Thursday, December 08, 2005

Luke 15:11-31 - The Lost Son and his Pesky Brother


Passage: Luke 15:11-31
Originally Preached: 30/10/05 - 6:30pm Service - St Stephen's Anglican, Belrose
Series: The Father's Heart

Description: Explores the relationship of the Father with his two sons, and how we are like both sons.

Comment: I found this sermon hard because The Prodigal Son is such as "done" passage. So often this passage is taught, and I'm sure people switch off, I do. It's a remarkable passage, a wonderful story of grace. It gives us a great insight into God that we've stopped perceiving because it's shown to us so often. The temptation is to go off track and find some obscure angle out of fear of boring the congregation. I had to fight that idea so that I could preach the passage faithfully, and tell the message that Jesus was telling. I pray that I did that.

The Thursday after I preached this I saw TD Jakes do the same passage in his message at the Superdome. It was different from mine, but it was good. Having just spent hours on it, I was able to appreciate his message better.

It was important to me to focus on the second son, as well as the first, because Jesus focused on him, and he so often gets left out. But the second son was representative of the Pharisees, the very people who Jesus was speaking the parable to. So there must be a message it in.

The point that we should be happy however people are saved was a challenging one for me. Challenging because it really is easy for us (me) to get worried about how people come to Christ. So often we are concerned with "correctness" in our faith tradition that we forget where it fits in the list of priorities. I think being correct is important. I think the way we do evangelism is important, we shouldn't try and trick people, or pressure people, tell people a watered down gospel. But if people do make a commitment through those means it does not negate their salvation and it does not mean that the Holy Spirit has not been at work. And even when people make commitments in traditions and churches which are different from ours that doesn't mean God will ignore them.

This sermon was the first time I got an uninvited "Amen" from the audience (or at least an audiable one) and it threw me off. I was happy though. They'll make a penty preacher of me yet!

I'm glad I got to preach this one. God is so good and this story of Jesus' shows it to us perfectly. Yeehaa!


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