Summary: This message reveals the great grace, mercy, and love of God extended to the lost sinner. But only those willing to realize their sinful condition, and repent from the heart can be true recipients of the Father’s forgiveness and restoration.
The Path Of A Prodigal
Text: Luke 15: 11-24
Intro: The passage before us today is a parable of Jesus that beautifully illustrates the grace, mercy and love of God toward lost sinners, and the joy their repentance and salvation gives Him. This parable is the last of three stories Jesus used to answer the accusation of the Pharisees, who said, “This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them” (Luke 15: 2). The same accusation was leveled at Christ and His disciples in Luke 5: 30-32. When Jesus overheard their question, He got right to the point. He said, “They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5: 31 & 32). Jesus was not saying that the Pharisees had no need of repentance, but rather that He could not deliver anyone from sin, who trusted in their own outward goodness and assumed righteousness. Only those who saw themselves for what they truly were could experience God’s merciful forgiveness and salvation.
Folks, God doesn’t save good people, only sinners. Until a person comes to the place of realizing their personal sinfulness and guilt before a holy God, they cannot be saved. Salvation is not a matter of agreeing to certain religious dogma, or principles. Receiving eternal life is acquired by putting one’s faith and trust in the person of Jesus Christ, and His work on Calvary, to forgive you and save you, because you have come to realize that you are spiritually bankrupt, with no means within yourself to gain God’s favor.
Many people in our modern-day society seem to have the mistaken idea that God is some sort of cosmic ogre, who is just waiting for the chance to send somebody to Hell for all eternity—that He is some sort of divine killjoy, who wants to sap all the fun out of a person’s life. Nothing could be farther from the truth. God’s Word clearly tells us that God is, “…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3: 9b). If you will notice closely, you will find that this parable:
…Emphasizes the graciousness of the father more than the sinfulness of the son…the father did not go out to seek the son, but it was the memory of his father’s goodness that brought the boy to repentance and forgiveness (see Rom. 2:4).
Warren W. Wiersbe, Warren Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, as found in QuickVerse, A Division Of Findex.Com, Inc., Omaha, Nebraska.
If there’s one thing that I want everyone to be aware of today, it is that God loves you. That’s the reason He sent His Son to the Cross of Calvary to suffer your pain, and pay your penalty for sin, so that you, through faith in Christ, could be forgiven, and receive eternal life. Don’t forget that, “…the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance” (Rom.2: 4b).
Theme: The path of this prodigal led to:
I. A DEPARTURE FROM HIS FATHER
A. Look At This Man’s Wanton Selfishness.
1. Notice the greediness of the son.
Luke 15: 11 “And he said, A certain man had two sons:
12a And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me...”
2. Notice the graciousness of the father.
Luke 15: 12b “…And he divided unto them (his two sons) his living.”
NOTE:  The younger son’s request was tantamount to telling his father, “I wish you were dead,” “I’m not concerned with you. I’ve got my own life to live.” As a matter of fact, the words “give me” imply immediate action. The Greek rendering carries the idea of, “give me directly the share of the estate which falls to me” (Kenneth S. Wuest, The New Testament, An Expanded Translation, published by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan; pg. 177). Though this young man’s request was legal, it wasn’t very loving. Jewish law stipulated that a man’s property could be divided up between his heirs upon his death, incapacitation, or during his lifetime, at a time of his choosing. The elder son would receive two thirds of his father’s wealth, while the other heirs divided up the remaining third. The problem here was greediness and selfishness. Wiersbe once said, “The root of sin is selfishness—‘I will’ and not ‘Thy will’” (Warren W. Wiersbe, Warren Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, as found in QuickVerse, A Division Of Findex.Com, Inc., Omaha, Nebraska). Somebody once noted: “Man is self-centered. Man is seeking to satisfy himself. ‘A man all wrapped up in himself makes a mighty small package’” (Source unknown. Taken from pastorlife.com).
 Notice how graciously the father responded to the request of his younger son. We’re not told of any argument or lecture on his part. He simply divided up his property between his two sons to do with, as they desired. It is also interesting to note that the word “living,” in verse 12, literally means, “his life” (Charles F. Pfeiffer and Everett F. Harrison, Editors, The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, published by Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois; pg. 1054). Jesus gave up His life for our salvation and forgiveness. But while some accept it and value it, others, who are unwise, squander God’s free gift of salvation.