The Prodigal Sons
Luke 15:1-2, 11-32
“I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.”-Matthew 13:35
Jesus eagerly draws, welcomes, and celebrates prodigal sinners who turn to God in repentance.
Jesus Draws Broken People(15:1-2)
Jesus possesses a drawing power to spiritually broken, financially fraudulent, sexually dysfunctional, addicted people whose wrecked lives are searching (15:1; Mt. 9:10-12; 11:19-24; Mk. 2:15-17; Lk. 5:29-32).
Despite grumbling from the religious leaders, Jesus eagerly receives and eats with sinners (15:2; 2:25, 38; 12:36; 23:51; Acts 23:21).
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”-Jesus to Zacchaeus in Like 19:10
Drawing People to Jesus Requires…
1) Rejecting Traditions to Reach Sinners
“‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men. And he said to them, You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!”-Jesus in Mark 7:6-8
Like Jesus, Kirby Woods must be willing to reject societal, religious and man-made commandments to fulfill the commandment to make disciples of Jesus (Mt. 28:18-20).
2) Receiving and Eating with Sinners
Biblical Christianity “receives” and “eats with” sinners in an effort to win them to Jesus (1 Cor. 9:19-23).
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”-Jesus in Luke 4:18-19
Jesus Welcomes Sinners Home(15:11-19)
The tragic tension is the younger son’s request to receive his “share of property” which is the equivalent of wishing his father dead (15:11-12).
The father symbolizes God, the younger son symbolizes rebellious sinners while the older son symbolizes the religious legalists (15:1-2, 11-12).
“Reckless living” is the alienated life wandering from God and consequently hardened into hostility toward God (15:13; Acts 2:32; Eph. 2:12, 19; 4:18; Col. 1:21).
“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”-James 1:14-15
Divinely designed storms in your life bring you to a place of desperation so you turn to God in repentance (15:14-16).
There are no accidents in God’s plan as he often takes the failures and tragedies of your life to bring you to a place where you see your sin (15:17-19).
Welcoming Sinners Home Requires…
1) Seeking Out Sinners and Prodigals
“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”-Jesus in Luke 5:31-32
“Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.”-Jesus in John 4:35
2) Offering Life-Giving Repentance
Repentance is a change of mind that leads to a turning away from oneself to God through believing in Jesus (Acts 20:21).
“Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out…”-Acts 3:19
Jesus Celebrates Transformed Lives(15:20-32)
God sees, feels compassion, runs, embraces, and kisses broken prodigals because he is a loving Father who welcomes sinners home (15:20).
Jesus welcomes sinners home to “eat” and “celebrate” with the aim of seeing the “dead” and “lost” experience God’s life and love (15:22-24).
The older, self-righteous son represents religious legalists who believe their obedience makes them right with God and consequently refuses even the most repentant sinner because they fail to understand the Father’s heart (15:25-28).
If you believe your life-long slaving and obedience to God’s commands makes you accepted by God, then you reject salvation by the Gospel of grace (Lk. 15:29-30; Eph. 2:8-9; 2 Tim. 1:9).
You will resent and reject the free grace of forgiveness in the lives of others if God is your taskmaster (15:28-30).
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”-Jesus in Matthew 6:14-15
You will never celebrate people who were once “dead” and “lost” being “alive” and “found” unless you too have experienced God’s life and love (15:32).
Celebrating Transformed Lives Requires…
1) Believing You are the Prodigal
Better to be a begging prodigal sinner who repents than a self-righteous, religious legalist who rejects the free grace of forgiveness.
“And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ But when he heard it, he said, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, and not sacrifice. For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.’”-Jesus in Matthew 9:11-13
2) Welcoming Home Broken Prodigals
“I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”-Jesus in Luke 15:7
God’s will for Kirby Woods is to draw, welcome and celebrate repentant sinners who turn to Jesus in faith.
Challenge: Do I long for Prodigals to come home?