A story is said about a certain man who had two sons. BOTH LEFT HOME.
One left home and house and went far away.
The other would leave during the day.
The one went away far left physically; the one who left during the day, left emotionally.
The younger one returned after many years and we do not know if the older one returned
TEXT: Luke 15: 25-32
• PRODIGAL SON: growing up always wondered why the Lord called it the parable of the prodigal son, only latter I learnt.
• Actions of the older son are shadowed by the grand story of the younger.
• I saw a picture of myself in the older son and probably some of us can too.
o Known father for a long time
o No dramatic, turnaround stories or testimonies
o Dutiful. Worked, did not live off his father.
INTERESTING FACT: Vs26: He hears music and singing, and he has no clue
what that means. The poor bloke did not know what a party sounded like.
o Had insipid, boring life. Life of mediocracy. (Stayed home on Friday)
o A committed person, a Christian if you may
o Extremely dutiful and slavish in his work of his father.
• Vs 11 -“CERTAIN MAN” – the other two parables were mere stories (Vs4 and Vs 8). Probably something that could happen in the 21st century. Happen in our midst.
• No names are given: can apply to anyone of us. I want to call the older son - Viji
As we look at the life of the older son, my prayer is for us to do a spiritual check, if by any means we are the ones that Jesus was speaking about.
If by any means our LOVE FOR THE FATHER HAS DECAYED.
Five Reasons why – Decay of Love (from the Life of the Older Son)
We will look at the
1. Reason why there was a decay in the love
2. Identify what the problem that caused the decay, and
3. (If that is a picture of us), what action must we take to correct it?
I Reason One: Relationship: Vs 29-30: As soon as thy son …
• As soon as this thy SON … so who are you? What are you?
Remember, I’ve been serving you, the son says
• Relationship with the father had degraded to that of a servant.
Love has been replaced with duty
• He got so focused and passionate about (duty and service) meeting and doing all of the Expectations, that he forget love and relationship.
HOW did the relationship become stale?
What was the problem? Friendship
• Friendship, not friends. Friends are not wrong in themselves;
It is about what priorities your friendship will make you choose.
• Vs29: you did not even give me a kid goat to CELEBRATE with my FRIENDS.
What he is saying: “I have been so busy serving you that I haven’t had time to go have fun”
o I haven’t had time to hang out in a while.
• His idea of having fun was outside with some other friends. There was no more fun between him and his father.
• How about us? Does God = Duty, Service and Friends & other things = Fun.
Remember, God went through the whole exercise of saving you so that He would have a relationship with you. He wants you and Him to have fun together. That is relationship.
But oftentimes, we do our duty to God and then expect a kid goat so that we can have some fun and enjoy ourselves.
We smell like the son, we look like one,
But when all is said and done
We are mere shells with hearts undone
- 29 Jan 07
• Postal Address: The older son’s postal address was his father’s home, but when asked for the address of the heart, it was a different matter.
We often mistake activities and duties for God, as our way of showing love.
Example: Suppose I tell my wife I vacuumed the house and in addition I bought the grocery this week and Hon, and I hope through that you understand I love you, now let me go and do something that I really enjoy doing.
And Joyce would say that is not love, I need YOU…and all the women said – AMEN.
o God wants you…talk to Him, enjoy Him.
• How do we know what is it that gives us fun?
Ask ourselves: where will we go, what will we do, when we are left unfettered?
WHAT DO I MEAN BY THAT: If there is no one watching, if after we have done our dues to God, what do we start to do as a means of finally enjoying ourselves?
o The final bell at school that goes off, when all the kids come alive.
o Animated excitement at the end of the meeting.
o Music practice, great – after the practice when you get a bit of time, what music you naturally begin to play.
• Has our love decayed into mere duty? Let’s just take a look at ourselves, do we feel like the older brother.
What action do we take to correct it? Effort
• Every relationship takes work to build and maintain. Friends to friends, spouse to spouse and parent to child and even between God and I, God and you.
• God has invested His all in this relationship, how much have we?
What effort did we take this past week to get closer to God?
II Reason Two: Respect: Vs 29: And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years…
• In the Middle Eastern culture, the son would get stoned if they ever addressed their Father that way, unless he addresses by saying ‘O my Father’ of ‘Father’.
We act like “spiritual teenagers”.
o When I was a teenager (and I was till I was 30), I thought I had all the answers
o Respect and Honor begins at home. Honoring our parents, Honoring God’s Word.
o God is the one who laid the structure and we have to give an account to Him.
What was the problem? Familiarity
• Familiarity with the Father had eroded the respect.
Have we taken for granted Our Father, who has granted us all things?
• Honestly, we may have done some of what we did today: coming to Church and worshipping (since the longest time), in auto pilot.
Go Robot: (high intensity. High exposure) flight Attendants when they have to smile constantly during the flight.
Is our Christian faith in auto-pilot?
• Have we lost the wonder? Does God still thrill us?
Or is He just a passport to heaven? Is He a mere shelter for eternity?
What action do we take to correct it? Experience His Excellency Anew
• Learn one thing new: Experience one thing new about God each day. Read His Word, ask Him to reveal something new from His Word, something about Himself and see if you can afford to take God for granted. .
• How can we learn, if we don’t study his word…
Turn and look under the stone
What treasures God has hid
Each verse, each word to feast on
His children, He does bid.
1 Feb 07
We are going to be in awe of our Lord for eternity and how easily have we lost the joy while down here.
III Reason Three: Reproveable : Vs 28: and he was angry, and would not go in
• The older brother would not listen. Here have an issue of not LISTENING.
• The father entreats but the son is not willing to listen to the voice of the father.
In Vs 28 We can identify four reactions. These are similar when we are confronted.
1. Anger: How can the father kill that fatted calf for this do-no-gooder.
When we get angry or somebody confronts us: who is he? Or who is she to ask?
2. Sulk: I won’t come in? I don’t want to see his face.
How do we sulk: I don’t want to talk to him/her again. Hmm the gall
3. Accuse: Vs 30 – older accuses the younger – “Lived with harlots and wasted his life. How did the older son know, he didn’t even know if the brother has actually become a successful or wasted.
How do we accuse: it’s best not even to get into it. The stories we make up.
4. Listen: Be Reproveable. Be open to correction. Just listen.
What about listening to our brothers and sisters, out spouses : if they are truly our help-meet, then their suggestions and ideas are for us to listen.
(Did God say it is not good for man to be alone, because he makes too many mistakes? And he needs someone to keep telling him about it).
We usually don’t listen for three reasons: (three positions)
Because we think We are right – that’s self righteousness
They are wrong – that’s judging
That’s the way I am – that’s self importance
We are not getting in to heaven the way we are, so why do we take pride in that fact.
o Let’s remember that the reason we are still on earth is because we are not yet perfect for heaven. We make mistakes, and so we need to listen.
What was the problem? False righteousness.
Righteousness is not about being holy, but about believing we are RIGHT, and we could be so dense to the fact that we could be dead wrong.
• The idea the problem lies with them
• The unwillingness to back-off. We want to hold our position.
And it doesn’t matter what the consequence or cost.
What action do we take to correct it? Entreatable. Be winsome.
Let people be able to win us with love.
• When we are truly right and correct we don’t get angry, we don’t have to be forceful.
• Willingness to listen and be entreated comes from meekness that Christ gives.
• Be willing to listen, even when it is uncomfortable, and against your grain, and the Holy Spirit is asking you to OBEY.
IV Reason Four: Record Keeping: Vs 29: These many years, never even gave me a kid goat. You didn’t even let me have a pizza party with our friends.
• Record Keeping: It was so easy for the older brother to list of the sins of the younger – he’s wasted his life, spent on the harlots, and now he’s come here to take my share.
It is easy for us to keep records, that is human nature.
o A story is said about a rich man who gave this testimony that when he was young and had only a few dollars in his pocket, he gave all that he had for God, and that that was the reason that God has blessed him. It was rally encouraging to others to hear that testimony. But as he sat down an old woman behind him leaned forward and said, “great testimony but I dare you now to do that again”
We keep record of few things we have done years for God and yet if God were to keep a record, no flesh would ever survive.
• Vs 29: neither transgressed I at any time Thy commandment.
Remember, that rich young ruler: All these things I have kept since my childhood.
Kept the list, made the grade.
In trying to keep the every grain of commandment, we may have dropped the rock – the commandment of love
What was the problem? Forgiveness (or the lack of it)
• Belief in the principle of fair exchange : He deserves it, of what he has done.
• Love does not keep a record. If God had kept a record, we would be dead.
Let us learn to forgive our brothers and sisters, knowing we are equally weak and susceptible.
My annual review and list of achievements that was lost in the computer crash.
Thankfully, my boss was keeping a record and she listed most of what I had achieved.
What scared me was, what I could do, somebody could do better – keep records.
What action do we take to correct it? Examination. Do a self check.
• Let us take a look at ourselves in the mirror – a spiritual mirror.
• Cross is a great leveler. Let us stand in the shadow of the cross and all the records we keep will turn into dung.
• Christian faith is not a checklist.
Let Christian living be your “au naturel” – or something that is your very nature.
• Love without conditions : those who have not reached our level of “holiness”
o Those who don’t measure up to our level of spiritual sophistication.
o Those who aren’t kewl.
o Love without condition, our younger brothers and sisters in Christ. (Try so hard and get discouraged).
• If we have understood a bit of the love that we were loved with, we will stop saying hurtful things and begin to love.
God bottles the tears I shed
And goes overboard with rewards
Rewards! He has one for being His Child.
One for getting to heaven
One for the race, and one for the saint
And the list goes on and on
Though it isn’t my skill or will
He still gives and tracks it all
Yet one thing He doesn’t track
Are my sins, my misses, my flaws.
These He forgets and tosses in the Sea.
For in Jesus, I am record free.
15 Jan 2007
V Reason Five: Rejoice (Inability to): Vs 32 (24): It is meet that we be merry and
• Be happy for someone else, even though there is no WIIFM
• Happy even when the other brother gets the fattened calf.
Be HAPPY. Not wonder, how come?
What was the problem? First me Attitude
• The issue of “I”.
• Mine should be better, mine should be newer.
• It’s the keeping up with the joneses in spiritual display.
• Mind you this problem is very subtle – on the outside we can be very humble, but there is that extra squeeze in your heart, when something good happens to another brother.
What action do we take to correct it? Expectancy .
• The expectancy that God will always give you what is best for you and that it does not depend on what my brother or my sister gets.
• It is true humility that rejoices at what God has given them.
• It is believing that God’s store will not run dry.
• SCARCITY MENTALITY: Moving to the Abundance mentality.
God has still not reveled so much of what He wants to give us, let us not complain about a kid goat that we haven’t got.