Monday, March 06, 2006

The Joy of God

posted by Paul

On Wednesday night of this Year’s Shepherd’s Conference John MacArthur preached in Luke 15. This sermon, on the Prodigal son, is one of the finest examples of expository preaching that I have ever encountered. Pastor MacArthur demonstrated exactly what Steve Lawson preached about from Nehemiah 8. The force behind MacArthur’s sermon was “The Joy of God in the Recovery of Sinners.” This is quite an amazing thought! God finds joy in our salvation. In fact, this is why he created the world; that we might be restored to him and bring him glory through His joy. As we read through this parable we must note that Jesus’ comments were directed at the Pharisees and Scribes who were grumbling at the presence of sinners and tax collectors.

“The Joy of God is in the Recovery of Sinners”
John MacArthur
Luke 15

vss. 11-12a A Shameful Request
-The younger son shames his father.
-In essence he told his father that he could not wait until he was dead.

vss. 12b A Shameful Response
-The father gave into his son’s ridiculous request.
-By giving his son this much freedom he is heaping shame onto himself.
(Notice that the older brother is nowhere to be found)

vs. 13 A Shameful Rebellion
-“gathered everything together” he turned his inheritance into cash fast
-It was a cheap fast sale at a discount price.
-He went into a Gentile land; an unclean place.
-For this boy they probably would have had a full fledged funeral.
-He squandered his money on prostitutes (vs. 30)
-He fed swine; this would have been an outrage. This was not his employment; the man in the field was just trying to get rid of him. No one even paid him.
-The lesson is that sin is this outrageously rebellious to God. Jesus invented the ultimate sinner for this story.

vs. 17 A Shameful Repentance
-The starting point of repentance is an accurate assessment of one’s position.
-He remembered his father’s goodness and faith in his father’s mercy.
-He understood that he had sinned as high as heaven.
-He was going to repay his father by working for him.
-The people of the town would have been obliged to publicly scorn the son upon his arrival into the town.

vs. 20 A Shameful Reconciliation
-Pharisees: “How weak is this guy?”
-He runs through the town, which would have been a disgrace because is would have revealed himself to the entire town, in order to take the shame that the son would have received from the town.
-The Pharisees could not understand this because they didn’t understand grace.
-The son didn’t even mention earning reconciliation because he had already received reconciliation.
-God finds joy in the recovery of one lost son just like the father found joy in the recovery of his son.

vs. 22 A Shameful Rejoicing
-The best robe was the father’s robe usually reserved from the oldest son’s wedding.
-The ring gave him the full authority of the father.
-The father held the party to celebrate his own joy.

vss. 25-26 A Shameful Reaction
-The fact that the older son was in field and had no idea what was going on showed that he had no relationship with the father, nor did he care about his father’s joy. This was probably the first person that the Pharisees understood.

vs. 28 A Shameful Reply
-Instead of making the son go into the party he pleaded with his son to go into the party.
-The older son had no interest in the father’s joy.
-He attacked his father’s grace, but his father still responded gently.

Even though we do not really have an ending to this story- the son’s reaction to the father is not recorded- we do know what would have happened. The oldest son would have taken a piece of fire wood and beat his father to death. The reason that we know this is because the oldest son represents that Pharisees, and the Father represents God. The Pharisees did not understand grace, and so the killed Jesus.



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