ʻAnd he arose, and came to his father.
INTRO: The story of the Prodigal Son is a full life-size picture of every sinner.
The story of ʻRags to Richesʼ (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, or 1%) was Innocently Lost and shows the work of the Son of God in 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)
- (11-24) Prodigal Son (1 out of 2, or 50%) was Willfully Lost and shows the work of the Father in receiving and restoring the penitent son.
- (25-32) Elder Son — Religiously Lost and ʻwould not come in.ʼ
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 work of the Trinity, 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 SINNERʼS CHOICE & The Downward Road.
A. (v. 12) SELF-WILL ʻGive me.ʼ
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, Mom, Dad, Church, etc. I can live my own life and be happy; do what I want to do. Go when, where I want to, be my own boss. Freedom!!!!
B. (v. 13) SADDEST JOURNEY THAT A MAN CAN TAKE ʻInto a far country.ʼ 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.
C. (13-14) ʻWastedʼ ʻSpent Allʼ . . . 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, ʻHe that will not be a son of God, will be a slave of the Devil.ʼ How true it is!
D. (v. 14) ʻHe began to be in want.ʼ Became conscious of unsatisfied hunger, need for food, clothing, shelter; also, Friends, Love, Self-respect, Peace of Mind, Security, etc.
E. (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 as first to be a Friend; second, an Employer, and then a Cruel Slave Master.
II. THE ROAD BACK –– The Turning Point –– Repentance & Reaction.
A. (v. 17) ‘He came to himself’ ––– Until now he had not been himself, he was as one walking in a swoon or a daze, he had followed the desires of the Natural Man, his old Sinful Nature. Doing what comes Naturally. He was unconscious of his true condition.
He was shut up to two thoughts:
- The Abundance at His Father’s House, and
- The Need in His Own Life. He himself was perishing with hunger.
B. (v. 17) REMEMBRANCE – – – ‘Bread enough and to spare.’
He remembered the Abundance that even the ‘hired servants’ enjoyed in his Father’s House.
C. (v. 18) RESOLUTION ––– ‘I will arise and go. . .’
Resolutions are worthless unless acted upon.
D. (v. 21) REPENTANCE – ‘Father, I have sinned.’ He called Sin by it’s Right Name, SIN. He was ready to confess & forsake his sin. He didn’t blame someone else.
E. (v. 19) HUMBLE SUBMISSION – ‘. . . no more worthy to be called Thy Son: Make Me.’ This is a far cry from his former attitude in v. 12 ––‘Give Me.’
III. The FATHER’S MARVELOUS GRACE in Forgiving & Restoring.
A. (v. 20) ‘Father saw him’ – This was no accident that the Father saw him.
The Father was looking , longing, praying, hoping, believing that His Son would return home and He was watching, waiting for him.
B. (v. 20) ‘COMPASSION’ ––– God is LOVE seeking ME.
C. (v. 20) ‘RAN’ ––– Anxious, ready, willing, eager to Forgive & Receive.
D. (v. 20) ROYAL WELCOME — Five things the Father gave him. He didn’t deserve any of them, but he needed all of the them and the Father freely and
lovingly provided. This is GRACE. Not one word of rebuke or reproach was given, but GRACE (Love in Action) was shown in abundance. ‘But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.’ (Rom. 5:20).
REMEMBER: The Prodigal Son did not arrive in the ‘Hog Pen’ the first day he left home, but it all started with just the first step in the wrong direction
‘He came to himself, he came to the Father.’