Summary: Self-righteousness is as bad as unrighteousness

The boy who stayed at the house.

Luke 15: 25 -- 32. 01/18/04

Luke 15 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. In this chapter we find a number of things that were lost and found. It starts off with the lost sheep and how the Shepherd left the 99 to find the one lost.

The next was the lost silver and how the woman searched the house over and rejoiced that she found it.

The last is the lost son that asks his dad to give him his share of the estate and he squandered his wealth in wild living. Then the lost son found himself broke and feeding pigs. He realized his father’s servants had it better than he did, so he decided he would go back home. The Father saw him coming from down the road, and ran to meet him. He was so glad that his son had come home he wanted to have a party to celebrate the lost son coming back. So, they began to celebrate and that brings us to verse 25, the boy who stayed at the house.

When Jesus was giving these parables, there isn’t much doubt that he had the Pharisees in mind. The Pharisees had in them a self-righteous spirit. Self-righteousness is as bad as unrighteousness. The spirit of self-righteousness has a spirit of criticism. So, Jesus was putting his finger on the Pharisees. Or, today, it would be Jesus putting his finger on the person who has the spirit of criticism, the critical church member. He/she comes to church on Sunday morning cold and indifferent just waiting to be offended. He is looking for something he can criticize. He has in him the same spirit as the boy who stayed at the house, the elder son.

Now if you have doubt about this just listen on. We want to look at the spirit of the boy who stayed at the house, the elder brother.

Now the first point we want to note is HIS CONFUSION. We need to get the picture here. The elder son has been out in the field working all day. The hot sun has been beating down on his back. He is ready to go home eat, take a bath and go to bed. As he nears the house the ground is shaking from the music coming from the house. People in the house or having a wonderful time. They have never seen the Father so happy. Servants are running in all directions getting the food ready for the big feast. The elder brother finally corners one of the servants and says what in the world is going on here? Haven’t you heard, your brother has come home and we are having a hallelujah time? We are having a celebration.

You think the brother would be filled with joy and quickly join in the celebration but not this son. He is rather upset about the whole thing. We are told the reason why he is confused and angry in verse 27, your brother has come home. He seems confused and surprised. I want to tell you something, if he had been praying for his brother; he would neither be confused art angry.

The message for us in this is you would think 100 percent of all members of the church would be thrilled when the prodigal came back home. I really believe that most of this fellowship would be glad to see the prodigal come home.

But the elder son would say it won’t last and he will be gone again. He is always critical. 100 people could get saved in a service and he would leave and have something critical to say. Did you see that long hair on that boy preacher? No, but I did see a long tongue.

But when the prodigal came home from the grease pits of hell, a loving father says let’s celebrate. Let’s have a party.

We see not only his confusion but also we see HIS CHARACTER. Look at verse 28.

Everybody in this text is happy except the elder brother. He is standing in the yard and saying I’m not going in there. He is a son but he has the spirit of the slave. He had been working in the Father’s field but never enjoyed the father’s will.

I feel sorry for those who work in the church and never enjoy it. I feel sorry for those whose religion doesn’t allow them to have a hallelujah in their heart.

The elder son worked with no sense of ownership. He was mad because the Father had the fatted-calf prepared to eat for the celebration. But listen! The Father said all that I have is yours. He was a son who did not understand his position with the Father and the possessions he had because of the Father.

Don’t you run around saying I have nothing. If you are a Christian what the Father has is yours. My father owns the cattle on 1000 hills and he owns the hills. What’s his is mine because I am adopted in the family. I am not poor for my new house has golden streets. I am rich. I will one day retire in a place where the city will be 1500 miles square and 1500 miles high. A place where we will not squabble over 1 little calf.

Would not also see his confusion and his character but also HIS CONCLUSION.

Jesus always preached for a decision. The purpose of this parable was to draw attention and then a response. How did the elder brother respond? We really have an unfinished story here. We really don’t know whether he went in the house are not. We do know the Father went out and pleaded with him to do so. Here is where you and I can complete the story. Will you come in or remain outside better and angry, criticizing, or will you join the party? Will you come in and trust Jesus?

Even if there are some elder brother’s here, don’t let that keep you from doing what you know you need to do.