It’s time to go Home
The Parable of the Prodigal is one of many parables Jesus used in His ministry. He used this particular parable in addition to others while He was addressing the publicans and sinners in the presence of the Pharisees and Scribes. Now Jesus begins with the introduction of a certain man and his two sons and the younger of them said, “father give me my portion of the goods”, meaning father cash me out, I think its time for me to go.
Now what was the son telling the Father because you are not entitled to the inheritance until the death of the Father. So the son is saying Father as far as I’m concerned you are dead. And the story tells us that the father honored the son’s unusual request.
The parable goes on to say that the son went off into a far country and wasted his inheitance He squandered his money with riotous living. He was completely wasteful with his spending, if he saw it he bought it, or if he thought about it he did it. The world is mine because I can buy it; money has given me power, freedom and peace. He must have thought to himself that it can’t get any better that this, that’s why I left home in the first place, because I knew this was the life for me.
A characteristic of the younger son was that he was feeling judged at home with his father, he was tired of living with his rules. He was felling trapped, like he had no life, restrained from doing what he wanted to do.
The son was fed up with living under his father’s rule so he said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ I can just hear the younger son now saying, “I have thought it over and I have made up my mind, I just need my money and I will be on my way, you wont have to worry with me anymore, I can’t live here under your rules, its just not working out here between us and I need my space. "This is how I’m going to live and I am going to decide the standard." He wanted so desperately to just get away from his father. Now if you’re like that this morning, you may come to church out of habit, because you feel you are being obedient, what ever but your real intention is to get away from the Father. Looking at your watch hoping that the prayer is not too long, that the preaching is not too long, and choir please don’t sing the 12 minute remix of “This little light of Mine” You are saying to yourself I need to get away from the father so I can do my thang on my time.
Does this sound familiar to anyone this morning? “I’m grown, I need to do my own thang.” It’s hard as a parent sometimes when you think that you are doing the best you can, providing for your child, giving them the best that you can, and all of a sudden you are faced with a dilemma. You know you child is asking you for something that you know is wrong, you know that your child is going to fail so what do you do. Do you tell them no and they will continue to resent you, or do you go along with it hoping that they will learn a lesson or come to their senses before it is too late and you lose them for good. It is a tough decision but the father in our parable decided that he would not restrain his son, rather he would grant him his unorthodox request in hopes that he would come to his senses.
So he divided his property between them. Now let call your attention to the division, now since the father had two sons and in Deuteronomy 21:15-17 it states that it was customary that the oldest son would receive a double portion of the inheritance so from this we determine that the younger son received one third of the estate. But it is still assumed that the father was very wealthy so the third was a very large portion.
In verse 13, as soon as he goes off, he squanders his wealth with riotous living. He was doing his thang, what ever he pleased. Free without restraint. The concept of freedom in the world is doing whatever you want. So according to the world, coming to church and reading the Bible is restraint, because freedom is doing whatever you want. But the Bible says that when you do what you want, you’re actually in slavery. You’re in the slavery of sin, we are born in sin and shapen in iniquity therefore it is in your nature to sin. Without restraints you will revert back to your born nature, which is sin.
It’s like skydiving. Skydiving feels so free, and you can move around and flip over do what ever you want until you realize that you don’t have a parachute. It feels free until you hit the bottom. You weren’t as free as you thought you were. Let me ask you a question, how long does the kind of freedom the young son in our parable is enjoying lasts. it lasts until you hit the bottom. The prodigal son was soon to hit the bottom. He squandered his wealth and even though temporarily he was doing whatever he wanted, he wasn’t free. When the euphoric spending spree came to an end, he realized that he was trapped.
He thought he was free, but in all actuality he was enslaved. That’s what happens when you do whatever you want. You are enslaved to your sinful desires. Just talk to people who smoke. They will tell you that it is so hard to quit. I’ve tried but I just can’t. They cant because they are enslaved. Talk to people who are involved in promiscuous relationships, talk to drug addicts, alcoholics, and gamblers you will hear the same story. It feels like something’s just got a hold of me and just pulling me, I just can’t resist, I just can’t say no. They are in slavery.
Listen until you give your life to Christ and allow Him lead and guide your life, you will continue to be a slave to the sinful desires of the flesh. Jesus breaks the yoke of slavery to the flesh. AMEN
You say I’ve tried gamblers anonymous, I say try Jesus
You say I’ve tried the nicorette gum and the patch, I say try Jesus
You say to yourself, I’m going to just try not to go over to his house or her house because I know that I cant help myself, I say try Jesus.
You have not tried at all until you try Jesus. Matthew 11:28 Jesus says come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest in your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
You must understand that the sin that you are a slave to is breaking your back is also causing you to be out of fellowship with the Lord. For is say is Matthew 6:24 “No man can serve two masters, For either he will hate the one and love the other or else he will hold to the one and despise the other.” Choose this day whom you will serve.
You wont try Jesus because you think that things are not all that bad. Just as the prodigal son thought after he spent all his money, he probably thought well its not that bad I will just call on some of the people who have been partying with me and who have benefited from my generosity and surely they will help me out. How many of you know that if the friends came when the money came, that when the money is gone.
They have no loyalty to you they were there for the money not you. So in verse 14 it says that a famine arose in the land and he began to want. But I can just imagine the boy saying to himself yeah the money is gone and its bad for me but it is still, It’s still not bad enough to go home. Living under those rules, no I will never go home. And just when he thought it couldn’t get any worse Jesus comes with verse 15.
Now you may look at these verses and say well feeding pigs couldn’t be all-bad. But to a Jewish boy it could not get any worse. Jewish rabbis were quoted, as saying cursed is the man who keeps swine. And not only by Jews, many nations regarded feeding swine was the lowest and most degrading job one could have. So here he is feeding pigs and he gets so hungry that the husks that he is feeding them begins to look good to him. You may say to yourself why didn’t he just eat some of the husks. Because he was a slave and the husks were for the swine, if he was caught eating the swine’s food, he would be at least fired and maybe killed.
So here our character is, out of money, worst job that he could imagine. If he tries to wait until payday, he will starve to death. Looking at hog food like its prime rib, but cant eat any of it. I think our character has hit rock bottom. And he thinks so as well as we look at verse 17. “And when he came to himself” You ever come to yourself, I call it having a chronic attack of reality. When you look at yourself and your situation and say this isn’t right; what have I been thinking; I must be crazy. The son says to himself, I’m sitting here feeding pigs starving to death and back home at my father’s house even the servants have food to spare after they have eaten, and I’m sitting here starving.
So the father’s dream has finally come true; his son has come to his senses. The son realizes that it was not so bad after all in his father’s house. He begins to understand that those rules and restraints of the father were to protect him not to harm him.
This is why God has given us laws to live by as Christians; the laws of God protect us from ourselves. We are sinful by nature and without the laws of God to protect us we will destroy ourselves. When you are not constrained by the laws of God, you will find yourself enslaved by the desires of the flesh and those sinful desires will eventually destroy you.
After the son decided to return home first he thought about his sins that he had perpetrated against his father and against God. He realized that the only way he could possibly have a chance at returning home was to repent for the sins he had committed. His true repentance is found in verses 18 and 19.
Now lets talk about repentance. In Luke 13:3 it says “I tell you nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Repentance is not saying I’m sorry because I got caught, or I’m sorry because thing didn’t work out the way I planned.
True repentance is a change of your mindset for the better, a change of your attitude toward sin and your love for sin. True repentance is turning and walking away not riding the fence.
True repentance is to realize that your sin has kept you out of fellowship with the Father.
True repentance is what David showed in Psalm 51 when he said “Have mercy upon me O God according to thy love and kindness, for I acknowledge my sin, my sin is ever before the against thee, thee only have I sinned and done evil in thy sight, but Lord wash me, wash me , purge me, blot out my iniquities, create in me a clean heart, renew in me a right spirit, restore unto me the joy of my salvation”.
You need to tell the Lord Just as the prodigal son said in verse 19. Lord I do not deserve to be called your child but have mercy on me O God. I just want to be called your servant, I just want to serve you Lord in any capacity you see fit, O God. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God , than to dwell in the tents of the wickedness.
Now most of the focus when this parable is mentioned is one the younger son, but this parable is really about the father. Now next scene in this parable switches to the father. While the son is still far off, he ‘sees’ him and ‘has pity’ on him. The word have pity used quite often in the gospels of Jesus’ attitude to those in need, and it suggests being inwardly moved: we might appropriately translate it “his heart went out to him” The fact that the father saw his son while he was still far away is suggestive, it is not actually said that he was looking for his son, but that is certainly a possible implication. I would say if any father had lost a son he would not only think but also look for them daily.
Now the father’s response towards his runaway son could easily have been one of anger and rejection. The son could have easily have expected a hostile welcome, not only from the father, the rest of the family and the people in the village. However his father who had most cause for anger, responds just the opposite. His heart goes out to his son and he runs to meet him. Just as the Lord tells us to come as you are. He says that I will meet you where you are and bring you to where I want you to be. The Lord says just come home. I want to do just as the father in our parable does to his lost son. When he meets his son he embraces and kisses him, expressing welcome and forgiveness before his son has said anything. The father knows his son is asking for forgiveness merely by his presence. Now lets talk about the presence of the son. He had spent all his money and it is clear that he has also sold his clothes just to survive. This is apparent by the father calling for shoes for his son’s feet and a robe for his body.
So the son is just as raggedy as he could be on his way home. The son realizes that if the father does not help him now he will perish, he realizes that he must totally rely on the father for his continued existence. This is how we must have the faith to rely on the Lord, we must realize that out of the presence and will of God we will perish. The Lord wants us to come home first before we go somewhere else for help. We have a tendency to try everything we and anyone around us can think of before we blow out the cobwebs of our prayer closet and fall on our knees to ask for the Lords help. Matthew 6:33 says seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all things shall be added unto you. Now I can imagine that before the son went home that he went back to some of his so-called friends that had been enjoying his riotous living spending all his money and he said you know we had some good times, yea we sure did kick it, but I’ve fell on kind of a hard way and I need Boom Door closes.
The son meet a lot of closed doors in his face after the money ran out. His friends were friends of his money and not him. Come into some big money and you too will see so-called friends by the truckload coming to you, but the minute you are broke they will leave skid marks on the street getting away from you. Misery loves company as long as you are not asking for anything.
So the Lord says “come home” and stop being a slave to temporal things, stop drinking that water that will soon leave you thirsty, take some living water that Jesus spoke about in John 4 where you will not thirst any longer. The Lord says I am waiting here with open arms to receive you just as the father in our parable did.
Let me tell you this morning that it does not matter what you have done. Notice that the father did not ask what did you do with the money? He is so happy at the fact that his son is coming with a repentant attitude. Listen church, I don’t care what you have done, the power of the love of Jesus Christ is more powerful that any sin you can imagine committing. That’s the power of the gospel. If you come, He will forgive. If you have a broken and contrite heart, no matter what you have done, He will forgive you. But you have to have a contrite heart, a repenting heart, a remorseful heart. Amen
But in the midst of the father’s rejoicing what does the son do. The son has already planned his repentance speech. He says I know I am not worthy to be called your son because of my transgressions. I can just be a servant or slave just to be somewhere near you father because I have realized that I need to be near you.
We often wonder why we have not had a breakthrough, it is because we have not humbly went to the Lord and said “Lord I have sinned, I am not worthy but Lord have mercy on me. I am not making light of my sins, here they are, I’m calling them out one by one and I’m asking you father to have mercy on me. Please Father I’m Coming home if you will accept me.
And before the boy could say another word the father breaks in and takes over. Once you totally submit to Jesus, He will come in you life and begin to pour out a blessing that you will not have room to receive it. Is anyone here who can witness to the abundant blessings of Jesus?
The father called for his best robe, no we can assume that the best robe in the house belonged to the father and it was probably one that he wore on special occasions. And what more a special occasion than his son has finally come home. He called for a ring for his finger. Now a signet ring was a sign of authority, and the father said I want sandals for his feet, now slaves did not were sandals, have rings, or the best robe, so the father is telling his son that you will not be a slave, you are coming home with your full rights restored. Now aint God good.
We can come to Jesus right now and be new creatures in Christ with full salvation granted. What you have done in the past is of no consequence because “all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.”
God rejoices over a sinner coming home. He rejoices over a soul coming to Christ.
I want us to think about something right now, the pain of losing an object is equal to the value of that lost object. Just think about that in your own life for a moment.
No if the pain was equal to the value of the lost object, then it is only logical that the Joy of finding that lost object is equal to the value of that object. The Father said my son was lost and now he is found. The pain of my lost has been replaced with Joy.
And it is time to celebrate. Its time to eat, sing, dance and be joyous because my son has come home.
When a sinner comes home to Christ there is Joy and celebration. Look at Luke Chapter 15 verse 10. It says likewise I say unto you there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. When the children of God come home there is a celebration in heaven over one soul because every child of God is precious.
So children of God if you feel that you have no peace, its time to go home
If you feel that you have hit rock bottom its time to go home.
If you always full of stress, Its time to go home
If you feel that there is no where to turn its time to go home
If that habit is just got you enslaved and you just cant break free, its time to go home.
If your sick of being out of fellowship with God, its time to go home
If you’ve got a void inside of you and you just cant fill it, its time to go home
Listen you can’t feed a hungry spirit with earthly food, you need the spiritual food that comes from the father.
You need to get up out of the pigpen and tell yourself I’m going home.
You need to realize that you are not free away from the father, go home
If the yoke of sin is just breaking your back its time to go home.
You say to yourself that I want a breakthrough, I want peace, I want joy, well go home
The father is waiting, watching and hoping that his prodigal children will come home.
That they will realize that there is freedom at home, peace at home, celebration at home.
The Lord said I will stand at the door of your heart and knock, but you must opened the door
Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired then home is where you belong
With your creator, your sustainer, the way the truth and the life
Come home to Jesus come home to Jesus, but the choice is yours.
Now we enjoy this parable because we still remember with awe an wonder the welcome we received and that we continue to receive from God when we finally came home, But if there is any among you who have a desire for the open arms of God I encourage you to come.
Cedric A. Portis