Tonight I’m speaking at PIB Satelite’s youth group. It’s been a while since I’ve spoken to an actual youth group (I think it was in Cuba), so I’m a little nervous. Here’s what I’ve got so far (in English).
TITLE: Don’t land in the garbage dump.
TEXT: Luke 15:11-32 (Prodigal Son)
INTRODUCTION: I like food. Don’t you? I love going to restaurants to eat good food. My favorite food is steak. A good steak is awesome. Usually, if you go to a fancy place and eat a steak, you feel good after eating. If I have the option of eating a steak, I will eat it.
On the other hand, there are hot dogs. Do you know what a hot dog is made of? All of the left over meat that they have in the meat section. They grind it all up and throw it in a casing. Most hot dogs aren’t even real beef. If you want beef, you would choose a steak over a hot dog every time.
With a good steak you don’t have to put anything on it for it to taste good. It’s just good. You have to put all sorts of stuff on a hot dog to make it taste good. If you’re going to choose, you’re probably going to choose the steak.
We have options between the best stuff and stuff that isn’t so good in life. Most of the time, we choose the worst. Most of the time, we go with the wrong choice. Sure, it feels good for a little while, but it’s not as satisfying as choosing the best for us. There’s a story in Luke 15 that talks about a young man who made a choice.
Proceed to tell the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32.
A few observations that I have made that I think will help us in our quest for the best:
The Father let him go – God never forces you to do anything. He gives you the option to obey or not. We must understand that He will not force us to obey Him. You choose whether you lie to your parents or not. You choose what you look at online. You choose what you drink at the party. You choose what you do. God doesn’t sit up in heaven and push His magical buttons to make you do something.
When I was in elementary school, we had these little notebooks with our assignments in them. Every night we had to show it to our parents and get a signature. Well, one day, I forgot to do it. So, I signed my mom’s name for her. I remember consciously choosing to do it although I knew it was wrong. I also remember the trouble I got into with my parents and my teacher. It was a choice I made. We choose what to do. Nobody forces us to do right or wrong.
The pigs were disgusting. (Jews and pork don’t go together). He wasted his life and ended up with the pigs. Sin always leads to destruction, devastation, and disgustingness. It ruins our relationships. It ruins the things that God intends for good. The inheritance was a good thing. But the young man squandered it with wild living. The person who constantly lies can never be trusted, and they find it hard to trust in others. Sexual sins outside of marriage change your life plans forever. Decisions to drink or take drugs are always pathways that lead to destruction, and it doesn’t end pretty.
He had to come to his senses – he was out of his mind to choose what he was living over living with his father. When we pick sin over God’s best, we are out of our minds. It’s like picking the hot dog over the steak. The Father’s house is full of good things, yet we choose to go out and look for something that doesn’t exist: something better.
His Father met him in the driveway. (He was looking for him). He sympathized with him. Imagine the sight of the boy…they had to put clothes on him and shoes on him. He was a mess. He stunk. But the Father didn’t care. He hugged and kissed him. You don’t have to clean up before you go home. The Father accepts you just as you are. The Bible says that even while we were sinners, Christ died for us. That says a lot about God’s thoughts about us. He is out on the driveway looking for you and I to come home. He will not force us to come home, but He desperately wants to see us again.
The Father didn’t scold him…He celebrated his return. There was no, “I told you so,” conversation. The Father understood the reality and sin, but wanted to celebrate the repentance and return. Sin has its consequences. Of course the Father was disappointed with his decisions. But that wasn’t the point. He was happy to have His son back alive. There is acceptance at the Father’s house. You can go back.
If you are struggling with temptation, think about it. Do you want to throw away what you have for a few minutes of pleasure or satisfaction? If you are struggling with sin, think about it. The Father is on the driveway waiting for you.