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Home Sermon Collection (ENG.Ver) English version Five Lessons from The Parable of The Prodigal Son
Five Lessons from The Parable of The Prodigal Son PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ir. David Kurniadi   
Tuesday, 20 January 2015 10:54

The parable about the returned of the prodigal son (Luke 15: 11 – 32) is not for the unbeliever. Jesus told this parable especially for the believers, because the parable speaks about the relationship between the father and his sons, which represents the relationship of God and the believers (Rome 8: 14 – 16). There are five lessons, which we can learn from this parable, which are very useful for us as guidance for our lives today.


The first lesson of this parable is about two types of believers in relation with experiencing the abundant life.


“And He said, There was a certain man who had two sons” (Luke 15:11)


“The younger son” represented the first type of believer.


The younger said to his father, “Father, give me the part of the property that falls to me” (Luke 15:12).


This is the type of believers who know their rights as God’s children. We, who received Christ, received the authority to become the children of God (John 1:12). If we are children of God, then we are heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). As heirs of God, in Christ we have obtained an inheritance; for we had been foreordained in accordance with His purpose (Ephesians 1:11). And our inheritance is rich and glorious (Ephesians 1:18). But, many believers don’t know and understand their rights, because their eyes of understanding were not enlightened. 


Some of believers only know, that in Christ they are blessed only with spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3) as their inheritance. They do not know that in Christ, we also can enjoy material blessings. In Christ we are “Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29). And, Abraham was the believer, who was blessed by God, not only with spiritual blessings but also with material blessings.


This was the testimony of Abraham’s servant: “The Lord has blessed my master greatly, and he is become great (very rich); and God has given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, etc.” (Genesis 24: 34 - 35).


The younger son knew his rights upon the inheritance he has of his father’s property. He asked his father to give him his part, and his father gave him according to his own will. So, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us (1 John 3:14).


“The elder son” in the other hand represented the second type of believer.


“The elder brother was angry and resolved not to go in” (Luke 15:28). The elder brother said to his father: “These many years I have served you, and I have never disobeyed your command. Yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make feast with my friends” (verse 29). And, his father said to him: “You are always with me, and all that is mine is yours” (verse 31).


This is the mindset of the majority of the believers. They serve God and obey His commands, and they never leave the church, but they do not enjoy the abundant life, especially in material blessing. They think that in Christ, they only get spiritual blessings such as forgiveness of sins, righteousness, love, peace and joy.


It is absolutely true that spiritual blessings are the main, primary and most important blessings. But, we should not refuse to believe that God also wants to bless His children with material blessings as He did with Abraham and his descendants.  Of course, it doesn’t mean that we all must become a billionaire. But, God wants us to live in “all sufficiency in all things” (2 Corinthians 9:8), and even more that we “might have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).


The elder brother also had a wrong mindset in serving his father. He thought that to serve his father and be loyal to him would not be rewarded with material blessing. Of course, we must serve God with sincere heart and not for money! But, God also wants to reward His faithful servants with material blessings, besides spiritual blessings.


“For it is written in the Law of Moses: Thou shall not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treads out the corn. Does God take care for oxen? Or He said it for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he who plows should plow in hope; and that he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?” (1 Corinthians 9 : 9 - 12).


So, we must not apply a wrong mindset about material blessings. Because, it is God, The Father, Who has made the promise to all His children that we may enjoy the abundant life as our part of the inheritance we have in Christ. Remember, as God’s children we are heirs!


The worse about this type of Christians, they are “angry” with God because they live in insufficiency and think that God is unfair. They envy about other Christians who live in abundant lives. But they are skeptical with the teaching about abundant life in Christ. They set their eyes more to the reality surround them, that so many Christians fail to receive the abundant life. They refuse to believe and to have faith upon God’s promise and abundant provision.


In this lesson, what the younger son did was right and according to the rights he had as the son and heir of his father properties. In fact, his father did not complain or rebuke him for asking his portion. Instead, his father fulfilled the younger son’s request.


Some people say that the younger son was insolent, because he asked his father to give him his part of his inheritance while his father still alive. No! It is not insolent at all, because the father represented God Himself. God is Everlasting Father. He will never die. We cannot wait to have our inheritance after He passed away, because He is everlasting. So, it is now, at this time, we can have our inheritance. Today, we can ask God to give us our portion of the inheritance that He has preordained us to receive according to His purpose and His own will.


“Until now, you have asked nothing in My name: ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16 : 24).


The second lessons of this parable are about: three common mistakes that often made by Christians after they have been blessed and successful.


“And not many days after, the younger son gathered up all that he had (sold it and made it cash), and journeyed into a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and loose (from restraint) living.” (Luke 15 : 13).


The younger son’s portion in his father properties most probably in form of assets, such as: land, cattle or house. Because, he has planned to make a long journey, he gathered up all he had and sold it and made it cash money that made him easier to carry. 


This is the first common mistake that we often make. After receiving all blessings from God, we use it all for secular purposes only and for our own interests. God who is The Giver of all these blessings receives very small or even nothing at all as the return from all the blessings He has given to us.


He has given us time 24 hours a day, every day, but we use most of the time for our own interests; to build our own career, develop our own business, fulfill our own desires. We give very little time to worship God and build our relationship with God.


Most of the Christians spend only 5 to 15 minutes for spiritual things. One minute to pray after wake up in the morning; one minute to pray before we have our breakfast; one minute to pray before lunch; one minute to pray before dinner; one minute to pray before we sleep; plus 10 minutes to read the Bible. Totally 15 minutes a day for God.


We use our physical health and strength to pursue our ambition. Only when we get a serious sick we start to seek God. We use our intelligence, skill and ability for our purposes. Not many Christians use them for God’s purposes.


God gets no benefit as the return of all His blessings He has given us. We treat Him unfair for all His goodness upon us. We concern about our own interests and never about God’s interests. We focus our effort only for carnal things and not for spiritual things.


Second mistake is “journeyed into distant country.” After we reached our success and achievement we start leaving God. Our heart now is far away from God. Our worship is only as routine activity and formality.


“This people draws near unto me with their mouth, and honors me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15 : 8).


“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot…” (Revelation 3:15)


Our heart toward God is now lukewarm. We begin to forsake the assembly (Hebrews 10:25) and withdraw ourselves from the ministry. We have no time now to have communion with God; we are too busy or too tired.


Before, when we were still struggling pursuing our success, and when we were at the bottom and tried to climb up to reach our goals, we were so diligent in attending the church meeting and involved in the ministry. But, now, having reached our success, we don’t have a time to worship and serve the Lord. So, God is always at a loss after He blessed His children with success and prosper.


Some believers even abandon their faith after reaching their success. They forget that God has given them power, ability and chance to reach it. They thought that their success was reached with their own strength.


“Beware that you forget not the Lord, your God, in not keeping His commandments, and His judgments, and His statutes, which I command you this day. Lest when you have eaten and are full, and have built goodly houses, and dwelt therein…Then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord, your God…And you say in your heart: my power and the mighty of my hand has gotten me this wealth. But you should remember the Lord your God: for it is He Who gives you power to get wealth…” (Deuteronomy 8 : 11 – 18).


The third mistake is “wasted his fortune in reckless and loose (from restraint) living.”


Many Christians after having their success start to live a worldly and ungodly life; following their lust desires. This is because they have lost their intimacy with God. When our love toward God is dimmed, the love toward this world will begin to glow. One love will put out the other love.


“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2 : 15 – 16).


Many Christians after having reached their success start to compromise with sinful life. They do not keep their holy life as before. They want to satisfy their lusts. They live in hedonism. They do not enjoy God’s presence anymore. They enjoy more in feasts and parties and glamorous life. They do not enjoy anymore the fellowship with other believers. They prefer to associate with high-class society and become celebrity. They don’t like spiritual conversation, but rather carnal talks, dirty jokes or gossips.     


These are common mistakes, which often made by successful believers. Of course, not all like this. We cannot generalize all believers. But this is an often cases.


The third lesson of this parable is:


“And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want” (Luke 15 : 14).


The younger son began to fall in bankruptcy when the crises stroke the land. This is the consequence if we follow the steps of the younger son.


If we live our lives only for our own business and not for God; if we begin to forsake the Lord after reaching our success; if we plunge ourselves in lustful desires; then, one day, when the crisis comes across our path, we will fall into bankruptcy; spiritual, mental, physical and material bankruptcy.


The bankruptcy will begin with our spiritual life. We will lose our intimacy with God and our fellowship with other believers. Our faith and confident in the Lord will become faint and dry. We cannot feel anymore God’s presence nor hear His voice within our heart. We do not have spiritual strength supply from God. We have to depend upon our own power. We become blind spiritually; not able to see the Lord’s guidance. We cannot enjoy divine peace and joy. Spiritually we are wretched, miserable and poor.


Our moral standard begins to collapse. We begin to do disgraceful things because we compromise with sins. We think that we are moderate and tolerance, but in fact we break down our moral standard by living a lustful life. We are spiritually naked and shameful.   


But, people often do not realize this spiritual bankruptcy, because economically they are still rich:


“Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, and you don’t know that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17).


But soon spiritual bankruptcy will be followed by mental bankruptcy. Because we do not receive any supply of divine strength from God, after we abandoned our faith. We depend upon our own strength, which is very limited, while we face a tremendous pressure from the world surround us.


We face very tight competition and uncertain economic situation. It gives high pressure upon our mental strength with worries, distress and despair. The emptiness we feel within makes us fragile to the situation. We don’t have any firmed faith foundation to uphold our mental building. When the crisis comes like a heavy rain and flood and strong wind and beat upon us, then our mental building will be collapsed and damaged severely (Matthew 7:27). We start to have physical problems; insomnia, digestive problem, blood hypertension, etc. Some people start to consume drugs or become alcoholic. Their marriage lives are in danger of breaking up.


The spiritual bankruptcy will not stop until it ruins every aspect of our lives, unless we stop it and turn back to God.


The fourth lesson of the parable is: realize the situation and humble ourselves in honest and earnest repentance.


“And when he came to himself, he said: How many hired servants of my father have enough bread 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 you…..” (Luke 15 : 17-20).


This is the right and important attitude, which can stop and restore our desperate condition: to realize our mistakes and humble ourselves in honest and earnest repentance.


God is Almighty God and He is the righteous Judge, but He has one “weakness”: He has a tender heart. We can beseech Him to forgive our sins and restore us again. He is merciful God and full of compassion.


In the Bible, there is a story about a very wicked king in Israel during Old Testament time. His name is Manasseh. He was so wicked and did which was evil in the sight of the Lord. He worshiped Baal and built altars for Baal in the house of the Lord, even he caused his children to pass through the fire as sacrifice for Baal. And the Lord punished Manasseh severely with great affliction. But, when he was in affliction, he besought the Lord, and humbled himself greatly before God, and prayed unto God earnestly. And God had compassion on him, heard his supplication and restored him (2 Chronicles 33:1-13).


We must take a lesson from this story! If God heard the supplication of the wicked man who humbled himself earnestly in true repentance, how much more God will listen our prayer, forgive our sins and restore us again, if we, believers would realize our mistakes, humble ourselves and repent earnestly.


“If my people, which called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal (restore) their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14).


We see in the parable how the father had been waiting for the return of his prodigal son. When he saw his younger son returned, the father did not just wait at his place, but with compassion ran to him, hugged him and kissed him (Luke 15:20)


So, if God give us a chance to be forgiven and restored, why we harden our heart and continue our mistakes, while we know that our lives are getting bankrupt spiritually and mentally.


God is waiting for your return and with great compassion He will open His merciful arms and welcome you home.


The fifth lesson of the parable is a holistic restoration:


“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 here the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry” (Luke 15 : 22-23).


When we confess our sins sincerely, God will surely forgive our sins. He will wash away our sins and make us righteous and holy (1 John 1 : 9). God invite us to come to Him and settle our transgression before him (Isaiah 1 : 18). He is willing to forgive and forget our sins completely.


“Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow….” (Isaiah 1 : 18)


“If we admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all our unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).


God will not only forgive our sins but He also will restore our condition totally. He will restore our states as His beloved children and blesses us with honor, dignity, power and authority, peaceful and joyful life. So, our story will have a happy ending.


“If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land” (Isaiah 1:19).


May the bless of God, The Father, and the grace of Jesus Christ, The Son of God, and the communion with The Holy Spirit will always be with you till the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Amen!  

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