Two Sinners in the Prodigal Son Story – Luke 15

The-Prodigal-SonThere are three characters in the Prodigal Son parable.  Most of the attention goes to the younger son, but the story is about the Father and his TWO lost sons.

Younger:   And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them.   Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.

This son is one kind of sinner.  He thinks about himself and his desires.  He does not care for the teaching he received. He does not care for tradition. He does not a care for doing the right thing.  He breaks all the rules and eventually he finds himself facing the results.This kind of sinner plants trouble and ends up getting more trouble

I do not think he knows about forgiveness.  He believes that he can make a plan to work for his father.  The last thing he expects is to be forgiven.  He knows his father is fair – he would do the right thing to give him a job.  He does not know that his father loves him enough to forgive him.

Older:  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!’

The older son is a second kind of sinner.   Yes he is a sinner.  He is lost .The younger son was lost because of his selfishness.  The older son was lost because he kept the rules.  He did not know his father or  his father’s live. He only knew the rules. He only understood that you earn your way by your work.

The Father: But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’  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.  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 the son returned, the Father saw him first.  He was waiting for the time when the son was ready to come back.  God is also looking for people to return home to him.  You may be far from God.  Maybe you know someone who is far from God.  God is looking for those who are far off to return.

The Father ran and gave a robe and a ring and a party to his son.  In the same way, when we return to God, he gives us many gifts.  We are received as his children, we are forgiven, we are given an inheritance.  God desires to welcome people back because he wants so pout out his live on us.

Literary Notes:

Luke 15:1-2 shows that “sinners and tax collectors” as well as “scribes and Pharisees” interacted with Jesus.  the Sinners were drawn to him but the religious were offended. They were offended that Jesus accepted sinners into his company

“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” v. 1-2

The Father went out to both sons to welcome them home from their estrangement:  The Younger son as he returned from the pig pen. The older son who stood outside in anger against his Father and judgment against his brother.

At the end of the story, the younger son returns but the attitude of the older son is left unresolved.

Worksheet: Forgive.luke15

Pick a Book – some preaching on Revelation 20

Books of Judgment:

Then some books are opened. First there are the record books.  Every person is then judged by their actions.  God keeps a record of our words and our actions.  It says two times that the dead are judged by what they had done as it is recorded in the books.

Many people are confident that they are good. They think God will measure our lives and say that we are ok.

One teacher said that as the record of our deeds are read out, that our good and our bad are put on a balance. If we measure good, we get heaven. If we measure out bad, we get hell.

But that idea is not in the bible.  The bible only says that we are condemned by our works. We already know what is in this book of records.

Romans 3:23  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

The verdict for every person will be:  GUILTY

What do you think God has written down for you?

There is enough sin in every person go convict us.

The Book of Life:

The good news is that there is another book.  The book of the records of our lives only gives bad news.

The other book has good news.   It is called the Book of Life.

It contains Names.  It does not contain our sins or our good deeds. It has names.  It is simple how it works.  If your name is written in the book of life, you will be forgiven of your sins and given life.

If your name is not written in this book, then you have to take the punishment for your sins.  Here is what Revelation says about that:  “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Our sins then would condemn us to the fire with the Dragon and the 2 beasts.

The Book of Life is mentioned through the bible.

Moses offered to remove his name from the book of Life if God would forgive the sins of Israel – God said that he would not do that.  Moses could not trade his life for theirs.  [Exodus 32]

Daniel the prophet spoke of the book of life that would be revealed in the last days.

Jesus spoke of the book of life in Luke 10 – He said to his followers that they should not be proud of what good works they did for the Lord, He said, “…but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”  [Luke 10:17-20]

Paul speaks of the book of life.  [Philippians 4:3]

And it is mentioned 5 times in the book of Revelation.  [3:5; 13:8; 20:12-15; 21:27]   The last time it says

”Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”  Revelation 21:27

So the most important question is this.  Who gets their name written in the Book of Life.

The clue is that it is called the Lamb’s book of life.  This is the book of all those who’s sins were paid by the Lamb of God.  Jesus offered his life in exchange for ours.  Moses tried to do that, but God did not accept Moses offer.  But when Jesus gave is body over to death for us, he became our substitute.

The only way to be in the book of life is to receive Jesus, the lamb of God, by faith.

Have you done that?  Before we go to take communion, I want to pray.  If you know that you belong to him, thank God for the gift of forgiveness.

If you don’t, I invite you to ask for his forgiveness.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, you are the Lamb of God.  I confess my sins.  My sins are written in your book. By these sins I deserve death.   Forgive me  in Jesus name.  Erase from your book all of my sins.  Come into my heart.  Include my name in the book of Life.  Amen.