Rescuing Lost Children 2
(week 17, 2007)
In our article last week we saw that we rescue lost children by praying for them so that God can use adverse circumstances to break their pride and rebellion and bring them to repentance, while preserving them from destruction during their time of departure from the Father’s house.
This week we will see why the younger son, though taken back as a son, will suffer loss and why the elder brother had a wrong attitude that needed to be corrected.
Now, the father takes back the younger son as a child, not as a servant: this is symbolized by giving him the robe, the ring and the shoes:
Luke 15:22-24(NIV): 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.‘ So they began to celebrate.
The father rejoices and makes merry because a lost child has been rescued and brought home by God.
So when children of God leave God’s house, because of covetousness or rebellion, do not try and search for them.
Proverbs 9:7-8(NIV): “Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult; whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse. 8 Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you;
Psalms 119:71(NIV): It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.
Rather pray for them and God will work in their circumstances, to preserve them from eternal damnation, to break their pride and bring them to repentance.
However, we should rejoice and be ready to receive them back as children when they repent and start coming back home like the father did.
Now, the elder brother had a wrong attitude because he thought the Father was unjust by apparently rewarding a rebellious child and not appreciating a faithful child:
Luke 15:28-32(NIV): 28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ 31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'”
This attitude was wrong: the elder brother had judged his father prematurely and by appearance.
Having a party for the younger son and giving him a robe, ring and sandals was not the same as giving him another inheritance: it was just thanking God for preserving his life and showing him that he was still loved and accepted in the family.
John 7:24(NIV): 24 Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.”
Proverbs 18:13(NKJV): 13 He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him.
No! The father was not unjust: everything he had now belonged to the elder brother. The younger brother, though accepted back as a son, did not have anymore inheritance: he would suffer loss of his inheritance though he was taken back into the family.
This is what will happen to rebellious and covetous Christians who later repent. They will suffer loss of some, or in some cases, all of their inheritance even though they will be saved and go to heaven.
1 Corintians 3:11-15(NKJV): 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
Notice, this is exactly what happened to Lot: he left Abraham (his spiritual father) because of material wealth and personal ambition (Genesis 13.5-13). Lot was saved from Sodom and Gomorrah so as by fire (Genesis 19.16-38) and he suffered the loss of everything he had. He committed incest with his daughters, becoming the father of Moab and Ammon, types of the sin nature in the flesh. Lot went to heaven and is recorded in scripture as a righteous man (2 Peter 2.7) but his covetousness cost him the fullness of his destiny and eternal spiritual inheritance.
So we should pray for lost children that God will preserve and save them; also have the right attitude of love, when they return. We should avoid becoming prodigal children by rebellion and covetousness so we do not lose some or all of our eternal inheritance in God:
2John 8(NKJV): 8 Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.