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The Older Brother

The Older Brother

Words of Faith 10-16-18

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Luke 15

    [25] "Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. [26] So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. [27] 'Your brother has come,' he replied, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.'

    [28] "The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. [29] But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. [30] But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'

    [31] " 'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. [32] But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' "

 

       The real point of this whole teaching is found in the final exchange between the elder brother and the Father. 

       "The older brother became angry and refused to go in and join the celebration. So his father went out and pleaded with him.  But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.  But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'

        "'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.  But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' "

       The TRUTH is that if we cease to rejoice when those who are lost are found we have become Pharisees in the worst sense.  We may be serious religious people, but we have lost the heart of God.  We may rejoice in our traditions.  We may rejoice in our praise or study or service to the world, but we have no real connection with the heart of God and in fact we are lost! The elder son, who obeyed all the rules, and served on the farm, was lost in a field at the end of this story. 

       Luke 15 asks us some very serious questions.  These are the questions that Jesus asks us as the church and as followers:  Will we be a church that seeks the lost and rejoices in those found?  Will we be a church concerned for the lost or mostly just concerned for our own?  Will we be just another praise and worship church?  Will we be just another "rah-rah missions, we did our part church?"   Will we be just another pretty place to have weddings and funerals?  Will we have nice camps and programs for nice children?  Or will we have the heart of God.

          Frankly, if we do not have God's heart for the lost, we have no business calling ourselves a church.  The challenge is to be a Luke 15 family of faith.  There are a lot of lost sheep, lost coins, and lost children out there.  The lost sheep need to be guided in.  The lost coins need to be searched for.  The lost children need to be watched for because when they are a long way off we need to spot them and rejoice.  We need to welcome them before they are "shunned."

          Here is a practical way to respond.  Make a list of three lost people and pray for them.  They may be people who wandered like a lost sheep, slipped away, or rebelled against the Father.  Some have done all three.  Pray for those people.  Invite them to church.  Invite them into your home.  Invite them for a meal.

         Now. If you have never heard how much God loves you.  I hope you heard today.  If you have slipped away or wandered off or rebelled against the Lord I hope that you will realize how much God loves you and rejoices in finding you.  You are invited to receive His love and grace today. 

 

          Father God, give me Your heart of seeking, finding and rejoicing.  Show me how to reach those You are wanting to find.  In Jesus' name.