Summary: There are different reasons that we fall into this trap. (1) We just want to be popular. We want people to like us. (2) we do not know how to say the word no. No is one of the shortest words in our vocabulary, one of the most powerful words for some
“Stay away from the Cookie Jar”
1st Corinthians 15:33-34 & Luke 15:11-31
From the time we are very young until the time that we leave home most of us have heard our parents say these words… be careful who you hang out with.. be careful you don’t get caught with the wrong crowd. Or if you were to come home and you said you wanted to do a certain thing and they said “no”, your response would often be Mom, Dad, everybody’s going, everybody’s doing it and their response would be “well if everyone jumps off a bridge today, are you going to? If everybody jumps off the Empire State building are you? If everyone sets their pants on fire today, are you?.
Your answer was always of course not but their point was be careful who you run with and don’t ever think doing something is a good idea just because someone else is doing it. Most of us have been there. We know what it is like to be under the influence of someone else. There are different reasons that we fall into this trap. (1) We just want to be popular. We want people to like us. (2) we do not know how to say the word no. No is one of the shortest words in our vocabulary, one of the most powerful words for some of us we have trouble saying it. You can stop a lot of trouble from coming into your life by learning to say no. (3) we lack direction. People who lack direction and purpose in life are often happy to have someone else sit in the driver’s seat. Someone else who will make decisions for us.
In Luke 15 we encounter a young man who we have come to know as the prodigal Son. This entire chapter is about two things that are lost. We usually look at this passage as 3 separate stories but they have the same theme. The first is the parable of the lost sheep. A man has 100 and he loses one of them. So he leaves the 99 and goes and finds the one.
In the 2nd parable a woman has 10 silver coins and loses one of them. She basically turns everything upside down looking for it. Then we come to the 3rd story we know as the parable of the prodigal son. The Father has 2 sons, the younger one leaves home; the father grieves over him leaving and the son goes out and falls into the wrong crowd. All 3 of these parables share several things in common. (1) something valuable is lost. A lamb, a coin, a son. Nothing more valuable to a shepherd than one of his lambs. It is how he makes his living. A coin, perhaps nothing more valuable to a woman in the day of Jesus than her money. Most women had very little. A son. What is more valuable to a father than his children? (2) the owner was not content until the lost item was found. They go out and look all over the countryside, turn the house upside down. Life for the owner was not the same until they were reconnected. (3) when the item was found there was great rejoicing. Look at it. Vv. 5-6. V.10. V.32.
The summary of all of that looks something like this. God loves lost things but he also loves it when they are returned to their proper place.
This father had two sons. It is the younger of the 2 who comes to him. Dad I want my inheritance. My share of the estate. So the father divides it up and gives him his portion. The son then puts all of his belongings together, goes off to what the Bible calls a distant country and basically blows everything he has in wild living. And from there things just get worse.
How does this happen? Look at Paul’s letter here to the church in Corinth. These are strong words he speaks to them-apparently they needed it. If you slip away from God, if you begin to move with the wrong crowd you need more than a gentle nudge to get you back in the right direction. You need strong words.
How many of you today would say that you believe you have the ability to spot someone who has the word “trouble” written all over them? You can just see trouble coming a mile away. How many have ever made a mistake that cost you something of importance because you misread someone? All of us. Some of us can spot trouble a mile away. Others not so much, perhaps you’re naïve, too trusting of people and you just believe that EVERYONE has good intentions. Whichever end of the spectrum you are on I suspect we still all share something in common. At one time or another we have all fallen into this trap.