Rescuing Lost Children
Last week we saw in our article that lost sheep are men that have not yet been born-again, that the Holy Spirit seeks after through our intercession and thus spirit-led evangelism to get them born-again.
Lost children are people who have already been born-again, but are out of fellowship with God or have left the house of God (the local church) where God planted them out of rebellion or covetousness.
The story (this is a true story and not a parable) of the prodigal son in Luke 15.11-32 tells us how God rescues such lost children. Firstly, notice that the younger son was impatient to get his inheritance from his father.
Luke 15:11-12(NIV): Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
The root of his problem was covetousness: discontent (Hebrews. 13.5) with his condition in the Father’s house; and a love of money (1 Timothy. 6.10) and self above the love of God and the love of his father.
In fact he was a murderer at heart because you normally only get your inheritance when the father dies or at the time appointed by the father (Galatians.4.2) so by asking for the inheritance prematurely he was indirectly saying to his father: ‘I wish you were dead’.
It is instructive to note this was the same problem Lucifer had with God: this is why Jesus called him a murderer from the beginning (John 8.44). He was discontent with what God gave him and wanted to have his own kingdom independent of God, thinking that his material possessions and merchandise would satisfy him and make him not need God.
Ezekiel 28:14-16(NIV): 14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. 15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. 16 Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned.
Isaiah 14:12-13(NIV): 12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! 13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God;
This is why it is the love of money, which really is the love of self above the love of God, that is the root of all evil.
Now the father did not stop the prodigal son from leaving the house, neither did he go and search for him.
God allowed the prodigal son to waste his substance and suffer great affliction, which ultimately broke his pride and brought him to repentance.
Luke 15:13-18(NIV): 13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!
2Corintians7:10(NIV): 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
Proverbs 15:13(NKJV): A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
Luke 15:18-20(NIV): I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
Notice that the prodigal child knew the way back home : nobody went to bring to bring him back, unlike the case of the lost sheep.
It is instructive to see that all the time the prodigal was away his father kept praying for him and so preserved him from physical death and possible eternal damnation in hell: this is why the father could see him afar off when he repented and started going back home.
Luke 15:20(NIV): 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.
This is what Abraham did when Lot left him: Abraham did not go or send any of his servants to go and look for Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah. Rather Abraham prayed for Lot. Lot exemplifies the prodigal son in the Old Testament. Abraham’s intercession (Genesis 18.23-33; 19.29) saved Lot, but he suffered loss (Genesis 19.16-38; 1 Corinthians 3.15) missing the fullness of his destiny.
Next week, we will see why the elder brother had a wrong attitude that needed to be corrected and why the younger brother, though restored as a child in the family, will suffer loss for his rebellion.