Summary: Sermon on the parable of the prodigal son.
INTRO.:Some people try to make fake, or counterfeit, money. It may look good at first, but it is actually worthless. It isn’t backed by the government and it isn’t supported by reserves of gold and silver. There are many security measures to prevent its being passed for real money, though some try and occasionally succeed.
I want to suggest there is also a counterfeit freedom. It’s just as useless as phony money. It is the kind of freedom the prodigal son tried to attain.
I. The counterfeit freedom: vv. 11-16
A. Looks good at first: 11-13
1. The prodigal can now do “whatever he wants.” he has money and friends.
2. He is freed from responsibility he had on the family farm. He has abandoned his duties. He doesn’t need to set his alarm or live by any schedule.
3. He is now responsible to no one but himself. Wonderful freedom. But it is a kind of counterfeit freedom.
B. It soon loses its luster: 14-16
1. His friends and money are soon gone. “A fool and his money are soon parted.”
2. He is degraded to such a position as no Jew would occupy. Not only feeding pigs, but competing for what they eat.
3. There is no real freedom without responsibility. We may think we are getting free from responsibility, but we only deceive ourselves.
C. American society today supports this kind of fake freedom:
1. Easy loans and credit cards encourage excessive spending and huge debts.
2. Expensive cars and trucks are advertised with “low monthly payments” encouraging young people not to even ask the total price.
3. We see young people living together and universities have “co-ed dormitories.” it’s considered a matter of personal freedom.
4. Drugs and alcohol are abused because people feel free to do what they want so long as “I don’t hurt anyone but myself.”
D. Just as in the case of the prodigal son, the fake freedom will come back to bite us. One day we wake up and find:
1. Easy loans come due and credit card debt must be paid off.
2. If we don’t work hard and pay the exorbitant payments, the car or truck will be repossessed. We find it’s not worth near what we paid for it after high interest has raised the cost.
3. Young people involved in promiscuous sexual activity find themselves the victims of disease and disability, or they marry and trust issues emerge.
4. Drug addicts find themselves unable to function in society and bring monstrous grief upon their relatives and friends.
5. In short, phony freedom puts us with the pigs.
II. True Freedom:
A. The prodigal still had one freedom he could use to his advantage; the freedom of choice:
1. It’s God-given and no one can really take it from us. We can always choose to go back home.
2. He could decide to go back home to his father.
3. The point of the parable is the Father is waiting to receive the penitent back into His favor.
B. Consider the blessings of exercising his freedom to return:
1. Forgiveness. The loss of his inheritance, the loss of his labor, and the loss of his companionship are all forgiven. The mental anguish and grief his father suffered is forgiven.