THE DRAMA OF LIFE IN THREE ACTS
INTRODUCTION. -- Jesus Christ is the author of this drama. It surpasses anything ever put on the stage in conciseness, in point, in graphic delineation, strength of characterization, in pathos and in fullness, height, depth and beauty of meaning. Its dramatis personae are God, two men, and Satan. There are three Acts, which may be described as: 1st Act, Wandering; 2nd Act, Desolation; 3rd Act, Return. There is a fourth act, which we will not enter into tonight.
I. First Act. Wandering.
Scene 1. A beautiful home. An elderly, white-haired father. The boy has become tired of restraints of home life. He longs for a life of untrammeled independence and freedom.
Scene 2. Home leaving.
In these two scenes we have a picture of the beginning and growth of sin. The father of the drama represents God. The son, man wandering from God.
1. In the first scene we have the picture of the beginning of sin. The young man desired to be independent of his father. Desired to do as he pleased. There is where sin begins; in a desire to be independent of God.
2. The father granted his son's request, and this is precisely the way in which God deals with men.
3. In the second scene we have a picture of the growth of sin. The boy did not go away from father and home at once. So it is with men when they wander from God into the far country of sin.
II. Second Act. In the Far Country, or Desolation.
The scene shifts. Hard times have struck the gay capital. Famine stalks the streets. The scene shifts again. A desolate field, a lonely carob tree with its long brown pods covered with dust from the arid land, hungry hogs. Our friend in ragged clothes, with hungry face, emaciated from famine, looking up into the carob tree, for "he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat." In these three scenes of this act we have a vivid and suggestive picture of the fruits of sin.
1. The first fruit of sin is pleasure. Hebrews 11:25.
2. The second fruit of sin is want. "He began to be in want." The pleasures of sin have been followed by the want of sin, high times have been followed by hungry times. There is other hunger than physical hunger. There is soul want and soul
3. The third fruit of sin is degradation and abject slavery. "He went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine." This young man god rid of, it is true, his father's guidance and control, but he became the bondsman of a stranger. So it is with every one who throws off God's paternal control. He becomes Satan's swineherd. Hog tender for the devil. Each man here tonight has the choice to be a son of God in filial, joyous, ennobling and abundantly rewarded obedience, or Satan's slave in degrading and unrequited drudgery. Cf. Deuteronomy 28:47-48. Which will you choose?
III. Last Act. The Wanderer's Return.
There are two scenes. The first is still the barren field. In this scene we have a picture of the remedy for sin and its bitter consequences. Note the steps.
1. He began to think. Note what he thought about, the better lot of his Father's servants.
2. The second step was, he resolved, "I will arise." All our thinking will do no good unless it ripens into resolution. His resolution was three-fold. To "go to his Father." To confess his sin.
3. "He arose and came to his father." That is the final step. Just come.
The final scene of the third act. The boy had forgotten the father, but the father had never forgotten the boy. We forget God, God never forgets us. He is waiting for your return tonight. Of what have we a picture here? Of God and God's attitude toward the wanderer that returns to Him. Have you wandered from God? Come back to God tonight. There only can joy be found. There is famine, degradation, want away from Him. Come home. Come just as you are. A welcome, a robe, a kiss, a ring, a feast await you.