Adventures In Missing The Point – Part II

Last week, after a brief rant about how awful the movie GI Joe was (it was truly horrible), I talked about the prodigal son and how he completely missed the point of his freedom.  But did you know the prodigal had a brother who also missed the point? In this way they were almost like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito.

twins3

Only their mother can tell them apart.

Okay, putting that movie reference in to keep with the theme from last week was a stretch.  But at least it amused me!

The older brother doesn’t get a whole lot of attention as most sermons focus on his brother’s much more dramatic story.  The older son doesn’t get mentioned until after the prodigal returns.  Beginning in verse 25 of Luke 15, we read about him.

twin

In many ways, these two brothers were complete opposites.  One took the money, ran away and wasted it all pursuing everything his freedom would allow.  His older brother stayed home, worked hard and did all the right things.  He goes so far as to say that he never disobeyed any of his father’s orders and his father doesn’t argue the point.  Clearly this was a son who always choose to do the right thing, unlike his brother who seemed to have an innate ability to only do wrong.

The problem with the older brother was that he missed the point as much as the prodigal.  Even though he followed all the rules and did everything right, he also didn’t have a right relationship with the father.  You can see the bitterness in his heart in what he says in verses 29&30.

This is the second tragedy I see too often in the church today.  As much as I see people missing the point of their freedom, I also see so many people who are busy doing all the right things but still miss the point of relationship with the Father.  As much as Jesus set us free on the cross, He also made us holy and now we are called to live out that holiness.  Please don’t think I am knocking holiness or saying it isn’t important.  The problem is when we live holy lives just for the sake of living holy lives, we miss the point.  The point of the holiness we have been given was so our relationship with the Father could be restored.

Romans 6:22 helps us to see the point of both the freedom and holiness we have been given.  It says, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”  We have been set free so we can choose to serve God, serving God leads to holiness and the result of the whole thing is eternal life.  As I said last week, we know that eternal life is not just what happens when we get to heaven but that it is knowing God (John 17:13).

Don’t settle for just enjoying your freedom and don’t settle for just holy living.  Take both these gifts from Christ and use them to know God.  Anything less and you miss the point!

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