I get the privilege of preaching God’s word to our congregation every so often, about once per month. When I preach, I will do my best to post a snippet from my manuscript (it will not always be exactly what I say!) here on the blog with a link to the full audio. In my first two weeks at Grace Chapel, I preached twice. Here’s a portion of my first sermon, “A Father and Two Sons” from Luke 15:11-32.
So Jesus leaves the story open-ended. What will the elder brother do? He ends it there to leave the Pharisees and us longing something—for a true and better elder brother. An elder brother who would leave the presence of his Father and the comforts of his home in heaven to go on a rescue mission and sacrifice all he has to bring his Father’s lost children home. You see, Jesus is the elder brother we need and long for. He gave up his heavenly inheritance and paid our debt. He was stripped of his heavenly clothes, hung naked on a cross, and died thirsty, so we would be clothed in the best robe and enjoy a feast fit for a king. And God is the real prodigal in this story. He is the one who is radical, extravagant, seemingly wasteful in his generosity.
So now younger brothers and elder brothers can relate to God through grace. It’s a gift. We receive it by faith. No one is too bad to receive it and no one is good enough to earn it. Jesus is directing us to himself. He’s saying, you don’t have what takes. You need to trust in a God who is recklessly generous. A God who is wastefully extravagant. A God who shatters your categories of sin and righteousness. And the only way to get to him is through his Son, who provides both the perfect obedience and payment for sin we need.
Some of you might be saying right now, “Okay, I’m already a Christian. I get it. I’ve already received grace. What am I supposed to do?” Well, Jesus doesn’t say, “Go and do likewise.” He is directing us to himself. So if that is your reaction, let me humbly suggest that you guard your heart from a spirit of legalism: be astonished by grace! Second, let me ask you to consider: if this is your attitude, have you encountered grace in the first place? This grace should astonish you and fuel your faith!
Martin Luther once said, “If I could believe God was not angry with me, I would stand on my head for joy!” If you want an application, maybe try that as one this morning!
Listen to the whole thing.