Luke 15:11-32 NIV
Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got 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 his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘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 who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
• God saw you even when you were a long way off.
The first rule of public speaking is knowing who your audience is. • Jesus always knew who He was speaking to. • Jesus never called this as “the story of the prodigal son.” He says He wants to tell a story about two sons.
THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF PEOPLE IN HIS AUDIENCE:1) People like the tax collectors represent the sinners out in the world — prodigal2) Pharisees and Saducees represent the church folk — older brother
Being lost can’t be reduced to some geographical location. It’s induced to the condition of your heart. • It is possible to be in the house but not have a heart for the house. You can know about the Father without having a relationship with the Father. • The older brother is more full of pride than grace. He would rather judge than enjoy. He worries all the time instead of worshipping. • Beware of becoming like the older brother.
Be honest with yourself if any of this sounds like you.
TRAITS OF THE OLDER BROTHER:1) OLDER BROTHER HAS A PARTY-POOPER ATTITUDE. • They’re like angry Christians, creepy Christians; people who underestimate the power of fun and celebration • God’s house is more than bricks and mortar. It’s a family. And there’s a time to weep and a time for joy. So we’re gonna weep but we’re also gonna dance. • Jesus didn’t die to be endured. He died to be enjoyed. • There’s a difference between being present vs being engaged. You can be in a worship service but not worshipping. You could just be entertaining yourself. Lean into God’s presence. ENGAGE. • We worship to the level of what we believe we’ve been forgiven. • People who don’t worship don’t understand how much they’ve been forgiven.
In Luke 7, a prostitute washes the feet of Jesus with the most precious perfume she has. The religious people said she was wasting money. Jesus says, “Those who’ve been forgiven little, love little. But those who’ve been forgiven much, love much.”
2) OLDER BROTHER HAS A SPIRIT OF ENTITLEMENT. • The fastest way to kill a church is a spirit of entitlement. “I worked my way to this position. I deserve to be here.” -You did nothing to get here • They overlook the small seemingly insignificant tasks without realizing that it’s the small things that produce big things. • If you ain’t helpin’, you ain’t helpin’. • If you’re too big to serve, you are definitely too small to lead. • If you deserved it, it means you achieved it. And if you achieved it, that means there are limits. • But grace rips the limits off. Recognize that you are nothing without the grace of God. • There is nothing that God can’t require from me. • Whatever it takes, we’re gonna build this house.
3) OLDER BROTHER HAS A JUDGMENTAL HEART. •The father sees the younger brother from the distance. You take one step and God runs toward you. • How does the older brother know that the younger brother was with prostitutes? He hasn’t even taken the time to go talk to him. How would he know what he’s been doing? — A judgmental heart always believes and assumes the worst of people. The last thing people need is to be reminded of their past and mistakes. They need people who will think the best about them and speak to their future. • God takes your history and rewrites your destiny. • He has good plans for you. You have a hope and a future. All your days were written in his book. • The devil wants to condemn you. When people take on this trait all they’re doing is mimicking the devil. • Conviction isn’t meant to make you feel guilty; it’s to point you to a greater source. • Because you couldn’t do it, He did do it. Because you couldn’t get to Him, He came to you. • If the devil keeps bringing up your past it may be because he doesn’t have any new material. • Your past does not disqualify you. • Jesus has saved you and redeemed you. He has good plans for you. We need a church that shouts this from the rooftops. • Charles Spurgeon said, “Slow are the feet of repentance but swift are the feet of grace.” • Jesus deals with each person the same way: GRACE & TRUTH • Jesus came for those who committed the crime, but He also came for those who judge the crime.
Rich tells a story about how he travels in Economy but he travels a lot so he racked up miles. One of his friends told him that because of his miles he has access to a First Class Lounge. The guy at the front says “Mr. Wilkerson, we’ve been waiting for you. Come in at your leisure.” Everything is free. All these years he went through that airport, but didn’t know he had access to that lounge.
RICH WILKERSON JR.