A Father And His Two Lost Sons
13 SEPTEMBER 2020 | TRADITIONAL SERVICE
Rev Benjamin Lee
Scripture Passage: Luke 15:11-32 (NIV)
WATCH | SERMON (Video)
(Click on video below)
READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary | The well-known and much loved parable of the prodigal son continues to impart the awesome message even today, of how God loves us all indeed.
There are different approaches to understanding the parable. The psychologist see valuable lessons for human relationships regarding estrangement and reconciliation. The sociologist see lessons about duties and shame in a dysfunctional family. However, it was in the context of the Pharisees grumbling about Jesus’ association with tax collectors and sinners that Jesus told the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son. These parables describe the great rejoicing after what was lost is found. Jesus sought to emphasise how important we are to God. There was rejoicing when one out of a 100 sheep was found, when one out of ten coins was found, and when one lost son out of two was found. Each lost child is important to the heavenly father. In fact, both the sons needed to “come home” for different reasons.
Open rebellion – The younger son had openly rebelled against his father by taking his inheritance and leaving home. He could not see how his own wants and desires, that are not within God’s will, would ultimately bring failure rather than fulfilment. This inability to see how choosing a shortcut would lead to failure, led him down the wrong path. Choosing to prioritize what we want over the will of God, will ultimately lead us down the wrong path of life. He needed to receive a hard knock before coming to his senses and recognising the true condition of who he had become. Perhaps, for some of us, it may also be a moment to come to our senses and come home. Beginning to see this is God’s grace upon us, and a step toward coming back. God, like the father in the parable, will eagerly and graciously welcome us back.
Grudging obedience – The older son was also lost in grudging obedience. He did not rejoice when his brother returned, and did not have a real relationship with his father. His own wants had priority over what the father desired. If we, like the older brother, are outwardly obeying God but are doing it for our own sake and not for His sake, then God also entreats us to come back to him. God loves us and it pains His heart when we go through experiences to come back to our senses.
The ultimate theme of this story, is not the faithlessness of men, but the faithfulness of God (Helmut Thielicke)
(Sermon Notes by Denis Koh)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
1. At the heart of every rebellion, is an inability to see how our own wants/desires that are not within God’s will, will ultimately bring failure rather than fulfilment. How can one end up in Open Rebellion?
2. How does one know if one is actually in a state of Grudging Obedience?
3. Are there areas in your life where you are either in Open Rebellion or Grudging Obedience? How and why?
4. Can you think of someone who might be in Open Rebellion or Grudging Obedience? In what ways can you help him/her discover the heart of God once again?