The Prodigal Son – Part 1 | Luke 15:11-24

The Prodigal Son – Part 1 | Luke 15:11-24

Introduction

  • This morning I want to kick off a two part series on the parable of the Prodigal Son…
    • Maybe some of you have heard this story, you may have even recently studied it with us in Men’s or Women’s group. But I wanted to re-approach it because I think that there is so much truth in this parable that can help, encourage, rebuke, and guide us in our Christian life.
    • Would you all turn with me to Luke 15:11-24?
      • While you turn let me remind you what this story is about. This is the story of a family, led by a father who was probably pretty wealthy. The father had two son’s and one of them decided he wanted his inheritance before his father died, he took that inheritance, moved far away, and wasted it all living a life a debauchery… then he nearly starves to death before finally coming back to his father… here it is in Luke 15:11-24 ESV:

Luke 15:11-24 ESV  And [Jesus] said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12  And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13  Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14  And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15  So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16  And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. 17  “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18  I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19  I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”‘ 20  And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21  And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22  But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23  And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24  For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

  • Now generally this story is called the Prodigal Son. The word prodigal means someone who spends money recklessly or lavishly. And clearly that name is talking about this younger son who took his father’s money and waited it all.
  •  But I really don’t like the name “The Prodigal Son” for this story (The Bible never calls it that, that was added later) because it really on focuses on one of the three major characters in this story.
    • The three major characters in this parable are
      • The Father, who is loving, merciful, and forgiving (If you haven’t gathered that character represents God)
      • Then there is the younger son who takes his father’s money and waists it, this young man represents sinners who eventually come to repentance.
      • And then there is the third character, the older son, who we are going to talk about in depth next week.
    • So for this week I want to focus on the younger son, his behaviors, and his father’s reaction.

Point One: The Prodigal’s Behavior

  • So let’s get into point one, the Prodigal Son’s behavior.
    • We can start by looking at verse 15:12 “And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them.”
      • So this story really starts with the younger son asking his father for things, lots of things…
        • And if we know that the father in this story represents God, then really this story is starting with someone asking God for things! Lots of things!
  • Y’all know anyone who asks God for lots of things?
    • Look around you, man, Christians, we do that all the time, don’t we?
      • We petition God over and over and over and over for things!
        • Father heal me
        • God help me with my finances
        • God give me this Job
        • Lord help my relationship
        • Bless this, bless that, bless this other thing!
          • MAN WE ASK GOD A LOT OF STUFF DON’T WE!
            • Be honest church, don’t say it out loud, but just think about it… how much of your prayer time is spent asking God for things?
      • So right out of the gate we can say we have some similarities to the prodigal son, don’t we? We recognize that our father is rich and powerful and we want some of that for ourselves, so we ask and ask some more!
    • But hear me church, before you get too down on yourself for petitioning God and asking for things, NO WHERE IN THIS PARABLE DO WE SEE THE FATHER SCOLDING THE SON FOR ASKING FOR THINGS!
      • The father does not get mad and say “How dare you ask for this‽”
        • The father doesn’t respond with “You know son all you ever do is ask me for things”
        • To the contrary we don’t see any hesitation with the father giving the son all that he asked for!
          • So just as an aside, I want to mention something that has been on my heart lately… Please never feel bad about petitioning God, about asking Him for things, lots of things!
            • Sometimes we put our earthly feelings on God, and think “Man I hate it when people only ask me for things and that is all!”
              • Well the reason we hate that is because it is rarely continent for us to give something away, or do something for someone, it normally takes some sort of sacrifice, and be it time or money.
            • But God is not like us, He is all powerful and money is of no object to him. He could give each an everyone of us a brand new Lexus today and it would not be any sweat off His back!
              • He is not bothered by our petitions, it does not waist His time for He exists outside of time, nor does it slow Him down for He is all powerful!
              • But that being said we also have to be OK with God saying “No” because He knows better and knows what is good for us, He knows that giving everyone a Lexus at CLC may not be what’s best for the Kingdom of God, so He just gives Shawn and Sharla a Lexus instead!
                • Y’all praise God for that Lexus? Amen, don’t let anyone take that spirit of praise and Joy away from you!
  • So back to the story, you see I think the father in the story is the same way, I don’t really think it was any sweat of the fathers back to give his son what his son was asking for, I mean he remains madly wealth and successful through the whole story, he doesn’t go broke here.
    • But here is where it gets tough church… let me read verse 12 to you again.
    • Luke 15:12 “And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’
      • Do you know what he is asking for here? The younger son is asking for his inheritance! He is saying “Dad I want my inheritance now!”
        • Church, when are you supposed to receive inheritance from someone?
        • After they die! Right‽ That’s what inheritance is, and the son wants his inheritance now.
      • The son is literally saying “Dad, I can’t wait for you to die! Give me your inheritance now, because I am tired of waiting for you to die to get it!
    • I mean the point of inheritance is that it is supposed to take care of you after your father dies, and this son is saying “I don’t need you to take care of me, alive or dead, I want it now”.
      • And what is amazing is that the father gives to him!
        • And so God does with many people! This right here is the difference between the church, those who are Christians, and the world! And many of us can testify to this truth!
        • You see we petition God as Christians and He gives us what is best for us… But those who are in the world take what is God’s (And he allows them to) and they waist it.
          • They breath His air, eat His food, Live on His earth all for themselves.
          • They have premarital sex with His creations, they smoke His plants to get high, they drink his fruit to get drunk, they take all that is Gods and they waist it on themselves! So where some of us, amen‽
        • And that’s what the son in this story does, he takes from the father and waists it on himself. And the father allows it.
  • Verse 13  Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14  And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need.
    • So the son takes his inheritance, moves away, and waists it all on sinful living. Then what happens? Verse 14 says a famine arises in the country and the son begins to realize… OH NO! I AM OUT OF MONEY AND THERE IS NO FOOD FOR ME TO EAT!
  • Numbers 32:23 tells us our sin will find us out! There is no hiding from the consequence of sin.
    • When you live a life of sin, that sin will catch up to you! It will find you out! Pray therefore that it finds you out while you are still alive, as it did for this young man, that there will still be time for forgiveness and repentance!
  • Gal 6:7-8 ESV  Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.  8  For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
    • Again a biblical principal, if you plant orange seeds you get and orange tree, if you plant apple seeds you get an apple tree. If you plant sin and destruction what do you get? You get sin and destruction!
      • Again pray that you reap what you have sowed while you are still living and there is time to repent!
  • And that what happens in this story, it is by grace that the young man realizes! Oh no! I am out of money and am going to starve to death!
  • Thankfully he realized before it was too late! He realized before He starved to death!
    • So he realizes he is in trouble, so he tries to fix it himself:
      • 15  So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16  And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
    • But that did not work out for him… So then he has a brilliant idea! “I can return to dad, dad still has money! Maybe I can work for him!”
      • 17  “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18  I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19  I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”‘
    • So the son realizes that he has screwed it up, he also realizes that he can’t fix this on his own… so he decides to return to his father.
      • The same father who he had early took his inheritance from, the one he just couldn’t wait to die!
      • He is so nervous about it that he even rehearses what he is going to say to his father! HE PRACTICES WHAT HE IS GOING TO SAY! Look again at verse 18-19 “18  I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19  I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”‘”
  • Man this guy is nervous, why? BECAUSE HE REALLY WAS A JERK TO HIS FATHER! THE SAME GUY HE IS GOING BACK TO BEG FOR FOOD FROM!
    • He must be thinking all sorts of things:
      • Dad is going to ask me what I did with that money
      • He is going to know I wasted it
      • He is going to ask me why I left him
      • He is going to scold me, rebuke me, I treated him so poorly! Surely he is going to tell me about it!
  • And how many people in the world are feeling the same way toward God?
    • They took from him what is His and they wasted it on themselves. They lived a life of sin and their sin has found them out!
      • I know because I have talked to them, maybe some of you were like them, maybe you are them right now…
        • Saying things like “I can’t ask God for this because of this sin that I have done”
        • I can’t go back to church because of what I did…
      • I have had many people say “You don’t know what I have done, I would never be accepted by church or by God!”
  • And it is such a natural feeling… but the father’s reaction, God’s reaction, is incredibly unnatural!

Point Two: The Fathers Reaction

Lets look at the father’s reaction:

20  And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.

  • So after rehearsing what he was going to say to his dad, the son finally gets the courage to return home… and look what verse 20 says, it says “And while he was still a long way off the father saw him”.
    • The son didn’t even make it home! It is like the father was looking for him, waiting for him to return! The father saw him a long ways off!
    • James 4:8 says “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” And that is exactly what happens in this story, the son takes the first step to return home and the father sees it and he starts running toward the son!
      • Hear me, the father RUNS toward the repentant sinner! He doesn’t make it hard for the son to come home, no instead he runs towards him, God doesn’t make I hard for us to come to Him, he waits for us to take the first step then he comes RUNNING!
  • Again verse 20  And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
  • So then in verse 21 the son, probably still feeling like a jerkbag, a hungry jerkbag at that, starts to recite what he had earlier rehearsed:
    • 21  And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
  • But look at this! HE DOESENT EVEN GET ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE SHORT PRAYER HE REHEARSED, HIS DAD CUTS HIM OFF!
    • 22  But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23  And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate.
  • The son starts to repent and the father does not drag it out, he does not say I told you so, to the contrary, before the son is even finished, he cuts him off and tells the servants to get his best robe and put it on him, and a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet, and to kill the fatted calf!
    • Why? Verse 24 tells us why: 24  For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
  • You see the Father never mentions the wasted inheritance, the blatant insult of not waiting until he was dead, he forgets the sin and debauchery, all he cares about is that his son who was lost is now found! Because the father know the son did not have to come back, the son could have died out there.
    • The son could have been so stubborn and proud that he refused to return choosing rather to starve to death.
    • The son could have been so reckless that he got himself killed while living in his sin.
  • You see the father doesn’t care about the money, he’s got plenty, but he only has the two sons, and one was lost but is now found, as far as he knew the one was dead, but is now alive! OF COURSE HE IS GOING TO CELEBRATE!

Conclusion

Alter call:

Salvation: Note that the prodigal son came back for selfish reasons, there is no wrong reason to come to God! He will come running!

 Have you turned away from God, are you afraid of returning back to him?

Isaiah 43:25 ESV  “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.

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