Summary: A sermon to the person who has drifted away from God.
Seven Steps Upward
St. Luke 15: 17-24
The story of the prodigal son has been preached on hundreds of times.
It is a story of a young man who had everything anyone could ever need.
It certainly appears he had the security of a good home, a good father, and even an inheritance that would take care of him when his father passed on.
But for some reason this young man decided he wanted his inheritance early. He couldn’t wait until his father died.
That could be a long time, and besides he wasn’t getting any younger himself.
He was under the shelter and security of home, but he was also under the government of his father.
I somehow think he wanted out. I think he was tired of his father’s rules, tired of being told what to do, and tired of being dependant upon his father.
He wanted his own rules, he wanted to do what he wanted to do for a change, and he wanted independence.
He asked his father for his inheritance. I think reluctantly his father handed over the money, and the son headed out into a new world.
But the Bible says in verse 13, not many days after he received his inheritance, he gathered his stuff together and went into a far country, and there he wasted all his inheritance on an unrestrained lifestyle.
He was living it up! Nobody to tell him what to do! Partied all night and slept all day! Boy, this was the life!
In verse 14, something happened he hadn’t expected!
There came a famine in the land. What he didn’t waste on parties and good times, he was now spending just to survive.
Then it happened! He spent his last dollar!
If he was renting from someone, I would imagine he got kicked out.
He had no where to go! He had too much pride to return home.
What would they say? What would his father say? “I told you so!”
What would his brother say? “You’re a big failure!”
There he sat homeless, hungry, no money, no friends, no job, a famine in the land and a famine in his soul.
He had come to the end of his rope.
How sad when a person gets so far from God they lose all.
They lose their joy, they lose their peace, they lose their satisfaction, and they lose their close relationship with God the Father.
I’ve known many people who at one time knew what it was to live in the presence of God the Father.
They experienced such peace and joy and lived a life of fulfillment and happiness.
But for some reason they allowed Satan to lure them away from God.
For some living for God was too hard. They didn’t realize the grace of God was sufficient for them.
Some were tempted by the things of this world and like Demas, the co-worker of Paul, forsake the Lord having loved this present world.
Some lost their relationship with God because of bitterness, or animosity, or because they got their eyes on people, or because they got angry at some situation or circumstance.
Now they are away from God. Spiritually hungry, empty, void of the presence of God, miserable and lonely.
They are like the prodigal son, they have too much pride to come back home, so they just hang out in the hog pens of this world, existing on things that doesn’t satisfy or bring contentment.
This is where the prodigal son ended up!
Notice verse 15. He got a job feeding hogs! There he was, standing in a pig pen, feeding a bunch of starving pigs. He was so hungry he ate the husks the pigs were feeding on.
These husks refers to the pods of the carob (ka-rob) tree or locust tree still common in Palestine and around the Mediterranean, so called from the shape of the pods like little horns.
When a person walks away from God, he can never find the joy, peace and satisfaction he or she experienced while living for God.
There will always be an emptiness and void in their life.
Listen, you don’t belong in the pig pen, you belong around the Father’s table!
Notice the first step this young man took on his way back to recovery.
1. Awareness- He became aware of his situation. He began to realize the condition he was in.
He wasn’t in denial; he knew he was at the very bottom.
If you are away from God today, you must not be in denial about it.
You know more than anyone where you are.
Are you in the hog pen? Have you lost all your joy, peace, contentment, happiness? Are you empty and void?
You must realize where you are!