THE STORYTELLER: THE PARABLES OF JESUS #2: LOST AND FOUND
(Pastor Chris Jordan – Beausejour Church)
- To listen to or download the audio MP3 or printable notes, click HERE.
OPENING: Have you ever lost something that was important to you?
- I remember one time I lost my wallet and how I felt – looked everywhere for it!
- There was another time we lost Austin in Walmart, and left Caleb behind at church!
INTRO TO TOPIC: Jesus is the World’s Greatest Storyteller.
- In His parables, we find wisdom for living our daily lives.
- Parable Defined: an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.
- In today’s parable, we’re going to look at something that was lost and found.
“Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such despicable people — even eating with them!” (Luke 15:1-2, NLT).
- Jesus loved to hang around with sinners, but that got the religious people mad at Him.
- In this one instance, instead of telling one story, Jesus tells three:
- In verses 3-7, Jesus tells the story of a shepherd who lost a sheep and looked for it.
- In verses 8-10, Jesus tells the story of a woman who lost a coin and looked for it.
THE PARABLE OF THE PRODIGAL SON: (Luke 15:11-32, NLT).
This is one of the greatest stories ever written – Rembrandt painted it; Shakespeare wrote about it
“11 To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons.” (v.11).
- In this parable, the Father represents God.
- Father is a challenging topic for many people – positive, negative, or no father?
- In this story, Jesus wants to reveal to us something about the heart of God as Father.
1. THE REBELLIOUS SON:
“12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now, instead of waiting until you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
- As a father, if one of my children said this to me, I would have been devastated.
13 A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and took a trip to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money on wild living.
- He turned his back on the father with no thought of returning (distant land = far away)
- I’m sure the father stood there weeping as he watched him leave.
- The younger son was a fool and soon wasted all of his money on casinos, bars, strip clubs, bigger toys, fancy clothes, etc.
14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve.
- The famine = represents an economic crisis.
- Next thing you know, he’s homeless, on the streets, lost weight, maybe strung out
15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him to feed his pigs. 16 The boy became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.
- The only job he can get is working for a pagan pig-farmer. This is the worst possible job for a Jewish boy. Pigs are unclean animals.
17 When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired men have food enough to spare, and here I am, dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired man.”‘
- He finally came to his senses and decided to go home to the Father’s House.
THE REBELLIOUS SON RETURNS HOME:
20 So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming.
- Here we see the father again, watching and waiting every day for his son to return.
20b Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.
- When the father sees him, he runs towards him.
- The father could have punished him, disowned him, or even had him put to death.
- But the father kisses him and embraces him in the stench of his sin.
- Dads – are you affectionate to your children? When was the last time you hugged them?
- The father was filled with love and compassion. He still loved the son!
21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’ 22 But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger, and sandals for his feet.
- The robe and ring signified the son was accepted again into the family.
- Why the sandals? In those days, slaves were barefoot. But this was the son!
- The father didn’t wait for him to get his act all cleaned up first:
- Love, acceptance and forgiveness! That’s the Kingdom of God – the church.
- “The church is not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners.” (Morton Kelsey).
23 And kill the calf we have been fattening in the pen. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.” (v.12-24).
- This story is often called the parable of the prodigal son.
- Prodigal means ‘wastefully or recklessly extravagant.’
- That word could better be used to describe the father’s love for his son.
- “So the party began.” That’s the kingdom of God – it’s a celebration of God’s love!
- But not everyone loves the party… which brings us to:
2. THE RELIGIOUS SON:
“25 Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. (the good son, dutiful, working hard).
When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the calf we were fattening and has prepared a great feast. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’ 28 The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him,
- The older brother was angry, proud, indignant, self-righteous and critical.
- Just like the father ran to the rebellious son, he runs to the religious son, too!
29 but he replied, ‘All these years I‘ve worked hard for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours (not ‘my brother’ – he’s so mad!) comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the finest calf we have.’
- The older son is the good Christian sitting in a pew but grumbling and complaining.
- The older son is angry at the father’s extravagant love. He wants punishment/discipline!
31 His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you and I are very close (I am always with you – NKJV), and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!” (Luke 15:25-32, NLT).
REBELLIOUS OR RELIGIOUS – WHICH SON ARE YOU?
- REBELLION: RELIGION:
- Breaks the rules Keeps the rules
- Liberal, immoral and disobedient Conservative, moral and obedient
- The sin is visible The sin is invisible
- Unrighteous Self-righteous
- Which son are you? Maybe you’re both, or you’ve been both during your lifetime.
- Both were living their lives apart from the father.
- There are times in my Christian life where I found myself being both rebellious and religious.
3. THE THIRD SON:
- Which SON should we be? There’s actually a third son who is the key to the whole story.
- He’s the one who told the story: Jesus. He’s the one who died on the cross for our sins.
- ALTAR CALL FOR SALVATION.
- Whether you’re rebellious or religious: Come home and let the party begin!
THE BIG IDEA: In the parable of the prodigal son, Jesus reveals God as Father who is extravagant in His love for us, welcoming both rebellious and religious sons to come home.
- Pastor’s Blog: https://pastorchrisjordan.wordpress.com/