Ellis Washington
Symposium--Tell the devil I changed my mind
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By Ellis Washington
November 22, 2015

Socrates (470-399 B.C.) was a famous Greek philosopher from Athens, who taught Plato, and Plato taught Aristotle, and Aristotle taught Alexander the Great. Socrates used a simple but cleverly profound method of teaching by asking revelatory, psychologically probing questions. The Greeks called this form Dialectic – starting from a thesis or question, then discussing ideas and moving back and forth between points of view to determine how well ideas stand up to critical review, with the ultimate principle of the dialogue being Veritas – Truth.


Rembrandt: Return of the Prodigal Son (1669)

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. ~ Luke 15:20

"I believe God ordered me to live philosophizing, examining myself and others."

~ Socrates

"I don't mind running with somebody that don't have anything. I mind running with somebody that don't want to be anything."

~ Bishop T.D. Jakes, 1994 Sermon: Tell the devil I changed my mind

Characters:

Socrates

Bishop T.D. Jakes

Satan

Restless Spirit {mute part}

Socrates:
We are gathered here today at my Symposium, with Bishop T.D. Jakes whose sermon for today is based on story of the Prodigal Son according to Luke's Gospel 15:11-32. The dialectical question for this Symposium concerns the doctrines of Forgiveness and Justification – Who was forgiven or justified before God: the Elder Son who always obeyed his father, but had hatred and unforgiveness in his heart, or the Prodigal Son who "came to himself" and repented from the swine pen, who repented from a dead life of "riotous living"?

Now let us here the word of the Lord and the story of the Prodigal son:
    11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:

    12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.

    13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

    14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

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

    16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

    17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

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

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

    20 And he arose, and came to his father. 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...

    28 And he [the Elder Son] was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him...

    31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.

    32 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.

Bishop T.D. Jakes: We've got a father in the text who has two sons. The only other character that's mentioned in the text is a nameless citizen of a far country that the younger son attaches himself to in the time of adversity. So we have in this text four expressed characters, and one implied character. His name was never mentioned and there's no particular reference made to him, but there is a character that is implied in the passage that we must talk about and that is Satan. He always drapes himself and hides himself and he generally doesn't come to the forefront because his strength is in anonymity. As long as he can be invisible he does his best works in the shadows, and though he's not expressed he is implied in the text...

Don't curse yourself... The only thing you have to worry about is not cursing yourself. The Enemy (Satan) knew that the only way he could get his hands on the Prodigal Son was to get him out of the house, and so he sent a Restless Spirit – You have never seen so many Restless Spirits as we've seen in the church today. Restless Spirits – Folk don't know what to do; they're not happy at home. They want to hurry up and get dressed so they can go to church. Soon as they get to church and sit down, they get restless in church so they can get up and go back home. They hurried out from home so that they can get to church, then get to church so you can get back home... just a Restless Spirit...

Socrates: Indeed Bishop. "I am the sort of person who is persuaded by nothing except those propositions which appear the best when I reason."

Bishop T.D. Jakes: Satan will send a Runaway Spirit into your life. He'll try to make you runaway from your ministry. He'll try to make you runaway from your marriage. He'll try to make you runaway from your mission, because he knows that if you stay in the house, he can't stir up anything, he can't mix up anything, he can't conjure up anything to kill you. He's after you. He wants you. He's been looking at you and longing for you, but he can't reach you because you too blessed... The Lord sent me here to tell you, Stay in the house! I don't care what comes and goes, stay in the house. Even if you got tears in your eyes, stay in the house. If you feel like no one appreciates you, stay in the house. If you feel wounded and discouraged, stay in the house. Broke, busted, and disgusted, but I'm going to stay in the house. Going through hell and high water, but I'm going to stay, stay, stay – Stay in the house! ...

The only thing wrong with the Prodigal Son was that he left the house, and the Enemy says... {mood change – Bishop channels a conversation between Satan and the Prodigal Son}



Satan: Come on. I can't get you in the house, but come on out of the bless place, come on out of the yard, come on out and play. Come on out and play. (Bishop: Someone in here has gone out to play). Come on; I want you. I want you but I can't, I can't reach you. I can't quite reach you. I tried to destroy your child, but I couldn't quite reach you. That's why the car wreck didn't kill you, cause I couldn't... reach you. When you went into the hospital last year, I was trying to get you but I couldn't quite reach you. I've been trying to drive you crazy. I've been trying to drive you over the edge. I wanted you to have a nervous breakdown, but I – {Satan frustrated, stretching to seize his victims} can't reach you.

{Satan changes tactics} Come a little closer. Come on a little closer. Come on a little closer. I want you where I can get my hands on you.

Bishop T.D. Jakes: And so he sent a Restless Spirit. And the Prodigal Son began to come just a little bit closer out of his house. And when he came out of his house – See there's a time once you've been blessed; you can be blessed awhile and be wrong...

39:32 The Prodigal Son went and made an unlawful connection. He became unequally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14). See you got to watch who you get tied up with. I don't mind running with somebody that don't have anything. I mind running with somebody that don't want to be anything. I can't be tied up with people who aren't going anywhere – people who don't have no mission and no ambition and no goals for their lives, because "If you lay down with dogs," Grandma said, "you gonna get up with flees."

I don't like to fool with them because if you get anything they're going to be jealous of you – trying to kill you. They are going to always try to pull you down. I like being around some folks that tell you, "You can make it." I don't need no one to discourage me. I was discouraged when I came to Jesus. I need someone to tell me, "You went through it, but baby you can come out. You cried, but you can get up. You down, but you can get over it." Ooohhh, if you ain't goin' to help me, get out of my face. If you ain't going to lift me up, leave me alone. I've come too far. I've been through too much. I don't have time to play games. I don't have time to... Loose me, untie me! ... {Praises to God}

And he went so low that the Bible says, "That when he and attached himself to a citizen of that country, the citizens sent him into the field to feed swine." Once folks get you where they want you, they'll dog you out. They'll have you doing all kind of stuff. What in commercialization they call 'bait-and-switch.' They'll bait you with one thing and once they lure you in then they'll switch up on you. And they sent him into the field to feed Swine. And there he was in the hog pen. The devil was salivating at the mouth. He said –

Satan: {with diabolical glee, mocking, accusing} Good, good. Look at what I did. I brought the son out of the palace down to the pen. And here comes a king's kid dealing with slop jars... Come down to the hog pen. All he's surrounded with is swine.

Bishop T.D. Jakes: Have you ever looked around you, and all you were surrounded with was swine? Swiny Folks! Can't get no help nowhere; can't get any encouragement anywhere. You go to them, they got more troubles than you do. Swiny Folks! There he is with mud in between his toes and corn husks all over himself, climbing over the post, over into the pig pen to feed the swine. And the devil said –


Rembrandt: The Prodigal Son among the Swine (1647-48)

Satan: Come on, this is the moment I've been waiting on. This is right where I want you. Take one more step, I'm gonna get you.

Bishop T.D. Jakes: And he took one last step – And you can tell the last step to going down, because when you make your last step you start looking at stuff that used to not look good, and it starts looking good to you. Six months ago he wouldn't have wanted no corn husks, but when you get desperate enough some things that you said you would never do, if you get desperate enough you'll find yourself wanting things that you used to talk about other folks for wanting.

And the Bible said, "He would have fain [desired] to fill his belly with that that the swine did eat." He was reaching over, just about to satisfy a legitimate need, which is hunger, with an illegitimate source, which is corn husks... And he almost... Hell started clapping. Demons got excited. Satan started leaping. He said –

Satan: {reaching out his claw to seize} This is the grand finale. I got him right where I want him. He almost –

Bishop T.D. Jakes: You were going through so much trouble. (I'm going to preach to the real folks)

You were going through so much despair. You were so lonely and so depressed, that you almost – You almost... just about... on the verge, pretty nigh, almost – That's why I praise Him like I praise Him because I thank Him – I know ya'll always talking about what God saved you from and what he forgave that you did, and I praise Him for forgiving me for what I did, but most of all I thank Him for what I almost... {Bishop almost falls down}

There where somethings in my life that I almost... If it had went on another day, I'd had crossed over the edge. If it had been one more lie, if it had been one more bill, if it had been one more burden – Touch someone and tell them, I Almost...! I can't tell you what I did, because you might talk about me. I can't tell you what was in my mind, because you might start quotin' some scriptures. I can't tell you some things I thought about in the middle of the night, but touch someone and tell them, I Almost...! If it had not been for the Lord that was on my side, I don't know where I would be today. I don't know who I would be with. I don't know what I would be doing, I Almost...!

Bishop T.D. Jakes: Ain't it crazy how God will stop by just, just in the nick of time? Touch somebody and tell them, It was a close call, a close call, but just in the nick of time I came to myself. I remembered who I was. I remembered the power of God. I remembered that I still got some help. I remembered that the Lord was able. I remembered...! I've come too far to let the devil drive me down. I've been through too much to cash my ticket in.

And so, I feel like the Prodigal Son. I'm throwing down the slop jars, I'm kicking off the mud... and tell the devil I changed my mind! Put your hands together and begin to praise the Lord. {Praises to God}... Shake hands with three people and tell them, "Tell the devil I changed my mind!"... I changed my mind. He thought he was gonna get me, but I changed my mind. He thought I'd go crazy, but I changed my mind. He tried to kill me, but I changed my mind. He tried to make me backslide, but I CHANGED! – I changed my mind. I changed – I couldn't change my job, but I changed my mind. I couldn't change my husband, but I changed my mind. I couldn't change my car, but I CHANGED! – I changed my mind.

Socrates: "To practice philosophy has been indicated to me by God, through divination, dreams, and every other means by which divine orders have told anyone to do anything." Bishop, from your sermon I deduce that your deliverance, your redemption, your eternal salvation all begins with a New Mind. Thus, would you agree that the mind is the foundation of all Reason?

Bishop T.D. Jakes: {2013} The scriptures declare that it is the mind that we serve the Lord. If there was ever a battleground that Satan wants to seize and dominate in your life. It's right in the arsenals of your own mind. We must get the victory in our thought-life.

I believe that even now God is calling every prodigal son back home. Both the lost and the lukewarm are being covered and clothed with His righteousness and grace. I pray that this life-changing, soul-cleansing, mind-renewing message will help you find your way from the pen back to the place.

The Enemy may have you laboring overtime to fix something that really doesn't matter. You don't have to change your finances, your circumstances, or your situation. You don't have to change the minds of other people, their opinions, or attitudes. When you can't change anything else, you can change your mind: and when you change your mind, you have changed everything.


*N.B.: For selected quotes attributed to Socrates, see Paul Johnson, Socrates: A Man for Our Times (Viking Press, 2011), pp. 78-80.


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Invitation for manuscripts

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Ellis Washington

Ellis Washington is a former staff editor of the Michigan Law Review (1989) and law clerk at the Rutherford Institute (1992). Currently he is an adjunct professor of law at the National Paralegal College and the graduate school, National Jurisprudence University, where he teaches Constitutional Law, Legal Ethics, American History, Administrative Law, Criminal Procedure, Contracts, Real Property, and Advanced Legal Writing, among many other subjects... (more)

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