Summary: What if when the prodigal son came home from the hog pen, he found that his father & brother had sold the farm? Today's churches have sold out their original fire and zeal. Will your prodigals find the same church they left?
DON'T SELL THE FARM!
1. Harvey is an old widower living in a convalescent home. Attending social functions there, he met Martha, a widow, and slowly fell in love with her.
2. After a Bingo game, he finally got up the nerve to ask her to marry him. She said, “Yes, I’m very happy to.”
3. The next morning Harvey couldn’t remember if she’d said ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ So he finally went and asked her.
4. She said, “Why, of course I said ‘yes.’ But I’m glad you came and asked, because I remembered telling someone I would marry them, but I couldn’t remember who!”
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. Luke 15:11-20:
1. I’m so glad the way the story ends: the Prodigal Son coming home to the Father.
2. Many times I’ve read the story, and being a Father myself, I can imagine how the Father must have felt to see his rebellious son come back to the farm. Thank God!
3. Many prodigals who’ve come home, have come home with souvenirs from a far country like:
a. memories they’d like to forget;
b. some came back with an infant in tow;
c. others acquired hepatitis C from drugs;
d. most got a new understanding of forgiveness;
e. a new humility, having hit the bottom;
f. a whole new appreciation of sonship.
4. But thank God, there was the Farm to come back to.
5. Tonight, I want to change the story. We’re going to consider how it would be if the Farm wasn’t there to come back to.
6. The title of this message is “Don’t Sell the Farm!”
I. THE STORY ALTERED
A. SELLING THE FARM
1. There’ve been a lot of people who’ve fallen out of Churches. When they, like the prodigal, "left the farm," the church was a hot bed, a place of merriment, and praising the LORD.
2. But during the same interval the prodigal has been gone, the Church in America has cooled off.
a. People don’t pray like they used to.
b. Entertainment has become more important.
c. Numbers attending church have dropped.
d. Where there were revival services, now they just have Sunday morning services. Dry, formal affairs.
3. Since the prodigals have been gone, some fathers & brothers have sold the farm through compromise.
B. ARRIVAL OF THE PRODIGAL
1. What if the story had been like this: say the prodigal son came down the road from the hog pen wanting to go back to the farm.
2. There was no Father to meet him. Then in the last curve before he gets to the house, the prodigal looks and sees a new white fence, new shutters on the house, but does not hear any music or making merry.
3. He knocks on the front door and a man he has never seen before, says, "Can I help you?"
4. The Prodigal replies "Yes, I am looking for my Father."
The man says, "I am sorry, the farm has been sold."
C. MODERN TRAGEDY
1. In the last twenty years I know of a lot of churches that used to be hot beds for Revival that are now sold out.
2. Now they’re “Seeker Friendly,” which really means “They’ve removed anything in the Gospel that offends worldly, carnal Believers.”
3. Other churches have fallen for Once-Saved-Always-Saved Doctrine, which though intending to offer assurance of salvation, ultimately waters down obedience to Christ until Jesus is no longer Lord at all. One theologian said, “Christians will be raptured straight from brothels into heaven.” Nothing could be further from the truth!