When He Came To – Pastor Stacey Shiflett

When He Came To

Luke 15:17

Intro: This story of the prodigal son has been preached so many ways and so many times.

I preached this message last week in North Carolina at the Teen Camp.

I saw some things about this story that I had not really seen before.

In verse 17, the Bible says “and when he came to himself…”

That phrase took on a new meaning for me when I saw the wording, “when he came to.”

We use that phrase to describe a person that begins to come back around that has been unconscious or has fainted.

I realized that many Christians are fainting today, for one reason or another.

It is possible for a child of God to faint.

  • Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
  • Hebrews 12:3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
  • Revelation 2:2, 3 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

Fainting is pretty much the opposite of soberness, vigilance, watchfulness, standing, fighting – all the things that a child of God is commanded to do.

When a Christian gets to that state mentally, there is no telling what decisions they will make.

I’ve seen so many church members that were basically “out of it.”

They were oblivious to what was going on around them.

They seem immune to revival; oblivious to their own needs and the needs of those around them.

For whatever reason, they have fainted.

When a person is “out of it”, they will make many of the same decisions that this prodigal son did.


– vs. 12 You’ll ask for things you’re not supposed to have. “…the portion of goods that falleth to me…”

– vs. 12 Your prayer life will just consist of “give me” and nothing more.

– vs. 13 You’ll leave where you’re supposed to be. “…took his journey…”

– vs. 13 You’ll go places you’re not supposed to go. “…a far country…”

– vs. 13 You’ll waste the things you are supposed to save. “…and there wasted his substance…”

– vs. 13 You’ll live in ways you are not supposed to live. “…with riotous living…”

– vs. 14 You’ll do without things you were never supposed to do without. “…he began to be in want…”

– vs. 15 You’ll join yourself with people you were never supposed to be with. “…joined himself to a citizen…”

– vs. 15 You’ll be asked to do things you were never supposed to do. “…sent him into his fields to feed swine…”

– vs. 16 You’ll crave things that you were never supposed to crave. “…he would fain have filled his belly…”

– vs. 16 You’ll be abandoned by people that you were never supposed to know. “…no man gave unto him…”

In verse 17, something big happened.

The Bible says, “…he came to himself…”

Just like waving smelling salts under a person that has fainted, or passed out, the prodigal son CAME TO.

When this happened, several things were the result.

When He Came To…

I. He Got Honest

               A. He Got Honest about his Service – vs. 17 “…how many hired servants of my fathers have bread…”

He realized that it wasn’t as bad at home as he originally thought it was!

Up to this point, he had a bad attitude about the father.

He had a problem serving the father.

Up to this point, he had no desire to serve on the family farm.

But after being forced to work in the fields and feed the swine, he came to the realization.

Serving the Father was much better than serving the flesh!

  • 17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare…

He realized that his father didn’t treat his servants the same way that the world treated theirs!

NOTE: You will serve in a field – it just depends on which one you want to serve in!

The Father’s fields are described in John 4:35

  • Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

Or – you can serve in the fields of the far country.

  • Luke 15:15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.


We serve in this field because we choose to.We serve in this field because we are forced to.
Full of souls and a harvest.Full of swine and husks.
Makes you want to stay and serve more.Makes you want to leave and never return.
Full of other laborers.Full of loneliness.
Produces reward.Produces ruin.
Is what you were created to do.Is the opposite of what you were created to do.
Produces a supply of more fruit.Depletes a supply.

               B. He Got Honest about his Starvation – vs. 17 “…I perish with hunger…”

The truth is, he was hungry in verse 14.

He was so hungry in verse 15 that he joined himself with a complete stranger and let himself be abused.

He fed the swine and wanted what they were eating.

But it wasn’t until “he came to” that he got honest about his situation.

               C. He Got Honest about his Sin – vs. 18 “…I have sinned…”

  • 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

This was no longer a difference of opinion.

He no longer insisted that he was right and everybody else was wrong.

“When he came to,” he got honest about his actions, and saw it for what it was – SIN!

As long as you’re making excuses and defending your sin, you’re still out of it.

When He Came To…

II. He Got Humble

  • 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

Notice the change in his attitude “When He Came To.”

He went from demanding what he felt he was entitled to, to acknowledging that he was “no more worthy…”

There’s nothing that will produce a humility at the goodness and mercy of God like seeing yourself like God sees you.

When He Came To…

III. He Got Home

  • vs. 20 “And he arose, and came to his father…”

As soon as he came to, he headed home.

Why not? If he hadn’t been “out of it”, he wouldn’t have left in the first place.

The first place he wanted to be “when he came to” was at the Father’s house – with the Father.

He wanted to be with the other servants of his father – eating at the same table with them.

A person that is happy staying away from the Father’s house is OUT OF IT.

A person that prefers the company of the swine over the Father’s servants is OUT OF IT.

A person that prefers the foreigner’s trough over the Father’s table is OUT OF IT!

A person that can remember the Father’s supply and still eat the slop is OUT OF IT!

When he came to – he got home!!

He initiated the return.

He didn’t ask for everybody to come to him; he went back to them!

When He Came To…

IV. He Got Honored

  • 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:
  • 23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
  • 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

Conclusion: The age-old question that has plagued pastors and parents for years is – “What made him come to himself?”

What was it that brought about this miraculous transformation?

I don’t know the answer, but I have a few ideas.

               A. The Misery

His life was in shambles. His dreams were shattered.

Satan had chewed him up and spit him out.

He was broke and he was broken.

He had no money, he had no friends, he had no food, he had nothing.

Maybe it just got so bad that it triggered his mind into realizing that he had been deceived.

               B. The Memory

Without a doubt, no matter how bad it got, he couldn’t forget the bread from the Father’s house.

That was the first thing he remembered when he came to.

The smell and the taste of the Father’s bread may have had something to do with it…

  • Romans 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

               C. The Mercy

There is no doubt – God was merciful to this young man.

If he had gotten what he deserved, he would have starved to death in that hog pen.

But God in His mercy, woke this young man up and brought him back from the dead essentially. (see verse 24)