Summary: A Study of the Prodigal Son

“A Rebellious Rascal Repents and Is Restored”

Luke 15:11-24

David P. Nolte

I am speaking today of a fellow who went into a foreign country, lived foolishly and after suffering much privation repented and came home to a welcome But for this moment, I want to commend those who, apart from the prodigality, have something in common with the boy. They went into a foreign country, acted valiantly, suffered privation, laid their lives on the line for our freedom and too many didn’t get to come home – they are our veterans – thank you! PRAY.

Sometimes the best lessons are learned by the mistakes we make and the failures we experience. I’m not suggesting that we purposely go make mistakes or fail just so that we can learn, but as it is inevitable that we will make mistakes, and we will fail. But don’t make the mistake of failing to learn from them.

Have you ever noticed how impressed we are by winners? Most of our admiration is reserved for people who have succeeded; who seem to have it all together; who appear to have the Midas Touch. But we don’t always know about the mistakes they made or the failures they experienced along the way to stardom.

This is the 4th in a series of 5 about “the lost is found.” Turn to Luke 15:11. I will read the narrative bit by bit as the sermon progresses. Let’s begin at verse 11: “A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.” Luke 15:11-12 (NLT2). There are 4 considerations, the first of which is:


A. Mark Misulia wrote this paraphrase, “Feeling footloose, free and frisky, a feather-brained fellow forced his fond father to fork over the family farthings and he fled forth to far foreign fields.” He had not thought things through.

1. He was unthinking in his demand.

2. He was unthinking in his desire.

3. He was unthinking in his departure.

4. His was unthinking in his disdain.

a. He gave no thought to his father.

b. He gave no thought to his brother.

c. He gave no thought to his responsibilities.

d. He gave no thought to consequences.

B. He should have realized

1. You can’t make foolish choices and achieve the fruit of wise ones.

2. You can’t sow wild oats and grow sweet corn.

3. You can’t go the way of the world and the way of God at the same time.

4. You can’t do wrong and be right.

C. Have you ever had second thoughts like these?

1. “If I had only been thinking, I would not have said that!”

2. “If I had only been thinking, I would not have done that!”

3. “If I had only been thinking, I would not have gone there in the first place.”

D. The boy was in the far country because of his selfish, thoughtless demand. But we are grateful to those who, unselfishly, risked their lives on foreign soil for our freedom. Thank you veterans!

E. Concerning unthinking demands, a young man made it plain that he demanded, like his brother before him, a new car for graduation.

The big day came and he was miffed when his dad handed him a small gift. He opened it and it was a Bible. He sulked for awhile. Time came for him to depart for college and for some reason he packed his unread Bible. Feeling homesick in the dorm, he picked up the Bible and to his surprise found an envelope with a check for enough to buy a new car. After a soul-search he came to his senses and humbly apologized to his father and mother for his selfish demand..

But, back to the text: “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living.” Luke 15:13 (NLT2). Having made his unthinking demand and having taken his departure, he engaged in


A. The boy went to a far country where, as Mark Misulia wrote, he “frittered away his fortune feasting fabulously with faithless friends.”

1. “It’s Party Time! Let the Fun Begin! Let the Good Times Roll!”

2. Still unthinking, the boy spent money like it was water and indulged every whim and all desires.

B. The Bible speaks of those who live foolishly

1. “With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ.” Ephesians 4:17-20 (NLT2).

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