Turn: Luke 15
Birthday Month / Legacy Sunday
He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. (Luke 15:16)
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! (Luke 15:17)
I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. (Luke 15:18)
I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ (Luke 15:19)
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. (Luke 15:20)
So we’re in a series called ‘Don’t Leave the House’
Introducing you a principle called the Principle of the Place
What is that?
My welfare and my wellbeing is not just determined by who I am, but it’s equally determined by where I am.
IOW: Place Matters
I am something called a ‘Non-Fisher’ - I don’t fish, it’s sad to me. When I see those fish gasping for air, I don’t like that. I EAT fish, so I appreciate the hypocrisy in that. I also eat sausage but I don’t need to see how the sausage is made. But I don’t enjoy fishing. That’s me. I don’t judge, but I also don’t fish.
But I do know one thing about fish and that’s this: Certain types of fish need certain types of water to survive. If you grab Goldie the Gold Fish and you throw him in the ocean, he’s not gonna live long.
God knows what kind of water we need to be in to survive. And when God places us in a certain environment, it’s our responsibility to stay there.
If you think about the creation narrative, this is the Biblical narrative that shows us how God created the world.
And the Bible says very clearly that God spends 5 days (whether that’s literal or metaphorical) creating the place, and just one day creating the people. Humanity was not created until the 6th day. And God spent the first 5 days creating the place.
Because he knew that their welfare and their wellbeing was not just about creating them right it was also about placing them right. It wasn’t just about who they were, it also matters where they were.
This is true not just for humanity, but all of creation:
Because he knew that in order for his creation to function the way he intended them to function, they didn’t just need to be built right, they also needed to be placed right.
And when you understand this, you understand “My development and my contribution are dependent on me being in the place God created me to be.”
Because some places are not good for me. I can go to visit, but I have to live where God intended me to live. And you realize that some places are good for where I was but they’re not good for where I’m going.
God knows how to put you in the environment where you’ll thrive. It’s the principle of the place.
You have to be intentional to stay in the house, you have to be committed to stay in the house, you have to be determined to stay in the house, you have to grow up to stay in the house.
Because as we’ve said, being in the house isn’t just your physical position of the being in a building, it’s about the spiritual position of your heart. And the enemy wants to use your disconnection from the building to disconnect you from God’s presence.
But the devil is a liar and you’re not gonna let that happen.
In Luke 15, Jesus is having a conversation with his followers and he tells them 3 parables.
What are parables?
Parables are fictitious stories that coax us into seeing the world a new way. Sometimes Jesus explained his parables, other times he didn't. And out of all Jesus’s teachings, I love his parables the best.
I’d like to show you why:
I wonder if anybody in here is familiar with what’s called ‘Johari’s Window’? “What is that?” Let me show you.
Johari’s window is a mental framework that says your personality is dived up in 4 quadrants, or 4 ‘selves’.
You got the first self - this is the ‘Open Self’
Information about you that both you and others know.
I like steak. I know I like steak, you know I like steak.
Pastor Marshall likes the Cowboys. He knows he likes the Cowboys and we know he likes the Cowboys. Growing up, my dad would always call the Cowboys the Cowpies. So my dad knew he didn’t like the Cowboys and we knew he didn’t like the Cowboys.
But it’s the open self. It’s stuff you know about you, and we know it too.
Information about you that you know but others don’t know.
These are things that you’ve chosen not to disclose. So maybe you secretly want to be the president of the United States. And you know it, but we don’t know it.
It’s the hidden self.
Information about you that you don’t know but others do know.
This is why I say that of the types of relationships you have, the friend category is probably the most important. Because people in the friend category are the most likely to see your blind self.
“What about my spouse?” Well your spouse should fit in the friend category. I hope you didn’t marry an assignment. I hope you didn’t marry a business associate. No friendship is the foundation of a healthy marriage.
Your friends are critical. Because this is the person that has the sight to see things about you that you don’t see. And can often times show you those things, in love, to give you an opportunity to see what we all see.
Information about you that neither you nor others know.
But God knows. And only God can show you your unknown self.
Now he shows you these in a few of different ways.
So us preachers, we tend to address issues that we see in :
Well Jesus uses these things called parables to communicate issues that are more times than not in the Blind Self and the Unknown Self.
So things that we know about you that you don’t know about you.
And things that neither you nor us know about you, but God knows.
And Jesus uses parables to expose things in our heart that we didn’t know where there. Because when you’re dealing with church people, sometimes they think they already know everything already, so you can’t teach them anything.
We tend to think of the truth as something we’ve already found. “Boom! Done! Now I know the truth! So glad that’s done.” We file it under the category ‘Things I know.' But parables come and challenge what we thought was already clear.
So Jesus is always helping his followers see “You think you know this but you don’t.”
Because things can be hiding in our hearts and that we can’t see.
And so Jesus tells these 3 parables and he’s addressing an issue with his follows that they don’t see. It’s a problem HE knows they have, but they don’t know they have. And the issue is this: They’re not correctly valuing people.
It’s amazing that these people got so busy doing ministry, they forgot what ministry was all about.
And so Jesus is noticing some patterns about his disciples that they don’t see. And so he has a conversation with them to teach them a principle: When you do not have a heart for people, you do not have the heart of the father.
But Jesus is teaching them that when you do not value people, you miss the heart of the Father.
He says a shepherd has 100 sheep and he loses one. He leaves the 99 to find the 1. This is a powerful picture of what God did for you and me. You didn’t find him, he found you. You just quit running. He’s trying to get us to see - The One Matters
So this story is of a woman who loses a coin. So she starts sweeping the house, looking everywhere. She’s sweeping. See back then, they didn’t have carpet, they didn’t have tile. The floors of their houses were dirt. And so if you lost something, you’d have to sweep the dirt to find it. And finally she finds it. The coin was in the house, it was just covered in dirt. And that’s what God does for us. Even though I’m a Christian, every once awhile I find myself in the dirt, and so God comes and sweeps till he finds me and cleans me off.
He tells this story - He says there this man, and he has two sons. Now the younger son (the younger one represents immaturity), becomes entitled. Because when you’re entitled as a Christian, it means you’re immature.
So here this boy is, sitting in a house he didn’t pay for. He’s under a roof he doesn’t have a mortgage for, he’s playing an xbox, playstation, Nintendo switch he didn’t buy. He’s got his own room, a laptop, an iPad, an iPhone, and he didn’t pay for any of it.
And he goes to his dad, and says “Listen, whatever you were planning to give me when you die, give it to me now - It’s taking you too long to die. You’re dying too slow.”
And the father knows that the son is not mature enough to handle what he’s asking for. Now I don’t know how old this kid is. He may have been old enough, but that doesn’t mean he’s mature enough.
A blessing before you’re ready can be a curse. What might have blessed you will end up burdening you.
So here’s an example of someone who is unwilling to learn through instruction, so now he’s gonna learn through experience.
But the dad says “Alright son. Here you go. Go ahead, take it. Go on with your bad self. Let’s see what happens.”
And so the son takes what his father gives him, goes to a far off land, hooks up with the wrong people, and squanders it all.
And so now he’s broke. And he’s not a broke kid living at dads house, he’s a broke kid living in a strange land.
And so he gets a job working for a man, and he’s in the pig pen taking care of pigs. He’s sleeping with the pigs! And none of that would have happened if he hadn’t left the house.
For this man, what does the house represent? It’s represents his fathers presence. He got outside of his fathers presence. And when he did that, that’s when everything started going bad.
He’s sleeping with the pigs.
The question is: What lured him out of the house?
Because if we don’t know what got him out, we can be pulled out by the same things. During this crazy season we find ourselves in, the devil is working very hard to lure people out of the house. To convince them that they don’t need the house.
Entitlement lured him out of the house.
Pastor, what do you mean? He felt that he was entitled to his father blessing him a certain way. It wasn’t that his father wasn’t going to bless him, he just didn’t want to wait for his fathers timing.
And there’s times when people get frustrated with God because God’s not blessing them the way they think he should when they think he should.
I am too imperfect to be entitled. When I look at where I was and where I am now, when I look at what God did for me, I realize I’m too imperfect to be entitled.
Resentment lured him out of the house.
I plan on doing a series of teachings at some point on resentment in the future, because I feel like God has been showing me just how pervasive and how destructive resentment is.
I describe resentment as 'non-specific hostility'. It's where nothings wrong, but something's still a little wrong, just humming along in the background.
Resentment destroys every kind of relationship.
Because when resentment is present, there’s never an even playing field. Resentment is a bias. So if you have resentment in your heart, you’re going to have an exaggerated perception of someones imperfections and play down their strengths.
Now again, resentment usually lives in the ‘Blind Self’ or the 'Unknown Self' where you don't see it. But God sees it.
And even though most Christians would never admit it, some of them become resentful towards God.
Let’s be honest. There’s someone in here that’s dealing with some resentment towards God. Cuz they’re asking ‘God, how could you allow this to happen to me? How could you allow this to happen to me right now? This is the wrong time. I’ve been faithful. Come on Jesus, how am I supposed to recover from this?’
I don’t know if you’ve heard a pastor say this: God’s not intimidated by your resentment. Your resentment may be illogical, your resentment may be inappropriate. But just because you don’t express it doesn’t mean it’s not there. He knows it’s there. He’s like “Can we talk about this so we can fix it?” So you don’t let this drive you away from the only one who can fix what you’re mad about. He says ‘You’re becoming resentful, but you’re about to allow that to push you away from the only person that can make it better.'
Let’s not pretend like we haven’t ever had these “God, why didn’t you do this” moments.
The antidote to resentment is trust.
Whenever there’s a gap between what God does and what you understand, fill the gap with trust, not suspicion.
“God I don’t understand why things went down the way they went down, but I can fill that gap with suspicion or trust and I fill it with trust.
He hooked up with the wrong people.
Don’t you know this is how it happened. He was surrounded by his knucklehead friends who were saying “What’s your dads problem? He’s holding out on you. You’d be better off without him.” And the boys like “Yeah man, who does he think he is?” Getting himself all pumped up in his room.
No, you gotta stay connected with people who are in the house and who keep you in the house.
When this boy was in the pig pen, he almost let embarrassment keep him there.
Cuz here’s the truth, none of are perfect, and sometimes we get outside of the house. And so a week passes by and you think “Man, I haven’t prayed once this week. - I let my temper get the best of me. I said something to my spouse that I regret. I yelled at my kids.” And you get embarrassed.
I know some of you are perfect and never do the wrong thing but the rest of us, every now and then we fail to live up to who we know we’re supposed to be and it’s embarrassing.
This boy could have let embarrassment keep him in the pig pen but he said “No, I’ve got to get back to my father.”
And sometimes you feel like God’s holding a grudge that he’s not holding.
And so you’re thinking “Man, I’m so embarrassed, I messed up.” and God’s like “Come on back. I’m waiting here in the house. Excited to have you back. Glad to have you back.”
And in the story when the boy gets back home the father gives the boy a robe, and a ring, and some shoes - and it shows us that even when you blow it, God’s there to give you another chance.
You’re like “God, I thought I blew it all.” And God’s like “You didn’t blow it all, I didn’t give it all to you yet. I knew you were gonna go waste some time, so I held some of it back, till you were ready for it."
God’s there to give you another chance.
You gotta stay in the house.
And you might be thinking “Pastor, it’s not working for me.” - Yeah but’s it's working ON you. You may feel like it’s not working for you, but the way that it’s working for you is it’s working ON you.
And when you enter into your next season, you’re gonna find that you’re stronger than you were before. Where other people quit, you’re not gonna quit. When other people’s strength fails, your strength will not.
Don’t Leave the House. The adversary is trying to lure you out of the house and out of God’s Presence.
We must be intentional, deliberate, and determined to keep ourselves in the presence of the Father. Because that is the house that was built for us.