This message was preached by Lasya V at Word of Grace Church on Feb 2nd 2020 . To listen to the audio please click here.to listen to the worship please click here.
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One of the most famous stories in the Bible is the story of the prodigal son. In Luke 15 Jesus tells them the parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin and then the parable of the prodigal son. So you know the story… the wayward son, takes the inheritance of the father while he is still alive. He spends it on reckless living and finally comes to himself and returns home with the hope that if he grovels enough, and expresses his grief over what he has done, maybe he can join his father’s servants. He comes expecting insults and anger, but at least he wouldn’t die. The father, of course, cuts him off midway in his apology and embraces him. And that’s where we pick up the story… from verse 22
“But the father said to his servants, 'Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.
The father restored us before we are cleaned up. We received righteousness, authority and the rights of a son simply by repenting and coming to the Father.
And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.' And they began to celebrate.
When you first came into the kingdom, how many of you felt celebrated by the Lord? And over time we begin to be faithful in the church, we read our Bible, we come from set up team, we help the poor, give our tithes… we begin to get a little less conspicuous.
The father expects fruitfulness in your life. And this is where most of us are in this journey. So let’s pick up the story from verse 22:
"Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, 'Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.' But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, 'Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!' And he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'"”
Luke 15:22-32 ESV
In the kingdom there is a pattern and it’s repeated about 6 times in the gospels alone that the last will be first and the first last. Have you ever experienced this in your workplace or your family, or church that someone who came after you, less deserving than you, gets promoted, gets recognized… So how do we handle our brother’s blessing? How do we keep our hearts from envy?
This is a year of intimacy and revelation the Bible says that it’s the pure in heart who will see God? So let’s get ready for that…
The Father’s response to the elder brother is key for us to understand how to overcome this envy that defiles our hearts, destroys our fruit and drives us away from the presence of God. But that is for another day. The father’s response is 'Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost and is found.' He comments on 3 things - the elder brother’s position, possession, and participation.
- Position - Son, you’re always with me
- The father reaffirms his sonship and reminds him who he is in that house.
- A king has both sons and servants in the same house. Do you know which one you are?
- The son stays because of his name - he inherits the name of the father. But a servant stays for his gain. If you are here for the titles, the blessing, the sermon or worship, the gifts, etc… you are functioning as a servant in your own father's house. Yes, we serve God and our brothers and sisters. But we serve God because we are sons and daughters. We are not sons and daughters because of our service. You can never serve your way to sonship.
- Another distinction between a son and a servant is that though they live in the same atmosphere, they have different access.
- Action: Go to the brother / sister who offends you and because that is where you will discover intimacy with the father.
- Possession - All that is mine is yours
- The younger brother took his inheritance and wasted it. It’s not coming back. So everything that the father has now only belongs to the elder brother.
- But when we have been faithful and working hard, it’s easy to think that we deserve something when we compare it with some others in the kingdom. But the truth is that it’s all by grace. We work hard by grace and receive the reward by grace.You deserve your wages, but you can never deserve your inheritance. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24
- Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:18 is we may comprehend “what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.
- Action :
- The local church is a physical manifestation of the house of God in your surroundings. So if you say I’m a son/ daughter of the kingdom of God, then be a son/ daughter at the local church. Commit yourself to it. OWN IT!
- This hall belongs to you, these speakers, curtains, in fact, the very people on your right and left belong to you… so own it! Sign up for the setup team today.
- Participation- It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive-
- The father expects us to be a part of the reconciliation - to share in his joy!
- The father saw his son while he was still a long way away because his eyes were looking for him. But his brother only noticed him when he was cleaned up and he was being celebrated with music and dancing. The elder son was not a part of the process of reconciliation. He did not share in the joy of the father.
- There is another elder brother in this book- the firstborn Son of God- Jesus Christ. He was a part of the process of reconciling his father’s children. Yet he stepped down from his heavenly abode and lived a sinless life, proclaiming the kingdom of God, reconciling man back to their position as sons and daughters of God, died on the cross for the joy that was set before him, satisfying the wrath of God against sin, so that we now stand in His robes of righteousness and boldly enter the presence of God and call him ABBA Father!!!!
- Action: ask yourself which elder brother you will be? There are people in your life who are lost sons and daughters of God and the father is longing for them! You and I have the opportunity through Christ to reconcile them to the father. So go to them today!
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.
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