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The Parables #50

The parable of the prodigal son, Luke 15:11-32 – Pt 12

The Prodigal’s Rejoicing 20-24.

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1. There is NO word of rebuke or reproach. “Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the first year of his reign lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison, and spake kindly unto him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon,” Jer 52:31-32. The soul that humbles itself will be lifted up. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up,” James 4:10. “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged,” I Cor 11:31.
There is only healing balm applied. The oil and wine, Luke 10:34.

2. The returning penitent sinner is embraced by the Lord. This is why those first moments of new life are so memorable. He never was so close to his father before and rarely afterwards.

3. The Lord shows a knowledge of our frame. This was the moment when drawing back could take place, the moment of doubt. ‘A way to hell from the very door of heaven,’ – John Bunyan.

4. The embrace and kiss made confession all the more necessary.- Love squeezes out a confession. Never did his sin of leaving his father’s house appear more wicked than when in his father’s arms. Grace sets sin in its proper light. “Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance,” Psa 90:8. “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest,” Psalm 51:4.
He did not get finishing his planned entreaty! His father had other plans!


1. Merriment is a central part of the life of heaven. Verses 7, 10. It is centred upon repenting sinners and returning wanderers.

2. The household of God plays a part in the return. Verse 22. We must assist in turning the prodigal into a son again. The robe, the ring, the shoes and the celebration.

3. God has ordained that growth in grace is to be assisted by the people of God. We must offer fellowship and aid the wanderer to cease from his former ways. “And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go,” John 11:44.

4. The joy of the saint is to be the joy of repentant sinners. “For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye,” Ezekiel 18:32. What makes the repentant sinner truly happy is our joy.
The joy of the believer consists of three stages:— * The joy of union with Christ. * The joy of continuing communion with Christ in company with the church. * The eternal uninterrupted joy of the Father’s banqueting house in glory.
Let us enter into those joys available to us with the expectation of greater joy yet to come.
Only the gospel story has a truly happy ending!

Verse 28. Christ work causes anger. Luke 12:51-53; John 9:16.
The elder brother was the true rebel against his father. Matt 21:29-31.

The Parables #49

The parable of the prodigal son, Pt 11, Luke 15:11-32

The Prodigal’s Recovery and Repentance 17-24.

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“I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,” Luke 15:18.

I. He is given a willingness to return. This willingness comprises a number of elements.

A. Humility. What humility is required to return home and acknowledge sinfulness.

B. Determination. Many things will meet him on the journey home. None shall turn him from his goal.

C. Knowledge. He knew the way home.

All this is wrought in the sinner by God’s grace, enabling him to return.
“Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel,” Shorter Catechism 31.

This is God’s work. Its accomplishment is signalled by the sinner coming openly to the Saviour. Have you so come?


It seems that no sooner had the Prodigal come to a decision than he put it into effect. The word “arose” is one often used in the NT for the resurrection from the dead. Here is the proof of genuine repentance. The repentant sinner can no longer remain in sin. At all costs he must get out and get back to the Father and to the company of His house. “Arose” is a word meaning “resurrection”. See Matt 27: 51-53. Also John 11:43-44. In both cases there is a leaving of the tombs and going amongst the living. Such a movement is a mark of rue repentance!
Let us note the circumstances of the prodigal’s return.

His father saw him. (See verse 4.)

1. The father’s eye displayed his heart. His affections were with the son in the far country. He watched for him to return. No matter what the father was doing, his heart was upon the road, looking for his son’s return.

2. It shows that the prodigal was expected. The sinner’s return is the work of the Father. “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him,” John 6:44.

3. He was seen of the father before he saw the father. Even now sinner, the Father’s eye is upon you. He will detect the first move you make in repentance.

The Parables #48

Luke 15:11-32 – The Prodigal’s Recovery and Repentance 17-19.
Could the Saviour have devised a clearer means of setting forth the truth of His love and mercy to sinners than by this parable? What condemnation will come upon those of every nation and age who have heard this parable and yet refused to come to Christ. Surely, if those who have but the light of nature are without excuse, then those who have sat in the light of this parable are condemned indeed.
In our last study, the prodigal was brought very low. He was starving, coveting the food that the swine had. The word “fain” means to “covet”.
This is the level to which sin reduces a man. He was coveted the food of pigs.
It was at this point that we read, “he came to himself.”  He had been away from himself. That is, “out of himself”. Sin deranges the mind and makes the sinner act contrary to his best interests. “The heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live,” Eccles 9:3. He is his own worst enemy. He sees his best Friend as an enemy. “And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? 1 Kings 21:20. “And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus,” Luke 6:11. “And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities,” Acts 26:11. “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart,” Ephesians 4:18.
Grace grants wisdom, it makes us wise. “And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid,” Mark 5:15.
This the mind God grants to the sinner He would save!
The work of grace and recovery may be seen to begin from the moment that he began to be in want. From then on he began to feel the leanness of the far country.
1. Notice that the citizen of the land was not in want. Woe to the man who is content and well fed in the far country.
2. His want made him to realise that the swine were better off then he. “I perish.” Pigs live a better life than you who reject God’s mercy. He envied the pigs! The sinner rebels and rejects the high privileges that are offered him in the gospel. Perishing now and will perish in eternity. The word ‘perish’ is from the same root as ‘destruction’   in I Thess 1:9.
1. The mercy enjoyed there. The hired servants, the lowliest in the house, are well treated. “The queen of Sheba,” 1 Kings 10:4-5. How many there are who enjoy this blessing.“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands,” Revelation 7:9.
2. The abundance enjoyed there. “Bread to spare”. Luke 9:17. Widow’s barrel, 1 Kings 17:16.  Heaven’s bounty will never be exhausted. The unsatisfying husks made him think of his father’s bread.
3. This abundance is enjoyed because of the One whose house it is. 
a. The Father. In character He is gracious and merciful. The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy, Psalm 145:8, Micah 7:18. But God, who is rich in mercy, Eph 2:4.
b. He is all-powerful. There is nothing He cannot do for His children.

The Parables #47

Luke 15:11-32 – The Prodigal’s Riotousness and Ruin, v13-16.

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1. All that man does, while he rebels against God, is really just a wasting of his substance. 
No profit in the 30 pieces of silver Judas obtained by selling Christ!
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” 1 Cor 3:11-15.
Those who live their lives without God and jut gathering together “wood, hay and stubble” and trying to build that which will withstand the fire of God’s searching judgment! “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is,” 1 Cor 3:13.
In school, we know all about tests and examinations! Our work is tested. So it will be with the Lord.
What we have done with Christ and His Word will be examined! There will be rewards: “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward” and there will be loss. “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”
You can waste your life as a Christian and having nothing to show. Remember, “We (Christians) must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad,” 2 Corinthians 5:10. This is a judgment of our service not of our sins. It is for rewards not for entrance into heaven.
It will be worse for the poor sinner who wastes his life by rejecting the gospel and running after the world’s delights as did the prodigal!
When he has spend all his father’s portion it is then that he discovers the true nature of the land to which he has come.
1. It is a land of famine. A famine of God. There is only one land ‘flowing with milk and honey’ — the land God has for His children and which may be entered by faith and obedience to Christ. How empty is every place outside of Christ, Ruth 1:1-5! “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it,” Amos 8:11-12.
2. It is a land of disappointment. “He began to be in want.” He started to become short, (Rom 3:23). Nothing lived up to his expectations. What disappointment lies ahead of sinners. Jer 2:13; 17:5-6, 13.
3. It is a land of no hope. He feeds swine. Men show defiance when confronted with the hopeless of their case. They will yet rescue themselves. They will prove God wrong, Isaiah 9:9-10; Jer 5:3-4; Amos 4:6-10; Rev 16:10-11.
The sinner’s own conscience and his circumstances testify to the truth of God’s Word!

The Parables #46

The parable of the prodigal son, Pt  8

Luke 15:11-32 – The Prodigal’s Riotousness and Ruin, 13-16.

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1. Life can only be gainfully employed under obedience to the gospel. The Prodigal “wasted” his substance. Nothing was gained by him from the time he spent in the far country.

“The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it,” Pro 10:22. I do not mean you cannot make money except you are saved. I mean you can only lay up riches in heaven by obedience to the gospel.

(We were given help of the Lord to explain and illustrate this verse beyond that which we had planned.)

The Saviour tells us how to invest for eternity.

“So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. . . . . Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth,” Luke 12:21, 33.