Robert Morris - The Shoes Of Sonship
If you want to turn in your Bibles somewhere, we'll be in Luke 15. We're ending a three week series called, "Sons, Not Servants", and this week is a message called, "The Shoes of Sonship". So, we've talked about the three gifts that the father, two of the gifts. Luke 15:22, "The father said to his servants, 'Bring quickly the best robe and put it on him'". We talked about, "The Robe of Righteousness". "Put a ring on his hand", we've talked about, "The Ring of Authority". "'And shoes on his feet'", so we're going to talk about, "The Shoes of Sonship" this week.
Now, most messages, I kind of like to let you know this, because some of you think this way and some of you don't, but some of you do, and so if you do think this way, the way I think, I guess, which is not always the right way to think, this is probably too much explanation for this, but. This is why I think this way, which my wife says is a goofy way to think. But anyway, I normally have three points. This is why I'm telling you. I don't why I'm telling you all of this. I don't have three points, I only have two today. So, just don't want to mess up your cadence, okay? But, the second one lasts twice as long, so it'll all work out in the end. I'll still be able to cover all of the material in the three short hours that we have left. Okay, all right. I'm joking, if it's your first time. Don't leave, okay.
So, we're going to talk about shoes represent in the Bible. That's what I did with the ring. I went back and looked at what it represents in the Bible. That's what we did with the robe. So, we're going to do the same thing with shoes, but before I can tell you what shoes represent, I'm gonna tell you what taking shoes off represents, so that we'll be able to understand what shoes represent, all right? So, the first point is take your shoes off. Now, you don't have to do that right now. You can, I guess, if you want to, if you've got, you know, some sort of foot powder on or something. But, number one is take your shoes off. So, what would that represent in the Bible? Shoes represent rights. So, when we talk about, "The Shoes of Sonship", the father was giving the prodigal son back his rights as a son. The son was actually saying, "I don't deserve rights of a son, just make me like a hired servant". He was saying, "No, you still have the rights of sonship". That's what it is, but when you took your shoes off in the Bible, it meant that you were giving up your rights.
And I'm gonna show you a couple of places, but there's a story, a famous love story in the Bible; Boaz and Ruth. And Boaz wants to marry Ruth, but there's a kinsman that's nearer in line, called the near kinsman-redeemer, which represents Christ, by the way. So, the near kinsman-redeemer, so Boaz goes and talks to him and says, "I want to marry her, but you're first in line. Will you marry her"? And he said, "No, I'm not going to". So, this is what he does, so let me just show you. Ruth 4:7, "So now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging". Now this really just jumped at me, so I just want to just mention this, that Christ has redeemed us and we have exchanged our sin for His righteousness. But, this is the custom to confirm redeeming and exchanging. "To confirm anything: one man took off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was a confirmation in Israel".
So, what was this a confirmation of? It's a confirmation of that he was giving up his right - that he had the right to marry Ruth, but he was giving up his right. But the way that you confirmed that you were giving up your rights was that you took your shoes off. You see that? Now, let me go back in Deuteronomy and show you what the law said about this, Deuteronomy 25. This would be if a man dies and he doesn't have an heir, then the brother of that man was to marry his widow, so that she would have an heir. Okay? But, what if he doesn't want to marry her? So, this is what Deuteronomy 25 tells us, Verse 7. "But if the man does not want to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate to the elders and say, 'My husband's brother refuses to raise up a name to his brother in Israel. He will not perform the duty of my husband's brother'".
Now, we're gonna read Verse 8, but personally, I see humor in the Bible that a lot of people don't see, and I see that God wrote the Bible because He knew about humans. So, watch how this... just think about this conversation, all right? Verse 8, "Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him". You need to marry the woman. That's what the law says. You need to marry her. "But if he stands firm and says", I don't want the woman, "I don't want to take her" - I just wonder how some of these conversations went. "Have you met her"? "She's mean. She scares me. I'm scared of her".
You know, I don't know. And ladies, I'm not making fun here of ladies, because think about the lady. She could feel the same way. "Have you seen him? I mean, he's ugly"! You know, "I don't want to marry my husband's brother. That's why I chose my husband. He was the good looking one", you know? So, I guess God puts all of these things in here because He knows humans, okay? All right. So, "But if he stands firm and says, 'I don't want her'", Verse 9, "Then his brother's wife shall come to him in the presence of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot" - see, he's giving up the right of redemption, "spit in his face", so she gets a little bit of redemption herself. "And answer and say, 'So shall it be done to the man who will not build up his brother's house. And his name shall be called in Israel'", she gets a little more redemption here, "'the house of him who had his sandal removed'".
That's his name now. I mean, come on. To me, see, we just don't think about these things. Think about two, three years later. He goes in for a mortgage. And they say, "Okay, let's get the mortgage application filled out. Here, what's your first name"? "The". "The? T-H-E, the"? "Yeah". "And your last name"? "Removed". "Your last name is 'Removed'"? "Yeah". "Okay, you might want to give us the full name, then". "The house of him who had his sandal removed". You just wonder if they go, "Oh. What'd she look like"? I don't know! Okay, sorry. But, there it is in Scripture. See, I'm trying to find out what shoes represent, but when you take your shoes off, it means you give up your rights. Okay, so I just want you to think, because a lot of people don't realize there are meanings to all of these things in the Bible.
So, let me just remind you then, if taking off your shoes means giving up your rights, let me remind you of a very famous story that all of you know, of a conversation that a guy named Moses had with God at a burning bush. And what's the first thing that God said to him? "Take your shoes off. The place where you stand is holy". You want to talk to Me? You give up all your rights. You come to Me with no rights. You give it all up if you want to talk to Me. The same thing happens to Joshua, you remember? They go into the Promised Land. They're about to take Jericho, the first city. He goes up on a hill and he sees a guy with a sword. Joshua 5:13, "It came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and, behold, a man stood opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, 'Are you for us or for our adversaries'? So, he said, 'No, but as commander of the army of the Lord, I now have come'". I'm the commander. "Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and worshipped, and said to Him, 'What does my Lord say to His servant'? Then the commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, 'Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy'. And Joshua did so".
Here's what He said. "I am the commander of the army. Will you give up your rights"? There was no way Israel could have defeated Jericho. By the way, read right after this. The man is Jesus, and He gives him the plan to walk around the city seven times for seven days. That's where he gets the plan, from this guy right here, who's Jesus. Because it then says, "Then the Lord said to him". And the Lord, we know, is the commander of the army. I actually love His answer, also. He said, "Are you for us or for them"? He said, "No". "No". "No". It's kind of like, you know, they've been trained to ask you, "Do you want fries or an apple pie with that"? And the correct answer, by the way, is, "Yes". I'm joking. It's, "No". "No, I don't fries and apple pie with my salad with grilled chicken, please".
See, here's what Jesus is saying to Joshua. "I'm not here to take sides. I'm here to take over. I'm not here to get on your side, Joshua. I'm here to see if you'll get on My side. If you get on My side, everything will be okay. But I'm not here to serve in your army, I'm the commander. Now, you can serve in My army or not, but if you serve in My army, you give up all your rights and you take your shoes off". Everyone following me? So, first of all, before we talk about what the shoes, putting the shoes back on the Prodigal Son, you've got to know what they represent. They represented rights, and you've got to take them off first.
So, number one is take your shoes off. Here's number two, put your shoes back on. Now, you say, "What do you mean"? I'm talking about the rights of sonship - not what you can do on your own, not what you've earned, not how smart you are, not how great you are, but the rights of being a son or a daughter of God, because Moses and Joshua put their shoes back on and led the people of Israel, but they led the people of Israel under God. So, God has something for you to do and He gives you rights as a son and as a daughter. But I want to go back to Luke 15 and just sum up what the rights are and bring in another part, and actually I'm gonna kind of end the series here, and I want to bring it back to my original burden that the Lord gave me, that we are sons, not servants. And everyone talks about the Prodigal Son. It's the Prodigal Son, and it is the Prodigal Son, but Jesus tells this story. It's a parable.
A parable comes from "parabole", the Greek Word. "Para" means alongside. The Holy Spirit walks alongside us. "Bole" is to throw. What Jesus would do is He would throw a story alongside a truth, so you could understand the truth. That's what a parable is, okay? So, He's the One that tells us the parable of the Prodigal Son, but there are two sons. Why did He put two sons in the story, and it's a big thing? And remember, the father gives him a robe, a ring, and shoes, and throws a party for him. And the son, the older son, then it tells us what he does. He won't come into the party.
Now, this is really important for us to catch this. Verse 25, "His older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him 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", that's the older brother, "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'". Remember, we're sons, not servants. "'I have been serving you. I never transgressed your commandment at any time'".
Now, first of all, that's a lie, because we're all sinners and we all fall short. He wasn't the perfect son. There's only one perfect Son. His name is Jesus. So, we know that's a lie. The other thing is that then he says, "And you never even gave me a young goat". Now, that's a lie, because you go back to the beginning and it says the father divided to both sons his inheritance. And because he was the firstborn, he got twice as much, but, "You never gave me one goat". No, I gave you thousands of goats. "That I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours", son - remember he said, "I have been serving". "As soon as this son of yours comes, he who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you kill the fatted calf for him". And he said to him, "Son, you are always with me and all that I have is yours".
Let me just sum up the rights of sons and daughters, all right? It's the presence and the provision of God. It's the presence and the provision of God, and everything we could look through the Scripture to find about shoes will be summed up in what the father said to him - "You are always with Me". You're always with Me. You have Me. You have Me. And all that I have is yours. But, why does Jesus even bring the older son into it? Because He tells three parables. He tells the parable of the lost coin. A woman had ten coins, lost one, searched the house diligently and then found it. She called all of her friends together and had a party. And He said, "There is joy in heaven when one sinner repents". Then He tells about a lost sheep. A shepherd has 100 sheep. He loses one. He leaves 99. He goes and finds that sheep, puts it on his shoulders, brings it back, calls all of this friends together to have a party. He says, "There is joy in heaven when one sinner repents". Then He tells about the Prodigal Son, and the father throws a party for him. But, why does He even tell us about the older son?
Well, you've got to go back to why He even told the parable in the first place. And this is how... I know right now it's not sounding like I'm bringing it all together, but in a moment you're gonna see it's gonna all come together. When I say, "my burden for this series", I mean the burden, the Lord's burden. The Lord wants us to catch this. We are sons, not servants. Why does He even tell this? Why does He even tell this parable? It's in the first part of Luke 15, Verse 1. "Then all of the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him". Just notice that the Bible always puts tax collectors with sinners. I just wanted you to notice that. "And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying", now again, sometimes words just jump out at me, "this man receives sinners". See the two words, "receive sinners"? Okay, you ought to just... you might even want to just say it out loud right now - thank You, Jesus. Thank You, Jesus, that You receive sinners. That means I got to be received and you got to be received. It's good He received sinners, but that's what they were mad about. "He receives sinners and he even eats with them".
So, or in other words, because of this is what so means. "Because of this, He", Jesus, "spoke this parable to them, saying". So, why is He doing it? He's telling us these three parables, which are all one parable actually, according to the Bible, to show us how much the Father loves to recover stolen kids. That's one reason. The second reason is He's showing us that it's all grace and not works. Now, I know you're thinking, "I don't understand that". I want you to think about how much of a battle that Jesus had constantly with the Pharisees - constantly. And how many parables He told to try to explain to them, "Guys, it's not works, it's grace". It's grace. So, He comes to earth and He hangs out with sinners, and the Pharisees get all mad about it. Why? Please hear me. Because they felt they had earned their relationship with God, and the sinners haven't earned it.
So, He tells all these parables over and over, and he tells this one. I mean, the older son has got to represent the Pharisees here, and the prodigal represents the sinners, because it says the Pharisees were mad because, "This man receives sinners and eats with them". And He says, "Yeah, now let me tell you about my Father. He gets excited when one sinner comes home. But, let Me tell you about you. You're the older brother that says I've been serving you all of this time, but you've never even given him one goat. And the father says, 'All that I have is yours'", and yet you're mad because I'm giving attention to a sinner that came home.
All of these, all of these things He tells! He tells about the workers that join working in the field late. He tells that a guy goes out and he hires people at the start of the day. That's 6:00 a.m. And then in the third hour, that would be 9:00 a.m., because the day started at 6:00, he hires some more. In the sixth hour, that's noon, he hires more. In the ninth hour, he hires more. That's 3:00 p.m. And then in the eleventh hour, that's 5:00 p.m., and the day ended at 6:00 p.m., sunset. You worked from sunrise to sunset. And He said and then at the eleventh hour, he hires some more workers. And then when he got ready to pay them, he says to the eleventh hour workers, he gave them a day's wage. So, the guys that got hired at the first of the day said, "Well, if he's going to pay them a day's wage, and they only worked one hour, wonder what he's gonna give us"? And when he got to them, he gave them a day's wage, and they got mad about it. And he said, "Why are you mad? This is exactly what I agreed". This is what they said. They said, "Because you're making them equal to us. That's why we're mad. They only worked one hour. We worked the whole day. By your pay, you're making them equal to us".
Think about this. This is exactly the way Pharisees feel - but, we've worked harder. And Jesus is saying, "Yeah, but you get the same thing - forgiveness for all of your sins and eternity in heaven". You get the same thing as the guy that comes in at the eleventh hour. But they felt like they had earned it. They felt like they deserved it. There's a self-righteousness to servants. See, if you remember, the thing that jumped out at me in this parable that I've never seen, and again, I've been preaching for all of these years, never seen it. It was this word. Let me go back where we started, Luke 15:17, talking about the Prodigal Son. "But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants'"? I'd never seen the word, "hired". And I knew there was something in that word, "hired", and I couldn't figure it out. And even the son later says, you know, "I'm not worthy to be called a son. Make me like one of your hired servants".
Okay. Here's the whole... the whole thing came together for me this week. Here's how it came together. A hired servant is an employee. He's hired. So, when he gets his paycheck, he's earned it. I mean, I hope he has. Now, maybe he goofed off. But an employee, when he gets a paycheck, he's earned it. He worked and he got it. But, that's not what we are. We're not hired servants. We don't earn it with Jesus. We're sons and daughters, and it's a free gift from the Father. That's the difference, and that's what the Pharisees could not stand. They could not handle it with Jesus that these sinners haven't earned it. That's what they were telling Him. And Jesus, over and over and over, parable after parable after parable, said to them, "No, they haven't earned it, but you haven't, either". You haven't either.
Now, please hear me. If you feel like you have earned your right relationship with God, you will want others to earn it also. And you'll look at others that don't live up to your standard of righteousness, and you'll be critical and judgmental. Let me just say it this way - you're a Pharisee. That's a Pharisaical spirit. It's a works-based mentality. Many, many people get this when they're growing up, whether they have good parents, bad parents, Christian parents, non-Christian parents. They grow up feeling like when I act right, my parents love me, and when I don't act right, my parents don't love me. So, when I act right as an adult now, God loves me. And when I don't act right, God doesn't love me. I've got some news for you. God loves you whether you like it or not. No matter how you act, God loves you. It's by grace, it's not by works. It's a gift, it's not earned.
And I want to encourage you to lay down all of your rights, to cast all of your care on Jesus because He cares for you, to give not just your life, but what - your life that you're living right now: your thoughts, and your emotions to the Lord because He's the only one that can take those and turn them for your good, and turn what was meant for evil for your good. We are sons and daughters of the Most High. We are not hired servants. Jesus has given us His grace freely; therefore, we give grace to others around us freely.