The Lost Things

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Joel shares about sheep (animals), coin (money), and the two sons (older & younger). Younger was a sinner who did not care who saw. He repented. Older says I have never disobeyed and want to celebrate without you. Unrepentant. Which son are you?

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The Lost Things Luke 15

By Joel Willoughby

Here for the morning service and for the Sunday school. He's been here a few times before already, so we're pretty familiar with him and we're glad to have him back again. Please come share the word with us.

All right. Yeah. Really glad to be here.

And I was just thinking as I was coming in, we're running a little bit late. I got four kids and a lot of people here know about kids and whatnot, so it a little bit of everything. And we're getting here a little bit late.

And I thought, you know what? It's okay. It's Northridge. These people know us, they love us.

It's good. It's like a little second church family for us here. So we just really appreciate coming.

And we love being a part of the body here when we can. And of course it's around Thanksgiving and I didn't really think about doing something with Thanksgiving, but as I thought through it, I thought, wow, I actually kind of did in a sense, accidentally, or I should say maybe God guided without me being really fully aware there. So we're going to be in Luke 15.

We're only going to go to one other passage in Luke. Outside of that, we're going to stay right in Luke 15, cover the whole chapter. It's one of my favorites.

I have lots of favorites about everything's. A favorite when you get into it, but I really enjoy walking through this. Thank you, Caleb.

Appreciate that very much. The good coffee oil here helps lubricate the throat and everything, right? They actually say it's one of the worst things to do when you're speaking coffee. He'll dry out your throat, but if you just keep it coming, it's not a problem.

All right, so this is called the lost things. So who is lost? Kind of the question here. Who is lost in your outline here? It's actually pretty simple thing, thinking in hindsight, I was like, yeah, I probably should have warned people and given some more room, but that's my fault.

And so there might be a lot here to take down. At the bottom, there my application. That doesn't mean that this is the application that I am giving.

It means how you're going to apply it to your life. So as we go through, there might be little things here and there that you might want to jot down at the end. Like, this is how I'm going to change things, or something that might be good, but it is mainly meant for toward the end of it, you'll see how it all develops.

This is all very connected here. So the setting the setting is in Luke 15, verses one through three. It's very clear what's going on and why Jesus is telling these parables.

It's so important to understand who he's talking to, who's around him, and the purpose of these parables. There's three right in a row. If we miss the context of this, we miss a lot.

Almost everything. Almost everything. So we want to be very careful with that.

The audience here, you have two groups. You have the tax collectors and sinners and the Pharisees and scribes. It's very important that we recognize these two groups in all of this.

The tax collectors and sinners, as we're going to see, is near Jesus. They're listening to him. Teach.

They're interested. They like it. They're moving in closer.

They want more. Then you have the Pharisees and scribes in my mind, what I like to call my sanctified imagination. The Pharisees and scribes are more kind of off to the corner of a room and they're watching in disgust.

They're not agreeing with Jesus, obviously. What's new? Right? And then they're just grumbling. They're complaining.

So we think about Thanksgiving. What's the opposite, right? When we grumble, we complain. And so we can think through this and we see how the major error has a lot to do with a lack of thankfulness, really.

I think that's what it can come down to. All right, so let's move on here then. I think something opened up in the computer there.

There you go. All right, we got it. All right.

So here it's starting in verse one. Okay. Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him, and the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, this man receives sinners and eats with them.

So he told them this Parable. So don't miss that. This is the situation that's going on.

So he told them this Parable. And so he hears them, he knows what's happening, and he thinks, how can I try to reach them? Now, we don't know who may have believed out of this group of Pharisees and scribes. We do know that some did come to belief, but overall, they have a general reputation for rejecting Christ.

And so we don't know what ends up happening. But Jesus is trying his best to reach them. And sometimes we don't do well with direct statements or accusations, right? We do well with stories and questions, and we see faithful prophets and apostles and even Jesus himself, of course, using these tactics, even remember Nathan the Prophet with King David.

King David would have had a lot of pride in things, right? But instead, Nathan the Prophet told a story about a man stealing the sheep, the one sheep, right? And it really connected with him, so he was able to see the error of his ways. So here's what I call the Parable trilogy. The parable trilogy, the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son.

And I know it's normally called The Prodigal Son, but I'll go into why I changed that, and I think it fits best, as you see. And so it's kind of the simple outline you have in your Bolton today. And you'll have the Lost Sheep Parable, then the Lost Sheep lesson kind of a thing.

What are you learning from that. So you see the basic setup here. Verses four through six, we're going to go through all these verse by verse four through six, you have the actual parable.

And then verse seven, Jesus explains what this is all about. And then same thing with the coin and then the sun, right? But the sun, you notice it's not separated and that's because all these things build on each other. It's really cool how this works.

Don't miss the information in one because you're going to take that and then add to it and then add to it. And so with the third one, it kind of almost ends abruptly in a sense. And the idea is now what do you do? That's kind of the idea.

So now we got all that out of the way, we understand the setting of the parable. We're going to move on here to the lost sheep. And what I'm going to do is I'm actually going to grab my Bible over here because I have bad eyes and I'm having a little bit of trouble seeing that screen.

That's my fault. God makes us weak so that we learn to rely on Him more. That's a good thing.

But I'm going to do this just so I don't stumble over words and things. I'll open it up and even though I have it up here, I always encourage people to have their own Bibles open too. That way you can see what's around it.

You can see it for yourself. I'm using the ESV today. Maybe you have another translation you're more comfortable with and that could be more helpful to you.

So we're starting at verse four here. What man of you having 100 sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open country and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? That's an interesting thing. I guess we can park there for just a moment here.

And the idea here is that if you have these hundred sheep, it's just a general parable. We don't pick apart every single little detail in a parable necessarily. There's usually just a main point or two.

That kind of an idea. There's a cultural reference that they all understood here. And so a lot of people, they saw sheep, they saw shepherds, you understood the life.

And they would have this idea of this open country. US, we think to ourselves, oh no, they're all alone at night on this hill, barren, and the wolves are coming, right? But that's not the situation. What they would have is a lot of times they would have these basically sheep pens, if you will, a big one, and you would have other shepherds that would be there.

They would be working together with 100 sheep. And so it's not that they were totally left to the wolves, so to speak. They were not.

They would have been protected. So don't get hung up on that sort of an idea. And then, so there's one lost.

Now, when the shepherd comes back in at night, the idea is he sends them all in, he does the count, and he realize, uh-oh, there's one missing that's not good. And that's really important because sheep were money. That's like living money.

And so that was a big deal. And with sheep, unlike cash that just sits on a shelf or something, sheep reproduce and things, right? And so there's more and more money and they even produce even the wool and the milk and things as time goes on as well. So there's a big multiplier that gets taken away if you even lose one, it's a big deal.

And plus this guy's job, he doesn't want to lose his job. So he goes out and he's going to find it. He's determined to find this thing.

So then we go on to verses five and six. Here it says, and when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders. Rejoicing.

When he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, rejoice with me for I have found my sheep. That was lost. Now, these sheep are not lightweights.

I want you to understand this. So some people say this would never happen. People don't carry a sheep on their shoulders.

They're way too heavy. It wouldn't work if you had to. You could do it for a little bit.

But if you're going out into the country through the hills and the desert and everything, and then you're going to carry all the way back, that's a pretty big deal. I actually did a little work. I looked up the weight of sheep.

And wouldn't you know, it varies according to breed. There's a popular breed out in the middle of the East, I think it's called Awasi. I'm not sure really how to pronounce that necessarily, AW a SSI.

But the idea is that that is the popular breed and they can get up to, and I believe it's about 250 pounds for a full grown male. The females are about 60, 70 pounds less than that, something like that. That's pretty heavy, though.

It doesn't have to be a full grown one. It could have been lighter. But you're looking at probably a very bare minimum of like 80 pounds.

That's pretty significant. And there's even some sheep, they get up over 350 pounds. That's the certain breed and things.

It's pretty big. So I don't think he's talking about those, though. So the idea is this.

He comes back with joy. Now, why would you be joyful if you had this, say, 100 pound animal on your shoulders that was disobedient from you to begin with, and you're bringing it back through the rocky hills, the desert sands and things like that. But he comes back rejoicing.

Why would that be? Only one reason. He loved that sheep. He loved that sheep.

I think it's actually a very important note to have here, because that's the reason there is so much rejoicing. It wasn't just a job, it wasn't just duty. There was love here.

Otherwise he would have come back grumbling with that thing on his shoulder. You stupid sheep. Why'd you do this? As soon as I can, we're putting you down or something.

But that's not the case, is it? So then we go to verse seven. And this is the purpose that Jesus gives here. He says just so, just like that.

I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons who need no repentance. That's a very interesting phrase that he says there, who need no repentance. Can you think of human beings that do not need repentance? Jesus is one that's it every single other human being we need to repent, and not just once in our lives, right? This is more than once.

And so what's going on here is this is a state of mind. This is a state of mind. I don't need to repent.

It's what you're thinking, it's not necessarily reality, but it is what you are thinking is true. So remember the groups that we have here. Remember the groups we have, the tax collectors and sinners, they've come close, they are repenting.

You have the Pharisees and scribes, they're grumbling. What's going on here? We don't have a problem. They have problems, right? Okay.

That's a big problem. So Jesus is speaking to these tax collection sinners. Now, with the tax collectors and sinners, I want you to understand who they are and how big and bad these guys are.

This is really relevant to the whole chapter. So with tax collectors, the idea was that Israel was a sovereign nation. And then you had Rome come through the nation, Rome comes through and they just totally dominate.

They totally dominate. Now they've killed people, they've beat up on people. They are not kind in their ruling necessarily.

And they can bully them around with no repercussions. They can do whatever they want to these people. And so it was very reprehensible to the Jewish community.

Then certain Jews over time, what they did was they would adopt more and more of the Roman, or originally Greek, but that culture, they would adopt that more and more. They're called Hellenistic Jews. And so they would hellenize us, like to Greek.

That's the idea. And so they became like Greeks, these Romans. And one thing they did in particular was they would actually work for them as tax collectors.

And you think, well, that's a job, everybody has to do it. Well, first off, it wasn't right for them because a part of their theocracy right, they shouldn't have had another nation ruling over them. But it really was because they were disobedient, rebellious and wicked before they were under the law.

And God had certain promises with the law of obeying it or disobeying it. It was already a big slap in the face to pay taxes to a gentile nation. That's already horrible.

But then these people would come, they'd say, hey, I know that you are evil, you are corrupt, you treat my people badly, but I want to make good money and so I'm going to work for you. That doesn't sound too good. And it gets worse.

Then what they would do is, as they go around house to house to collect these taxes, or they'd set up the booth and they come to them, get the taxes, what they would do is if somebody say they owed, say, $10, just an arbitrary number, they owed $10 of taxes. They'd say, okay, give me 15. And they would put ten to the Roman government, who pays them a salary.

And then they would just take that extra five just right in their pockets, tax free. They have a lot of money that way, and they couldn't do anything about it. The Jewish people couldn't do anything about it.

If they were to try to fight that, then they could actually have Roman soldiers come and enforce it. And Rome didn't care. They didn't care.

And so they'd beat them up, they'd throw them in prison, they'd do whatever they had to do. They'd seize their property. It didn't matter.

And so it was a horrible oppression of the people of Israel. So tax collectors, they were bad news, right? They're horrible and they didn't care. They said, I'm doing it for the money.

It's a really great paying job, so I don't care about the moral implications here. That's some bad dudes. And then it says sinners.

You think to yourself at first, well, everyone's a sinner. What's the big deal? There the idea with this, calling them sinners like this. The idea is that they were not ashamed of it.

This was their public lifestyle. This is not something they hid in the darkness, alone in their private places. No, these were the people closing down the bars.

These are the people after the bar is closed, going through the streets and still partying all night, right? These are the ones that took advantage of all of the most vulgar parts of society, right? And they were not ashamed of it. This is who they were. And so these Pharisees and scribes were grumbling.

They're disgusted. What, Jesus is supposed to be some righteous teacher. He calls himself the Messiah.

And here he is. He's actually just hanging out with these people. He's talking to them.

He's being kind and loving to them. What's wrong with him? There must be a huge problem here. So with the lost sheep.

The lost sheep is that repentant sinner? It went astray and it returned, came back. Remember, repenting. Is that 180 degrees? It's that coming back.

Returning, right? So that's the idea here. The sheep was brought back, and you notice it never would have came back without the shepherd, right? The shepherd went out looking for him. There's a lot of actual implications from this idea.

This lost sheep, repentant sinner is the group, the tax collectors and sinners. That's who they are. They were out in the world doing horrible things, but then they're repenting.

They're coming to him and they're listening and they're loving Jesus now. And so then you have the 99 sheep, remember, in the open country, they're out there by themselves. They never returned, right? They didn't repent.

They're the unrepentant, self righteous ones. This is the Pharisees and the scribes. All right? So now that we have that base covered, the other parable will go a little bit faster here.

But first, I just want us to hop over to Luke five. I want us to see that this is a normal thing that's been happening. This is a theme in the Gospels of this idea.

This is nothing new here. So we'll hop over to Luke, chapter five, and we're going to start in verse 27. Just reading a little clip here of Scripture.

It says, after this, he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi. That's Matthew, by the way. He was sitting at the tax booth and he said to him, Follow me.

And leaving everything, he rose and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his house. And there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them.

And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled. They grumbled at his disciples, saying, why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners? This is appalling, right? This is appalling. How can you do this? Why do you eat and drink with them? That's fellowship, right? You're having this common ground, this communion.

You are accepting them on some level by eating with them is the idea. So then verse 31 and Jesus answered them, those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.

What a beautiful thing. So here you have the same groups, right? The Pharisees, the scribes, the tax collectors, the sinners, and you have them grumbling the Pharisees scribes grumbling the tax collector. Sinners are repenting, coming close to him.

They're now having fellowship. The idea was the Pharisees and scribes didn't care that they were repenting. They said, I know who you are.

You are that dirty, rotten sinner. And there's no forgiveness there. There's no forgiveness.

There's no thankfulness for them repenting. There's none of that. They're just saying, I know who you are.

And they're holding them to that old sinful lifestyle. And we can't do that. We have to have room for people to repent and move on, turning over to Christ.

And then we celebrate that and we move on. That's really important. So then here we come back to Luke 15, verse eight is.

We're picking it back up again. And now we're just going to stay in Luke 15 at this point. And then verse eight starts the parable of the last coin.

This one's even shorter here it says, or so you had your sheep example. Now you have your coin example. Okay.

Or a wet woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it. So this is probably a widow given the culture and things. Maybe not, but it's probably the idea is either way, this is a lady that is not married for a man to provide for her.

She does not have the children, the sons or sons in law that can provide for her. There's no social welfare program in the nation of Israel at this time. And so if you were a lady by yourself, like know, usually widows, then you would have no ability to generate any.

I mean, you could beg, could beg for money, but that really didn't get you very far. You could do something. So all she had was these ten silver coins.

There's no more money coming in. This is it. So we don't know how old she is, but the idea is that for the rest of her life, she just has these ten silver coins.

And so this would be like a couple months of money, like two months salary for the rest of your life. That's it. No other assets, kind of a thing.

I mean, she had a home, but she doesn't want to live on the street. And so here she actually even spends money. She lights the lamp.

She lights the lamp. To find this, she sweeps the house. So in other words, when she lights that lamp, what is it showing you? She couldn't even wait till sunrise.

We have to find this now. There is an urgency here. There's an urgency.

We have to find it now, sweep the house. It's a thorough search. Seek diligently.

There is passion, there is fervor here. She has to find this. It's obsessive, it's consuming, a consuming passion here.

She must find it. Then we come to verse nine. And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors saying, rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.

Wow, what a wonderful thing. And then we have the purpose here. Once again, not different from the lost sheep.

It just adds a little more, says just so in verse ten. Just so, I tell you. There is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

Now, before it says there's joy in heaven, it gets a little more specific now. Now, I've heard people read this before and they talk about angels rejoicing. Well, the Bible never actually says that, okay? And it doesn't say it here.

Who is the one rejoicing in this verse? It is the father. God the father. Notice what it says here, just so I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

So it's the Father that throws the party. He's the one that's super excited. And maybe the angels, they probably do join in.

I don't think they're just robots that stand there and just like stare at them. I assume that they do join in, but that is an assumption. The idea is that the focus is what's the focus? The joy of the Father over even just one sinner who repents.

That means you and me. It gets very personal. That's a wonderful thing.

So even more if there's multiple repenting, right? Like a whole group of tax collectors and sinners? Yeah, that'd be awesome. So here we have the lost sheep for those that love creation, that love the animals, things like that. You have the lost coin for those that love the money, that know of desperate situations.

And so he's appealing to all the audiences because then anyone that's left over, you're going to feel it with the lost son. This is the one that's going to drive everything home. But let's review the lost coin first.

Each coin was precious to her, but most did not perceive that value. That's a really important concept here as well. She saw the value in that one coin that the Pharisees and scribes would not have seen, or a lot of people.

The Pharisees and scribes, they were known for being rich, they had lots of resources, and they got a lot of resources basically because of corruption, but they were rich, they were known for it. And they would see this little coin, which is basically like a week's worth of money for the average worker, and they think, okay, what's the big deal? It's not that great in the same sense as they would look at one of those tax collectors or one of those sinners and go, what's the big deal? They don't see the value of that soul. They don't see the value of that person that bears the image of God, right? We need to see every human being as valuable as they really are, as valuable as God sees them.

And that's the lesson. There part of it. Observe that diligence, that enthusiasm of the woman searching for the lost coin.

The idea here is it's even God is this enthusiastic about reaching out to sinners, us included, right? Obviously. And so Jesus is telling them these parables in a row, each parable is intensifying, it's building. What's the focus on the joy of the Lord? It's the joy of the Lord.

Why Pharisees and scribes, why are you grumbling? Why are you complaining? Don't you want to enjoy the situation just like the Father is, right? What's missing here? So to really make it plain, Jesus goes to another parable, and this is where it really hits home. The lost son, usually called the prodigal son. Prodigal just means big spender if you didn't know that prodigal just means big spender.

So I don't think Prodigal Son is actually a good title for this parable because the focus is not that he spent excessively. That's not the big focus. That is a part of it, but that's not the big focus.

If anything, you can say, there's the prodigal father. There's even a book out there called The Prodigal God. And the idea is that God's the big spender.

He spends like crazy with grace and mercy and love, patience, right? He's the big spender. And you can see he's rich in mercy, he's rich in grace, right? There's tons of scripture passages that talk about this. So you have these three characters, the father, the older son, the younger son.

The question is who is lost? Who is lost here? And we're going to kind of think through these concepts here a little bit. So let's start with verse eleven. We have the situation here in verses eleven and twelve.

And he said there was a man who had two sons and the younger of them said to his father, father, give me the share of property that is coming to me. And he divided his property between them. I want you to pause and appreciate the absolute depravity of this young guy, okay? So when is it that someone usually gets an inheritance? It is when the other person dies, right? That's when you get the inheritance.

The idea here is that this younger son walked up to his father and essentially says, father, you have really no more value to me. I don't see any value in you. I don't want really anything to do with you.

The only thing that you have that I want now, not your relationship or anything like that, the only thing that you have that I want now is the inheritance that's going to be coming to me. And he even knew that that inheritance would only grow through time, but he didn't care. He wanted so little to do with the father here that he just says, go ahead and split the inheritance.

I'll take whatever it is now and I'll be on my way. You'll never see me again. So if you had two sons, that means you split it into three portions because the older, the first born gets the double portion and so then he gets that one.

So he gets a third, a third of everything the father has. Can you imagine if you boil down all your assets, whatever they are, and you may say, well, it ain't much, but here's the idea that's even more important. One third of everything you have just gone, given away.

So the father does love this son. He grants him his wish. And it's kind of a sad situation, but this is what happens.

Remember, it's a parable though, too, so don't dig into it too deeply. But let's move on here to verse 13 then. Not many.

Days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country. And there he squandered his property in reckless living. Okay, so a couple more points here because we really want to show how bad this guy is right now.

That's the goal. We want to really flesh that out because Jesus is telling this parable, remember who the audience is. The tax collectors and sinners are right in front of him.

They're repenting, they're listening, they're loving Him. Then you have the Pharisees and scribes off to the side. They are hating him.

Resenting him. They are grumbling, complaining, right? And they are criticizing the tax collectors and sinners. They're criticizing Jesus.

They criticize his disciples. And so what's going on here? Well, look at this. This is definitely a good representation of these tax collectors and sinners.

They were foul, right? They didn't want anything to do with the Father. Just give me a good time now. I want a good time right now.

And that's all I'm looking for. And then here you notice I'm actually moved. There we go.

In this verse, verse 13, it says he went to a far country. It doesn't really matter which one. The idea though is that he went outside of Israel.

He went to the gentiles. You guys remember how big of a deal this is? This is under the old covenant, the Mosaic Law, right? He went to the gentiles to go party it up, almost know, joining sides with Rome, right? Some of these other know this is living for today, totally rejecting the Father's wishes. And of know, it's a parable, right? Who would the father represent? You guys already can figure this know, we're talking about God here, right? In this parable.

Then he squandered. That means he did not do any investments. That means he did not do anything wisely at all with his money.

He just basically just threw it away in how reckless living. Now we get a picture later on where the older son actually calls out some of the evil and he even brings up the word prostitution. Okay? So we know this guy was partying hard in a very vile way, it sounds like not only like the tax collectors with joining the gentiles and things, but also the sinners, right? This is who I am, the public lifestyle.

Okay, so now we're going to go on this next section, the sadness, the sadness of the situation here starting in verse 14. And when he had spent everything, this is the worst time this could happen. A severe famine arose in that country and it began to be in need.

It's also important to recognize the difference in culture that we have here. They didn't have the grocery stores, the Walmarts and things, right? They didn't have all that refrigeration and whatnot. When there was a famine, it was a much, much bigger deal.

When the ground is not producing, you are counting on that yearly harvest. And when it doesn't happen, well, there are ways to survive, but they get more and more limited rapidly. And this was a severe famine.

Not just any famine, a severe famine. So it was when he has spent everything, if it happened sooner, maybe he could have lasted a little longer. But he had already spent everything.

And then a severe famine comes. Oh boy, this is not good. So what's going to happen here? Verse 15 so he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country who sent him into the fields to feed pigs.

So being hired by a Gentile, that's bad enough. But then to take care of pigs, do you remember that? They cannot have anything to do with pigs. Unfortunately, it wasn't until after Christ's resurrection that they got to taste bacon, right? And so unfortunately, they had no handling with pigs at all.

But it wasn't just that they were around pigs. This guy was actually with them in the dirtiest possible ways and he's having to take care of them. And so a big no no.

So the Pharisees and scribes, you can imagine are being more and more repulsed by this younger son. They're being totally disgusted with who they are, just like they are with the tax collectors and sinners, right? Okay, so then it gets worse. Verse 16 and he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate and no one gave him anything.

So if you've ever seen pigs eat, it is not pretty, is very disgusting legally. I can't even show you any footage of it. No, I'm just kidding.

But it is really bad. It is really bad. And so the idea here is that you get this rotten, ugly picture and things are so bad, he's looking at what the pigs are eating there while they're eating in that trough.

And he goes, man, I would love to have some of that in my mouth right now with the snout in there and everything. The closest thing I can get is with my little children here when they have that drink or something and it's got their floaties in the drink and the snots out down the nose and it's getting mixed in with the milk or whatever it is. You parents know what I'm talking about.

And then they take it out and there's that string that kind of comes off in the cup and then they want you to take it, right? And no thanks, no thanks. I'd rather fast for a few days. But the idea there is this is absolutely disgusting.

Okay, let's pick it back up here then in let me find I'm getting too excited. Verse 17 here it is. But when he came to himself, an important moment when he came to himself, he said, how many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread? But I perish here with hunger very astute okay.

He realizes how good it is just to be the lowliest in his father's house than anything else outside of it. Okay? So moving on verse 18, he says, I will rise this is a big plan. I will rise and go to my father and I will say to him, father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.

I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants. So that's his prepared speech.

He's sticking to it. Remember, he went to a far country. He's in rags.

His clothes would be all dirty. Mangled, he smells like pigs. The worst part of pigs.

They'd all been tattered. At this point, he's probably barefoot and he's walking a very long distance. He's a mess.

You can't get any more ugly or reprehensible than this. So then he goes and he carries through with his plan and he goes verse 20. And he arose and came to his father.

He arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion and ran and embraced him and kissed him. That's an amazing thing.

So the idea is that the father had a regular habit of looking and waiting. And he's just hoping, is today the day? Is today the day? Maybe he might come back. I could probably never see him again.

He's as good as dead. They don't have the communication systems that we have today and things. There was no way of getting a hold of him.

There was no way of even finding him. He didn't even know what direction he went, really. It was just a far country out there somewhere, right? He didn't know.

And so he's looking and looking. When he sees him, you notice that he didn't say, hey, there he is. Servants, go out there, clean him up, get him all washed up, get fresh clothes on him, make him smell better.

And then I'll go give him a big hug. That's not what happened. The father goes out to him in his dirtiest situation and he hugs him, embraces, full on bear hug, I think, here.

And even kisses him with all his condition. When we go to the father, we don't go cleaned up. We go dirty and he cleans us up.

That's the whole idea there. So then let's move on here in verse 21, and the son said to him, he's, like, probably starved. He's not thinking straight.

He's had a long journey in the sun, probably here. He's been exposed to the elements. He's not even registering what just happened.

That his father hugged him and kissed him. Right? He's not even registering that right now. He just goes right for that prepared speech.

He's probably been saying it to himself over and over and over again this whole time. So in verse 21, he said to him, father, I have sinned against heaven and before you I am no longer worthy to be called your son. And he still had a little more left of his prepared speech.

But what happened here? Verse 22 but the father, he stopped him. He didn't let him finish. He turns, he said to his servants, bring quickly the best robe and put it on him, put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet.

He gave him that covering. That atonement. That's what that word atonement means, covering.

He covered up all that mess. He repented, he returned. Now he put on that atonement, he gets that ring, he gets the full authority of sonship here.

This is not just some servant. He's not taking him back as a servant. He's taking him back as a son.

And the ring gives full rights as a son. That's an amazing thing. He begins the process of cleaning him up.

He's just so happy that this sinner has repented and come home. Right? So then he goes on to explain these things a little bit more. He gets more and more excited.

But he says in verse 23, and bring the fatted calf and kill it. In other words, the best of the best for the food and let us eat and celebrate for this. My son was dead and is alive again.

He was lost and is found and they began to celebrate. That's a wonderful thing. This is the same theme that we've seen with the lost sheep and the lost coin now at the lost son.

So then what happens? We are now introduced back to the older son. We haven't heard anything about the older son yet. I'm sure he's super pumped.

So in verse 25 says now, his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing, and he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, your brother has come and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound. And wouldn't you know it, the older brother just starts jumping.

He's so happy. He's joyful. Wow.

My brother, he was as good as dead. He's back. I can't wait to celebrate with everyone.

Right? Wouldn't that be wonderful if that's what really happened? But remember, the older brother here is representing the Pharisees and scribes. The younger brother is representing the tax collectors and sinners. You have one that's repentant, one that is not one that thinks he needs no repentance.

Right. So let's see how this works out in verse 28. Sorry.

Yeah, verse 28, but he was angry and refused to go in. What? Why are you angry? He refused to go in. Doesn't make any sense.

It says, his father came out and entreated him. So once again, the father is coming out first. The father's going to him and he entreated him.

That means he's very kindly asking. He's being very gentle, very soft, respectful. He's being very careful.

He wants to make sure he's not going to hurt any feelings. He's trying to get him to think through this and come and join us. This is actually the most reasonable thing to do.

So he goes and he treats him he wants him to join in the festivities here. Okay? So verse 29. But he answered his father, look, okay, first off, if my kid started a sentence and he talks to me, he says, look, we probably wouldn't get much farther.

There'd be a quick hard stop there, a correcting moment, a wonderful opportunity, right? Okay. So then he says, look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command. Okay? Now, okay, pause.

All right, outside of Jesus, once again, has there ever been a child on this planet, the universe, even, that has never disobeyed? Once. I mean, that's the most unrealistic fantasy I've ever heard. There's no way every single child disobeys.

But this is his thinking, remember? This is what he thinks. He's the self righteous one. I don't need repentance.

Remember that. I don't need repentance. I have never disobeyed your command.

Yet you never gave me a young goat that I might celebrate with my friends. Notice that he doesn't even want anything to do with the father. What's the difference between the younger son and the older son? The younger son says, hey, I want all your riches, but I don't want any relationship.

What's the older son doing here? I want all your riches. I don't want any of your relationship. He says, here, I wanted a party with my friends.

Why didn't you throw a party for me to have with my friends? The whole point is that the father and son were together and they were celebrating their relationship together. That was the wonderful thing. It gets worse.

So then in verse 30 here, he continues on. He says, but when this son of yours came wait, wait. You mean your brother, right? You mean your no, no.

He says, your son, this son of yours, okay? He's disgusted. He has no relationship. The Pharisees and scribes who looked at the tax collectors and sinners and thought, here are my brothers and sisters of Israel.

I am so glad that we are now all worshiping God the Father together. Right? That kind of a thing. But that was not their attitude.

They didn't have an attitude of thankfulness. They were grumbling. They were complaining about it.

They were self righteous. They didn't have any need for repentance. They weren't happy that they were repenting.

They just wanted to focus on them being bad and we're awesome. That's the sort of an idea that's here it's really sad here. He says, when this son of yours came who has devoured your property with prostitutes, he said, the worst of the worst.

He's out to make them look really, really bad. It's kind of like, don't you know who these tax collectors are. Remember, the Pharisee describes they said this in other places and passages.

They say, don't you know who you're eating with? Tax collectors, sinners. These are the worst people. These are horrible people.

Right? He says you killed the fat and calf for him. In other words, what's wrong with you? What's wrong with you? What are you doing this for him for? You got everything mixed up. Verse 31 and he said to him, son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.

The idea is you are constantly in the temples, you're constantly in the temple, you're constantly in the synagogues. You have the word of God. God is all around you.

You're never away from God, okay? You're always with him. Why are you avoiding him? It's kind of the idea. I'm always right here.

I'm always right here. You can enjoy a relationship with me anytime you want. You can enjoy the riches of grace and mercy, love anytime you want.

But do they? No, because they don't need to fix anything. It's not their problem. It's his problem.

Right, okay. So then, moving on here and we go to verse 32. This is the last verse of the chapter.

This is how it ends. It was fitting in other words, appropriate. This is correct, this is right.

It was fitting to celebrate and be glad. Why? For this. Your brother reminds him.

Your brother not just my son. Your brother was dead and is alive. He was lost and is found.

And that's how it ends. It's an amazing thing. We're left now with a choice.

What will you do? How will you react to this? So which child are you? You think through this. The older child. The younger child, right.

So with the older brother, that's the Pharisees and scribes, the unrepentant ones. So it's not just about not having salvation. But let's take it a step further.

Maybe you're in the church, but you're not doing the work of the ministry. You're around the church. You're doing churchy things, religious type things.

But are we sharing the gospel? Are we making disciples? Are we really pursuing who God is through his word? Are we pursuing relationship with Him? Are we actually doing the stuff? Or are we just showing up and looking the part? The Pharisees and scribes, they showed up, they looked the part. In fact, as we're going to see the seven Woes, the Pharisees in the Sunday school hour, we're going to see that Jesus even says, do what they say, observe how they do things and actually do it. Actually do it.

They actually have a lot that's good seemingly on the outside, but it's the inside that's vile. Or are you the younger brother, the representative of the tax collectors and sinners? You're repentant. The idea is that you need to have a lifestyle of repentance.

Well, that's become my last comment here. But what are you seeking in heaven? What are you seeking in heaven? This is kind of a test case for you. You can always say the right answer, right? You can always say the right answer.

Here's the idea. If you're honest with yourself and someone says, hey, what's the first thing you want to do when you're in heaven? Or what's the thing you're looking forward to the most when you're in heaven? If your honest answer is anything outside of be with Christ, something like that, woe to you. Repent.

Jesus didn't do what he did to be second place in line. He is the reason. Genesis through Revelation what is it all about? Relationship with God.

Relationship with God? And so sometimes I hear a lot about, well, I hope there's fishing in heaven. I hope there's video games in heaven. I hope it's not a big boar, right? Oh, boy.

Is that misunderstanding heaven so much? And the primary thing is relationship with God. It will be pure, undefiled, no barriers of any kind. That's a wonderful thing to embrace Him.

Do you cherish your relationship with God? Do you cherish it? Do you love it? How are we living today? Are you enthusiastic and diligent with the Father's work? Think about the lost sheep, the lost coin, this lost son, right? Do you rejoice when a sinner comes repentance? How are you looking at other people? Do we have that urgency for a soul? Are we urgent for our own soul before God? Are we urgent for other souls before God? Are we like that shepherd going out for that sheep and even willing to carry it all that way, even though it was his own fault for getting lost to begin with? What about that lady looking for the coin? Can you always put off the work of evangelism discipleship for another day? Or is it that we got to get this done now? She lit the lamp, right? She went, swept the house. She went for it. Do you rejoice when a sinner comes repentance? How is that? If you get the news that someone now believes, is it like, good? Or is it like one of the most exciting highlights of the day, the week, the month kind of thing? Okay, how are we doing this? Do we live a lifestyle of repentance or is it an ancient event? Is it something that, well, I trusted in God years ago, I repented to do that.

Here's the convicting thing. When's the last time you have made a confession to God about your sin and repented of it? Is it a weekly thing? What is that like? Is it something you've done in the last month? Has it been a long time? So we want to get things right. We don't want to be like these Pharisees and scribes.

We want to be like those unrepentant people, the ones that don't need repentance, because who's Jesus going to he's the physician that goes to those who are sick, right? He's the Savior that goes to those who need to repent. I want to be the one that he goes to. I want to be the one that has relationship with Him.

That's the big goal. Let me pray for us and then we can be dismissed. The fellowship time.

Heavenly Father, I thank you for this day. Thank you for the time that we have gathered here together. Thank you so much for Your word and the guidance that you give.

I pray, Lord, that we would be focused on ourselves and where our heart is in front of you. And we'd analyze that today and have maybe a time of confession and repentance. If it's not something that's been done for a while, it's something that's needed here.

We thank You, Lord, for Your patience with us, to love us even through all of our faults, our weaknesses, our brokenness. What a great God You are for it all. I pray that we would not criticize the Pharisee to the point of becoming one, but recognize our need and recognize that we are just like that lost sheep.

We are that lost coin. We are just as evil as that lost Son was. And I pray that we would all just find joy in Your presence, Lord, today and for the rest of our lives.

We love you. Thank you for loving us first. In Jesus name, amen.

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