Dealing with Disappointment

Luke 15:1-32

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

human soul!

 

vs. 9-10 - again the longing for sympathy - man

may not appreciate it but there is joy

among the angels in heaven.

 

Zeph. 3:17

 

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

or pleasure.

 

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,

siblings.

 

Memory - mine is under the piled dirt and asphalt of

the Somerset-Pulaski County airport - BUT, OH, WHAT

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 Lot, he cast

his eyes toward Sodom - down hill careers.

 

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

Sodom than to bring them out!"

 

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

alive again"

 

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

in silence.

 

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)