(Sermon preached on Sunday, October 1, 2017, at Maranatha Church, Cambridge)
Read through Luke 15:1-3, 11-32.
In response to criticism from the religious leaders for welcoming and eating with ‘sinners’, Jesus tells three parables about the lost being found. In this familiar parable of the lost son, notice that while the one son is reunited with the father, the other son remains estranged from the father. Which begs the question, which son is the lost son?
The contrast that Jesus is making is between a rebellious son and religious son. As Christians we often think of others as the lost ones, but is it possible that we ourselves have lost our way? If we do not share God’s heart for ‘sinners’, are we really one with God? If we make it hard for others to find God, are we lost? The sad thing is that many people are actually leaving the church because of the church. They are actually desperate to find their way back to God, but don’t see the church as helpful in that search.
As Jesus followers we need to be aware of how easy it is to lose our way. Through history, the church has often forgotten WHO and HOW we’re supposed to be. The 500th anniversary of the protestant reformation is one example of a time when Jesus followers had to admit they were lost, and find their way back to God.
This month we will look at the 5 solas of the reformation. We will look at them as parts of a Compass. God alone is the true north, Grace alone and Faith alone will be our west and east. Scripture alone will be our south. And Christ alone will be the center point in Whom all things hold together. Using these compass points, we will evaluate where we are in relation to God, and reorient ourselves back to where we need to be.
For now, ask yourself, is your life properly oriented around God, His kingdom, His priorities? Are you living recklessly like the one son? Or are you living a religious life (a good church-goer), and yet far from the heart of God? According to this parable, it is possible for religious people to be lost… distant from God. You can see examples of this be reading Revelation 2-3. “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.” (Revelation 3:1)
What are your thoughts?