Luke 15:14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
Luke 15:20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
Luke 15:25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. 28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.
Luke 15:29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: 30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. 31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. 32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
All true, borned again believers are servant’s of the most High God! They are bought and paid for and therefore do not belong to themselves. 1 Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
But all men, even the unregenerate are servants! While all believers are “servants of righteousness,” the unbelievers are “servants of sin.” Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
The true servants of righteousness are made to be “the light of the world.” Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Therefore the very first illuminating thought in this awakened sinner’s mind concerned the contrast between his serving sin, which afforded him not a single bite of bread, and those serving in righteousness in his father’s house. There it is said, no man gave unto him. But his father’s servants not only had bread, but had bread enough and to spare. They have good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over. (Luke 6:38)
For the true church is shown to be reflecting the light of Christ into a realm of darkness. Revelation 12:1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: Daniel 12:3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. And this one who sat in darkness saw this great light as revealed by the Spirit into his soul. Matthew 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.
And that light is Christ, beaming his light from his inner glory, reflecting it off his Bride, the true church! Mark 9:2 And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. 3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
As the light of the world he gives every man the light of intellect. John 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. But they who follow him in submissive obedience, are afforded the spiritual light of life. Ephesians 5:13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy of this reflection of the church to those like the prodigal who are taken captive of the devil. 2 Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
Only the Lord can grant a man repentance! Only the Lord Jesus could call Lazarus back to life from the grave. But he then instructed the church to Loose him, and let him go. For all recovered souls must learn from the instructions and example of the church how to conduct themselves in the realm of Christ’s kingdom. 1 Timothy 3:14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: 15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
And we notice that as soon as the son confesses to the father that he is a sinner and only desires to be made a servant, the father gives instruction to the servants as how they are to relate to this situation. First he is to be clothed with the best robe. And the finest robe that the converted sinner can wear is that of the Son’s imputed righteousness. Revelation 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. The Eternal Son had ‘to wear’ our sin as we were ‘to wear’ his righteousness!
Then the church is to expound the word to them for their instruction concerning that righteousness! 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: And they are received into the household of faith with the ring of the father’s authority. They also receive the shoes for the spreading of the gospel unto others which they have received. Ephesians 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
Then we find the most important matter that the father requires the servants to conduct for the receiving of this sinner. They are required to bring forth the fatted calf, and kill it. It is only the true church who has experience with the atonement! To them the cross is not just a historical event to be give mental assent unto. For they alone feed spiritually from the very sacrifice of the Lamb! John 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
They are as the branches connected to the vine for their constant life! For it is the vine which has the root to draw life from the soil. And it is the Son who is the Root and offspring of David, who draws life from the Father! John 5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
It is of the most serious matter for a soul to know how to conduct himself regarding the sacrifice of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
And finally, it was of these same hired servants who not only knew how to conduct themselves regarding the returning son, but they also were required to deal properly with the son who would not go in. For remember that the true church is said to be the light of the world. Therefore the Apostle Paul well knew that his gospel ministry would affect both the unbelievers, as well as those who would believe. 2 Corinthians 2:15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?
The Hebrew writer states that they have tasted the good word of God, but have rejected it. Therefore it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance; For just as you can’t ‘unring the bell,’ you can’t return a sinner who has rejected the gospel back to the state he was before that rejection. John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
But the servant is not to regard the result of his admonitions, but dwell upon his service to the father. So he answers the elder son’s questions truthfully. 1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without,(outside the true church), redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. 1 Thessalonians 4:11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
Then, just as the Pharisees and scribes in verse two of this Luke fifteen chapter did not understand, nor approve of the publicans and sinners who drew near for to hear the Lord, so the elder son did not understand the sound of the music and dancing within the house. For he asks what these things meant. The servant simply tells him the truth. Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.
His anger to this report relieves the servant of his responsibility, and leaves this elder son to the last words of the father. He instructs this son that thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. And so it is with the unrepentant sinner today. He saw God hungry and didn’t feed him. He saw God sick and in prison and didn’t relieve his suffering. And yet, as Abraham said to the rich man in hell, Thou has had thy good things.
The final word to him: Matthew 25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Pastor Gene Breed
October 23, 2020