The Parable of the Prodigal Son. Who was that Guy? . Was the Prodigal Son…. A non-Christian? Or… A Wayward Christian?. Why it Matters…. If he was not a Christian, then the message is about salvation If he was a Christian who was wayward, then the message is about Christian living .
The Parable of the Prodigal Son Who was that Guy?
Was the Prodigal Son… A non-Christian? Or… A Wayward Christian?
Why it Matters… If he was not a Christian, then the message is about salvation If he was a Christian who was wayward, then the message is about Christian living
So… was the Prodigal Son… A Non-Christian who the Father Saves or A wayward Christian who the Father Returns to Fellowship?
A Related Question… Was the Repentance that the Father Gave the Son…. repentance onto salvation or repentance onto obedience and fellowship with God?
Non-Christian or Christian? Rules: Cannot violate context Cannot interpret in violation of other Scripture Must recognize that interpreting imagery is not always precise Never over-interpret imagery
Context… Jesus is responding to Pharisees and other skeptics who did not like that Jesus “ate with sinners” They hated the “sinners” and saw themselves as being above the “sinner”
Context…. Jesus then goes on to give 3 Parables… back-to-back-to-back Lost Sheep Lost Coin Prodigal Son
Parable of the Lost Sheep Luke 15:3-5 So he told them this parable: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
Parable of the Lost Coin… Luke 15:8-9 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’
The Prodigal Son… Luke 15:11-13 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.
Astounding Love of the Father… Luke 15:20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
The Three Parables… Have some Certain Elements Associated with Them: The Lost in view were not in Fellowship with their owner The lost did not seek after their owner so as to be found The owner sought after those that were lost
The Three Previous Parables… Have some Certain Elements Associated with Them: A major point of the parables is that each show the Astounding love of the Owner for what was lost This was a lesson for the Pharisees who hated the “sinners” These parables teach that God loves and seeks after “sinners”
Is The Main Message… Altered in any way if the sheep, the coin, or the prodigal son represents an unbeliever or a believer who is wayward at that time?
Do we understand that… God loves sinners (as should we) God seeks after sinners sinners do not seek after God… whether the coin, the sheep, and the prodigal son are saved or not?
What does Context… Support… Seemingly it can support either interpretation … the lost may be the unsaved who are found onto salvation, or… the saved but wayward found onto renewed fellowship with God
What About Scripture Interpreting Scripture? If the sheep, the coin, and the prodigal son started the parables unsaved and ended up saved, then… are the principles from the parables consistent with the rest of the Scriptures teachings?
Scripture…. Do unsaved, spiritually-dead men seek after God --- can they embrace Christ? Genesis 6:5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually Romans 3:9 There is none righteous, no not one; none that understands; there is no one who seeks after God, they have all turned aside
Scripture Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. Because the carnal mind is death, but the spiritual mind is life. Because the carnal mind is enmity towards God, for it is not subject to the law, nor indeed can it be.
Scripture 1 Corinthians 2:14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things from the Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they cannot understand them, because they are Spiritually discerned
In the Parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin… The Key points are that the lost did not --- could not --- seek out God, and… that God seeks out the lost…. And both Context and Scripture can support the notion that the lost here were unsaved.
What about the Prodigal Son? Did he seek after the father? NO --- he sought after what served himself best --- so…. Can the prodigal son have been unsaved… maybe?!
The Imagery… In the Prodigal Son Parable… the prodigal was a son --- a son already has a relationship with the father … is this consistent with the prodigal starting out unsaved? The prodigal has an inheritance to claim… does an unsaved person have an inheritance to claim?
The Prodigal Son… the context and the fact that the general principles of the parable line up well with the rest of the Scriptures enable either interpretation… but perhaps the imagery fits the Wayward Christian interpretation better…
The Wayward Interpretation… If he was a Christian who was wayward, then the message is about Christian living What then is the message?
The Message… Luke 15:11-13 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them.
God Will.. At times let His children walk out of fellowship with Him… but remember three things ….
#1: God is Sovereign Ephesians 1:11 In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works all things out in conformity with his will
#1: God is Sovereign Isaiah 14:24 The LORD of hosts has sworn saying, ""Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand…..
#1: God is Sovereign Isaiah 46:9:10 “"Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning
#1: God is Sovereign Proverbs 20:24 Man's steps are ordained by the LORD Psalm 139:16: And in Your book was written each day that was ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.
#2: God is Gracious…. Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
#3: God Never Forsakes Us Deut 31:18 It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you Matthew 28:20b .... And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Why Does God Allow us… At times to break fellowship with Him? To show us the futility of our own self-centered ways To show us that we are completely dependent upon Grace To allow a context for His Astounding Love to be displayed
Consider the Prodigal Son… Was he better off before he was allowed to walk away for a time… or after?
Why Does God Allow You… Sin and walk away from fellowship for a time? So that He can BLESS YOU.
God is Gracious…. Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
In View of This… We PRAISE HIM!