The Lost Brother

The Lost Brother: 2016 Gospel of Luke #62

This is an exposition of Luke 15:25-32. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, June 11, 2017.


He had been working out in the fields and was approaching the house when he heard laughter and music.  There was obviously a large crowd, what was this?  It sounds like a party but there was nothing planned, at least nothing he knew about.  The closer he got the more upset he became.  He called a servant over and demanded an explanation.  “Haven’t you heard?  Your brother is back.  He’s lost weight, he’s been through a lot but he’s home.  Your father is overjoyed and he’s called everyone to come and celebrate.  He’s home.  Your brother is home.”  That was not welcome news.  “So, my worthless brother has returned.  As far as I’m concerned this is no time for celebrating.  What in the world is my father thinking?”  It is here we discover there were 2 lost sons.  One obviously lost the other just as lost, perhaps even more lost, but not so obvious.  Our text this morning is found in Luke’s Gospel, Luke 15 beginning with Luke 15:25.

Text: Luke 15:25-32

Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem to die.  To give his life a ransom for sin.  Along the way great crowds are following him.  Tax collectors and sinners are flocking to him while the religious establishment seethes with resentment.  He was invited to the home of a Pharisee for dinner.  This was not a social occasion it was a trap.  They had hoped to force his hand and cause he to do or say something that they could use against him.  These religious leaders were confident in their plan, after all Jesus was just some country bumpkin traveling preacher.  They were wrong of course and his popularity grew.  As he continued on his way to Jerusalem they Scribes and Pharisees said, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”  Thus he turned to them and Spoke a parable.  Luke 15:4-32 is one parable containing three stories.  The whole parable is focused on the attitude and actions of God toward the lost and dying.

The religious leaders were outraged at the thought of his welcoming sinners.
They were repulsed by the idea that he would share a meal with them.
The parable was told to reveal how little these religious experts knew about God.

In contrast to their attitude of shunning and pushing away sinners, God lovingly welcomes repentant sinners into His presence and shares life with them.

The lost sheep reveals our God’s persistent pursuit of the lost and dying.
The lost coin reveals His diligent determination is finding the lost and dying.
The lost son reveals His joyous reception of the repentant sinner.

We often call the story of the lost son the story of the “Prodigal Son.”  The word prodigal means wild, extravagant and wasteful.  That is a term that might more properly be used to refer to the Father’s love for the lost son.  This son hated his father.  Rejected his father.  Demanded control of his share of the father’s estate only to waste it all on reckless living.  Then, having hit bottom he had the nerve to come home.  He returned to find his father waiting, longing for his wayward son to return.  While he was still a long way off the father saw him, had compassion for him, ran to him, embraced him and kissed him repeatedly.  Then he called for the finest robe, a signet ring and a barbecue.  This son, once dead, was now alive.  The one who was lost had been found.   But not everyone rejoiced.  There was an older brother.

What is the context of this parable?
Who was our Lord addressing?
What was the specific concern?
Now our Lord brings the Scribes and Pharisees into the story as he brings it to a close.

Here we learn…

Thesis: The biblical gospel joyously proclaims the wild, extravagant love of God even for the cold-hearted, self-righteous, and morally upstanding sinner.

Before the apostle Paul comes to the conclusion in Luke 3 of Romans that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, he builds his case by first talking about the “Saturday Night” sinners in Luke 1.  These are those folks who are far way from God.  The thorough going sinners involved in every form of immorality and showing no regard for God at all.  Then in Luke 2 he deals with the “Sunday Morning” sinners.  Those who give the appearance of righteousness.  Those who claim to love and obey God and yet are just as rebellious and sinful as that crowd spoken of in Luke 1 – just in more respectable ways.

This is what is at the heart of our text this morning.
There are three things I want us to note as we work our way through this brief text.

  1. It is entirely possible to be lost without ever leaving home.  (15:25-28)
  2. The devastating soul-sickness of “good” lost people.  (15:29-30)
  3. The love of God for morally upstanding sinners.  (15:31-32)Conclusion:
    You notice it ends there.  There is no conclusion.  Luke doesn’t say, “In a moment the result of that parable.”  It’s left open.  Why?  Because you must write the ending of your own story.  My hope and prayer is that you will enter into the party and experience the father’s grace for yourself!
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