The Parables of Jesus

Prodigal # 1

 Tonight we will be looking at part one of the Prodigal Son. Next week, God willing, we will look at part two. The following
week part three. The reason for taking several weeks is to allow us the time and opportunity to do this parable justice
and see what Jesus was trying to teach us. We will begin tonight looking at seven steps downward this young man took
when he fell into sin, and how these same steps are what we travel when we fall.

 Next time we will be looking at the seven steps he took to get back to his proper place. They are the same steps we
need to take to become right with God.

 The third week we will be looking at the brother of the prodigal and compare him to many in the church today.

 Possibly the fourth week we will look at what has been called the eight jewels that are found in the Ring of Salvation, the
ring that the father placed on his lost sons finger. This ring is found in Romans chapter five.

  The road that the prodigal took is the same road that many find themselves on today when they fall from grace.
Hopefully, they, like the prodigal, will realize their mistakes and returns to God.

Luke 15:11-32
    11. And he said, A certain man had two sons:
    12. And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he
          divided unto them his living.
    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.
    14. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
    15. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
    16. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
    17. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to
          spare, and I perish with hunger!
    18. I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
    19. And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
    20. 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.
    21. 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.
    22. 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:
    23. And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
    24. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

Verse 11 - And he said, A certain man had two sons:

    [A] What and whom the characters of the parable represent.
            [1] The father in the parable represents the Father in heaven,
            [2] The sons are representative of two classes of God’s people
                    [a] The elder son represents followers of God who have never strayed from their teaching. They were
                            brought up in the church and never departed.
                    [b] The younger son represents those who have been brought up being taught right from wrong, but
                            strayed away from God and his teaching.

    [B] This parable represents all believers throughout the And shows the steps one takes to fall away and the steps
            one takes to return. Each of the following verses dramatizes one of those steps

Verse 12 - And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he
    divided unto them his living.

    [A] Here we find the first step in the prodigal’s downward plunge – does anyone recognize it?
            [1] The first step in his fall was his “self will.”
                    [a] Self will is often if not always the first step in any fall away from God
                    [b] Questions
                            [1-a] What is a good definition of self will?
                            [2-a] Can you think of any sin, which does not begin in self will?
            [2] Problems with self will
                    [a] When one has self will, they are not willing to allow someone else to tell them what is right or wrong.
                    [b] Self will makes a person believe that they have all the answers
                    [c] Self will causes a person to believe they can make it on their own, without God

    [B] The young man was not asking for anything that he didn’t have coming to him          
            [1] Eventually, the father was going to give both sons a certain portion as an inheritance
            [2] Even so, what is strange about what this young man was asking?
                    [a] He was asking for his inheritance while his father was still living
                    [b] He wanted what he had coming now, and did not want to wait
            [3] Even stranger to me, the father gave it to him and allowed him to waste it away
                    [a] Why would God allow us to have things that he knew might hurt us?

    [C] Something I realized here for the first time as I studied for this lesson – the father divided with them his portion.
            [1] Apparently, both of the sons received their portion, one used his wisely and the other squandered his away

Verse 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.

    [A] Here we find step two in the prodigal’s fall – do you recognize what that step is?
            [1] Answer - It is “Selfishness”
            [2] Selfishness, is the second step, the prodigal, neither caring or taking into consideration that his father was
                    still alive and that he owed so much to him, gathered his things together and left home, leaving his older
                    brother to run the farm and his dad with far less than he had before to live off of.

    [B] Selfishness is a major factor in falling away from God,
            [1] Wanting what makes on feel good,
            [2] Wanting to look good in others eyes
            [3] Desiring more and more
            [3] Not caring about the ones you left behind the ones you are hurting by not being there

    [C] Here in verse thirteen we also find the fourth step in his fall – “Sensuality”
            [1] He partied
            [2] He lived the live of a rich man, as he threw his money around
            [3] He was the life of the party, buying booze and food,
            [4] While the money lasted, he had plenty of women and other so called friends to help him spend it.

    [D] Sensuality is a factor that plays a huge role in anyone’s downfall
            [1] We live in a feel good society
            [2] We are taught from early youth that live center around us
            [3] We desire fun and recreation
            [4] What ever makes us feel good, we justify in our heart – yet things often lead to a fall
           
Verse 14 - And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

    [A] Here we find the fifth step – can you recognize what they step is?
            [1] The third step in his fall was “Spiritual Destitution”
            [2] What causes “Spiritual Destitution” in one’s life?
                    [a] Spiritual Destitution is caused by the absence of God in one’s life
                    [b] Spiritual Destitution comes from one leaving the presence and will of God and striking it out on their
                            own to fulfill their self will, selfishness, and their sensuality
    
    [B] There is a time in every sinners live when they start to realize that there is something missing
            [1] They look for that something in the bars,
            [2] They look for it in the guise of sexual encounters
            [3] They look for it in drugs
            [4] They look for it by purchasing more and more things
            [5] But still after all this they are still in want with a need they cannot fulfill

    [C] This is what happened to the prodigal,
            [1] He left home to be on his own, to make his own way
            [2] He spent his life partying and having what he thought was fun
            [3] He lived it up for a while, hiding from his spiritual destitution for awhile by drinking and having fun,
            [4] When the money was all gone, he had noting to fall back on, and nothing to hide behind,
            [5] What had been most important in his life, he had thrown away, - a relationship with the father
            [6] He was spiritually destitute – alone and lost

Verse 15 - And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

    [A] The sixth step is found in verse fifteen – “Self Abasement”
            [1] Abasement means to humble or degrade
            [2] To be self abased would be to lower yourself to a place that is worse than anything you can imagine, and
                    do thing that you never thought you would do

    [B] Here we find this young man lowering himself to become a swine herder – tending to pigs
            [1] A pig was an unclean animal to the Jew
            [2] Top have become a pig herder would have been about as humiliating a job as a Jew could have endured.

    [C] When one falls from the grace of God they head down a perilous road.
            [1] Because of their self will, they refuse to trust in God or adhere to his ways
            [2] Secondly, because of their selfishness, they refuse to think of the hurt they are causing others, and for that
                    matter, even God – all they are concerned about is themselves and what they can get for themselves.
            [3] Thirdly, they separate themselves from all that might hinder their selfish ways and their own desires
                    [a] They stop going to church
                    [b] They stop associating with people who tell them they are doing anything wrong
                    [c] They leave their home and family
                    [d] They cut themselves off from all good things,
            [4] Fourthly – They involve themselves in whatever vices that will fulfill them sensually whether that be; sex,
                    drugs, alcohol, or material things
                            [a] Their whole thought process is
                                    [1-a] partying,
                                    [2-a] feeling good,
                                    [3-a] getting what they want from life regardless of who it hurts,
                                    [4-a] doing anything they desire
                                    [5-a] not answering to no-one
            [5] Fifthly – They separate themselves from God and become spiritual destitute
                    [a] There is no room in their life for God
                    [b] Anything Godly is shied away from
                    [c] What religion they had is denied
                    [d] They become a lonely person
                    [e] They have a need that no earthly thing can fulfill
            [6] Sixthly – They reach a place in their live when they have to humble themselves and do things that they
                    never would have dreamed of doing.
                    [a] In some cases this involves living in the gutter or on the street
                    [b] In some cases this involves eating out of trash cans
                    [c] In some cases this involves stealing
                    [d] In some cases this involves begging
                    [e] In some cases this involves being arrested and put in prison for crimes committed
                    [f] All pride is tossed out the window

Verse 16 - And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

    [A] The seventh and final step in the downfall of the prodigal is – can anybody guess “Starvation”        
            [1] This young man had fallen a long way
            [2] Here we have a young man who started out in a family that loved him – apparently a family with plenty – and
                    now we find him starving
            [3] He has been forced to accept a job feeding and tending to pigs, something that his heritage and training
                    told him was unclean and improper
            [4] The friends he had when he had money are all gone, and probably laughing at him now
            [5] He is far from home
            [6] He has left his father, and broken his heart
            [7] Now he is starving
            [8] What is he to do?

    [B] This is the final stage in the fall of the prodigal and the final stage in the fall of any sinner
            [1] Most often, it takes a sinner hitting rock bottom before he even considers looking up toward Heaven
            [2] Most often he has to be down so low that he has nowhere else to turn,
            [3] He has to be broken, and willing to let go and let God
            [4] When a sinner reaches this point, than God can lift him up

    [C] Look again at verse sixteen
            [1] He was hungry
            [2] He would have eaten the husks that were fed to the hogs
            [3] He was desperate for something to eat
            [4] Notice what it says – NO man gave him anything to eat
                    [a] There is something very important to be learned there
                    [b] When a sinner is down and out, man is not the answer
                    [c] When man has a real need, man cannot help them
                    [d] There is only one thing than can fill the needs of man, and that is Jesus Christ

Conclusion
   
    [A] Man searches for joy and happiness in man places, just like the prodigal
            [1] They search in spending what they have
            [2] They search by wanting everything they see
            [3] They search by trying to buy their friends
            [4] They search by trying to be the life of the party – per say
            [5] As they fall further and further into shame and defeat, they try to hide their deplorable condition behind a
                    false front, or bury it under alcohol, or other vices
            [6] Eventually they get so low, that they are about to break, to the point of spiritual starvation
                    [a] What bothers me, is how many of these people attend church and profess to b a Christian
                    [b] What bothers me is how they can come to church on Sunday morning and shout praises to God, but
                            when they leave they are still starving – and refusing to allow the only one who can help them, to do
                            so
                    [c] What bothers me is those who refuse to do what’s right even though you point out to them the errs of
                            their ways
                    [d] The list goes on and on

    [B] Next time we are going to be looking at the prodigals return to his father, and the steps he took to get there