by Pastor Ayo Sparks
It’s another grace filled day. I trust you had a great day. I ask that the Lord causes you to prosper in all that concerns and that you will experience a deeper sense of his love for you all around. Today we read a fabulous chapter. It is a chapter that I personally love so much and it is because it contains a single message that drew me closer when I was in times of depression and frustration about my spiritual health.
This chapter helped me get stable about God’s presence, his will and his desires for me as a son and much more solidifies my resolution in the preaching of the Gospel as the Gospel of Grace. Let’s look at some verses…
Luke 15:1-2 | THEN DREW NEAR UNTO HIM all the PUBLICANS AND SINNERS FOR TO HEAR HIM. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man RECEIVETH SINNERS, and eateth with them.
I am personally thrilled by the way the Holy Spirit made mention of the “drawing near” of the sinners. What is about his message that attracted sinners? It was away from the legalistic idiosyncrasies of the Pharisees who were termed teachers of the law. He pictured a teacher of the law but with affection and also authority. It was the message of the nature of a Father God who was always out to find the lost bringing them into the fold, the Family.
What a clarion call to teachers of the word today. But beyond teachers of the word, how about a clarion call to parents and lovers. How do our wards and loved ones perceive us even when they err? Do they draw near to us or they become far away hiding from our wrath? We may not preach the message with our words but our attitudes preach the message and it defines what we truly believe… the Gospel of Grace… or the Gospel which is no gospel at all.
Luke 15:4 | What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
Haven’t you wondered why Jesus was all about shepherds and shepherding? Here is the real gist… follow me…From the days of David to the days wherein Jesus lived, the shepherding business has changed from a profession of honor to that of disdain and ridicule. Shepherds at this time were a despised class. In general, shepherds were dishonest and unclean according to the standards of the law. They represent the outcasts and sinners for whom Jesus came.
Jesus always took to the side of those who were neglected and despised. He was always ready to associates with the outcast and so the religiously upright ones were offended at him for choosing a class of people not worthy of attention let alone God’s attention.
Luke 15:8 | Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?
What about the coin? A coin gets its value not of its own material or composition but of the authority of its emperor. The seal of the governor is the proof of its value. This woman has got 10 coins, each of these carry the seal of authority and value. That one was lost didn’t reduce its value but it reduced her wealth. As long as it carried the seal, it carried intrinsic value. Brothers and sisters, you carry the seal of God upon your life. You are valuable to him, without you, there couldn’t be completeness with Him. He would do all in his ability to make sure you are found and brought into the fold.
Say with me…
I am valuable.
My worth is in the Father.
I am Blessed, Favored and Loved
Luke 15:13 | And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
Far country? Did you just read “far country”? Far country is not a factor of distance but in the alienation of the heart. Most times, we think there is measurable distance between ourselves and God especially when we err. But that would negate every New Testament truth we have concerning His presence… what about the I will never leave you or forsake you scripture?
It means God is saying… you can only try to drift away from me but I am stuck on you. In your place of destitution and blunder, I am right there… I may feel pained that you err but what you watch I am forced to watch, what you do, I am forced to stay glued. I made a promise and I am not ready to break it with you.
Glory to God.
Luke 15:17-20 | And when he came to himself, he said, how many hired servants of my father have bread enough 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 thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father.
Confession is a big deal, right? I am sure you know how confession is a big deal. No confession, no forgiveness isn’t it? This is not the confession of the son to the father but the thought of the son to himself.So, HE CAME TO HIMSELF… I can’t be living this way, there is something better in my Father’s house… HE SIMPLY CHANGED HIS MIND…
Repentance is not confession of sin… repentance is change of mind. It is the Greek word “metanoeo” which means to think differently or to reconsider. Invariably, the son had repented before he came to his father. That is the reason we read in later verses having gotten to the Father that his confession was cut short. Never, for a moment, had the Father ceased to love and yearn. There was an instant response to the slightest indication of repentance. Love was quicker than words, to understand what the prodigal meant. The confession was therefore cut short.
God is saying… My forgiveness towards you is not confession-based but love-based.
Luke 15:20-24 | And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 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 hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
THE GRAND WELCOME…
Oh! How God meets us… the kiss of love… the rob of righteousness… the ring of reconciliation… the shoes of a holy walk… the feast of fellowship
In summary… All these parables… definitely about the KINGDOM- God’s Salvation and Plan weren’t directed to the Pharisees but to the sinners. There is a difference with the content. We would see no place of rejection or condemnation rather, we see instances of welcome and celebration because there is always room, especially the chief room for those who condescend to the father’s love.
The older brother on the other round was a salient picture of the religious leaders who should be direct benefactors of the wealth of the kingdom but rather than receive it wanted to earn it to the end- self-aggrandizement
QUESTION: Would you condescend to the father’s love?