The Lost Son (Luke 15:11-24)

A Man Had Two Sons…

I want to tell you a story about a man who had two sons: Jim and Tim.  The youngest son, Tim, came to his dad one day and said, “Dad, I know that when you die I am going to get some money.  Can I have the money now?”  His dad agreed to give him his share of the money.  Tim took the money and went to St. Louis and spent it on alcohol, drugs, and prostitutes.  After he spent all his money, he looked for a job but could not find anything. Eventually the only way he could make money was to collect cans and turn them in at the recycling center.  He had so little money and food that he actually considered eating food he found in restaurant garbage cans.

But one day he remembered that his dad had a good business and his workers were paid well and ate well.  He decided to go back to his father and ask to be one of his employees.  He even rehearsed what he was going to tell his father: “Dad, I am sorry for what I did to you in running off.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son, please let me be one of your employees.”

He began hitchhiking back home and soon got a ride with a man heading in his direction.  He thought the man acted strangely when Tim told him his name and where he wanted to go.  Soon Tim became more puzzled when he overheard the man at a gas station talking on the phone.  It sounded like he was saying, “Yes…Tim…dark hair…blue eyes…I will bring him.”  The son thought about running away but the man did not seem violent but very friendly and caring.

When the man pulled into Tim’s dad’s house, he saw that his dad was outside waiting.  Tim did not know how his dad would have known, but it soon became apparent when the man turned to Tim and said, “I work for your dad.  He asked me to drive around St. Louis looking for you.  When I found you I called him and told him you were alright and when we would arrive back here.”

Before Tim could even open the car door, his dad opened it and pulled him out.  Bracing himself for whatever might come, he soon realized that his dad had him in a great big bear hug and was weeping.  Tim said, “Dad, I am sorry for what I did in running off…” But before he could go any further, his dad called out to everyone in the house, “Get a shower ready and get him some clean clothes.  Order his favorite meal from his favorite restaurant and get some ice cream and cake! For this is my son who was as good as dead, but now he is alive again; he was lost, and now is found.”  And they began to celebrate.

Great Story

I wanted to tell you that story because I love that the dad loved his son, even though the son had made a very foolish decision.  The dad continued to love him and look forward to his return home.  The story is powerful because it is a modern retelling of a story Jesus Christ told in the Bible (Luke 15: 11-24).  Jesus told this story to tell us about God.  God, the Creator of everything, is just like that dad in the story.  He wants us to make the right decision.  He will allow us to make foolish decisions from time to time.  But most importantly, He is always longing for us to come back to Him; even if we had messed everything up in our lives.

Have you made foolish decisions in your life?  Does it seem as if there is no hope for you because of what you have done in the past?  Do you feel that God could never love you because you have done too much bad stuff?  The story you just read is important because it tells us that God is like the father who opened the car door, hugged his (smelly) son tightly, and celebrated his return.  God wants you to come back to Him too.  There is nothing you can do that can keep you from coming back to God.  It does not matter if you have a drug/alcohol problem, are divorced, a criminal background, an affair, an abortion, etc.  Nothing will keep God from welcoming you back and celebrating your return back to Him!

How can I become a Christian?

A Christian is a person who has committed themselves to Jesus Christ.  Jesus is very special and He did something very special for us.  All of us have rebelled against our Creator (God).  This rebellion is called sin.  The Bible says that “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23).  This sin is primarily a lack of love for God and it results in us acting out of our own self interest.  We fight one another and hurt one another because we love ourselves more than anyone else.  The Bible says that our sin brings death and we will one day stand before God and receive the judgment we deserve for our sins.

It is because of this coming judgment that Jesus came to Earth.  He never did anything wrong and did not deserve to die.  Even though He didn’t deserve to die, Jesus willingly died on the cross in order to take the punishment we deserve because of our sin.  Jesus’ death on the cross removes the sin of all who commit themselves to Him and who ask Him to take their sins away.  This act of commitment involves a recognition that we need help, we need to change, and we want to become more like Jesus.  When Jesus came back from the dead three days later, He demonstrated that He conquered (defeated) death and that those who follow Him do not have to fear death any longer.  How should you respond to this great news?

First, admit that you are a sinner and confess (agree with God) that you have sin and deserve to be judged by God for your sin.  Second, ask Jesus to forgive your sins.  Ask Him to take your sins away and give you everlasting life.  Third, commit yourself to Jesus.  Jesus’ followers are called disciples.  Disciples are people who have Jesus as their boss, they desire Him to help them change to become more like Him, and they are committed to Jesus’ mission to tell others about the good news of having our sins forgiven and having peace with God (Romans 5:1).

The reason you have been given this booklet is because the person who gave it to you cares about you and desires that you know Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.  He/She was encouraged to give this to someone they knew who need to hear about Jesus Christ.  If you want to know more about becoming a Christian or if you have questions, you can talk to the person who gave this to you or you can contact First Baptist Church of Scott City in many ways:

1102 Second Street West * PO Box 4217
Scott City, MO 63780

573-264-2214 * firstbaptistscottcity.org * pastorfbsc@gmail.com
or Facebook search for First Baptist Scott City

May God Bless You!