Joy in Heaven

16 May 2021 AM – Luke 15:1-32 – Parables21 – Scott Childs
Introduction: The Pharisees and scribes murmured against Jesus because He ministered to sinners. “Lost sinners came to Jesus, not because He catered to them or compromised His message, but because He cared for them.” (W. Wiersbe) To address this murmuring, Jesus told three parables that picture salvation. The first was of a shepherd searching for a lost sheep and calling friends to rejoice with him when he found it. Note Jesus’ application (Lu 15:7). The second was of a woman who lost one of the coins on her silver chain that she wore around her head as a token that she was a married woman (similar to our wedding rings). She searched until she found it. Then she called her friends and neighbours to rejoice with her. Note Jesus’ application (Lu 15:10). The third parable is of a lost son (Lu 15:11-32).
Transition: This morning we are going to focus our attention on the lost son. I want to show you three facts that God wants you to remember.
The first fact that God wants you to remember is that …
  1. Rebellion is a Trick of the Devil
a.         The younger son wanted to have fun (v.12)
1)         He wanted to get away from the hard work on the farm. He wanted to go to the big city and enjoy life. He wanted to have a good time. He pictures a rebellious unbeliever.
2)         He was not being realistic. He did not care about the feelings of his father or mother. He did not think about the consequences of his careless life. He did not think about the duties of life. He did not think about work, saving or investing. He was being selfish.
3)         The devil tricked him into thinking that he could escape the responsibilities of life and just live for himself.
4)         How about you? What are you seeking in life? Are your desires realistic or are you being tricked by the devil?
b.         He foolishly wasted his inheritance (v.13)
1)         Shortly after he received his inheritance from his father, he left home. He went to a FAR country. In rebellion, he was running from reality. He was running from hard work on the farm. He was running from his father’s rules. He was running from duty. He may have thought he was running from God. He was an unbelieving sinner.
2)         He wasted his substance with riotous living. He spent all that his father had worked hard to provide on wine, women and song. He wasted his purity. He wasted his dignity. He wasted his reputation. He ruined his family name. He wasted all that would truly have been a blessing to him. Running from God always ruins lives.
3)         The devil is a master at deceiving young people into chasing alcohol, drugs, pornography, sex, gambling, partying, fame and popularity in hopes of finding happiness. It never happens. The devil is a liar.
4)         Are you making a mess of your life? Is the devil pulling you in that same foolish direction? If so, look what happened next.
The second fact that God wants you to remember is that …
2.        Repentance is the Right Solution
a.         The pleasures of sin did not last (v.14-16)
1)         The day came when his pockets were empty. He had no more money. He could no longer indulge in the sinful vices for which his wicked heart longed. The pleasures of his sin were over. He was in big trouble.
2)         To make things worse, God sent a mighty famine in the land. That far country where he went to have fun was now a place of suffering.
3)         In order to survive, he joined himself to a citizen of that country. The word “joined” means to glue. He bound himself to a farmer as a hired servant or slave. The master sent him out to feed his pigs. Feeding pigs was one of the greatest humiliations a Jewish lad could have encountered.
4)         His sin took him to the bottom. He was now a ragged, beggarly, hungry, servant feeding filthy pigs.
5)         He was so hungry that he longed to eat the husks that he fed the pigs. These husks were “the pods of the carob tree or locust tree still common in Palestine and around the Mediterannean… The gelatinous substance inside has a sweetish taste and is used for feeding swine and even for food by the lower classes.” (RWP) No one cared for his wellbeing.
6)         In Hebrews 11:25, God tells us that you will only “… enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;” The pleasures of sin never last. Remember the adage, sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.
7)         If you are following the path of sin as that lad, don’t you think it is time to stop?
b.         He wisely stopped rebelling (v.17-19)
1)         He came to himself. He stopped living in a dream world. He faced reality. He admitted he had been a fool, ruined his life and had wasted his entire inheritance.
2)     His mind returned to home. His fathers hired servants had plenty to eat, and he was starving to death (v.17).
3)     If you have been chasing a foolish dream, it is time to come to yourself. It is time to go to God.
4)     We read this wretch’s resolution in verse 18-19.
5)         If you have been living the life of a sinner, seeking to have a good time in a life of rebellion, your bubble is going to pop. The pleasures of sin do not last. Judgment is coming. The Bible says, (Hebrews 9:27) “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: The wisest thing you can do is to stop rebelling and repent. Admit to yourself and to God that you have made a mess of your life. Humble yourself before God and ask for His forgiveness. Seek God’s salvation.
The third fact that God wants you to remember is that …
3.        Rejoicing Always Follows Repentance
a.         He rejoiced in his own heart
1)         He knew that he made the right decision.
2)         He now had the long walk back home, but with a much lighter heart. Rebellion is a heavy load to carry.
3)         Are you longing for joy? The road of repentance is the path you must follow.
b.         His father rejoiced (v.20-24)
1)         The father was waiting and watching for his lost son to return home. That father represents God. God loves you dearly and longs for you to repent and come to Him.
2)         The father was filled with joy. He ran to meet the lost son while he was yet a great way off. He had compassion on him. He fell on his neck and kissed him.
3)         The father told his servants to bring one of the best robes, a ring and shoes for the ragged son. This is a perfect picture of God’s forgiveness and reconciliation. The sinful lad came as a ragged beggar and now he is dressed as a beloved son.
4)         The father ordered a feast and merriment. There was great rejoicing when that sinful son came home.
5)         If you have been running from God, He is waiting and longing for you to come to him. Do it today!
6)         The older brother did not rejoice. All that he could see was his brother’s sin. He could not see his broken repentance. He was not willing to forgive. He represented the Pharisees and scribes. God wants these three parables of the lost sheep, lost silver and lost son to show us the importance of rejoicing when a sinner repents just as the angels of heaven rejoice. We must remember that we were all once lost sinners in need of God’s salvation.
Conclusion: We have noted three facts that God wants us to remember. 1) Rebellion is a trick of the devil. 2) Repentance is the right solution. 3) Rejoicing always follows repentance. If your life is like that of the prodigal son in this story, you have been tricked by the devil. Repentance or turning to God is the right solution. No matter how sinful you have been, God will not reject you if you humbly come to him. He wants to save your soul and make you His child. Come to Him today!
            Perhaps you are a wayward Christian and sin has made a mess of your heart and life? If so, humbly come back to the Lord and seek His forgiveness.
            If you get right with God today, there will be rejoicing in heaven!
Song: Just As I Am – 249