The Lost Son

The Lost Son: 2016 Gospel of Luke #61

This is an exposition of Luke 15:11-24. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, June 4, 2017.


Lost things.  We’ve all known the heartache of losing something we cherish.  As a child you lost a favorite toy or a treasured memento.  You thought there could be nothing worse than losing that thing you loved this until you lost that friend who moved away.  As you grew older you learned that things come and go and that friends move away.  Lost things are part of life.  That knowledge really didn’t help when you lost that friend, not because he or she moved away but because they no longer wanted to be friends.  Nothing hurts more than continually running into that thing which is lost yet remains physically close.  As painful as it is to lose something or someone, there is no greater joy than finding that which was lost.  There’s that ball glove.  I should have known it was in the bottom of my closet.  Oh, there’s that doll.  It fell behind the dresser.  She’s been there all along waiting to be found.  “Hey, guess who just moved back to town?”  Or one day you ran into each other at lunch.  There was a bit of small talk and before you knew it the distance between you had somehow vanished.  Whatever it was doesn’t matter anymore.  All that matters is that your relationship has been restored and your heart is full.  What was lost has been found.  What was broken is now restored.

It is the most famous of our Lord’s parables.  The parable of lost things.  It’s all one parable yet told in three parts; three stories telling of the pain of loss and the joy of finding.  Luke 15:4-32 is one parable.  The focus of the parable is on the attitude and actions of our God toward the lost.  Three stories yet one theme.  One melody played by three different instruments.  It is the same music yet each with a distinct sound.

Our text this morning is Luke 15:11-24.

Text: Luke 15:11-24

Two weeks ago we considered the story of the lost sheep emphasizing the persistence of our God in His loving pursuit of the lost and dying.  A man had 100 sheep and 1 came up missing.  He left the 99 and went in pursuit of the 1 lost and remained at the task until it was found.

Then last week we considered the story of the lost coin.  A woman had 10 silver coins (her life’s savings) and 1 came up missing.  There we learned of the diligent determination of our God in pursuing the lost and dying.

This morning we consider the story of the lost son.  This is one of the most famous stories ever told.  It is famous because it is told by our Lord.  It is famous because it is so perfectly told (not a single detail is wasted).  It is famous because when we hear it we cannot help but sense it is really our story.  We pity the sheep, we value the coin but we identify with the son.

In this, the climax of the three stories, we again are reminded of the attitude of our God toward the lost.  In this story we are reminding that…

Thesis: The biblical gospel powerfully proclaims the love of God in His joyous reception the repentant sinner.

That has been our Lord’s focus – 15:7 & 15:10
Now we have a powerful picture of that truth in this story.
There are 3 things I want us to note as this drama unfolds.

  1. The Lost Son (15:11-16)
  2. The Journey Home (15:17-19)
  3. An Astounding Acceptance (15:20-24)

Do you know how much the Father loves you?
He sent the Lord Jesus to be your Savior.
He is calling you back from the far country of sin.
He is looking for you – longing to receive you.

Will you come home to the Father’s love?

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