Sermon #1352 Miscellaneous Notes
Title: THE GRACE OF GOD
Text: Luke 15:11-24 - The Parable of the Prodigal Son
Reading: Titus 2:1-3:7
Subject: God’s Method of Grace
Date: Sunday Morning - July 11, 1999
Tape # V-35b
I want to talk to you today about the grace of God. It is the universal testimony of Holy Scripture that salvation is by the grace of God. “By grace ye are saved.” All who are justified before God are “justified freely by his grace.” All who claim to believe the Bible profess that they believe in salvation by grace; but there are few people in this world who understand what the Word of God teaches about grace. Whenever you hear or read the word grace in Holy Scripture, be sure you understand the Word in the context of divine revelation, not in the context of human religion.
1. The grace of God is in Christ.
2. The grace of God in Christ is…
· Eternal, Everlasting Grace!
· Free, Unconditional Grace!
· Sovereign, Discriminating Grace!
· Immutable, Unchanging Grace!
· Effectual, Irresistible Grace!
3. There are many, many beautiful pictures and illustrations of God’s saving grace set before us in Holy Scripture.
· Adam and Eve - The Skins
· David and Mephibosheth
· Hosea and Gomer
Today, I want to show you the beautiful, blessed picture of grace set before us in the parable of the prodigal son, found in Luke 15:11-24.
Someone called this parable “the pearl of parables.” Certainly, it is such to me. None of the Master’s parables is more applicable to my own experience than this one. Actually, this entire chapter is a single parable about lost things.
· The Lost Sheep
· The Lost Coin
· The Lost Son
The purpose of the parable is to show us the grace of God in saving sinners. God the Son, our good Shepherd, seeks the lost sheep and brings it home. God the Holy Spirit, like the woman sweeping the house, sweeps through the earth to find the lost coins of heaven’s treasury. And God the Father, our heavenly Father, gladly receives wayward sinners, coming to him by faith in Christ, because, as it is written, “he delighteth in mercy!”
The whole parable is a picture of grace. It shows us the great delight our God has in the exercise of his saving grace. Three times over we are old of joy in heaven because of sinners repenting. Imagine that –
Proposition: There is joy in heaven when lost sinners come home to God!
If God the Holy Spirit will graciously speak those words to our hearts today, if he will graciously use them to fetch chosen sinners home to Christ, then my preaching this message will accomplish its intended purpose this hour.
Let me show you five things in this parable about the grace of God. I will not exhaust my subject. When I get done, there will still be plenty of preaching room left. But I want you to see and rejoice in these five things about God’s wondrous, amazing, saving grace.
I. The first thing I want us to see here is The Wisdom Of God’s Grace.
I will not attempt to satisfy the curiosity of proud, unbelieving men who call into question the absolute sovereignty of our God. But I do want us to see that it was an act of God’s great wisdom to ordain the fall of our father Adam and the ruin of our race in him.
Let no one suggest that God is the author of sin. James tells us plainly that God never causes man to sin. Yet, this blessed Book does teach us that God has ordained all that comes to pass; and that includes Adam’s sin as well as all other sin.
God did not cause Adam to sin. God id not tempt Adam to sin. God did not in any way induce Adam to sin. But to suggest that Adam’s transgression took the Almighty by surprise is to deny the very Godhood of God!
Yes, God did ordain the fall; and it was an act of great wisdom on his part. Just as the father in this parable willingly divided to the prodigal all his living, to be wasted by him in riotous living, our heavenly Father wisely ordained the fall of our father Adam and the fall of the human race in him SO THAT HE MIGHT SHOW US THE EXCEEDING RICHES OF HIS GRACE N CHRIST AGAINST THE BLACK BACKDROP OF HUMAN SIN AND DEPRAVITY. Had we never known sin we could never have known the…
· Wonder of Redemption!
· Blessedness of Forgiveness!
· Joy of Reconciliation!
II. This parable also displays something of THE GOODNESS OF GOD’S GRACE.
Nothing more displays the great goodness of God’s grace than what the old preachers used to call “prevenient grace.” Prevenient grace is the grace of God that goes before and prepares the way for his saving grace. We see Gods prevenient grace in…
· Giving the prodigal all his living.
· Sending his servant to watch over his wayward boy. – The Angels of God!
· Protecting his son all the days of his rebellion.
· Bringing his son down!
Luke 15:11 "And he said, A certain man had two sons:"
Luke 15:12 "And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living." – A SELFISH DEMAND!
Luke 15:13 "And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living." – A WASTED LIFE! -- A life without Christ is a wasted life!
Luke 15:14 "And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want."
Luke 15:15 "And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine." – A LEGAL EFFORT!
Luke 15:16 "And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him." – AN EMPTY RELIGION – HUSKS!
III. Thirdly, in verses 17-19, we are given a picture of THE METHOD OF GOD’S GRACE.
Luke 15:17 "And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!"
Luke 15:18 "I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,"
Luke 15:19 "And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants."
IV. In verses 20-23 the Lord Jesus gives us a delightful picture of THE RECEPTION OF GOD’S GRACE.
Luke 15:20 "And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him."
Luke 15:21 "And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son."
Luke 15:22 "But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:"
Luke 15:23 "And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:"
Illustration: The Handkerchief
V. Now, look at verse 24, and behold THE JOY OF GOD’S GRACE.
Luke 15:24 "For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry."
"The Touch of the Master's Hand"
'Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But held it up with a smile.
"What am I bidden, good folks," he cried,
"Who'll start the bidding for me?"
"A dollar, a dollar;" then, "Two! Only two?
Two dollars and who'll make it three?
Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
Going for three--" But no,
From the room, far back, a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a caroling angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said, "What am I bid for the old violin?"
And he held it up with the bow.
"A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two?
Two thousand! And who'll make it three?
Three thousand, once, three thousand twice,
And going, and gone," said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
"We do not quite understand
What changed its worth." Swift came the reply:
"The touch of a master's hand."
And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd,
Much like the old violin.
Ruined and running from God he goes,
In madness, to hell, headlong!
He is "going" once, and "going" twice,
He's "going" and almost "gone."
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that's wrought
By the touch of the Master's hand.