Luke 15* Parables of the lost sheep, and the piece of silver. (1-10)The prodigal son, his wickedness and distress. (11-16) Hisrepentance and pardon. (17-24) The elder brother offended.(25-32)1-10 The parable of the lost sheep is very applicable to thegreat work of man's redemption. The lost sheep represents thesinner as departed from God, and exposed to certain ruin if notbrought back to him, yet not desirous to return. Christ isearnest in bringing sinners home. In the parable of the lostpiece of silver, that which is lost, is one piece, of smallvalue compared with the rest. Yet the woman seeks diligentlytill she finds it. This represents the various means and methodsGod makes use of to bring lost souls home to himself, and theSaviour's joy on their return to him. How careful then should webe that our repentance is unto salvation! 11-16 The parable of the prodigal son shows the nature ofrepentance, and the Lord's readiness to welcome and bless allwho return to him. It fully sets forth the riches of gospelgrace; and it has been, and will be, while the world stands, ofunspeakable use to poor sinners, to direct and to encourage themin repenting and returning to God. It is bad, and the beginningof worse, when men look upon God's gifts as debts due to them.The great folly of sinners, and that which ruins them, is, beingcontent in their life-time to receive their good things. Ourfirst parents ruined themselves and all their race, by a foolishambition to be independent, and this is at the bottom ofsinners' persisting in their sin. We may all discern somefeatures of our own characters in that of the prodigal son. Asinful state is of departure and distance from God. A sinfulstate is a spending state: wilful sinners misemploy theirthoughts and the powers of their souls, mispend their time andall their opportunities. A sinful state is a wanting state.Sinners want necessaries for their souls; they have neither foodnor raiment for them, nor any provision for hereafter. A sinfulstate is a vile, slavish state. The business of the devil'sservants is to make provision for the flesh, to fulfil the luststhereof, and that is no better than feeding swine. A sinfulstate is a state constant discontent. The wealth of the worldand the pleasures of the senses will not even satisfy ourbodies; but what are they to precious souls! A sinful state is astate which cannot look for relief from any creature. In vain dowe cry to the world and to the flesh; they have that which willpoison a soul, but have nothing to give which will feed andnourish it. A sinful state is a state of death. A sinner is deadin trespasses and sins, destitute of spiritual life. A sinfulstate is a lost state. Souls that are separated from God, if hismercy prevent not, will soon be lost for ever. The prodigal'swretched state, only faintly shadows forth the awful ruin of manby sin. Yet how few are sensible of their own state andcharacter! 17-24 Having viewed the prodigal in his abject state of misery,we are next to consider his recovery from it. This begins by hiscoming to himself. That is a turning point in the sinner'sconversion. The Lord opens his eyes, and convinces him of sin;then he views himself and every object, in a different lightfrom what he did before. Thus the convinced sinner perceivesthat the meanest servant of God is happier than he is. To lookunto God as a Father, and our Father, will be of great use inour repentance and return to him. The prodigal arose, norstopped till he reached his home. Thus the repenting sinnerresolutely quits the bondage of Satan and his lusts, and returnsto God by prayer, notwithstanding fears and discouragements. TheLord meets him with unexpected tokens of his forgiving love.Again; the reception of the humbled sinner is like that of theprodigal. He is clothed in the robe of the Redeemer'srighteousness, made partaker of the Spirit of adoption, preparedby peace of conscience and gospel grace to walk in the ways ofholiness, and feasted with Divine consolations. Principles ofgrace and holiness are wrought in him, to do, as well as towill. 25-32 In the latter part of this parable we have the characterof the Pharisees, though not of them alone. It sets forth thekindness of the Lord, and the proud manner in which his graciouskindness is often received. The Jews, in general, showed thesame spirit towards the converted Gentiles; and numbers in everyage object to the gospel and its preachers, on the same ground.What must that temper be, which stirs up a man to despise andabhor those for whom the Saviour shed his precious blood, whoare objects of the Father's choice, and temples of the HolyGhost! This springs from pride, self-preference, and ignoranceof a man's own heart. The mercy and grace of our God in Christ,shine almost as bright in his tender and gentle bearing withpeevish saints, as his receiving prodigal sinners upon theirrepentance. It is the unspeakable happiness of all the childrenof God, who keep close to their Father's house, that they are,and shall be ever with him. Happy will it be for those whothankfully accept Christ's invitation.
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