Summary: A series on Luke 15
Lost and Found!
“Returning to God”
The parable in this passage focuses on the character and nature of the God of the Bible. It’s usually called the parable of the Prodigal Son but I prefer to call it the parable of the Loving Father. Jesus uses this story to teach us about the character and nature of His Father It’s no good to believe in God if you believe in the wrong kind of God. You can know what God is like by how He responds to a rebellious son in this parable.
I came across something funny the other day I know most of you teenagers will enjoy. It’s called “Seven Things You’ll Never Hear Your Dad Say”: 7. I notice all your friends have a hostile attitude–I like that! 6. Well now that you’re 13, Princess, I want you to start dating older guys. 5. No son of mine is going to live under this roof without an earring! 4. Why do you want to get a job? I’ve got plenty of money for you to spend! 3. Your mother and I are going away for the weekend–you might want to consider throwing a party. 2. Here’s my credit card and the keys to my car–now, GO CRAZY! 1. Well, looks like I’m lost–I guess I’ll have to stop and ask for directions!
One thing you’ll never hear your Heavenly Father say is “If you walk away from Me; you can never come back.” Instead, God is a loving Heavenly Father. He loves you so much, you are free to walk out of fellowship with Him–He won’t stop you. He will run to meet you more than halfway if you decide to return to Him. And He says when you repent; He will treat you as if you never left. Today, we are going to back up and look at the parable again–this time from the perspective of the rebellious son. Read Luke 15:11-24.
What a great story! In just a few short words, Jesus shows us the selfishness and sinfulness of a rebellious son. Charles Dickens once wrote about this parable, “The Prodigal Son is the finest short story ever written.” It’s more than just a splendid short story, however. It’s a story that touches all of us at different points. Some of you are the parents of Prodigals and you are feeling the pain of the father. Others of you are like the son who has wandered away from fellowship with the father. Still, others of you won’t like to admit it, but you are exactly like the older brother we’ll discuss next week. In this message, we’ll examine the steps of the rebellious son. We can learn about the steps away from God and the steps that will take you back to God.
I. STEPS THAT TAKE YOU AWAY FROM GOD’S BLESSING.
The younger son didn’t just wake up one morning in the pig pen. He ended up there by making a series of bad choices and taking a series of bad steps. Remember, he was always a child of his father, but he placed himself in a position where the benefits of his father’s resources didn’t help him anymore. Once you become a child of God, that relationship cannot be cancelled. However, you can disobey your Father and rebel against His will and break fellowship with Him. When you do this, you put yourself in a place where the blessings and benefits of knowing God are no longer yours. If you can identify these bad steps it may help you determine if you need to come back to your Father.
1. The first step is a restless attitude. It can be summarized in the statement, “No fun!” The younger son experienced what all young people feel at one time or another: He got bored with his family life and he had to urge to experience the “real world.” He wasn’t having enough fun. This restless spirit caused the son to demand his inheritance and leave home once he got the money. He thought the grass was greener on the other side of the fence, so he had a desire to be “out on his own.” The grass IS greener on the other side of the fence–but you can’t afford the water bill!
This restless attitude resides in each of us. It goes by different names. In marriage, it’s sometimes called “the seven-year itch” although it itches long before and long after the seven year mark. I’ve heard husbands and wives speak of feeling “trapped.” They want out because they are afraid they are going to miss out on some pleasure or experience by staying in their boring, old marriage. I don’t think any husband or wife just wakes up one morning and decides they are going to be unfaithful or they are going to leave their mate–it always begins with this uncomfortable feeling of restlessness. Restlessness is the feeling we are missing out on the fun. You can go all the way back to the Garden of Eden and discover this human hunger is what got us in trouble in the first place. Satan told Eve there was a tree, a fruit, a taste she was missing out on. If God was so good, why was He making her miss that taste? It worked.