Starting on the first of May and continuing for 6 weeks our whole congregation will be focusing on what is widely known as the “Parable of the Prodigal Son”. It is recorded in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 15, verses 11-31. The sermons on Sundays will be about it, the home group meetings during the week will be focusing on it, and hopefully many conversations and prayers will be stimulated by it. It is a widely known but also widely misunderstood parable, because it is not just about one son. It is about two sons. Two lost sons. One who rebells, goes away and squanders his inheritance, the other one who stays at home, works very hard but doesn’t really love his Father either. But mainly it is about the Father who loves both of them in a way they never thought was possible.
This parable is probably the purest and clearest representation of the GOSPEL message that is found in the whole of Scripture. I am particularly looking forward to doing this because I feel that I need a fresh infusion of pure gospel thinking into my system as often as possible. I am wired very much like the elder brother. Coming from a legalistic, strict and stern Christian upbringing I find it very easy to slip into “elder brother mode”. The idea of earning God’s favor by trying harder, praying longer, sacrificing more and being “good” is deeply ingrained in my soul since early childhood. Pure, undeserved and generous grace is something I have come to understand with my head, but still find it very hard to grasp with my heart. I suspect that I am not the only one. But only a true, heartfelt understanding of and resting in the undeserved amazing grace of our God can set us free to live the full, free and fruitful life that Christ has called us to. A life of beautiful holiness and joyful selflessness. I warmly recommend the book “The Prodigal God” by Timothy Keller to every reader of this.
It is also a great way of following the season of Lent, Good Friday and Easter; because the Cross and the empty Tomb were the means by which God in Christ has shown us just how much he loved us and how high a price he was willing to pay to get us back home. So all are welcome to join us in this journey of exploring the very heart of the Gospel. I pray that God might use this series in a powerful way to do both – renew the love of seasoned Christ Followers – and also to reach out to those who are still outside the family of God.