Summary: This shows how devastating it can be when you choose to leave your parent’s authority.


Text: Luke 15:11-24. Pastor W. Max Alderman


The prodigal son was a rebel. It may not be that obvious as the story begins, but it still is so. Much could be said as to why he wanted to leave home. The younger son wanted to leave home before it was really his time to leave. Anything said pertaining to him would only be speculation, yet in a modern setting many homes are not at all found inviting to normal healthy growth and maturity.

Many young people have absolutely no respect for authority, because they do not see it in there homes. Then others have been allowed their own way with no restraints or discipline, and expect to do the same when they enter into their schools and their neighborhoods. They also have no regards for law enforcement.

When a person is placed under rules or discipline, but does not respect either, then that person is in rebellion. When a child removes himself prematurely from his parent’s watch care, then that child is in rebellion. Such was the case with the prodigal son. Before getting into the heart of the message, I will outline just a few causes of rebellion in the home.

When A Child Witnesses His Parents Divorce

When divorce strikes a family, it is not uncommon for a child to slip into rebellion. A loss of family structure is one of the most immediate and damaging aspects of divorce.

Kenneth Squires made these observations about how each age group is affected by divorce.


The number one agenda of a preschooler is to try to restore the relationship. These kids are hoping and praying that they can get mom and dad back together again.

AGE 5-8:

An experienced schoolteacher can tell almost every time when a kid is having problems in the home. It will be acted out in the classroom. Teachers observe that these kids will often act out, engage in aggressive behavior, or slip into depression.


This is an angry group of people. They will react very strongly to divorce. It is not uncommon for girls to enter into sexual promiscuity and for boys to get in trouble with the law. This group is very vulnerable to bouts of depression, and often loses much of their motivation in school.

As the medical field will tell you, divorce has a traumatic impact on health. Children of divorce are 25-30% more vulnerable to becoming ill, and according to stats they live shorter lives.

Very often rebellion can be traced back to what is going on with mom and dad. Another cause of rebellion is a:


Some rebellion may be traced back to Fathers and Mothers being too hard or demanding on their children. In a Christian setting, one needs to really have the mind of God with much patience to keep in balance the “law and the Grace” that is necessary to properly train the child without causing him to rebel. When a child is constantly breaking the law of the parents, and can not seem to please the parents, he will began to lie and disobey thinking “What is the use: “I can’t do anything right, nor can I ever please my parents”.

Sadly, this characterized my own parenting early on. I thought that I could demand and force my children to do everything that I required of them. Since then, I had to go back and apologize. Another cause of rebellion is:


This would be the other extreme. When a child is left to himself, without controls, then that child will recognize and resent having no authority figure. They will then think, “My parents don’t care what I do.” This is very dangerous, because children need controls…we all do.


When there is no leadership, the home is in trouble. Father’s, it begins with you, and with your example. If you are lazy, and have no self- discipline, do not be surprised if your children are the same. If you can not hold a job, get out of bed, tell the truth, be honest, pay your bills, be on time for your appointments, take care of your wife and family, do not expect your children to do any differently.

Ladies, if I were dating again, and looking for a wife, I would do as I did 32 years ago. I would look at the way the girl’s mom cooked and the way she kept house. My Mother-in-law still keeps an immaculate house, and can cook a “macaroni-pie” second to none…unless it is Rhonda’s.

May we now get into the heart of the story, and note that the Prodigal Son left as a rebel, but returned as a repentant. In the case of the prodigal, his rebellion may have been nothing more than his self-will.

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