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Luke 15:25-32

Sunday Morning Bible Study

September 18, 2016


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words    Communion: 2500 words  Video=75wpm


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.

Luke was a doctor and a traveling companion of the apostle Paul.

He wrote this book while Paul was in prison.

In writing this book about Jesus, Luke made use of other older documents like the Gospel of Mark, as well as extensive eyewitness accounts.

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 been teaching.

Last week we began the story of the Prodigal Son…

Video:  Prodigal Son_1st half


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 card!”
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…

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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.

olderpresbuteros – elder, of age,

drew neareggidzo – bring near, bring up to; approach

:25 he heard music and dancing

Keep in mind, this older son knows nothing about his younger brother coming home.

The Greek words for “music and dancing” are kind of interesting…

music sumphonia – music
dancingchoros – a band (of dancers and singers), circular dance, a dance
Kind of like this –
Video:  Jewish Horah dance

:26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant.

calledproskaleomai – to call to; to call to one’s self

servants pais – a child, boy or girl; servant, slave

askedpunthanomai – to inquire, ask; to seek to learn

: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.’

has comeheκω – to have come, have arrived, be present

has killedthuo – to sacrifice, immolate; to slay, kill; slaughter

calfmoschos – a tender juicy shoot; a calf, a bullock, a heifer

the fattedsiteutos – fattened, fatted

safe and soundhugiaino – to be sound, to be well, to be in good health

he has receivedapolambano – to receive; of what is due or promised; to take again or back, to recover; to receive any one hospitably

The original Greek is in a slightly different order, “Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound.”

:28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him.

he was angry orgizo – to provoke, to arouse to anger; to be provoked to anger, be angry, be wroth

would thelo – to will, have in mind, intend; to be resolved or determined, to purpose; to desire, to wish; to love; to like to do a thing, be fond of doing; to take delight in, have pleasure

The brother was angry, and he “did not want” to come into the house.

go ineiserchomai – to go out or come in: to enter

came … outexerchomai – to go or come forth of

: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…”)

pleadedparakaleo – 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 in life.

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 place.

: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.

these manytosoutos – of quantity: so great, so many; of time: so long

I have been servingdouleuo – to be a slave, serve, do service; metaph. to obey, submit to

neveroudepote – never; not even at any time

transgressedparerchomai – to go past, pass by; to pass by (pass over), that is, to neglect, omit, (transgress)

commandmententole – command, commandment, order, charge

young goateriphos – a kid, a young goat

friendsphilos – friend

make merryeuphraino – (pass.) to be glad, enjoy oneself, rejoice

:30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’

devouredkatesthio – to consume by eating, to eat up, devour; to devour i.e. squander, waste: substance

livingbios – life; that by which life is sustained, resources, wealth, goods

This is the same word used to describe what the father had divided to his sons (vs. 12)

:30 devoured your livelihood with harlots

harlotsporne – 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 invited.

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.

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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 the future…

(John 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’s response?

20 Then 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 Peter, 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 follow Me.”

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 got saved.
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 life.

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 Pharisee.
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 is yours.

sonteknon – offspring, children; metaph. the name transferred to that intimate and reciprocal relationship formed between men by the bonds of love, friendship, trust, just as between parents and children;

τέκνον and υἱός both point to parentage. τέκνον, however, emphasizes the idea of descent, giving prominence to the physical and outward aspects; while υἱός emphasizes the idea of relationship, and considers especially the inward, ethical, and legal aspects.

alwayspantote – at all times, always, ever

: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).
(Luke 15:12 NKJV) And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood.
All that’s left technically belongs to the older brother.
According to Jewish law (Deut. 21:17), the firstborn (or elder) son would receive a double portion.  Since there are only two sons in the story, the younger son received 1/3 of the father’s wealth.  The older brother received the remaining 2/3 of the father’s wealth.
(Deuteronomy 21:17 NKJV) But he shall acknowledge the son of the unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.

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 His children:
(1 John 3:1 NKJV) Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!
Just like the sons in Jesus’ story, we too are now “heirs” of our Father.
Paul wrote,

(Romans 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.
Jesus said,

(Matthew 21:22 NKJV) And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

(John 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.

James wrote,

(James 4:2 NKJV) …you do not have because you do not ask.

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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.

God loves us so much that He gave His Son to die for us.  His plans for us do not stop there…
(Romans 8:32 NKJV) 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

God wants to bless you. God wants you to enjoy Him.

For example:
(1 Chronicles 4:9–10 NKJV) —9 Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” 10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.

His mother named him “sorrow” because of the pain he brought her.

Yet Jabez was called “more honorable” than his brethren.

His main claim to fame was in that he asked God to bless him.

Do you ever think sometimes that asking something like this seems like a “selfish” request?

: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.’ ”

we should make merryeuphraino – to gladden, make joyful; to be glad, to be merry, to rejoice; to rejoice in, be delighted with a thing

be gladchairo – to rejoice, be glad; to rejoice exceedingly; to be well, thrive; in salutations, hail!; at the beginning of letters: to give one greeting, salute

It was right dei – it is necessary, there is need of, it behooves, is right and proper

deadnekros – one that has breathed his last, lifeless; spiritually dead

alive againanazao – live again, recover life

was lostapollumi – to destroy

foundheurisko – to come upon, hit upon, to meet with; after searching, to find a thing sought

:32 It was right that we should make merry

We often focus on the younger brother whenever we tell the story of the Prodigal Son.

We love the idea that God is just waiting for us to turn around and come home.

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.

Jesus was at the house of a Pharisee, sharing a meal, when this entire section started back in Luke 14.

Jesus had encouraged the Pharisees that when they throw a party, they ought to invite more than just their friends…
(Luke 14:13 NKJV) But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.

As the supper progressed, a lot of people crowded in to listen to Jesus.

Jesus began to tell the people of the high cost of following Him. Following after Jesus isn’t something you do on a whim. It is something that requires commitment and dedication.
(Luke 14:27 NKJV) And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

After He had challenged the crowd, the people left at the front of the crowd were the most unlikely people, the tax collectors and “sinners”.

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…

(2 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 celebrations.
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.