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Adventist Prodigals

Alistair Huong

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The story of the prodigal son and his older brother bears lessons for us living today.  Perhaps it even unearths common underlying issues with many of our Christian experiences now.

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Alistair Huong

Executive Director of AudioVerse

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Recorded

  • November 23, 2013
    4:30 PM
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him one left join us this evening as we include the Sabbath together how many of you were here last night how many of you were here this morning and how many of you were here yesterday and I know there are number so many will begin with a quick review of last evening we began by sharing the question together intensive thinking together about the motives the roots of objectives for why the Jews and Christians and we look at Moses Willard that Paul Lytle stated in Scripture that they would rather lose eternal life for the sake of those who are actually seeking to life some cases and those who are idolaters in rebellion in another case and so we concluded that Christianity is far more than just to receive a reward it's not just to gain something but it's become like someone because they look at Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus Christ was willing to be separated from the father eternally for the salvation of the lost and he didn't just say it but he actually carried out he actually die second that and drank of the wrath of God and so we begin this and get this clue it seemed as though that something about the likeness of Jesus but she viewing Marcel and the life across enables us to truly come to a better understanding of the proper foundations we have to have for faith and also in case we miss this point I don't want us to get the wrong impression that it is wrong to desire the blessings of God because the Bible makes it clear that there are mansions and had it into the wedding feast of the land there is going to be joyous reunion with our loved ones who have been taken from us those are all wonderful things of the Bible promises to us and they are incentives laid out before of those who would be faithful that they will receive if they enjoy living at soul this is not to diminish some of those things but if that's our only reason to be a Christian then it may be that our roots go deep enough and that for this morning 's message comes in where we look at that time in the future based on little illustration of the time Jacobs trouble where simply seeking a reward may actually not be reason enough to maintain the faith there will come a time we are told where it seems as though those promises of God may actually not come into reality we still than the faithful during that time that's the lesson from the time of Jacob 's trouble are we going to be faithful despite the appearance that God himself has left us turn against us that's a challenge of the time Jacobs trouble that all goes back to the foundation of our faith why did we choose to become a Christian what's the motive it may have been done by all on one find the answers I want to find a piece that will have joy one have salvation but if that's the only thing when missing the bigger bigger lesson by God seeking friends learn as Christians on the road to maturity so that's one of the review and in the Senate I together some of the messages that we've had already in this afternoon will be taking this may be a little bit further on and I'll be sharing with you some study or some file that stemmed from a question that I have on that perhaps you've asked yourself so before we get into it any further let's bow our heads together for prayer fun and heaven this afternoon this evening as we conclude this Sabbath day we thank you for the blessing of the sacred hours that you given to us the blessing of your word the blessing of your spirit and indeed for the blessings he promised to us if we remain faithful loyal today we want to drill deeper than that we want to be like Moses and Paul Jacob and Jesus will be faithful even if there's no report to Lord today our prayer is that as we continue this hour to look at another story in the Bible they are speared my lead us into deeper understanding of ourselves our motives and your high calling for us we pray in Jesus so what is this question that I have have you ever wondered what happened you see two individuals sing home same family same school same church saying food thing shores same operating same everything and I'm saying this is it in a whole sound solid Christian home one the in the church and the other one in some way outside no one talking about I think all of us could probably name some names were not the money to do that say of course but you know individuals that have a very informed and we wonder they had all of the privileges all of the license all of the advantages of Christianity of knowing the truth growing up why did they end up the way they do why do they go way out in left field and what's even more confusing is when some other person who went to the same or similar or no program or situations in life and not been fully different place in life may be remaining in the church that now that's always been a question for me I was a Bible teacher for a number of years and we always have births for students and as always let me teach them the same thing with some inevitably chooses to leave than others in and why is and as I've been saying all weekend I'm not I don't have all the have a lot more questions and answers and effectively by the end of our time together this afternoon you'll probably have more questions than answers to the hopefully we have a few pointers from Scripture to direct our thinking for future further meditation and reflection on our own experience but that's where my question began and in the course of my studies I ended up not exactly where I thought I was in and up this is sort of the other journey of progress in my study in my thinking also under the share with you and hopefully we can continue to learn together as we as we grow as Christians the story came to mind as I pondered this dilemma and is found in Luke chapter fifteen second Bible will be spending most of our time there which after fifteen will be looking at the story of the prodigal son course in chapter fifteen there are three stories that in fact there is a story of Thomas C when the lost coin and a lot the and of course Jesus was telling these stories parables illustrate the work that had goes to for the salvation of the lost but it also description of various classes of lost individuals if you are busy she she knows the law but he doesn't know his way home with the Jeopardy leave the ninety nine in the fall and he goes all night searching for that last law she and the lost coin we doesn't mean a lot the woman like the candlesticks the whole house to search about one the lost son the father doesn't chase after the sun it's a whole different scenario different agencies at work here but perhaps most important to me is that perhaps we focus a little too much on the prodigal son but we have to remember that this is a story not just the one boy 's story of two story of true science and not not necessarily it's not necessarily telling us that one is better off than the other we know the story well so the setting of the story is interesting because it this is what really led me to to not investigate the story and that is this is exactly the scenario we were discussing in the Logan earlier two sons same file on same home same upbringing same culture saying religion probably the same Sabbath school teacher sing songs singing visiting the same chores at home same everything but two very different results or so it seems to different behaviors I should say so this led me to to really try to dig into the story to see them do something to this if Christ himself has given us a clue to this question that we so I want to spend a moment here on when I can go through the story verse by verse I'm assuming that we know the story of the prodigal son I'm not going to belabor adding up the whole context and going through all the stages of what happened on finish line right off the bat to try to identify the motives that fueled the actions of these two young men I want to appeal on the layers to to look into this story to see if there are clues that tell us what motivated them what were they objected and what do they want what was it that you rose to because perhaps what we unearth that lower later on what a motivated and it can help us to better understand how we can relate today so let's begin verse eleven major fifteen beginning verse eleven this is Jesus telling the parable he said a certain man had two sons so what that crisis looked same letter is not a story just one boy there are two sons here so we don't want to neglect one of the younger of them said to his father father give me the portion of goods the follicle to me and he divided unto them his living verse thirteen and not many days after the younger son gathered all together and took his journey into a far country and there wasted his substance with riotous living some were familiar with what happened this young man the younger son says a dad dad I wish you were dead because when the children receive their header inheritance is when their parents or their father passes away the young man he just very bluntly tells his father I really rather not have anything to do with you and so since that's the case might forgive me my inheritance now and see a later so we know right off the bat that this young man did not enjoy the society of his father what was it that he wants what the designer based on the story I mean it's really between the lines a little bit but I think with some inductive reasoning we configure some of this out I think it's fair to say that whatever this young man rushed out to do sort of reveals his motives rightly think initially shows what drove this young man would it be fair to say that he desired to pursue pleasure that they are sending me and he thought that the only way to the do those things was outside of the confines of the restrictions of the father 's house because clearly he's not doing those things when you soon or for me to do this to have the lifestyle shrinking the partying there the problem with using gambling where else we associate with with this rich life of the prodigal son live he realized the only way for him to have that was to be outside the father 's home so we're sort of in using inductive reasoning consists of liens and these things but I want something a little more solid though we share with you what a lonely road and microscopic glass this is an page two oh four paragraph two in his restless is used the prodigal looked upon his father as stern and severe wind and notice how he perceives his father so those who are deceived by Satan look upon God as hard and that they regard as watching to denounce and condemn as unwilling to receive a sinner so long as there is a legal excuse for not helping him the next sentence is very key his law they regard as a restriction upon men's happiness a bird is a joke from which they are glad to assist so what did the young man perceived from his father he thought his father was Stern and severe and harsh and exactly watching to denounce them to come down this was the foundation of his understanding of his father wanted to keep this in mind when you come back but what I want to focus on at this moment is the next sentence which says that he regarded the law as a restriction upon the happiness and burdensome yoke from which to escape that sounds an awful lot like Lucifer 's argument in heaven the prodigal son wanted have any salt that the restriction he thought the restrictions of the rules of his father 's house one of barrier between him and happiness that he was so if I can just distill it down what was the objective what was the motive of this young man's life he wanted to pursue or to obtain happiness once anticandida equated pleasure that equated having his own way independence some of these words I think are synonymous with what the young man desire at all this was founded upon a misunderstanding on the character worthwhile so that the young man younger brother let's take a moment now to take a look at the older brother Kelly is undoubtedly doing little to the comparing contrast between Jews so we saw the objective of the younger brother he wanted to pursue his happy life whatever that meant to him and then do whatever he wanted so let's look in Luke chapter fifteen all the skin down to verse twenty five so this is where skipping over most of the story understand the young and had left a waste of money the family heating with paying incomes and salt Paul father constant one is a great way off put his robe on and killed the fatty chapter celebrating now and this is where we pick up the story first twenty five now his elder son was in the field and as he came in June nine through the house he heard music and dancing he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant and he said to him by brother is common by father had killed the fact does you have received him safe and sound and he was angry and would not doing therefore came his father out and entreated him and he answering said to his father loading many years do I serve the neither transgressed I at any time by command notice carefully what he said and yes you never deem me a kid that I might make merry with my friends but as soon as this thy son with top which have devoured thy living with harlots thou hast killed for him the fatted calf and the story continues the father says son you are always with me all I have is nine and is the son that I have with Watson now is found in for the story of weather story and we don't read the conclusion of the matter with the older brother crisis leaves it open and but I wanted to drill a little bit deeper into the motives of the old brother after the younger son it wasn't why did he leave the older brother the question is why did he stay verse twenty nine I believe gives us the keys angry right and of course you begin to wonder immediately if she cared for the younger brother which it appears as though he didn't care too much for him why would he care that they were celebrating its just like the father says shouldn't you be glad with us but deeper than that I want to find out why why was he angry verse twenty nine this is low all the years I have served you and I have never transgressed at any time your command you notice earlier the younger man younger son file that happiness was reached then by the law and his older brother that I ever broke your law but what did he say next he said and you never gave me a key meaning like a little way or little goat so that I might make merry with my is a jealous older brother right what was he saying anything I never does honor I never squandered your means I worked so hard to help move the family Corporation along and I was faithful to you and I hope Bayview and you never gave me anything personal or party never did anything to celebrate my faithfulness and now his younger brother and you kill from the fatted calf for a big party for his jealous right self-righteous all of these things but it began to dawn on us that this young man was working for an ulterior motive in way he wasn't working because he was a son and he loved his father he was working in order to earn some he thought he deserved something for all the services rendered for his father maybe thinking unfree labor and on Friday all of his return on your investment and I don't get anything and his younger son is now using up the wealth that I help to generate what is he can take a part of my inheritance again let's look at crisis object lesson began showing his work looked where it was a reading between the lines a little bit we need a little bit more solid footing price object lessons page two oh nine paragraph three like the Elder son in the terrible day the Pharisees had enjoyed special privileges God they claim to be sons in God 's house but they have the spirit of the higher early they were working not from the buy from hold of me that the key right there folders under the parable just like the Pharisees zero working out of a hole on the war but notice the next sentence dictionary keys it's that they in their eyes God was in exacting taskmaster to detect the older brother viewed the father as an exacting taskmaster now is that different or that the thing the existing and what was the motive for him to serve this apparently in his eyes hard and exacting father it was in the whole of reward so the older brother he stayed in he labored all those you he was faithful to his father never ran on never ran away never never did anything to disgrace the family never broke the family rules number one against family tradition he was an obedient son and everyone in town and goods that's a good boy is just like his father chip off the old block right he's taking on the family name and carry it along with honor but in his is there any difference between the older son and the younger son the older son was working for me more younger son one of the claims is the older son viewed the father you are currently near his master just like the owners on the only difference between the older son and the younger son was one long that it happiness would be derived can be obtained only by taping the rules whereas older brother thought that happiness and his reward and pleasure will only come from keeping both were simply after the reward are you following me these two young men are not so different is my point although misguided state of the church only brother you leave that as long as any changes on the boy the leader of an old man with a good know that everything that appears on the outside of Gordon got to look at outward appearance he looks at the heart and we spend so much of our energy and our time were fretting for all the Chronicle that are out there but perhaps there are those of us sitting in the church pews were just like the older brother in need of the conversion just say that and here is sheer is where I think we have an issue in our society today and that is this idea of what the purpose of life in any almost imperceptibly but I think it's not that imperceptible the message doesn't be from loaded she was is that pursuing our personal and individual happiness is the highest goal in life is and that the American dream is not the whole point of working hard being honest being responsible timely reliable worker that the whole message of the ill the good old days you know my grandfather work ethic type of message here in America pull yourself up by bootstrap to get somewhere in life of the American dream and even in a mean isn't that what is in the Declaration of Independence that in a helium the rights of life liberty and the pursuit of what happiness that the whole point of society is to maximize the happiness so you want to have a comfortable retirement North 's to maximize our happiness even for the philanthropists out there all of the millionaire billionaires whatever they are giving away all their money and a lot of them did you ever worry is good karma this what goes around comes around I really heard that before I'm even blog the following blogs and even their blog about living simply right I don't need someone simplify your life spend less money but what the purpose the purpose that they are low is so that you will live your life a living a simpler life with less clutter and being more environmentally friendly it can make for a happier society for some of these people the goal is to make utopia on earth and we just try hard at the messages of this is a society linear journey purse still your calling do what you will pursue your individual happiness and message that the prodigal son took the heart is that invest the message that's my goal in life the way to do it is without the restrictions of my fondest but can it be that this is the same message is being promoted in our church canopy I actually read a blog post earlier this week you might have seen it with your Facebook has been shared around it's called how to raise a pagan kid in a Christian home interesting article in the first paragraph the author write this too many times Christian parents have as their goal to make their kids good and moral is anything wrong with being a more well nothing wrong that but it is as if the entire purpose of the family 's spiritual life is to shape their children into law-abiding citizens to stay out of trouble but the good thing was that only goal as Christians the only problem with this goal in the runs in stark contrast with the Bible teaches the gospel is not about making bad people moral but about making people alive if we teach morality without the transforming power of the gospel and in the custody of a life fully surrendered to God 's will then we are simply raising moral because the message we Bible believing so they are in the shade all commitment the law mean anything now John eighth-inning you need okay you need to obey anything belonging to the ground because if you don't you're going or if you do your duty reward what are we doing all my doing warm telling young people you need to deal with them on our MR on the County something daddy honestly address the home they are not worth the only the three Hebrew boys where the fire not expecting to be delivered even though God did to them they did what was right not because of something war they did it because it was the word of God the article continues as you see the article or the author another individual whose name is Dylan Fisher who happens to be the creator of vegetative not promoting the details are endorsing in the understand that some views this is what he writes we are drinking a cocktail that the mix of the Protestant work ethic the American dream and the gospel and we intertwined and so completely that we can't tell them apart anymore Argos was become the gospel of following your dreams and being good so God will make all your dreams come true if Oprah go is when he says is the only drinking the same content do we have inadvertently in the way and I'm not being what we stay in charge of what we say is always the right thing right but by the way we model our life model our choices how we are raising our children and in my case when I worked with my students are we modeling that all Christianity really is is for you to be a good boy and girl with the dad is long gone answer to that of being a boy is out of school and chaotic in that all image are you okay if you want to earn some reward maybe I'm just being old-fashioned here it seems to me that was often the message I was and maybe unfortunately the message I've been teaching my Christianity is not just to make that people do good behaviors and motivation is not just for them to earn some reward in some distant future because what happened it creates prodigal sons and their older brothers made me those who stay in the church because of a desire song reward we think I better be good or Jesus won't last very good because that's the only way I can go to and I believe there is a problem with that are we modern-day older brothers can it be that we are staying in the church go to church we memorize Scripture missing the hands we dress the part we eat the right foods carry all of the proper behavior is because that's the way to fit in this way to stay out of trouble that's the way to earn some sort of reward whatever we think that reward might be perhaps for some of us might not be the case of those here maybe there are some of us one move the country regard to the grid we are stockpiling food and learned garden because you can't be that the motivation for that connectivity is not because we're just taking God 's word and because we want to enhance our relationship with them but primarily out of fear of being because of the rise one of the rewards that we might be receiving is just to avoid punishment or avoid the pain can be that evening during those that they were motivated by the wrong thing in a sense is and that's just legalism through is not the problem she was working because he wanted defiantly deserve something that I hurt it has happened I he also reveals by the way that he speaks to his father that he really does not effect or he doesn't think the father should accept his younger brother back to me exactly of the story like like you waste all your money one of these you spent it on prostitutes in all of this stuff I would have been back but also reveals the underlying understanding of him of his view of his father when we read earlier he saw got to the heart taskmaster soon other words this man is young man older brother another reason he decided to stay with simply he was afraid of being rejected but it's almost as if I is almost as if he's if I had only known that I can have my cake and eat it too he only wished he could've done with the younger brother did him we often marveled we see such a whole some individuals brought up in the church and that one day there up to two thousand one also the next day the flaw around the world like anyone perhaps right here older brother syndrome and I don't want to surmise too much into the story but I just can't help but one day perhaps the older brother played a part in inciting the younger brother to me because if we look at the modern-day chronicles those who have chosen to walk away how often we have heard the accusation of hypocrisy as one of the cardinal reasons for their departure no one talking about now I'm not all into you know the hunting for help hypocrites movement sure there are hypocrites I think we ought to look at ourselves and to really ask the hard questions if perhaps I've been simply living this visit this life of the American dream plus a little bit of Jesus and that those who are watching on actually sees right through that and perhaps if we ourselves are not presenting the best witness to what Christians ought to be in what Christians ought to be motivated by Dennis on my point I'm trying to point fingers but introspection I think is necessary not just my heart is broken often when Young people in particular individuals who choose to walk away find reason to do so because of my because of things that I have chosen to do or not to do and often easier to doubt right I'm not so sure that churches like that I'm not sure I want to be a part before I get too carried away I know I've been quite hard on the older brothers I know the brother literally and also I believe spiritually I relate with him a great deal I want to let the younger brothers off the hook completely younger brother spiritually has brought up the story because ultimately we can't blame someone else for own choice in the judgment we are ultimately responsible for our own decisions her own action and this reminds me of a passage right here in steps to Christ page one hundred and eleven disguise it hasn't made the real closet doubts and skepticism in most cases new unprecedented is the love the teachings and restrictions of God 's word are not welcome to the proud and loving heart and those who are unwilling to obey its requirements are ready to doubt it so yes we can psychoanalyze the prodigal son the younger brother all we want but I think the spirit of prophecy was not caught unawares by the modern postmodern post- Christian whatever you want to call it mentality this idea that what's right for you right for you but that's not right the idea that all roads lead to the same destination this idea that I do what I want because there is no absolute truth with all to make it out of thin three-car incident God will not pop unawares and she mentioned he does state that years after Christ the real cause of doubt and skepticism in most cases is certainly the love of sin the prodigal son she loves that he wanted to do the drinking and partying in the sleeping around we just wanted to do it so he look for excuses analysis object of his life now of course she alighted while I edit in most cases but want to make any sweeping generalizations but my heart frequently rises up with righteous indignation when individuals claim to be so smart and wise to come up with the fitted argument sophisticated arguments and justification for the behavior when all is good excuses have you ever heard that excuse the atheists agnostics the uninsured the secular people out there they are more than nicer and their more loving than those cranky old and era that it will mean we should be cranky old addresses but unfortunately there are those who fix pack category I think they noticed I I worked with the arsenals sure at this cat have the truth surely there is truth all of the world religions these are all excuses for us definitively do what we want all went okay to drink occasionally social drinking besides the Bible the word for wine is unclear from meditator unfermented and they can keep things totally unfermented back in those days are probably alcoholic wine and must be okay and I and a lady over there and while all the textures and the shape that she started nonprofit thingy starving children that she drinks it must be okay are these things before in most cases the reason for doubt and skepticism is the loveless the prodigal sons I don't know there are any of you relate more with this young man with those who might hear this recording later who's the hypocrite honestly those who clean in life in mind it's a tolerant spirit who chooses this way because it's more or whatever looking down our noses on those cranky old perhaps were not really that different after all often the most sophisticated arguments are used to cover up the simplest of prop and the oldest of problem 's anatomy loves so that's my middle hi he will on the younger brothers but what about us today what's the real take away of this message the question really is is this our problem what are our goals as Christians we look at the younger son we look at the older son we recognize there are some problems there but what about us what is this objective that we are placing before ourselves and our children and the purpose for the Christian life are we teaching that worldly happiness and prosperity and painless secure or independent comfortable life is the ultimate goal or maybe even we're just telling young people and nearly got okay just have to live right and keep your nose clean and do the right thing or else you won't be safe and that were there more to this is this just American dream plot below that of Jesus it is just a method of the good that you can save some day in fact if the message because many that what we are selling crafts we look at the worldly people doing all of this good stuff to me with billions of dollars saving lives and coming out with no mechanisms to empower entire nations and entire races of people were so impressed by the wind yes but there was more to the Christian life and so what kind of Christians are we supposed to be producing what is going to be Christian mimosas Christian like Paul who are willing to say Lord if it even means the destruction of these people want me out of the book of life from I can fake let me be accursed from Christ that is not the voice of an individual who is pursuing a simplified version of the American dream that the voice of an individual who has been consoled with the image of Jesus Christ who had been in earnest sincere desire to be like and what kind of Christians our churches and our whole reproducing Christians like Jacob what will you explain to the angel even when it looks like this is the end of his corporate backers not the type of Christian that we see today that just try to be good to there is a deeper motivation for why they live the Christian life is not just being good and moral but is being Christ I am aware Christlike the good and the moral is just a part no some of us and we talk about becoming being the last generation of God 's faithful people before you come right to talk about and it's almost like we have this swell and arch has to be survival older brother likes swagger I know the story of the great conquerors I know the sanctuary message almost home and inadvertently we get this mindset like yeah see I better than the older brother speaking fast older brother in our hearts it's how we get to that point how do we move from where we are now to that point where Moses Hall and an cheek of work Christ lives how we become that we are now to how he is I think it begins by coming to the same realization that the younger brother real of all of us are covered in filthy rags the stench of pigs on us feasting on the husks with nothing to offer and realizing that the only thing we can do is to go at the fall completely broken contract at the feet of Jesus and has been recognized that the love of Christ is shed abroad in our hearts the Holy Ghost after the mercies of God we can be made in the past review the frost of Christ lifted up for us and that we had done nothing to deserve it and can not hurt anything to what we see that Anne Wetterling recognized that the father had noted a long way off die for us while we were yet sinners when we truly recognize that in the depths of our soul and the love of Christ in him reciprocation swelled up from within then the desire will no longer be bored what while that the Lord how can I be like you when that moment times and I pray that the Lord may move me quickly from where I answered that I feel than the older brother can learn to rejoice with his father the younger son what have been brought back into communion in the father 's house best experience I want that you I guess it earlier probably have more questions and answers after this study I know I but the one thing I'm is that there needs to be more of Christ less of myself she must increase I must decrease and by his grace and the indwelling of his Holy Spirit I pray that I might become like Moses and Paul Jacob and Christ having the feet of Jesus having the love for lost souls like you are having the mind of Christ so transformed that are not simply in it for sums self interest but I doubt I would remain faithful to Christ that I would be a Christian even if there was no heaven even if there was no hell even if there was no reward that I would still choose to be a follower of Jesus that's my desire about you let's pray together father in heaven this afternoon as we have thought hard about the story of the prodigal son and his brother were how we see ourselves reflected in the experience of these two young board many questions we are sure of ourselves truly we have nothing to offer you Lord we pray that we might not serve you out of the self serving motive not simply for some gain some reward that we might become like you and genuinely desire that Christ like this teach us Lord every day guide our decisions help us to order our footsteps we might follow in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus Christ himself that one day we might be truly like reflecting his image to the world we know this is an accordance to your will as we thank you for steering this prayer in answering it in your time so beat us and take us from this place and also low we thank you for the Sabbath that is not closing guide us in the new workweek that we might be connected with you and I would like to prepare for the sound is coming in another seven days with us as a this media was brought to you by osteoporosis a website dedicated to spreading God 's word to the sermon audio and much more we would like to know more about our universe is like the more so than please visit www. audio person .org

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