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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - The Prodigal Son, A Journey from Recklessness to Redemption

Michael Youssef - The Prodigal Son, A Journey from Recklessness to Redemption

Michael Youssef - The Prodigal Son, A Journey from Recklessness to Redemption
Michael Youssef - The Prodigal Son, A Journey from Recklessness to Redemption
TOPICS: Enduring Wisdom, Parables of Jesus, Prodigal Son, Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Redemption, Reckless

Beloved, the Bible calls parents to lead their children, not the other way around; and I could not help this week as I was writing my notes and I thought about our first grandson. He was 14 months and he was learning to walk, and he just learned that if he grabbed on my finger he can walk and walk and walk and walk. But then he discovered that he could take up a step and then he come down that step. So it was only one step. So he would take that step up, he would step down. He would step up, he would step down. I got dizzy, and then I realized I'm letting a 14 months lead me. No wonder I was dizzy.

Billy Graham used to tell a story about a salesman who came and knocked on the door and 7-year-old boy opened the door and the salesman said, "Can I speak to the boss of the house"? And the boy looked at him and said, "You are talking to him". And today as we continue to look at the story of Jesus telling of the father of those two sons, and today we are going to deal with the younger rebellious son and in the next message I will talk about the outwardly compliant son. This younger boy, as we would say, he had the mind of his own. This is the kind who doesn't want to do anything his parents tell him to do.

Now, the word prodigal really, which describe this younger son in the story, it means rebellious extravagance, rebellious extravagance. I want to tell you extravagance with children in any area creates prodigals, lack of boundaries and limitation with children create prodigals, absence of training and discipline create prodigals. But if you really want to be extravagant with your children, young mom and dad, I want to tell you there is one area you can be very extravagant with them. That's your time. Be very extravagant with your time with them. Back to the younger boy. Just want you to imagine the smirk on that boy's face as he was packing his Jerusalem designer jeans and his Mount Zion designer shirts. I can imagine his surly face accusing his parents of being out of touch with reality. I can imagine the bitterness that he had toward dad for his rules about going to church and cleaning his room and doing his chores.

The Bible said it was only a few days after he gathered some of his assets that his father gave him and left. Probably went on a fire sale and converted these assets into cash. Filled his pocket with cash, went out into his convertible camel. Have you ever seen a convertible camel? Seriously. They all are. He got into his convertible camel and popped up the front wheels and peeled rubber 30 feet headed for the big apple. Oh, baby, he's made it now. He takes off and leaves behind a brokenhearted father, a scornful older brother, a devastated community. He leaves no rights to claim. He burns all the bridges, or at least he thought he did. He wipes the slate clean, or so he thought.

Look what Jesus said in verse 13. "And the son scattered", I know some translation has other words, but the word scattered is more accurate because it's literally the same word that is used when a farmer at planting time throwing seeds on the ground during the planting time. Kind of without much thought he's just scattering it around. He was thinking that this money is going to buy him friends, that this money will buy him happiness, that this money will buy him popularity, this money is going to buy him some social standing; and it worked. It worked for a while while the money lasted. And when the money ran out for this young man, all of his friends that he bought with his money basically dropped him and dumped him like a disposable diaper.

Now you would think, "Okay, he's in trouble". First thing that occurred to him at this point is go home. Right? Oh no, he is not about to crawl back to his father. His pride is still alive and well. Number one reason why people don't come to Christ all the way now, dig deep, is pride. They don't want to humble themselves before God. They're too prideful. They think they can save themselves. Coming to Christ, crown him the Lord of your life requires putting down of human pride. I'm guessing that at this point this son is not broken enough, is not desperate enough to come home. Probably he said to himself, "I can't go back there. I can't go back there and ask for forgiveness. That require humility. I'm going to eat my brother's food, and I'm going to live under my father's house, and I cannot walk through the narrow streets of the village where every finger is pointing at me".

To make things worse, look at verse 14. Underline it. A famine struck that part of the world where they were living. See, that son was not ready yet. Even though there's a famine, he's still not ready. So he gets a brilliant idea, brilliant idea he never thought about before. Get a job. Oh, what kind of a job a Jewish boy, a Jewish young man is going to have in a Gentile country in the middle of famine? I mean, bankers and corporations are not hiring CEOs anymore. And there where he hits rock bottom.

Now, this is rock bottom. Not rock, rock, rock bottom, but just rock bottom. Hasn't got to rock, rock, rock bottom yet. For a Jewish young man to take care of pigs would be like a very rich American kid working on cleaning sewers. Remember pigs back then were not like what they are now in the western countries where you have hog farmers feed them nice food and take good care of them and clean them and all that stuff. Back then they gave the pigs the worst of the worst of the worst of the garbage. Think about this. And that's why our Jewish friends to this day do not eat ham. But this is a famine time. This is a famine time. Even the garbage was in short supply.

So they used these dry pods. Some of you may have seen those combed carobs, two varieties of carobs. I as a boy growing up I used to eat the edible one. There are edible one, little softer you can eat and they're sweet, but there's a harder ones that they fed to the pig. I mean, literally would destroy your teeth if you just take one bite. And those unedible carobs or pods, verse 16, look at it with me. But even this young man, this is what they're giving to the pigs, but they wouldn't let him have some of that. In other words, the pigs were better off than he was.

Now, beloved, this is what you call the bottom of the bottom of the bottom for that son. So now he begins to think how much better off servants in his father's household, in the servants' quarters, how much better off they are than he is where he is now in this abysmal condition. Finally, he begins thinking of swallowing his pride.

Have you ever tried to swallow your pride? Oh my goodness, you can get choked. But it's a good thing to do every now and again. Swallow his pride. Listen, the very core of the Christian faith is that it is only when a person comes to the realization that they are totally broken, that they are desperate in need of the Savior, that they have to bend the knees to the Savior, that they have to bend their will to the Lord Jesus Christ, they have to come and say, "Father, forgive me". That's the very core of our Christian faith.

Verse 17, Jesus said that when the son came to himself, that's actually a literal translation. Came to himself, some of your translations say came to his senses, but literally he came to himself. He came to his senses. Only then when he began to articulate his speech that he needs to give to the father. He began to rehearse what he would say to the Father, what would he say to the father.

See, all of a sudden he began to snap out of his insanity, all of a sudden he began to snap out of his stupor of self-focus. This is more than just feeling sorry that he wasted his money, that he has wasted his life, that things just did not work out as the way he wished it, they would have worked out. This is not just being sorry that plans failed. No, no, no, no. This is a whole lot more than that. He actually realized that he had sinned greatly not only against his father but against God. He actually came to the realization that he brought degradation and shame on his father's good name. He understood now that everything has to change, everything has to change.

He is no longer arrogant and prideful. He is no longer feeling, "I deserve this". He is now contented to be called a servant or a slave. He is now happy to live in the servants' quarters. He is now happy to have a servant-master relationship. To put it in the vernacular, he was totally and completely broken before God. Often we have to be broken before we come to our senses. Look at this young man. You see, when he left home, what did he say? He said, "Give me". But when he came home he said, "Make me". When he left home he resented being called a son, but when he came back and came to his senses he was willing to be called a slave. When he left home he called it independence and pleasure seeking, but when he came home he called it sin. He got what he wanted and lost what he had.

Now he's contented with far less. Beloved, the Bible said in Hebrews 11:25, Hebrews 11:25 sin is pleasurable for a moment, for a moment. In fact, I believe there are three stages for sin. No, no, no, don't panic. It's not three-point sermons, sermon but three stages. I'll tell you them very, very quickly. There's the charm of sin, there's the contour of sin, and there is the consequences of sin. I had to work hard, get them all in a C here so you can remember them. I'm going to explain that. There's the charm of sin. It was the allure of the far country, away from mom and dad. The allure.

Then there was the contour or the profile. I use contour because it starts with C. A profile of sin. "Give me. I deserve this". And then there is the consequences of sin. The spiritual pigs die. Beloved, the only answer to sin is return, return. Can you say that with me? Return. Repent. Return to the place that you know God wants you to be. Return to the place where you know your parents have prayed for you, your family members and your friends have prayed for you to come back to. Return to the place where your father's security, safety. But there's something else I don't want you to miss, I don't want you to miss and it's about the encounter between the repentant son and the forgiving father, the repentant son and the forgiving father. The father did not even let the son finish the speech.

Now, you say, "Michael, what's the big deal about this"? It's huge. Just listen to me. Okay? Humor me. Probably this young man no doubt, knowing human nature, he was rehearsing the speech in his mind. He's probably going over it. "When I see my father, I'll say this. And when I see my father, I'll say this. When I see my father, I'll say this". You know, goes rehearsing it in his head. But look at verse 21, verse 21. The son began to make the speech, "Father, I have sinned". And as if the father says, "I've heard enough. I've heard all I want to hear. I heard all I need to hear". "But what about the part of making me one of your hired servants"? "That's not necessary". "But why"? Because the father, listen to me, this is very important.

The father, our Father in heaven does not take anyone who is not a son or a daughter. Can I get an amen? Now, we can serve God and we do joyfully to our heart's content. I have the privilege of calling myself the servant of the living God, but because of Jesus the Father will not, he will not... say it with me. He will not call us anything other than son and daughter. The grace of God is not partial. The grace of God is not with measure. The grace of God is not conditional. The grace of God is immeasurable. "But, father, what about my past sins"? "What sins"? "But, father, what about what I did to you"? "What did you do to me"?

I know most of you know this, but let me remind you again and I want... don't you ever forget. Write it down. Hang it on the wall, on your fridge, wherever you want to. Satan is the only one who will always remind you of your past sins. God never, God never because the Bible said he takes our past sins and he puts them in the deepest sea. Something else as I conclude. Some of you may have a hard time forgiving somebody else. I don't know, only you do. Your parents perhaps, a family member, son or daughter, a brother or sister in Christ and you're having a hard time forgiving them, or having a hard time forgiving yourself. Beloved, that's pride. That's pride.

If God forgave you, you can and you must forgive others. Often that's called self-righteousness. You notice the young man did not stop in one of the bath houses nearby the village before he came to daddy and took a hot bath, cleaned himself up, stopped smelling and stinking. The boy did not go to an old friend and say, "Can I borrow some clothes because these are filthy clothes and I really, I want to get dressed and be presentable to my father"? He did not do that. He came to the father confession on his lips, repentance in his heart because only the father, listen to me. Only the father can truly cleanse us when he forgives us. Can I get an amen from this body here?

There are some people who think that you have to go through these hoops before God can accept you. I grew up in it. I know it. I understand it. I don't agree with it because it's obviously not biblical. Today you can change that. Others think that they have to go through some religious rituals before they've been accepted by the Father. Falsehood. The Father only wants to hear from the lips and know that the heart is repentant of sin. Accepting Jesus as your only Savior and the Lord of your life, he will do the rest.
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