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Interpreting Parables

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
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July 6, 2022 12:01 am

Interpreting Parables

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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July 6, 2022 12:01 am

When Jesus' concern for sinners drew the scorn of the self-righteous, Christ explained His heart for the lost with a series of parables. Today, R.C. Sproul leads us in interpreting these parables recorded in Luke 15.

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Julia renewing your vibe. The parable of the prodigal son in the prodigal father Marshall Marshall coming down the street. Maybe I would've been tempted to stand there with a scowl on my face, waiting to see what the story was to simply go to his vessel to wear this father was perhaps the best-known and most beloved of Jesus parables. But many times were guilty of assigning motives to the characters and story work trying to analogize every element including the pigs in the slop were the younger son finally came to the sentence. Jesus used parables as riddles to trap those who opposed him more than simple tales to encourage his disciples but we need to know how to interpret the nursing school with some tools to accomplish that task.

One of my all-time favorite parables in the New Testament is Jesus parable usually called the parable of the prodigal son. Sometimes it's simply called the parable of the lost son and its placement where it is found in Luke's gospel raises some interesting questions initially about how the gospel writers put their material together in the first place because of you noticed when you're reading through the Gospels. When you have parallel accounts of the teachings that Jesus gives sometimes that teaching may take a setting in one geographical location and one of the Gospels and the will be somewhere else in the chronology in the other gospel and some critics raised her eyebrows about this and say all obviously we can't trust the Bible because they have Jesus teaching the same principle in two different places.

Well, the first part when the synoptic gospel were written they were written by biblical writers who were not following the standard rules of chronology set forth by 20th century historical societies, not that they were concerned with the truth of history, they were but sometimes they arrange the material of Jesus teaching topically rather than chronologically, and different gospel writers said different concerns of why they did another point that needs to be brought out is does anybody know any preacher or any professor never repeats himself. I have to confess to folks not given the same sermon on more than one occasion in more than one place and if you are acquainted with the writings of contemporary scholars. People who have written many many books may notice that they will frequently go over the same critical material in several different places that shouldn't be a problem that disturbs us but as I said, my favorite parables, the parable of the prodigal son. I guess because I can identify with the prodigal son but before we look at it.

I want us to understand the context in which Luke gives it to us, which is found in the 15th chapter of his gospel.

Luke introduces this parable in this manner, then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to him to hear him, but the Pharisees and the scribes complained saying this man receives sinners and eats with perfect setting for this girl because the sinners the outcasts the arm Hutterites the people of the earth had gathered an flock to hear Jesus. They hung on his every word. They made up this multitude that followed him from village to village and heard him gladly. But the professors the theologians the established clergy of Jesus day. All of these people were severely threatened by the excellence and majesty of Christ and they were constantly venting their spleens of jealousy and contempt for Christ. And so here's one of those encounters. One of those confrontations, a member I said that one of the occasions for the setting of the parable is one of conflict and tension and so at the same time, the sinners are hanging on every word that comes from the lips of Jesus, the scribes and the Pharisees are murmuring and complaining.

Who is this man who associates with sinners and so instead of just saying fellas.

Can we talk I like to explain my mission and my agenda here that trying to reach these people and trying to minister the gospel to Jesus doesn't do that instead.

He gives a series of parables. So we read so I spoke this parable to them, saying, what man of you having 100 sheep if he loses one of them does not leave the 99 in the wilderness and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it, and when he finds it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing, and when he comes home.

He calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost for I say to you that there will be more joy in heaven over the sinner who repents than over 99 just persons who need no repentance has been a great him written on the basis of the short parable called the 90 and nine, you know the him the 99 who safely lay in the shoulder of the full but there was one lost sheep on that hill away far off from the streets of gold, and it tells the story of the pursuit of God, to seek out that which is lost.

I once heard my friend John guests involved in evangelistic crusade speak about the change in the mentality of the church today from previous times when the church understood its mission to join with Christ to seek and to save the lost. That's important.

Jesus didn't say I simply came to save the lost. But I came to seek them and just hang a sign up in front of his church and say everybody is welcome to come and hear me preach but he went out into the highways and byways and sought out the people who were the people in need and ministered to them.

That was characteristic of Jesus method of operation John guests when he was speaking about this said that we have replaced the him the 90 and nine, with a different him because we don't really even believe in evangelism anymore because we don't believe that anybody is lost and even if we do believe that their loss. We think that is politically incorrect to go after them and search for them and he said the theme song today comes not so much from the pages of Scripture as it does from Mother Goose because now the anthem of the church is leave them alone and they'll come home wagging their tails behind and I don't think or forget the significance of what John said there that we forget that our Lord was profoundly concerned to go out and find the lost. Now he continues with this short string of parables, all with the same motif of what we do to find that which is valuable to us when it's lost when the shepherd loses one of his sheep.

That's not just a problem for the shape it's a problem for the shepherd sheep is valuable to the shepherd and so he goes and pursues it. And then he tells the story or what woman having 10 silver coins. If she loses one corn does not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it, and when she is found she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, rejoice with me, for I have found the piece, which I lost. Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents now.

Finally Jesus is picking on women here, but he does set the context. This parable was and what woman is there.

If she has 10 coins in loses one of them would like the lamp and search diligently to find maybe there are women who wouldn't do that but I'm not married to one like that. I'm married to one who is the most organized woman in all the world. In fact, are affectionate nickname for Vesta is Miss Heidi Paul. Some people are organized, some people are neat, fussy some people are fastidious but my wife is Tillius there is a place for everything and everything in its place.

Just one problem.

She secures things so carefully, that is a never-ending thing in my house where she forgets where she put her head so the lights come on. The search begins every time this happens I think of this parable that my wife proves the truth of the teaching of Jesus over and over again in her life but you see the motive here is the quest for the loss and it finds its zenith in the longest of these three parables here in the parable of the lost son. Then he said, a certain man had two sons and the younger of them said to his father. Father give me the portion of goods that falls to me and so he divided them his livelihood and not many days after the younger son gathered all together and journey to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living powerful description and so succinct. Jesus could say so much with so few words. The simple little story of two sons, one of those impatient. He wants his inheritance right now and so he comes in he pursues his father said let me have my inheritance may use it as a grub stake to get started, go out in the world. So the father acquiesces in grants the wish of the son and gives him his inheritance in advance and the first thing were told about this young man is that he goes to a far country. Typical is that how to young people behave on spring break. They get their first opportunity to get away from the watching eyes of the authorities of family of teachers and can be free for a week or few days apart from somebody's careful observation, how do we behave when we are free from the restraints and constraints that our community puts upon us when we know that we have a reputation to maintain. When people want to go into bad things they like to go over there anonymous and this fella goes and he goes to a far country, and we are told that he wastes his fortune in riotous living style of debauchery for that which his father had labored so long to accumulate for goes through like Quicksilver but when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want and so he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, who sent them into his fields to feed swine to see how poignant this is the Jesus when he tells the story doesn't have them going to tend flocks of sheep, but he is now forced to go take care of pigs that has special significance to the Jew because the Jew understood pig to be on claim in this man now has gone from the life of a prince who had this luxurious amount of wonderful life with that. It was made available because of his inheritance he goes through his inheritance hit everything that he wanted the sated his own desires and his appetites until he ran out of resources and when he ran out of his resources. It's just so happened that a famine came to the land and he began to be in want.

Why is it that it seems that the only time we want to hear a word from God is when we reached the bottom. When we reach the depths of despair in order to survive this young man goes and hires himself out basically is an indentured servant working in a pig and he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine eight and no one gave him anything. His father had given him everything and he despised the gifts of his father and now he is coveting the slop that is being fed to the pigs and no one will give him anything first 17 is a powerful statement of Jesus makes her but when he came to himself, he said, how many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and despair, and I perish with hunger. It's interesting to me that in the history of the church when God has visited his people with his spirits and has brought revival for so often the language of a genuine revival is a language that uses words like awakening.

We talk about the great awakening in America and the second great awakening in this country. It's his people have become torpid and they have fallen asleep to the things of God, and they have so repressed the truth of God and push God out of their thinking and out of their minds that even though they are biologically awake and conscious. Their unconscious to the things of God but here were told of the young man who comes to before he came home for the first come to come to himself as Jesus says, I also want to add parenthetically I don't for a moment think that he came to himself by himself. This is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to wake us up and to quicken us and to bring us from this deadly form of spiritual sleep which we are held captive, but the boy comes to himself. He says wait a minute there something wrong here when I was back home.

My father had servants and now my father servants have far more than I have said I will arise and go to my father and I will say to him. Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.

This almost sounds like a biographical sketch of David, because it is such a poignant vivid graphic description of what genuine repentance is because first of all, he acknowledges his sin and he acknowledges against whom he has sent. I have sinned against heaven, and I have sinned against my father. And I'm going to go home not to demand my birthright as a son to be a full member of the family, but I'm going home to confess my sin and to acknowledge that I am not worthy to even live under the roof of my father and they too just be nearby as a servant beloved nobody enters the kingdom of God until they understand this. This is what real repentance is not when you're simply sorry for having been caught or having suffered the negative consequences of our guilt but true repentance comes when we acknowledge we are not worthy to be included in our father's house and they said I will arise and go to my father not notice that the first two little parables are all about the quest for that which was lost and so far in this story nobody searching for this fella. The father is still for all we can tell the father has no idea where his son is or what his son is doing but he hasn't been searching for him. So where's the tie-in so he arose and came to his father but when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.

I remember once getting in trouble with my mother as she called me into the house. She didn't come out to greet me and grab me by the year but I walked into the room and she was standing there with her arms folded and she was tapping her foot. Did you ever see some elected they were waiting and as soon as I saw that status and that foot tapping. I knew I was in deep weeds and that I was about to get by king-size lecture morning. If I would've been the prodigal father and I saw my son coming down the street.

Maybe I would've been tempted to stand there with a scowl on my face, waiting to see what the story was the subway God is the sum of the where this father was the first side of his son how he recognized would probably be through the idiosyncrasies of his walk certainly wouldn't of been by his close were by his facial appearance as this could have been living with pigs. They would've hardly been recognizable, but even at a distance.

There was recognition and assumes the father saw him, he could tell that his son was in trouble because the father we are told, had compassion, and what does the Bible said so he carefully deliberately took a step in the direction of his map. That's not the point of all of the, route, his legs, he falls upon his son, he embraces he hugs him, kisses his neck deep brings them into the house and gives the order kill tapping towards a ring on his hand. Turn on his head and gives him all of the honors could be bestowed upon honorable son gives the sun everything that the sun doesn't deserve. Who were the Pharisees and the story.

The brother sees them say wait a minute I never wasted my inheritance and profligate living. I go out and embarrass you violates you sin against heaven and you never had a celebration for me it and get it selected for assistant since this is your brother. This is my son. He once was law and now he's file.

All of that to tell Pharisees. This I associate with sinners because that's my mission and if you love the father that would be your mission as well.

The parable of the prodigal son is Dr. C scroll teaching us how to interpret Jesus parables this week on Renewing Your Mind were featuring portions of Dr. Sproles classic series us to glory in 57 lessons. This series provides an overview of the entire Bible explaining the major themes events and people we read about in the pages of Scripture.

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