He will see you through!

Spiritual Preparation: He’ll see you through!

Luke 15:1-2, 11-32                            March 10, 2013

When you start a new job, there is a time of figuring out where you fit in.  When you go to college, there is a time of deciding which activities that you will be join.  When you marry, then you get to disrupt the family dynamics of your in-laws!

 

But what happens when you join a church?  Do you have to be molded after everyone who has been a part of the church before you?  Or do you shrink to the nether part of the church, where you feel that you need to be because you are new to the congregation?

 

What happens when one of our lapsed members comes back?  How do they fit in?  Do we welcome them? Or do we shuffle away from them? This is what I have observed and heard about when it comes to our members returning to worship and active participation in our congregations. 

 

Gladeville – Jackie Sells – he was warmly received by the church and continues to be encouraged by the rest of the church

 

Mt. Olivet – Julie Newman – went away as a tween & came back in her mid-20s.  She came back to many of the same loving people, got active in the church, & is raising her children in the church.

 

We can celebrate this welcome.  What happens if someone we don’t know joins the church?  Jesus could be looking for others.  Are we looking for other people?  Let’s see who Jesus was spending time with so we can know who to expect.

 

  1. Who were coming near to Jesus? (15:1-2)
    1. Tax Collectors – toll collectors??
    2. Sinners – prostitutes, leather makers, etc.
    3. Some of the Pharisees & the scribes were grumbling about this arrangement
    4. This is like the church leaders complaining when the pastor is spending time with people in the community.  Do the Pharisees and the scribes have the inside track on who gets to follow God’s laws?  Thankfully, we church people don’t have the inside track on who gets to follow Jesus.  But how do the new people fit in?  We want sinners to get to know Jesus.  At least that is the impression I have from being here at these two churches.  We don’t seem to be like the story of the father who had two sons.

 

  1. The father had two sons (15:11-32)
    1. The younger son wanted his inheritance while his dad was alive! (15:11-24)
      1. It was unheard of! (Older son got a double portion Deuteronomy 21:17)
      2. Younger son went a Gentile country, used up all of his inheritance with many bad choices (Proverbs 29:3)
      3. He had to feed pigs – not what Jews do
      4. “He came to himself” – he realized his situation
      5. Desired to turn to his father – and his father was already looking for him!
      6. His father welcomed him & threw a party for him
  2. The older son was jealous of what his father did for his brother (15:25-32)
    1. He was working in the field
    2. The servant told him what the father had done
    3. The older son got angry
    4. The father came out to him also!
    5. The father said we have to celebrate the one who come back from the dead, the lost who is found
  3. Yes, let’s celebrate those who are dead and have come to life.  Let’s celebrate those who were lost and are now found.  That is what is Jesus is about.  How do those who are lost and are now found fit in?  Maybe it is not up to us.  Maybe it is up to the Father how newly alive and newly found people fit in.  He wants and is looking for those who have come to themselves.  Let us be ready for those who have come to themselves.

 

Jesus was doing what the Pharisees and the scribes were reluctant to do.  He was found with the tax collectors and sinners.

 

The Father in the parable was doing what the older brother was not willing to do.  He was found to welcome back the dead, lost brother. 

 

The people Jesus is looking for are going to be alive and found.  We get to celebrate when they come to be with us.  Let us be found ready to celebrate.

 

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