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Summary: If the Prodigal Son could sit down and talk with you today, I'm sure it would start with the declaration "If I Knew Then What I Know Now"...

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NTRO: 1. Sometimes I look at my kids and say “You just don’t know how good you’ve got it.

a. ILL. Wouldn’t it be great to step back to a time where…

Decisions were made by going "eeny-meeny-miney-mo."

Being old, referred to anyone over 20.

Having a weapon in school, meant being caught with a slingshot.

Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better.

Hidden talents were discovered because of a "double-dog-dare."

Saturday morning cartoons weren't 30-minute ads for action figures.

The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team.

Taking drugs meant orange-flavored chewable aspirin.

b. Only now do I truly appreciate the times I had as a kid.

c. We can’t go back and live life again, but our experiences can teach us how to go forward more wisely.

2. Experience can be a very expensive form of education

a. One writer: “Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.”

b. Experience is the hardest teacher. It gives you the test first, and the lesson afterward

3. We can avoid future regrets in our lives by simply learning from those who have already learned the hard way.

a. If we learn from the mistakes and the failures of others, we don’t have to suffer the experiences they have.

b. If we could interview the Prodigal Son this morning about what he learned in his experience we would run out of time.

c. He’d probably start by saying, “If I Knew Then, What I Know Now… things would have been different.”

4. The harsh reality is that for many of us, we can only learn from our failures, because we refuse to see things any other way.

a. A man by the name of Jerry Cook wrote a book whose title I love called, “A Few Things I’ve learned since I knew it all.” This could have been the title to the life of the Prodigal Son.

b. ILL. 1954 movie called “The Wild One.” A young, tough Marlon Brando was asked, “What are you rebelling against?” He replied, “Whaddaya got?”

c. Such was the attitude and spirit of the prodigal Son.

d. A ‘prodigal’ is a person who is Wasteful, Reckless, Extravagant, unrestrained, uncontrolled, rebellious and sinful.

e. This young man wished a thousand times he would have learned by listening, instead of by living.

5. Luke let us know that these parables where told to publicans, sinners, scribes and Pharisees.

a. This message is both for the sinners and the religious.

b. Even as believers it’s important to be reminded of the truths that this prodigal had discovered, lest we become like the elder brother.

c. You and I know that we are rebels. There is not one of us who can point the finger at another. We all have prodigal hearts. We all can relate the life of the this young man.

Is. 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

I. SIN IS OUT FOR YOUR INHERITANCE

a. Notice that it cost him his inheritance, that which the father had worked so hard to give him.

b. But Pastor, I’m a sinner… how can sin take from me my inheritance.

c. The bible tells us that

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, …

d. The bible also tells us that the only thing the devil knows how to do is “steal, kill and destroy.”

e. Sin and Satan isn’t out to benefit you, they’re out to destroy you.

f. Don’t think that just because you may have given your life to Jesus, that sin can’t ravage your life as well… this is why we must constantly remind ourselves of this Prodigal’s Lesson.

g. O, for a while the prodigal lived the life he had dreamed of… the parties, the friends, the lavish spending, the late nights, the popularity… but soon everything changed and O how it changed.

A. SIN COST HIM HIS FAMILY

1. The prodigal never appreciated the unconditional love his family provided him with until he felt the coldness of a world that so quickly abandoned him.

2. The enemy is out to bring division, anger and hatred into our homes.

3. Sin causes man to become self-absorbed only looking out for themselves, no matter what it may be doing to those around them.

4. The world is blind to the selfishness that permeates it.

ILL. The publisher's review of a recent book describes it as "a thoughtful, detailed discussion of every aspect of considering, preparing for, beginning, and conducting a successful and emotionally fulfilling extramarital affair." The book is called Affair! How to Manage Every Aspect of Your Extramarital Relationship with Passion, Discretion, and Dignity (by Cameron Barnes, UPublish.com, 1999). For just $19.95, plus shipping & handling, you can get a practical summary of the lies the devil would have you believe concerning adultery.

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