The Prodigal Son

Scripture: Luke 15:11-24

11 To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons.
12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living.
14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve.
15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs.
16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.
17 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger!
18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you,
19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’
20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.
21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. ’
22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet.
23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast,
24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

INTRODUCTION

Jesus was the master at telling stories and this story is the most famous story Jesus told and quite possibly the most famous story in all of literature. It is much more complicated than you think. One of my relatives, Kenneth E. Bailey, a Presbyterian scholar fluent in Arabic and a specialist in Middle Eastern Literature points out something that you and I would never see. This story is poetic. This story is called a chi-asm, it is written in a certain pattern ABCD-DCBA and then the parrallel [elder brother] ABCD-DCB but the last A is missing. Jesus did not finish the story. There is a reason why and we will get to it later. We could spend weeks on this story but we are going to try to get it into three or four messages.

There are three main characters in the story but today, we will focus on the Prodigal Son…

The Prodigal represents the overtly rebellious and the Gentile. In either case, it represents those who are repulsive to the orthodox Jew or the Jewish Religious Establishment of Jesus day.

I. THE PRODIGAL’S WILLFUL REBELLION

Unlike his older brother, he does not hide his resentment for his father. He approaches him and asks for his inheritance early. The younger son said to his father,”I want my share of your estate now before you die.” In other words, he is saying “give me my inheritance early.” 

To his credit, he was not sneaky. The older brother was the pretender, not the Prodigal. He was open about his defiance and rebellion. He made no effort to hide his sins.

The Prodigal wanted his independence. He wanted to be free of any restraints. He did not want to live under the authority of his father, he did not want to be accountable to his father or even to live in his fathers presence. He wanted to be absolutely free of his father which is why he moves to a far country. It didn’t want any attachment that would make him feel guilty.

II. THE PRODIGALS SHAMEFUL REQUEST

  • It was shocking request. It was not customary for a child to ask for his inheritance while his father was living. Because the Father had two sons, the younger would inherit one third of the estate at his Father’s death but he didn’t want to wait. This was a shocking story to the Pharisees, “How dare a son treat his father in such a way!”
  • It was a shameful request.  Jesus was telling this story to the Pharisees and they were enraged by the younger sons behavior because he was bringing shame on his father. What kind of son says to their father, “I wish you were dead.” This is basically what the boy is saying. He publically humiliated his father.
  • It was selfish request. The AV reads,“Give me the portion of goods that falls to me.” The flesh is impatient. It wants what it wants when it wants. This is the essence of sin. The motto of the flesh is “give me and I want.” The young man wanted his money and he wanted his way. He wanted his independence and he wanted to live an undisciplined life. He did not want to live under the authority of his father, he did not want to be accountable to his father or restrained by his father. He didn’t want his father to be present. It didn’t want any attachment that would make him feel guilty.

III. THE PRODIGALS RECKLESS LIVING

The Prodigal was under the illusion that he could sin without paying the consequences sohe wasted all his money in wild living.” The Greek word for ‘wild’ is a-sō-tōs. It must be a tough word to translate because everyone translated if differently. 

  • AV-Riotous
  • NKJV-Prodigal
  • ESV-Reckless
  • Holman-Foolish
  • NASB-Loose
  • NIV-Wild

The Greek word means to act in a prof-li-gate or dissolute way. To profligate is t0 give in to self-indulgence, cast off all restraints. It is a life without discipline. The same word also means wildly extravagant and licentious. Licentiousness is self-indulgence in sexual sins. So the elder brother may have been right when he said, “But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him.”

The word wasted in verse 13 is the same word for a farmer sowing seeds, it means to broadcast or to disperse. The prodigal was squandering his inheritance. He was recklessly spending money on things that have no significance. He was literally throwing money into the wind. But he had given no thought to what would happen after the money was gone. Rebels refuse to look at the big picture–to think long term. {Halmark Movie}

IV. THE PRODIGAL’S GENUINE REPENTANCE

To his credit, the Prodigal does repent which is more than we can say about his brother but he did not repent until he came to his senses. Sin messes up your mind. It keeps you from thinking straight. Sometimes we have to get caught in some uncontrollable circumstances before we begin to think. We have to hit rock bottom which is what the boy did.

The kid is in a foreign country which means Gentile, he spends all his money and than a famine hits. Famines are tough if you have money but they are fatal to those that are dead broke. The boy attacked himself to a farmer who sent him to feed the pigs. The AV says he’joined’ himself to a local citizen of that country but the Greek word is the word for glue. He glued himself to this man but the man didn’t care anything about him. MacArthur believed that the man wasn’t even paying the kid because the boy was starving.

He was starving literally and figuratively. He needed food but he also needed friends and he didn’t have any, not even one. No one cared anything about him. Suddenly, having a  loving, caring father means something to this wayward child. In this dirty pig pen, he begins to think and pray. Then he came to his senses, he had a change of mind, a radical change of mind about everything.

  • He changed his mind about sin– Once sin had allured him but not anymore. He sees sin for what it is…black and evil. Sin is a weight that will carry you down. It will carry you further than you want to go and keep you longer than you want to stay. Sin is a downer!
  • He changed his mind about work.
  • He changed his mind about home.
  • He changed his mind about His father. 

CONCLUSION

Both sons were rebellious, both sinned against their father but only one repented. In the final analysis, there are only two kinds of people: those who repent and those who do not. Remember, the essence of sin it that you do things your way: the elder brother was serving the father, but he was doing it his way. He needed to repent as much as his kid brother. Unfortunately, he did not see his sin, only the sins of his brother. To repent, you have to see your sins.

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Five Kings In A Cave

SCRIPTURE: Joshua 10:16-27

16 During the battle the five kings escaped and hid in a cave at Makkedah. 17 When Joshua heard that they had been found, 18 he issued this command: “Cover the opening of the cave with large rocks, and place guards at the entrance to keep the kings inside. 19 The rest of you continue chasing the enemy and cut them down from the rear. Don’t give them a chance to get back to their towns, for the Lord your God has given you victory over them.”

20 So Joshua and the Israelite army continued the slaughter and completely crushed the enemy. They totally wiped out the five armies except for a tiny remnant that managed to reach their fortified towns. 21 Then the Israelites returned safely to Joshua in the camp at Makkedah. After that, no one dared to speak even a word against Israel.

22 Then Joshua said, “Remove the rocks covering the opening of the cave, and bring the five kings to me.” 23 So they brought the five kings out of the cave—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon. 24 When they brought them out, Joshua told the commanders of his army, “Come and put your feet on the kings’ necks.” And they did as they were told.

25 “Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged,” Joshua told his men. “Be strong and courageous, for the Lord is going to do this to all of your enemies.” 26 Then Joshua killed each of the five kings and impaled them on five sharpened poles, where they hung until evening.

27 As the sun was going down, Joshua gave instructions for the bodies of the kings to be taken down from the poles and thrown into the cave where they had been hiding. Then they covered the opening of the cave with a pile of large rocks, which remains to this very day.

INTRODUCTION

When  Adoni-zedek of Jerusalem heard what Joshua and the Israelites had done to Jericho and Ai and that they had allied with Gibeonites, he sent messengers to several other kings: Hoham of Hebron, Piram of Jarmuth, Japhia of Lachish, and Debir of Eglon saying, “Come and help me destroy Gibeon,” because they surrendered to Joshua without a fight sitting a bad precedent. Adoni-zedek intended to make an example out of Gibeon so that no other cities would join forces with Joshua. So these five Amorite kings combined their armies for a united attack. They moved all their troops into place and attacked Gibeon. The Gibeonites sent word to Joshua that they were under attack and Joshua and his army marched all night  to attack the Amorite kings.

Thing went well for the Israelites and the rout was on. The five kings being the brave men that they were, ran from the battle and took refuge in the cave at Mekkedah. One of the Israelites soldiers saw them enter the cave and told Joshua where they were hiding. Joshua instructed some of him men to stop up the entrance of the cave and then resume the battle. When the battle is over, the entire army comes back to the cave and they bring the Kings out for execution.

Canaan is a type in the bible for the victorious Christian life. Jesus said, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” Ultimately, God is saving us from hell and to heaven. In the present God is saving us from sin and self, from the power of the flesh. These Amorite kings are symbol of the fleshly forces that seek to dominate us, lord over us, enslave us. We are not to yield to the power of the flesh but walk in the Spirit. We are to be hyper-niki’s, more than conquerors.

What are the dominant forces of the flesh that seek to lord over us? There are more than five but tonight I want to talk about five powerful fleshly kings that will lord over us if we allow it.

[1] The first and the greatest of the kings that lurk in the dark recesses of our lives is PRIDE. Pride is subtle. Pride is so subtle that he can rule us and we not be aware of it. Someone said, “Pride is the only disease that a man can have in which everyone knows he is sick but himself. This is true. Pride is blinding. It was pride that kept the Jewish religious leaders from seeing that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah. Right in the middle of prIde is the unbending I. The unbending I is also in the middle of sIn. Some one wrote a tract many years ago. I use to carry one with me every where I went but I have misplaced it. It begins with a little poem…

       Lord, bend that proud and stiffnecked “I,”

Help me to bow the neck and die,

Beholding Him on Calvary,

Who bowed His Head for me.

Let me ask you some questions and you just be honest.

  • Do you have a secret spirit of pride-an exalted feeling in view of your success or position; because of your good training or appearance; because of your natural gifts and abilities?
  • Do you feel important? Do you have an independent spirit? Do you love of human praise; a secret fondness to be noticed; love of supremacy, drawing attention to self in conversation; a s welling out of self when you have had a free time in speaking or praying?
  • Are you stubborn, Self-willed, with an unteachable spirit?
  • Are you judgmental and condescending. Love looks up, pride looks down. Jesus washed the disciples feet. He was down on His knees at the level of their feet. When you wash feet, you look up to people. When you judge like the Pharisee in Luke 18, you look down.
  • Pride exalts self and despises others.

[2] The second King is FEAR. Zig Zigler said fear is false emotions appearing real. The devil is basically a terrrorist. He want to destroy you with fear and insecurity. Insecure people lie. They lie because they are afraid. They believe that lies protect them from being hurt. Insecure people cannot trust. They are afraid to tell you the truth. They think that love is earned. They live in constant fear of being rejected. But their dishonesty destroys their relationship one by one. Good healthy relationship are based on truth. You would be surprised by the number of people who live under the tyranny of fear. God does not want you to live this way. There is hope and I am going to tell you how to get out from under this horrible taskmaster called Insecurity.

We have a WEE Care, that is weekday early education and a big part of the program is CHILD CARE. Back in the early 90’s when had a little 7 year old girl named Beth who was bad to act out from time to time. She had a little brother who was five years younger. Beth’s mother was fairly attractive, tall slender build in her mid twenties. She had children before she was ready and she was waiting when the WEE Care opened and did not come to get her children until closing time. Beth and her brother were 12 hour children which is never a good sign. One day Beth showed out to the point that he workers were exasperated; they were at wits end and so they send for me. I was a little aggravated at first but I knew the kids were innocent and my heart went out to Beth and her brother. The van was parked by the widow of the Child Care so I took Beth to van. The women could see us but not hear us. I spoke gently to Beth and just began probing. Finally, I ask the right question and she unburdened her little heart. She said, “I went to big one night a year ago and when I walk up I had no daddy and I have not seen him since, he just left and did not even say by. Every night when I lay down, I have a hard time going to sleep because I am afraid that when I wake up it will just be my brother and me.” There are a lot of Beths in our world. I probably lied to that child that day, I said, “Beth your mother is not going to leave you. She works hard and I know she looses her patience with you but she loves you and she is not going to abandon you.” Beth a seven year old was living in a world of fear. This should not be.

[3] The third King is JEALOUSLY sometimes known as ENVY. When was the last time you heard anyone confess that they were battling the issue of jealously. It is a sin we never confess because it is so petty. We know that jealously will make us look bad. Jealously and envy will destroy your happiness and peace. You’ll end up like the guy who decided to root some kudzu in his back yard for a ground cover around his fence. In a few years, he could not find his back yard: the Kudzo overwhelmed everything in his back yard: grass, flowers, shrubs, and fence. That is what will happen to you if you let a root of bitterness get growing in your heart.

[4] The fourth King is LUST. When you mention lust, everyone thinks of sex but you can lust for other things. Sex is probably number one. Ladies, men are visually stimulated. All you have to do to get them fired up and give them a picture, a view and they get excited. Women are doing foolish things. What about you dirty minded old men. There is not much we can do about them: I think they have been around since eden but you are not helping matters when you dress seductively or allow your daughters to do it. Perhaps you justify your lust by calling it admiration. It doesn’t matter what you call it, lust is lust and it is like playing with matches and gasoline.

You can also lust for money and the word for that is greed. We can lust for food. You can lust for power which takes us back to the first king, Pride. You can lust for pleasure which can lead to addictions.

[5] The fifth King is ANGER. Do you have anger in your heart tonight? Has someone done you wrong? There is such a thing as righteous anger. Jesus got angry at least four times in the N.T. but the only way to be angry and sin not is to be angry at sin. Be honest tonight, you are not angry at sin. Who are you angry with? I am going to share an insight with you that will help you come to terms with your anger. All unrighteous anger is against God. Well, I am not mad at God, I am mad at the preacher or my mother-in-law. No you are not mad at a brother or sister, you are mad at God.

Lets go to Luke 15 and the Elder Brother..The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends.  Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’ “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”

Who was the elder brother angry with? Who did he think he was angry with?

You get right with the father and you will be right with your brother.

Now, as I have spoke on the kings that we hid in the darkness and secret places of our lives, has the Holy Spirit put His finger on any one of these Kings? If He has, I am going to tell you what to do.

  1. Bring them out into the open, into the light. Don’t keep them hidden.
  2. Call them what they are. If you have a problem with lust, you will never get victory by calling it something else. If you refuse to admit that you are jealous, you will never get victory of jealously. {Junior Hill}
  3. You put your heel on their neck. You take command of them, instead of letting them command you.
  4. Surrender them to Joshua {Jesus}. You don’t have what it takes to put them to death but He does. Bring your sin to Jesus. He is the only person in the universe that wants your sin.