Chuck Foreman – Teaching / Missions Pastor
When the Kingdom of Heaven comes to earth (and it has!)…When the Kingdom of Heaven shows up in your neighborhood or your family (and it should!)…When the Kingdom of Heaven barges its way into your church! (of all places!)… God’s next order of business is ALWAYS helping his own kids be OK with what he is doing—with whom HE has invited. You see, it’s always the family members who don’t like who has shown up for dinner!
We often find it difficult to accept people whom we believe have disqualified themselves from membership in the family, or who have not learned to behave as a true family member ought.
Intro to Jesus’ Stories: Crowds were traveling w/Jesus. He was teaching them. Unacceptable, disqualified people were gathering around to hear him. The religious community was upset, put out and ticked off!
GOD’s Story – The Lost Sheep, Coin & Son, Luke 15:1-32
His Point: God throws a party in heaven when he finds what was lost—when his flock and his coin collection are complete again, and when one of his children return home. He wants all of us to join in the celebration, not complain about his generosity.
In these stories, Jesus goes to great lengths to give us a crystal clear picture of the heart of God. How can we possibly miss him here? Do you see that the real choice we have to make is not whether we want to associate with the lost, mangy strays our Father is bringing home, but whether we want to associate with him? Because, this is who He/God is; it’s what he does!
What Older Brother/Pharisees like this need to understand that they are actually saying is this: “Since God will not be my kind of God, I will not be his kind of follower!”
This Jesus Story is a great opportunity for those of us who find ourselves playing the Older Brother role to repent of our older brother-ness. If we don’t, we’ll be left out of the celebration!
And if you know you are the Lost Son/Daughter in this story, Jesus wants you to know God, His Father, in a new way. God is the Daddy, maybe you never had, who isn’t just waiting on the front porch for you, he’s running to meet you even when you’re a long way off!
BIG Idea: Sinful, rebellious people, outsiders and misfits are precious to God. Some he pursues relentlessly, others he waits for patiently. He wants us who have not been lost and who have not strayed to celebrate the return of our younger bros/sisters, the lost and those who have strayed—and not complain about the generous love of our Heavenly Father.