Lost and Found: Safe and Sound! The Lost Son!
A Sermon By: Pastor Henry T. Anderson
Windsor Avenue Bible Church, Oceanside, NY
11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:
Continuing in our Series: Lost and Found – Safe and Sound!
Luke Chapter 15
This, one of the most beloved chapters of the word of God, is an account of a single sermon of the Three Parables of Jesus Christ, the whole theme of which was "The Lost." First there was the lost sheep (Luke 15:1-7), then the lost coin (Luke 15:8-10), and finally here the lost son.
Now Remember A Parable is an Earthy Story with a Heavenly Message.
And in each Parable we notice that there was something lost. One lost Sheep, one lost Coin and here one lost Son.
There are three ways to become lost, and all of them are evident in this remarkable sermon by our Lord Jesus. The sheep was lost by wandering away from the flock, the coin was lost through no fault of its own, but through the inability or carelessness of the woman, and The prodigal was lost by Riotous Living and willful disobedience.
One lesson that we must not lose sight of is that the one which was lost represents the outcast, and the despised. It represents those who while not precious in man’s sight, are precious in God’s sight.
One Lost Sinner is important to God and should be important to The Church!
We’re to Be The Church, We’re to Love them,
We’re to Outreach to them! We’re to Preach The Gospel to them!
Proverbs 11:30 says: 30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.
Charles Dickens was asked what he thought was the best short story written in the English language, Dickens replied… “The Prodigal Son”.
The Prodigal has three parts:
The Prodigal leaving his Father, The Prodigal returning to his Father,
And the reaction and conversation between The Prodigal's Brother and his Father.
Last week we looked at The Prodigal leaving his Father,
And today we’re gonna look at The Prodigal returning to his Father,
This Parable is a very emotional and heart touching story. Now…
The First Question out of the Gate is: What does "Prodigal" mean?
Its basic meaning is "wasteful"--particularly with regard to money. It comes from Latin roots that mean "forth" (pro-) and "to drive" (agere). It indicates the quality of a person who drives forth his money--who wastes it by spending with reckless wildness.
That's what the Prodigal Son does in this story.
That was our Introduction. Let's jump into The Story!
Verse 12, We read this last week, but let’s Read it again to put in context.
12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
I. The extent of this tragedy.
The whole episode was tragic. The rebellious son, the father's grief, the waste of his inheritance, the type of companions he chose, the famine that fell upon that country, and the harsh bargain he made with the citizen - all these were tragic, but to behold the full extent of this tragedy, he ends up in a Pig Pen. And that wasn’t good for a Jewish Boy…
Note the following elements of the tragedy:
A. The prodigal is alone. Far from being the popular way which Satan always promises travelers who accept his suggestions, the route the prodigal traveled proved to be one of utter loneliness; and many a derelict whose body has been drawn from the river, or discovered under a bridge, has also tasted the loneliness of evil ways.
B. The prodigal had a shameful job. Citizens of Satan's kingdom have swine to feed, and many a hapless prodigal has ended in a disgraceful, humiliating task of tending earth's swine pens, its brothels, its low places of entertainment, and its saloons. This contrasts with what the prodigal doubtless imagined he would be doing in the far country.
C. He was hungry. Oddly, there was plenty for swine but nothing for the son of the loving father. Verse 16 says “And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.”
D. He was tortured by burning memories. Memory is not a thing which may be turned off and on like electricity.
Verses 18 & 19
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
They say a good resolution is the beginning of a better life
The glory of this Prodigal is that he told himself the truth. Instead of a false braggadocio by which he might have screwed up his courage to stick it out, he simply faced up to the facts of his hunger, loneliness, and hopelessness. The "life" which he no doubt expected when he left home had turned into "death" for him.
In his misery the prodigal son was finally able to think clearly. Before it might be said that he wasn’t really himself and thought as another man; then he came to himself.
In his clear thinking he didn’t think of how to improve conditions in the pigpen. He didn’t blame his father, his brother, his friends, his boss, or the pigs. He recognized his misery without focusing on it, and instead focused on his father.
Jesus didn’t say that the man thought of his village or his home, but of his father. When the son returned to the father, he also came back to the village and to the house; but his focus was on returning to his father.
That is how we need to come back to God – to come back to Him first and foremost, before coming back to church or coming back to Christian friends.
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
The intensity of the father’s reception was indicated by the fact that he ran (unusual for older men in those cultures) and that he repeatedly kissed him (indicated by the Greek grammar).
Does God See You? Absolutely "Yes!
Our Father’s eyes are ever on us, even when we can’t see Him.
Does God have Compassion Towards You?
When our heads are down dejected from our sin, He looks and has compassion On Us!
Compassion means: Pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.
Psalm 145:8-13 Says:
8 The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.
9 The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.
10 All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee.
11 They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power;
12 To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.
13 Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.
And The Son here, which is a Type and Picture of a Lost Person or a Saved Person that has left God for some time and gets right with God, and goes back to God and remember The Father is a Type and Picture of Our Heavenly Father!
The Father saw his Son, The Father had Compassion for His Son, And we see, Verse 20 The Father running towards him….
Will God Run for You? Absolutely "Yes! Yes! Yes! God will run to save them who come towards Him." The only one who came to meet the returning Prodigal was his Father.
8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
And when You’re coming back to God, what does God do?
“…his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.”
Will The Father Kiss You when You come home as a Prodigal? Yes!
How His heart aches when His children hurt, even from their self-inflicted wounds. He then ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.
Before the son could say a word, the Father had placed his lips upon his son. He did not wait until the filth was washed. Nor was he concerned with any of the ridiculing that the community might bring.
The son has full restoration, and all this before he can speak his confession, which he has undoubtedly been rehearsing.
Verse 21, The Prodigal’s Rehearsed Speech:
21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
In his prepared speech to his father, the son showed his complete sense of unworthiness and an honest confession of sin. He would not even ask to be treated as a son, but as a hired servant.
The lost son demonstrated the repentance Jesus specifically spoke of in the previous parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin. After his misery, he thought completely differently about his father, himself, and his home.
I’d like to talk You more about Repentance, because this is an important part of the Story here and it’s a Very Important Matter to any Christian…
What is True Repentance? It is being sorry for grieving God by the way you live. It is a desire to turn from your sins without any regrets and take a new path that pleases God. It’s a Change of Heart that was once far from God and is going back to God!
A Few Thoughts on Repentance:
True Repentance Starts with Self: Now, we must be praying and saying: “Lord I Repent, I’m changing My Heart back to You, Forgive Me Lord, Lord, deal with me and change me.” Change will rarely take place unless we are willing for it to begin with ourselves.
True Repentance Leads To True Renewal: Again it starts with You and God!
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
And Your Renewal must affect the world! If we are to impact our world for God we cannot be satisfied with only repentance. Repentance must be followed with renewal. There must be renewal in the way we think, what we desire and how we exercise our wills. Renewal is not something we wait for God alone to accomplish. When we Repent and we ask God for Renewal, God will give that Spark of Renewal, but remember it is a change we are personally accountable to pursue, because we don’t want to end up like a Prodigal Part 2!
What I have been describing may be a little confusing to some Christians, because they only think of repentance in the context of salvation. But the Bible also emphasize Repentance and Renewal in relation to godliness. God not only wants us to be saved but to be holy as well.
Paul said in Romans 12:1
1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
The Renewal of the mind involves a Repentant Heart: The mind is the battlefield where we are confronted by the fiery darts of temptation.
Renewal is bringing our nature under the discipline of God’s truth. It is not easy, but can be accomplished by relying upon the Holy Spirit. He guides us and enables us and transforms us as we cooperate with him. Repentance and renewal in relationship to godly living is where many Christians are failing miserably in their obedience to God. The reason Satan is having such a field day in Christian lives is because there is an overwhelming lack of repentance and renewal among believers. Many have not be taught that God’s word commands us to pursue holiness.
1 Peter 1:15-16
15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
If we do not obey this command, we will permit Satan to make legal claims upon areas of our lives because of our unrepentant attitude.
And when You have Repentance and You have Renewal, that’ll lead to Revival: When a person has a Spirit of Repentance and begin to participate in the Renewal that God desires for their lives, they become open for Revival.
God looks favorably upon those who hunger and thirst after righteousness not only for themselves, but for others.
Repentance and Renew deal with Self, but Revival is for others. Christians today are basically very self-centered. But when You’ve got True Revival of others, You start thinking about them, You start Praying for them, You start Helping them, You start Serving them, You start Witnessing to them, You’re concerned about their Soul, You start winning them to Christ!
Why? You got Revival, Ding, Ding, Ding!
This is the question we must ask. Are we ready for God’s Spirit to work freely in our lives and do whatever needs to be done in order that God may be glorified and his will be accomplished?
And that was our little Sermonette that I snuck in here.
So going back to our Story, The Son Repented to his Father, which is a Type and Picture of a Lost Person or a Saved Person that has left God for some time and gets right with God, and remember The Father is a Type and Picture of Our Heavenly Father!
Verses 22 & 23
22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
In the kisses of God in Verse 20 and Repentance in Verse 21, we see full restoration. The son is as much a son as he had ever been; the thoughts of servitude are to be done away with. No more food fit for swine, nor clothes fit for prisoners. For there shall be a feast fit for royalty, a new robe is to be placed upon him, and a ring to signify to the world, that he is part of his father’s family. The son has full restoration, and all this before he can speak his confession, which he has undoubtedly been rehearsing.
Those who come to the father by faith, in repentance will receive all the kisses of God.
To do so we are given the kiss of a new heart and new spirit as our hearts of stone are turned to hearts of flesh by the very grace of God. And we are kissed with strong assurance.
24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
The depth of the Prodigal’s Repentance is matched only by the depth of the Father’s Love.
It was a happy thing to find the lost sheep and the lost coin. It was much more happy to find the lost son. They had a wonderful party with special clothing, jewelry, and food. It wasn’t just finding a lost son; it was as if he were back from the dead.
Lost and Found? Yes! Safe and Sound? Yes!
Now, Next week we’ll conclude The Parable with The reaction and conversation between The Prodigal's Brother and his Father.
A Very Interesting and often neglected Part of The Story!
What’s some Lessons that we can learn here?
We all have the potential of becoming a Prodigal…
But when we come to our self and Repent,
Our Heavenly Farther saw him, had compassion on him, ran towards him, fell on his neck, and kissed him.
And that’s a Message to us Parents to Love our Children and to forgive them keep our eyes on them, have compassion on them and kiss them!
We need to bring forth the best robe, and put it on them; and we need put a ring on their hand, and put the best shoes on their feet:
And we need to bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it – Forget that, we’ll just go to Outback Steakhouse!
And with Love let’s eat, and be Merry!
Lost and Found? Yes! Safe and Sound? Yes!
How Can We Avoid Ending Up Like A Prodigal Son or Prodigal Daughter?
What must I do to be Saved, Borned again the Bible way, pleasing God?
Well, I’m glad you asked!
The Bible says there is only one way to Heaven, John 14:6
Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me."
My Friends, Good works cannot save you, Ephesians 2:8-9
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Trust Jesus Christ today! Here's what you must do:
Admit you are a sinner. Romans 3:23
1."For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"
2. You must be willing to turn from sin (repent).
Jesus said in Luke 13:5: "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."
3. Believe and Confess that Jesus Christ died for you, was buried, and rose from the dead.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
Romans 10:9 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
4. Through prayer, invite Jesus into your life to become your personal Saviour.
Romans 10:13 says: "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Here’s a Good Prayer to Pray:
What to pray: Dear God, I am a sinner and need forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ shed His precious blood and died for my sin. I am willing to turn from sin. I now invite Christ to come into my heart and life as my personal Saviour.
The Bible says in John 1:12:
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:"
You’ve just become Borned-Again!
2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
And when you become Borned-Again, you have Eternal Life in God’s Eternal Kingdom!
If you accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, please let me or someone in Church now about it. We want to help You!
Preached on Sunday, February 16, 2020