Retrun to God: Journey of the Prodigal

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Retrun to God: Journey of the Prodigal

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  • Consider these two true stories.
    Rosemary Willson is a successful New York publisher. Her marriage broke up three years ago and she has custody of her 11-year-old son, Joel. Despite Rosemary's determination to provide him with every material and emotional advantage, Joel is clearly having a hard time growing up as a lone child of a single parent. He has long had behavioural problems at school, has become truant and is truculent when challenged about this at home. He has never shown much affection for his caregiver, Joanne, though she is highly trained and does everything she can to win the boy's trust and regard.
    Rosemary has decided the situation is now so serious that she must tackle it more systematically. She tells Joanne to keep a list of Joel's misdemeanours and to make sure to ask his teacher each day how he has behaved when she picks him up from school.
    "He has to learn," says Rosemary."I will go through the list with him every evening—quietly, methodically, thoroughly, explaining why what he has done is wrong or unacceptable. We will soon see a big improvement. He's a bright enough youngster; he just needs to have things pointed out to him in a consistent way. Once he sees that we are on to him, he'll change...."
    Joel's behaviour has gotten no better; in some important respects, it has become worse since this list-and-tell regime was begun.
    Two thousand miles to the south west, the Lakota people in New Mexico also have a delinquent youngster. He has been seen damaging people's cars and trucks in the car lot outside the store. When challenged, he has been rude and dismissive of the authority of the elders.
    The whole clan is called together one evening and forms a large circle. The young man's father walks with him into the middle of the circle and then joins the other adults on the perimeter. The father begins to speak first.
    "You are our first born, our most precious one. Your mother and I rejoiced the first time we felt you kick in her stomach. We ran from house to house, telling all these people that you were alive and well and strong. And so you were. You were born crying with a shout so loud they heard it three hundred yards away above the radio. How proud we were! How happy! You have always made us happy. Your first few steps—oh, how you fell over into a puddle. The look on your face! How we laughed...."
    On and on, the father recounts, sharing the happiest memories of his son's life. No word of criticism is uttered. The father's task is to remind the young man of all that he means to the family, the clan, the people; of all the joy and happiness he has brought; of the delight his wider family have in him.
    When he is finished, it is the uncle's turn. He is followed by the two grandfathers. The sky is darkening, the stars plainly visible. It will be long past midnight before they have finished. After the men, the women speak, in gentler tones, in softer cadence—for it is on them that much of the work, from first labour pains to saving enough for schoolbooks, has fallen.
    Finally, the clan chief speaks. He summarizes all that has been said. He speaks slowly, with long pauses, as though searching for the deepest ways of saying what has to be said. His theme, from which he never deviates, is the same: the pride and pleasure this young man has brought to all the Lakota people; the living, the departed and those not yet born. Like all the earlier speakers, he never mentions the vandalism and the malicious damage, the shame, the anger, the futility, the mindlessness. All that is left unsaid, unhinted. The sole refrain is that this young man is a beautiful gift to the whole people, one of inexpressible value.
    When the old man has finished speaking, he makes a small sign. The ring of people stands still, almost at attention, looking ahead of them at the young man in the centre of the circle. Then they melt wordlessly into the night.
    Which youngster has the better chance of transformational change: the one whose faults are catalogued and reviewed each day? Or the one who has been ritually assured of his place in the hearts of all his people?
    sources: Elliott, Charles.Locating the energy for change: An introduction to appreciative inquiry.  Winnipeg: International Institute for Sustainable Development, 1999. 288 p.
  • Retrun to God: Journey of the Prodigal

    1. 1. Return to GodReturn to God The Law of GraceThe Law of Grace 2 Cor 3:62 Cor 3:6 He has made us competent asHe has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant –ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit;not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spiritfor the letter kills, but the Spirit givers life.givers life. Ehab RoufailEhab Roufail
    2. 2. 23rd July 2010 The Law of Grace 2 OutlineOutline • The Rich Young ManThe Rich Young Man • The Prodigal SonsThe Prodigal Sons – Directed to whom?Directed to whom? – The younger brotherThe younger brother – The elder brotherThe elder brother • Sin RedefinedSin Redefined • How to repentHow to repent • The Law of GraceThe Law of Grace
    3. 3. 23rd July 2010 The Law of Grace 3 The Rich Young ManThe Rich Young Man Mark 10:Mark 10: 17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must Ihis knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"do to inherit eternal life?" 18"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is18"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone.good—except God alone. 19You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not19You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, docommit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'"not defraud, honor your father and mother.'" 20"Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a20"Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy."boy." 21Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he21Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, andsaid. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.Then come, follow me."" 22At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he22At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.had great wealth.
    4. 4. 23rd July 2010 The Law of Grace 4 The Rich Young ManThe Rich Young Man • Why did the young man fall to his knees?Why did the young man fall to his knees? • Who did Jesus try and tell him He was?Who did Jesus try and tell him He was? • What was wrong with his question?What was wrong with his question? 21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophetsbeen made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes throughtestify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is nofaith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of thedifference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his graceglory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:21-24Romans 3:21-24 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: WhileBut God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8Romans 5:8
    5. 5. The Prodigal SonThe Prodigal Son
    6. 6. 23rd July 2010 The Law of Grace 6 The Prodigal SonsThe Prodigal Sons Luke 15:1-3Luke 15:1-3 1 Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear1 Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "Thishim. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." 3 Then Jesus told them thisman welcomes sinners and eats with them." 3 Then Jesus told them this parable…parable… Luke 15:11-32Luke 15:11-32 11 Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. 12 The11 Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.'younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. 13 "Not long after that, theSo he divided his property between them. 13 "Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country andyounger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spentthere squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and heeverything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen ofbegan to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fillthat country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave himhis stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17 "When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of myanything. 17 "When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.sinned against heaven and against you.
    7. 7. 23rd July 2010 The Law of Grace 7 The Prodigal SonsThe Prodigal Sons 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' 20 So he got up and went to his father.one of your hired men.' 20 So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw hiswas filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 "The son said to him,arms around him and kissed him. 21 "The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' 22 "But the father said tolonger worthy to be called your son.' 22 "But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put ahis servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattenedring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this soncalf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.So they began to celebrate.
    8. 8. 23rd July 2010 The Law of Grace 8 The Prodigal SonsThe Prodigal Sons 25 "Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came25 "Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he callednear the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 'Yourone of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 'Your brother has come,' he replied, 'and your father has killed thebrother has come,' he replied, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.' 28fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.' 28 "The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his"The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered hisfather went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you andfather, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even anever disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But whenyoung goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property withthis son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!' 31 " 'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and31 " 'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and beeverything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again;glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' "he was lost and is found.' "
    9. 9. Ugliness of SinUgliness of Sin
    10. 10. Why did the son leave his father’s house?Why did the son leave his father’s house?  i) Freedomi) Freedom  ii) Independenceii) Independence  ““So he went and hired himself out to a citizen ofSo he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feedthat country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs…”pigs…” Luke 15:5Luke 15:5 Sin is servitudeSin is servitude not freedom.not freedom.
    11. 11. Then God said, “Let Us make manThen God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Ourin Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominionlikeness; let them have dominion over theover the fishfish of the sea, over theof the sea, over the birdsbirds of the air, and over theof the air, and over the cattlecattle, over, over all the earthall the earth andand overover every creeping thingevery creeping thing thatthat creeps on the earth.”creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26Genesis 1:26 God created us to be freeGod created us to be free
    12. 12. What was his job?What was his job?  Feeding pigsFeeding pigs (a humiliating job for a jew)(a humiliating job for a jew) Sin = Servitude + HumiliationSin = Servitude + Humiliation
    13. 13. AdamAdam NabuchadnezzerNabuchadnezzer • “…“…And you shall eat theAnd you shall eat the herb of the field.”herb of the field.” GenesisGenesis 3:183:18 • ““Also, to every beast of theAlso, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of theearth, to every bird of the air, and to everything thatair, and to everything that creeps on the earth, increeps on the earth, in which [there is] life, [I havewhich [there is] life, [I have given] every green herb forgiven] every green herb for food; and it was so.”food; and it was so.” Genesis 1:30Genesis 1:30 • ““That very hour the wordThat very hour the word was fulfilled concerningwas fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he wasNebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and atedriven from men and ate grass like oxen; his bodygrass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew ofwas wet with the dew of heaven till his hair hadheaven till his hair had grown like eagles'grown like eagles' [feathers] and his nails like[feathers] and his nails like birds' [claws].”birds' [claws].” Daniel 4:33Daniel 4:33 Slavery to sin makes us lower than animals?Slavery to sin makes us lower than animals?
    14. 14. When did he start to be in need?When did he start to be in need?  ““But when he had spent all, there arose aBut when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to besevere famine in that land, and he began to be in want.”in want.” Luke 15:14Luke 15:14  Nothing is going well for him.Nothing is going well for him. Sin = Lack of BlessingSin = Lack of Blessing
    15. 15. • ““They do not say in theirThey do not say in their heart, “Let us now fear theheart, “Let us now fear the LORD our God, Who givesLORD our God, Who gives rain, both the former andrain, both the former and the latter, in its season. Hethe latter, in its season. He reserves for us thereserves for us the appointed weeks of theappointed weeks of the harvest.””harvest.”” • ““Your iniquities have turnedYour iniquities have turned these [things] away, Andthese [things] away, And your sins have withheldyour sins have withheld good from you.”good from you.” Jeremiah 5: 24, 25Jeremiah 5: 24, 25 • “…“… We look for light, butWe look for light, but there is darkness! Forthere is darkness! For brightness, [but] we walk inbrightness, [but] we walk in blackness!”blackness!” • ““For our transgressions areFor our transgressions are multiplied before You, Andmultiplied before You, And our sins testify against us;our sins testify against us; For our transgressions [are]For our transgressions [are] with us…”with us…” Isaiah 59: 9, 12Isaiah 59: 9, 12 Sin keeps us in darknessSin keeps us in darkness
    16. 16. Ugliness of sinUgliness of sin Sin = Servitude NOTSin = Servitude NOT FreedomFreedom Sin = Servitude +Sin = Servitude + HumiliationHumiliation Sin = Lack of BlessingSin = Lack of Blessing
    17. 17. RepentanceRepentance
    18. 18. 1. BUT WHEN HE CAME TO1. BUT WHEN HE CAME TO HIMSELF… LUKE 15:17HIMSELF… LUKE 15:17 2. HOW MANY OF MY2. HOW MANY OF MY FATHER'S HIRED SERVANTSFATHER'S HIRED SERVANTS HAVE BREAD ENOUGH ANDHAVE BREAD ENOUGH AND TO SPARE, AND I PERISHTO SPARE, AND I PERISH WITH HUNGER … LUKE 15:17WITH HUNGER … LUKE 15:17 • Sit with yourselfSit with yourself • Don’t try to findDon’t try to find excuses for yourselfexcuses for yourself “But now they have no excuse for their sin.” John 15:22 Come to our sensesCome to our senses
    19. 19. 3. I WILL ARISE AND GO TO MY FATHER … LUKE 15:183. I WILL ARISE AND GO TO MY FATHER … LUKE 15:18 • Don’t postpone repentanceDon’t postpone repentance “He made haste and came down…” Luke 19:6 “Immediately he and all his family were baptized.” Acts 16:33 “You are the man… ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’” 2 Samuel 12: 7, 13 Get up and returnGet up and return
    20. 20. 4. his father…had compassion, and ran and fell on4. his father…had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. Luke 15:20his neck and kissed him. Luke 15:20 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to beyour sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.‘ luke 15:21called your son.‘ luke 15:21 • HumbleHumble yourselfyourself before thebefore the LordLord Humble yourself before HimHumble yourself before Him
    21. 21. RepentanceRepentance • Sit with yourselfSit with yourself • Don’t try to findDon’t try to find excuses for yourselfexcuses for yourself • Don’t postponeDon’t postpone repentancerepentance • Humble yourselfHumble yourself before the Lordbefore the Lord
    22. 22. Post repentancePost repentance
    23. 23. ringring • It has a seal to markIt has a seal to mark documents.documents. • ResemblesResembles authorityauthority.. • ““See, I have set you overSee, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”all the land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took hisThen Pharaoh took his signet ring off his handsignet ring off his hand and put it on Joseph'sand put it on Joseph's hand”hand” Genesis 41: 41, 42Genesis 41: 41, 42
    24. 24. RobeRobe • “…“…He has covered meHe has covered me with the robe ofwith the robe of righteousness…”righteousness…” Isaiah 61:10Isaiah 61:10 • Righteousness =Righteousness = To do what is rightTo do what is right • ““Therefore bear fruitsTherefore bear fruits worthy of repentance.”worthy of repentance.” Matthew 3:8Matthew 3:8
    25. 25. SandalsSandals • “…“…Having shod your feetHaving shod your feet with the preparation ofwith the preparation of the gospel of peace.”the gospel of peace.” Ephesians 6:15Ephesians 6:15 • Sandals = WalkingSandals = Walking according to the gospelaccording to the gospel
    26. 26. "And he arose and came to his father…” Luke 15:20 In the church keep your target our Lord Jesus alone. Focus on Him onlyFocus on Him only
    27. 27. Post RepentancePost Repentance Ring = AuthorityRing = Authority Robe = RighteousnessRobe = Righteousness Sandals = WalkingSandals = Walking according to the gospelaccording to the gospel His Father = In the churchHis Father = In the church keep your target our Lordkeep your target our Lord Jesus aloneJesus alone Remember who you areRemember who you are
    28. 28. 23rd July 2010 The Law of Grace 28 The People around JesusThe People around Jesus There were two groups of people who had comeThere were two groups of people who had come to listen to the Lord Jesus:to listen to the Lord Jesus: • TheThe ‘tax collectors and sinners’‘tax collectors and sinners’ – These men– These men and women correspond to the younger brotherand women correspond to the younger brother in the parable. They observed neither moral orin the parable. They observed neither moral or religious laws. They left the home of theirreligious laws. They left the home of their tradition.tradition. • TheThe ‘Pharisees and the teachers of the law’‘Pharisees and the teachers of the law’ who correspond to the older brother. Theywho correspond to the older brother. They studied and obeyed the Scripture. Theystudied and obeyed the Scripture. They worshipped faithfully and prayed constantly.worshipped faithfully and prayed constantly. They never left the home of their traditions.They never left the home of their traditions.
    29. 29. 23rd July 2010 The Law of Grace 29 To whom is the parable directed?To whom is the parable directed? • It is to the second group, the scribes andIt is to the second group, the scribes and Pharisees. It is in response to their attitude thatPharisees. It is in response to their attitude that Jesus begins to tell the parable.Jesus begins to tell the parable. • The parable climaxes with a powerful plea fromThe parable climaxes with a powerful plea from the Father to the elder son for him to changethe Father to the elder son for him to change his heart.his heart. • He is not on the side of the irreligious or theHe is not on the side of the irreligious or the religious.religious. • But the Lord singles out the religious moralismBut the Lord singles out the religious moralism as a particular deadly spiritual condition.as a particular deadly spiritual condition.
    30. 30. 23rd July 2010 The Law of Grace 30 To whom is the parable directed?To whom is the parable directed? • In every case where the Lord meets a religiousIn every case where the Lord meets a religious person and a sexual outcast (Luke 7) or aperson and a sexual outcast (Luke 7) or a religious person and a racial outcast (John 3-4)religious person and a racial outcast (John 3-4) or a religious person and a political outcastor a religious person and a political outcast (Luke 19), the outcast is the one who connects(Luke 19), the outcast is the one who connects with the Lord.with the Lord. • The elder brother type does not connect.The elder brother type does not connect. • Jesus says to the respectable religious leadersJesus says to the respectable religious leaders that the ‘tax collectors and prostitutes enter thethat the ‘tax collectors and prostitutes enter the kingdom before you” (Matth 21:31)kingdom before you” (Matth 21:31)
    31. 31. 23rd July 2010 The Law of Grace 31 The Lost Younger BrotherThe Lost Younger Brother Q. Why is it easier for the young son to acceptQ. Why is it easier for the young son to accept the Father’s love?the Father’s love?
    32. 32. 23rd July 2010 The Law of Grace 32 The Lost Younger BrotherThe Lost Younger Brother • The division of the estate only occurred whenThe division of the estate only occurred when the father died. To ask while the Father werethe father died. To ask while the Father were alive is toalive is to wish him deadwish him dead.. • He wants his fathers things but not his Father.He wants his fathers things but not his Father. • A traditional middle eastern father would beA traditional middle eastern father would be expected to respond to such a request byexpected to respond to such a request by driving the son out of the family with nothingdriving the son out of the family with nothing except physical blows.except physical blows. • The younger brother asks the Father to tear hisThe younger brother asks the Father to tear his life apart.life apart.
    33. 33. 23rd July 2010 The Law of Grace 33 The Younger Brothers PlanThe Younger Brothers Plan • The son intended to make restitution and sayThe son intended to make restitution and say ‘Father, I know I don’t have the right to come‘Father, I know I don’t have the right to come back but if you take me on as a hired man I willback but if you take me on as a hired man I will repay my debt.’repay my debt.’ • The FatherThe Father runsruns to him – middle easternto him – middle eastern patriarchs do not pick up their robes, showingpatriarchs do not pick up their robes, showing their legs and run. But his father does.their legs and run. But his father does.
    34. 34. 23rd July 2010 The Law of Grace 34 The Fathers PlanThe Fathers Plan • The best robe in the house is the Father’s ownThe best robe in the house is the Father’s own robe, the sign that he is restored in the familyrobe, the sign that he is restored in the family standingstanding • The Father is saying, “I’m not going to wait untilThe Father is saying, “I’m not going to wait until you’ve paid off your debt. You are not going toyou’ve paid off your debt. You are not going to earn your way back – I will simply take youearn your way back – I will simply take you back and cover your nakedness and restoreback and cover your nakedness and restore your riches, returning your honouryour riches, returning your honour • There is no evil that the Father’s love cannotThere is no evil that the Father’s love cannot pardon and cover – not only is there food topardon and cover – not only is there food to spare but Grace to sparespare but Grace to spare
    35. 35. 23rd July 2010 The Law of Grace 35 The Lost Elder BrotherThe Lost Elder Brother Q. What makes it hard for the older son toQ. What makes it hard for the older son to accept?accept?
    36. 36. 23rd July 2010 The Law of Grace 36 The Lost Elder BrotherThe Lost Elder Brother • He remains outside the door, publiclyHe remains outside the door, publicly showing he disagrees with hisshowing he disagrees with his Father’s actions.Father’s actions. • By bringing the younger brother backBy bringing the younger brother back into the family he has made him aninto the family he has made him an heir of his own share of the father’sheir of his own share of the father’s wealth.wealth. • And I’ve earned what I’ve got!And I’ve earned what I’ve got!
    37. 37. 23rd July 2010 The Law of Grace 37 The Lost Elder BrotherThe Lost Elder Brother • He addresses the Father with noHe addresses the Father with no respect – “Look..” Such behaviour isrespect – “Look..” Such behaviour is outrageous.outrageous. • The Father instead of disowning himThe Father instead of disowning him tries to convince him.tries to convince him. • The Lord is speaking to the PhariseesThe Lord is speaking to the Pharisees and trying to plead with those whoand trying to plead with those who would crucify Him to follow Him.would crucify Him to follow Him.
    38. 38. 23rd July 2010 The Law of Grace 38 The Lord’s view of SinThe Lord’s view of Sin • The message of the Lord is that bothThe message of the Lord is that both sons are wrong. This parable showssons are wrong. This parable shows thethe radical alternative…radical alternative… • The lover of prostitutes is savedThe lover of prostitutes is saved because he accepts the Father’s love,because he accepts the Father’s love, but the man of good morals is still lostbut the man of good morals is still lost because he feels he has earned it.because he feels he has earned it.
    39. 39. 23rd July 2010 The Law of Grace 39 The Lord’s view of SinThe Lord’s view of Sin • His own pride in his own moral recordHis own pride in his own moral record of keeping the law is keeping himof keeping the law is keeping him away from his Father.away from his Father. • The elder brother thinks ‘I have neverThe elder brother thinks ‘I have never disobeyed you! Now you have to dodisobeyed you! Now you have to do things in my life my way.’things in my life my way.’ • Neither son loved the Father forNeither son loved the Father for HimselfHimself
    40. 40. 23rd July 2010 The Law of Grace 40 Sin RedefinedSin Redefined • If we, like the elder brother, believe thatIf we, like the elder brother, believe that God ought to bless us and help usGod ought to bless us and help us because we have worked so hard to obeybecause we have worked so hard to obey Him and to be a good person, then JesusHim and to be a good person, then Jesus may be:may be: – Your helperYour helper – Your exampleYour example – Even your inspirationEven your inspiration – But He will not be allowed to be your SaviourBut He will not be allowed to be your Saviour – You are serving as your own saviour!You are serving as your own saviour!
    41. 41. 23rd July 2010 The Law of Grace 41 It is Important to ObeyIt is Important to Obey • 21 Whoever has my commands and21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who lovesobeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved byme. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him andmy Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."show myself to him." John 14:21John 14:21 • It is important to obey with the rightIt is important to obey with the right Spirit.Spirit.
    42. 42. 23rd July 2010 The Law of Grace 42 God’s Grace to usGod’s Grace to us • During a British conference on comparativeDuring a British conference on comparative religions, experts from around the worldreligions, experts from around the world debated what, if any, belief was unique to thedebated what, if any, belief was unique to the Christian faith.Christian faith. • C.S. Lewis walks in and asks ‘what’s theC.S. Lewis walks in and asks ‘what’s the rumpus about?’ they explain and he says – ‘ohrumpus about?’ they explain and he says – ‘oh that’s easy. It’s Grace.’that’s easy. It’s Grace.’ • Think about it, what other religion has thatThink about it, what other religion has that concept or could even accept that?concept or could even accept that?
    43. 43. 23rd July 2010 The Law of Grace 43 God’s Grace to usGod’s Grace to us • Story of prodigal girlStory of prodigal girl • In Church Theology - God theIn Church Theology - God the Father is looked at asFather is looked at as ‘The One‘The One who Loves.’who Loves.’ • Analogy from the film the lastAnalogy from the film the last emperor.emperor.
    44. 44. In Phillip Yancey’s book “What’s so Amazing aboutIn Phillip Yancey’s book “What’s so Amazing about Grace,” Yancy retells the story of the Prodigal SonGrace,” Yancy retells the story of the Prodigal Son from a modern day view point. It is a powerfulfrom a modern day view point. It is a powerful story and it’s definitely worth sharing. Here’s thestory and it’s definitely worth sharing. Here’s the story …story … THE RUNAWAYTHE RUNAWAY A young girl grows up on a cherry orchard justA young girl grows up on a cherry orchard just above Traverse City, Michigan. Her parents, a bitabove Traverse City, Michigan. Her parents, a bit old-fashioned, tend to overreact to her nose ring,old-fashioned, tend to overreact to her nose ring, the music she listens to, and the length of herthe music she listens to, and the length of her skirts. They ground her a few times, and sheskirts. They ground her a few times, and she Modern Day Prodigal GirlModern Day Prodigal Girl
    45. 45. ““I hate you!” she screams at her father when heI hate you!” she screams at her father when he knocks on the door of her room after an argument,knocks on the door of her room after an argument, and that night she acts on a plan she has mentallyand that night she acts on a plan she has mentally rehearsed scores of times. She runs away.rehearsed scores of times. She runs away. She has visited Detroit only once before, on a busShe has visited Detroit only once before, on a bus trip with her church youth group to watch thetrip with her church youth group to watch the Tigers play. Because newspapers in Traverse CityTigers play. Because newspapers in Traverse City report in lurid detail the gangs, drugs, and violencereport in lurid detail the gangs, drugs, and violence in downtown Detroit, she concludes that isin downtown Detroit, she concludes that is probably the last place her parents will look forprobably the last place her parents will look for her. California, maybe, or Florida, but not Detroither. California, maybe, or Florida, but not Detroit. Modern Day Prodigal GirlModern Day Prodigal Girl
    46. 46. Her second day there she meets a man who drivesHer second day there she meets a man who drives the biggest car she’s ever seen. He offers her athe biggest car she’s ever seen. He offers her a ride, buys her lunch, arranges a place for her toride, buys her lunch, arranges a place for her to stay. He gives her some pills that make her feelstay. He gives her some pills that make her feel better than she’s ever felt before. She was right allbetter than she’s ever felt before. She was right all along, she decides: Her parents were keeping heralong, she decides: Her parents were keeping her from all the fun.from all the fun. The good life continues for a month, two months, aThe good life continues for a month, two months, a year. The man with the big car—she calls himyear. The man with the big car—she calls him “Boss”–teaches her a few things that men like.“Boss”–teaches her a few things that men like. Since she’s underage, men pay a premium for herSince she’s underage, men pay a premium for her. Modern Day Prodigal GirlModern Day Prodigal Girl
    47. 47. She lives in a penthouse and orders room serviceShe lives in a penthouse and orders room service whenever she wants. Occasionally she thinkswhenever she wants. Occasionally she thinks about the folks back home, but their lives nowabout the folks back home, but their lives now seem so boring that she can hardly believe sheseem so boring that she can hardly believe she grew up there. She has a brief scare when shegrew up there. She has a brief scare when she sees her picture printed on the back of a milksees her picture printed on the back of a milk carton with the headline, “Have you seen thiscarton with the headline, “Have you seen this child?” But by now she has blond hair, and with allchild?” But by now she has blond hair, and with all the makeup and body-piercing jewelry she wears,the makeup and body-piercing jewelry she wears, nobody would mistake her for a child. Besides,nobody would mistake her for a child. Besides, most of her friends are runaways, and nobodymost of her friends are runaways, and nobody squeals in Detroit.squeals in Detroit. Modern Day Prodigal GirlModern Day Prodigal Girl
    48. 48. After a year, the first sallow signs of illness appear,After a year, the first sallow signs of illness appear, and it amazes her how fast the boss turns mean.and it amazes her how fast the boss turns mean. “These days, we can’t mess around,” he growls,“These days, we can’t mess around,” he growls, and before she knows it she’s out on the streetand before she knows it she’s out on the street without a penny to her name. She still turns awithout a penny to her name. She still turns a couple of tricks a night, but they don’t pay much,couple of tricks a night, but they don’t pay much, and all the money goes to support her drug habit.and all the money goes to support her drug habit. When winter blows in she finds herself sleeping onWhen winter blows in she finds herself sleeping on metal grates outside the big department stores.metal grates outside the big department stores. “Sleeping” is the wrong word—a teenage girl at“Sleeping” is the wrong word—a teenage girl at night in downtown Detroit can never relax hernight in downtown Detroit can never relax her guard.guard. Modern Day Prodigal GirlModern Day Prodigal Girl
    49. 49. Dark bands circle her eyes. Her cough worsens.Dark bands circle her eyes. Her cough worsens. One night, as she lies awake listening forOne night, as she lies awake listening for footsteps, all of a sudden everything about her lifefootsteps, all of a sudden everything about her life looks different. She no longer feels like a womanlooks different. She no longer feels like a woman of the world. She feels like a little girl, lost in a coldof the world. She feels like a little girl, lost in a cold and frightening city. She begins to whimper. Herand frightening city. She begins to whimper. Her pockets are empty and she’s hungry. She needs apockets are empty and she’s hungry. She needs a fix. She pulls her legs tight underneath her andfix. She pulls her legs tight underneath her and shivers under the newspapers she’s piled atop hershivers under the newspapers she’s piled atop her coat. Something jolts a synapse of memory and acoat. Something jolts a synapse of memory and a single image fills her mind:single image fills her mind: Modern Day Prodigal GirlModern Day Prodigal Girl
    50. 50. of May in Traverse City, when a million cherry treesof May in Traverse City, when a million cherry trees bloom at once, with her golden retriever dashingbloom at once, with her golden retriever dashing through the rows and rows of blossomy trees inthrough the rows and rows of blossomy trees in chase of a tennis ball.chase of a tennis ball. God, why did I leave?God, why did I leave? she says to herself, and painshe says to herself, and pain stabs at her heart.stabs at her heart. My dog back home eats betterMy dog back home eats better than I do now.than I do now. She’s sobbing, and she knows in aShe’s sobbing, and she knows in a flash that more than anything else in the world sheflash that more than anything else in the world she wants to go home.wants to go home. Three straight phone calls, three straightThree straight phone calls, three straight connections with the answering machine.connections with the answering machine. Modern Day Prodigal GirlModern Day Prodigal Girl
    51. 51. She hangs up without leaving a message the firstShe hangs up without leaving a message the first two times, but the third time she says, “Dad, Mom,two times, but the third time she says, “Dad, Mom, it’s me. I was wondering about maybe comingit’s me. I was wondering about maybe coming home. I’m catching a bus up your way, and it’ll gethome. I’m catching a bus up your way, and it’ll get there about midnight tomorrow. If you’re not there,there about midnight tomorrow. If you’re not there, well, I guess I’ll just stay on the bus until it hitswell, I guess I’ll just stay on the bus until it hits Canada.”Canada.” It takes about seven hours for a bus to make allIt takes about seven hours for a bus to make all the stops between Detroit and Traverse City, andthe stops between Detroit and Traverse City, and during that time she realizes the flaws in her plan.during that time she realizes the flaws in her plan. What if her parents are out of town and miss theWhat if her parents are out of town and miss the message?message? Modern Day Prodigal GirlModern Day Prodigal Girl
    52. 52. Shouldn’t she have waited another day or so untilShouldn’t she have waited another day or so until she could talk to them? Even if they are home,she could talk to them? Even if they are home, they probably wrote her off as dead long ago. Shethey probably wrote her off as dead long ago. She should have given them some time to overcomeshould have given them some time to overcome the shock.the shock. Her thoughts bounce back and forth betweenHer thoughts bounce back and forth between those worries and the speech she is preparing forthose worries and the speech she is preparing for her father. “Dad, I’m sorry. I know I was wrong. It’sher father. “Dad, I’m sorry. I know I was wrong. It’s not your fault, it’s all mine. Dad, can you forgivenot your fault, it’s all mine. Dad, can you forgive me?” She says the words over and over, her throatme?” She says the words over and over, her throat tightening even as she rehearses them. She hasn’ttightening even as she rehearses them. She hasn’t apologized to anyone in yearsapologized to anyone in years Modern Day Prodigal GirlModern Day Prodigal Girl
    53. 53. The bus has been driving with lights on since BayThe bus has been driving with lights on since Bay City. Tiny snowflakes hit the road, and the asphaltCity. Tiny snowflakes hit the road, and the asphalt steams. She’s forgotten how dark it gets at nightsteams. She’s forgotten how dark it gets at night out here. A deer darts across the road and the busout here. A deer darts across the road and the bus swerves. Every so often, a billboard. A sign postingswerves. Every so often, a billboard. A sign posting the mileage to Traverse City.the mileage to Traverse City. Oh, God.Oh, God. When the bus finally rolls into the station, its airWhen the bus finally rolls into the station, its air brakes hissing in protest, the driver announces inbrakes hissing in protest, the driver announces in a crackly voice over the microphone, “Fifteena crackly voice over the microphone, “Fifteen minutes, folks. That’s all we have here.” Fifteenminutes, folks. That’s all we have here.” Fifteen minutes to decide her life.minutes to decide her life. Modern Day Prodigal GirlModern Day Prodigal Girl
    54. 54. She checks herself in a compact mirror, smoothsShe checks herself in a compact mirror, smooths her hair, and licks the lipstick off her teeth. Sheher hair, and licks the lipstick off her teeth. She looks at the tobacco stains on her fingertips andlooks at the tobacco stains on her fingertips and wonders if her parents will notice. If they’re there.wonders if her parents will notice. If they’re there. She walks into the terminal not knowing what toShe walks into the terminal not knowing what to expect, and not one of the thousand scenes thatexpect, and not one of the thousand scenes that have played out in her mind prepare her for whathave played out in her mind prepare her for what she sees. There, in the concrete-walls-and-plastic-she sees. There, in the concrete-walls-and-plastic- chairs bus terminal in Traverse City, Michigan,chairs bus terminal in Traverse City, Michigan, stands a group of 40 family members—brothersstands a group of 40 family members—brothers and sisters and great-aunts and uncles andand sisters and great-aunts and uncles and cousins and a grandmother and great-cousins and a grandmother and great- grandmother to boot.grandmother to boot. Modern Day Prodigal GirlModern Day Prodigal Girl
    55. 55. They are all wearing ridiculous-looking party hatsThey are all wearing ridiculous-looking party hats and blowing noisemakers, and taped across theand blowing noisemakers, and taped across the entire wall of the terminal is a computer-generatedentire wall of the terminal is a computer-generated banner that reads “Welcome home!”banner that reads “Welcome home!” Out of the crowd of well-wishers breaks her dad.Out of the crowd of well-wishers breaks her dad. She looks through tears and begins theShe looks through tears and begins the memorized speech,memorized speech, “Dad, I’m sorry. I know … ““Dad, I’m sorry. I know … “ He interrupts her.He interrupts her. “Hush, child. We’ve got no time“Hush, child. We’ve got no time for that. No time for apologies. You’ll be late forfor that. No time for apologies. You’ll be late for the party. A banquet’s waiting for you at home.”the party. A banquet’s waiting for you at home.” And so it is with God’s amazing grace.And so it is with God’s amazing grace. Modern Day Prodigal GirlModern Day Prodigal Girl
    56. 56. But what’s so amazing about it, anyway?But what’s so amazing about it, anyway? Ask people what they must do to get to return toAsk people what they must do to get to return to God and most reply, “Be good.” Jesus’ storiesGod and most reply, “Be good.” Jesus’ stories contradict that answer.contradict that answer. All we must do is cry, “Help!” God welcomes homeAll we must do is cry, “Help!” God welcomes home anyone who will have him and, in fact, has madeanyone who will have him and, in fact, has made the first move already.the first move already. That’s what’s so amazing about grace.That’s what’s so amazing about grace. Modern Day Prodigal GirlModern Day Prodigal Girl
    57. 57. 23rd July 2010 The Law of Grace 57 Who are you?Who are you? • If you were to ask St. John the Gospel writerIf you were to ask St. John the Gospel writer who he is, what would he say?who he is, what would he say? • ‘‘I am the one who Jesus loves.’I am the one who Jesus loves.’ • There is a story of a priest passing a peasantThere is a story of a priest passing a peasant village who sees a peasant praying on the sidevillage who sees a peasant praying on the side of the street and says to him ‘you must be closeof the street and says to him ‘you must be close to God’.to God’. • The peasant answers – ‘Yes He’s very fond ofThe peasant answers – ‘Yes He’s very fond of me’me’ • If I truly believed that God Loved me and IIf I truly believed that God Loved me and I really accepted it – how different would I be?really accepted it – how different would I be?

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