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Danny Presswood Sermons | Jesus on Heaven and Hell PDF

The Hogpen Hilton

The Hogpen Hilton

TEXT: Luke 15:11-24

A young man had come to his first church in view of a call as Pastor. When he met with the Pastor Search Team for his first interview, the Chairman asked "Young man, what do you consider to be the greatest aspect of your ministry - what is your greatest strength?" He replied, "Well, Sir, in all humility, my greatest strength is my knowledge and depth of understanding of the Bible." "Which part of the Bible do you know the best?" another team member asked. "Well, Ma'am, I know the N.T. the best," he answered. "OK, son," said the chairman, "suppose you share with us your take on the Gospel of Jesus from the N.T."

The young man began, "There once was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, who went down to Jericho by night and fell on thorny ground, and the thorns pretty near choked him half to death! The next morning Solomon and his wife Gomorrah came by and saw him and picked him up and took him down to the Ark so Moses could take care of him. But as they were about to enter the Ark from the Eastern Gate, he got his hair caught in a tree and he hung there for 40 days and 40 nights. Afterward he was ahungered, and the ravens came and fed him with two fishes and five loaves. The following morning three wise men came by and opened their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Then they took him down to the boat dock and put him on a boat to Nineveh. A great storm arose and capsized the ship, but God caused a huge whale to swallow him for three days and nights, then spit him back out on the shore. Now when he approached the city, he saw Delilah sitting on the city wall. So he called out to the boys on the wall, and said "Chuck her down, boys!" So they answered and said, "How many times should we chuck her down, till seven times?" And he answered and said unto them, "Nay, verily, I say unto you, NOT till seven times, but seventy times seven!" So they chucked her down 490 times! And she burst asunder in their midst, and they gathered up of the fragments twelve baskets full. So I ask you, In the resurrection, whose wife shall she be?"

Well, the chairman of the Pastor Search Team sat their a moment, scratching his head, then looked at the other team members and said "Folks, I realize he's young -- BUT HE SHORE KNOWS HIS BIBLE!"

Well, I'm sure many of you "shore knows your Bibles" too. If so, you're familiar with the parable of the Prodigal Son, which I think was misnamed. I think it's more aptly named the "Parable of the Loving Father." A "PARABLE" is "a simple story, illustrating a moral lesson or spiritual truth." The word parable comes from two Greek words "para" meaning "beside" and "ballein" meaning "to throw" thus to throw beside." My definition is "an earthly story with a heavenly meaning."

This parable follows on the heels of two other parables of Jesus. (vs.3-7) A man with 100 sheep loses one and searches until he finds it, lays it on his shoulders, and rejoices. He goes home and invites his neighbors to rejoice with him. He says "I say to you that likewise there will be more JOY in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 just persons who need no repentance."

Secondly there is a woman and her coins. When a Jewish girl married, she began wearing a headband of ten silver coins to signify she was now a wife. A calamity arises when she loses one coin, so she lights a lamp and thoroughly cleans her house until she finds the coin. Then she invites her neighbors to rejoice with her, saying "I have found the coin that was lost."

Our parable is about a "prodigal" a wasteful, wayward son; but it's also about a loving, gracious father. I believe most of Jesus' parables were based on real life experiences - stories of people He knew. You see, parables don’t have to be "fictional!"

Some of us can relate to this parable firsthand. We have traveled the road of the prodigal - some of you may be a prodigal right now! Others find themselves in the shoes of the loving father.


1. You know you're headed for the HOGPEN HILTON when you start "FROLICKING IN THE FAR COUNTRY. SAY

A man had two sons. Using my pastoral privilege we'll call them Jacob and Samuel. Deut. 21:17 says the oldest son would get twice as much as the other sons when the father died and his estate was divided among them. So Jacob would get two thirds and Sammie would get one third. The estate was divided after the father died. If ill, he could divide it prior to his death, but he still reaped the profits. It wasn’t ILLEGAL for Sammie to ask his father for his portion of the estate prior to his death, but it was EXTREMELY disrespectful! He was saying "I don't care about you, I just want your money - I want what's MINE - I wish you were dead!" (There are lessons for us here - about loving our parents, and about putting people ahead of stuff, and the sins of coveting and greed! But that’s not today’s message.)

The father loved his sons, so he divided his estate, and soon Sammie took all he had and went off to "FROLIC IN THE FAR COUNTRY." Now WATCH THIS: the "far country" does not have to be a long way off, because the "far country" begins right HERE in your HEART! Sammie wanted to sow his wild oats. He wanted to party hardy. He didn't want to work for his father, or anyone else. He didn't want to get an education or be a public servant. He didn't want any responsibilities - he just wanted to be FREE! FRIENDS - that's EXACTLY how Satan lures us into his den! And more often than not - we INVITE him in by rationalizing how "a little sin will be ok, 'cause I'm a mature adult, and it won't affect me" Now I’ll let the Holy Spirit reveal those things to you. But listen, Satan is a great military tactician and he ALWAYS attacks us at our weakest point. Suffice to say that Satan can look like a rose if that's what appeals to you! QUESTION? Are you "frolicking in the far country?" Are you living in sin? Have you forsaken the father?

NOW WATCH THIS: Sammie got his money and went off frolicking in the far country - having a good time, living in sin and deprivation. But then his money ran out, and so did his so called "friends." Then a drought and a famine came to the land, and soon Sammie found himself living in the HOGPEN HILTON!

I think Rudyard Kipling was writing of Sammie and many of us in his poem "The Husks Have Greater Zest." He says, "Here come I to my own again, fed, forgiven, and known again. Claimed by bone of my bone again and Sib to flesh of my flesh. The fatted calf is dressed for me, but the husks have greater zest for me; I think my pigs will be best for me, so I'm off to the styes afresh!" You know you're headed for the HOGPEN HILTON when you start "frolicking in the far country."

2. You've checked into the HOGPEN HILTON when you find yourself "SLUMMIN' IN THE STYES." SAY

Life in the far country wasn't what Sammie thought it would be. When he was broke and the famine came, he thought he would starve. So he did something for a complete stranger that he wouldn't do for his father - WORK! He got a job sloppin the hogs in the pigsty! He was "slummin' in the styes." For a Jew, pigs were the most unclean animal in the world! They wouldn't eat pork. They wouldn't even touch a hog, because they would be unclean for worship. But to LIVE with the pigs in the HOGPEN HILTON, and eat the carob husks that were used for Hog feed, was the ultimate degradation for any Jew!

F.W. Borham writes in "In Pastures Green" "The man who yields to the world, the flesh, and the devil makes the world more worldly, the flesh more fleshly, and the devil more devilish by his transgressions. The wildwood is worse for the wanderer."

Folks, that's what SIN REALLY does to you when you reject the Father. Satan promises you freedom, but puts you in slavery. He promises you success, but ultimately brings failure. Satan promises you joy and happiness, but delivers only sadness and sorrow He promises you enjoyment, but his enjoyments always turn into enslavement. Satan promises you life - but brings you only death!


3. Your opportunity to travel the road back home begins when you "COME TO."SAY

Who understands the phrase "I just came to?" I describe it as "remembering something - and fixing it." I remember when I was building my son's '68 Chevy P.U. I was finishing rebuilding a 350 engine, and one Saturday I installed some chrome parts, - oil pan, tranny pan, timing cover, water neck, intake manifold, valve covers, etc. Later I'm lying in bed and I "come to" that I had installed the water neck without a thermostat and gasket! So Monday night I fixed it.

Sammie was "slummin in the styes," starving to death, when he "came to!" "My father's servants have plenty to eat. I know now I have sinned against God and my father, and am no longer worthy to be called a son but perhaps he will take me back as a servant!"

Sammie finally realized what Charles Spurgeon wrote; "The first link between my soul and Christ is NOT my GOODNESS, but my BADNESS, NOT my MERIT but my MISERY, NOT my STANDING but my FALLING, NOT my RICHES, but my POVERTY AND MY NEED." Just before he died, John Newton said "My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things; I remember that I am a great sinner and I remember that Christ is a great Savior!" When you "come to" that you are a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior you're on your way home! All that's necessary is to put feet to it and fix it! Good intentions are not enough. A country song says "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." Remorse, being sorry, is not enough. You must actually repent! REPENT is from a Roman military term that means the same as today's military Drill and Ceremony term REAR MARCH You are marching in one direction and the drill SGT. Say "Rear March" and you do a 180 degree turn and continue to march NOW in the opposite direction! When you REPENT you turn around and go the other way, you "come to" and you fix it. True repentance involves the soul and spirit, the heart, the emotions, the intellect, the mind, and the WILL! Sammie's repentance came when he decided "I will ARISE…I will GO to my Father…and I will SAY unto him…" I will RISE, I will GO, and I will SAY." SAY I WILL RISE…I WILL GO… I WILL SAY!

4. You know you're home when you're "GREETED AT THE GATE." SAY

Sammie turned from his sin and headed home. He didn't have to ask anybody where to find his father. He knew EXACTLY where to find him - PRECISELY where he LEFT him! "If you're not as close to God as you used to be - GUESS who moved?"

Here’s the difference between this parable and the previous two. The shepherd searched for the helpless sheep and brought it home. The woman searched for her lost coin until she found it. But now we add the human element. Sammie left his Dad of his own free will, and the Father watched and waited eagerly - every day, for Sammie's return. That's how it is with SALVATION. There is God's part-providing the gift of salvation through the death of Christ on the Cross to take our sins upon Himself. And there's man's part - reaching out to accept the gift for himself. Each of us has the freedom to accept or reject the gift. The Father NEVER forces Himself on us. We are His, or Not - by CHOICE! Where do you find yourself today?

Sammie knew he was home before he reached the gate. The Father had been waiting and watching - and when he saw Sammie coming, he RAN to greet him. Deut. 21:18-21 says Sammie should be stoned because he brought disgrace to his family and village. But the Father knew if he ran to greet the son, the neighbors would not stone Sammie for fear of hitting the Father. What a beautiful picture of what Jesus did for us on the Cross! The father welcomed the son home with a kiss and a hug. The son confessed his sin to his father, asking to be taken on as a hired servant. The father granted immediate forgiveness to the son, and the FEASTING began! Bring out the BEST robe, the father said. Who had the best robe? The father! The Father’s robe was a sign of distinction! Putting a signet ring on his finger showed authority. (The ring was used to seal documents.) Putting sandals on his feet identified him as a son - the servants went barefooted. And the fattened calf was for the village celebration, because "this son of mine was dead, and is alive again, he was lost and now is found." And they began to CELEBRATE!

Notice EVERY TREASURE Sammie hoped to find in the far country, he ultimately discovered right at home! Beautiful clothes, jewelry, true friends, loving family, joyful celebration, and assurance for the future. What made the difference? I'm glad you asked!

Before leaving home the boy said "Father, GIVE me…" After returning from the far country, he said "Father, MAKE me…" Our heavenly Father is RICH in FORGIVENESS, MERCY, LOVE, GRACE, COMPASSION, AND BLESSINGS, to ALL sinners who repent and turn to Him through Jesus Christ. It's time to stop saying "Father, GIVE me…" and start saying "Father, MAKE me…"

Have you found yourself LOST like the prodigal? Jesus says "I am the WAY." Once you discover you are living a LIE, Jesus says, "I am the TRUTH." When you realize you are DEAD in your sins, Jesus declares, "I am the LIFE." There is only ONE way to the Father and eternal life, and that is through faith in Jesus the Son. Even when you find yourself in the HOGPEN HILTON, YOU CAN STILL COME HOME.

Are you a spiritual prodigal? Come to JESUS - stop saying "Father GIVE me and start saying Father MAKE me –a Son or Daughter, AND a Servant. " INVITATION

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