All except three verses in this chapter are spoken by our LORD Jesus Christ Himself. "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." "Before you call, I will answer, and while ye are yet speaking, I will answer you." Before he had a chance to open his mouth, God’s answer was a kiss of pardon. 21st verse, "And the son said unto him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight and am no more worthy to be called thy son.’" He renounces all his rights. This is a companion action which accompanies true repentance. "I renounce all my rights to be your son." His father was a very big person and so this must have cost him a great deal to say, "I renounce all rights." How we fight for what we think are our rights. It is our unsanctified nature, that fights for its rights. My dear friends, true repentance, renounces all rights. "I throw myself upon your grace." Now, this does not happen, as easily as words are spoken. Our proud nature, our selfish nature clings to what we feel are our rights. And if anybody touches our rights we get very angry. We do not experience that crucifixion for which the cross stands. If we analyse the root of all troubles, it is that basic feeling. "My rights have been taken", it is that basic feeling. "My rights have been taken and trampled on or my rights have been invaded." So husbands get angry with their wives and wives get angry with their husbands and all human relationships are strained. There is no brokenness, no crucifixion. "LORD, Father, I am not worthy to be called your son anymore. I will go and tell my father." Verse 19, "And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants." The father did not give him a chance to express these things. The father cut him short with his love. You will appreciate the grace of God if you come to the point of renunciation- total renunciation. If not, you will never appreciate His grace. We have received abundant, unmerited favour and grace from God. Verse 22, "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.’"
"Bring forth the best robes." You know, robes, indicate status. Titles are displayed in our robes. In the old times on their dark green suits soldiers wore two shining stars on the shoulder, they were lieutenants; three stars meant you were a Captain, a crown meant you were a Major. How proud people used to be, when they joined the King’s Commission "The Royal Army." That is the robe. "The best robe in my possession. I am going to confer on you the highest status." We do not enjoy our status, because, we never have renounced our rights. "I am not worthy of the least of Thy mercies" said Jacob. If we really feel like that, we would be excited at the conferment of "sonship". It is the highest status- the "best robe".
"Put a ring on his hand". We use rings for a covenant. But the signet ring of the Monarch signifies his authority. We little enjoy our authority in Christ. Elijah enjoyed the authority that he had. Jesus said, "All power I have given you, over all the power of the enemy." We have authority to pray that idolatry should cease in this country. Will you not feel grieved, will you not feel absolutely scandalized if someone addresses you and says, "Is not that passing woman, your ‘mother’?" You will say, "No, that is not my mother. My mother is at home. She is a dignified person. She does not go begging round the streets as the woman you are point at." You get justly offended. Many of us do not feel offended at all that God is dishonoured. I was reading the account in the News- papers of the recent festival of one of those goddesses which was worshipped by a large multitude. Are you not grieved, are you not offended, when God is set at nought? We are like people with no status, no dignity, about us. Have we got authority in prayer? Last night, as I went to bed, I noticed some growth in my throat. But it was tiny. It was just annoying me a little. But yesterday it was much larger. I thought I better go and see the doctor. Fortunately I found a better doctor, I was able to go to my personal doctor, I said, "LORD, by tomorrow morning, it should disappear." So I woke up in the morning. It truly disappeared. No trace of it was left. We do not use our authority. Where is your ring? Where is your authority? Have you got authority with God, power in the presence of God? Authority was conferred on him. He did not ask for it really. He must have been aghast with wonder, that these things were taking place. We have very little wonder at our salvation. We take it for granted as some simple matter. We do not recognize our authority or status. I am a joint-heir with Jesus Christ. What kind of Christ do you communicate with?
We very often forget the important part of our equipment. "Put shoes on his feet." Without shoes, you cannot walk on certain places. We need tough shoes. We are surrounded by destructive forces. We need tough shoes of the Gospel. Some of us do not seem to have those shoes. So, we are losing our footing. We do not walk with a firm step. He got it all in one package there. All the best on one confession." I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, I am not worthy to bear your name." What is our problem, trouble? Are we going to walk out of this hall with shoes of the Gospel?
Where was he next? Sitting with his father at the banquet Communion with God. He did not seem to enter into any argument. Argument was going on between the father and the elder son but it did not disturb him. His status was not affected. He was at the banquet. Friends, our position with Jesus Christ, should not be disturbed by circumstances. Real faith just walks by the promises. "This is what God has said. Whatever the circumstances, I will walk in it. There it is. We are lacking that faith. We will not look at the circumstances, when we have that faith. The devil tries to shake me. He brings terrible circumstances upon me. Impossible looking circumstances and he tries to get me to forget the banquet. He pulls off a little shoe-lace for a moment or two and affects my mobility. But may God help us.