Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

04/08/2018 P.M.

 

Safe In The Father’s House

Luke 15.4-31

 

Luke Chapter fifteen is Jesus’ teaching on Prodigals...Those who were once to be found among the faithful... But now have become lost... Once safe in the Father’s House... But now are struggling in the far country.

 

How does that happen?

What causes people to become lost?

What causes prodigals?

Jesus gives us three insightful narratives as to what may have gone wrong... Access a Bible and let’s read some Scripture together.

 

First... Jesus says some are lost like sheep...

Read with me from Luke 15... Beginning with the verse numbered four... Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

 

Some people are lost like sheep... Without thinking... They just wander off.

 

We didn’t really mean to become involved in some ugly sin as much as we were just careless... We nibble here nibble there...

• Miss a few Wednesday Night Services...

• Then Sunday morning Bible Class becomes unimportant...

• First thing you know we reason that Sunday Night is not required...

• And then it’s easy to excuse ourselves from any kind of Fellowship Ministry or Worship.

 

The Hebrews’ writer speaks of this when he wrote... Pay careful attention to what you have heard... So that you do not let them slip... So that you don’t...Drift away.... WAnder off. Forsake not the assembly as the manner of some has become… but encourage… exhort… One another as you see the day approaching.

 

Most of us didn’t ever mean to purposely leave the church... But just became inattentive and wandered off.  We must be careful here... We’re all susceptible... Amen?

 

Someare lost like we lose a coin.

Coins are lost through the indifference & carelessness of others.

Verse eight beginning... Suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

 

In Jesus’ day a woman could string ten coins together as a sign of her material status... Much like our wedding band.  I understand that once these coins were strung together... They could not be confiscated... Even to pay a debt... However... If one was lost... The other nine would then become just money and could be claimed by a debtor.

 

This lady misplaced the coin...It was lost due to the behavior of another.

We are not alone... We influence others... And... We are influenced by others.

We all must be especially careful here lest we cause someone to stumble.

What an awesome song we used to sing that helped remind us of our responsibility toward one another... A song that perhaps we should start singing again...

 

When in that better land... Before the bar we stand...

How deeply grieved our soul may be...

If some one there... Should cry in deep despair...

You never mentioned Him to me.

 

Still others are lost like the prodigal son.

He was lost by his own deliberate choice... Due to his own self-will.

Throwing off all restraint... He violated what he knew to be right.

He wanted the pleasures of the far country more than the... Safety... security... Salvation... In the Father’s house.

 

How many of us have been prodigals?... We knew something was wrong... But chose to do it anyway...  Simply because that was what we wanted at the time.

 

Read…Beginning with verse number eleven... 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.

 

Indeed... It is especially sad when someone who... Knows right... Does right... Is right... To throw all caution to the wind and forsake God.

 

Others are lost like the Elder Son... Lost due to heart failure.

The Elder Son had a serious heart condition... He appeared to be right with the father. But as the narrative unfolds... We find that his relationship with the father was severed because of his anger and hatred for his brother.

 

The story closes with him refusing to enter the joys of heaven because of hate...What a sad condition.

 

Read it with me… 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!’

 

Can you hear The anger?... The Hate?

 

Church… Let’s not lose our place in Heaven… Simply because we insist on harboring… Anger… Hate… Resentment… Toward another person… A brother.

 

Well… I suppose... At one time or another... We’ve all played the part of a prodigal... Haven’t we?... Those who have drifted away from their Christian heritage... Or even totally rejected their faith...

• Perhaps a college student who simply stops going to church...

• A family man who became caught up in an exciting career... Becoming too busy for church…

• A husband who walked out on his wife...

• A Pastor who ran off with a woman in the church...

• An Elder who now refuses to come to church at all any more...

• A woman who got caught up in the excitement of an affair...

Prodigals are sometime those to whom life seems to have tumbled in... Those deeply hurt by circumstances of life... They feel... Abandoned... Cheated... Mistreated by God.

 

Here it is church... Prodigals happen...

So Jesus gives us these narratives to help us avoid the prodigal trap...

Concepts that will help us stay safe in the Father’s House

Let’s see what we can learn about some fatal errors of this Prodigal...

Errors that we can learn not to make...

 

The prodigal’s first error was in his thinking... In his heart.

All prodigals are prodigals at heart... Before they are prodigals in the far country.

We sin in thought... Before we sin in action.

We dream... We think... We plan... We scheme... We fantasize... And then we act.

 

The Bible tells us this is true... Every man is tempted when he is drawn away...HOW???... BY OUR own lust... By our own evil desires... Our own evil thoughts...

 

Listen to these statements by Jesus..

He who thinks evil... Harbors evil in his heart against his brother...

He that looks on a woman to lust after her has already sinned...

Out of the heart comes the issues of life.

 

Here it is church... We can keep ourselves OUT OF the far country & Safe in the father’s house... By controlling our thoughts... Whatever is true... Whatever is noble... Whatever isright... Whatever is pure... Whatever is lovely... Whatever is admirable... If anything is excellent or praiseworthy... Think about such things.

 

The prodigal’s second error is found in his... selfish...Give me... Attitude.

Father...Give me my share of the estate.

 

We must know that... Selfishness is the basis for all our sins.

The Bible tells us that the love of  Money... Things... Is the root of all kinds of evil.

 

God didn’t create us for things... He didn’t create us to make money... To gather toys.

He created us for relationships...For living together in the Father’s house with one another.

• It is said of Napoleon that he never SAW a throne he didn’t want to sit on.

• Alexander the Great cried because there were no more worlds for him to conquer.

• John Paul Getty was asked... When is enough... Enough?... He said... Never!!

• James... John... And their mother were give me people... Give my sons a throne in your kingdom... One on your right and... One on your left.

 

I think this prodigal’s selfishness was displayed in another way also... He wanted... 

• A life without restraints...

• A life without discipline...

• A life without authority...

• A life without his Father’s rules...

We can HELP ourselves stay safe by learning to control our own selfish ambitions... AMEN?

 

Another error was his being in a hurry to get away from home.

Not many days hence... Not long after that... Immediately. 

Prodigals with sin in their minds are always in a hurry to get away from home.

I wonder how many brokenhearted fathers have watched their sons pack for the far country?

 

More importantly... I wonder how many times God has watched His son Randall... Pack for the far country?... When no one else may have known… But God did!

 

Satan knows that he always has theadvantage if he can get us...

• Away from home...

• Away from the church...

• Away from family…

And into the far country... Quickly!!

 

It was Paul who admonished us to watch the company we keep… Do not be misled… Bad company corrupts good character… Bad company makes Prodigals.

 

Fatal error number four... Sin is a waste of God’s blessings.

He wasted his substance in riotous living.... The NIV says... He squandered his wealth.

In order to make any application here... We must determine what is our substance... What is our wealth?... What are some of our God given blessings and privileges?

 

What has the Father given us?... Remember those four T’s and an E... God has given each of us?

• Time...

• Talent...

• Treasure...

• Energy...

• And Truth.

Most of us here tonight... Don’t have just a whole lot of life left... We must not waste it!... Amen?

 

Another error was... HE violated His conscience.

This young man violated his religious convictions... He’s a Jew living in a Gentile pig pen. Can there be anything worse?

 

Here are some important questions we should all consider...

• Who or what determines how we act?

• Are we motivated by conviction... Or by personal preferences?

• Do we do what we want... Or what we know to be right?

• Are we guided by situation ethics...Or by the ethics of OUR FATHER god?

• Are we motivated by God’s will Or Politicalcorrectness… Ways of the world?

In a few moments... When the invitation song is sung... Who will determine how we respond?

 

We close the lesson by noting that far country sins can be forgiven.

The good news is that... Far country sins do not have to be fatal.

I don’t know what all this prodigal did in the far country... I don’t have to.

I don’t know all your ugly sins... I don’t even know all of mine.

But this I do know... The blood of Jesus will forgive them all.

 

• Listen... Listen closely tonight… And you can hear God whisper... Come now... Let us reason together... Though your sins be as scarlet... They shall be as white as snow... Though they be red as crimson... They shall be as wool.

 

• Peter gives us the good news... The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise... As some understand slowness. He is patient with you... Not wanting anyone to perish... But everyone to come to repentance.

 

Indeed… God Loves The Lost!!

 

If you are not a child of God... He wants you to come to him in faith... Repentance... And New Testament baptism... For we are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus... For as many of us as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

 

If we are harboring some sinful attitudes in our heart...

• Acknowledge them...

• Repent of them...

Come home... Strive to walk in the light.

 

If we confess our faults... Acknowledge our sins... He is faithful and just to forgive us... And to cleanse us from all unrighteousness... If we walk in the light as He is in the light... We have fellowship with one another... And the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

 

God loves prodigals... He welcomes them home... Come home to the Father’s House... As we sing this invitation songtogether.