The Parable of the Lost Son ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 December 12, 2004 – Third Sunday in Advent Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. 24For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was Parable lost and is found.' So they began to of the celebrate. 25 "Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. Prodigal Son When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26So he called one of the 15:11- Luke 15:11-32 servants and asked him what was going on. 27 'Your brother has come,' he replied, 'and Return of the Prodigal Son oil on canvas 262 x206cm 2 your father has killed the fattened calf 11 1669 T he H ermitage because he has him back safe and sound.' Jesus continued: "There was a man who 28 "The older brother became angry and had two sons. 12The younger one said to his refused to go in. So his father went out and father, 'Father, give me my share of the pleaded with him. 29But he answered his estate.' So he divided his property between father, 'Look! All these years I've been them. slaving for you and never disobeyed your 13 "Not long after that, the younger son got orders. Yet you never gave me even a young together all he had, set off for a distant goat so I could celebrate with my friends. country and there squandered his wealth in 30 But when this son of yours who has wild living. 14After he had spent everything, squandered your property with prostitutes there was a severe famine in that whole comes home, you kill the fattened calf for country, and he began to be in need. 15So he him!' went and hired himself out to a citizen of 31 " 'My son,' the father said, 'you are always that country, who sent him to his fields to with me, and everything I have is yours. feed pigs. 16He longed to fill his stomach 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, with the pods that the pigs were eating, but because this brother of yours was dead and no one gave him anything. is alive again; he was lost and is found.’" 17 "When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have December 12, 2004 – Third Sunday in Advent food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned Waiting against heaven and against you. 19I am no for longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' 20So he got His Arrival up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw 1 his arms around him and kissed him. Theme of waiting – Sick of waiting ! 21 "The son said to him, 'Father, I have long distance relationship… sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. ' engagement… 22 "But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! baby… Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a We are all waiting for something… x-mas We often think of being lost in very physical The father waited for his son to return home. terms that are quite visible. slide 2 The younger son sinned in a very visible and In my experience, whenever I’ve heard this outward way. story told ordinarily the main character and running away, wild living, poor decisions, focus of this story is the young son. He is noticeable. the one who demands his father’s money, he He made decisions that everyone saw. He is the one who leaves home and runs away. misused his money, his time, his family, He is the one who squanders the money and friends, his own body. Even he himself loses everything. He is the one who decides knew that he was lost. There is something to return to his father in repentance. very clear-cut about his behavior. Then, having seen that all this wayward behavior In some ways, it would be easy to preach has led to nothing but misery, the younger about the younger son because he is such a son came his senses, turned around, and prominent figure. However, if you were asked for forgiveness. It’s a classic human listening when Stan preached two weeks failure with a straightforward resolution. ago, and I know that you all were, you will remember him saying that the story of the Young Younger Son Older Son lost son should really be titled “the story of Visible & Outward Invisible & Inward the lost sons”. I believe that the older son •Running away •Jealousy •Wild living •Resentment was just as lost as the younger son. •Poor decisions •Bitterness slide 1 •Noticeable •Anger 12 Dec'04 Waiting for His Arrival: The Son Who Waited for Wrong Thing 4 Sons The Lost Sons However, the lostness of the older son is far more difficult to understand. After all, how •Both sons were lost can he be lost when he remains at home with his father the entire time? His behavior 12 Dec'04 remains the same. Well, we’re going to Waiting for His Arrival: The Son Who Waited for Wrong Thing 3 discover that there are many ‘older sons’ who are lost while still at home. The type of lostness we’re talking about the older son than they can to the younger here is characterized by jealousy, son. resentment, bitterness, and anger. This is an invisible, inward lostness. Becoming lost The younger son’s sin was within oneself. start. evident from the start. The older son’s sin became But how can we consider the older son to be evident at the end. end. lost? He did all the right things. He was obedient, loyal, dutiful, hardworking. 12 Dec'04 Waiting for His Arrival: People respected and admired him. He was The Son Who Waited for Wrong Thing 5 likely considered by the community to be a I heard another story about two brothers. model son. On the outside, the older son Their names were Jared and Peter and they was faultless. were always arguing about something. One day, when they were playing at home. Jared, But the instant he sees his father embracing the older of the two became irritated with his the younger son… the moment he hears the younger brother, Peter, and said to him. music of the welcome home party, a dark "You’re getting uglier and uglier every day." power erupts from deep down within and it The next day, Jared and Peter’s grandma boils up to the surface. At that moment, we came by for a visit. Without knowing what find a very visible and physical resentfilled, Jared had said to Peter the previous day, she proud, unkind, selfish person. commented to Peter, "My oh my Peter, slide 3 you’re getting to look more like your big The younger son’s sin was evident from the brother all the time." Peter just stood there start but the older son’s sin became evident grinning at Jared while Jared pouted at the end. thinking “it’s just not fair!!” Can you relate to Jared? Allow me to suggest, that perhaps in our churches today, the churches that are filled slide 4 with Christians. Perhaps there are many This morning, I’d like to ask you here today, more in these pews who can relate more to who can you relate to more in the story of the Prodigal Son? older or younger? That was the issue for the older son – he was living his life feeling more like his father’s you Who can you relate to? slave than his father’s son. Younger Son Older Son Another question I might ask is this? Do you feel more like a servant of the King – or child of the King? 12 Dec'04 Waiting for His Arrival: The Son Who Waited for Wrong Thing 6 The younger son is the one with a dramatic Servant of the King conversion experience – the one receiving or- -or- all the attention. While the older son is the Child of the King person who may be sitting here today wondering why that new convert is getting all the attention when I’ve been faithful for 12 Dec'04 Waiting for His Arrival: The Son Who Waited for Wrong Thing 7 so many years. I believe that there needs to be a balance. I know that I’ve often wondered how in the You see, as Stan noted last week, we are world it’s fair that I did not get a chance to called to be servants of God but in our “live on the wild side”. How much attention service, we must not lose sight of our would I get if I went astray for a short time. inheritance. Suddenly I start to feel a little less free, less And the wonderful thing for us, is that our like a child and more like a slave. inheritance is not something that we earn. This is the other issue for the older son, he If I were to ask a question of any modern believes that he has earned his father’s day Christian raised in the church it would inheritance. be this “how much anger and resentment is building up within you as you live your life Look at what the older son says to his father in service to the King?” “'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours (notice he doesn’t even despised the nighttime because eventually think of him as a brother) who has his eyes fell forcing him to stop reading and squandered your property with prostitutes writing. Amazing achievement. comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!' Martin Luther It’s just not fair !!!! God is asking for the return of his children – the ones who are lost far away from home as well as the ones who are lost as they sit in 12 Dec'04 Waiting for His Arrival: the pews week after week. The Son Who Waited for Wrong Thing 8 Yet, the path he walked ultimately led him One question I have when I come to the end to the point where he discovered that it is of this parable is “can the older son truly not possible to find favor in God’s eyes. come home?” Can he go home to his father There is absolutely nothing man can do when he feels so imprisoned in obedience because of sin. He knew this because he and duty lived out as slavery? As it is told tried everything with all his great efforts. in the bible, we don’t find out how the older son responds. We see how the father The path Martin Luther walked led him to responds but we are left guessing about the discover that salvation is only possible older son. through the grace of God through Jesus Christ. The only way to enter into the You have all likely heard of a man named inheritance of the father – for the older son Martin Luther. The man who sparked the and for us, is to fall down on our knees and Great Reformation. Well Luther spent most accept the Father’s gift. It is freely given – of his days striving in duty to the Lord to not earned - and it is possible for every find favor in the eyes of God. He was a man person. Let’s pray. so driven in this effort that he accomplished an incredible amount by his own efforts. As I pray, I’d like you to bear these words in Were you aware that the number of papers mind. You are a child of God, you are an written by Luther exceeds 100 000? He heir to the throne, you are a part of his family. You Are... •A child of God •An heir to the throne •A part of His family 12 Dec'04 Waiting for His Arrival: The Son Who Waited for Wrong Thing 9 Father I am your child. You created me. You breathed life into me. You chose me. You freed me. You made me one of your own. You came down from heaven for me. You sacrificed Your Son for me. Jesus, you died for me. Thank you. We are your body. We are your people. We are your church. We long to serve you because you are so worthy of our service. You are so worthy of our lives. Father take us now. We long to be with you, we pray, Amen. The Bible says, "By grace you have been saved through faith; it is the gift of God, not of works" (Eph. 2:8-9). The Bible is clear -- we are saved, "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy" (Titus 3:5).
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