Luke 15: 11 – 24
Wasting our substance: Luk 11 – 13
Pro 3:9, Rom 12:1, Luk 15: 4-5, Psa 44: 11/22 Isa 53:6 Jer 23:1, Ezk 34: 11-12, Gal 3:26, Jn 3:16
The Lord spoke parables as a means to tell profound truths in an economic way. He was not only the Word, but the master of them and through them he communicated more understanding than was written or spoken.
We know exactly what he spoke and how he wished us to receive it; after all, the Lord promised he would preserve his word. Therefore we know there is one perfect translation or interpretation of his word. This parable has been presented exactly as the Lord wished, as have they all. So I will not try to re-present the parable of the prodigal son, only attempt to apply its meaning through the window of my life experience as a Christian.
- Luke 15: 11 – 13
- 11And he said, A certain man had two sons:
- 12And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them hisliving.
- 13And 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.
It is interesting to me how the Lord has presented us with such a simple situation that perfectly shows the attitude of man. The selfishness in our hearts can be hidden even from us. Is it selfish to demand that which we think is ours? And what is for all intents and purposes ours by right?
The prodigal son is not demanding something he is not owed.
I have experienced and have seen firsthand the way in which children take for granted the things that are done for them. I remember how long I took for granted my parents sacrifices for me.
It wasn’t until I was 19 that it dawned on me how heavily I relied on my parents for everything. I was living out of home in Vermont South I realized as I did my house work, that my mother and father had done this for me countless times and until that point I took it for granted. The care and substance they provided me enabled me to have gains and increases in my life that fuelled only myself. You see I had an occupation, an income, a social life, a car and it was all because my parents had given me their portion and I took it and ran.
- Proverbs 3:9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:
David tells Solomon that we are to honour the LORD with our substance and with the first fruits of all thine increase. How many here can say with their first pay cheque, they honoured the LORD?
All my labours went to myself and my vain purposes all throughout my early working life. I started Working at 16. I had worked for KMART, KFC, and my father as a labourer, all before I was 20. None of it was for the LORD. It was all for my Riotous living and it became evermore riotous as I grew. Parties, drunkenness and fornication abounded in my life and truly my substance served those ends.
I am, although, convinced that the true waste that I and the prodigal son partook in, was the waste of the opportunities to serve the LORD the time wasted serving only myself. What do I mean by service?
- Romans 12:1 I 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.
The Lord wants a living sacrifice and considers it a reasonable service. There is a shelf life on man, therefore we have a time limit on the level of service we can do in this mortal form. My opportunity to live for the Lord, to offer up my gifts in his name and to serve him as he wishes was cast aside and I was truly a lost sheep. Who does
the a lost sheep profit? Its wool is not sheared nor its company enjoyed or even its meat eaten. I feel I was like that sheep. The Lord prefaced his wonderful parable with a mini parable about a lost sheep and its shepherd.
We are after all the sheep of GOD and the bible makes this abundantly clear. Just a few references for example.
Psa 44:11 Thou hast given us like sheep appointed for meat; and hast scattered us among the heathen.
Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Jer 23:1, Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.
Ezk 34: 11-12. For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.
It seems a lost sheep causes only waste and fret for the Shepard. Running about disoriented and perhaps, at least in my case, blissfully ignorant of its wasted substance. Fortunately, graciously we can call ourselves the Lords flock and his children after all:
- Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
- John 3:16 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.
Consider what it means to be a good child and sheep of the Lord. How he is asking us to serve and how it has eternal values and implications. Riotously living may be temporarily pleasing, but it leads to death everlasting. To shine like a light unto the world and to bring others the Gospel of salvation may be temporarily burdensome in many ways, but it is the way the Lord wants us to use our limited time and it comes with a wondrous reward. The nature of the Lord is selflessness, and that is how he expects you live. Giving all your substance in service.
No Man Gave. Luk 15: 14 – 16.
Psa 14: 3, Rom 3:10-12, Mat 10:16, Phi 4:19, Psa 41:9
You know something in the bible is important when it’s said by a prophet and its repeated 1000 years later by an Apostle.
- Psa 14: 3. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Rom 3: 10 -12 10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
You see we live in a world of unrighteous people, and that’s just the Christians. Everywhere is man nibbling away at whatever substance they can get. When Jesus sent forth the Apostles he warned them saying.
- Mat 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
Though he is referring to the persecution of those who represent Christ in the world I can only surmise these people also are undesirable to commune with. Haters of Christ and the Lord are numerous in world. When I look at all the aspects of my personal interactions with man I find most were truly wolves. When I look to the occupations, I have had I can tell you my superiors seldom cared for my wellbeing and financial security over their own and I felt as a sheep among wolves. Amazing how the Lord summarised the state of the average working agreement for the entire human race.
The situation of the lost prodigal son is prevalent in the third world, to be sent into the field, starving and without care or consideration. I don’t need to draw you attention to the poor areas of Africa, Asia nor India for you to be convinced that some people are literally worked to death in the fields. However you may not know even in America there are people working for Walmart, 40 hours a week and still living under the poverty line. Before you stand upon the pedestal of “but that wouldn’t happen in Australia” I’ll ask that you look into the truly troubling matter revealed in 2015. A 7/11 whistle-blower stated:
“Head office is not just turning a blind eye, it’s a fundamental part of their business. They can’t run 7-Eleven as profitably as successfully as they have without letting this happen, so the business is very proud of itself and the achievements and the money it’s made and the success it’s had, but the reality is it’s built on something not much different from slavery,”
Workers were being paid store credit for 30hrs a week. Some went unpaid for months. All in all the company came out the richer by preying on these vulnerable individuals. In Australia.
This madness still continues everywhere man goes and yet, as always there is an answer, and the answer is the Lord for he is faithful. When speaking to the Philippians Paul says.
- Phi 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
I believed, with all my gains and increases, my money, my youthful charisma; by myself I could supply all that my body and soul needed for nourishment and peace. I believed if, by some unknown disaster I lost all that, I’d still have my mates. But when times became hard, my Money disappeared, my youthful charisma faded, my countenance changed, I found who my true friends were. I suspect the Prodigal son lost all his mates right about the same time he lost all his money. I don’t need to imagine what it feels like to have my generosity stamped upon. It happened both to me and from me.
King David experienced a similar thing.
- Psa 41:9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.
King David also warns:
- Psa 28:3 Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts.
No, I couldn’t sustain myself nor could man, my family, my friends my vain ambitions or imaginations, only the Lord.
And in our beautiful parable from Christ, he explains this in two verses.
I have sinned: Luk 15: 17 – 19
Rom 3: 23, Gal 5:19, Rom 8: 5-7, 1Tim 6:9-10, Jn 4:14, Isa 58:11, Psa 37:4, Rom 8:28
Before I begin this point I want a show of hands in the room, who here have sinned? Of course I mean not to glorify sin. Only to illustrate the 100% success rate of sin. I believe you have not come to yourself if you can’t raise your hand to that question.
The Bible says:
- Rom 3: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
The Bible is clear. You and I have sinned. We have offended the Lord our God and just to be sure it identifies the works of the flesh so that there is no uncertainty.
- Gal 5:19 (list off the works of the flesh) Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
- Rom 8: 5-7 5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
- 1Tim 6:9-10
- 9But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and intomany foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
- 10For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
I found all these things in my heart and served them faithfully. Yet I was unsatisfied. I worked very hard to satisfy my vain imaging and the selfish desires of my heart, yet I remained wholly unsatisfied. The law of diminishing return was an invisible participant in my life and I never knew it. We know what sowing iniquity reaps, certainly not satisfaction.
Yet the Bible speaks of a satisfaction that can be sought in the Lord.
To the Samaritan woman the Lord says
- Jn 4:14
- But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
The Prophet Isaiah says to those whom are faithful in Israel
- Isa 58:11
- And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
King David says
- Psa 37:4
- Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
The Prodigal son in our parable knew what he had done; he had sinned, sought to satisfy himself and came to a wonderful epiphany. He was not worthy of his father and sought only to serve his farther to try to reconcile himself to him.
Here the Lord demonstrates a contrite heart, a humbled man and a desire to repent and to serve. All the things I am convinced are required for a truly godly person.
As you know I too came to this point before turning to the Lord. In that time, I did not know that my soul perished with hunger yet servants of the Lord had bread to spare. In my experience with the Lord I was required to come to him on my knees as a son who knew he was not worthy. It is both fortunate and unfortunate that I had to endure such a thing, I know however it happened for good. If you suppose that something went wrong in your life, that you made decisions that caused you to go down a fruitless path and was truly fruitless, remember.
- Rom 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Have you ever truly beheld a person who is full of the holy spirit and have known they are satisfied?
I’ve found servants of the Lord have bread enough and to spare.
I have. Several times in my past have I looked upon members of various churches and determined in my limited judgement they are genuinely content. Yes, I know there can be a great many tumults in one’s life that lurk beneath the veneer of serenity. A mask so to speak, but if that was the case with Pastor Randall whom I knew and Brad Ronald’s and other camp directors know to me, then they were the best masks ever. They radiated a sense of calm and confident faith that I had only ever truly felt after accepting Jesus as my saviour and King. You see I’m still a sinner for I have sinned But through the Cross am I washed white as snow.
Lost and Found: Luk 15: 20-24
In our final point we look at the wonderful way in which the father receives his son and the attitude he has towards him upon his return and how it is ultimately a picture of Lord and how he receives us.
- Psa 145:14
The LORD upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.
Are you not the Lords children? How frequently does the Bible refer to us Gods children? Perhaps my favourite example is
- 1 Jn 3:1
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
What manner of Love indeed. A godly pure Love.
- Jn 3:16
The Lord wants us to see ourselves as children. Honestly, what can we do to fend for ourselves? What is the nature of our desires and our hearts? Are we not truly children in almost every sense of the word? Before you think I’m trying to convict you remember what the Lord has said about his followers being like children.
- Mat 18: 3 – 4 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
How beautifully consistent this is with the born-again theology that is at times rejected. If my Spirit is born again of the Father, then I am a new babe in Christ and must grow according to the spirit under the watchful eye of my Father.
When I was in the world and was serving my sinful flesh I’m certain I was protected and kept from certain things. The grace of God was with me and I am convinced, if His grace was not with me, I would have likely died some time ago. The Prodigal son was truly tried and tested in his time away from his father yet was saved. I see this as perhaps being yet a great way off the Lord ran to me to meet me. The Prodigal son was tried and tested in the fields of the swine in his time away from his Father and yet was ultimately saved. He experienced upon returning to his father not wrath or indignation but abounding joy and grace. A gratefulness and gladness. An overwhelming love. Consider that his father gave his son all that he asked when he was yet ungrateful and selfish.
- Rom 5: 10
- For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Scripture is very clear, no matter how far gone you think you are, the Lord is close to you, turn to the Lord in spirit and truth and he will be faithful and will forgive you and love you.
Another mini parable told by the Lord to preface the prodigal son that emphasises this feeling:
- Luk 15: 8 – 9
- 8Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?
- 9And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.
I have, like the woman, lost money and upon realising it was lost, the pit of my stomach turned. Perhaps the best example of this in our time, is of course, losing your phone.
I haven’t experienced this myself but have been told losing your child even only for a moment is torture. I know the feeling of a lost wallet, bag or phone but am truly terrified of how it would feel to lose a child in this world. Not necessarily the death of a child, but not unlike the death of a child. If I lost Mabel or Sol for any lengthy period I too would fall upon their neck and kiss them rejoicing.
The Bible has said we were dead in our sins.
- Eph 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
- Rom 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
- Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
It’s clear that the Lord our GOD has already prepared the means by which we can be found and saved. If you believe you are not saved, consider this. The Lord has done all the hard work, he has given you his portion, he has run unto you to meet you and without any ambiguity has died for you. All you need to do is believe in Him. Have faith that he has given you salvation, forgiveness of sin through a perfect sacrifice and you will be changed inside out by a relationship with GOD.
I know I was a child of the Lord who took his portion from his father and took it to a strange land and there wasted it, only to realize I would starve without him. Upon rising and repenting of my ways I found a God with his arms wide open, who with love and forgiveness accepted me as a lost child.
You see it’s his will that all his children be saved.
Are we not lost to God when we are dead in sin?
Imagine how it must feel for the Almighty God to know most of his children are lost. However we have this beautiful inclusion to the Lords lost coin parable that pulls back the veil for a moment.
- Luk 15: 10
- Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
Perhaps you are a sinner that has been saved what then? After being saved, being shown abundant grace and love should be our main concern now. What did the Lord want his disciples to prioritize?
To plant and water so that more may be saved. The Labour is great and the labourers few, if you are born again then its time to get to work so that other may be. If you are dead and lost in your sin know that you have a perfect Father in heaven whom when you find will lift you upon his high shoulders rejoicing with his angels.
Blessed be Lord forever and ever. Amen.
Pastor Edi’s close.