North Anderson Baptist Church
Home: There Are Many Lost Sons and Daughters
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  • North Anderson Baptist Church
    2308 N Main St, Anderson, SC 29621, United States
    Sunday 10:30 AM
During one of the meetings that Dr. Wilbur Chapman held years ago there was a man who gave his testimony: He said, “I got off at the Pennsylvania depot as a tramp, and for a year I begged on the streets for a living. One day I touched a man on the shoulder and said, ‘Mister, please give me a dime.’ (You can tell this was years ago) As soon as I saw his face, I recognized my father. ‘Father, don’t you know me?’ I asked. Throwing his arms around me, he cried, ‘I have found you; all I have is yours.’ Men, think of it, that I, a tramp, stood begging my father for ten cents, when for eighteen years he had been looking for me to give me all he was worth!”

So the heavenly Father is waiting for you. Why not receive the unsearchable riches in Christ now?
Today we will look at the parable of “The Lost Son” from Luke 15:11-24, many times called the parable of “The Prodigal Son.” Before this parable Jesus told two other parables of a lost sheep and lost coin. Jesus says the main idea of these parables was to emphasize that God and the angels above, all rejoice over one lost sinner who repents over his sin. With that said, most people look at the “lost son” as a lost man who comes to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ through repentance of his sin, while coming humbly to the Father for restoration. The interesting thing about this, and as we read it look for this thought, the son can do nothing to gain his father’s love or to work his way back into the family since he left of his own free will, but the father out of love for his son who has come home, returns him to the sonship he had before he left and squandered all he was given by his father. God will give to us freely our son/daughtership when we repent of our sins and come to Him humbly.
The setting for the telling of the three parables was Jesus gathered to eat a meal with the tax collectors and sinners when the Pharisees criticized Jesus for spending time with them, the sinners. He wanted the Pharisees to know that God accepts sinners joyfully when they repent and He desires that the self-righteous repent too, that is the point of the conversation between the older brother and the father of which we will not have time to deal with today.
Here is the outline I want to use today:
The Request - Vv. 11-12
The Reckless Living - Vv. 13
The Results of a Wasted Life - Vv. 14-16
The Repentant Sinner - Vv. 17-19
The Receptive and Loving Father - Vv. 20-24
Conclusion - The Redemption of the Lost
The Request - Vv. 11-12

Jesus starts this parable by saying there are two sons, He does say that the younger was a lost son as he says the sheep and the coin are lost. But it is obvious that the younger son is moving that way, becoming lost to his father and family. He demands his share of the inheritance that would one day come to him when his father died. His father divides his wealth up between the two sons and gives the younger his portion. A lot of scholars believe that he was saying I want you dead so I can have my share of the inheritance. Some say that the father could have and should have said no to the request because of the attitude of the son. Sometimes we look too deeply into a parable that Jesus had told looking for things that are part of the true meaning when we just need to see what the Lord Jesus Christ said. He had a purpose for the way He told this story. Simply then, we see a gracious father who seems to show extreme love for his troubled son by going ahead and giving him his portion of the wealth even though he knew or suspected that he will go off to living freely totally against their families values.

If we are thinking that the father here is a picture of our Father in heaven then what do we see? Does it say to us that our Father in heaven indulges us by allowing us to make our own decisions regarding our relationship to Him? Could it be that He yields what is His and allows us to misuse it out of respect for the freedom that He has given us. Remember all that there is, is God’s. But “He knows that the misuse of our freedom will have no better results than it did with the prodigal son's misuse of his freedom, and God trusts that we will learn our lesson and come back to him.” So, the father of the parable lets his son go off into the wicked world where he will learn life’s lesson the hard way.
The Reckless Living - Vv. 13

A faithful parishioner surprised his pastor by asking: "Doesn't it make you nervous preaching on sin with all those experts sitting out there in the congregation?" 1000 Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching.

I guess we are all experts on sin but my hope is also that you have felt and experienced the love of God in your life that leads to salvation! Scholars say the distant land the lost son intended to go to would be the Gentile lands across the borders of Israel which might attract a young man who had broken loose from all responsibilities of life. He lost his wealth in wild living and doing who knows what, regardless of what the older brother said, “squandered your property with prostitutes.”(v.30) There is no evidence for that accusation, it probably came out of a jealous and envious heart. The young man seem to have his fill of “wild living” and friends that hung on his money for when that was gone there were no more friends to help him. I have been thinking about this “wild living.” When we move away from God, many people move to sin in life and seek to satisfy their own desires. That doesn’t always end up like “wild living,” it might just be a rebellious spirit of “doing what I want to do” rather than what God calls for me to do or expects of me. There are a lot of “good people” who are apart from God the Father and doing what they want to do with what God has provided. Remember God is the owner of it all. There are many people living like they want to and doing what they desire, rather than acknowledging the Lordship of God over all that He has given them. Sin is rebelling against the will of God, missing the mark that God has set. Paul says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. None of us are righteous, not one. Just because you are not living a riotess life doesn’t mean you are not lost and bound for a Christless hell. We are all separated from God when we have not acknowledged that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and when we have not confessed, by faith, that He is our Savior and Lord. We need to come to our senses!

Deceitfulness of Sin
Gary Richmond, a former zoo keeper, had this to say: Raccoons go through a glandular change at about 24 months. After that they often attack their owners. Since a 30-pound raccoon can be equal to a 100-pound dog in a scrap, I felt compelled to mention the change coming to a pet raccoon owned by a young friend of mine, Julie. She listened politely as I explained the coming danger. I'll never forget her answer. "It will be different for me. . ." And she smiled as she added, "Bandit wouldn't hurt me. He just wouldn't." Three months later Julie underwent plastic surgery for facial lacerations sustained when her adult raccoon attacked her for no apparent reason. Bandit was released into the wild. Sin, too, often comes dressed in an adorable guise, and as we play with it, how easy it is to say, "It will be different for me." The results are predictable. Gary Richmond, View From The Zoo.
The Results of a Wasted Life - Vv. 14-16

He was broke and had nothing to show for all the money he wasted. A famine came to the country and because he was broke he needed a way to gain food, so he needed a job. If he was to eat he would have to work, so he hired out to a local farmer. Did he know that he would be feeding the pigs? Who knows. But since he was Jewish, pigs were unclean and yet he had done so much that had been against his Jewish heritage and laws why would this make any difference now. But after awhile the famine must have gotten greater or the wages were just not enough, he became hungry to the extent that he wished he could eat the pods the pigs ate.

What do we learn from this part of the parable? We can see in the prodigal’s story to what depth our sin will bring us when we misuse the freedom which is given to mankind. If we are driven to leaving the truth and the ways of God, things will go badly for us. We will experience an uncaring world who doesn’t mind humiliating us. The further we go from God the worse off we are. There is no ultimate joy or blessings when we walk away from God into an uncaring world.

This lost son was alienated from his father and all that he knew. When we walk away from our Father seeking to live out our selfish desires, we too are alienated from the only One who really cares for us.
The Repentant Sinner - Vv. 17-19

What does, “When he came to his senses” mean? When a person is utterly bankrupt because of sin, there is an opportunity for the Spirit of God to get their attention. Often it takes people to hit the very bottom of life or experience great sorrow before they look up to the only One who can help them. It took that condition of hunger and poverty to get this young man’s attention to be turned from the “far country” as one version interprets it, to the home from where he had experienced love and plenty all of his life.

"Repentance means we love our Savior more than we love our sin." --Kent Crockett

He looks back to see that man, his father, who loved him and gave him the freedom to make his own decisions and now he wants to go home. He recalls all that his father has and even how the servants are treated so well and are not hungry that he repentantly says that he will go back and admit his wrong to his father and to Jehovah God as well. He declares that he is not good enough to be his son but will ask if his father will take him back as a servant. With that repentant heart, he leaves the far away country to travel back to his father’s house seeking to become a hired servant.

The man huddled on the cabin floor was slowly freezing to death. It was high in the Rockies in southwestern Alberta, and outside a blizzard raged. John Elliott had logged miles that day through the deep snows of the mountain passes. As he checked for avalanches and as dusk and exhaustion overcame him he had decided to "hole-up." He made it wearily to his cabin but somewhat dazed with fatigue, he did not light a fire or remove his wet clothing. As the blizzard blasted through the cracks in the old cabin walls, the sleeping forest ranger sank into oblivion, paralyzed by the pleasure of the storm's icy caress. Suddenly, however, his dog sprang into action, and with unrelenting whines, finally managed to rouse his near-comatose friend. The dog was John's constant companion, a St. Bernard, one of a long line of dogs famous for their heroics in times of crisis. "If that dog hadn't been with me, I'd be dead today," John Elliott says. "When you're freezing to death you actually feel warm all over, and don't wake up because it feels too good." This moving story illustrates the spiritual condition of many people today. They are cold spiritually, and sadly are oblivious of their true condition. Thank God for all the ways in which He arouses such sleepers. He sends His messengers to nudge them awake. Sometimes the methods used to awaken them are drastic, but always for their good. Let us not imagine that because He shakes us, He therefore hates us. He awakens us from lethargy because He loves us, and wants to save us from an eternal death. When we were "ready to perish" (Isaiah 27:13), He was "ready to save" (Isaiah 38:20). Trust your life in His hand. The Prairie Overcomer.

Each of us needs to “come to our senses” and repent of our sin against the Father. We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God, we all need to repent. All need to come to God and ask to become his child. You see God has been drawing us to Himself and all that we feel inside is the power of the Holy Spirit wooing us to God Almighty, where we can find love, peace, joy and forgiveness.

This is a good place to also mention here that some of us are really “Prodigal” Sons and Daughters even though we are saved and have been redeemed from our sins. Even children of God wish to be free from their heavenly Father at some point. God allows us to choose and leave but there are great consequences because of that rebellion. God chastises His children. Christians will too find themselves in sin at the bottom of the barrel needing to look up and call on their Father to rescue them and to restore them. Maybe that describes you today? Do what the “lost son” did, recognize your sin by confession and then come home, our Father will forgive and receive you as His child, for that is what we are and can never stop being no matter what you do. (I don’t have time to talk of this “Doctrine of Eternal Security” but once God has you, you are His.)
The Receptive and Loving Father - Vv. 20-24

Here we see our heavenly Father’s true love for all those lost sons and daughters who are in the world. The father of the parable is expectant, standing forever watching for that lost young man of his to come home. Our heavenly Father is always watching and waiting for his lost creation to come home to Him and be saved and safe in His arms. What love the Father has for His own!

The lost son is coming home and a long way off his father sees him. How does he know it is his son? I don’t know but maybe there is something distinctive about this one’s walking, who knows, but the father is waiting and sees him and runs to his son. Notice Jesus uses one of His favorite words to describe the father’s excitement and love, “the father saw him and was filled with compassion for him.” Compassion! The Father in heaven has compassion for his children and creation. It is said of Jesus often in the Gospels that He had compassion for the people because they were like lost sheep without a shepherd.

The compassion of the father was seen in not paying attention to what his son was saying to him but preparing to give him his sonship back. The son tried to talk and tell his father what was on his mind but the father just lavished upon him all the symbols of sonship and authority, the best robe, the ring, and the sandals. And then the father did what was unexpected, he called for a party, a celebration with all the trimmings! The father said, “For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”

Wow! It is not the same wording from the two parables before this one but is it close, here is what the others say:
verses 6-7, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.’ And verses 9-10, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Celebration is necessary when someone who is lost is found, who is saved by God grace. Even the angels celebrate! I loved the way the LAB puts it in the note for verse 24, “The sheep was lost because it may have foolishly wandered away (15:4); the coin was lost through no fault of its own (15:8); and the son left out of selfishness (15:12). God’s great love reaches out and finds sinners no matter why or how they got lost.

”This prodigal had nothing to do with becoming the son of the father again. He could not work for his love, it was always there for him, his father gave it freely to him. Salvation is free and can’t be earned and we surely don’t deserve it because of our rebellion, just like the prodigals rebellion. That is something to celebrate!
Conclusion - The Redemption of the Lost

The love of God reaches out to all who are lost, from every tribe, language, nation and people. Jesus said in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” He is seeking all those who are lost and are in the “far country” or people who are caught up in “wild living.” Think of those who may be a part of these groups. Who are they? Famous people in Hollywood, politicians, sports heroes, famous people in general, people you work with, people whom you go to school with, folks you see at the grocery store or at QT or other places you go. Lost people are everywhere. They are sometimes people you know and of course people you don’t know. But, I will tell you one thing, they are the sons and daughters of someone and they are LOST and need a Savior and Lord. Are you one of them? Do they live in your household? Are you a prodigal son or daughter? Are you going to tell them of your Savior and Lord Jesus?


Dear friend if you are reading this by way of the internet please know that you are loved and cared for. If you have no relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son, then I invite you to trust Him by faith and receive Him as your personal Savior. Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sin of everyone in the world that they may have eternal life. All of us have sinned and all are guilty before Almighty God who made us to have fellowship with Him. But sin broke that ability to have a relationship and Jesus has restored the possibility to know God personally through His sacrifice. Please know that if you will seek God and turn from your sin and pray He will respond with His love and give to you a personal relationship through your belief in His Son and the sacrifice He made just for you. He will call for a change in your life too. He wants you to follow Him, not the world, not your own desires, but to follow Jesus. That brings a life change when you turn from sin and self and by faith believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. There is no Savior without Him being Lord of your life. Your willingness to change by following Him daily in your life will be the proof of your faith. When life throws its curves your way and you have found yourself broken by others or by the world let us introduce you to the only One who can help you…Jesus! You can write or call the office and we will follow up by contacting you. Office phone number is 864-225-2575 and the website address is and the physical address is 2308 N. Main St., Anderson, SC 29621. Dear friend if you are a believer and you have been touched by the Lord and you would like to talk to someone at the church just contact us in one of the ways you see above. If you are a believer and would like to talk about the church and your interest in being a part, please call and we can set up an appointment for you and get to know you. It would be a great pleasure to share our Lord’s love with you. This is a loving church and you are important to us, so please let us know what we can do for you in the Lord.Pastor Bill Rigsby