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June 27, 2021 1:00 am
Many families have prodigal sons or daughters who’ve left home in rebellion against their parents’ values. The heartache is acute as moms and dads wonder where their children are and if they’re safe. There was one prodigal son who came home in disgrace only to find himself treated like royalty. The Gospel of Luke records the story, and it is a message of hope for all those who have children in the far country.Click here to listen (Duration 54:30)
Many families have prodigal sons or daughters whose left home in rebellion against their parents values the heartache is acute as moms and dads wonder where their children are and if they're safe. There was one prodigal son who came home in disgrace, only to find himself treated like royalty. The gospel of Luke records the story today a message of hope for all, whose kids are in the far country, your son or daughter may one day come home to you as well. Are you ready stay with us from Chicago. This is The Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching under the ministry of Dr. Erwin lutes or today we conclude our two-part look at proper goals, focusing on the well-known story of the prodigal who came home. Pastor Lutzer comes now to open today's service. We have the very wonderful privilege today of worshiping the Lord and I want you to take your him know if you would please and turn to 361, 361 worship Christ, the risen King. Our Scripture reading today is by Pastor Butler who will be reading to us from the 14th chapter of John's Gospel. Now we want you to know that we spend time thinking and praying about this service because we want to honor God. We want you to have a heart that comes here with the full intention of giving praise to him, and learning and changing as God instructs us the song that we are singing written by Jack Hayford rise old church and lift your voice as Christ has conquered death and hell and aren't you glad that he has so immediately. He immediately following the prayer we will stand to sing with hearts filled with praise to God when you join me please.
As we pray father, we thank you today for the conquering Christ whom we honor and we pray that as we sing and as we worship, and as we learn and as we are brought to a point of submission that your Holy Spirit will do a mighty work that will last forever.
In Jesus name we pray.
Amen. After celebrating the Passover with his disciples. The Lord gave them final instructions and words of comfort follow along with me as I read portions of John chapter 14 let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God believe also in me.
In my father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, what I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am, you may be also.
These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you, but the helper, the Holy Spirit whom the father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you and peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you not as the world gives do I give to you.
Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. Would you join me now as we pray our father we come to you because we know that you love us and that you care about us and we also know that you are a God of infinite power and therefore father I think of the things we prayed about yesterday that you might save the most unlikely world leaders whose names we called out to you. Do something. The father that is so dramatic that the world would stop in its tracks and say, surely Jesus Christ is Lord, we pray today father for our own congregation. We are desperate to see your power and your glory and the transformation of lives in the hearts here at The Moody Church and Lord, even as we pray for ourselves.
We ask that wherever the gospel is preached, whether it's at Edgewater Baptist Church this morning is one of the many churches in this city that proclaim the gospel which you use your word with power and clarity to transform lives and hearts. We pray for this city. We pray for our country. No father God. Every time we turn on the radio or the television set.
We hear of another bombing in Iraq is innocent people are being slaughtered.
Lord, would you put an end to the carnage.
But thank you that even in Iraq you have people there who belong to you and we thank you for the reports that we hear that the church seems to be doing well, or at least better all father would you encourage your people, would you help them to be witnesses in the midst of fear and terrorism and confusion. We ask that they will point many to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord in our father we pray specifically for those who are members of this congregation, or attenders, or watching on the Internet who have problems and and fears and doubts and sicknesses. Last night I read in your word that the comforter will come and the comforter stands beside us and helps us. Would you come to help us.
Would you bring comfort and your presence which really makes up for all of the trials that we are going through.
We seek that today.
Father, on behalf of ourselves now before I close this prayer. What is it that you need to pray about today. What is the burden that you brought with you. What is the lifestyle that needs to be submitted to God right now you pray in Jesus name, amen and the prodigal who came home. There are actually two kinds of prodigal's, there are those who do not come home and then there are those who do. This is just a two-part series and in the first message I spoke about Absalom who was a product called who did not come home. He died in his rebellion, but today were going to talk about the prodigal who actually came home. This series of messages series of only two messages grew out of the fact that we been praying for prodigal's in our prayer meeting over the period of the last weeks I've interviewed perhaps said 20 or 30 pops parents of prodigal's and we got the names of their prodigal's and I'm always interested in the context in which the children rebelled and left home and left God and so we have these names on lists and we are fasting and praying to see God bring product holes back home by one of the things we learned about prodigal's and you know that word means wasteful. The person who turns his back on God.
What we learned is this that there are really two kinds of prodigal's in this sense as to why they leave home, there are those who leave home because of their home life. I was amazed I should not of been that as I interviewed the parents. I discovered that there was divorce.
Sometimes there was abuse. Sometimes there was the abuse of alcohol and so forth and so the child decides to leave home and he hates his mother and his father and he says I also hate your God, and he leaves it all behind amazed at the number of prodigal's who are angry, prodigal's angry with their parents with their circumstances and with God.
But then there prodigal's to come from fine homes where there was no abuse were there was nothing but love and caring and good teaching and good churches and they became prodigal's anyway because there was something within them that said that what we need to do is to find our own way and they look at the world and they say to themselves. We have been shipped and what we want to do is to make sure that we go and we get it all.
The lure of the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.
That's the way it was in the story of the prodigal son, which is found in the 15th chapter of Luke's gospel. Luke chapter 15. He was from a fine home with a wonderful father but it was the lure of the far country. If you had your Bible. The 15th chapter of the Gospel of Luke and Jesus, who was a master storyteller tells this very familiar story which I'm sure you've heard many messages on verse 11. Now there was a man who had two sons, the younger of them said to his father. Father give me the share of my property that's coming to me and he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living and when he had spent everything a severe famine arose in that country and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country will send him into the fields to feed eggs and he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate and no one gave day what a rebellious, thankless son. This was first of all, he should wait until his father dies before he received his inheritance but he comes to his dad and said I can't even wait until you die. Give me my inheritance now that little word given name isn't it. In verse 12, I mean that is the kind of entitlement. Give me what's coming to me. I have it coming to me. I deserve this.
So the father according to the laws of the Old Testament gave him a one third in the elder brother would receive two thirds wordless. The father watches him go down the road because the father knows what the far country is like a father understands that the far country makes promises. It cannot keep the father knows that in the far country. All of the wells are dry, but interestingly he doesn't try to talk the son out of it because there comes a time in the life of the child where he has to make his own decisions, and so heartbroken and greed.
Because the sun is turning his back on the father. The father watches the kid leave let's look at the text and find out all of the steps that this boy took in the wrong direction. First of all, he goes away as far as possible. It says he went to a distant country. I want to go where nobody knows me where I don't have any relatives and friends and elder brother looking over my shoulder and telling me you should be doing this. I want to go to New York I want to go to Chicago I want to go to Los Angeles as far away as I can from home so I can do my thing and nobody knows me so he chooses a distant country.
Also notice in the text it says he misuses the blessings of the father.
He spends his property, his wealth that his father gave him on riotous, reckless living now just imagine that. Imagine the extent of the man sin this young boy. I mean his father's money is to be used for things that would honor the father and he takes the very blessing that the father gave him and he sins against his dad by doing the kinds of things that would hurt and grieved his father evolve in their heavenly God gives us blessings he gives us healthy gives us strength. He gives us money and we say to ourselves. It is mine. I'm going to do my own thing and we use God's blessings and God's gifts to sin against him and to do what hurts him. Notice also. He despised his religion.
Certainly in the basis of the Old Testament in Jewish times pigs were unclean animals. Not just physically unclean and pigs are physically unclean, but there also ceremonially unclean is not supposed to get near them, but he doesn't care about what his religion teaches because for him. Now it's a matter of survival. He's hungry and there he is in the pigsty willing to eat the pods that they were given to him. I was brought up on a farm and I'm kinda glad I left the farm behind personally and we had pigs and I remember we had a pail that we used to call the slop pail. I don't know if we use that word nowadays, but now that it's out of my mouth. You know what I mean.
The slop pail. All of the things from the table that wouldn't be eaten was put into the slop pail and then the slop pail to the pigs and their there.
This young man is there and that the Bible says something very interesting.
The key to the turn of his life is in verse 17, but he came to himself.
Oh, what a wonderful phrase underline it in your mind and in the word of God. He came to himself kinds of reasons why he could've stayed in the far country. He could've said like someone articles I'm going to die in the far country, and I'm not coming back home. I don't care if I die out here.
I don't care if I start I don't care if I get disease from these pigs. I'm staying here because it had a hard and rebuild his heart and he could've justified it in his own mind he could of said first of all, I can't stand the shame of going back to my father if I go back to my father I go empty-handed. He will know that I squandered everything that he gave me. He knew what the far country is like. And now I have nothing to present day, and it's embarrassing to go back home and to say father I bring nothing in my hand and I cleave to your grace and mercy that takes a lot of humility and sake it is that I'm not gonna do that. He could've also said to himself. There's no use me going back because I can't.
I can't keep up the rules of the farm.
My dad has certain standards and if I go back there. I am sure that I just can't measure up to what he wants so I'm gonna stay in the far country is another reason that he could've stayed in the far country, and I'm convinced it's a reason why many product holes stay in the far country. He could've said to himself. I'm not going back to that goody two shoes, brother of mine, you know, the brother who's never done anything wrong, who's worked hard on the firemen the people in town say here's a man who had two sons and one of them is this rebellious kid who should be whipped and the other guy will we wish we had a son like him works from sunup to sundown very very reputable. The worst thing he's ever done like one man told me I'd never send the worst thing I've ever done is to take a pair of golf clubs and wrap them around a tree all are you impressing me with your sinlessness, self-righteous lately God can use you.
Somebody might say some self-righteous person you know you been divorced you been in the far country, and I know the people who are nitpicking and you and you know when you go back to the father. You have to put up with his other kids. That's why many kids stay in the far country. I think to themselves, I'm not going back to the people of that church, because if I come back to God than back to mom and dad I have to go back to God's people, and I don't like them. This boy could have said that. But thank God he didn't. He came to his senses. Now you have to catch the picture in permitting here I am. I'm interviewing pops parents of product holes and were learning about the prodigal's and were putting them on nameless and we been received calls from outside the church of people who couldn't be here is said please put my son and daughter on your list and by the way, we have a list of maybe 30 and were praying and fasting and seeking God until the prodigal's come home were taken this seriously because these particles need to come home but one of the things that we learned also was I interviewed people who had been prodigal's in permitting and said now they were at that Edward prodigal's at permitting you understand they attended prayer meeting, though at one time they were prodigal's, although prayer meeting is open to products hundreds of you should come to permitting it's open to prodigal's I wish you'd come to permitting. So I interviewed people because I want to know what is that this business of coming to your senses. What does it take for a prodigal to finally say okay I give up. I surrender the weapons of a rebel. No matter what it is I'm submitting to God, and I'm coming back to God what is it that God has to put people through.
Let me give you one testimony of a man whose name is Bob if he were here I'd interview him. Unfortunately couldn't be here today.
So he sent me his testimony, which I've summarized he said okays brought up in a Christian home. That's the background I threw myself into a life of sin. I soon embarked on an adulterous relationship with a woman I met at work and several months later I moved to California, hoping to put my past behind me once for all. He goes to the far country in California is the far country, is it not all right, although I never felt prey to the conventional addiction such as alcohol and drugs.
For me the ultimate addiction was independence.
I reveled in having absolute control over my life with no one to answer for the choices I made master of my fate captain of my soul for the next 22 years. That was the pattern of my life during my years apart from God.
He brought health crises to wake me up but it didn't work. I refused to surrender my life of sin was becoming less and less fulfilling every day. I can recall numerous times when I literally sobbed at how empty my life and become although I was never tempted to commit suicide for the first time I could understand how someone could hurt enough to take that way there's some people who say rather than come to God. I'd rather kill myself. I knew that the choices I had made were responsible for the situation I was in, but I saw no solution. I felt totally bounded by my sin. I'd lunch with someone today. Excuse me this past week who said regarding his boss. He has no ideas of the chains of sin that bind him while and then he says he talked to a missionary in this awaken within him a desire to live differently. And then he says things were like this until October 19 last year, and the man is in his 60s, and whenever I interview them.
Those of you were in permitting you will remember he wept.
He could hardly talk about the grace of God in his life. He had an allergy attack. He called for assistance he passed out.
He thought that this was the end he was absolutely certain he was dying, and even though he lived. He said later to himself. I just dodged another bullet I can continue to ignore God. Don't you marvel, the stubbornness of the human heart. I mean I read this and I say wow. All right, they discharged him and he began to realize that he was gambling with his soul and now he was scared and still the bonds of sin were so strong that I was not willing to relent.
You know, particularly those of you who are living in immorality. You know you're sleeping with your girlfriend because after all, you know you're gonna get married anyway and those of you who are in those kinds of sinful relationships.
It is tough for you to come to the father because you know right well that when you come to God.
God is going on not only forgive you but he's going to try to clean you up and quite frankly the bonds of sinners. Such listen to what he says I was not willing to relent for three days. I wrestled with many questions.
How could I give up the sin that provided the only enjoyment and fulfillment in my life do I do that how could I expect God to forgive me and have me back. My only motivation at that point was to avoid hell. How can I hope to live a successful life. When all of my previous attempts were failure during that long weekend here it is now finally gets good here during that long weekend. God opened my eyes to the reality of my life. I saw clearly that my best efforts to achieve happiness on my own terms were dismal failure.
I can only look forward to emptiness death and eternal separation from God, and I realized catch this.
I realize the tremendous sacrifices I made for the illusion of independence and control the illusion of independence like that kid I told you about over the water tower that I saw in this little is maybe two years old and he was in one of these little pushcarts and that had a little steering wheel. He steering this thing to the right and crying.
He wants to go to the right, but his mother is just leading him gently to the left and his steering wheel is not tied to anything that has significance in automating listen if you're living for sin. You're not in control. Jesus said that you are the servant of sin. Sin tells you do this and you do it the illusion of control.
Well, four days later, October 23, clinging to God's promise and forgiveness and belief in Jesus.
I cried up to God and he answered me with an overpowering sense of his presence and love high now understood how he had refused to give up on me how he had pursued me through many years.
Despite my repeated rejection of his love and grace. I surrendered the control of my life to him and now he says my spiritual growth is stuck on fast forward any thanks Moody Church and others who have helped him in the transformation of his life. I just need to pause here today real doing out there detracted with me.
What will it take for some of you stubborn people to give yourself to God what will it take how many sermons are you going to have to listen to how many songs are you going to have to sing before you say you know what, this is the illusion of my own control I give myself to God what is it going to take him only asking you the question you Chronicles hurry to the father what you know the rest of the story. This kid says to himself, I'm going back to my father because you know even his servants are better off than I wish he had better motivation. I wish she'd say you know I'm going to my father because I broke his heart and all the kid goes because he's hungry.
The father so gracious he receives them anyway and so he gives his speech and says you know, I've sinned against heaven and against the and am no more worthy to be called by son he can't get out. The last words make me as a hired servant because his father is smothering him with kisses because the father is waiting. You see, the father lost all interest in the farm is constantly looking down the road. That's why the Bible says when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him and ran to him and kissed the kid is saying. I'm just a servant.
Now the father says bring hither the best robe and put it on him and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet servants didn't wear shoes and bring hither the fatted calf and kill it for this my son was dead and is alive and is lost on this file. Let's have a party all sure there's some things were going to have to talk about tomorrow, but for tonight and you find that the elder brother of course was not amused and the elder brothers. Actually the heart of the story.
Jesus was saying to you Pharisees your criticizing me for welcoming sinners and eating with the drunkards and the prostitutes and that and that connecting with those kinds of people and and look at that and and you're not rejoicing about the fact that these people are coming to the father and all that you can think of is why do they deserve such love and grace. Look at us. We been in this church for 30 years. Look at what we've done and when we don't even have those kinds of blessings and and you know what happened with the older brother is even though he was a son he lived like a slave. Father Sisk, don't you understand everything that I have is yours in China throw your own party. Legalists never do that. Bottom line, my friends, today is simply this, that 10 the father's waiting for father who is God and God says I have made provision for you to come back home.
I sent my son, the Lord Jesus Christ to die on the cross for sinners, so that if you receive me and if you seek my forgiveness and my transformation.
I will accept you all. The reluctance is on your part.
How much does God love us well.
Jesus stretched out his hands like said so much. That's how great the love of God is the reluctance the stubbornness is on your part. It's not on God's part because he's gracious and merciful, and he's waiting for sinners just like you to come home and he saying how long are you going to hold out from my blessings. Don't you know that sin is an illusion. Don't you know that in boomerangs, and the consequences come in. So hurry hurry to the father.
One more letter from a Chronicle.
Now the thing about this product will is a girl brought up in a fine Christian home where there is love and acceptance are let me read her story. She says when I was a teenager I made a very grave mistake. I ran away from home. Not like most rebellious kids run away from home with a night at a friends house with a bag of clothes set on the porch. I really ran away. She said I have to tell you (she had a number of children from various men along the way, the far country is a terrible place. It's a terrible place for nearly 3 months. No one knew where I was. I did not run away because I was treated badly.
In fact, I was spoiled.
I was not abused I was not neglected in any way.
I was constantly nurtured and encouraged in all areas of my life but I guess in my radical teenage mind. Listen teenagers in my radical teenage mind. I felt that the few simple rules.
I had been given were barring my freedom and keeping me from really seeing world the illusion of independence well when things were no longer fun and I were talking over a period of years. I called home nearly 30 years later, she says. I remember my father's loving response.
I called him collect from a thousand miles away sobbing on the other end of the line.
He did not ask me to tell them the bad things I had done. He did not even ask me where I was at, or even if I was ready to come home.
The first thing he said was what can I do to help you. Now here's a parenthesis you parents of Chronicles you have to prepare your own heart for your prodigal to come home you may be standing in the way of your prodigal coming back home.
You know that permitting one woman said this work did you find such beautiful insight. She stood up and she said you know here's my son over here here's Jesus over here but he can't see Jesus because I am in the way with my critical spirit is not powerful.
So why would the sun want to come home with a critical, judgmental mother. She has to repent of her own sin and welcome her prodigal back home anyway. She says that many of us would not have received such a merciful response from our earthly parents the particles father loaded them with blessings and yet he ran away. She's referring to that and then she came back she came back to her parents and she came back. Now she was married for part of the time, and so forth. Very you know in a life is a mess when you get into the far country, and I'll simply end by saying she says even if you wasted all he's given you. He wants to bless you again. The father said to the prodigal that he would have the best robe and put a ring on his hand and she ends by saying it's not too late. And even if you're far away as soon as you make up your mind to come home.
He will meet you Angel. Celebrate your return. Which is true.
Jesus said that even the Angels celebrate when one soul repents that I need to tell you the rest of the story.
This woman came to Moody Church here with her father several months ago she came because she had terminal cancer.
I was actually asked if I could do her funeral and would've been very glad to accept that I was out of town when she died. So she is now in heaven, but at least the last years of her life were spent in fellowship with the father and what happens is, God begins to take the messes the messes and begins to send some snowfall to cover the ugly ruts and to begin to put your life together.
The bottom line is this godsend to Jesus, so that the vilest of sinners who truly believes that moment from the part your bonds of sin are strong. Yes, but you know Jesus is there to forgive and to help and to restore you to prodigal's your saved or unsafe those of your saved your backslidden those of you who never have trusted Christ as Savior. Your prodigal to come to the father through Jesus Christ. Let's pray now father. What more can we say only you can overcome the blindness and the deceptions of our hearts. All the lies we tell ourselves that we so willingly believe who is their father was able to reach into the heart and deal with the anger that keeps a product will away from God who is there, except you. Now I want you to pray matter where you are listening to this message. Whether on the radio and the church over the Internet you talk to God right now. Father, we throw ourselves hopelessly in your presence and simply say you do the work that we can. We've done what we could do. We've rolled the stone away but you need to say Lazarus come forth. Would you do that, we pray in Jesus blessed nine statement now in a few moments the choir is going to sing. My son is coming home again by my special request but before we do that if God is talk to you today I want us to sing at least two stanzas of 491 491 out of my bondage, sorrow, and night. Jesus I, 491, and here's what I want you to do if God is talk to you. Would you come as I'm going to be right on the floor right up here and and would you shake my hand now shaking my hand does nothing for you. You're not coming to me. It has nothing to do except this is an indication that you are saying the Holy Spirit talk to me today and I'm going to do business with God and come to the father. I wish that we had a counseling room where I could invite all of you and then we could pray together. I could give you further instruction over really don't have that here something to ask you to come and then you can go back to where you are, but remember it is your determination to come to the father and seek him.
That makes the difference.
It's not coming forward, but those of you in the balcony were to give you enough time to come. If God is talk to you. Let's sing 491. Let's all stand and sing and then today the choir will dismiss us.
God bless you. God bless you in a moment, and then ask you to be seated because the choir is going to dismiss us today. But if God is talk to you follow through one of the great delights. I have to say this is being up here and someone coming forward to is one of the prodigal's honor list. Praise God. So if God is talk to you. Let the Holy Spirit do his homework okay let's be seated and listen to the choir sing. My son is coming home and let's rejoice over those who have come to the father and gone prodigal the came home delivered story found in the gospel of this was part two brief series on Providence. Those who return and those who don't are there prodigal's in your family. If so, this two-part series might be a great encouragement. Both messages can be yours on CD. The regifted any amount to The Moody Church. Our just call us now at 1-800-215-5001 and let us know you'd like to help support Dr. Luther's ministry are think you will come as a CD you can enjoy again and again.
Call 1-800-215-5001 or write to us at The Moody Church 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614. Also, you can go online. It will be offered.com that's Moody offer all one word.com The Moody Church hours why God reached extends all over America and overseas, and it's your help makes it possible for your CD. Contact us. Indicate your desire to give a gift of any amount when you call one 800-2155 01 Salinas next week for another Moody Church. Our with Dr. Erwin Luzerne and the congregation of historic Moody Church in Chicago