Summary: Clearly, there are times in life that call for a celebration!
I. The Prodigal’s Party
A. Text: Luke 15:10-32
B. Clearly, there are times in life that call for a celebration!
C. In this particular parable, we are going to consider that it was the Father’s idea to celebrate!
D. Verse 10 actually goes with the previous parable Jesus told. However, I read it because of how it fits with our text and topic today!
E. Jesus said there is great rejoicing in heaven when one sinner repents and is restored to the Father’s love!
F. When the word ‘joy’ is used in the Word of God, like in this verse, it doesn’t simply mean ‘happy!’
G. Happiness and joy are not the same thing!
1. Happiness is dependant upon the circumstance. In other words, happiness is erratic; it’s unpredictable! Happiness is based upon feelings.
2. Joy, on the other hand, is an internal state of the spirit-man that is expressed outwardly. True joy that comes from the Lord is based upon one’s relationship with the Father. It is not dependant upon circumstances and is not easily changeable based upon the situation.
H. According to the Word of God, repentance and reconciliation are two of the main reasons for joy and excitement.
I. It is natural, in Father God’s economy, to celebrate the nearness and dearness of God to His people!
II. The Bible and the Party
A. What does the Bible say about partying and celebrating?
B. They are recurring themes throughout the Word of God!
C. The three main feasts commanded in the book of Leviticus are great examples: Passover, Pentecost and the Feast of Tabernacles. There are seven feasts commanded in all.
D. These festivals were celebrated in type and shadow and spoke a profound spiritual truth that would not be fully revealed until the Messiah came and the NT revealed.
E. All of the feasts were happy occasions for Jewish families celebrated as public holidays, festivals and parties. They were times of visiting Jerusalem, and vacationing with families as God commanded them, at times, to rejoice for seven days! Many of us can’t seem to get together long enough to have a birthday party these days, much less come together to celebrate for an entire week of celebrating!!!!
III. The Wedding Party
A. The celebration of the wedding feast has a great impact on the Jewish family and is found celebrated all throughout the Scriptures.
B. Weddings are profound Biblical symbols of joyous intimacy between God and His people!
C. Think about this for a moment: the Bible begins with a wedding (Adam & Eve being united together in Genesis) and ends with a wedding (when the Second Adam, Jesus Christ is united with His bride the Church, in Revelation 21).
D. No wonder Jesus’ first miracle was to create a fresh supply of the best wine at a wedding. Remember, Jewish tradition states that you don’t serve the best wine last, you serve it first, and then, as the guests become more and more intoxicated, you served the cheapest, watered-down wine. Now many would’ve supposed that the wine Jesus told them to serve was watered-down; since it was made from plain water; but the master of ceremonies declared it to be the best wine served the entire evening. This miracle is not insignificant! And, it’s not only important simply because it was His first! It was significant in that it prophesied that God is saving the best wine – the best outpouring of His presence – for last!!!!
IV. The Heart of Celebration
A. In a true celebration, the predominant attitude of the heart of each participant is one of joy!
B. It is a time of putting aside the burdens and trials of life to be together with laughter and good times, which are common expressions of joy.
C. We are seeing, in these last days, a revival of joy across the nations!
D. This is very significant in that God is taking the time to remove deep pains and problems deeply rooted in the souls of mankind. Think about it, if we can’t figure out how to have joy and truly celebrate God’s goodness here on earth, what makes us think we’ll be able to fully enjoy the celebration of heaven?
E. Jude writes: “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” (1:24-25)
F. Peter wrote: “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” (I Peter 4:12-13)