Summary: It may have been the criticism of the elder brother that drove the prodigal son away from home, but it was the love of the Father who brought him back!
“The Kind of Church I want to be the Pastor of”
Introduction: It seems the reason why the prodigal son left home might have been because of the attitude that his elder brother had towards him. What brought him home was the love of the Father. I do not want to frame my Church around the philosophy of the "elder brother." May the Church that I Pastor be more like that of "My Father"s Church."
1. Why the prodigal Son left home… he was deceived...
About what money could buy.
Like so many people, the prodigal son dreamed, "If I only had money, then I would be happy."
About the pleasure of sin.
There is pleasure in sin for a season. The lust of the flesh can never be satisfied. Famine and death will be found not long down its trail.
About who his real friends were
When the prodigal son’s money was gone, so were his new bought friends.
When the famine came, the only job the prodigal son could secure was that of feeding pigs. The young are often deceived with youth itself. The reality of life makes one old in a hurry.
What brought the prodigal son home?
2. The kind of Church I want to be the Pastor of.
“Our Father’s Church” Here are the characteristics of the kind of Church that I want to be the Pastor of:
We preach the Bible.
The Bible was the Law Book of the Father’s home. One of the reasons why the prodigal son may have left home is that he knew that he could not "flaunt" his sin in the presence of his Father. I want to Pastor a Bible preaching Church.
The Pastor is not a “Baptist Pope.”
Note that the Father did not follow his son into town. As Pastor, I cannot, and I will not, follow the members of my Church around with a television camera and note and pad. You are your own priest before the Lord.
It’s not about money.
The father did not argue about money. He simply gave the inheritance to his son. May God deliver us from money grabbing schemes.
We give people a chance to prove themselves.
Although the possibility of failure was probable, The Father still allowed his Son to have his inheritance. Although we need to be careful about putting people into leadership, I am also aware that, as Pastor, I need to give people a chance to prove themselves.
We believe in the power of prayer
What was the Father doing at the end of the driveway? Watching and praying.
We really mean, “There’s a welcome here!”
May the greeters of our Church be waiting in the driveway of our Church with warm greetings for all those who come our way.
We are eager to forgive.
Before the prodigal son could give his memorized speech, the Father had his arms around him. Jesus has already been to the Cross. Forgiveness has already been applied to every child of God making his venture home.
When we give, we give our best.
The father asked his servants to give the best robe to his son. May we always give God our best, even to the "least of the brethren."
Our constant theme is “The Old Rugged Cross.”
The fatted calf was killed. Let us sing "Jesus, keep me near the cross." That should be the constant theme of every message.
We know how to Celebrate!
There was music and dancing in the house. Our Church needs to know how to celebrate the victory that we have in Christ. All of heavenly angels sing and dance when a person comes into the family.
We honor those who serve faithfully.
Let us not forget to hold the elder brother in reputation. The Father said, "All that I have is thine."
3. The kind of Church I do not want to Pastor… “The Church of the Elder Brother”
When people quit when they do not get “their way.”
The older brother refused to enter into the house. Some people stop going to Church when they do not get their way.
When people gossip about one another, rather than pray for one another.
The testimony of the elder brother was that he never left the family farm. The question is, "how did he know then, what his younger brother was doing?" Answer: gossip.
When people think others can “lose their salvation,” but they themselves, are incapable of falling.
The older brother saw himself as faultless. Certainly his younger brother should no longer be considered apart of the family.
When those who were called your brothers and sisters in Christ would rather see you dead than have you restored.
The Father told the elder brother, "rejoice your brother is alive!" It is obvious, that the brother would have been happier to have had his younger brother reported dead.
Will you help me in my efforts to have the kind of Church that God wants us to have?