Dealing with Disappointment
December 12, 2004
I would like to preface my remarks by saying that in my
preparation for these lessons that I glean heavily from the
Pulpit Commentary - that 23 volume set would do no good
if it not for the Holy Spirit of God who guides the study.
"holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy
Spirit" in the making of the Bible and there have been those
who have studied in depth who were moved by that same
Spirit. I trust it the case for us this morning! May our
attitude be as John the Baptist testified of Jesus - "He must
increase but I must decrease"
I will say this as Mr. Cathcart used to say, TTP - tried, tested
and proved -I don't know if he got it from J.H. Maddox, but
I can vouch for the veracity of the Word of God in much
greater ways than walking across my yard and down to
the bridge to look at the holly tree I had just strung Christmas
lights on - "the Lord has blessed me more than heart could
wish and He daily loadeth us with benefits"
If I was naming this lesson, I would call it "The Lost & Found
Department" - Have you ever lost anything? Isn't it
frustrating? Whether it is the baseball cards of the fifties
that my Mother threw away, the Paleo-Indian artifact that
my Dad found on the original home place which he brought
to show me and never saw it again - probably thrown
out thinking it was discarded tissue - I can't blame
everything on my Mother! A picture of Bro. Ricks
that I took to get blown up - the only one he had I
might add - I lost this week a month of my diary on
the computer - kept since 1977 - when my last one
ran out of room - I started keeping it on the computer
for a few days - I put pictures, etc. had it looking
good and it really bothered me that I lost it. It
could have been worse - I had October's on a cd
backed up. BUT THERE IS NOTHING LIKE A
PERSON LOSING HIS OWN SOUL! Can you
imagine? Losing your life is one thing but the
ultimate misfortune, although be it a choice, is
for one to lose his soul!
Remember: the Greek word "heresy" means choice!
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In today's lesson Jesus gives three parables - The
Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin and the Prodigal Son.
vs. 1-2 - The Bible tells us that Christ came to seek
and to save that which was lost!
vs. 3-5 - Lost Sheep - the sheep traded the security of
the fold for peril - danger if you please!
I was raised on a farm - I have thought much about
it this week as I studied the Parable of The Prodigal
Son - I know very little about sheep - they say it is
a very stupid animal. Man is often likened unto it
in the Bible and I do have some insight into human
nature, therefore I understand sheep a little better.
The silly sheep is the sinner in his foolishness.
The sheep got so lost, it knew not its way home and
the Good Shepherd sought it, found it and carried
it home on His shoulders.
There were 99 in the fold safely but one was LOST!
God's concern for sinful man is shown here - His
care for one immortal soul - the Shepherd's love is
not general but very particular - reaching to every
one of us!!!
v. 6 - Notice that the Shepherd craves sympathy -
Apparently, God is this way. I know the
feeling - when I do something I want to share
it, even if it is a piece of pressed wood
approximately 3 x 5 feet that I picked up
last summer on Highway 115 outside of
Pembroke, also a piece of pipe that I rescued
from the trash heap (story behind)
I am attempting to build a basketball goal brace for
the kids at alternative school - apparently, no one has
ever really gotten their attention, me included - but I
am getting there. I have found that giving them a
short break gets better results in behavior and academics.
I drug the materials in Wed. night and Thurs. I could
not resist showing it to them lying on the floor in another room.
This is on an infinitesimal scale to what God is doing
for sinners and wants man to show some appreciation.
It seems that in this parable, when the Shepherd found
the wanderer, He did not bring it back to the fold, but
took it home with Him. This implies that sinners after
they are saved are placed in a better position than the
one from which they had wandered.
Here you find the Pharisees not declining sympathy
saying "this man receiveth sinners and eats with them",
but condemning Him for it.
Now God is always ahead of man, taking him in his
craftiness, and what He looks for in vain on earth is
found in heaven.
vs. 6, 10
Angels earnestly desire the honor of God and the glory
of Christ on the earth - they rejoice even when one
more spirit is brought home.
vs. 8-10 - The Lost Coin
The lost sheep is viewed from man's viewpoint.
The lost coin from God's!
The first parable a man, here a woman - God misses
each soul and longs for its restoration to that for
which it was created.
The lost coin is the sinner lying in the dust with
the stamp of divinity on him. "Whose super-
scription?" Jesus asked in Mark 12:16 -God's
searching shows the value He places on each
vs. 9-10 - again the longing for sympathy - man
may not appreciate it but there is joy
among the angels in heaven.
vs. 11-32 - Parable of the Prodigal Son
The first two parables showed how the Pharisees
should have acted - this parable, how they did act!
There was no law that said the parent should bestow
property in his lifetime but often it was done. IT
WAS A FREE GIFT!
Notice the prodigal - "give me" - the voice of sinful
indulgence separating what is mine from thine, in
this instance, the father.
The prodigal was withdrawing from the authority
of the father - for us - The Authority of Heaven.
Ingratitude - forgetfulness of duty - free from
restraint - Out into the worldly marts for trade
Unnecessary haste to leave home - the opposite -
leaving the nest - Poem - "Are all the Children in?
"gathered all" "went into a far country"
How did he fare? misspent body - scattered materially
misspent spirit - sin is a spiritual waste
"there wasted"- his spiritual understanding enfeebled,
rusted and eroded away.
Atrophied - his spiritual sensibility - the capacity of
feeling things Divine - no man can live on in conscious
sin without losing this sacred and precious sensibility.
"The way of transgressors is hard" - Prov. 13:15
Indulgence is expensive and unfits for work -
"riotous living" "spent all"
"there arose a mighty famine"
"in want" - vs. 15-16
When we see a man who was made to find his
heritage in God's likeness and service satisfying
himself with that which is bestial - you see a man
eating "husks which swine eat" - SUCH IS LIFE
IN A FAR COUNTRY - results that are sure that
a God-forgetting life will experience.
The devil has no respect for the freedom of the will.
He says - "I was your companion - now I have you.
Your are mine, get out and feed the swine"
Distance from God means waste -want - degradation.
Nothing left but suffering - chickens coming home to
roost - "sins finding you out" - "when sin hath
conceived, it bringeth forth death" - He that soweth
to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption"
A worn-out, used worldling - his own wickedness &
backsliding correcting him.
Lost - sweet home life - communing with father, mother,
Memory - mine is under the piled dirt and asphalt of
A SWEET MEMORY!
CHRIST IS THE REMEDY!
HOME - Heaven once included earth - earth once a
district of heaven - God meant this world to be a part
of His own home - except for the separating force of sin
it would be that now. Someday it will be again!
II Peter 3:13 Revelation 21:1-8
God's desire is for earth's inhabitants to stand toward
Him as of children to a father - the Old Testament
revealed more than once - "I will be your God and ye
shall be my people"
The ideal human father is one who dwells at home - Such
is God our Father - He wishes to be near us all - so near as
for us to have constant access - fellowship with the Father.
Ten alternative school students in thinking about
socialization - of them, none knew that home was the
first place you learn what is expected in society.
John 14:23 God's purpose is to direct our lives, to
choose our way for us, even as a father advises
his children - going where He sends, doing His
work, walking the path that He hath traced.
God wants to take pleasure in us - more so than in His
grand works of forest, field or ocean.
He desired a holy family - "a holy seed" - Ezra 9:2
This His thought in creation - His purpose in redemption!
v. 15 - citizenship of another country - like
v. 17 - "when he came to himself" - tardy repentance.
"I have sinned - bodily hunger and suffering drove him
to take the step - "I will arise and go to my father"
There is something very sad in consecration to the Master
the end of a sin-worn life. BETTER LATE THAN NEVER!
v. 19 - He came home, sad, suffering, humiliated by sin,
ragged, destitute but SAFE!
Of all the unhappy dwellers in the land, we only read of
one coming out. Not an encouraging picture to any soul
purposing deliberately to adventure into that country,
with the idea of enjoying the pleasant license of sin for a
season and then coming home again.
Dwight Moody said "It is easier to take your children into
v. 20 - He did what he purposed
The Father - had compassion - ran - hugged him -
kissed him. Gen. 46:29
The father does not wait for the poor wanderer, but as
though he had been watching for him, sights him afar
off, and at once takes compassion and even hastens to
meet him and all is forgiven.
v. 21 - confession - stamped on a sad heart
v. 22 - The Father offers Divine mercy, restores to
favor and service, everlasting life.
Robe Ring Shoes Joy
Fatted Calf Music Dancing
Everything done by the father to insure COMPLETE
forgiveness. As if to say "Take from him every sign
and token of misery and want; remove every badge of
servitude and disgrace; clothe him with all honor; enrich
him with all gifts; ring the bells; spread the table; wreath
the garlands; make every demonstration of joy; we will
have the music of joy for: this my son was dead and is
You may ask - "Will God receive me"? Look at the
picture and decide.
It is a picture drawn by the eternal Son to indicate what
the eternal Father will do when ANY ONE of his sons
comes back to Him from the far country of sin!
Notice however - Not a word spoken of reply to the
confession - in solemn silence the guilty party is received.
Nothing can excuse it - He forgives but forgives
Do not think that it is a higher thing to be first
irreligious and then religious; to spend the best part
of life in self-gratification, and give God the left-overs.
Full as is God's forgiveness, sins write their impressions
and what a man sows, he also reaps!
vs. 25-32 - The Elder Brother - sour, discontent, a hard
and selfish man, stern, yet careful to duty. If he
ever thought of his brother, he thought of him
hopelessly lost. He had a love for God but it
was blurred with misguided patriotism.
Pharisees - the elder brother
He is so spoiled that he cannot see his position.
That one extraordinary feast granted to his brother was
nothing in comparison with the constant and continued
manifestations of fatherly love and care that he had been
receiving day by day for many years.
v.28 - "he was angry and would not go in"
The father entreats him - thy brother has the shoes, the
ring and robe but thou the inheritance. Why begrudge thy
brother an hour of the gladness you have had all these years?
v. 32 - THUS, THE PASSAGE ENDS - ***READ***
See Luke 15 – Dwight L. Moody Sermon – The Prodigal Son - (This is very good and well worth the effort)