The Parable of the Lost Son

Parable Series – (audio sermon)

Only when we realize that we were once lost will we give a warm welcome to unbelievers arriving at church. To often like the brother of the lost son, we judge the lost before they get in the door. Lets be like the father and embrace them. Click the arrow to play –

Speakers notes follow –

The Parable of the Lost Son

Luke 15.1-2, 11-32

Context: The Pharisees muttered ‘He welcomes sinners and eats with them’ (2)

Imagine a possible scene – crowded room, rowdy laughter – ‘Hey is that Jesus with that con, Matthew? And isn’t that Magdalene the whore? – I thought you said he was a preacher?’

Jesus responds with three ‘Lost’ parables – Lost Sheep, Coin, Son – the ‘sinners’ are the lost – Jesus is asking ‘Why don’t you get excited about finding the lost? Do you get upset when you find a lost sheep?’

As a parable there is one point – established believers should rejoice when the lost are being reached – if we don’t ① We don’t understand where we came from ② We don’t understand the cross ③ We hinder the lost from being reached

Spot light on you – how would you react if you saw the following in church …

A Muslim ‘what does he want?’ / A drug dealer ‘who is he kidding?’/ A loose woman in mini & fishnet ‘no respect’ / Someone who hurt you more than any other ‘Does not deserve’ (often we rejoice over all except this one)

I tried this on myself – there are two in this community that I feel if they died tomorrow – world better. But God loves them!

The older bro said ‘He doesn’t deserve’ – what are we saying when we say that? ‘I do deserve’ Salvation by works, not by the Cross

Alpha Scale – ‘All have fallen short of the glory of God’

Should be Lost ‘Sons’ – Both are in a sense lost – ‘I don’t deserve’ (can’t receive grace) ‘I deserve’ (can’t receive grace) – we think the older lives for his father – but does he? We think the wayward lives for self, but maybe many in church do to!

Both battle to be embraced by the father – to receive – especially the older one – he believes he deserves more – that the Father is unjust – so stops receiving – loses joy/strength – next he could reject the Father/God

More self righteous – more ungracious – Pharisees didn’t bother reaching ‘sinners’ – ‘Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you’ (Mt 21.31) ‘You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to’ (Mt 23.13)

Hold the door open to the worst – reach out to the worst …

How many of you ladies are friends with a prostitute? How many of you men often buy an unbeliever a beer? (Doing this because ‘the sick need a doctor’?)

Parables: Lost Son & Good Samaritan similar – only merciful if we see we needed saving

How should we handle those we think don’t ‘deserve’ God?

Who should we be like – younger, older, father? Father loved both – merciful to both

Do you feel judged? Turned away? Undeserving? Can’t return? Lets pray

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