Sermon #1355 Miscellaneous Notes
Title: “BRING HITHER THE FATTED CALF”
Text: Luke 15:23-24
Subject: The Feast Spread For Sinners in The House Of God
Date: Sunday Morning –
Tape # V-40a
Everyone loves a party. I do not know anyone who does not enjoy going to a good party, -- a birthday party, -- a wedding party, -- an anniversary party, -- a graduation party, -- a dinner party. It doesn’t really matter what the occasion is, I just like parties. Don’t you?
I want to talk to you today about a party, a party thrown by God almighty, to celebrate the salvation of sinners. You will find my text in Luke 15: 23-24
While the worship of God is the most serious business and the greatest privilege in the world…
Proposition: When sinners meet together in the house of God to hear the gospel and worship the triune God, it is a celebration of grace, redemption, and salvation, a feast of joy.
In order for us to grasp the message of this parable, we ought to bear in mind the thing which inspired it. If you want to know the meaning and message of any portion of Scripture, always read it and interpret it in its context. Look at the first two verses of this chapter, and you will see that our Lord Jesus gave this delightful parable in response to the haughty, self-righteous snobbery of the Pharisees.
Let me say that one more time. I know that this man, this God-man, receives sinners and eats with them, because he receives me, the very chief of sinners, and eats with me, the most unworthy of all the objects of his matchless grace!
Lord God has furnished a table, spead with fat things, rich, soul-satisfying
food, and bids
This, poor prodigal, in the days of his rebellion, tried to feed his soul upon the pleasures of sin, but only impoverished himself more. He tried to feed his soul with the husks of works religion; but found nothing in the swine’s food to satisfy his soul.
But, now, he has come home to his father’s house. In his father’s house, eating at his father’s table, he feeds as one of the king’s sons on fat things. Here is a command given by the father to his servants. – A command given by our heavenly Father to those who are called and sent of him to preach the gospel.
A. Gospel preachers are responsible to bring forth the fatted calf and kill it.
This fatted calf, of course, represents the Lord Jesus Christ, our crucified Savior. The Lord Jesus here describes himself by making allusion to the calves offered in sacrifice, which were offered for sin offerings, and for peace offerings, and for burnt offerings; and were one of the sacrifices on the day of atonement.
· Christ offered himself up, freely and voluntarily, in the room and stead of his people.
· He gave himself and made himself to be an offering and sacrifice to God, of a sweet smelling savor.
· He is a sacrifice that is well pleasing to God, because he is an effectual sacrifice.
· He accomplished the purposes for which he came.
· Because he is an effectual sacrifice for sin, his sacrifice will never be repeated.
This one sacrifice for sin has forever satisfied and silenced the law and justice of God, procured peace and reconciliation for his people, and made full atonement and expiation for all our iniquities, transgressions, and sins.
No doubt, there is also an allusion here to the feasts and lavish celebrations so often spoken of among the Jews in the Old Testament, celebrations in which fatted calves were the central part of the feast (Gen. 18:7,8; 1 Sam. 28:24,25; Amos 6:4; Mal. 4:2).
Christ is the best provision that can be set before eternity bound sinners, the best for you who are lost and the best for you who are saved. We must feed upon him, always upon him, and only upon him.
Christ is the best that God can give, and the best we can desire. He is the true Manna. He is real Bread, the Bread of Life for our souls, sweet, savory, and satisfying. This is Bread that gives life and preserves it; nourishes, strengthens, refreshes, delights, and fattens.
*** -- It is the business, privilege and responsibility, of the gospel preacher, every time he speaks in God’s name, every time he preaches to eternity bound souls to bring forth the fatted calf and kill it. -- To preach Christ and him crucified. – To open the Scriptures, showing in all the Scriptures things concerning Christ. -- To set him before all with clarity and simplicity, bidding all to feed upon him.
“Killing” the fatted calf is the setting forth of Christ crucified, preaching the cross, proclaiming the gospel.
B. The preaching of the gospel is the spreading of a feast, bidding and encouraging hungry souls to eat, to feast upon Christ, to the saving and satisfying of their souls.
The Father himself says through his servants, “Let us eat and be merry!”
I like a quotation given by Gill. It goes ``there is no mirth without eating and drinking.'' If you are going to make merry, you have got to have a feast.
This is a wide, far reaching invitation and encouragement to eat of the fatted calf. The people called upon to eat are the Father, the servants, and the returned son.
1. The Father is set before us as one to whom the salvation of his people, by the death of Christ, is a feast. -- His heart was set upon this from everlasting. -- He is infinitely well pleased with Christ, as the surety of his people, and has been from all eternity. -- His eye has been upon Christ as our surety throughout the ages. -- He sent him forth with great pleasure in the fulness of time. – It pleased the Lord to bruise him for us. – God the Father accepted Christ’s sacrifice with delight. -- He takes pleasure in seeing us feed upon our crucified Savior. – This is where God meets men and communes with them! – This feast of grace is the great glory of the church, the greatest blessing there is on the earth, and a foretaste of heaven.
2. The Servants – Gospel preachers are among the "us", who are to eat. God’s servants also eat and live upon a crucified Christ.
3. The Returned Son -- Saved sinners are those for whom the Gospel feast is primarily and specifically spread. It is true, the feast is spread before all. But it is spread specifically for you who are hungry, for you who long to feed upon Christ. – Are you hungry? – “Come and dine!” – The feast is spread for you!
C. Let us eat with joy! – The joy of faith.
Perhaps some of you are thinking, “Why all the fuss? What is there here to make you people so happy? Oh, how I wish you knew. Listen. Maybe the Lord God will do for you what he has one for me.
II. The cause of our merriment is God’s free, sovereign, saving mercy in Christ.
This is what the Holy Spirit describes as “the joy of faith,” the joy of salvation, the joy of the Lord.
Look at this sentence word by word, and remember with gladness the grace of God that is upon you and in you.
A. “For this my son was dead.”
This is the reason for all the spiritual joy and happiness found in the Father’s house.
1. God the Father acknowledges the returning penitent as his son.
He directs our attention to our blessed experience of his saving grace. Though we behaved so wickedly, though we judged ourselves unworthy of such overwhelming grace, the Lord God has sent his Spirit, the Spirit of adoption into our hearts, and declares that we are his sons, the sons and daughters of God!
2. We were dead. – “This, my son, was dead!”
· Dead in Adam!
· Dead in Sin!
· Dead at Law!
· Dead Spiritually!
Look at the next line…
B. “This my son was dead, and is alive again!”
C. “He was lost!”
· Lost in Adam.
· Lost in Sin.
· Lost in Darkness.
· Lost in a Lost World!
D. “This my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost, and is found!”
· Found by the Father’s Electing Love.
· Found by the Son’s Redeeming Blood.
· Found by the Spirit’s Irresistible Grace.
I was lost, but Jesus found me,
Found His sheep that went astray!
Threw His loving arms around me,
Drew me back into His way!
Sin! O sing the wondrous story,
Of the Christ Who died for me!
Sing it now, and sing in glory,
Of salvation full and free!
· Found in Christ – Now! – Tomorrow! – At the Last Day! – Forever!
Let me show you one more thing, and I’m done.
III. “AND THEY BEGAN TO BE MERRY!”
A. Who began to be merry?
1. The Father began to be merry.
2. The restored son began to be merry.
3. All the Father’s servants began to be merry.
· The Holy Angels.
· The Preachers of the Gospel.
4. All in the Father’s house began to be merry, except that one older son – The self-righteous scribes and Pharisees to whom the parable was addressed!
But we must not fail to notice this…
B. The merriment has only just begun!
There’s a party in heaven every time a sinner repents, a party begun, which shall never end! Surely, if the angels in light and the God of glory rejoice over one sinner who repents, when a solitary soul is converted by God’s almighty grace, we ought to do the same.
1. Let this be the preacher’s prayer before, during, and after the sermon. – “Lord God, be pleased now to fetch some lost soul home for the glory of your name.”
2. Let this be the prayer of this church, as we labor together in the cause of Christ. – “Blessed Son of God, use us to fetch your banished ones again.”
3. Let this be the daily prayer of every believing mother and father. – “O Holy Spirit, come upon my children! Blessed Savior, have mercy on me. My children are grievously vexed by the devil!”
· Perhaps, the next joy in heaven shall be over the one for whom you were praying as you came into the house of God an hour ago!
· Perhaps the next joy in heaven will be over that sinner who has just heard the tape you gave him, read the tract you laid in his hand, heard the radio or television broadcast you asked him to hear, or heard the missionary for whom you have been praying today!
 In the Word of God “fat” things refer to the richest, best, most satisfying, most delightful things. The fattest is the best, the choicest, the most excellent thing. The blessings of God are always referred to as “fat things” (Gen. 45:18; 49:20; Num. ; Ps. 36:8).