Summary: Gaurding Against Self Righteousness
I. Last week I preached about the story of the loving Father who had a prodigal son.
A. His son demanded what he had coming in terms of an inheritance, and hit the road.
B. He went away and lived a life that went against everything that his father had ever stood for. The NIV version of the bible says that he spent all that he had on wild living.
C. He got in a bad spot and it caused him to start thinking. Actually I think it caused him to look beyond himself for the first time in his life, and suddenly he began to see that there was something more than himself.
D. From the evidence that we have, I believe that this boy probably grew up being very self-centered. But, isn’t self-centeredness the root of all sin anyway.
E. Until this time in his life he probably had never thought about anything in a way beyond how it affected him. But, finding himself in a place where he realized the reality of his actions and the actions of some people who had not treated him right, he saw a bigger picture.
F. Realizing, his mistakes and the effects that they had on other people as well as him he set out to make some changes, and he went home to find his father anxiously waiting to see him again.
G. It is a beautiful story that so much illustrates the way that God deals with and feels about us, but there is another lesson to be learned from this story.
II. He was the good one, the honorable one, the one who had always done things the right way. He was always obedient. He had never gotten into a minutes trouble. He was the model child the kind that everybody wanted.
A. And he is unfortunately, in attitude, a clone of too many Christians today.
B. He was so upright that he had begun to look at himself as the standard by which others should be measured.
C. He looked at all his goodness to the extent that he could not see his biggest wrong.
D. He was so caught up in how good he was that he over looked the thing that in some ways made him worse that those he looked down on.
E. He was self righteous and judgmental, and because he saw himself as so perfect, he would not tolerate any imperfection in anyone else as he over looked his own imperfections.
F. He was hard working and couldn’t tolerate anyone who wasn’t. He had spent his whole life working so hard to be perfect that he actually began to think that he was, and gave no one a second chance, because he saw himself as not needing one.
G. The day his brother dishonored his dad by asking for his inheritance he was appalled that someone could be so blind.
H. He knew that in the culture that they lived in to ask ones father for your inheritance was seen as considering that person dead to you.
I. He was infuriated and he had thoughts of taking his brother out behind the barn, but then he thought "well that would put me in the same category with that crude, insensitive brother of mine."
J. But as perfect as he thought he was he missed the most important thing about what was happening. He missed the thing that it would have been most helpful if he had seen. He missed the pain of his father.
1. He in his self righteousness missed the fact that his father’s heart was being torn out, because he was losing one of his children.
2. He never thought about the fact that his brother might have been leaving because he was tired of trying to measure up to him.
3. He didn’t see that no matter what his brother had done, he was still his father’s son and that his father ached inside to see his son’s image disappearing over the horizon.
4. For all his goodness and righteousness, he had missed the most important part, and that was love and compassion.
III. That is why he was so irate today.
A. Once again he had been out in the field being responsible, and carrying the load for his father, doing his work and doing his father’s bidding.
B. All day he had been out in the hot sun, and there were many times that he had wanted to stop, but he kept on working because felt that his accomplishments where what defined whom he was.
C. That, and he loved to hear people tell his father how lucky he was to have a son like him, and every time they did he could not help but think it was the least he could have after the way that ingrate younger brother of his turned out.