Summary: I believe the prodigal was a wayward (backslidden) Christian.
The Far Country
(Luke 15: 11-24)
This text is one of the most familiar in the New Testament. Every preacher has a sermon on "The prodiga1 son. Well, I have one too. In keeping with our modern soap operas etc., I have divided mine into episodes. I believe the prodigal was a wayward (backslidden) Christian. Jesus called him a son. John said, "as many as received him, to them gave He the power to become the sons of God." (Jn 1:12 K.J.V) I want to look at these verses in that way.
1. The Rebellion (episode 1)
As scene I opens, there's a rebellion going on. A young son in total rebellion against his Father walks in and rudely demands his share of the family wealth. Give me what's mine, he demands, and a loving father gives him one half of all he has. One third would have been his rightful share. All of us are familiar with this type of rebellion. We live in a day when many of our young people are rebelling, not only against their parents but also against all authority. Not all I remind you, but many. There are still some young people who respect authority and love the Lord; they just don't make the news.
This rebellion, however, is representative of another type of rebellion. It's the rebellion of God's children against God's lordship and authority. Many Christians have taken what they think is theirs and have moved out on God. I believe Jesus used this text to illustrate this point. It happens most often in times of prosperity. They don't dare say it with their lips but say it by their actions. May I give you some signs of rebellion (1) A shifting of our dependence from God to ourselves (2) A relaxing of our moral and ethical standards, and everybody does it attitude (3) A lack of church attendance, and private prayer or Bible study. (4) Letting other's wants or needs come before The Lord's tithe.
It's as if we have said to our Heavenly Father, give me what's mine, I'll go my own way and do my own thing. I no longer want Your Lordship or authority. I no longer need Your blessing or guidance. Listen, we may stay in the same house with the same mate. We may go to the same job, attend the same Church, and yet be moved into a different direction if we are in a state of rebellion. America has moved out on God. We've decided that we don't need Him anymore. The A.C.L.U. decided we don't Him in our schools, our government, or any part of our public life. Look what a mess!
2. The Party (episode 2)
The scripture says, "not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his
Journey to a far country, and there (he) wasted his substance in riotous 1iving." [Verse 13] As the
second episode opens, there's a party going on. This old boy knew how to throw a party. He had the funds to do it. He had the very best of everything, wine, women, and song. The party doesn't last long. You see, the Bible says it won't. The Bible says, "The pleasures of sin (are only) for a season." [Hebrews 11:25b K.J.] The funds ran out, and there was no more.
The Far Country is a place of limited blessing. Listen, folks, nowhere in our text is there any
an indication that this Father sent his rebellious son any additional funds, it just didn't happen.
There's a lesson here. When we move away from that close relationship and back into a life of sin, the blessings stop. Our joy goes, our peace disappears; our fellowship with Him is lost. We don't even enjoy a good worship service like we once did. Our family relationships become strained; our money doesn't seem to go around anymore. I can live a lot better on 88% of my income than' I can on 100%. If you don't believe it try it.
The Bible says he ended up in the pigpen feeding t7he pigs. (v 15b) Folks," sin and rebellion will take you further than you want to go. Sin will keep you longer than you want to stay. Sin will cost you far more than you want to pay."
The far Country is a place of lasting hunger. (v16) Listen, the scripture says he was hungry. It means that he wanted to fill his belly with the husks that pigs eat. I don't know if he ate the pig's food or not, the pods, which he fed to the pigs, they were not compatible with the human digestive system. If he did, it didn't satisfy his appetite. He was accustomed to steak and lamb chops at his Father's table. Listen, Christians, when we were saved, the Lord gave us an appetite for the things of God that the world cannot satisfy. One reason a lot of Christians are so miserab1e, they are trying to fill their spiritual hunger with the spiritual food of this world, and it won't work. We need to understand that nothing the world has to offer will fill our need for fellowship with our Lord or our need to eat at the Father's table. Ask those who have tried it.