Morning Bible Study
Today is our big baptism celebration.
We will start with an old fashion church potluck and barbecue at 12:30.
The baptizing will start around 1:15.
If you get hot, try going down the waterslide!
If you have never been baptized since you came to follow Jesus, then we
encourage you to join us and be baptized.
Though we appreciate that some of you were baptized as babies, the Bible
doesn’t say anything about baptizing babies.
Baptism is always something done by those who have come to believe, those
who have repented and chosen to follow Jesus.
We are baptized as a step of obedience.
Jesus commanded us to be baptized. Don’t think you do it because you’ve
reached some high level of maturity. It’s simply a step of showing the world
that you want to follow Jesus.
In the Bible, people were often baptized as soon as they believed.
Don’t do it thinking it will change your life. Following Jesus and staying with Jesus is
what changes your life.
I also want to challenge those of you who are not getting baptized to think
about sticking around for it.
Show love and support for those taking the step today.
Jesus’ ministry is well under way, and though the people have indeed been
amazed at the miracles He’s done, we’ve been amazed lately at the things He’s
Last week we began the story of the Prodigal Son…
One dad writes…
One night I was tucking my 4-year-old daughter in to bed and I told her a
nightly Bible story. This night it was the story of the prodigal son. We
discussed how he had taken his inheritance early, left and spent it all on
living it up and partying until he had no money left and had to work on a pig
farm where he couldn’t even afford to eat what the pigs ate! He remembered his
father and went back home to ask for a job and forgiveness. His father welcomed
him home with much joy! After we finished the story I asked my daughter what
she learned and she immediately said, “Never leave home without your credit
I hope that’s not the lesson you all learned last week…
15:25-32 The Older Brother
Though we usually look at the story of the prodigal son and identify the
younger son as the one with a problem, but as Yoda said…
The other brother has a problem as well.
:25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to
the house, he heard music and dancing.
:25 he heard music and dancing
Keep in mind, this older son knows nothing about his younger brother coming
The Greek words for “music and dancing” are kind of interesting…
music – sumphonia – music
dancing – choros – a band
(of dancers and singers), circular dance, a dance
Kind of like this –
:26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant.
:27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received
him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’
:28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out
and pleaded with him.
:28 he was angry and would not go in
We’ll find out in a minute why he was angry.
Just keep in mind that while the father has responded to the return of the
prodigal by throwing a party, the older brother is responding by being angry.
He’s in a different place than his father.
A carpet layer had just finished installing carpet for a lady. He stepped
out for a smoke, only to realize he’d lost his cigarettes. In the middle of the
room, under the carpet, was a bump. “No sense pulling up the entire floor for
one pack of smokes,” he said to himself. He proceeded to get out his hammer and
flattened the hump. As he was cleaning up, the lady came in. “Here,” she said,
handing him his pack of cigarettes. “I found them in the hallway.” “Now,” she
said, “if only I could find my parakeet.”
Some people don’t seem to care too much about “lost” things…
:28 his father came out and pleaded
This isn’t a word of a wimpy father who is easily manipulated by his
children. (“Oh please, please, please come into the house…”)
pleaded – parakaleo – to
call to one’s side; to address; exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction.
Coming to meet you
Last week we talked about how the father let the younger brother go.
When he rebelled and left home, the father let him go.
He didn’t chase the younger brother.
Yet here the father responds differently.
Don’t think that you have to “let everybody go” who causes you difficulty
Some people need to be met and pleaded with.
Perhaps today you may not be in a good place.
You may be angry, bitter, and stubborn like the older brother.
You may not be in the place where God wants you to be.
You will find that God is going to still reach out to you.
But He doesn’t want you remaining “outside”.
He will “exhort” or “encourage” you to move to a healthier
:29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I
have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and
yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.
:30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood
with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’
:30 devoured your livelihood with harlots
harlots – porne – a woman
who sells her body for sexual uses; a prostitute
At least this is what the older son claims that the younger son has done.
:29 yet you never gave me a young goat
Remember from last week that the idea of the father killing the fatted calf
was that it would make for a bigger party, where the entire village could be
The older son is saying that he was never even given a young goat to throw
a party with, let alone the fatted calf.
All that the older son says makes sense, doesn’t it? It can almost seem as
if the younger son is being rewarded for having lived a horrible life. And that
doesn’t seem fair, does it?
It’s not fair
When our kids were growing up, we tried as hard as we could to make sure
that things were fair.
We’d be careful that Christmas presents added up to the same total dollar
for each child as close as possible.
If one child got a special treat for something, we’d try
to balance things out with the others.
The problem with doing things too much like this is that it doesn’t always
truly reflect real life.
We all need to realize that there are going to be times
when life simply isn’t fair.
The truth is, Jesus knows what’s actually best for me.
Sometimes I do better with less.
Sometimes with more.
Peter and John
After Jesus’ resurrection, He met His disciples for breakfast on the beach in
Galilee. There He had a talk with Peter about
21:18–22 NKJV) —18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded
yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch
out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not
wish.” 19 This He
spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken
this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”
Jesus was hinting that Peter would die at the hands of
another person, bound as a prisoner.
Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also
had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who
betrays You?” 21
seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said
to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You
Peter wanted to know if John was going to have it as rough
as he was.
God’s going to have different plans and different gifts
for each of us. They are based on what’s
best for each of us.
We run into trouble when we, like the older son, try to
compare our lives to the lives of others.
Church kids vs. new converts
Sometimes those of us who grew up in the church and were the good boys and
girls growing up can resent those who rebelled, and then later found Jesus and
We can even be a little jealous of them.
They got to have their “fun”, and now they are going to
heaven as well.
The problem is, things aren’t always what they seem.
Most “bad kids” I know who came back to Jesus regret all
that time that they didn’t follow Jesus.
They are jealous of those of you who have walked with God your whole
If you have come to the point where you resent those who don’t work as hard
at their relationship with God as you do, you’re beginning to sound like a
A mature relationship with the Lord is not just about obedience in doing
the kinds of things that God wants us to do or don’t do.
It’s also about adopting His attitudes towards people. He loves people.
:31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have
:31 all that I have is yours
In one sense, this is literally true.
The father has divided his property between his sons (vs. 12).
All that’s left technically belongs to the older brother.
Yet there’s more here – because to the father, he has always seen his
property belonging to his sons.
The Privilege of Relationship
For a person to be “saved” from hell, for a person to truly know God, they
must experience a “new birth” or become “born again”.
(John 3:3 NKJV) Jesus
answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born
again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
This is what happens when you make the choice to turn from your old way of
life and choose to follow Jesus.
This is what happens when you put your faith in Jesus and trust Him to save
you from your sins.
(2 Corinthians 5:17
NKJV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new
creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
When you have been “born again”, you become a child of God. He is your “Father”.
John wrote of how amazing it is that God would lower Himself and call US
(1 John 3:1 NKJV) Behold what
manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children
Just like the sons in Jesus’ story, we too are now “heirs” of our Father.
8:16–17a NLT) —16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s
children. 17 And since we
are his children, we are his heirs.
As God’s child, you need to know that God has resources available for the
asking. All that He has is yours.
15:7 NKJV) If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what
you desire, and it shall be done for you.
4:2 NKJV) …you do not have because you do not ask.
Real dads have a hard time saying “no” when they hear their kids say,
“Daddy…” and they’re asking for a good thing.
Take advantage of the fact that you have a Daddy who is the Creator and
Lord over the entire universe. Ask.
Learn to tap into the things that God wants for your life
as His child.
Everything He has is yours.
:32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother
was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’ ”
:32 It was right that we should make merry
We often focus on the younger brother whenever we tell the story of the
We love the idea that God is just waiting for us to turn around and come
Don’t forget why Jesus was telling this story in the first place.
Jesus’ real point of the story is not the younger son, but the older son.
The older son was a picture of the Pharisees that were complaining about
Jesus spending so much time with sinners.
Even though we tend to see the Pharisees as bad people, the truth is that
they were actually the “good” people, the “church” people.
They valued God’s Word. They were people
who tried their best to live in obedience to the Lord.
But when the Pharisees saw that Jesus was spending so much time with
“sinners”, they grew concerned that Jesus had lost His way.
Jesus tells this parable to teach the Pharisees …
God’s heart for the lost
Have you ever wondered why Jesus hasn’t come back yet? The only reason I can see is that He wants
more people to be saved.
He wants more “lost” ones to be found.
He wants more who are “dead” to come alive again.
This is why He has been dragging His feet in keeping His promise to return…
Peter 3:9 NKJV) The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count
slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish
but that all should come to repentance.
In heaven, they throw a party every time a person gets saved.
This is one reason why we think our baptisms ought to be a time of
I hope that those “older” brothers and sisters among you will consider
joining the party today, even if you don’t know someone getting baptized.
Show them you’re with them.
I wonder if part of the reason we don’t get more excited about people
getting saved or coming back to the Lord is simply because we actually don’t
love them like we should.
God loves people.
He cares about lost people.
If you are someone who doesn’t know the Lord, or who has wandered away, can
I simply tell you what God would want to say to you today?
He loves you and He wants you to come home.