††††††††† Title: ††††††††† The Parable of the Prodigal Son
††††††††† Text:†††††††††† Luke 15:24
††††††††† Reading:††† Isaiah 55:1-7, 11
††††††††† Subject:†††† Godís Method of Grace
††††††††† Date:††††††††† Sunday Morning - August 18, 1996
††††††††† Tape #†††††† S-84
††††††††† My text this morning is Luke 15:11-24. I trust that God the Holy Spirit will enable me to preach to you once again on The Parable of the Prodigal Son. Letís read the story tohether bgeinning at verse 11.
††††††††† "And he said, A certain man had two sons: (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. (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. (14) And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. (15) And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. (16) And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. (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! (18) I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, (19) And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. (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. (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. (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: (23) And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: (24) For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry."
††††††††† This parable stands out to me as the most blessed story ever to fall from the lips of our Savior. It touches my heart as no others because it is the story of my life. Have you walked the prodigalís path? I have, both literally and spiritually. I have been with him in his proud rebellion and in his riotous living. And I have been with him in the fields of this world feeding swine, living in poverty of soul, spiritually bankrupt, isolated from descent society, but too proud to plead for mercy and grace. But, blessed be God, I have also been with him in his happy return to his fatherís house.
††††††††† I pray that God the Holy Spirit will give me your attention, as I tell you the story of the prodigal son. In doing so, I want to show you Godís method of grace, the method by which he sovereignly, irresistibly, and effectually brings his lost sons home to himself. Every part of the story is rich in spiritual instruction.
Proposition:††††† In this parable our Lord Jesus Christ shows us how pleasing it is to God to save sinners by his matchless, free grace in Christ.
Divisions:††††††††† As we go through this story of redemption and grace, I want to call your attention to four things. They reveal four spiritual lessons that we must learn.
1. The Prodigalís Haughty Rebellion (vv. 11-13).
2. The Prodigalís Humbling Realization (vv. 14-19).
3. The Prodigalís Hopeful Return (vv. 20-21).
4. The Prodigalís Happy Reception (vv. 21-24).
I. The first thing we see in this story is The Prodigalís Haughty Rebellion.
Luke 15:11-13† "And he said, A certain man had two sons: (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. (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."
††††††††† Here is the first lesson taught in this parable. It is established by the actions of this young man. The pride and rebellion of every sinners heart will, sooner or later, in one way or another, display itself. The prodigal displayed his pride and rebellion in a life of profligacy and licentiousness. His elder brother showed his pride and rebellion in his self-will, self-righteousness, and self-centeredness. And, my friend, sooner or later, in one way or another, the pride and rebellion of your heart against God will show its ugly face. Your heart by nature hates God. You may hide pretty well, but sooner or later, your hatred of God will be made manifest.
††††††††† The father in this parable represents God the Father, the source and cause of all mercy, love, and grace. The elder son represents the Scribes and Pharisees, self-righteous, moral, religious men and women. To all outward appearance, they seem to be above all others the children of God, and loudly profess to be. But their profession is a sham. Theirmorality, their righteousness, their religion is all put on, nothing but an outward show. The younger son represents publicans and sinners. Though to all outward appearance this younger son was despised by his father, though he fully deserved his fatherís wrath, he was in reality the object of his fatherís love.
††††††††† It is this younger son, the prodigal, who first catches our attention. He is the obvious rebel. He is the thankless, ungrateful wretch. This younger sonís conduct is a clear representation of the pride and rebellion of our hearts by nature.
††††††††† This is a picture of your heart and mine by nature. You may, like the elder brother, hide under a cloak of outward morality, religion, and self-righteousness, but this is what you are; and this is what I am. There are no exceptions.
Mark 7:21-23† "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, (22) Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: (23) All these evil things come from within, and defile the man."
A. Look at what this younger son did.
††††††††† Following the natural inclinations of his epraved heart, he rebelled against his father. He hated the restraint of his fatherís rule. He wanted his independence. He wanted the liberty to do his own thing, to gratify his own desires, to take control of his own life. It is written in Romans 8:7,† "The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."
††††††††† What was the problem here? This young man hated his father. That was the problem! In irreverence, impudence, and haughtiness, he demanded his portion of his fatherís estate, as though he had a claim to it.
∑ He was tired of his fatherís discipline and influence.
∑ He wanted to be out from under the pressure of his fatherís influence and restraining eye.
∑ He did not trust his father to manage his affairs.
∑ He was very proud, conceited, and† in his own eyes self-sufficient.
∑ The only thing he wanted from his father was his money, the benefits of his wealth.
††††††††† How many there are like this prodigal! Indeed, pride is the common sin of mankind. Pride is the root of all sin. We all want to be God, living by our own laws, answerable to no one. Pride brought Lucifer down from heaven. Pride drug Adam out of the Garden. And pride will take your soul to hell.
††††††††† As soon as the prodigal got his fatherís money he fled from his fatherís house - ďGathered all.Ē
††††††††† It is true of us all! ďAll we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own wayĒ (Isa. 53:6). ďThe wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking liesĒ (Psa. 58:3).
††††††††† As soon as a man has the exercise of reason, as soon as he can think or speak, as soon as he is born, he goes astray from God. We are all born sinners. It is the nature of all Adamís race to flee from God and hide from him.
B. Look where the prodigal went - He ďtook his journey into a far country.Ē
††††††††† This proud rebel got just as far away from his father as he could. So it is with every sinner. Ever since Adam and Eve tried to hide from God in the Garden, man has been fleeing from God. Hiding behind everything emaginable (Rom. 1:21-22). Every man by nature is so far off from God that he cannot return to him of his own accord - Sinner, hear me, you are far off from God, far off from...
∑ Godís righteousness!
∑ Godís promise!
∑ Godís covenant!
∑ Godís Son, Jesus Christ!
C. Then, look at how the prodigal conducted himself in that far off place - ďThere (he) wasted his substance in riotous living.Ē
††††††††† This poor, deluded soul spent all that he had upon the pursuit of his unbridled pleasures. He spent his money for that which satisfies not. He spent his youth and his strength in rioting, drunkenness and wild pleasure with harlots. He had a grand time. He was doing his thing. He found, at least for a season, great pleasure in his rebellion and sin.
††††††††† But his pleasure soon ended. And his misery began. So, in the second place I want us to observe -
II. ATHE PRODIGALíS HUMBLING REALIZATION (Read vv. 14-19).
††††††††† Here is our second lesson - Before anyone will ever come to God, seeking mercy, through the merits of Christís righteousness, and shed blood, he must be brought down in the dust of humiliation. He must be made
 SER#917 Danville (6-24-90), St. Petersburg, FL (3-19-95), Rock Creek Baptist, N. Wilkesboro, NC (8-15-96)