Nov 5, 2017
Filling the House: Sheep, Silver, and Sons: The Heart Wrenching Truth of a Son Left Lost
Filling the House: Sheep, Silver, and Sons
The Heart-wrenching Truth of a Son Left Lost
 
Scripture
 
Full Scripture: Luke 15:11-32
Text Scripture: Luke 15:25-32
25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. 28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.
29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: 30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. 32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
 
Introduction
 
During the past few Sunday mornings we have explored God’s desire to have His house of forgiveness, love, joy, and grace filled with people. The message of forgiveness and reception is preached to all people but only repentant people are allowed to enter and attend the Father’s grand celebration. The first two parables in Luke 15 express the recovery of sheep and silver along with the rejoicing that accompanies the completion of the rescue mission. These two parables are great carriers of heavenly truth, yet another story is needed to add humanity and divine grace that can only be communicated through family. Today we will explore this climatic parable filled with true grace, forgiveness, acceptance, restoration and joy and in the end, a heart-wrenching truth of a son left lost.
Jesus again turns the page of His storytelling to engage both audiences in a more direct way. Pass the field with the happy shepherd; go beyond the house with the woman and friends celebrating the found silver coin, and onto a large estate owned by a father who has two sons. The story Jesus brings His audience into is far from a pleasant one. The place, at first, sounds nice to American ears. A father, two sons, servants, and a large estate sounds Disney-like; however, unhappiness exists in the hearts of both sons. Relationships are shattered; greed, lust, and competition abound. The family splits as soon as the story opens.
 
The Hearts in the Matter
 
As the story opens, three people appear: the father and his two sons. The younger son appears as the “disrespectful daddy hater.” He asks for his inheritance and leaves home to live a wild, sinful life. While the younger son is away the older son stays home doing all the father asks, playing the part of the “good” son. Meanwhile the younger son is in a far country going broke. His choices are catching up with him and maturing him at the same time. The job he obtains in order to survive is
not filling. He makes the decision to go home. What unfolds next reveals the true nature of each main character. Follow me in your Bible as the events unfold.
 
EVENT ONE
I. The Arrival of the Younger Son (17-20a)
 
a) What happened in the far country? The far country was a hard experience for the younger son. He lived a sin-filled life that left him empty. In the far country he discovered that money could not buy happiness and what he truly needed was a relationship with his father! There is grace in the younger son’s revelation. Many people move to a far country, go broke, live miserably, get sick and die. It is the mere grace of a loving God to use a bad situation to convict the heart.
 
b) The heart’s desire. As mentioned in point “a” above, God’s grace changes the heart of man. God can use kindness or hardness to call men to repentance, but man’s repentance is of God. What happens to the heart when God is convicting? The younger son decided to take a big step and head home, face dad and confess that he had sinned greatly. During the time of the parable there was no guarantee that the son would be permitted back in the family and there was the possibility of severe punishment; however, none of this stopped his heart from leading him to the father.
 
c) The long road home. The younger son, who at the time was starving, broke, dirty, and anxious to go home, started down the long road to the father’s house. The parable emphasized the distance as a “far country.” It was not a journey without obstacles or one he could complete unless his eye was on the prize. The long road home was a small price to pay if his dad would simply give him a servant’s job. The decision for a person to repent this morning is not a light one. It is not one that will be done without effort. There is the fear of failure, rejection, embarrassment, and the unknown, but if God is calling you to repent He will place in you the heart to follow through!
 
d) Who is the younger son? The younger son is a picture of those that are sinners who come to Jesus. They were in the audience the day Jesus spoke and they are in the audience today. The younger son had the smell and brokenness of sin on his body that could not be hid, yet his heart was humble and desired to repent and be close to the father. There would be much to be done after he was restored but none of that mattered. All he wanted was restoration. Today, if Jesus is calling you home to the Father, be humble, be repentant, and be the younger son. Come to the Father!
 
Application: Will you walk the long road home today?
 
EVENT TWO
II. The Father’s Acceptance (20a-24)
 
a) The father’s view. How God sees you may surprise you. Yes, He has allowed you by your own will to wander off, but He hasn’t forgotten you and His love has not failed! God sees you as a son that needs to be home in His care. The Father recognizes you just as the father in our story recognized his son. You may be far off, years may have passed and your looks changed, but the Father still knows His son! The father did not see his child as a vagabond sinner but as a son in his family. That is God’s view toward those that come to Him!
 
b) The father’s embrace. The father’s embrace began with a sprint. The father longed to hold his son and to kiss him over and over. The father tossed out all decorum of the day in order to express his full emotion for his once dead child. Imagine the relief and pure joy of touching someone you thought you lost for eternity. The filthy, skinny man in which his son had become did not detour the father from latching hold of his child. What others thought of the scene did not matter, the same way it did not matter to Jesus what those of His day thought of Him receiving sinners. Love was above decorum! The Father embraces those who want to repent. He handles them as if they are with the promise they will not be the same after His embrace.
 
c) The father’s ridiculous spending. Jesus taught Nicodemus about God’s love and He measured it by the gift of His only begotten Son. God’s love looks ridiculous. His great spending for a shattered soul is incomprehensible. A billion dollars for a wrinkled piece of common paper doesn’t compare to the price paid for us. What did this father do for his son? Robe, ring, roast, and a party? His son was recently a reckless spender indulging in sinful pleasure without restraint and the father gives him the “best” without placing the son under close scrutiny? It was wild spending that the father used to communicate absolute forgiveness and express what his heart has thought of his son through the years. The father was certainly prodigal (giving something on a lavish scale). God’s love for us is extreme and vast beyond all measure!
 
Application: Will you accept the embrace of God?
 
EVENT THREE
III. The Elder Son’s Protest (25-32)
 
i. Lost at Home- The oldest son, being hard at work in the fields came home to hear and see the festivities. Curious about the situation, he enquired what had taken place. He learned his little brother had come home and dad had gone all out to welcome him back to the family. This set big brother off. “How could
dad do such a thing? Has Pop lost his mind? This boy caused him and the family grief and shame and does not deserve anything! He hasn’t worked for a dime!” This type of attitude proves that the elder son was lost while at home the same way his younger brother was lost away from home. Salvation is first relational and then geographical. First, I am drawn to God because of His great love then I am geographically
(positionally) with God. The elder son felt that being “close” to dad equaled loving dad. Lost and at home is a hard place to be.
 
ii. Slave or oon? The father heard of the mad, prideful, pouting son standing outside the house and came to him in order to bring him into the house as well. The older son knew to come into the house he had to agree with the father’s nature and decision on the matter of radical forgiveness, acceptance, and restoration and that, for him, was not an option. When the older son stated his case he used two words “served” and “commands.” At first, they sound noble, but underneath the seemingly good service was rot. The son felt that his work and obedience of duty gave him the right to judge the father. He believed that he was good enough and if anyone had earned the right to be rejoiced over it was him. This attitude reeks of religious pride and an unsaved heart. Keeping the speed limit, all your life only ensures you will not receive a speeding violation, but it does not generate a reward. Nothing was owed to the older son for doing right. Reward only comes by grace. The father in the parable knew this but the son refused to know it. The son saw himself as a slave and was lacking the same thing the little brother had lacked for many years and that was a relationship with the father.
 
iii.The son’s disapproval and father’s last call. The older son finally said it. “Dad, you approve of his behavior after all he has done, you are in agreement with a wicked person?” He cunningly called the father wicked. When Jesus began to teach in Luke 15 the religious crowd said that “he receives sinners.” He accepts them as family and the Pharisees meant that Jesus was in accord with wickedness. The sharp disapproval of the father’s decision to accept, forgive, and celebrate the return of a dead child was hideous in the sight of the elder brother. Instead of snapping on his son the father once again reminded him of the love he had for him. “All that I have is yours” and “You are ever with me.”
Then he reminds him that joy over a lost brother is necessary. The older son lost nothing when his brother left but a brother. It cost him nothing but it cost the father greatly. The only way the older son could enjoy his father was to enjoy the nature of his father. The story ends and the “good” brother is left outside the tent. A stark warning settles over the crowd who had been listening as Jesus made it clear that the father receives sinners to forgive them. Many will come from the corners of the world to worship God in eternity, but people like the Pharisees would be left out (Matthew 8:11-12)
 
iv. Who is the older son? It is clear by now that the older son in our story is the Pharisees that were in the audience the day Jesus spoke this story. They are with us still today. The heart- wrenching truth is many that know of God do not know God and will be left out the Kingdom of God on the Day of Judgment. This is the hard truth the religious people had to hear. This story, in fact, was the Father coming outside the tent entreating them that they come inside to the celebration and fulfilment of grace. These people had been faithful to do and obey yet it was out of control and not love. Their work was
strategy and not love. Their idea was God owed them and when God seemed to reject them they would simply point to how good they had been and how bad someone else had been. The plan sounds good from the human point of view, and works quiet well with other people, but God is not swayed by such antics and accepts people based on His grace and not their own merit.
 
v. The older son takes nothing away. The older son, being outside does not hinder the celebration of the dead son coming to life once again. Joy in heaven will not be broken up by the shrills of Hell. If the idea of the older son was to stop the great joy of the Father’s grace he was sadly mistaken. God is happy in Himself and we share His happiness when it is directed toward us by His grace.
 
Application: Will you rejoice with God as a true son and brother?
 
IN CLOSING
IV. The Missing Brother
 
a. God is good, God is just. God is good, therefore God forgives sinners.
At the same time God is just and must condemn and punish sin. How are these great truths reconciled in the parable of the prodigal son?
 
b. Jesus the brother. The only way the story ends with the younger brother in the father’s house is because Jesus is the author. The person telling the story can map it out as they wish. Jesus spoke the parable directly to both audiences. The younger brother is the sinner and the older brother is the knowledgeable Pharisee. Jesus tells the story knowing he would die for both. The judgment of the Father would soon fall on Jesus. Whoever ends up in the Father’s house will do so because of the cross of Jesus Christ. God forgives and judges based on the cross of Jesus Christ. He was the missing brother in the story. Only the religious crowd would know to ask how God can accept sinners in such a way. Many that heard the parable that day would soon hear the message of the cross and get their answers.
 
c. Repent, rejoice, or perish. Our teaching will close with this invitation.
To those who are younger brothers, God wants you in His house. He longs to forgive you and make you His. Will you repent? To those
that are true older brothers: will you rejoice with the Father? Will your prayers, labor, giving, and songs be one with your heavenly Father? Will you cast off pride and doubt and get happy over the atoning work of Jesus? To the religious and non-religious that are hard of heart: Do you wish to perish? Are you willing to die in the far country or outside the house of God? Will you be saved?
 
Application: Will you read each story through the lens of the cross? Will you live your life through the lens of the cross?
WatchNotesDownloadDateTitle
  • Nov 5, 2017Filling the House: Sheep, Silver, and Sons: The Heart Wrenching Truth of a Son Left Lost
    Nov 5, 2017
    Filling the House: Sheep, Silver, and Sons: The Heart Wrenching Truth of a Son Left Lost
    Filling the House: Sheep, Silver, and Sons
    The Heart-wrenching Truth of a Son Left Lost
     
    Scripture
     
    Full Scripture: Luke 15:11-32
    Text Scripture: Luke 15:25-32
    25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. 28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.
    29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: 30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
    31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. 32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
     
    Introduction
     
    During the past few Sunday mornings we have explored God’s desire to have His house of forgiveness, love, joy, and grace filled with people. The message of forgiveness and reception is preached to all people but only repentant people are allowed to enter and attend the Father’s grand celebration. The first two parables in Luke 15 express the recovery of sheep and silver along with the rejoicing that accompanies the completion of the rescue mission. These two parables are great carriers of heavenly truth, yet another story is needed to add humanity and divine grace that can only be communicated through family. Today we will explore this climatic parable filled with true grace, forgiveness, acceptance, restoration and joy and in the end, a heart-wrenching truth of a son left lost.
    Jesus again turns the page of His storytelling to engage both audiences in a more direct way. Pass the field with the happy shepherd; go beyond the house with the woman and friends celebrating the found silver coin, and onto a large estate owned by a father who has two sons. The story Jesus brings His audience into is far from a pleasant one. The place, at first, sounds nice to American ears. A father, two sons, servants, and a large estate sounds Disney-like; however, unhappiness exists in the hearts of both sons. Relationships are shattered; greed, lust, and competition abound. The family splits as soon as the story opens.
     
    The Hearts in the Matter
     
    As the story opens, three people appear: the father and his two sons. The younger son appears as the “disrespectful daddy hater.” He asks for his inheritance and leaves home to live a wild, sinful life. While the younger son is away the older son stays home doing all the father asks, playing the part of the “good” son. Meanwhile the younger son is in a far country going broke. His choices are catching up with him and maturing him at the same time. The job he obtains in order to survive is
    not filling. He makes the decision to go home. What unfolds next reveals the true nature of each main character. Follow me in your Bible as the events unfold.
     
    EVENT ONE
    I. The Arrival of the Younger Son (17-20a)
     
    a) What happened in the far country? The far country was a hard experience for the younger son. He lived a sin-filled life that left him empty. In the far country he discovered that money could not buy happiness and what he truly needed was a relationship with his father! There is grace in the younger son’s revelation. Many people move to a far country, go broke, live miserably, get sick and die. It is the mere grace of a loving God to use a bad situation to convict the heart.
     
    b) The heart’s desire. As mentioned in point “a” above, God’s grace changes the heart of man. God can use kindness or hardness to call men to repentance, but man’s repentance is of God. What happens to the heart when God is convicting? The younger son decided to take a big step and head home, face dad and confess that he had sinned greatly. During the time of the parable there was no guarantee that the son would be permitted back in the family and there was the possibility of severe punishment; however, none of this stopped his heart from leading him to the father.
     
    c) The long road home. The younger son, who at the time was starving, broke, dirty, and anxious to go home, started down the long road to the father’s house. The parable emphasized the distance as a “far country.” It was not a journey without obstacles or one he could complete unless his eye was on the prize. The long road home was a small price to pay if his dad would simply give him a servant’s job. The decision for a person to repent this morning is not a light one. It is not one that will be done without effort. There is the fear of failure, rejection, embarrassment, and the unknown, but if God is calling you to repent He will place in you the heart to follow through!
     
    d) Who is the younger son? The younger son is a picture of those that are sinners who come to Jesus. They were in the audience the day Jesus spoke and they are in the audience today. The younger son had the smell and brokenness of sin on his body that could not be hid, yet his heart was humble and desired to repent and be close to the father. There would be much to be done after he was restored but none of that mattered. All he wanted was restoration. Today, if Jesus is calling you home to the Father, be humble, be repentant, and be the younger son. Come to the Father!
     
    Application: Will you walk the long road home today?
     
    EVENT TWO
    II. The Father’s Acceptance (20a-24)
     
    a) The father’s view. How God sees you may surprise you. Yes, He has allowed you by your own will to wander off, but He hasn’t forgotten you and His love has not failed! God sees you as a son that needs to be home in His care. The Father recognizes you just as the father in our story recognized his son. You may be far off, years may have passed and your looks changed, but the Father still knows His son! The father did not see his child as a vagabond sinner but as a son in his family. That is God’s view toward those that come to Him!
     
    b) The father’s embrace. The father’s embrace began with a sprint. The father longed to hold his son and to kiss him over and over. The father tossed out all decorum of the day in order to express his full emotion for his once dead child. Imagine the relief and pure joy of touching someone you thought you lost for eternity. The filthy, skinny man in which his son had become did not detour the father from latching hold of his child. What others thought of the scene did not matter, the same way it did not matter to Jesus what those of His day thought of Him receiving sinners. Love was above decorum! The Father embraces those who want to repent. He handles them as if they are with the promise they will not be the same after His embrace.
     
    c) The father’s ridiculous spending. Jesus taught Nicodemus about God’s love and He measured it by the gift of His only begotten Son. God’s love looks ridiculous. His great spending for a shattered soul is incomprehensible. A billion dollars for a wrinkled piece of common paper doesn’t compare to the price paid for us. What did this father do for his son? Robe, ring, roast, and a party? His son was recently a reckless spender indulging in sinful pleasure without restraint and the father gives him the “best” without placing the son under close scrutiny? It was wild spending that the father used to communicate absolute forgiveness and express what his heart has thought of his son through the years. The father was certainly prodigal (giving something on a lavish scale). God’s love for us is extreme and vast beyond all measure!
     
    Application: Will you accept the embrace of God?
     
    EVENT THREE
    III. The Elder Son’s Protest (25-32)
     
    i. Lost at Home- The oldest son, being hard at work in the fields came home to hear and see the festivities. Curious about the situation, he enquired what had taken place. He learned his little brother had come home and dad had gone all out to welcome him back to the family. This set big brother off. “How could
    dad do such a thing? Has Pop lost his mind? This boy caused him and the family grief and shame and does not deserve anything! He hasn’t worked for a dime!” This type of attitude proves that the elder son was lost while at home the same way his younger brother was lost away from home. Salvation is first relational and then geographical. First, I am drawn to God because of His great love then I am geographically
    (positionally) with God. The elder son felt that being “close” to dad equaled loving dad. Lost and at home is a hard place to be.
     
    ii. Slave or oon? The father heard of the mad, prideful, pouting son standing outside the house and came to him in order to bring him into the house as well. The older son knew to come into the house he had to agree with the father’s nature and decision on the matter of radical forgiveness, acceptance, and restoration and that, for him, was not an option. When the older son stated his case he used two words “served” and “commands.” At first, they sound noble, but underneath the seemingly good service was rot. The son felt that his work and obedience of duty gave him the right to judge the father. He believed that he was good enough and if anyone had earned the right to be rejoiced over it was him. This attitude reeks of religious pride and an unsaved heart. Keeping the speed limit, all your life only ensures you will not receive a speeding violation, but it does not generate a reward. Nothing was owed to the older son for doing right. Reward only comes by grace. The father in the parable knew this but the son refused to know it. The son saw himself as a slave and was lacking the same thing the little brother had lacked for many years and that was a relationship with the father.
     
    iii.The son’s disapproval and father’s last call. The older son finally said it. “Dad, you approve of his behavior after all he has done, you are in agreement with a wicked person?” He cunningly called the father wicked. When Jesus began to teach in Luke 15 the religious crowd said that “he receives sinners.” He accepts them as family and the Pharisees meant that Jesus was in accord with wickedness. The sharp disapproval of the father’s decision to accept, forgive, and celebrate the return of a dead child was hideous in the sight of the elder brother. Instead of snapping on his son the father once again reminded him of the love he had for him. “All that I have is yours” and “You are ever with me.”
    Then he reminds him that joy over a lost brother is necessary. The older son lost nothing when his brother left but a brother. It cost him nothing but it cost the father greatly. The only way the older son could enjoy his father was to enjoy the nature of his father. The story ends and the “good” brother is left outside the tent. A stark warning settles over the crowd who had been listening as Jesus made it clear that the father receives sinners to forgive them. Many will come from the corners of the world to worship God in eternity, but people like the Pharisees would be left out (Matthew 8:11-12)
     
    iv. Who is the older son? It is clear by now that the older son in our story is the Pharisees that were in the audience the day Jesus spoke this story. They are with us still today. The heart- wrenching truth is many that know of God do not know God and will be left out the Kingdom of God on the Day of Judgment. This is the hard truth the religious people had to hear. This story, in fact, was the Father coming outside the tent entreating them that they come inside to the celebration and fulfilment of grace. These people had been faithful to do and obey yet it was out of control and not love. Their work was
    strategy and not love. Their idea was God owed them and when God seemed to reject them they would simply point to how good they had been and how bad someone else had been. The plan sounds good from the human point of view, and works quiet well with other people, but God is not swayed by such antics and accepts people based on His grace and not their own merit.
     
    v. The older son takes nothing away. The older son, being outside does not hinder the celebration of the dead son coming to life once again. Joy in heaven will not be broken up by the shrills of Hell. If the idea of the older son was to stop the great joy of the Father’s grace he was sadly mistaken. God is happy in Himself and we share His happiness when it is directed toward us by His grace.
     
    Application: Will you rejoice with God as a true son and brother?
     
    IN CLOSING
    IV. The Missing Brother
     
    a. God is good, God is just. God is good, therefore God forgives sinners.
    At the same time God is just and must condemn and punish sin. How are these great truths reconciled in the parable of the prodigal son?
     
    b. Jesus the brother. The only way the story ends with the younger brother in the father’s house is because Jesus is the author. The person telling the story can map it out as they wish. Jesus spoke the parable directly to both audiences. The younger brother is the sinner and the older brother is the knowledgeable Pharisee. Jesus tells the story knowing he would die for both. The judgment of the Father would soon fall on Jesus. Whoever ends up in the Father’s house will do so because of the cross of Jesus Christ. God forgives and judges based on the cross of Jesus Christ. He was the missing brother in the story. Only the religious crowd would know to ask how God can accept sinners in such a way. Many that heard the parable that day would soon hear the message of the cross and get their answers.
     
    c. Repent, rejoice, or perish. Our teaching will close with this invitation.
    To those who are younger brothers, God wants you in His house. He longs to forgive you and make you His. Will you repent? To those
    that are true older brothers: will you rejoice with the Father? Will your prayers, labor, giving, and songs be one with your heavenly Father? Will you cast off pride and doubt and get happy over the atoning work of Jesus? To the religious and non-religious that are hard of heart: Do you wish to perish? Are you willing to die in the far country or outside the house of God? Will you be saved?
     
    Application: Will you read each story through the lens of the cross? Will you live your life through the lens of the cross?
  • Oct 8, 2017Filling the House: Sheep, Silver, and Sons: The Immense Value of the Shepherd
    Oct 8, 2017
    Filling the House: Sheep, Silver, and Sons: The Immense Value of the Shepherd
     
  • Oct 1, 2017Filling the House: Sheep, Silver, and Sons: The House and the Audience
    Oct 1, 2017
    Filling the House: Sheep, Silver, and Sons: The House and the Audience
    Series: Filling the House: Sheep, Silver, and Sons
    Part 1: “The House and The Audience”
    Text: Luke 14:23; Luke 15:1-2
    Scripture:
    Luke 14:23
    23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
    Luke 15:1-2
    Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.
    2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them
    The Aim of this Series:
    There is no place like home. My life experience has been that home is the height of love, acceptance, and comfort. What is home? It is a dwelling with unique smells, surroundings, furniture and so much more. It is a place where love, desire, forgiveness, acceptance, and comfort reside. Home is this because a person or persons dwell there and generate such pleasantness. The dwelling, smell, memories, surroundings, and unique features of home get value from the person or persons that dwell there. Remove the unique person or persons and home is empty and void although the same dwelling, items, and smell still exist.
    The aim of this series is to invigorate in each person’s heart that you are invited to the single and plural nature of God that makes God’s grace your home and heaven a suitable dwelling place for all eternity. God, His grace, and Heaven cannot be separated.
    Introduction to the text “Highways, Hedges, and the House”
    Luke 14:23 lands us in the middle of Jesus’ response to a group of Pharisees that did not understand the mission of God. A sick man that needed healing was eating with Jesus and the religious elite. The Pharisees liked religion their way and people as this sick man did not fit into the formula of their Sabbath. It is from this background that Jesus speaks. Notice that Jesus is explaining Himself to the Pharisees. He is being truthful and compelling.
    The parable that we run into in Luke 14:23 is about a man that made a great meal and invited the most capable of people to come and enjoy it. These people refused for their own reason revealing they prized something more than the master and his meal. The master therefore became angry and sent a group of ambassadors into the highways and hedges to fill the house. This parable highlights Jesus’ teaching just a few verses earlier in Luke 14:12-15. Jesus taught that the need and invitation go together. What you have is most valuable when you share it with those who lack it. This is the position of Jesus therefore He shares openly the meal of eternal life with all those that heed His invitation. The Pharisees were people capable of coming to eternal life because they knew the scriptures, yet they had many reasons why they could not accept the meal of the Master. The broken, blind, and ignorant are the least capable of knowing the Messiah because they lack the knowledge of the Scripture, yet Jesus sends and fetches them from the highways and hedges to the house. I want you to see the house is the grace of God’s salvation and eventually the unveiling of the eternal presence of the thrice holy God of Heaven. This is the house the Lord Jesus wants us to dwell in. He wants all the beggars to come home. He invites us, by the gospel call and Spirit to a home that we never knew was ours! I hope today you are in the house but by chance if you are in the highways and hedges you are still invited home.
     
    A Great Truth About the Invitation:
    When Jesus invited those that were capable to attend the meal of salvation each person had an excuse, revealing they loved something more. Luke 14:24-27 states Christ’s declaration that only those who prize God over all things are worthy to be His disciples. The invitation to the meal of discipleship is to be examined through the lens of truth. You cannot come to the table unless you are all-in. Do you see this truth as harsh? At first glance, it seems harsh but let us apply it to serious matters in life. When you married your husband or wife, were the vows that you exchanged “all-in” vows? Did they read something similar to, “For better or worse, in sickness and in health, until death do us part?” That is a bit radical. Loving a person is a BIG RADICAL COMMITMENT. Being faithful to a person, working over, or quitting a job to care for a person that you cannot benefit from while they lay sick and dying is very radical! Even high school, college, and professional coaches want their athlete’s radical commitment. Only those who do not prize God above all others would think it crazy of God to ask His people to be zealously committed to Him. That is why Jesus teaches to “count the cost” of being His disciple. In Luke 14:28-33 Jesus teaches to consider what must be given to enter and enjoy His house. The ox, the land, the wife and any other thing you prize must be put in its rightful place to follow Jesus and enter God’s grace awaiting the unveiling of His glorious presence in Heaven. You must love, truly love, God to follow Him!
     
    Thus Far and Beyond
    Luke 14 presents a glimpse at the mission of Jesus. He came to prepare a meal of salvation and celebration. Those that are capable to attend are invited as well as those who are not. Also, there is emphasis on prizing God above all things. The Master, house, and meal are all very important. Remember, as it is with your home, so it is with the Master’s house and meal: it is not the same without Him. Keep in mind that Jesus has stated that the house (a place of salvation, celebration and glorious present and future fellowship) is to be filled. Jesus desires that His audience knows the importance of His house and heeds the invitation to fill the house. We will now venture into Luke 15:1-2 and discover the house and the audience.
     
    The House (Luke 14:23)- We have already stated that this house is the house of grace in which God will unveil His glorious presence. It is also a place of salvation, celebration, and glorious present and future fellowship. What else can be learned about this house?
     
    The Owner is Hospitable (Luke 14:16 “Bade many”)- The house is open to enter upon invitation. There are many invitations. The Lord has much room in His house and wants people to fill it for their enjoyment. He truly wants to share what is His with those who have much less than He does. He does not invite us to a house of pride but to a house of humility and hospitality. The Lord wants you. You are being bidden to enter the house of salvation and dwell there. Now, do not think in your heart that you deserve to be there? because you certainly do not. The Master is far above you and me in all manner of living. He is perfect, powerful, and resurrected. We can bring nothing to His meal but scraps and beggar’s bread. Yet, He desires our company! Would it be full hospitality if we were considered good company? Not according to the Lord’s teachings (Luke 14:12-14). We must be the lesser if God is to show His full character to us. We are less so He can share more of Himself!
     
    The Owner Spends Lavishly (Luke 14:16 “Great Supper”)- The Lord has spared no expense when it comes to His preparation. This will be a reoccurring theme through the next several weeks. God has spent lavishly so that many can be filled with His sufficiency. John 3:16 “God SO loved the world” means that God loved the world radically. He loves us to the point of “reckless spending”. The house and meal God has made for His people is a great one that comes at His own expense. You can bring nothing to the table. His expense causes the delivery of great joy. This is seen in Romans 8:32 “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Do you see what Paul is saying? Because Jesus gave Himself and He is supreme then all things have been delivered to us. When you go to a resort you can pay a great price and great service will be granted. The price the Jesus paid on our behalf unleashed the eternal gift of all things to us.
     
    The House Will Be Filled (Luke 14:23 “that my house may be filled”)- The great hospitality and expense of our Lord will be fruitful. All those God allows will come to fill His house. There is a twofold filling in the house: 1.) The house is full 2.) The people are filled. The goal of the gospel is to fill and fill. The message we preach does both because it draws people to salvation and fills them with the joy of God. God’s efforts will not be wasted; many will eat of the great supper. It is true those that eat will not be polished like the Pharisees may think, but they will be welcomed!
     
    My Story: Years ago, I was invited to a party by a single’s ministry. I figured it would be a good idea to go. Maybe I could get to know some Christians that were my age. I showed up with a card with a piece of money in it and sat in one of the seats. Minutes passed and I was unnoticed and quite frankly left out. I went invited, spent for it, and left empty. It was a bad impression and I never returned for another empty experience. Because Jesus fills His house and then fills His people we at Bethany we want to reflect the hospitality and expense of the Lord. We want people to fill the building and be filled at our expense!
     
    Question: Will you labor to fill God’s house and fill God’s people?
     
    The Audience (Luke 15:1-2 “this man recieveth sinners”)- Jesus spoke of His desire to bring people into a household relationship with Him. Exactly who was He talking to? Those that were present to hear Him were both Pharisees and sinners. Of course, both were sinners, the Pharisees just thought they were less of a sinner. Who is the audience, what does it mean, and how does this affect our understanding of Luke 15?
     
    Who is the audience? - Two classes of people from vastly different backgrounds heard the words of Jesus on this occasion. The religious class knew more about God from the scripture, or should have known more, and the sinning class knew less about God from scripture. One class looked polished, at least religiously, and the other not so religious. Luke 15:1-2 reveals that the sinners looked for and longed after the teaching of Jesus. They were seemingly always around. The Pharisees often came to judge and ridicule. Today we bash Pharisees as they did not exactly give themselves a good name, but Jesus did not “Baptist Bash” them. Bashing others that are Pharisees does no more than make you what you are bashing. We could call it “the pot calling the kettle black.” Jesus did not run the Pharisees or the sinners off. Instead He invited them into some in-depth teaching and presented truth that would move each class of people if heeded. The audience was different, but Christ was not indifferent toward either class.
    What does it mean to have two different audiences? - The audiences reveal to us that Jesus skillfully put together earthly stories to relay heavenly truth to reach both types of people because He loved them both and longed to save the Pharisee as much as “sinner.”
     
    How does this affect our understanding of Luke 15? - We will be introduced to three parables in Luke 15. One of sheep, the other about silver, and the third about two sons. When we read these stories, understanding the audiences will help us stay on task with the main idea behind the messages. We should look for the message for each group and understand they are sometimes the same. We will also keep in mind that Jesus wants to fill His house with people from both audiences. These parables are a call to His audience to fill His house and be filled by Him!
     
    Question: You are the audience; how will you respond to the invitation and expense of the Master to fill you?
     
    Will You Be Filled?
    Jesus has spoken. Whether you are a Pharisee or “sinner” Jesus went to great lengths to invite you to His house of grace to be filled. Will you enjoy His goodness? If you are not in His house, will you come? If you are in His house, will you be filled with His truth? Will you celebrate with the Master His divine character and supply? Will you join in song, prayer, missions, and purity? Come in the house and be filled!