Summary: To establish it is our decision as a result of God’s goodness to come into His house. This parable rebukes the Pharisees and scribes for their self-righteousness and despite for others.
1. The Father’s Resilience
2. The Younger Son’s Restoration
3. The Elder Son’s Rejection
1. In our lesson today we are going to be discussing this theme: “Son, Come in the House.” The part of Los Angeles where I was raised, we would ask our guest at the door: “won’t cha comin?” We are going to be discussing a needed behavior the church must exhibit to its entire membership and to the world, if it will call, win, and restore the lost and the erring. As this parable begins, with the Master is criticized by the religious leaders for receiving sinners, and eating with them,” verses 1-2. The Lord was displaying His compassion for the sinners – while the Jewish leaders had only contempt for them. The Pharisees and scribes: “trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others,” Luke 18:9.
2. In our first point we will consider, the Father’s resilience with his sons. We will notice the love, patience and compassion of the father. Clearly, the Lord is describing the true nature and behavior of God, our heavenly Father. These religious leaders had lost the real meaning of the nature and love of God. This father had a heart of love and compassion for both sons. The younger son would learn after leaving home; he left the greatest privilege and blessing – the fellowship with his father. The elder son while living at home could not see the real blessings he was wasting in his father’s house.
3. In our next point, we will look at the younger son’s restoration by the Father. This son would learn that all that he desired was already his – at home. He had to leave home to realize how blessed he really was in his father’s house. We don’t know what all was involved in causing him to leave home – but, it was abundantly clear all that happened to him in a “far country” – that directed his attention one day to return to his father’s house. This story ends joyfully. He who once was dead is now alive again; he who was once lost is now found. This young man’s story ended with his father accepting him back home. He was blessed again to “come into the house.”
4. In our last point, we will describe the elder’s son rejection of his brother. This son would exhibit the behavior of the religious leaders of this day. He was self-righteous, self-serving and critical of the faults and mistakes of his younger brother. When he drew near the house “he heard music and dancing.” He would learn that his younger brother had returned home “safe and sound;” but would not find joy in his return. The father came out of the house to entreat him and perhaps ask: “won’t cha comin the house?” When this story closes this son would not “come into the house.” He would not join the celebration going on inside. This story closes with the elder son on the outside of the father’s house.
BODY OF LESSON
I THE FATHER’S RESILIENCE
A. A certain man had two sons. This is a picture of the Father of heaven. We will notice the resilience (i.e., spirit, support and strength) of this father with his sons. Jehovah said Israel is my “firstborn” or elder son. That meant, Jehovah had also a younger son, the Gentile nations.
1. Notice the Lord’s instruction to Moses. “And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn,” Exodus 4:22. First, the Lord relates the elder son in this parable to the “Pharisees and Scribes.” These were the religious elites of Jesus’ time. Although claiming to love and serve God, they held to the traditions of their fathers, rather than the commandments of God.
a. Notice Paul: “And I profited in the Jews’ religion above many (of) my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous in the traditions of my fathers,” Galatians 1:14. See also Philippians 3:4-7. Illustrate: What things were gain to me, those I count loss for Christ.
b. Jesus speaks of them: “Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, this people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men,” Mark 7:7-8. They did not abide in the commandments of God; but attempted to serve God through the "traditions of their fathers.”
2. Secondly, Jesus relates the “publicans and sinners” as the father’s younger son. They were outcasts and despised by these religious leaders. They were the “far off” of Paul’s writings; and in Peter’s preaching; and the “other sheep” of Jesus’ teaching.
a. Gentiles the other sheep. Notice Jesus: “Other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd,” John 10:16; Ezekiel 34:23, 37:24; Acts 26:12-18; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13.