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1. The Prodigal and The Older Brother
Jesus tells a story in Luke 15:11-31 about a father with two sons. We are all familiar with the younger son - the prodigal who demands his inheritance, then leaves home and squanders it on wild living. But what about the older brother? Since he was first born, he would have received a double-portion inheritance (Deuteronomy 21:15-17), but what did he do with it? The parable graphically illustrates the two major errors that can ensnare people. The two brothers in the story were both wrong; but whereas one repented, the other failed to see his fault.
The Prodigal Son:
- had a change of heart from being rebellious and independent, to becoming humble and submissive.
- was willing to forgo his rights as a son, just so that he could be in relationship with his father again.
The Older Brother:
What the prodigal did was totally wrong, but the account says that he ''came to his senses''. The older brother, however, continued in his error. He could have enjoyed his inheritance anytime (which included parties with his friends), but he didn't. He was always to be found in the fields with the slaves, and by the look of verse 29, his motive was to gain the approval of his father. With that attitude, he was living as a servant of the house, and not as a firstborn son. Some Christians also have the same approach to their new life with God. They are striving to become good enough to be accepted as sons, when God has already put them in a position of sonship and authority (see Galatians 3:26-29; Ephesians 1:18-21; 2:6; 1 John 3:1-2).
- was very conscious of his length of service to his father.
- did not honour his father when asked to join the celebration - although outwardly good, had a rebellious heart.
- was envious and selfish.
- despised his brother and was angry with his father - in God's eyes, hatred is as murder (1 John 3:15).
- was self-righteous, and wanted all the attention.
- did not receive back the prodigal as his own brother.
2. Mary and Martha
In Luke 10: 38-42, we read about two sisters, Mary and Martha, and their reaction to Jesus' presence. Both loved the Lord, but at the heart of the difference between the two sisters there was obviously a question of priorities.
- was distracted by all the self-effort she was involved in.
- appeared to be the one in the right, but had the wrong motivation.
- suffered in her relationship with the Lord because of her preoccupation with trying to please Him.
- was self-righteous and indignant.
- wanted Jesus to notice her good works.
We need to get involved with Martha's work, but with Mary's attitudes.
- was taken up with Jesus - she put him first.
- had an attitude of rest in her position with Christ - she didn't need to strive for relationship with the Lord.
- did not have to answer Martha's accusation - Christ was her justification.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SON AND THE SERVANT
- Resting in the finished work of the Cross (Galatians 2:16; Hebrews 4:1-10).
- Enjoying the liberty that belongs to a son of God (Romans 8:1-4,15-17).
- Led by the Spirit to serve God.
- Showing the fruit of the Spirit from a place of abiding in Christ (John 15:1-16; Galatians 5:22-23).
- Has Jesus as his first love and No.1 priority.
- Living victoriously in continual fellowship with God, involving praise and worship.
- Obedient to the living Word of God, and taking hold of the promises God has given.
We may fall from enjoying the blessings of God's grace in two ways:
- Working in self-effort, trying to please God (Galatians 3:2-3; Romans 4:4-5).
- In bondage to the law; easily confused and condemned.
- Driven by self, with the influence of Satan, into self-centred service.
- Showing the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-20).
- Seeking attention primarily for himself (Revelation 2:4).
- Living in defeat, with a negative attitude prevailing .
- Rebellious at heart, though he may have an outward form of righteousness (2 Timothy 3:5); full of unbelief.
|Galatians 5:13-21||Galatians 2:16,21|
|1 Peter 2:16||Galatians 5:1-4|
|God's will for us is..............||GRACE|
ONLY SONS CAN TRULY SERVE
When we gain a revelation that we've been made sons (John 1:12; Galatians 4:4-7), and have authority as God's heirs, THEN we offer our lives in service to our Father. This takes all selfish motives out of our service, for we've already received ALL THINGS in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). We are no longer servants striving to become sons. Instead, from our position of sonship, we take on the very same attitude that Jesus had in coming to earth (Philippians 2:5-8)─we now live with a servant-attitude, not to gain a reward or to earn God's approval, but simply because we love Him.
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