Summary: Anyone would be crazy to give up a relationship with God for the pleasures of this world. We would be foolish to give what we cannot LOSE to gain what we cannot KEEP!

“The Prodigal Son”

Luke 15:11:32

Pastor Allan Kircher Shell Point Baptist Church

23 Jan 2011

“God’s Joy and Sorrow”

The term “Blood is thicker than water” is an old proverb referring to the strong ties which bind families together.

Persons who have known the joy of strong family bonds are in a favorable position to understand God’s joy in recovering his people and their joy in being restored to God’s family.

This is what the gospel is about.

It is the story of God’s sorrow and God’s joy.

It is a story of broken and restored relationships.

God’s joy of saving those who repent and God’s sorrow of losing those who refuse his love are experienced together in the work of redemption.

The writer of Hebrews captured this blending of elements when he pictured Jesus as one “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame…(Heb. 12:2).

This is the story Luke’s Gospel tells.

Luke 15 is one of the most famous chapters in the Bible.

In my preparation and prayer I believe it would have been and is especially misleading to isolate “the parable of the prodigal son” from its setting without examining the entire chapter.

The story of the prodigal actually begins all the way at the beginning of chapter 15 when the Pharisees criticized Jesus for receiving sinners and eating with them.

Look at verses 1-2

These verses give us the setting for the understanding of the three parables which follow.

To ignore the setting is to miss the meaning in the parables.

Jesus answered this criticism with these parables.

You see, if the Pharisees and scribes had known God’s sorrow in the loss of even one person and his joy over one sinner’s repentance, they would not have censured Jesus for eating with publicans and sinners.

{PP} The Pharisees fancied they were not lost; they professed to be among the righteous.

They were more particular of keeping the traditions of the elders than they were about obeying the commandments of God.

They trusted in their own righteousness, and they did not realize how far short they came.

Oh, how I pray we never collapse our thoughts in the reality of this fallen world and take this mindset.

Our Lord Jesus Christ was always interested in sinners.

He came down from the glory of His Father’s house to save sinners.

But these legalists could not possible understand this.

If these words come before any of you who have been in doubt as to whether or not the Lord Jesus Christ will accept you, oh, let me tell you.

{PP} This is a faithful saying, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners!”

He is interested in you; He is interested in me.

I came as a sinner, and He did not turn me away.

He received me and saved me, and He will do the same for you if you will come to Him.

Today, we need not to think of these as three separate parables.

It is a story of the grace of God pictured in three ways.

Please turn to Luke chapter 15 verses 3-7 as we read God’s word.

{PP} The first parable focuses on the shepherd’s concern for one lost sheep, his diligence in seeking it, and his joy in finding it.

Jesus taught that these are God’s attitude and actions toward sinners.

This is the whole point of Jesus’ life and death.

He said, “The Son of man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

He is seeking you today all who are lost and fallen.

All who have come to know they are wretched, blind, poor and naked.

Jesus said, “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep.”

Jesus doesn’t say 99 safe in the fold, in safety, but “in the open country.” “in the wilderness”

“and go after that which is lost until he find it?”

Perhaps the ninety-nine were like the legalists who imagined they were righteous.

{PP} Those perhaps sitting here this morning considering that they are not lost, and think they don’t need to be sought and found.

But the lost sheep is the poor sinner soul who knows he is lost, who knows he needs a Savior.

So, the Shepherd leaves the ninety and nine in the wilderness, in their self-complacency, and goes out for that which is lost, and does not give up until He finds it.

The statement that God rejoices more over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine “righteous persons who need no repentance”

Is not to be taken out of context.

God is pleased with obedience, but not with proud self-righteousness. Stubbornness, and denial to His name.

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