Sermon notes: The parable of the prodigal son

the prodigal son

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Text: Luke 15:11-32


The parable of the prodigal son is for the church. Not just for the unsaved and ungodly.  In this parable God is calling the church to turn back from her rebellious ways and come back to Him. Why?

1. We are self centered

I. No fellowship with God

The younger son told his father ‘Give me my share of the estate’ (Luke 15:11-12)

He took the money and went to a faraway country and wasted every single penny. He was a self centered man. For him his father was only a dispenser of blessings.

Do you know we are doing the same? How about prayer life for an example . How often do we pray? What motivates our prayer? For some prayer is a shopping list. It is not wrong to go before God with our needs but it’s not the first purpose for prayer. For others prayer is an SOS call. We call upon God only when things get out of our control. For another group it’s a sleeping pill. One day I told a friend that I can’t sleep at night. He replied

“Read you Bible and pray. You will be fast asleep before you finish your prayer…!!!”

There’s one more group. For them prayer is just babbling, and get busy with their own business.

II. No fellowship with others

They rarely seek fellowship with other church members. The church is not a place for Worship, Preaching, prayer only.

III. How do I enjoy fellowship with God and others?

Listen! I am standing at the door and knocking! If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come into his home and share a meal with him, and he with me, (Revelation 3:20)

With God: We seldom listen. Prayer is the channel for fellowship with God. Fellowship can’t take place between two people unless they talk to each other. Most of the time it’s only ourselves who speak – we get up and leave before God can speak to us. Sit down and wait quietly so that God can speak to your heart  through his word. Don’t come to God to simply to receive your needs. Come with a desire to receive God Himself.

With others: Acts 2:42-47 says,

All who believed were together and held everything in common, and they began selling their property and possessions and distributing the proceeds to everyone, as anyone had need. Every day they continued to gather together by common consent in the temple courts, breaking bread from house to house, sharing their food with glad and humble hearts, praising God and having the good will of all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number every day those who were being saved.

The question how do we have fellowship with each other has many answers. According to the above verse it ranges from sharing a meal, sharing each other’s burden through prayer  and conversation, caring for the poor members of the church.

Luke concludes the second chapter of Acts saying that the Lord was adding to their number every day those who were being saved. The local church becomes a place of unity when Christians take fellowship seriously. God’s power can be best experienced in unity only.

2. We are mingled with the world

I. The lost identity

This man took his share of the estate and left to a far away country where he wasted his entire wealth for Prostitutes and bad company (Luke 15:13). He lost his identity as a child of a noble and descent family.

What’s the identity of a Christian? Christians are different…!!! 1 Peter 2:9 says, that we are a ‘peculiar’ people. Do you live up to your calling? I am not saying that we must isolate ourselves from rest of the world. I am saying we shouldn’t have a share in the immoral practices of this world. The problem is we have brought the world into the church when we are called to bring the church to the world.

Galatians 5:19-26 clearly outlines the identities of real Christians and carnal Christians.

Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, depravity, idolatry, sorcery, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish rivalries, dissensions, factions, envying, murder, drunkenness, carousing, and similar things. I am warning you, as I had warned you before: Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also behave in accordance with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, being jealous of one another.

3. We end up in disappointment

I. Pleasures are temporary

A severe famine struck the foreign land where the prodigal son lived, (Luke 15:14).  Worldly pleasures don’t last long? The World is quick to bless and before you know it the curse has followed.

II. The world cannot bless you

There’s a saying,

The Ox wonders only as far as the rope permits.

This man wasted all of his wealth, now he doesn’t have a penny when he needs it most. He went and hired himself for an inhabitant of that country and the foreigner sent him to feed the Swine. The prodigal son was starving that he would even eat the swine food – but no body game him to eat, (Luke 15:15-17).

The famine was supposed to be an eye opener. Instead he blindly sought help from a foreigner. God allows us to drift away until we become helpless. Not because he wants to say “I told you!!!!” – but we wont listen until we get into trouble. Unfortunately still some of us seek help from the world when we get into trouble because we are controlled by our self ego.

4. Application

I. Humble yourself and come back to God

Then his son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

The prodigal son’s self ego was so much he didn’t return to his father until he was reduced to nothing. If you are like the prodigal son You may ask what shall I do? God is not done with you. He is ready to welcome you back to his family if you humble yourself.

Finally this fool decided to get rid of his self ego and go back to his father. He thought his father will never accept him as a son again. He expected his father to receive him back at least as a servant, (Luke 15:18-19). Now his father had many riches that the world could never offer.

What happened next?

II.  God is waiting for you

Luke 15:20-24 says,

So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way from home his father saw him, and his heart went out to him; he ran and hugged his son and kissed him. Then his son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Hurry! Bring the best robe, and put it on him! Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet! Bring the fattened calf and kill it! Let us eat and celebrate, because this son of mine was dead, and is alive again – he was lost and is found!’ So they began to celebrate.

In Jewish households of Jesus’ day no servants and slaves were allowed to wear rings. Only the sons of the family were permitted to wear rings. Our God is a God of love. He rejects sin but he never rejects the sinner, (John 3:16). It’s you and me that embrace the world and reject our heavenly father. Search your heart. Confess your sin, repent and recommit yourself. The Bible says,

“But to all who have received him – those who believe in his name – he has given the right to become God’s children”  (John 1:12, NET)

III. Our responsibility for prodigal sons

The elder son who rebuked his father for accepting the black sheep of the family, (Luke 15:25-30). We have people who host such self righteous attitudes in our churches today. They love judging, criticizing, condemning, accusing and smashing those who fall into sin. Someone said God forgives – people don’t. Who gave you the authority to judge those who have been forgiven by God? (Luke 15:31-32)

5. Conclusion

Are you a prodigal son who needs God’s grace or an elder son who needs a rebuke?

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  1. Pam Allen

    Please pray for my son. He is very much self centered and not in fellowship with God.

    He is Mingling with the world and he has lost his identity. He is taking Pleasure in the worldly things in a foreign country. Please pray that he will repent and come back to God. Also to be restored to the family and to return home to fulfill God's plan for his life.

    Our prayer is that he would not walk in the counsel of the ungodly or sit with the scoffer but that his delight will be in the law of the Lord and he would serve no other gods but Jesus Christ only . We pray that Jesus alone rules in his life. He should listen to the voice of Jesus Christ only. Also pray for safety and protection over him while he is in this state.

  2. Fr. Joseph Ogola sir

    Dear Pam,

    God lives and your son will one day return home. As with the biblical prodigal son he has no where else but home to return to. He will one day come to his senses and find his way home. All human beings seem to pass through this path though from different angles. I pray for your son who is also my son and my brother.God be with you Pam Allen.

    Fr. Ogola

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