By Pastor John Mateos Ong and Pastora MOnique Lopez Ong
“Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me. ’ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” ’ “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry. “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’ “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’ “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.”
There are cultural differences then and now that you have to keep in mind while reading this parable. First, getting your inheritance is the same as telling your father that you wish he was dead. Second, fathers do not run towards their kids because of age and position. For a father to run towards his child is a sign of real humility. Third, the son, who prepared a speech was not given the chance to say it anymore. It was not about what he was going to say or promise; the father was simply glad that he was back. Lastly, why did the father say that he was dead? Because during the time that the son got his inheritance, he was considered dead.
Just like your earthly father, some of you grew up seeing bad examples set by them, some to the extent of being physically hurt, molested or left by their fathers. Please do not forget that they are not your only father. No matter how bad your earthly father is, you have a Heavenly Father who is perfect and who loves you with an unconditional love. 2 Corinthians 6:18 says“I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.”
The Parable of the Prodigal Son has 3 C’s that you have to know:
1.Our Condition - v. 12-13 “And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me. ’ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.” In this world, no matter whether you are rich or poor, good or bad, literate or illiterate, we have the same conditions. The truth of the matter is we are all in the same boat. All of us are sinners. Apart from God’s grace, we all fall short. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Because of this, we are all bound to go to hell. That is our condition.
2.Our Choice - v. 18-19 “I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” The choice is whether you will follow Jesus or not. God gave you free will so you can make your own decisions. God wants you to love Him on your own. And love cannot thrive without a choice. God gave you the power to choose whether you want to love and follow Him or not. It has to be given freely, otherwise, it cannot be called love. And in case you did not notice, there is a process that you have to go through.
The process of restorations is as follows:
Rebellion - We are al rebels and sin against God; no one is exempted.
Rebuke - When we sin, we get rebuked, not because God is punishing us but because we stray from His umbrella of protection, thus opening ourselves to the attacks of the enemy.
Repentance - We now have an option to repent of our sins or sin on. If we keep on sinning, Romans 14:11 says, “For it is written: “ As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.” Someday, whether you like it or not, all will bow down to God.
Return - When you repent, you return.
Restoration - This happens when you return.
When the father restored his son in verse 22, which says, ““But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet,” what exactly do the items returned to the son mean?
Robe - forgiveness - covers sin and shame
Ring - identity - belonging to the family
Sandals - gives back purpose and meaning
If you see that your condition is regardless of who you are, you need Jesus or else you are bound for hell. You have that choice and free will to follow Him and love on Him.
3.Our Call - v. 28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him.” For the father, it was a great time to celebrate. But for some people, it was a time to get angry. There are two choices you can make: you can be like the father who celebrates and restores or you can be like the brother who saw all the sins and judge.
Luke 15: 1-2 says, “Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” This is why it is important to understand the heart of the Father. Jesus came to reconcile us and bring us home. He is in the ministry of reconciliation. The pharisees and teachers of the law, after receiving the grace of God, sometimes they are the self-righteous ones, forgetting where they came from and what they have received. Many of us are like that sometimes. Colossians 3:13 says, “forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Many are quick to judge. But after receiving grace, you think you are ok. Rather than have the burden to search for the lost, you see your holiness and look down on people who sin and forget that once upon a time, you were in their place.
Restoration is God’s plan for you. But that is not the end. God has bigger plans for you. Being saved is not the end but the beginning of a new journey with Jesus. John 15;16 says, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” You are chosen, not because you are special but because you each have a purpose. Jesus wants everyone to bear fruit. What fruit? People that will come and get to know Jesus through you. Matthew 4:19-20 says, “Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him.” Do you know that many of the original disciples were fishermen? Jesus used what was familiar to them and used it as an example. he used this to call them away from their old lives to father people.
This is a new assignment. Once you receive this grace, God gives you a new calling. God gives you His heart and He asks you to go out and share His heart and bring back as many sons and daughters back into His kingdom. Malachi 4:6 says, “And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” God Himself said that there will be a mutual returning of hearts. It is God’s design that the fathers’ hearts return to their sons and the sons’ hearts return to their fathers. Initially, the original intent is us returning to God. But also, to take up a new role. The people around you have a big role in your life. You can bring them close to the heart of God so that you can really bring the Kingdom of God here on earth.