“God Rejoices Over Sinners Who Repent”

Both Non-Religious and Religious Sinners Need to Repent
The Parables of the Prodigal Son, Lost Sheep & Lost Coin
(Luke 15:1-32)

By Greg Gibson

Parable: Short story that shows a religious lesson.

Intro: The reason why Jesus told these 3 stories…”Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law complained, вЂ?This man welcomes sinners and eats with them'” (Lk. 15:1-2). Jesus answered with 3 stories…

1. The Parable of the Lost Sheep (Read Lk. 15:3-7; cf. Mt. 18:10)

    Theme: God seeks sinners to repent, and rejoices to welcome them. (Repent: Turn away from sin to God.)

2. The Parable of the Lost Coin (Read Lk. 15:8-10)

    Same theme as the Parable of the Lost Sheep, different metaphor.

3. The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Read Lk. 15:11-32)

    1st half: same theme as the first 2 stories. 2nd half: subtle rebuke to Pharisees.

3 Truths From the Parable of the Prodigal Son
1. Jesus Seeks Sinners to Repent
2. God Rejoices Over Sinners Who Repent
3. Self-Righteous People Don’t Think They’re Sinners Who Need to Repent

Three Actors in the Story:
1. Younger son: Non-religious, immoral sinners who later repent.
2. Father: God who rejoices over sinners who turn to Him.
3. Older son: Religious, moral, self-righteous people who don’t think they’re sinners who need to repent.

1. Jesus Seeks Sinners to Repent (Not for Friendship Alone)

    A. Jesus Didn’t Seek Sinners for Friendship Alone

    Jesus wasn’t lonely. He knew Psalm 1…

    “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night” (Ps. 1:1-2, cf. Ps. 26:4-5).

    Jesus didn’t have much in common with sinners, and neither do His followers…

    “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: вЂ?I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord” (2 Cor. 6:14-17).

    No, Jesus didn’t have much in common with sinners? Do you brothers? Do you have any friendships for the wrong reasons? Dating unbelievers?

    So, if Jesus wasn’t lonely, and didn’t have much in common with sinners, then why did He befriend them?

    B. Jesus Seeks Sinners to Turn to God

    Ever since Adam and Eve fell into sin, God has been seeking sinners to turn to Him.

    “But the LORD God called to (Adam), вЂ?Where are you?'” (Gen. 3:8)

    “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Gen. 3:15).

    God promised Abraham, “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Gen. 12:3).

    God sent Jonah to warn the Ninevites to turn from their sin.

    “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (Jn. 3:17).

    “Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth, вЂ?Follow me,’ Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. Then Levi held a great dinner for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their group complained to his disciples, вЂ?Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’ Jesus answered them, вЂ?It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance'” (Lk. 5:27-32).

    Jesus was always seeking sinners to turn to God. There He was talking with…

    • The demon-possessed man who lived in the cemetery, saying, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you” (Mk. 5:1-20).

    • The sinful woman who anointed him, saying, “Your many sins are forgiven” (Lk. 7: 36-50).

    • The thief on the cross, saying, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Lk. 23:40-43).

    • Zacchaeus the tax collector, saying, “I must stay at your house today…Today salvation has come to this house…For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Lk. 19:1-10).

    • Adulterous woman at the well, saying, “You have had 5 husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband…I who speak to you am (the Messiah)” (Jn. 4:1-26, 39-42).

    He sent the apostles on a mission to seek sinners, for: “repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name” (Lk. 24:47; Mt. 28:18-20; Jn. 20:21-23; Acts 1:8).

    Brothers, do you have Jesus’ compassion and love for lost sinners? Are you a friend of sinners? Are you eating with sinners? Are you seeking lost sinners to help them out of sin?

    Yes, Jesus seeks sinners to turn to God.

2. God Rejoices Over Sinners Who Turn to Him

Some of the Worst Sinners Who Turned to God:
1. King Manassah: Idolatry, witchcraft, spiritism, child sacrifice (Read 2 Chr. 33:10-13)
2. Saul/Paul: Stephen martyred, persecution, arrests, jail (Acts 7:57 – 8:1)
3. Church at Corinth (Read I Cor. 6:9-11)

God has to humble sinners before they turn to Him. (Read Lk. 15:13-16) Sin is costly. $: Tiger Woods, gambling, alcoholism; Relationships: adultery

Have you turned away yet from your sin to God? (Read Lk. 15:17-20).

5 Signs of True Repentance
1. Right thinking about God: “When he came to his senses, he said, вЂ?How many of my Father’s employees have food to spare, and here I am starving to death'” (Lk. 15:17). Sin is like being out of your mind.

2. Confess your sin: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you” (Lk. 15:18b).

3. Humility: “I am no longer worthy to be called your son” (Lk. 15:19a).

4. Willing to serve God as your Lord: “make me like one of your employees” (Lk. 15:19b).

5. Go to God: “So he got up and went to his father” (Lk. 15:20).

Prodigal son saw his desperate need before repenting.

    “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Mt. 5:3).

Notice the father didn’t greet him saying, “You stupid idiot…” or “You’ve sinned too many times…” Rather, the Father welcomed him home (Read Lk. 15:20, 22-24).

If you’re a non-religious sinner like the Prodigal Son, God will rejoice in you if you turn to Him. Go to Him right now, just like the Prodigal son did. Tell him, “Father, I’ve sinned against you. I’m not worthy of you. Let me serve you as Lord.” And, He will welcome you with a hug and a kiss because God rejoices over sinners who turn to Him.

3. Self-Righteous People Don’t Think They’re Sinners Who Need to Repent

Parable of the Prodigal Son is about 2 lost sons: liberal left and conservative right. Older brother thought he wasn’t a sinner: Listen, he said, “All these years I’ve been serving you and never disobeyed your orders.” (Lk. 15:29)

    “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15).
If you don’t think you’re a sinner, then Jesus didn’t come to save you.
How many sins do you have to commit to be a sinner?

    “God…commands ALL people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).

7 Signs of Self-Righteous Pride
1. Laughing at the sins of others.
2. Criticizing others to exalt yourself above them.
3. Boasting about how good you are, “I did this, I did that.”
4. Saying, “I’m not as bad as that person.”
5. Saying, “I’m a good person.”
6. Saying, “I’m not a sinner.”
7. Complaining when ex-sinners receive forgiveness.

Pharisees were proud, self-righteous hypocrites, full of pride, deceit, and greed (Mt. 23). They claimed to know God, but when He came to earth, they killed Him (Acts 3:15).

1st century Jewish culture: tax collectors disrespected, Pharisees respected…

“To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: вЂ?Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself; вЂ?God, I thank you that I am not like all other men – thieves, sinners, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, вЂ?God, have mercy on me a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Lk. 18:9-14).

“(Jesus) said to (the Pharisees), вЂ?You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts'” (Lk. 16:15). Lust = adultery (Mt. 5:28) and hate = murder (1 Jn. 3:15).

“Jesus said to (the priests, elders, and Pharisees), вЂ?I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him” (Mt. 21:31-32).

Proud, self-righteous people don’t understand that the only one good is God, not them.

    “No one is good except God alone” (Mark 10:18).

    “None is righteous, no, not one…no one does good, not even one” (Romans 3:11-12).

Proud, self-righteous people don’t understand that they need God’s righteousness, not their own.

    “in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith” (Philippians 3:8-9; Rom. 3:22, 4:1-5, 9:30-32, 10:1-4).

Proud, self-righteous people don’t understand that Christ is the only Savior, not a co-Savior to help you save yourself.

    “I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior” (Is. 43:11; cf. Hos. 13:4; 1 Jn. 4:14).

Proud, self-righteous people don’t understand that if we could earn salvation, then Christ didn’t need to die to pay for our sins.

    “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing” (Gal. 2:21).

Gospel means “good news.” Salvation by God’s free grace is good news. Salvation by works is bad news. Example: Unhappy nuns. Works salvation = joylessness (Gal. 4:15). Grace salvation = joy (Gal. 5:22). Salvation is by God’s unearned grace, not earned by your works.

    “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8; cf. Rom. 11:5-6; 2 Tim. 1:8-9; Tit. 3:5).

Proud, self-righteous people don’t think they’re sinners who need to turn away from sin. But, God rejoices over sinners who turn from sin to Him…

Christ came to save both non-religious sinners and religious sinners. If you’re a proud, self-righteous person, go to God right now just like the lost son did. Humble yourself before Him, confess your sin, and offer to serve Him as your Lord. Then, He will hug you, kiss you, and rejoice over you.

(Most Bible quotes are from the New International Version, 1978.
Some quotes are the author’s paraphrases.)

Edited 12/20/09

The Parable of the Prodigal Son: Sermon Notes (Luke 15:1-32) | 2009 | Sermon Notes | Tags: , , , , | Comments (3)

3 Responses to “The Parable of the Prodigal Son: Sermon Notes (Luke 15:1-32)”

  1. jessie vezza says:

    thank you very much for sharing this learning . . . i am studying “deadly sins” but now i think before even these sins non-repentence and 10 commandment sins are at the core . . i am also trying to figure out forgiveness too . . . as i could forgive someone . . but without repentance, they keep doing it over and over . . . but i am not God . . . thanks

  2. Yaro Samuel says:

    I am really blessed, wonderful sharing. Really the grace of God has room for self righteousness.Everyone indeed needs to repent.

  3. Rosie gunn says:

    Where i like your comment, Tiger wood isn’t the only one that sin have cost them something. sin have cost, you, me and anyone else, But it cost God most of all.

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