Monday, October 7, 2019

2019.10.07 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 15:25-32

Questions from the Scripture text: Who was in the field (Luke 15:25)? What did he hear as he neared the house? Whom did he ask about this (Luke 15:26)? What does the servant say his father has done (Luke 15:27)? How does the older brother respond (Luke 15:28)? And how does his father respond to that? What does the son say that he has done (Luke 15:29)? What does he say that he has not done? What does he say that his father has not done (that the son, apparently, wanted most)? What does he call his brother (Luke 15:30)? How does he describe what his brother did? What does the father present to the older brother as his first great blessing (Luke 15:31)? What does he present as his second? What does the father say about their making merry and being glad (Luke 15:32)? What does he say was the younger brothers previous condition? What does he say is the younger brother’s current condition?   
What do your responses to others tell you about your own heart toward God?

The parable of the lost son is the climax in a three-parable answer to the Pharisees and scribes who were so offended that Jesus receives sinners and eats with them. Grievously, they thought of themselves as “righteous persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7). But there was an even deeper problem behind this twisted view of themselves…

May God be merciful to us to keep us from ever thinking of ourselves in this life as those who need no repentance! On the one hand, we would become those who are haughty toward those whose sins are more obvious—responding with disgust at the idea of reaching out to them, calling them to repentance, and receiving them when they do.

But what lies on the other hand is even worse. If we feel ourselves to be the righteous who need no repentance, we will miss the amazingness of God’s grace to us, and fail to respond with joy over the fact that He is always with us, and all the He has is ours (Luke 15:31).

A judgmentally closed heart toward the vilest of sinners may be the presenting symptom of the disease, but the ungratefully closed heart toward God is its mortal symptom. Such dead, unforgiven, ungracious hearts may aim at much obedience (Luke 15:29), but primarily as a way of getting from God what it wants—every other blessing than Him Himself.

How very different this is from our True Older Brother, the Lord Jesus! In His divine nature, the Father and the Spirit are His everlasting joy from before time began. And this is also true for Him in time, in His perfect human nature. He loves to speak what He hears from the Father. He loves to do what He receives from His Father to do. For the greatness of the JOY set before Him—the glory of the Father, and declaring of His Father’s praise—He counted the shame of the cross as a small thing.

O that His joy would become our joy—and that we might have it to the full!
How does your heart respond to the idea of reaching out to the vilest sinners?
Suggested Songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH340 “There Is a Fountain”

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