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Summary: Sharing your faith

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SBC Philippi pm

9/19/04

How To Share Your Faith Part III

Luke 15:11-24

Primary Purpose: To look at the example of the prodigal son and what it means to be saved.

In a sermon by Ken Hemphill, former President of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary he tells of a Sunday evening after church. He stopped by a pizza parlor on the way home from church. While waiting for the pizza, he went next store to a grocery store and there got a carton of milk. On the side of which was the picture of two children. As he tells it, “I paid for my few items and walked back into the pizza parlor. My steaming hot pizzas had been packaged to go. To my surprised the coverings to the pizzas were adorned with the pictures of yet two more children. I began to read. “Susie, eleven years old, blonde hair, last seen March 3. They were lost children.” “Involuntarily and compulsively, I reached down and hugged my youngest daughter Katie, to my side. The horror of a lost child flooded through my mind. What must these parents feel? Shock, panic, fear, gut-wrenching pain.” Then Hemphills asks this question, “If we feel so intensely when one of our children is lost for a moment, how must our Heavenly Father feel when He sees one of His children facing the prospect of being lost for eternity.” This parable gives us an idea of how God desires to be reconciled with those who are lost. (Read Scripture)

When I was a youth and education minister I took a van load of kids and 3 adults to the Shenandoah Valley for a day of picnicing and fun. We stopped at a little camp site and had lunch. It appeared that the day was going to be great. A deer even came out of the woods and ate some of the bread we had. Then one of the youth, Willie, mentioned some waterfalls nearby. I had never been there, so we decided together to go check out the waterfalls. I figured there was a small path leading to the waterfalls, so I didn’t give them any rules. When we stopped they all ran off down the path. Then I found out there was 5 trails, not one. The longest of which was 8 miles long. Some of those youth didn’t come back for quite a while and it scared me pretty bad. I was frantic to say the least. Everything else wasn’t even important compared to finding those lost kids. Fortunately, God was watching out for us and eventually they all came back safely. I think God has the same priority when it comes to seeking and saving those who are lost.

I want to share with you some thoughts from this passage about what we need to remember when sharing our faith with the lost.

1. We each have gone our own way like the prodigal son did. The prodigal son wanted things his way not the Father’s. He walks away from the Father and becomes estranged from him. The Bible says this has happened to all of us: Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Also in Romans 3:10-11 it says, “There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God. . . .” The prodigal son sought out riches and the things of this world thinking it would bring joy and meaning. Instead he quickly finds himself in the mire with the pigs. Luke 15:15-16.

2. The Prodigal goes back to the Father- he repents and asks for mercy. You notice he comes back with humility, knowing that he no longer deserves to be a part of the family. In v.18 we see him acknowledge his sins to the Father. He realizes he is not worthy of being a son, but desires to be a slave. Our situation is much like his if we are lost, we are helpless. Scripture calls us dead in our transgressions and sins Ephesians 2:1. Romans 5:6 says this when it says. “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”

3. The third thing that we should stress is the love of the Father and his desire to forgive. Someone once said that this story shouldn’t be called the prodigal son, but the compassion father. For much of the emphasis is on the compassion and mercy of the Father. In v.20 it says that his father saw him while he was still a long way off, embraced him and kissed him. All the son had to do was take those first steps of repentance back to the Father. This is what it means in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” It is because of this love that He offers his forgiveness to any that will accept it.

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