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A Prodigal Who Didn't Come Home

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
June 20, 2021 1:00 am

A Prodigal Who Didn't Come Home

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer

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June 20, 2021 1:00 am

Our broken world is made up of broken families—families with broken marriages and families with “prodigals.” These are sons and daughters who have left home for a far country where they can do what they like, leaving their parents and God far behind them. These “prodigals” desperately need to come home, but sadly, not all do.

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And broken world is made up of broken families.

Families with broken marriages and families with sons and daughters who have left home for a far country where they can do what they like and leave behind any thought of God.

These private goals desperately need to come home but sadly not all do from Chicago. This is The Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching under the ministry of Dr. Erwin lutes are today we begin a two-part look at private goals, focusing today on the story of Absalom, a prodigal who didn't come home, our service today begins with the reading of Scripture please stand with me this morning as we read God's word together and when were finished, he may remain standing as we sing. Please join me on the bold print. Oh, let us sing to the Lord, let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving.

Let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise for the Lord is a great God great King above all gods in his hand are the depths of the earth. The heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his 40 made it in his hands formed the dry land, O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our maker, for he is our God. We are the people of this pastor and the sheep of his hand.

Choir has just asked us to bow the knee. You bow with me for this moment I want you to open your life to God than to say God the particularly those of you who feel distant from God. Maybe you once knew him, but you're not walking with them. Or maybe you know him, but sin has come between you and him. Whoever you are, would you bow your head right now and say God speak to me and give me the grace to do what ever you show me you willing to pray that prayer let's bow together. Father in your presence. We bow the knee in your presence. We affirm that you are God in your presence.

We yield ourselves to you and invite your spirit to speak to us and to take down the barriers in the rationalization and the stereotypes to get through to who we really are, but only you can do that. That's why we humbly invite you to do it now.

Father, our dependence is totally upon you in Jesus name, amen, amen something that should always fascinate us is human nature. I think I've been a student of human nature for many years trying to understand why people do what they do and what fascinates me is first of all, on the one hand, the potential good that each person has, but also the potential for evil ever noticed that sometimes two children from the very same home the same parents. One grows up and loves God and the other is nothing to do with God and goes a different direction and you say to yourself, same parents, same home. Why is the mystery of human nature. But it's also the mystery of God's providence Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated the providence of God in all this gets part of the answer to our question today I'm speaking on prodigal's just two messages.

This is the first and then there will be a second and the word prodigal has to do with wastefulness we say about somebody he got wasted. There's a good side to that word prodigal. It also can mean that very extravagant and dead giving, but seldom do we use it that way when we talk about the prodigal son in the 15th chapter of Luke, which is the basis for the second message in the series.

It says that he wasted his life with riotous living. And that's where the word prodigal comes from wastefulness of your life and I'm intrigued by prodigal's because you know we have been praying for prodigal's here at The Moody Church as a matter fact some time ago I said that I wanted all the pop sin prayer meeting pops meaning parents of prodigal's and many of you came to prayer meeting and we have prayer lists and were going to continue to pray for prodigal.

Today I'm going to speak to you about a prodigal who didn't come home to look into his life were going to look into human nature were going to look into the word and were going to leave here today utterly transformed by God's name is Absalom. Absalom had many advantages and some of those advantages were also disadvantages. Absalom was the king's son King David's son. How would you like to have is your father the king of Israel, and the man who wrote all the Psalms about how his heart thirsted for God like a deer pants for the water brooks and all of those wonderful things that have become a part of Scripture. How would you like to have him for a dad.

What wasn't exactly everything that you might think it might be the matter fact, Absalom had to struggle with who he was, which is always true of children with famous parents and also the expectations so that which was a positive was really a negative to get anything about Absalom that he had going for them is that he was dropped dead good looking, striking in his appearance. Bible says in second Samuel chapter 14 that Absalom was more handsome than any man in Israel. And when he cut his hair, which he did once a year. It weighed 200 shekels which is approximately 5 pounds. He was drop dead gorgeous was that a plus.

Well, it seemed to be those of you who are striking in your appearance.

Those of you who are good looking. You have many advantages that the rest of us do not have. However, in the end, it can turn out to be a terrible terrible disadvantage today in our culture to be handsome and to be strikingly beautiful means that you will be pursued by people.

It means sexually. The temptations are going to be greater and the tendency to coast through life is going to be there.

I've often been at airports, watching people walk by and I think to myself of the wisdom of God, of making most people strikingly ordinary. Absalom could never have done what he ended up doing if he had not been filled with charisma and charm and good looks. Well, those are the pluses and minuses. Actually, there's a minus that I forgot to mention, and that is he had no emotional connection with his father.

You see in chapter 11 and 12 and you may take your Bible if you would please and turned to second Samuel chapters 11 and 12 and following, and we're just going I'm going to walk you through a number of chapters 2nd Samuel chapter 11 and chapter 12 David commits adultery and murder and probably because of that he had no control over his children. No emotional connection. No involvement. He was a totally passive father, we can understand why he sees his son's rebel. He sees them kill one another and the Bible says he became angry and didn't do anything.

It was a terrible father, for example, Adonijah one of his sons who tried to rebel all mention him in a moment, and did rebel.

The Bible says that even though he did evil. His father never crossed him or ask him what are you doing why are you doing it.

Typical absentee father, probably because of his moral failure in adultery and murder. They were to go to his kids and get involved. A table dad who are you to talk so what do fathers like that. Do they backed out of the family and they just let all the dysfunction move ahead so that was Absalom now one of the things we discovered at prayer meeting as we were talking to prodigal's in the way in which it went. Was this everyone who had a prodigal would come to the microphone or come to me and they would tell us about their prodigal and we get a little bit of background so that we could pray more intelligently what we learned is that there are two different kinds of prodigal's, there are those who are lured by the world that they come from good homes. That's the prodigal son that will talk about next time. Good home, but rejects it. And then there are product those who feel pushed out of the home because of the dysfunction. They simply can no longer stand what's happening within and so they get out and they say to themselves. I hate my parents and I hate their God. That's the kind of prodigal that Absalom was but both kinds of prodigal son.

Both kinds what they do is they take over the traces they go through the fences.

They go on a wrong road and then they stay on that road, because it's too difficult to return to the point of origin. They will do what about Absalom. Absalom did two things. First of all, he had a revenge killing a revenge killing. Now you have to understand chapter 13 verse one. Now, Absalom, David's son had a beautiful sister whose name was tamer, Kmart and Absalom were full brother and sister.

They were the only two of that particular wife.

David had a number of wives which really increase the dysfunction. I can assure you, so Absalom was beautiful and so was his sister. The confluence of genes, their mother was actually named Monica and when she and David came together the confluence of genes produced beauty, but I am who is another son of David at half brother to this young woman Kmart sexually assaults her in the worst possible way I won't tell you the story you can read it there now, Absalom wants revenge to his half-brother for doing this to his full sister. They shared the same parents and Absalom harbors this in his heart over a long period of time and then what does he do he says to his father. I'm going to be meeting with the various brothers, I want all the brothers of the King. Let's have a party and Amnon goes there. After doing this despicable deed and when he is there. Absalom says to his servants kill him. I've given you permission to do that and that's exactly what happens. Amnon is killed by the way, what happened when there was incest in the whole.

You know, in chapter 13. The Bible says in verse 21. This is after that terrible incident when King David heard about these things. He was very angry. Thank you, David, would you do something when you get involved it would you would you help Absalom work through his grief would you go visit Kmart and do something in and try to bring about some kind of reconciliation after the mass know I'm just very angry will not act one of bondage to families to have fathers who do not act, no emotional connection Mike Singletary who used to play for the Chicago Bears visits prisons and he keeps asking the question how many of you had a good connection with your father, and he is still waiting for the first hand to be raise. King David here gets angry, but he does nothing. Amnon is murdered. Absalom flees because you see, once you do evil against someone else, are not only disconnected from God. You have to be disconnected from others, and so Absalom flees into isolation where he stays for three years. That's the first thing I revenge killing which deadened his conscience. You see, now that he was on that path, he had to follow it wherever it would lead. Secondly, you have a revenge stealing. This passage is so remarkable what insight this gives us about charmers, charmers, charmers can sometimes be very nice people there. The kind of man that all the women in the church wish they had married and then you discover that there are charmers where the real deal. But then there also charmers who are abused present. Behind their charm. They use charm to kill let's Absalom all, let's read the text chapter 15. After this, Absalom got himself a chariot and horses and 50 horsemen to run before him and Absalom used to rise early this is second Samuel chapter 50 Dean and Deb used to rise early and stand beside the way of the gate, and when a man had a dispute to come before the king or judgment.

That's his father David, Absalom would call to him and say hey from what city are you and he said your servant is of such and such a tribe in Israel, Absalom would say to him see your claims are good and right.

But there's no man designated by the King to that Absalom would say 00 that I were a judge in the land that every man with a dispute or a cause might come to me and I would give him justice.

And whenever a man came near to pay homage to him he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him.

Thus, Absalom did too old of Israel who came to the king for judgment, so Absalom stole the heart of the people.

Why is this kid so mad at his dad that he wants to kill his dad and take over the kingship. Well, you know, I Absalom after he fled to get sure because of the crime against Amnon that he was reconciled to his dad.

It's a story you need to read but there was no resolution of the issues he didn't have to confess to anything. His father eventually brought them back because of some information then the wisdom that supposedly was imparted to them and they just pretended.

This is the way dysfunctional families work. They pretend that everything is okay, let's move it over. Let's not deal with it. There's no doubt that Absalom was angry with his detached father, the great and wonderful king of Israel is possible for man to write the songs be a bad dad get so David was all right now. As he steals the heart of the people he couldn't have done that unless he had attractiveness unless he had charisma unless he was very naturally gifted and so he uses charm to kill and he has a rebellion against his father. It's a long story that you can read on your own. Remember we are on our way to some life-changing lessons so I'm only giving you only increasing your interest and curiosity so that you read the story on your own. All right now, Absalom is rebelling. David has to go up the Mount of olives, he has to leave Jerusalem. Absalom takes David's harem and has a relationship with them sexually right on the rooftop for all Israel so that people will know that Absalom absolutely can never be reconciled to his dad so that those who are in the insurgency will bond with Absalom and know that there's no hope of reconciliation here, and then Absalom goes writing and eventually he is killed.

Bible says in chapter 18 now and Absalom happened.

I'm in verse nine to meet the servants of David Absalom was riding on his mule. The mule went under the thick branches of the great oak tree and his head caught fast in the oak and he was suspended between heaven and earth while the mule that was under him went on while and then Joab comes along and takes three arrows and finishes him off. Joab was David's military commander Joe had had disobeyed David because David kept giving orders and saying whatever you do don't touch Absalom don't touch Absalom unrealistic what you mean, don't touch Absalom you got a civil war going here.

You have to kill the leader because he is trying to kill you, David. Here's the news I want you now to feel the pathos would you enter into David sandals for just a moment.

It's the end of chapter 18 I'm reading at verse 33 David gets the news that Absalom had been killed and the king was deeply moved and went up into the chamber over the gate and left. And as he went.

He said all Absalom nice son.

My son Absalom what that I had to die instead of you. Oh, Absalom, nice son. My son course.

He loved them, but he did know how to show it and he did know how to get involved in the life of his family later on he had to be jerked back to his senses. Joab went to him and said you know you're crying, you should be rejoicing. We were willing to lay down our lives for you some of our people were killed in the Civil War. While what a story. Five lessons now that I want you to write down. I want you to keep put them on your refrigerator until you know them all by memory your dying in a hospital.

Someday, the doctor says know what were those five lessons that Pastor Lutzer taught you about Absalom and you spit them out, one right after another. Because now we get to pay dirt.

Now the transformation happens one of the five lessons number one, although a father might repent of his sin.

Children might not. Although a father might repent children might not.

David bounced back from murder and adultery. He was back in fellowship with God you read Psalm 51.

I mean, he was pouring out his soul, he was admitting to everything and God even restored the joy of his salvation. He lost his family and after he committed adultery and murder God says to David he says you're going to pay for this sin fourfold and four of his sons die.

First of all, you have the baby that Bathsheba bore died and you member, David wept and prayed that God would heal the child but when the baby died he washed his face and they said that's unusual. Why are you not morning now. David says I will go to him even though he will not come back to me.

David said I expect to see my baby again. We will be reunited and I'm sure that they have been. But when it comes to the other sons you have, Amnon, who was murdered by Absalom you have Absalom who was caught in an oak tree and murdered by Joab and then you have Adonijah. Adonijah rebelled after David died. He wanted the kingdom, but David had given it to Solomon so they had to kill Adonijah to and when David wept over those son. He could not be comforted because he knew right well that he would never see those sons again.

They parted their ways, not only in life but in death and for ever because there is no evidence that Absalom ever received God's grace, or forgiveness or help or reconciliation.

He went his own way and I'm sure that that was true of rebellious Amnon and Adonijah to parents separated from their children forever. No wonder David would not stop. You see we as parents might bounce back. We walked with God for many years. We fall into sin, confess our sin when we lose moral authority in our family.

Kids might not. The kids might not bounce back to God.

Sobering. Second, the lesson to be learned is unresolved sin that leads to further sin. Unresolved sin leads to other sins it always increases because sin basically comes in clusters.

Now here's what happened. Absalom commits murder trying to bring justice to the situation that his father ignored so Absalom commits murder and that now. His conscience is his heart in my book. Hitler's cross I talk about the fact that Hitler had a procedure by which the consciences of young German soldiers would be hardened so that they could murder without conscience. This is very important but deadening of the conscience and what deadens the conscience is sin that is unresolved. It is unforgiven that is not dealt with. That is kind of just stuffed in the soul and it stays there and in the case of Absalom.

He went from stealing the of the revenge I should say revenge killing Amnon to being willing to kill his father. That's what sin does it always goes farther than you thought it would, in the Bible talks about those who add to sin to sin. You know you're in send you learn to manage it. So you keep on going because you know that for every mile you go you got a mile to return and so what you do is you keep going in the same direction and you say I don't care. This is the direction I have chosen you add sin to sin many years ago when I was the pastor of another church here in Chicago and that was many, many, many years ago I was asked to visit a man who was dying in the hospital. I explained the gospel to him that he wouldn't believe that it's not as if he had some intellectual doubts he just kind of shook his head said I can't. I can't well why can't you later on I discovered that that man.

I was told on good authority had been guilty of murder and it never been charged many many many years before that. So here's a man you see was lit learn to stuff it in your soul. You learn to live with your sin, you learn to live with a guilty conscience until in some way you deaden it and then you come for God's forgiveness and you think one of two things either a God is gracious enough to forgive me, which would be wrong because God forgives murderers and adulterers and all kinds of sinners. Thank God and thank you for saying amen. Praise God because we are all sinners. Remember that college retreat.

The kids put up a banner over a door and said that you know where you went to the auditorium. It's is for sinners only and some of the college kids that were to we go well. You need a little lesson in theology, I think, and you need a little bit more honesty so were all sinners and God could forgive them but I think also in retrospect what that man was thinking maybe was this that if I receive God's forgiveness freely, God is going to require me to deal with issues of lying and deceit that I have stuffed into my soul and I just don't want to touch.

I don't know but you add sin to sin, hard conscience leads to other hardness of heart. The second lesson.

There's 1/3 lesson and that is that there's a lesson in judgment. There's a lesson in judgment. Sometimes those who are struggling with God like some of you who are here. I have no doubt that struggling with because in some sense you see yourself in Absalom not in detail, but in principle and and you're struggling with it and you say to yourself level I have time before I die. I hope that I'm going to get all this right but like somebody told me says regarding God, I'm just pushing that out to the circumference for now and I'll deal with it later.

We can say that you heard it here, but you don't know that there's going to be a later you know that morning when Absalom woke up thinking that the battle was going his direction and he was riding his mule and he was on his way. He had no idea that morning that he be dead by evening. The Bible says in Proverbs chapter 29 verse one that the person who is often reproved who hardens and stiffens his neck will be cut off without remedy, God will just go. Zach and it will be over. Absalom did not have time to repent he did not have time to get right with his father. He didn't have time simply died bone.

You know those of you who are struggling with God today. You're saying why am I struggling I'm pushing God off.

You do not know that you'll even have tomorrow or maybe even tonight. Your soul will be required by God. So that's 1/3 lesson. The fourth lesson is this today. Today it is easier to repent then it will be tomorrow. Today it is easier to repent than it will be tomorrow because you'll be a little harder. That's why the Bible says today. If you have heard his voice.

Don't harden your heart, look at Absalom when would've been the easiest for him to repent. Well first of all, he should've repented before he even killed Amnon and figured out a different way to resolve that situation, but after he had killed Amnon the least thing that he could've done is go to his father and say I have sinned against heaven and against God. I want this resolved.

You have to understand that I want to be back in the good graces of the family and I want to receive God's forgiveness that would've been much easier. My after he stole the kingdom and stole people's hearts through his charm and after he committed adultery with David's harem.

There was no chance that he could repent than because the hardness of heart was so great it was like Flint there is no way then today if you hear his voice.

Don't harden your heart. I woke up at 4 o'clock this morning thinking about this sermon and I thought, why am I preaching at the end I had to myself. Well, I want to explain to people the nature of Chronicles that seems to be a good reason and it was as if something impressed itself mightily upon me as if to say that is not the reason your to preach the sermon you are to preach this sermon with one intention and that is that Chronicles come to God for forgiveness and to believe that because of this message. Some of you for on the fringes, either who never believed in Jesus or you have and you have backslidden that you'll come back today to God. That's why I preach in every once in a while when you say something to somebody you say oh well. Now don't take this personally. Well today I want you to take what I'm saying. Personally very personally.

Okay it's for you, not the person sitting next to you is for you when you hear his voice, do not harden your heart today is going to be easier. It's got easier after this service when I was pastor of the other church that I mentioned. I remember some teenagers sitting in the balcony. I don't know where our teenagers are seated today, but I know that we used to have teenagers who, for some inexplicable reason that we've never been able to investigate love the balcony should do some research on. I remember one time they told me when you are finished preaching before you pronounce the benediction we are already out a here we are in our cars and we turn up loud music to stifle the work of the Holy Spirit. Bible says if you hear his voice, don't harden your heart. Don't you dare stifle work of the spirit easier today to repent than it will be tomorrow. Finally, I think we are at number five. Are we not, people repent, not because of judgment they could care less about judgment they repent.

Because of the grace and because of the work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. If God were to withdraw his Holy Spirit from you.

It would not yield even the slightest desire to come to God through Jesus and be reconciled to God, not even the slightest desire there's a passage in the book of Revelation. The just astounds me.

Now Revelation it's got all of these judgments mean hailstones are coming out of heaven, scorpions are coming. The over over the whole earth, and you know just one awful judgment after another and this is what it says but the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or walk, nor did they repent of their murders, their sorceries, which is basically the New Age movement or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

After all, that they still don't repent and a little later it says in chapter 16.

The people nod their tongues in anguish and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and their sores, but they did not repent, you can't repent. Unless God by his spirit moves you and shows you his love and shows you his grace is grace. Ultimately causes people to repent. The fact that you of all people could be saved and forgiven is think of it, think of you even as I think of me that we could be forgiven that motivates me. I say my goodness of God can forgive me.

He's got me for the rest of my life.

We are motivated by the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, no man can, except spirit dry. Even today, the work of the Spirit is happening in your heart to draw you to Jesus who died for sinners who was crucified on the cross was raised again so that we might be forgiven, that we might be reconciled, but we, with our need. We come we bring nothing except our need to receive his love and his grace. Absalom perhaps didn't know that. Not sure exactly what he knew but he should've seen that his own father understood God and had a connection with God. Based on the coming Messiah who would eventually come and die. You know there's that old story about a miser who used to live in a cabin, then he would hide some of his money in the floor every once in a while he took the money out and counted it. Maybe he thought it just felt good. Should've known how much was there.

He didn't know the two thieves were watching him do it through the window so I put the money away under the floor as he did, and then he took a drink and he fell asleep middle of the night's dog begins to park tries to get the dog to shush the client dog's quiet for a little bit but then continues to park in his stupor.

The man gets so angry he takes his gun and shoots the dog when you know the rest of the story, don't you, the thieves came and stole his money.

He shot the boy's that warned him that could have saved him.

Don't you dare turn away from the voice that is drawing you to Jesus.

Don't you dare either.

As one who knows Jesus, but you've decided to go a different direction or you have never connected with God for your unsure if you have don't you stifle that voice today if you will hear his voice, don't harden your heart.

Don't be like Absalom be like the prodigal who came all the way home to the father. Would you join me as we pray now before I pray I want you to pray. I want you to talk to God.

Based on what you've heard today. If you've never received Christ as Savior say Lord Jesus save me I'm coming home. You know him, but you've walked far behind him and you know there's a whole backlog of things would you come back to him right now. This is your opportunity.

God is listening to your heart and listening to your prayer. What about you, are you struggling. Are you stifling the voice that spoke to you today if you've heard his voice. Don't harden your heart. Father, for those who are struggling. May they continue to struggle until they say okay Jesus is calling me. I'm coming home is all the cool and all the I'm today's Moody Church. Our Dr. Erwin certain spoke on prodigal didn't come home. The story of Absalom and the first of two messages on private goals next week, we turn to the book of Luke for the story of a privately whose return home triggered a huge celebration.

This two-part series can be yours on CD for a gift of any amount Moody Church.

Our just call us at 1-800-215-5081. Let us know you'd like to support Dr. Luther's ministry are think you will come as a CD you can enjoy again and again. Call 1-800-215-5001. That's 1-800-215-5001 or you can write to us The Moody Church 1635 N. LaSalle are Chicago, IL 60614. You can also go online. why don't REITs of The Moody Church hour extends all over America and overseas, and it's your help makes it possible join us next week for another Moody Church hour with Dr. Erwin Lutzer in the congregation of historic church in Chicago. This broadcast is a ministry of the movie

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