Summary: Luke 15:11-16:1 By looking at the story of the prodigal son, we can see how we fall into sinful states, what it means to be in a siful state, and how we get out of the sinful states we are in.
“How we get into and out of sinful states.”
When I was younger my family owned an “Atari,” how many of you remember those? It was great state of the art technology! You had this joystick and just one little button to mash. I thought it was great. Even to this day I still prefer an “Atari” to any other system because of that little button. Nowadays you have about eight billion buttons to push. Anyway one of my favorite games to play on the “Atari” was “Pitfall.” There was only one player who ran around in a green little shirt and jumped over things. That was really all you could do with one button. The point was to avoid all the little “pitfalls” in the game; like snakes, alligators, rabid runaway rabbits, and pits. Sometimes if you fell in the pits you had to find a ladder or wait for a vine to come by to get you out, and then sometimes you died in the pits and started over. This is what life was like for the Prodigal Son. A life of “Pitfall.”
If you have your bibles tonight please join me in reading the text from Luke 15:11-16:1.
The title of tonight’s lesson is “Playing Pitfall: How we get into and out of sinful states.” By looking at this parable from the son’s point of view we can see three things: How we get to a sinful state, What it means to be in a sinful state, and How we get out of the sinful state we are in. Then we will close by looking lastly at the other brother.
In the “Atari” game you always fell into the pits by not paying attention, or by jumping just a second to late, there are five things here in our text that tell us how we can sometimes fall into our “pits.” Luke 15:12 says, “And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me,’ and he divided them his living.” How many of you have ever watched the cartoon “Animaniacs?” They have this funny section on it called “Good Idea/Bad Idea.” Good idea, helping an old lady across the street. Bad idea, helping an old lady across I-95. Good idea, taking a walk through the park. Bad idea, taking a walk through the Sahara Desert. Good idea, playing golf. Bad idea, playing golf during an electrical storm. Good idea, getting in a boat and going fishing. Bad idea, getting in a boat and going fishing without a sheer pin. (I just threw that last one in for Lonnie) What the prodigal son did was a bad idea. He thought that he could take care of himself and his money better than his father. Often times we are the same way thinking that we can handle something without God’s help. The first way we can fall into our pits is by making bad decisions. By showing a lack of good judgment.
Number two, being unprepared. Verse 13 says, “And not many days…” He was unprepared to face this journey. He didn’t take very much time. My biggest problem in life is that I am unprepared. I Peter 3:15 says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have.” It doesn’t say “sometimes” but always. We must always be prepared. This was his mistake. He was not prepared.
Number three, he turned his back on those who loved him and went away. Verse 13 says “gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country.” The first step to falling away into sin is turning on those who love you. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have my parents. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have Kari. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have a congregation like to you to encourage me and support me. I don’t believe that he would have had any problems if he had stayed close to those that loved him.
Number four, “and there wasted his substance with riotous living.” When I left to go to Europe the school had this going away dinner. All the families were invited to attend. They had dinner and some speakers and all of the fathers of the students going had the opportunity to stand up and read a verse and give a little thought. All of the dads are standing up and reading their sentimental verses and then my dad stands up and reads, “and the son went away to a far country and there squandered his inheritance.” Then proceeds to tell the listening crowd that I had been given my inheritance and we would just see what happened to it. Now of course dad was just teasing, but it is very real in this case. This young man went into the far country. We are not exactly sure where the far country is and the bible doesn’t tell us. I think that this is done for a reason. The “Far Country” is anywhere you go and loose yourselves. My far country might be gambling, while yours might be something entirely different. The point is that it can happen to anybody, anytime, and in any circumstance.