new life fellowship

serving jesus christ the king

Can you go so far from God that you can’t come back?

(by Robert McCollum)

Charles Dickens described it as the greatest short story ever written. We know it as the ‘The Parable of the Prodigal Son’, although it might be better called ‘The Story of Two Lost Sons’. It’s found in the Bible, in Luke 15. Here we find a surprising answer to our question.

A man had two sons, and one day the younger outrageously requests for his share of the family inheritance. In other words, “Father, I’d prefer it if you were dead!” He quickly leaves home with the money, wasting it all in an out-of-control lifestyle. It isn’t long until he’s living in the gutter—forced to get a job feeding pigs.

Jesus has painted the picture of the ultimate sinner. He is as far away from his father as he could possibly go. It is only now that the son realises what he has done. He has rejected his father’s love. Is there any hope?

He decides to go back and apologise. As he returns, his father spots him and sprints towards him, tears flowing down his face. For an elderly man to run in that society was considered extremely shameful, but he cares only for his son. He welcomes his son back with open arms—no questions asked.

Maybe you feel like this son—you’ve gone your own way, rejected God. God says to you, “Come back, I will receive you and welcome you back with open arms—no questions asked.”

But there were two sons. The other was furious when he heard his father had thrown a party to celebrate the return of his brother; he refused to join in. By doing so, he too brought great shame on his father. Yet Jesus says the father also went out to him to invite him into the party. The elder brother was also lost and needed the invite of his father.

Maybe you are more like this son. You think you are close to God but it’s a relationship of slavery rather than sonship. Elder brother lostness is much worse than younger brother lostness.

“Jesus Christ came to seek and to save the lost." (Luke 19:10) No-one is too far from God that they won’t receive a welcome, but you can seem so close to God to think that you don’t need a welcome. Where are you?

(You can download the full talk from under Sermons)