I. Text: Luke 15:11-24
II. Major Objective: Discover God’s Process for a fulfilling life.
III. Central Idea of the Text: God has a process that leads to rejoicing.
IV. Subject: God’s Process to a fulfilling life.
V. Thesis and Goal
a. Proposition: God has a process that works.
b. Specific Objective: To encourage people to understand and use God’s process to a fulfilling life.
For thirty-five years I worked with large computer systems controlling medium to large industrial processes. These included oil refineries, chemical processes, and power plants to include nuclear and non-nuclear processes. Each of these facilities had numerous processes that in order to work had to be operated in a specific method. If someone attempted to operate these processes in any other manner they either would not work at all or work at a low level of efficiency. Yet, once someone learned what the proper method was for the process one could operate them with a high degree of efficiency.
The same principle applies whether you are a doctor delivering a baby, an accountant trying to get your accounts to balance, or a welder building the next great skyscraper. Things all have a process and the correct way to operate that process.
Life is very similar. There are many ways we could choose to conduct our lives. There are processes in life that lead to a deep sense of fulfillment. There are also processes in life that can lead to a great sense of hurt, hollow existence, and hopelessness. It is ultimately up to each of us which way we choose. I like to think of it like this; God has placed a little part of His sovereignty on the shelf that each and every one of us might have the freedom of choice.
Just as everything has a process so also God has a process. This process can be readily seen in the story of the Prodigal Son as found in Luke 15:11-24. God’s process consists of Repentance, Restoration, and Rejoicing. Today I want us to take a look at this parable that Jesus told and see how God’s Process to a fulfilling life relates to us today.
VII. Repentance is the beginning of God’s process. (Luke15:17-19)
a. Metanoia is the most common used word in the N.T. for repentance.
b. Metanoia means to change your mind and go in a different direction.
c. The first step of the prodigal son was to admit he had sinned and desired to change directions.
i. The prodigal’s original direction was to turn his back on his father on go in a direction away from his father.
ii. The prodigal’s new direction was to turn toward his father and moves in a direction back to his father.
VIII. Restoration is the result of God’s process. (Luke 15:22)
a. The attributes of God’s restoration
i. The father was waiting for his son
ii. The father was looking for his son
iii. The father determined how to restore the son.
b. The actions of God’s restoration
i. Ran to embrace his son
ii. Clothed him with Robe, Ring, and Sandals (Robert H. Stein, The New American Commentary, Luke, Vol. 24, Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992, , pg. 405)
1. The Robe signifies a special guest
2. The Ring signifies one of authority
3. The Sandals signifies a member of the family not a slave
c. The accomplishment of God’s restoration
i. Called on the servants to ready a feast
ii. Called for the preparation of the fatted calf
iii. Called for the notice to the people of a great celebration
iv. Culminated in a great feast and celebration
IX. Rejoicing on earth and in heaven is the conclusion of God’s process. (Luke 15:24)
a. Rejoicing on earth that the prodigal son was dead but now is alive.
b. Rejoicing in heaven that a sinner has repented. (Luke 15:10)
God has allowed each and everyone of us to go our own way. When the prodigal son wanted his part of the inheritance the father made the necessary arrangements to meet the son’s request. Second, the father did not attempt to stop the son from leaving. Third, when the son chose to live a life of hedonistic pleasures no one sought to stop him from doing what he wanted. In the twenty-first century that free will still exists for each and every one of us today. If you want to live a similar life you can.
God has an alternative choice. His process that begins with repentance, leads to restoration and culminates in rejoicing is open to you. Just as the prodigal son saw, in the end, that the hedonistic life leads to a pig sty so also maybe you today find yourself in a similar position. You have tried all the world has to offer and you have only found hurt, hollow existence, and hopelessness. This morning let this be the beginning of God’s process to that fulfilling life you have so desperately sought. The first step is to turn from the direction you have been going and turn in repentance to God. If done in sincerity, God offers you restoration followed by rejoicing both on earth and in heaven by God and his holy angels.
Today as the instruments play and the congregation sings, step out from where you are and come forward. There will be pastors here to pray with you. Let Jesus Christ fill that God shaped hole in your heart. You have tried to fill that hole with everything else. Why not let God have his way with you today. Remember God’s process, Repentance, Restoration, and Rejoicing.