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Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Rebellious Child

The Rebellious Child
Luke 15:11-13

Reasons for the parable...v.1
Tax collectors & sinners...drew near
Pharisees & scribes... complained
The third of three stories, describing something that becomes lost... and is then found... and the resulting rejoicing that occurs...

The Lost Sheep (v. 4-7)
The Lost Coin (v. 8-10)
The Lost Son (v. 11-32)

Now, some, even most Bibles will call this the parable of the “Prodigal Son”... and this does show a son who is a “spend thrift”... one who wastes resources... lives extravagantly... throws money to the wind...

However, using the title “the Prodigal Son”, implies that the story is all about the younger son... when that can't be further from the truth.

The deeper meaning behind the whole story is concerning the son's “lostness”... his rebellion and selfishness... his desire to throw off constraints and “be his own man”... to be free... not realizing that the freedom he thinks he has received has actually led him into slavery and bondage.

It's also a story about a Father's love and patience... a Father's readiness and willingness to forgive and restore...

And then we have the elder brother. It's also about an elder brother who stayed behind and played the role of the dutiful son... but his own selfish ambitions are revealed in his reaction to his brother's return.

Father = The Father (God)
Younger son = tax collectors & sinners
Elder brother = Pharisees & scribes

The context tells us that the reason for Christ's parable is to show that the tax collectors & sinners... though they had turned from God... can repent and be accepted once again!

The elder brother... though remaining in his father's house... appears to have done so for himself...

He didn't stay at home out of any great love for his father... and his own selfishness is seen in his resentment toward the younger brother when he is accepted and restored.

(In this regard, it's similar to the other story that Jesus told of the workers who were hired early in the day, and how they were upset that they had received the same wages as the workers who were hired late in the day.)

Now, most sermons... most preachers would read this whole parable and preach a sermon on the whole parable... the separation... the repentance... the joyful reunion...

But I'm going to stop at v.13. This is because this is a very personal message for my wife and I... we're living this parable right now...

We are only at this first part...

Our personal parable of “The Lost Child” isn't finished yet... We haven't reached the point in our story of the child “coming to himself”... or in our case... “coming to herself”.

We haven't reached the point of repentance and restoration... but are now living through the rebellion and separation stage...

Most of the sermon's I've heard or read on this parable, place their emphasis on the young son and his wasteful lifestyle and subsequent repentance and return home.

I can only hope and pray that one day, I too, am able to preach that sermon.

But what I want to do today, is talk about the Father.

What did He go through?

What were His feelings when all this was happening?

How did He feel when someone He loved so much... turned their back on Him and ran away?

And you know what...? This is exactly what all of us have done at some point in our lives... we all have turned our backs on the Father who loves us... who gave us life... who desires only the absolute best for us.

We all have turned our backs on Him and ran away! Isa 53:6

Now in terms of this story, the Father is The Father... God.

But as with all of Jesus' stories, He spoke of things that would be readily understood by His listeners...

places, things, events, customs, common practices... all of which He would use to instruct us in the things of God and the Kingdom of God

But when we apply this story to our own lives... is there anyone here who doesn't recognize himself, or someone you know... as filling the role of “the Father”?

This could be your own Father (or even your mother) who would always forgive... always restore... always be in pain and anguish when you did wrong.

It could even be yourself... filling the role of “the Father” in your own story...

*My story:

Daughter, problems for quite some time...

Not wanting to abide by our rules (which, as any parent will know, are in place for her good... not her harm)

Last Saturday... taking Daniel to college...

Coming home... she's gone

No idea where she is... in Pampa... California... abducted... sold into slavery...

We were besides ourselves with worry and grief that someone we loved SO MUCH... would have such little regard for US.

A few days later (just this last week), we found out that she had moved in with a 20 year old man.

My fury... (Explain my thoughts here)

Talking to my other daughter from my first wife.

While talking to Roshelle, I began thinking about my relationship with her and it's background...

Roshelle's mother is named Joan... she was 17 and I was 19... We had gotten into a fight with Joan's mother and just packed up and left.

Married in Texas... moved back to Tennessee... got pregnant... divorced before Roshelle was born... I ended up in prison

Roshelle didn't even know I existed until she was 14...

While talking to Roshelle about all that was going on... it was as if the Lord pointed His finger at me... just like Nathan pointed his finger at David... and said, “You are the man!”

I was that 20 year old man who stole someone's daughter and ran off!

I put my parents, and her mother, through the exact same thing my wife and I are experiencing right now.

I was so convicted that my anger was wrong! How could I stand in righteous judgment over this young man... and my daughter... when I was that young man?

Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Guys... I think I have a little better understanding now of what the Father in this story must have felt when the son he loved came to him and said, “Give to me...”

And I'm thinking that these are very similar to the feelings that my wife and I have been feeling this past week.

And though our story is only at its beginning...there will be an end one day, hopefully soon...

And hopefully that end will include repentance and restoration... but this is something that only God knows and all I can do is pray for...

I know that there are many in here today that can also personally identify with this parable...

Maybe there are some who are right now, the Father of their own story...

Or maybe you identify more with the son who runs away

You might even be the elder brother, even though I haven't really spoken much about him...

Which ever person you are... realize... God loves you SO MUCH! When we turn and run from Him... he hurts... even more than I do right now.

He loves more... He also hurts more...

But there is a restoration available for all... no matter what you've done

It doesn't matter if you're the younger son... or the elder brother... there is only one way to fix this situation...

And that is through Jesus Christ! All you have to do is repent... and come to Him for the forgiveness and restoration you so desperately need.