the lost son - come back to the lord
Our teaching this Sunday was brought to us by Raine Ihalainen, one of our Leadership Team. The notes below are from his preach with some questions to consider following.
The Lost Son - Come back to the Lord
God is calling prodigal sons and daughters back to Him. Please read our Bible reading for today Luke 15:11-32
Context: This passage is one of the three “lost parables”; The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin and The Lost Son. Chapter 15 is sometimes called ‘the gospel in the gospel’. This is what Jesus came for; to save the lost! The previous chapter (the Great Banquet) taught that the most unexpected people will be included in the kingdom.
Now Jesus reveals God’s heart towards the lost; He goes after them! The Lost Son - Luke 15:11-32
The opening of the story introduces the characters; a man with two sons. This parable could also be called ‘The Parable of the Forgiving Father’, it is a parable about our Heavenly Farther who forgives our sins.
The Younger Brother
The younger brother asked for his half of the inheritance. Asking for his inheritance was the same as saying to his father; ‘I wish you were dead’. This would have brought shame to his family. Normally the first born should have received 2/3 of all (Deuteronomy 21:17). This was not good news for the older brother.
Two disasters come at once for the younger brother; famine comes to the country and he runs out of money, ending up looking after pigs. For Jewish people to be doing anything to do with pigs was bad enough and now he is feeding them wanting to eat their food. Can he go any lower than that? Famine After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. Luke 15:14
He comes to his senses; he realises he has sinned against God and against his father. The son starts to journey back home. On the way he must have been practising his well-rehearsed speech.
The Father is waiting The father saw his son from a distance (v.20). He must have been looking for him, hoping that one day he will come back home. The father starts running towards him. It wasn’t dignified behaviour for an older man to run. The father kissed him, asked servants to bring a ring and the best robe. The relationship and his place in the family was restored. There was a time of celebration! My son was lost and now he is found (v.24). There are four groups of those who God is calling to come back to Him
Those who are disappointed and do church hopping It is unfortunate that so many people have left churches because they got disappointed with people. We all get disappointed with people if we let that happen. So many keep moving to another church just to find out that there are problems there as well. They never seem to look into themselves thinking perhaps I’m the problem.
God is calling you: COME BACK TO ME! I LOVE YOU!
2. Those who have left altogether They still sometimes pray, they might read the Bible, perhaps occasionally watch preaching on TV and connect
with some Christian friends but they don’t want anything to do with a church.
God is calling you: COME BACK TO ME! I LOVE YOU! 3. Those who have drifted away There are also those who once knew the Lord but have drifted far away from Him. Many are just living their life
but don’t think of God and He hasn’t got any part in their daily life. Once they gave their live to Jesus perhaps
when they were young but for years they haven’t had a life close to Him.
God is calling you: COME BACK TO ME! I LOVE YOU!
4. Those who have clearly turned their back on the Lord People in this group once gave their life to Jesus and lived for Him but very clearly, knowing what they were
doing turned their back to Jesus. They publicly say that they are not believers, they say they once were but
not anymore. Some say they are atheist, some have found another religion etc. God is calling you: COME BACK TO ME! I LOVE YOU!
The Older brother
The older brother wanted to please God. He thought if I just do these things my father must then love me and give me what I need. The older brother is the religious brother who felt entitled to get something from his father as he had been the faithful one. It is our human nature that wants to DO something to EARN the Fathers love.
The Father goes after the older son too. He comes out to look for him, why he isn’t coming to celebrate.
Ending of the parable Jesus leaves the parable open ended – we don’t know if the older son came in to celebrate or not. This is because the listener’s / Pharisees and all the others who trusted in their own merit had to finish the parable by themselves.
Questions to Consider
· Are you the prodigal / younger brother?
- Do you ever rebel?
- Do you want to do things in your way?
- Do you trust your own ability to take care of your life? · Are you one of the four groups described earlier?
- Those who are disappointed and do church hopping
- Those who have left altogether
- Those who have drifted away
- Those who have clearly turned their back to the Lord
· Are you the older brother?
- Why do you do what you do? Is it to earn God’s favour?
- Why do you pray, go to the church, do anything “good”.
- Do you think that if I do this and that then God must bless