This Preaching in Shorts sermon series is called “Neighboring Well”.
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Luke 15:11-24 (NIV)
11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
We are in a series called Neighboring Well which is about Kingdom hospitality. We have spent the last couple of months talking about standing for our neighbors in the armor of God against the lies and tricks and deceptions of the evil one.
We are going to continue to talk about hospitality, but we will be looking at Kingdom hospitality and how it relates to the grace of God. In effect, our motivation for being a people of hospitality is because of the grace of God. Let’s start by looking at hospitality in the Old Testament.
1. I am the Lord your God
Leviticus 19:33-34 (NIV)
33 “‘When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. 34 The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.
The people of Israel had been strangers in Egypt, but because of God they were no longer. “I am the Lord who rescued you when you were aliens and strangers in bondage and captivity. I am the Lord your God who made a home for you and delivered you into it. Because I did this for you, you are to love the stranger who sojourns with you as yourself.”
Because of God, we are no longer strangers.
Why did God rescue the people of Israel from slavery? Because of how good they were? Or because of how good God is?
Psalm 106:7-8 (NIV)
7 When our fathers were in Egypt, they gave no thought to your miracles; they did not remember your many kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea. 8 Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, to make his mighty power known.
This is a picture of grace.
Grace is the hospitality of God to welcome sinners not because of their goodness but because of his goodness.
The ultimate display of hospitality was at the Cross. At the Cross, Jesus willingly gave His life to provide an opportunity for everyone who believes to become a part of the household of God. We are no longer strangers and sojourners. In Christ, we have come home to God. In Christ, we are one more lost child that has been reunited with our heavenly Papa.
Ephesians 2:8 (NIV)
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
The foundation for hospitality is and always has been the goodness of God expressed in His amazing grace. Jesus gives an awesome parable about this concept of hospitality in grace in Luke 15 in the story that is most well known as the prodigal son.
3. The Prodigal Son
We read this story in our scripture reading. While the story is called the prodigal son, it is really about the amazing grace of the Father.
Most of you have heard the story. The son didn’t want to live the way his father wanted him to. He wanted to go and do his own thing. So he goes to his father and tells him that he wants his share of the inheritance now. In effect, he is saying I am tired of sitting around waiting for you to die, so just give me my money so I can go and do what I want to do. And the Father does, and the son goes out and lives a wild and crazy life until all the money is gone. Then he is alone and hungry, best job he can find is feeding pigs, which is not a great job for a Jewish person, and he says I am just going to go home and hope that I can get hired back on as a servant there.
Luke 15:20 (NIV)
… 20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him…
But the Father is waiting and watching for his wayward son to come home. When he sees him a long way off he goes running to the son. Loves him and welcomes him home with a celebration and with a robe and sandals and a ring which were all symbols of being welcomed home as a child.
I want you to see that the love of the Father was is place way before the repentance of the son. This is a picture of God’s grace. It is based on God’s goodness not on our performance. God loves us while we are out doing are own thing.
Romans 5:6-8 (NIV)
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God is waiting patiently for the opportunity to welcome His lost children home. He loves them so much that made the way back possible.
John 3:16-17 (NIV)
16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Our part is to keep finding ways to let people know. There is a God who loves them and wants to be in relationship with them now and forever. He wants to welcome them home. Kingdom hospitality is motivated in the amazing grace of God, so we will talk more about that next week.