Summary: We never get so far from God that we cannot come home. A message of grace and restoration.
What The Prodigal Had Left
In these fourteen verses we find one of the greatest short stories ever written. We have the story about a rebellious, wasteful son and a father who loved him. But this is more than just a story about an earthly father and son, it has a deeper meaning. It is a tremendous picture of man and God. It is a picture of sinful man rebelling against the love and goodness of God and of a longsuffering God.
One thing that the Lord has shown me is the difference between two words that we often use interchangeably but are in reality different. These words are “patience” and “longsuffering”.
“Patience” is the ability to wait. For instance when I was a little boy I was excited about Christmas. I
would see the presents under the tree and wanted to open them. I had to wait. I had to have patience.
“Longsuffering” is the ability to suffer long. It involves waiting but it also has the connotation of
suffering. For instance a young woman’s husband is killed in a tragic accident. She may go through
months and years of grief and sorrow, wondering if she will ever be able to go on with her life. Her
grief is like draining a swimming pool with a thimble. Will it ever be over. Longsuffering involves pain
and hurt while patience doesn’t.
In the story of the Prodigal Son we have a picture of a longsuffering God. Sin and rebellion hurt the heart of a loving God.
I. The Downward steps of Sin. Vs. 11-16
1. The Demand of the Son – Vs. 12 – “give me”
Sin makes a person selfish. They only think of themselves.
2. The Departure of the Son – Vs. 13
Notice these two words – “Took” and “Wasted”
3. The Distress of the Son – Vs. 14
Someone has said, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, - Keep you longer than you want to
stay, - and cost you more than you want to pay.”
4. The Discovery of the Son – Vs. 15
5. The Dearth of the Son – Vs. 16
This wasn’t his idea of living high off the hog.
II. The Upward Steps Home - What The Prodigal Had Left Vs. 17-19
1. He Came To Himself - He Could Still Reason Vs. 17
This young, rebellious son died right here in verse 17. Oh, he didn’t die physically. But he died. He died to pride. He died to self. He died to rebellion. He died to the desire for sin. This young man had had his fill of sin. He had literally found the “hog trough of sin”.
The late evangelist Lester Roloff ran homes for rebellious young men and young women. On one occasion some parents came literally dragging their teenager to one of his homes begging for him to take him into one of his homes. Brother Rolloff agreed to talk with the young man. He came back ten minutes later and said, He’s not ready yet it wouldn’t do any good. Bring him back when he’s had his fill of sin.
2. He Had A Memory Of Good Things At Home. Vs. 17
a. He remembered what he had left behind. – the food – the warm bed – the love
b. Sin looks beautiful and pleasant but it leaves man empty and unhappy.
3. He Remembered His Father. Vs. 17
Years ago I talked with a young Christian woman who had left God and gone into the world. She told me why she had eventually come back to God. Her words were simple, “I missed Him.”
Is God good? – Yes. He is always good. It is his nature to be good. Even when bad things come into our lives – God is still good.
4. He Had The Will Power To Do What He Needed To Do. Vs. 18
a. He began to think
b. He made a choice
c. He said, “I will arise.”
Someone once said, “It’s a long hard road back to God” – wrong. It’s a long hard road in sin. It’s one short prayer back to God.
5. He Could Humble Himself. Vs. 19
When we come to the end of ourselves. We come to the beginning of God.
III. The Welcome He Received Vs. 20-23
1. He received Mercy. Vs. 20-21
a. He didn’t get what he deserved
b. The Father Ran To Meet Him. Vs. 20
2. He received Grace. Vs. 22-24
a. He received what he didn’t deserve.
b. He was welcomed home as a son –not as a servant.
Perhaps you are like this prodigal son. You have wasted you life in sin. God is waiting to receive you. Won’t you come home today.