Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. And he said, A certain man had two sons: 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. 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. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 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! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 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. 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. 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: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found. (Luke 15)
INTRO: The story of the Prodigal Son is a full life-size picture of every sinner.
The story of ‘Rags to Riches’ (the story of Salvation). This certain man had two sons and there must have been great disappointment in his heart for both of them, one at the first and the other at the last. There are four parables in this great chapter:
- (vs. 1-7) Lost Sheep (1 out of 100, 1%) was Innocently Lost and shows the work of the Son of God is seeking and saving the lost.
- (vs. 8-10) Lost Coin (1 out of 10, or 10%) was Carelessly Lost and shows the work of the Holy Spirit (The Light and Broom).
- (vs. 11-24) Prodigal Son (1out of 2, or 50%) was Willfully Lost and shows the work of the Father in receiving and restoring the penitent son.
- (vs. 25-32) Elder Son – Religiously Lost and ‘would not come in.’ (39%?)
In each of the first three cases there was great happiness and rejoicing over the lost being found and restored, but in the last case of the Elder Son, where there is no surrendering to the pleading of the Father, there is no restoration and there is no rejoicing because there is no Salvation. The hardest person to win to the Lord is the Religiously Lost.
NOTE: Why was it so important to restore the First Three?
- The sheep – that He might Save It.
- The Coin – that He might Use It.
- The Son – that He might Enjoy Him – Fellowship.
I. THE SINNER’S CHOICE AND THE DOWNWARD ROAD.
- (v. 12) SELF-WILLED ‘Give me.’
Lawless desire, yearning for Forbidden Fruit, Disobedience, Rebellion, worse of all, a desire to break fellowship with the Father. Oh, if I could just get away from Home, Mon, Dad, Church, etc. I can live my own life and be happy; do what I want to. Go when, where I want to, be my own boss. FREEDOM!!!
- (v. 13) SADDEST JOURNEY THAT A MAN CAN TAKE. ‘Into a far country.’ The Far Country is not necessarily a matter of miles, but of Motive…It is not Distance, but Desire. The Far Country is often no further away than your own Heart . Measure the distance from your heart to your mind.
- (vs. 13-14) ‘WASTED’ and ‘SPENT ALL’… Totally Bankrupt. ‘All’ means ALL. All his money, Himself, his Manhood, Talents, Life, Strength, Dignity, Home, his ALL. The Devil is a cruel master. There is an old saying, “He that will not be a son of God, will be a slave of the devil.’ How true it is!
- (v. 14) ‘He began to be in want.’ Became conscious of unsatisfied hunger, need for food, clothing, shelter; also, Friends, Love, Self-respect, Peace of Mind, Security, etc.
- (vs. 15-16) The Sinner’s Shameful Slavery. ‘Joined himself to a citizen of that country.’ Remember, he left his father’s house to find Liberty, Freedom, Pleasure, but all he found was a bad bargain. The wages of sin are Misery, Shame, Slavery, Hunger, Poverty, Suffering, and Death! The Devil seems at first to be a Friend; second, an Employer, and then a Cruel Slave Master.