Text: Luke 15:11-32
But it was only right we should celebrate and rejoice, because your brother here was dead and has come to life; he was lost and is found.
The Textual Setting
In Luke 15 Jesus is focusing his mission for his inner circle.
It is not about building a great organization.
Nor is it about establishing a nation of God.
He has come to redeem.
This theme he weaves throughout this section.
It is also found throughout the Lord’s teaching.
The chapter is a series of story lessons – parables:
Of a farmer who rejoices over a straying animal
A lady house manager who rejoices over finding a lost drachma (coin)
And then a man who lost his son has the lost restored
I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner repenting than over ninety-nine upright people who have no need of repentance.
In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.
The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
With joy as a theme and rejoicing as the goal, the Lord tells us why Heaven rejoices:
If finding lost wealth is a blessing (Heaven doesn’t need it).
If recovering a lost lamb brings joy – and occupies your total efforts
How much more would you rejoice over life?
An unnamed man had two unnamed sons.
Their names are not important to the truth.
The lesson is universal – as well as particular.
The Younger said:
We are introduced to the youngest.
We are also introduced to his spirit.
Had he disliked the spirit of the home?
Did he long for the sensuous life?
Was it simply selfishness?
The younger son asked his father, “Father, give me (cut out for me) my share of the property – that which belongs to me.” So he divided his property (to.n bi,on) – life between them.
The estate that is your living
That which is your life
A recognition of the father’s death in advance –
The elderly man would not only lose a son, his means of existence would be altered.
The estate would be divided 1/3 to the younger –2/3 to the elder.
The son asks to leave the family. Now comes the status of “dead” and “lost.” This is an old Jewish custom. Often a funeral is held for the one who goes to false gods.
The final note of revolt is then told:
He burned his bridges and followed his lusts
A few days later, the younger son got together everything (More exactly he scattered his property. It is the word used of winnowing grain.) he had and left for a distant country where he squandered his money on a life of debauchery (He wasted his substance with riotous living.).
Since they would not consent to acknowledge God, God abandoned them to their unacceptable thoughts and indecent behavior.
One that cannot be saved, one who does not save —
A life of sensuous abandon —
The Far Country
He found a new place where he could “fit.” He joined himself with a “citizen of that country.”
A union or partnership
2 Corinthians 6:14 KJV
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
2 Corinthians 6:14
Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness?v
He “yoked himself” — The same words as in marriage. “That which God has joined”– We are what we unite ourselves to.
My wife gains and loses with me – in me. Jeff Sexton is blessed and cursed in me. The same with our children.
Then came the financial turn-down famine:
He had no savings.
His life had been lived.
Then those powerful words:
Luke 15:14 and he began to be in want.
Finally the ending evil — He fed pigs – slopped hogs!
He would willingly have filled himself with the husks the pigs were eating but no one would let him have them.
Matthew 7:6 -7
“Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you. Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.”
This is what twelve-step programs call “reaching bottom.” Until we are broken we can’t be healed. Until we know we are sinful we won’t repent. Want to pray for someone who needs God? Pray that they will “reach bottom.”
Then the greatest words — He became a unified person
Luke 15:17 Then he came to himself (his senses)– He became sane – healed in a pig sty.
The Ring, The Robe, The Fat Calf
The first great truth to healing is learning that it makes a difference how we talk within or to our self. He said to himself … I will rise. I will go. I will say…
What he couldn’t plot was what his father would do or say.
Remember – the man had two sons.
But neither were like their father.
One stayed home.
He didn’t embarrass the family name.
But he was not like the father.
He had a selfish heart.
Notice his words toward his brother.
He would not go in – he would not dance.
The believer who says they want to be like God, better learn to be extravagant in joy.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice always,
1 Peter 1:8-9
That the authenticity of your faith– being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire– may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
Learn to rejoice
This is the heart of this lesson: Live in overflow – extravagantly. Be as lavish and profuse as your God.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us.
The central theme of these parables is – Rejoice – Heaven is –to be like God – is to be filled with joy – this is the nature of his kingdom.