Restoration: The Process of Recovery & Returning

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically today’s passage is found in verses eleven through thirty-two of the fifteenth chapter of this New Testament book. With this being said consider if you will the entire fifteenth chapter beginning to read with and from the first verse: “Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he loose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layers it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep with was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need to repentance” (Luke 15;1-7). “Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours, saying, Rejoice, with me; for I have found the pice which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:8-10). “And he said, A certain man had two sons: 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. 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. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he Ben to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, how many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough to spare, and I perish with under! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And th Eason said unto him, Father I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calfs, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry” (Luke 15:11-24).

“Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was a grey, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art every with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:25-32).

THIS WAS NOT THE FIRST TIME! THIS WAS NOT THE FIRST TIME JESUS WAS SURROUNDED BY PUBLICANS AND SINNERS! IT WAS ONLY THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS WHO TOOK OFFENSE TO JESUS’ BEING SURROUNDED BY SIN AND SINNERS! IT WAS ONLY RELIGION WHO TOOK GREAT OFFENSE TO JESUS BEING SURROUNDED BY SINNERS! THE NEW TESTAMENT GOSPEL NARRATIVE WRITTEN BY LUKE PRESENTS A POWERFUL PICTURE OF JESUS’ INTERACTION AND ASSOCIATION WITH SINNERS! When you come to the fifteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke you will find one of the most powerful chapters on Jesus’ involvement and Internation with sinners in any of the four gospels. In order to truly understand that which is presented here in this particular passage of Scripture I am absolutely convinced we must recognize the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the fifth chapter of the epistle written unto the Roman saints. It would be in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto these dear saints he would present powerful language concerning sin, sinners and even sinning itself. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth surrounding Jesus’ love for the sinner(s) and His willingness to offer forgiveness unto them. The more you read the New Testament gospel narratives written by the beloved physician Luke the more you will encounter a strong and powerful presentation of Jesus’ willingness to offer forgiveness unto sinners—and not just forgiveness but also salvation which He emphatically declared and proclaimed had come to the house of Zacchaeus since he too was a son of Abraham and child of Israel. The gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke is replete with example after example of the Lord Jesus Christ being willing to accept publicans and sinners around Him, eat and drink with them as well as offering forgiveness unto them for the sins which they had committed.

As you read the New Testament gospel narrative written by the physician Luke you will quickly encounter strong and powerful language concerning those who not only considered themselves to be sinners but also those who were considered sinners by others. If you take the time to truly read this gospel narrative beginning with the fourth chapter you will find a powerful presentation of Jesus’ love and affection for and toward sinners—and not only His love and affection for sinners but also His willingness to offer forgiveness unto them. Oh I would dare say that the beloved physician Luke who was himself a Gentile might very well have experienced great grace and great forgiveness within his own life—a reality which served at the very heart and foundation of this particular gospel narrative. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for there is something truly wonderful and powerful that is found within the gospel of Luke—something which we see mentioned and recorded by the apostle John in the third chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by his hand. In fact I would dare say that if we want to truly understand the words which are found in this passage of Scripture there is a great need to pay close and careful attention to the words which are found in the third chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John as well as the words which are found in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul. There is within these chapters and books powerful language that strikes at the very heart and core of Jesus’ willingness to not only associate Himself with sinners but also offer forgiveness of sins to those whom religion—and perhaps even those whom society deemed unworthy of such grace, compassion and forgiveness. The New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke is such that brings us face to face with the tremendous language surrounding Jesus’ love and affection for and toward the sinners—both those who viewed themselves as sinners and those whom others viewed as sinners.

It is with all of this being said I find it absolutely incumbent and necessary to present you with the words which are found in the third chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John. Within the third chapter of this New Testament gospel we are indeed brought face to face with the incredibly awesome and beautiful reality of God the Father so loving the world that He would send His only begotten Son to save it that whosoever would believe on Him should not perish but have everlasting life. It would when speaking unto Nicodemus by night—Nicodemus who was himself a Pharisee and ruler among the Jews—Jesus would emphatically declare and proclaim unto Him of the Father’s love for sinners and His willingness to forgive them. Oh if you want to truly understand the very heart of the message centered within the four gospels—and not only within the four gospels but the entirety of the New Testament—you must needs be willing to look at and examine the words which are found in the third chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John. It would be within this chapter we find Jesus beautifully presenting unto Nicodemus that unless a man was born again he would not enter into nor would he see the kingdom of heaven. What’s more is that not only would Jesus make this declaration but Jesus would also make the declaration that unless a man was born of water and of the spirit he would not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Oh this is something which must be strongly considered when reading the words found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke for within it we not only find individuals who were given power to become sons of God but also wonderful narratives and testimonies of those who would enter into the kingdom of God through repentance, confession, humility and a genuine surrender before and in the sight of the living God. Oh with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the first and third chapters of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (And we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:1-18).

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God” (John 1:29-36).
“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind blowers where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it together: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:1-21).

I firmly believe that before we can delve into the words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke we must needs pay attention to the words presented within these two chapters. It is within these two chapters we encounter the wonderful truth surrounding Jesus giving power to become sons of God to those who would believe on Him and upon His name. It is in the first chapter of this New Testament gospel we encounter and come face to face with the truth of Jesus granting power to those who believe to become the sons of God while we also find John the Baptist looking upon Jesus sand emphatically declaring and proclaiming Him to be the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it strikes at the very heart of the life and ministry we see within the four New Testament gospels—and not only within the four New Testament gospels but also within the gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke. There is absolutely no denying the truth that when reading the gospel narrative written by Luke you will find an account of a Jesus who was not only willing to associate with sinners but also an account of a Jesus who was willing to forgive sins and sinners alike. It was the apostle Peter who would refer to himself as a sinful man while it was the woman who dared enter into the house of Simon the Pharisee who we not only find Luke referring to as a sinner but also Simon himself referring to her as a sinner. There is a great need to consider the words and language found within these chapters found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John for within them we find Jesus Himself declaring that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Not only this but we also find the Lord Jesus declaring that God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

As I sit here today thinking about the words which are found within the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the apostle Paul would write in the New Testament epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome. It is in this particular epistle we encounter and come face to face with an incredibly beautiful truth surrounding the love which God would shed abroad in that while we were yet sinners He would not only send His only begotten Son but His only begotten Son would die for us. It would be the love of the Father which would send His only begotten Son to die for us and it would be the love within the heart of the only begotten Son that would enable Him to offer His life as a sacrifice and propitiation for our sins. The apostle Paul presented an incredible amount of language found within this epistle concerning the willingness of God to forgive sins and to grant mercy and grace to those who would come before Him with repentance, humility and a genuine desire to experience His salvation. We must needs remember the words which the living God declared and proclaimed unto Solomon in a dream by night and how He would emphatically proclaim that if His people which were called by His name would humble themselves, and pray, and seek His face and turn from their wicked ways then would He hear from heaven and forgive their sins and heal their land. We must needs notice that when speaking unto Solomon by dream during the night the living God set the framework and groundwork for the healing of the land and for the forgiveness of sins—namely, humility, prayer, seeking the face of God and turning from one’s wicked ways. This is something which warrants strong consideration for there can be no forgiveness of sins nor can there be any healing of the land without and apart from each of these particular realities working in joyful harmony with each other. Oh consider if you will the following words which are found in the prophetic writings of the Old Testament prior to delving into the words which we see in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul:

“Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: but if ye refuse and rebel, Ye shall be delivered with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it” (Isaiah 1:16-20).

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: For in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call” (Joel 2:28-32).

“…Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will. Gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captives” (Jeremiah 29:12-14).

“Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthy ness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statues, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. I will also save you from all your uncleanness; and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen. Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. Not for yhour sakes do I this, saith the LORD God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel. Thus saith the LORD God; IN the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builder. And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it. Thus saith the LORD God; I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock. As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the LORD” (Ezekiel 36: 25-38).

There is a great need to recognize the words which are found within each of these passages of Scripture for within them we not only encounter the invitation to call upon the name of the LORD and experience salvation but through the prophet Isaiah the living and eternal God also declared that although their sins were red like crimson they would be white like wool. It was through the prophet Ezekiel the living and eternal God spoke of putting a new spirit within His people and removing the stony heart and replacing it with a heart of flesh. Oh these are powerful realities and imagery we must needs take into careful consideration for they help serve as a backdrop and foundation for the words which we see in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul. It is in this New Testament epistle we encounter and are brought face to face with the tremendous and incredible reality of all having sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. What’s more is that not only have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God but we also learn that the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life. It is in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul we are confronted with the sin which is present within our own hearts and lives and the need for it to be eradicated by and through the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ as well as through a continual mortification and crucifixion of our flesh and the sinful members of our body. We must needs recognize and realize just how absolutely great and wonderful this truly is when seeking to understand the words and language that is found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke for within this gospel we encounter a Jesus who not only did not come into the world to condemn it but truly that the world through Him might be saved. Even before the cross, even before the suffering, even before a single lash was given, even before the nails pierced His wrists and ankles, even before the crown of thorns was placed upon His brow and He was crucified upon the tree there were powerful glimpses of Jesus’ interaction with sinners and His forgiveness of sins.

I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which were written in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome. It is in this particular epistle we find what many have referred to as “The Roman Road” and a powerful invitation for salvation and the forgiveness of sins. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found within this particular epistle for they call and draw our attention to the incredibly wonderful and powerful truth surrounding the language Paul used to describe sin and our need for salvation. There is a great need for us as the saints of God and disciples of Christ to not only be confronted with our own sin and sinful nature but also our need for salvation, our need for redemption, our need for forgiveness and our need for grace and mercy. The New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul brings us face to face with this incredible truth and we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of it and how truly wonderful and powerful it truly is within our own lives. I feel it is absolutely necessary to present with you the words which are found in the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints of Rome for beginning with the first chapter he presents and concludes all men as having sinned and offending the living and eternal God. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome beginning with the first chapter:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 1:18-25).

“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the. Natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despitefully, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Romans 1:26-32).

“What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood: destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear o God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds o fathers law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:9-20).

“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness; that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:21-31).

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:1-11).

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:12-21).

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing that, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:1-14).

“What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to bey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infinity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:15-23).

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the dees of the body, ye shall live” (Romans 8:1-13).

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and pray to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (That is, to bring Christ down from above) OR, Who shall descend into the deep? (That is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a fool.ish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people” (Romans 10:1-21).

I fully realize and recognize that this was a lot of Scripture from the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome, however, it was necessary for us to recognize and pay close attention to the words which this apostle presented unto these saints. Undoubtedly the congregation of the saints of God in Rome was made up of both Jews and Gentiles and the apostle Paul sought to conclude all as being under sin. What’s more is the apostle Paul wholeheartedly believed that man was born unto sin as the sparks fly upward and that through Adam sin and death would be manifested in the earth. The apostle Paul recognized that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and that the wages of sin was death but the gift of God was eternal life. Oh this is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it brings us face to face with the incredibly awesome and wonderful picture surrounding the language that is found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke. It is in this New Testament gospel we encounter the presence of sinners who would continually show up during, within and throughout the public ministry of the Lord Jesus. In fact I would dare say you cannot read this particular gospel without encountering and coming face to face with sin and with sinners. Beginning with the fifth chapter we find Jesus encountering one of His own disciples entreating and beseeching him to depart from him for he was a sinful man. It would be this particular narrative within the life of Simon called Peter the beloved physician Luke would indeed begin a pattern of Jesus entertaining sinners—and not only sinners but those who viewed themselves as sinners and those who were viewed as sinners by others. Oh it is absolutely impossible to read the words found in this gospel narrative and not encounter and come face to face with the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding Jesus’ willingness to entertain sinners—and not only entertain sinners but also eat, drink and fellowship with them.

The more you read the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke the more you can and will be brought face to face with the absolutely incredible truth surrounding the Lord Jesus and the reality that He truly did not come into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. In fact the only thing Jesus ever condemned, judged and indicted was hypocrisy and legalism and the only ones Jesus ever truly condemned and indicted were the scribes and the Pharisees. How absolutely incredible it is that Jesus would seem to condemn and indict religion and the religious leaders and yet He would indeed offer forgiveness and healing and cleansing unto those who were bound and oppressed by sin. You cannot read the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke and not encounter and come face to face with the truly wonderful and powerful truth surrounding the Lord Jesus Christ and His willingness to forgive the sins of those who entered into His presence. Within the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke you will find Jesus inviting Simon called Peter who viewed himself as a sinful man to follow Him that he might be made a fisher of men. It would be the man who was sick with the palsy Jesus would not only forgive his sins after seeing and beholding the faith of the men who brought him unto Him but would also heal his physical body. It would be the Lord Jesus Christ who would speak directly unto the woman who dared enter into the house of Simon the Pharisee and declare unto her that her sins were forgiven her. When Simon witnessed and beheld this woman’s actions he would murmur and grumble within his heart concerning Jesus and how if He were truly a prophet he would know who and what manner of woman this was who touched Him. Not only would Jesus deliver a parable unto Simon the Pharisee but Jesus would also proceed to declare that those who have been forgiven much would indeed be those who would love much.

I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this New Testament gospel and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the truly awesome and wonderful truth surrounding the Lord Jesus Christ and His willingness to not only entertain but also eat and drink with sinners and those who were ostracized and marginalized and vilified by society. There were countless times when religion and the religious leaders not only condemned Jesus for offering forgiveness unto sinners but would also entertain sinners where He was. Pause for a moment and consider the absolutely wonderful truth found in this gospel and how Jesus would not only entertain sinners eating and drinking with them but he would also offer healing, cleansing, deliverance and forgiveness unto them. Perhaps one of the greatest things I can’t help but wonder is what angered religion and the religious leaders more—Jesus’ entertaining and eating and drinking with sinners of Jesus’ offering forgiveness unto sinners. Was it Jesus’ offer of forgiveness unto men and women during those days that so angered and offended the religious spirit, the religion of that day and the religious leaders or was it Jesus’ choosing and being willing to eat, drink and fellowship together with sinners? This New Testament gospel is absolutely incredible when you take the time to think about it for within this gospel we also find Jesus delivering a parable unto those who trusted in their own righteousness by presenting a publican and a Pharisee who both went up into the Temple to pray unto the living God. Within this parable the pharisee boasted of his righteousness and that he was unlike this publican who was a sinner and yet when Jesus came to the publican and his prayer He would go on to declare that the publican rather than the Pharisee would leave the Temple and presence of the living God justified rather than the Pharisee. OH it is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following passages of Scripture found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke concerning Jesus’ willingness to entertain sinners, sinful men and those whom society would consider to be sinners in their own eyes and culture:

“And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, and saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have tailed all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they in closed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: and so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him” (Luke 5:1-11).

“And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem; and the power of the LORD was present to heal them. And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with the palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him. And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through t he tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can for bid sins, but God alone? But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? Whether is easier to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them, and took upon that wherein he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things today” (Luke 5:17-26).

“And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. And he left all, rose up, and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:27-32).

“And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I supposed that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I cam in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto her, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgive their sins also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace” (Luke 7:36-50).

“And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for everything one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke 18:9-14).
“And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass by that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, for so much as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:1-10).

I am absolutely convinced we need to recognize Luke’s emphasis on sin, on sinners and on sinning for at the very heart of this gospel is Jesus’ willingness to associate Himself with them. There is within this gospel two distinct references to those who were viewed and considered by others as sinners while there is one account of a man who viewed himself as sinful. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth surrounding the Lord’s willingness to associate with sinners and those who viewed themselves as sinful individuals. When you come to the fifteenth chapter of this New Testament gospel you can and will be brought face to face with yet another account of publicans and sinners coming unto Jesus to hear and listen to Him. We know that after Jesus called Levi unto Himself to walk with and follow Him he not only forsook everything to follow Jesus but he also prepared for him a great supper within his own home. It would be at this supper within Matthew’s own home that many publicans and sinners came unto him to eat and fellowship together with the Lord Jesus. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading this gospel it’s that not only did the scribes and Pharisees take issue and offense with Jesus offering forgiveness of sins but they also took offense with Jesus sitting down to meat with publicans and sinners. Within this gospel—not only do we find Jesus offering forgiveness of sins to a man who was taken with the palsy but also to a woman whom Luke and even Simon the Pharisee referred to as a sinner. This is something absolutely necessary to think about and consider when reading the words found within the gospel for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth surrounding the Lord Jesus and how he both offered forgiveness of sins and was willing to sit down for to eat dinner with sinners and those who were marginalized and vilified by society. The Lord Jesus would indeed be one who would deliberately and intentionally choose to eat and drink with sinners knowing full well that He himself would be criticized, judged and condemned by the religious leaders and system of that day.

When we come to the fifteenth chapter of this New Testament gospel we encounter the Lord Jesus who was approached by all the publicans and sinners—something which is absolutely astounding when you take the time to truly consider it. Here in this passage of Scripture we find Luke not merely writing that publicans and sinners drew near unto Jesus but that “all” the publicans and sinners drew near unto Him for to hear him. Pause for a moment and consider how absolutely incredible this truly is for it is one thing to say that publicans and sinners drew near unto Jesus, however, it is something else entirely to say that all publicans and sinners drew near unto Jesus. Oh I can’t help but wonder how many publicans and sinners actually drew near unto Jesus—and not only how many publicans and sinners drew near unto Jesus but also what this looked like in comparison to the house of Matthew when the publicans and sinners entered into his house for to eat and drink with Jesus. What makes this all the more intriguing when you take the time to think about it is that earlier on when John the Baptist was still alive we find the publicans first coming unto him asking what they needed to do. It would be during the days of John the Baptist when the publicans would first hear a message of repentance and would respond by asking what they needed to do in light of his words. It would be during the days of John the Baptist we encounter and come face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the publicans first experiencing the call and draw to the living God and unto repentance. Oh there is something truly astonishing when reading the words presented in the third chapter of the New Testament gospel written by Luke and how during the days of John the Baptist the publicans would indeed come unto him asking what they needed to do that they might bring forth fruit meets for repentance.

I sit here today thinking about and considering how it would be during the days of John the Baptist when the publicans would first come forward inquiring what they must needs do and it would be when Jesus of Nazareth—the Lamb of God which took away the sins of the world—stepped on to the scene the publicans would come forth unto Him for to hear and listen to Him preach. Both the publicans and sinners would sit down to meat with Jesus in the house of Levi after Jesus called him from the receipt of custom to walk with and follow Him and here in the fifteenth chapter of this same gospel we once more find the publicans and sinners coming unto Jesus to hear Him. As if this weren’t enough we must needs also recognize and understand that it was during those days when Jesus would declare unto the scribes and the Pharisees how the prostitutes, the publicans and sinners entered into the kingdom of heaven while they themselves remained on the outside looking in. This is something which we must needs understand when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture for when you come to the fifteenth chapter of this gospel you will find Luke writing how all the publicans and sinners came unto Jesus to hear and listen to Him speak. The presence of the publicans and sinners who came unto the Lord Jesus would actually infuriate and offend the scribes and Pharisees that they would actually murmur against Jesus complaining that this man received sinners and ate with them. It would be while Jesus was in the house of Levi called Matthew the scribes and Pharisees would murmur and complain to the disciples asking them how and why their master and teacher ate with sinners. It would be in response to this the Lord Jesus would declare that He didn’t come to call the righteous but sinners unto repentance. Not only this but we find the Lord Jesus emphatically declaring that those who were healthy did not need a physician but rather those who were sick and how He had come to call the lost unto Himself. It would be Jesus who would indeed declare that he came to seek and to save that which was lost—something the scribes would know absolutely nothing about during those days and would reject and despise.

As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are presented in this chapter for it would begin with the Lord Jesus being approached by publicans and sinners who would do so for to hear and listen to the words which He would speak. It would be in response to this the scribes and the Pharisees would murmur among and within themselves saying how this man received sinners and ate with them. What we must needs recognize when reading the fifteenth chapter is that the three parables Jesus spoke—the parable of the lost sheep, the parable of the lost coin and the parable of the lost soon all deal with that which was los. What’s more is that not only do these parables deal with that which was lost but also how that which was lost was indeed pursued by the one who perhaps hadn’t lost it but who realized and recognized that it was lost. The first parable the Lord Jesus delivered was regarding a man who had a hundred sheep and would lose one of them and would leave the ninety in the wilderness and go after that which was lost. Within this parable the Lord Jesus would present this man leaving the ninety and nine in the wilderness knowing they would indeed be taken care of that the work of searching for and recovering that which was lost might be recovered. We must needs recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the wonderful truth of how that which is lost would not only remain lost but would be searched after and sought out that it might be recovered. Oh if there is one thing we must needs recognize when reading this passage is that it doesn’t merely describe the recovering of that which was lost but also the restoration of that which was lost to that which it was once a part of.

It is absolutely impossible to read the parables Jesus spoke within this passage of scripture and not encounter first and foremost the recovery and rescue of that which was lost and how the byproduct of the recovery of that which was lost would indeed be its restoration unto that of which it was once a part of. In Jesus’ first parable He would speak of one single sheep who was lost and would not only be separated from the shepherd but would also be separated from the ninety and nine other sheep. The Lord Jesus would deliver this parable to not only demonstrate the recovery of what was lost but also the restoration of that which was lost unto that from which it had strayed and wanted from. There is something truly astonishing and powerful about the lost sheep being rescued by the shepherd and how upon its successful rescue it would be restored unto the ninety and nine other sheep. As it pertains to the lost coin the Lord Jesus would describe how this one single coin which was an inanimate object—when it was recovered and found it would be restored unto its place with the other nine coins. Oh if there is one thing we have a great need of recognizing when reading the words found in these passages of Scripture it’s not only how that which was lost was recovered and rescued but also how that which was lost would be restored unto that from which it was separated. In the case of the lost son he would not only come to himself and essentially deliver himself from the position and condition he was in but he would also return unto his father, unto his father’s house and unto that place of restoration and fellowship. Perhaps the single greatest difference between the parable of the lost sheep, the parable of the lost coin and the parable of the lost son is that in the case of the lost sheep and the lost coin they were both recovered after another went searching for them. In the case of the lost son it wasn’t the father nor even the elder brother or one of the servants who went out looking for the son. Nowhere in the parable of the lost son can or will you find any account of the father, the elder brother nor any of the servants leaving the estate of the father to go and find the son.

In bringing this writing to a close we must needs recognize that there are essentially two parts to the restoration mentioned in this chapter. Within this chapter there is the restoration of the lost sheep unto the ninety and nine and there is the restoration of the lost coin unto the other nine. When it comes to the lost son, however, he would be restored unto his father, unto his father’s house, unto his elder brother, unto the servants of the house and the like. What we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words found in these verses is that on the one hand we find restoration having at the very heart and center of it rescue and recovery while on the other hand we find restoration having at the heart of it return. In the case of the lost coin and the lost sheep the restoration would take place AFTER the recovery and rescue whereas in the case of the lost sin the restoration would take place AFTER he himself would return unto his father, unto his father’s estate and unto his father’s household. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for there are countless men and women who are being rescued and recovered within this generation that they might be restored unto the fold and unto the Father while there are countless others who are being called to return. What we must needs recognize and understand concerning restoration is that there are times when restoration cannot and will not take place without and apart from returning and rescue. In the case of the Babylonian captivity of the children of Israel we find both of these principles at work for on the one hand we find the LORD God rescuing them from their captivity and exile while on the other hand we find the children of Israel returning unto the land. Oh it wasn’t enough for the living and eternal God to enter into the land of the Chaldeans and rescue them from their captivity and exile for they themselves also needed to return unto the land for restoration to be complete. If we want to understand the true beauty of restoration we must recognize that it requires both a rescue and a returning—and not only a rescue and returning but the living and eternal God rescuing us and our deliberate and intentional returning unto Him, unto fellowship, unto family and unto the household of Jesus Christ. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for in this generation the Father is indeed calling men and women to return—and not only to return but also to return in direct response to His effort to rescue and recover them unto Himself.

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