Summary: Sermon based on Jesus' parable of The Prodigal Son - Helps listeners understand that the impact of the love & grace of God will forever change their lives, no matter how far away from God they are.
“LIFE-CHANGING IMPACT” Luke 15:11-32
INTRO – Today, we are going to think about IMPACT again, but from another angle & perspective. Not necessarily going to consider how we can impact others for the K’dom of God & for the glory of God. We’re going to consider how our lives need to be impacted by the love & grace of God & what that means. There’s an awesome story of a son that Jesus told. May be one of the most well-known stories He told. Certainly has one of the most powerful messages of all the stories He told. It’s known as the story of the Prodigal Son. And it’s a story that will make a major impact on all of our lives in some way or another, & at some time or another…maybe today.
Let me start w/ this statement: It is possible to know God & yet be very far away from Him. Most Christ-followers know what that is all about. Most of us have been there; some of us may be there right now. Didn’t mean to be there. Down deep, we didn’t really want to go there. Didn’t intend to drift away from God. Didn’t plan to have our love for Him & our devotion to Him grow cold. Didn’t plan for the fire of our commitment to grow dim. But it did, & now we find ourselves distant from Him, NOT b/c He moved, but b/c WE moved. For whatever reason, we moved away from Him.
This can happen to any child of God, irrespective of position, pedigree, or prominence. It can happen to pastors, teachers, missionaries, church members or staff members; Christians who are new to the faith & Christians who have known God for years. You might be a deacon, a leader in children’s ministry or student ministry, a member of the choir, or a Christian who is in church every time the doors are open. Any & all of these things could be true of you, & you can still be far away from God. You can go on every mission trip we take, go to every youth camp we have, serve in every area of ministry, be at every activity we do, & still be far away from God. You can grow up in a Christian home & still one day reject your godly heritage. You may have been hurt by someone who claimed to be a Christian & that deep pain has kept you far away from God. You may have decided that it’s just too hard to try to live up to the expectations of a Christ-follower. Or maybe you keep getting knocked down by the same sin over & over again, so you’ve just given up, & the distance between you & God has grown larger & larger.
We’ve all made decisions that have placed us outside of God’s will for our lives. We’ve all made the choice to walk on a path that takes us away from God instead of toward Him. We’ve all compromised in some area of our lives. And those decisions, choices, & compromises have impacted our lives in a detrimental way, creating a chasm between us & God. We feel it – we see it – we know it – we & others are suffering b/c of it – & something needs to be done about it. But what? What can we do about it? What should we do about it? Love what Ray Pritchard said about this: “Somewhere along the way you walked through the wrong door. The only way back to God’s will is back through that same door. You decided to leave God’s will; you must now decide to return to God’s will. You left on purpose; you must return on purpose.” (http://www.keepbelieving.com/sermon/1993-11-14-Trapped-On-a-Dead-End-Street/)
Enter Jesus w/ the story of the Prodigal Son. Enter Jesus w/ a story that impacts all of us. Story of selfishness & just plain-old stupidity. Story of rebellion & rejection of good stuff. Story of impatience, immaturity, immorality, & impurity. Story that touches us all at some point in our lives b/c we’ve all had those seasons in our lives when we’ve been selfish, stupid, rebellious, rejecting the good stuff in our lives, impatient, immature, immoral, & impure. We’ve all been in a place that we didn’t want to be, needing the impact of the love of God in our lives.
When we find ourselves at that place, in that position, suffering that pain, we need to step up & step into some experiences that I’m calling IMPACT MOMENTS. Whereas the last couple of weeks have focused more on how we can make an impact for the K’dom through out lives, today I’m focusing on those times when WE are the ones needing the IMPACT of God in OUR lives. Maybe that’s where you are today. Maybe you’re ready to get things turned around in your life. Maybe you're tired of being so far away from God. Maybe you’re about to step into an IMPACT MOMENT today.