“Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents”, Luke 15:10.
- There is a rebel living in every one of us.
- All of us have flesh, which is the reason for obstinate behaviour, Galatians 5:16-17.
- Especially in teenage and babyhood – both physical and spiritual – we all have an inside desire to do things in our own way, not to listen to the authorities and go against order. We perceive authorities as having excessive control.
- Everyone has a desire to please themselves, be independent, and march to their own drummer, 2 Tim. 2:22.
- We all have a desire to prove to the pastor, boss, father that we know more now, we are stronger and understand more. ‘Look at me, father, recognise me, bow down to me, revere me’. We must fight against it consciously. One can only fight it through contriteness, humbleness, and honour. Always remind yourself that we would not have had anything, if we did not receive it from the father. We owe everything to him.
- We can either be in contriteness, reverence and honour towards elders, or be in disdain, rivalry, and curse.
- We must overcome such manifestation of babyhood.
- As we read Luke 15:12 we see that the younger son could not overcome the temptation to seek things of his own.
- He was wayward, wanted to achieve success by avoiding the rules; he wanted to become great through his own ways, not the proper way, Luke 15:13.
- We will always win if we listen to God and do everything by His rules. When we follow our own desires, we lose peace, happiness, resources, time, and life. The devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy.
- As we read in Matt. 25:14-15, we see that God gives gifts and talents to everyone, but these gifts and talents bring prosperity, blessing, and benefits only when they are used by the rules commanded by the Father.
- According to Ephesians 4:8, God gives gifts to all people, but they must be used in line with His rules, the way He predetermined it.
- When we deviate from the instruction of our physical or spiritual father, the Heavenly Father, it is the same as claiming that we are smarter and know better. By doing that we present God, our leader, or physical father as foolish.
- Too many people today believe that they are better than their parents; but such position will never amount to anything good, Luke 13:15.
- The sense of superiority over parents, boss, God gives rise to atheism. In the foundation of it lies pride, conceit, and selfishness.
- According to Luke 15:14, when one is not obedient to their father, they will experience lack in everything.
- Many people today are trying to achieve success in order to prove to everyone that they can do something and become someone great on their own – without a father, God, or leader. However, this success and achievements will never fill the vacuum in their soul. Even after certain victories, they feel empty and lost. So what are they lacking? They do not have the most important things in life – a father, fatherly cover, protection, and that means they really have nothing.
- We all will be tempted to choose fame instead of a healthy relationship – to recognise friends instead of being obedient to the father.
- We all will be tempted to set well-being, money, and prosperity over the covenant relationship, kinship with the father.
- The devil never warns ahead of time when the human fame will fade away and friends leave, when the money will run out and fans disappear into the thin air.
- Father and mother, whom you left one day, will never betray or leave you. There will always be kinship, relationship with the most precious people. They sacrificed things to raise you, and they will always understand you.
- Your relationship with God will never let you down. It does not depend on you being famous and rich.
- Nobody gets to choose parents or change a father. When fame fades, family and kinship remain.
- Your relationship with God, with relatives are the highest value. They are more important than fame and material values.
- Riches and fame came easy to the prodigal son. However, they not only gave him a false sense of confidence, but also pushed deeper into the pit of self-deception: “You see, I left and everything is going great”.
- Your father is a father not because he has riches and glory, but because he has life experience. Fame comes momentarily, but greatness comes with longevity. We can see confirmation to that in this story – fame and riches came to the son just as quickly as they subsequently left him. However, his father remained his father irrespective of the son’s fame and riches.
- It is not property and riches that makes one a father, but the accumulated life experience and maturity. You cannot buy that.
- Luke 15:15. If such a person does not come back to their senses in time, then after the stage of scarcity comes the next stage of degradation. The person goes down to the level of people, who are lower than they are in either values, or spiritual development, or intellectual development, or moral standards. In this story, the prodigal son actually went down to the level of unintelligent people, sinners.
- This degradation may never end, until it gets to the next level. The Bible says that “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God”. Now we are talking about such a level of degradation, when it is not the Spirit of God leading man, but demons whispering to his ears. At this stage, we say that a man loses his mind: though he is not really crazy, but does not act adequately either.
- One cannot buy authority one can only win it. The prodigal son gained authority through money and fame and lost it in a moment. However, it is impossible to lose a father’s authority.
- Then the prodigal son moved to another stage. People, who were lower than him only yesterday, now are mocking him and do not let him be part of them. He got to the point when he “filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate”.
- Luke 15:17 is the stage of hunger, thirst, and craving. Thirst and scarcity become unbearable; the inner suffering becomes unendurable. At this stage it not only involves physical hunger, scarcity, want, but also absence of peace, rest, health, happiness, life satisfaction and calling.
- At the same time, there is everything in abundance in the house of the father – peace, and joy, and happiness, and satisfaction, and fulfilment of calling.
- Father invests generously in those, who are even below his son; he even raises slaves, while his son eats with swine.
- John 10:10 – whilst the devil steals, kills, and destroys, God the Father gives life in the father’s house and even gives it with abundance.
- Do you think the heart of the father forgot his prodigal son or was waiting for him to return?
- Yes, the prodigal son was far from home, but distance is not measured by kilometres and miles, distance is measured by kinship of souls. You may be far from your father and mother, be far from home, but still close in kinship and in love. On the other hand, as we can see in the example of the older brother that you can be close physically, but still be miles away in your heart.
- Luke 15:18-24, Sincere and true repentance restores everything.
- Sincere and true repentance is contriteness and reverence.
- Sincere and true repentance is acting in the opposite way; turning 180 degrees.
- Sincere and true repentance is readiness to become a slave if need be.
- Sincere and true repentance is to come to terms with loss and hardships, and still be completely obedient.
- Sincere and true repentance is not to seek things of one’s own, but start living for the glory of the father. A true son seeks the glory of the father.
- Repentance is not enough for restoration. Apart from repentance, one needs faith, faith in the father, faith in forgiveness, faith in acceptance, and faith in father’s cover.
- Repentance means faith in the truth. There must be faith in a happy end; do not be afraid of what the father might say. You still need to do the right thing. You must act according to what the truth says no matter the consequences.
- Repentance is believing that you were wrong and that you need to fix your mistake even if another brother and servants will not understand. Even if the father himself will react negatively, you still need to fix your mistake. This is what faith in the truth is.
- Whenever there is true repentance, heaven rejoices, Luke 10:32.
- If there is feast in heavens, the same feast is transmitted into the father’s heart. That is why the father makes a feast here on earth too.
- Luke 15:25-32. If you walk by the flesh, you may interpret father’s actions wrong, as the older son did in the story. The older son’s envy and jealousy took over him, because he only saw the actions, but not the heart of the father.
- The older son was indignant, because he did not understand that the feast for the younger son is a tip to him that, if, God forbid, anything happens with him the father will understand and cover him too.
- The older son did not understand that the feast is for him too, and that is how the father is trying to make him understand that he does not need to earn acceptance of the father with works, but with faith in his splendour and love. However, ego and selfishness dazzle. Ego shuts the eyes to love and forgiveness; and man ceases to see the value of acceptance, love and forgiveness.
- Selfishness kills humanness.
- The older brother did not know the true meaning of greatness. So what is greatness of man? The true greatness is manifested through splendour, nobility, and the measure of care of one person for others. And that is what the father demonstrated. My readiness to accept, cover, and take care of others defines my greatness.
- Do not be the older brother!
In our house you are loved, accepted, and covered with the blessing of the Father!
The Senior Pastor of the Embassy of the Blessed Kingdom of God for All Nations,
In order to study this topic deeper, I recommend reading my book “The Value of Trainer”, as well as the testimony and letter by T. Shuraits. They are available on the Russian pages of the church web-site in the “Testimony” Column.
Translated and Edited by Cambridge&Oxford Publishing House, United Kingdom