Summary: Never think you are beyond the reaches of the love of God for you.
Cornerstone Church 02/18/2007
WHAT’S SO AMAZING ABOUT GRACE?
The Prodigal Son: Luke 15:11-31
Jesus has been drawing a crowd with His ministry and messages.
Multitudes are flocking to Jesus because they hear hope in His words.
Individuals like Matthew the Tax-Collector, whom Pastor Jim spoke about a few weeks ago, make up the ranks of those who are following Jesus.
Listen to these words from Luke 15:1-3 from The Message
“By this time a lot of men and women of doubtful reputation were hanging around Jesus, listening intently. The Pharisees and religion scholars were not pleased, not at all pleased. They growled, ‘He takes in sinners and eats meals with them, treating them like old friends.’ Their grumbling triggered this story.”
Jesus is getting ready to speak again
I would imagine that those most in need of grace are sitting as close as they possibly can to Jesus. They got up early to get there. They believe that He has answers to their questions. They know they are sick or hopeless.
Farther out in the crowd are those who are trying to make up their mind about Jesus. They have heard John the Baptist teach and now they want to know what Jesus has to say. They are seeking for truth and hope Jesus is the ONE!
Way in the back – on the fringe - are the Scribes and Pharisees. They are there to spy on Jesus. They do not understand him. They do not need to see the doctor. They are spiritual in their own minds. They are more concerned with keeping their rules and religious practices than listening to Jesus.
Jesus begins to teach
The Story of the Lost Sheep
"Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it?”
When the person finds the lost sheep they gather all of their friends and neighbors together to celebrate and rejoice.
The Story of the Lost Coin
"Or imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it?”
When the woman finds the lost coin she also gathers together all of her friends and neighbors and rejoices.
After each story Jesus makes it clear that even more rejoicing and celebration goes on in heaven over a sinner that repents and turns to God.
At this point many would have said, “Let’s take up the offering, pray and go home.” But Jesus still hasn’t finished the lesson. He tells one more story.
The Story of the Lost Son
Then he said, "There was once a man who had two sons. The younger said to his father, ’Father, I want right now what’s coming to me.’
This is a shock
First – The oldest / firstborn son was the one who would receive his inheritance first (2/3 of the estate).
Second – The father wasn’t dead.
If the father slapped the son on the cheek because of righteous indignation no one would have thought less of the father.
The son is basically saying – “I wish you were dead so I could have what’s coming to me!”
Soon the whole town is aware of this family’s dysfunction. In the ancient world your riches were tied up to land and commodities like livestock. In order to give the boy the money he had to sell off a portion of his assets.
So the son leaves for a distant country. He isn’t leaving to sow his wild oats.
He is a star on the rise! He’s off to join Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.
Most families would have had a “Cutting Off” Ceremony basically disowning the son!
We’ll stop here and return to the story later
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me -
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.”
Why is this song so popular worldwide?
When you sing it does your heart stir
or fill with emotion?
For me, its like when I’m watching “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” My children look over at me and say, “Dad’s crying again!”
Are you still amazed by God’s Grace?
Are you still living daily by
the power of God’s Grace?
Perhaps you are here this morning and you know you need grace. Your life is undone and you wonder if you can begin again.
Or you are here this morning and you are a Christian. You are saved but you have forgotten the meaning of God’s grace!
What’s So Amazing About Grace?
Let’s find out!
Undoubtedly, many, if not all of us, have professed Jesus Christ as our Savior.
Unfortunately as time passed we have erected our own religious system of rules, standards, and actions. We employ these lists as a means of estimating our own spirituality and to critique those around us.