The Prodigal Son – Part 2

The Prodigal Son – Part 2

Introduction

  • So last week we started this two part series on the two sons.
    • We examined the first half of this parable commonly known as the Prodigal son.
      • And if you remember, we talked about how there are three main characters in this story:
        • The wealthy, powerful, loving, compassionate, and forgiving father who represents God.
        • Then there is the younger son, known as the prodigal Son, who wasted his father’s inheritance on a life of debauchery. This represents a sinner.
        • Then there is the older son, who we did not talk about last week, he is the focus of this week’s message, and his interaction with his father.
  • So just to recap, the story of the Prodigal Son is as follows:
    • A father has two sons, the younger asks for his inheritance early, in short saying “I can’t wait for you to die dad, I want my inheritance now”. That son runs off and waists all of the money living a sinful lifestyle, then a famine arises and the son realizes he is starving. After a short stint of trying to make it on his own he finally returns home where his Dad welcomes him with open arms… even so much as to run up to him and embrace him while still a ways off, forgiving and forgetting what the son had done, only caring that his lost son had returned home.
  • That’s when we get to this part of the story, turn with me to Luke 15:25-32

Luke 15:25-32 ESV  “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26  And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27  And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28  But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29  but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30  But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31  And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32  It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'”

  • So now we are getting to the heart of this parable.
    • In fact I was talking with my dad a couple weeks ago about this… did you know this parable is less about the Prodigal Son then it is about the older grumbling son?
      • In fact the whole reason Jesus was telling this parable was to explain to the Pharisees why He accepts sinners, and the conclusion of this parable is a direct rebuke to them. Check out the beginning of this chapter to see the context of this parable:
      • Luke 15:1-3 ESV  Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.  2  And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”  3  So he told them this parable:
        • Then Jesus goes on to tell them three different parables, concluding with this one.
  • You see the Pharisees thought they were the bee’s knees! They had been born Jewish, raised Jewish, trained Jewish, and their whole lives believed that they were the only ones making heaven!
    • So when they see this guy who is supposed to be their savior hanging out with sinners they are like “Woah, hold on there bro! Shouldn’t you be hanging out with us, not them? I mean we are awesome, and they are… well they are them.”
      • So they straight up call Jesus out on it and Jesus responds with this parable… and in this parable it is pretty clear that the older son, the one whom we are talking about today, represents the Pharisees. Those who have been living their whole life with God and are now mad that sinners are being accepted.
      • And I want you to pay attention because I believe that sometimes we as Christians have tendencies to behave as the Pharisees do.

Point One: The Older Son’s Behavior

Let’s start looking at the brother’s behavior from verse 25:

Luke 15:25-26 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant.”

  • So the very first thing we read about this brother is that he is out working in the field, working for his father presumably. And there is nothing wrong with that, being a hard worker is good, but what is interesting is his response to the party…
    • You see the brother is out in the field working, and he hears this epic party being thrown and his first response is not “DUDE! THERE IS A PARTY GOING ON! I WANT IN! LET’S PARTY”
    • No, instead his first response is to grab a servant and ask “Hey man, what’s going on over there?”
      • It is almost like the brother is angry that there is a party going on at his house… like “Hey dad, I’m working over here can you keep it down? That would be great, thanks!”
  • You know this part of the parable has a striking resemblance to what happened with Marry and Martha, you guys remember that?
    • Luke 10:38-42 ESV  Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house.  39  And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.  40  But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”  41  But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42  but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
      • Now I have preached about this before, so I don’t want to go to deep into it… but the gest is this…
        • Jesus came into Mary and Martha’s house, Mary wanted nothing more than to be with Jesus, to be around him and listen to his teaching… but Martha got crazy distracted by trying to serve Jesus… do the dishes, make the meal, make everything perfect.
        • And Jesus is like “Don’t you understand, I am here, just be with me!” and he says Mary, who did nothing but be with Jesus, chose the better portion.
    • And so I think the same thing is happening in this parable. The son working in the field is so busy serving his father that he can’t be bothered to party with him.
      • That’s you dad man, you hear a party go and be a part of it! Stop working and spend time with your father!
    • And church, the Pharisees had this problem, they cared more about serving God then being with him. Have you ever had that problem? I know I have.
      • Sometimes I get so used to God’s love that I forget how wonderful it is. I get my mind set on a task and I think “Yeah yeah, God’s love is great and all, but I have to get this done for the Kingdom!”
        • What a terrible mindset to have, we should be blown away by God’s love, it should be breathtaking, overwhelming, a fresh anointing every morning… God’s love should never feel “routine” but should always feel extraordinary!
          • Redmond Park Outreach Example… getting mad at people worshiping when there was so much to do!”
  • So right off the bat we get a bad taste in our mouth for this older son, lets keep going:
    • 27-28  And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28  But he was angry and refused to go in…
  • So the son finds out what is going on, and he gets mad! Do you remember the fathers response to seeing the prodigal son for the first time back? HE RAN TO HIM!
    • Not the older brother, the one who really should be the “Christian” in this story, he get’s mad!
      • WHAT‽ A PARTY FOR HIM! HE IS A SOUNDRAL! HE IS EVIL! HOW COULD DAD THROUGH A PARTY FOR HIM! HE IS BETTER OFF DEAD!
        • Now the tough question, can we blame him for being angry?
  • The older son loves his father, and works hard for him.
    • He watched as his younger brother betrayed his father saying “I can’t wait for you to die, give me my inheritance now”.
      • I don’t know about y’all but I get mad when people talk bad about God, when they treat him wickedly, when they mock him and try to use him. It infuriates me!
      • So I can understand the older son’s frustration with what the younger son did, can’t you?
    • And here is the crux of the issue, I don’t understand God’s love!
      • I don’t man! It doesn’t make sense to me how much God loves us, that He would send Jesus to die for us! It is unfathomable to me! Unconditionally love makes no sense!
        • So I relate with the older son here, I can see why he is getting mad!
    • But that guy is so wicked… I am working in the field… and he gets a party? What?  THAT’S NOT FAIR!
  • And church this, THIS RIGHT HERE, is where we need to humble ourselves, and this is what the Pharisees refused to do! We need to accept the fact that we don’t understand God’s love, and simply chose to accept it.
    • Let me say that again: We need to set apart in our mind that it is OK not to understand God’s love, but it is NEVER ok not to accept God’s love. We not only accept God’s love for us, but for others as well!
      • When he parties we should party, when He rejoices we should rejoices, and as He loves so should we love.
        • And the more we accept God’s love the more that love begins to transform us, and the more we transform the more we understand… but it starts with accepted, first the love for us, then the love for others.

Point Two: The Fathers Reaction

So how does the father react in this situation? The same way He reacted to the younger son, with love and mercy!

  • 28  But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him,
    • The father came out to the grumbling older son and did not discourage him, he did not scold him, instead he almost begged him:
      • “Come join the party! Be a part of the celebration! Please come be with me and your long lost brother! He has returned! COME PARTY!
    • You see the father does not love the older son any more or less than the younger, the father wants to be with BOTH sons! And even though the father could have easily now scolded the older son, instead he shows compassion and mercy to him as well, entreating him to come into the party.
  • 29  but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30  But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’
    • The older son gets it SO wrong here, so very wrong! The older son still does not understand his father’s love. He thinks that he deserves to be loved by his father, and that the younger brother does not deserve it.
      • He says “I have served you for many years, I have never disobeyed you! WHY DON’T I GET A PARTY‽ I HAVE DONE EVERYTHING TO EARN YOUR LOVE AND YOU THROW HIM A PARTY‽”
      • And then the older son has the audacity to bring the younger sins sin up “HE WAISTED YOUR MONEY ON PROSTITUTES!”
        • Church notice it is not the FATHER who brings the sin up, it is the brother. The father NEVER EVEN MENTIONS THE SIN OF THE YOUNGER SON! BUT THE BROTHER HAS NOT FORGOTEN.
      • Here is what the Bible says about God remembering sin:
        • Isaiah 43:25 ESV  “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.
        • Psalms 103:12 ESV  as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
        • GOD LITERALY FORGETS OUR SINS IF WE ARE COVERED BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST!
          • You have heard it said “Forgive but don’t forget” That’s not how God work’s He forgives and He forgets!
      • But often times we as Christian’s, like the Pharisees and like the older brother, we don’t forget, we hold others sins over their heads…
        • Here is a quick test… pretend for a moment that you have a near death experience and get to be in heaven for a moment… (Not saying this is possible)
          • So you are kicking it in heaven, looking around at all the smiling faces, the streets of Gold, Jesus Christ in all His glory… when at of the corner of your eye you notice a short little German man with a funny little mustache.
          • You look closer and notice not that is not charley Chaplin, that is actually Hitler, in heaven, kicking it with the saints.
            • Now church HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT SEEING HITLER IN HEAVEN?
              • Some of you would be so mad about seeing Hitler in heaven that you are even find this imaginary exercise uncomfortable!
            • Folks if your response to seeing Hitler in heaven is “Wait what? How can that be… THAT’S HITLER, he is so EVIL”
              • If that would be your response to seeing Hitler in heaven then you have the same heart as the older brother!
            • Our response should be “WHAT‽ HITLER MADE IT TO HEAVEN‽ THAT IS SO AWESOME! I WONDER WHO LEAD HIM TO CHRIST, WHEN DID HE REPENT! HOW AMAZING GOD IS FOR FORGIVING HIM! HOW POWERFUL THE BLOOD OF JESUS! I CAN’T WAIT TO TELL THE WORLD!
  • 31  And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32  It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'”
    • You see church, as a Christian all God has is yours. His love, His forgiveness, eternity with Him. Weather or not Hitler made it to heaven does not take any of that away from you, you are no lessed saved if Hitler made heaven. We should rejoice with God over every sinner who repents, even the most wicked, because they were lost and now they are found.
  • And I am not saying that Hitler made heaven, we have no reason to believe that he did, but wouldent it be wonderful if in that bunker, as he was breathing his last breaths, if some German soldier lead Hitler to Christ? Lead him to repentance? It could happen, it probably didn’t, but if it did I would rejoice!

Conclusion

Now church, I want to conclude with this: I use Hitler as an example because it was an easy personal example, but now I want to make it real.

I am talking to the spirit of the older brother inside of each of us, because we still struggle with the flesh I know that even as saints this can be a problem…

I want you to think long and hard, who would you be mad to see in heaven?
Who have you given up hope on?
Who do you need to forgive?

The father is entreating you to join Him, lets get back to him!

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