Luke 15:11-32

INTRODUCTION: How many children do not feel like they are misunderstood, maligned, and mistreated by his/her parents. Most outgrow these feelings and come to understand that their parents are not as mean and unfeeling as thought.

But a few want to be independent so bad that they flee home and "spread their wings" in high style. But it often happens that they misuse and abuse their new found freedom and end up hitting the bottom. Such is the story of the "prodigal son" in Luke 15. It is a lesson of sin, forgiveness, and envy.



A. He felt chaffed by his Father's rules.
1. He asked for his inheritance. (Verses 11-12).

2. He thought that the independence he would gain from his inheritance would give him true happiness.

a. He couldn't see happiness in his Father's house.

b. The same is often true of us. We feel confined by "unreasonable" curbs on our freedom.

c. But Jesus is the only true source of freedom.

i. John 8:32, 36- ""And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free....36- Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."
B. He went into a far country and wasted his inheritance
(verses 13-14).
1. He learned the lesson that true happiness doesn't come from material wealth. It is an illusion that slips away so easily.

2. He had to slip all the way to the bottom.

a. Many times a man has to "hit rock bottom" before he can come to God.
C. Finally, "he came to himself" (verses 15-19).
1. He finally realized his condition.

2. He had godly sorrow.

a. 2 Corinthians 7:10- "For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death."
3. He resolved to go to his father and ask forgiveness. He would humble himself.

4. He had a penitent heart.

a. Matthew 5:4- "Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted."

b. James 4:9- "Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom."

A. The Father had been watching for the prodigal (verses 20-24).
1. The Father had seen him a great way off.
a. Perhaps he recognized his son's walk.
2. He had probably been watching for his return since he had left.

3. Was constantly desireous of his son's return.

4. This is the heavenly Father's attitude toward us as sinners.

a. 2 Peter 3:9- "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."

b. He loved us so much that he marked the way home. (John 3:16).

B. The Father's reaction (verses 21-24).
1. Came and fell at his Father's feet.

2. Joy in Heaven over one sinner who repents.

a. Luke 15:7- ""I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance."
3. Wasn't showing justice, he was showing mercy.
a. Treated with honor even though he didn't deserve it.
4. God is the Father of mercies.
a. 2 Corinthians 1:3- "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,"

b. Psalms 33:22- "Let Your mercy, O LORD, be upon us, Just as we hope in You."

5. What would be the reaction of some fathers?

6. Our Father wants to receive us.

A. He was envious of his brother.
1. He thought that his brother was receiving something that he didn't receive.
a. Galatians 5:21- "envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."

b. Romans 13:13- "Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy."

B. He thought that the Father's love was earned by a record of service.
1. Our record of service doesn't merit God's love.
a. Ephesians 2:8- "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,"

b. Titus 3:5- "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the
washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,"

c. Matthew 20:1ff - parable of the laborers.

2. This attitude is identical to the Pharisees who thought that their good works bought salvation while publican and sinners weren't good enough for salvation..
a. Luke 18:11ff
3. The Father doesn't love because the son merits love, but just because he is his son.
C. The older brother was proud and haughty.
1. Many of us are proud and haughty, thinking that we do God a favor by serving Him.

2. Psalms 101:5- "Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, Him I will destroy; The one who has a haughty look and a proud heart, Him I will not endure."

3. Proverbs 16:18- "Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall."

CONCLUSION: The loving Father was waiting for His wayward son. He still waits, eager to forgive His erring children.

Copyright 2000 by Grady Scott may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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