Summary: Doesn't it matter what sinners do? Don't they have to pay for their wrongs especially when its been against us? How do we feel when we find out it doesn't cost a sinner anything to come back? Isn't this a free ride and against everything what those who ha
Message: Who’s Missing?
Texts: Luke 15:25-32
Date: August 14
Pastor: Dave McBeath
As the ushers come forward we are going to continue our time of worship with an offering. This is an opportunity for those of us who are Christ followers to show God our appreciation for everything he has provided for us, by giving a little back to him! If you are a guest, please don’t feel as though you have to participate. And while the ushers are facilitating this act of worship, take a look at this video. It is called “The Other Brother” and introduces my message this morning.
Like this Older Brother, don’t most Christians ask the question, “Doesn’t It Matter?” Doesn’t it matter what “sinners” do? It’s a question asked especially by those of us who are 2nd generation Christians, who have grown up in the church doing everything we are supposed to do. It’s hard for most Christians, at least those who have been Christians for many years, not to have this question, isn’t it! It’s hard to encourage “sinners” to come home and not make them pay for what they’ve done. It’s especially hard if that “sinner” hurt us personally? I mean, doesn’t it matter that they hurt me? Shouldn’t they have to make it right? And if they’ve hurt God and/or the church, shouldn’t that matter? Shouldn’t we make them repent! Shouldn’t we be mad? Shouldn’t they pay something? Shouldn’t they make restitution?
Why is it so easy to feel this way? It’s hard to forgive someone and continue a relationship with them when we’ve been hurt by that person. Yeah, we say we forgive. But do we? How many times does our demeanor become cold toward the person that hurt us? How many times to we allow ourselves to drift away from that person and find someone else to spend our time with. Or, many times, do we harbor scornful, judgmental and belittling thoughts toward the person that wronged us?
Unlike the father who ran toward his “sinning” son, many times we just stand on the porch, so to speak, and disengage in our relationship with the person that hurt us. We stand there and stew on how we’ve been hurt. We stand there and allow our judgmental spirit to run the tape of how that person wronged us, …over and over again in our minds, …until we feel the need to make them pay for what they did. Anybody been there? Done that? Are you doing it now?
Like the Older Brother, we constantly ask the question, “Doesn’t it matter?” The Bible explains why we continually ask this question and it has to do with the fact that someone is missing! Let’s look at Luke 15:25-32 and see who is missing. If you are able would you stand in honor to God’s Word as I read?
"“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”"
A FREE RIDE
The older brother, like us, asks his Dad, “Why the party? Doesn’t it matter what your son did?” Why does the older brother do this? Why do we do this? Let’s consider the story the Jesus is telling. Remember, the younger son demanded his share of his Dad’s stuff. His demand meant he wants his Dad dead. He liquidated his Dad’s property at a bargain basement price and went off to a Gentile country to make a name for himself. He had a free ride while he is in this far country where he squandered his money with expensive living!
What did it cost the younger brother to come home after he did all of this? Nothing! It cost him absolutely nothing! There is no punishment! He is immediately let back into the family. His father runs to him, opens his arms and hugs the boy kissing him incessantly. Then, his Father clothes him in the finest robes, throws him and expensive party with paid musicians and the finest delicacies to eat! And it’s all fee! FREE!!! It’s grace! Because, he didn’t deserve it! This was good news for this sinful young boy!!! The boy has had a free ride and continues to receive a free ride! Yes!