Elements City Church
Prodigal - wk 3 The Other Lost
One of Jesus’s most famous parables in one of the most powerful chapters of Scripture has insights for us today. New series for the month of March. Join us each Sunday at 5pm.
Locations & Times
  • Elements City Church
    1825 N Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ 85712, USA
    Sunday 5:00 PM

Thanks for joining us...

Whether you're in the house or joining us online from your house, we are praying that tonight will be an encouragement to your soul and that you know you're loved. May God whisper to you and help you in taking your next steps in a journey with Him.

Jesus made a statement, recorded in Luke 19 - that’s drilled down on and expanded upon in Luke 15 - it is a declaration of Jesus’ mindset and focus - captures his heart & his mission:

“For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.” Luke 19:10
In Luke 15 - Jesus tells 3 key parables or stories that describe God's heart and what he's really like. This comes off of understanding verses 1-2 that are driving why he tells these stories.
Luke 15:11
Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons."

We’ve gone from 1 / 100 sheep -to- 1/10 coins to now 2 sons
The stakes are escalating… we’ve gone from livestock, to material things to the most important - human relationships… the stakes are getting higher as Jesus continues to tell these stories in order to push back against the narrative and understanding of how do we truly understand what God’s heart is like?
This story is usually referred to as “The Parable of the Prodigal Son.”

According to the Dictionary, the word “prodigal” means: “One who spends lavishly…spending freely and recklessly; wastefully extravagant.”
2 Sons (and 2 pairs of shoes)
1 reaches for his track shoes - to run away
1 reaches for his work boots - to work away

*both end up ‘away’ from the Father relationally...

READ Luke 15:25-32
We TEND TO FOCUS ON the younger brother and his SCENE…
Jesus was focused on the older brother.
In the crowd that day, are not only the obviously sin-sick folks we typically associate with the phrase “lost people,” but also a group of “Pharisees and teachers of the law.” It is toward these seemingly healthy, religious people that the Great Physician points his sharpest scalpel that day, and does so with a parable. Having just described the lavish party that the father in the story is throwing for his recovered son, the story goes on - gets really interesting.

The true target of the Surgeon’s scalpel comes next in the story...

“‘Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound’. "The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.” (Luke 15:25–28).
Here we’re introduced to the "other kind of lost"

“Do you realize, then, what Jesus is teaching? Neither son loved the father for himself. They both were using the father for their own self-centered ends rather than loving, enjoying, and serving him for his own sake. This means that you can rebel against God and be alienated from him either by breaking his rules or by keeping all of them diligently.”
― Timothy Keller

The younger’s heart burns with an obvious selfishness. The elder brother’s heart, however, is afflicted with something much harder to detect and much tougher to root out. It’s this core of self righteousness.
What the older brother was saying to the Father revealed his expectation for justice, not mercy. He was saying that their relationship was one based on reciprocity. "I've done this, and you should have done that." It was not based on love, but on work and reward.

“If, like the elder brother, you believe that God ought to bless you and help you because you have worked so hard to obey him and be a good person, then Jesus may be your helper, your example, even your inspiration, but he is not your Savior. You are serving as your own Savior.” - Timothy Keller

Friends, we must (as folks who come to church) make sure to root out any bitterness or bent that would build a core of self-righteousness within us! Jesus is pushing - and there’s not a real conclusion here in this story to the elder brother — Jesus is pointing out the self-righteous stance being taken; the pleading of the Father to enter in… and leaves the story open-ended, hoping for a change of heart.

Elder brothers divide the world in two: “The good people (like us) are in and the bad people, who are the real problem with the world, are out.”

Younger brothers, even if they don’t believe in God at all, do the same thing, saying: “No, the open-minded and tolerant people are in and the bigoted, narrow-minded people, who are the real problem with the world, are out.”

But Jesus clearly says, “the humble are in and the proud are out”
(See Luke 18:14) For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

The people who confess they aren’t particularly good are moving toward God, because the prerequisite for receiving the grace of God, is to know you need it.

Do you know how much you need the grace of God?

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Elements family: thank you for enabling us to BE the Church in our city - especially in this moment. Your gifts help fuel the mission and our capacity to share His love with as many as we can. You help us bring the HOPE and LIGHT of Jesus to our city! You can give here, online, or through the Elements app.

We'll see you back at Elements next weekend as we conclude our series and worship together. Join us in-person at the church campus or online Sunday at 5pm.
Have a blessed week friends!!