he again reached for his fork. A second time and a third and a fourth time he heard the words, "Longer, Daddy, longer."

This father never did get much to eat that morning, but his daughter got the emotional nourishment she needed so much. In fact a few days later, she spontaneously ran up to her mother and said, "I'm a really special daughter, Mommy. Daddy told me so." (Stories for the Heart)


The little girls affection changed from food to strokes from her daddy. You see we all need the sense of fulfillment. We all need strokes and we move forward from those strokes to a place of repentance and worthwhile work.

3.    The Action of Repentance. v 20   (A Change of Will.

        20 "And he got up and came to his father. . . . "

A.    Notice the Decision. v 20 a

        1.    He got Up.

B.    Notice the Direction. v 20 a
        1.    He went to his father.

Illustration    From a tape by Jim Cymbala
David Rufin for six years was homeless, living on the streets of Brooklyn, New York. Alcohol and crack had ruined and destroyed his life. Reducing it to living and sleeping on the streets, scrounging around for soda bottles and cans to pay for his next meal.

It was on an Easter Sunday morning that he stopped out back of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church. Inside he heard the choir sounding so heavenly. He argued with himself as to whether he should go in, dirty, filthy, smelly and drunk. David says, "The Lord told me this is My house and you can go in any way you are."

It was during the altar call David began to make his way to the front. Jim Cymbala the pastor saw him coming and thought to himself, "Oh man, what a way to end an Easter service, someone hitting me up for money."

As David approached him, Jim Cymbala said, "He smelled worse than anybody I had ever smelled. The smell of filth, sweat and urine caused me to look away and then breath. After inhaling I would turn back and talk with him. He put his finger in my face and said Reverend I don't want your money. I want this Jesus you're talking about. I'm going to die out there. I don't have a hope in this world unless someone changes me."

Jim Cymbala began to weep at his own lack of compassion and ask God for forgiveness. David fell against his tie and chest with his matted, filthy hair. Jim Cymbala says, "All of a sudden the smell was a beautiful perfume." God said, "That's the smell Jesus died for! Jesus didn't come to die for a nice clean little world. He came for that which was lost and ruined."

David Rufin says, "God's love drew me!" He is now the head maintenance man for the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church. Jim Cymbala now describes David like this, "David Rufin is a man of God."


You cannot repent too soon because you do not know how soon it may be too late. Sir Thomas Fuller (1608-1661)


I meet a fine young Seminary Student at the airport in Utah.    Christa noticed him first because he had a water bottle with the North American Mission Boards Logo on it. I just said hi to him.

When he got up to move around I asked him about his seminary and we started talking. We talked for an hour or more and then he abruptly said "I have got to go and get rid of the rest of my tracts.

We then got on the plane and sat in different sections. When we got off in St. Louis I stopped him and said how did your witnessing go? He said great I almost led the man next to me to the Lord. I said but what about back at the Airport in Utah, and he said I really got into an interesting witnessing situation with some Mormons.

He had to rush off to his plane, but said remember me and my mission trip to Romania? I had to bow my head and say Lord I haven't witnessed to anyone, and this man has talked to at least two people. I had to repent. My attitude had been one of neglect, my affections were bent on getting home, my actions were earthly centered.

What about you today do you need to repent?

1.    The Attitude of Repentance.

2.    The Affection of Repentance.

3.    The Action of Repentance.




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And Beyond.    Amen?    Amen!