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The Prodigal Son

Today we want to look at a story which many of us may have heard of, at one time or another; or at least have heard a saying related to it. It is the story of the prodigal son.

This is the story of a young man who demanded for his inheritance before his father died. And even though this was a strange request, his father obliged him. Shortly afterwards, the young man took what was his by inheritance and went off to a distant country and there squandered his inheritance on riotous living. As his finance was dwindling, a severe famine arose in that country, and he eventually ran out of money.

Suddenly, the young man who had only recently been the toast of the town was now looking for how to make ends meet. He kept searching for something to do so as to be able to feed, and eventually landed a job with a citizen of that country, who employed him as a labourer in his piggery (something that was considered an abomination where the young man came from). He nonetheless took the offer; and although he laboured hard, no one gave him sustenance, and on one occasion, he desired to eat even what pigs were being fed with. At that point something happened to him he came round to his senses; and decided to return home to his father. He said to himself, In my fathers house, even servants are better treated so, he determined to go home and ask for forgiveness for his foolishness, and plead to be treated like one of his fathers servants, so that, at least, he would be given sustenance.

So this young man embarked on the journey back home. And while he was quite a distance off, his father spotted him and ran to welcome him home, embracing and weeping over him. The now brow-beaten young man told his father that he had indeed sinned against heaven and against him; and was not worthy to be called his son anymore. He asked for a position among his fathers servants, for he was prepared to be treated as one of them. The young mans father did not do as he had asked; instead, he arranged a welcoming party for him and treated him like a son and not a servant. The young mans father brought him back home; asked his servants to take off his filthy rags, give him a good bath and change of clothes, and prepare a feast to welcome his once lost son back home!

There are many people today who are like the prodigal son. When they were young, they attended Christian schools or childrens Sunday School where they were taught how to live for God in songs and rhymes. Some of us even committed our lives to serve God through Jesus Christ at such an early age. But as we grew up, we drifted away from the teachings and lessons we learnt in those Christian moral instruction classes. We took our lives in our own hands and told our parents off; going away from them to live carelessly as we wanted. Yes, we went off to a far country, living contrary to the godly life we were once taught. We preferred our own way of living to that which we were raised upon. We chose friends, who led us away from a godly life to an abominable lifestyle, and into a world where there is a famine of morals.

Indeed, society is morally bankrupt; where subordinates are either coerced into having sex, or willingly seek to have sex, with their bosses, so that they can get promotion; ladies dress to reveal cleavages and sensuality, and call it fashion; politicians steal monies meant for the development of their communities, and say it is their turn to enjoy; the youth are paid to cause mayhem in local communities, and in some cases, murder, and are conveniently never caught by law enforcement agents; theft is given a new name embezzlement, fraud, misappropriation, etc.; and, the craze for making fast money to fund our greedy lifestyle which is rapidly devouring our present generation; just to mention a few of our moral bankruptcy.

In this kind of morally decadent environment, men rejected the warnings of their concerned parents, and especially the teachings from their young days in church, and went thoughtlessly into a wanton lifestyle head-on. The result has been unwanted pregnancies, children born not knowing their fathers, and, an infestation of venereal diseases of all sorts! Other results of rejecting biblical teachings of our young years include membership in criminal enterprises such as 419 groups, forgers, money doublers, kidnapping gangs; membership in armed robbery gangs and assassination squads; and, membership in secret cults that promise false wealth and power without security. Several countless others have become prostitutes, homosexuals, ritualists, and so on, all for money! A great number have come to the ugly realisation that they are actually trapped in a lifestyle they erroneously thought would give them freedom!

Perhaps we have not here mentioned the particular lifestyle that you are living; but you know that you are entrapped by that lifestyle because your life is on a downward slide. Dont give up! I have good news for you!

And this is the good news: Jesus Christ the Son of God paid the price for your sin on the cross at Calvary so that you can be free from captivity if you hand over your life to Him. Dear friend, you can enjoy true freedom from today if you take the right decision. Just like the prodigal son got to the point where he realised how far he had departed from the life his father wanted for him; and purposed to return home and seek his fathers forgiveness; you too must get to the place where you realise the wrong choices you have made in life and return to God to ask for mercy. For some people, it may take a little while for them to admit the grievous mistakes they have made, and we pray that as this broadcast is going on, they would come to realise how far they have departed from God and make amends. Or, are you one who attends church regularly, but have just realised that you have been doing so for the wrong reasons, and you want to make it right? I say to you: congratulations! This realisation is the very first step that is needed to usher in your deliverance from the load of sin and an empty life.

The next step is for you to return to God, through a personal confession of your sins to Him. This is not the kind of weekly confession you may have been attending, where you are told to recite some creed for a number of times and then you will be free. No! The confession required here is that which should come from the heart of someone who is ready to turn his back on a life of moral bankruptcy and return permanently to God. It is a confession that brings godly sorrow for the wrong you have done over the years. It is a confession that sees you no longer associating with the friends who once misled you. This is the kind of confession that gives you instant forgiveness from God, and makes you wonder why you carried the load of sin for so long when you could have since turned to God.

You may not know this; but the life that you were given at birth came from God; and when it is time, He will come for it. If you are not living for God, you are misusing the gift of life that has been given to you. When the day of reckoning comes, what excuse will you give for yourself? Today is another opportunity that is extended to you to come clean with God, and hand over your life to Him. We are not trumping up religion; but dear friend, unless you come to the cross of Jesus Christ, Who died for you, you can never truly know the peace of God.

Today, if you are ready to open up your heart and say, yes to God, I want to lead you in that prayer this morning, please say this prayer after me: Heavenly Father, I come to you today, to ask for forgiveness for the sinful life I have been living. Please forgive me all my sins and wash me in the blood of Jesus. I surrender my life to you today, and plead that you help me to live as You want me to. Give me the new life that Your Son Jesus Christ won for me on the cross at Calvary. Deliver me completely from the oppression of sin and the evil way I once followed. This I pray in Jesus name, Amen.

Now, let me pray for you!