Summary: A discussion on how SOMETIMES, it’s not the son who left home who causes the trouble; sometimes, it’s the son who was left at home...
Lost In The House [Part I]
Sub Topic: Pouting And Out Of Place
Scripture Text: Luke 15:25 – 30
Introduction: The more I study this passage, the more I am apt to believe that the passage centers upon the suggestion that “lostness” is not predicated upon a position as much as it is upon a predisposition. In other words, being lost DOES NOT have as much to do with WHERE YOU ARE as it does with HOW YOU ARE. I can be lost, but as long as I can recognize that I am unfamiliar with my surroundings and place myself in a position as to where I can receive direction and instruction, then over the evolution and expenditure of time, I will maneuver out of that unfamiliar place. That’s why IF there is such a thing as “DEGREES OF LOSTNESS”, [simply for argument’s sake] we will argue that the prodigal son was NOT AS LOST as the pouting son. The prodigal son was lost, but over time he recognized that he was lost. The pouting son was lost, didn’t know that he was lost, and never set a foot outside his father’s home. This leads me to the suggestion that you can be lost in the house; as a matter of fact, that’s what happened to all three of the examples given in Jesus’ parables: the sheep was lost but still belonged to the sheepfold. The silver was lost but was still in the woman’s home. The prodigal son set himself outside of his father’s house, but the pouting son stayed at home and was lost even though he was in the proximity of his father. So, the danger MAY NOT be so much of getting out of the Father’s presence; the danger is not so much getting out of the Father’s house and doing your own thing. That may not be the danger; the danger becomes pertinent and viable when you can be lost AND STILL be in the presence of your father. Jesus even says something when He alludes to the prophecy of Isaiah in
Matthew 15:8, 9 – “‘These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.  And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
So, you can come to church every Sunday, you can sing in the choir, you can preach in the pulpit, you can stand on your post on the door, you can be a deacon, you can be a trustee, you can be a mother, you can be a musician, and it won’t matter. What’s so dangerous about being lost while in the house is that you will substitute a church service for knowing [recognizing] where you are. In other words, you can come to church for years and still be “lost in the house.” What I’ve come to discover [discern and distinguish] is that people are lost and show up in church every Sunday; coming to church is not an automatic indication that your spiritual compass is intact. So, what does the text say about being lost within the house? We pick up on where the prodigal son has repented and has made his way back home. The father meets him and receives his son, and then they head towards the house for a celebration. The father [in his exuberant enthusiasm] does his thing with the son: he gives him a ring [a symbol of perpetual covenant]; he gives him a robe [a symbol of protective covering] and he gives him shoes [a symbol of prevalent courtesy]. Let me preach there for a minute because the love of the father is so undeniable [so inexplicable]; he gave his son a ring suggesting that no matter what the child had become, he was still his father’s child. Not only did he give him a ring; he gave him a robe suggesting that no matter what the child had done, his love was enough to cover him in spite of everything his child had gotten into. Not only did he give him a ring [perpetual covenant] and a robe [protective covering], but the father also gave him shoes [prevalent courtesy], which suggests to me that it didn’t matter where the child had gone or how far he had wandered from home: the father loved his child to the degree that he looked at his child’s old shoes [a sign of where he’d been] and gave him brand new ones because he was headed in a new direction. Not only does he do all of this for his son, but the father then calls for the servants and the chefs because he knows that his child is hungry [he doesn’t eat swine, but was willing to eat what the swine ate] so the father says, “We’re all having steak and baked potatoes.” So, there is a celebration going on. [But] The text reveals how you can be lost even though you’re within the house; the prodigal son has a brother who shows me several characteristics in the midst of his brother’s return, but we’ll only have time to discuss three of those characteristics. The first thing the pouting son showed me in the text was his ABSENCE DURING HIS BROTHER’S RECEPTION.