Summary: A teaching Message on Luke 15:11-32.
Luke Series #71 July 07, 2002
Title: How to be Restored to a Right Relationship with God.
Introduction: Welcome to New Life in Christ. This morning we are continuing in Chapter 15 of the Book of Luke in our verse-by-verse teaching series out of that book.
Read Luke 15:11-32
Illustration: While putting my 4-year-old daughter to bed one evening, I read her the story of the Prodigal Son. We discussed how the young son had taken his inheritance and left home, living it up until he had nothing left. Finally, when he couldn’t even eat as well as pigs, he went home to his father, who welcomed him. When we finished the story, I asked my daughter what she had learned. After thinking a moment, she quipped, "Never leave home without your credit card!"
Source: Jolene Horn, Atascadero, CA. Today’s Christian Woman, "Heart to Heart."
I don’t really think that this is the lesson Jesus intends for us to learn from this story. Jesus tells this story to illustrate, among other things, how people can be restored to a right relationship with God. This subject should be of great interest everybody because we all tend to drift or depart from a healthy and joyous relationship with God. This parable certainly applies to those who are not Christians by showing them how to have a right relationship with God. This parable also applies to Christians whose relationship with God is not what it should be. In either case, this story shows us how we can be restored to right relationship with God.
This parable serves as an analogy of our Heavenly Father’s relationship with his children. The father in this story represents God, while the two sons represent people. The younger son represents those who have left a right relationship with the Father. The older son I will discuss in my verse by verse discussion.
How can a person be restored to a healthy relationship with God? I see in this text three things necessary for restoring your relationship with God. Before I share on those three things, I will share on verses 11-16 which show us two important matters. First these verses reveal how a person ends up in a broken relationship with God. Second these verses show us the consequences of a broken relationship with God.
Read Luke 15:11-16
How did this younger son end up so far from the abundance of the father’s home? In other words, why was he so distant from the joy and fulfillment of a right relationship with God? Was he kicked out of the house because he was unwelcome? No. Did he just have a string of bad luck? No. Was he never given a fair chance in life? No. The reason he was missing the blessings of a healthy relationship with his father were his own desires and decisions. Our relationship with God, and the consequences of an unhealthy relationship with God, is the result of our own choices.
There are two decisions in particular that brought this man to this appalling condition. First he decided he wanted to be independent of his father. He said to his father, "Give me my share of the estate." He wanted to take control by owning the property. This way he would be able to make his own decisions, independent of his father. The first step toward ruin in our lives is to decide to run our own lives, independent of God. When we make the rules we come to ruin.
The second foolish decision this man made was to seek fulfillment in sin. Verse 13 tells us that he took everything he had and "squandered his wealth in wild living." He sought to indulge his wildest desires. He went to the wildest parties. He drank the best liquor. He slept with the prettiest women, but in the end it was not fulfilling. How do we know that this lifestyle was not fulfilling? Well, Jesus did not say that he "spent his wealth in wild living" but rather Jesus says he "squandered (wasted) his wealth in wild living (sinful indulgence)." It was a waste because it didn’t deliver what is promised.
When my children see a toy commercial and want to buy that particular toy, I sometimes tell them, "Don’t waste your money." I use the word "waste" because I know that the toy will not be as fun or as fulfilling as the commercial promises. It is the same with sin. Jesus uses the word "squandered" or "wasted" because sin does not deliver the fulfillment that it promises.
There were two decisions that led to this man’s ruin. The first was to live independent of his father. The second was to seek fulfillment in sin. What were the consequences of these two choices? In verses 14-16 Jesus tells us that there was a severe famine and he began to be in desperate need. He ended up taking a job feeding the pigs and even they ate better than him! Now keep in mind that this was a Jewish audience Jesus was speaking to and they would have assumed that the young son was Jewish. A young Jewish boy feeding the pigs of a Gentile man just isn’t kosher! In that culture, this would of been what we call hitting "rock bottom" This was as low and a shameful as a person could go. That is where running from God and running your own life will take you.