Summary: This message gives a new look at the parable of the Prodigal Son comparing the two sons to O.T. Israel & the New Testament Church.
Scripture: Luke 15:11-24
Title: “The Prodigal Church”
Introduction: The CHURCH is the most POWERFUL “tool” God has at His disposal.
The CHURCH is the “ONLY” tool God has to REPRESENT Him in this world.
In verse 11 Jesus said, “A Certain Man” had two sons.”
The father in this story is always recognized as “God.”
If this is true there is much more here than a Jewish lad.
We are dealing with nothing less than the New Testament Church.
From this point of view this may very well be one of the most POWERFUL Revelations given by our Lord.
Who are these “Two Sons?”
Old Testament Israel – The New Testament Church.
The Older Son wandered to Babylon & The Younger Son wandered to Rome.
NOTE: The Younger Son requested his inheritance and the Father divided unto him His living.
The word “Living” translates from the Greek word bios (bee’os) the present state of existence; by implication, the means of livlihood: KJV – good, life, living.
The Word of God is very plain concerning the inheritance of the Church. “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” (I Cor. 5:5).
On the day of Pentecost the young Church received “her portion of goods,” the Father baptized her with the Holy Ghost.
In giving her (the Church) the Holy Ghost (The Spirit of Life), God gave that young Church everything necessary “to be” and “to do” all that He commanded.
I. THE FAR COUNTRY.
a. “And not many days after….” That is soon after receiving her portion of goods the young Church, in obedience to the command of her Lord, moved out into a “far country.”
b. “Far country” literally means a foreign country. (“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”) Acts 1:8.
c. That little group of 120 in the upper room came down onto the streets of Jerusalem dripping with the power of the Holy Spirit to the point that it “turned the world upside down.” (Acts 17:6)
d. We are seated here today (tonight) because of that “Happening.”
e. We are a PART of the “Far Country.”
II. THE WASTING OF HER (The Church) SUBSTANCE.
a. There in that far country the young Church WASTED her SUBSTANCE with riotous living or “to the destroying of himself.”
b. The Prodigal Son’s brother charged him with “devouring his father’s living with harlots,” this shows what is meant.
c. This runs deeper than SENSUALITY.
d. Since the whole story is designed to set forth the degradation of our SONSHIP, and the PROSTITUTION of our POWERS to purposes unworthy of our dignity and true destiny (which is to be CONFORMED to the Image of Christ.
e. The Church wasted her RELATIONSHIP with God, and like Samson, she lost her ABILITY to express Him.
III. WHEN HE HAD SPENT ALL.
a. “And when he had spent all….” The word “spent” is the same word in James 4:3 which means to “consume.”
b. The young Church “consumed, wasted,” the Life and gifts of God upon her own desires.
c. She tried to use God instead of worshiping Him.
d. Without a break in the thought, the Holy Spirit said, “there arose a mighty famine in that land….”
e. The FAMINE never comes until the Church is spiritually bankrupt.
f. The corruption and immorality that we have seen in the White House is a by-product of the corruption and immorality that is in the pulpit.
g. No society ever failed until its Church failed.
IV. BEGINNING TO BE IN WANT.
a. “And he began to be in want….” These words demonstrate that the Prodigal understood he had become something other than God intended.
b. Without a doubt this demonstrates that the FAMINE the young Church woke up to was not a famine for “bread and water,” but a famine of the “Life and Presence of God.”
c. We are not dealing with a hungry Jewish boy, we are dealing with the Church; the Church Universal.
d. Unless Christ is kept in the center of our lives we will begin to RULE the Church.
e. When this happens the Church loses it UNIVERSALITY, it becomes something LEGAL, and it becomes a DIVIEDED THING.
V. JOINING A CITIZEN OF THAT FAR COUNTRY.
a. Instead of returning to an ALTAR and God the Father the Prodigal went to the WORLD for HELP. “….And he (the WORLD) sent him into the field to feed swine.”
b. The PRICE of the world’s help was and is the Prodigal must strip himself of every God-given conviction.