Luke 15:25-32, Am I One Of The Bitter Older Brethren?
1. Am I Suspicious Of Celebration? (v25-26)
2. Am I Angry About Grace And Mercy? (v27-28)
3. Am I Impressed With My Own Efforts? (v29)
4. Am I Frustrated By A Lack Of Recognition? (v29-30)
5. Am I Blind To Future Rewards? (v31-32)
Luke 15:25-32, Am I One Of The Bitter Older Brethren?
Luke 15:25-32, Am I One Of The Bitter Older Brethren?
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As we look here at Luke Chapter 15, the parable of the Prodigal Son. There's of course many powerful things to meditate on in this parable. Some of the parables as you walk through them, you know one of our common things to say is parables have one point. They're proving one thing. They're used to teach one thing that Jesus was seeking to teach. And yet this parable, the parable of the Lost Son, the parable of the Prodigal Son. This one is. One of those that has so much. Depth and meaning. To it and you can look at it from a couple of different angles and really. Spend some time meditating on some deep truths and some challenging things to grasp. Hold of and apply to our lives and and live out in light of what the Lord is saying and teaching through this parable. You can of course walk through this parable really focused on the son who was the prodigal. The one who asked for the inheritance and went off and wasted the inheritance wasted his life with prodigal living that word prodigal it means to waste it. It's wasted life. I always think of prodigal as lost, but no, it it's actually wasted and so he had this great reservoir, his. The inheritance received and he wasted it. And there's so. Much value that could be gleaned from meditating on the heart. The condition of this prodigal son, the journey that he went through. And then. The returned back home. And the receiving of Greece. The confession of sin, the acknowledging of what he has done and and the poor choices he has made and the damage it caused. But then being welcomed back and the forgiveness that he receives, it's remarkable. People, and it's easy for us to walk through this parable with kind of our own history. Our own self in mind, right to to walk through that and see ourselves as the lost one and how God allowed us to hit rock bottom. He allowed us to, you know, go off and and waste our lives and waste. Our resources and waste the things that he has given to. Us, but then when? We come to ourselves. He welcomes us back. It's powerful. I think there's other seasons of our life though that we can look through this parable and learn so much from the father. In the way that he related to his sons and and the way that he allowed his younger son to receive the inheritance early and make a bad choice and go make mistakes. But then also how he allowed his son to return and how he embraced him and kissed him. Welcomed him back as a son and forgave the insults. Forgave the waste forgave you, know the the great sin that the Son had committed against him all powerful to reflect on. The father, and especially in those times in our lives where we have someone in front of us who is modeling for us. The prodigal son and God's put us in the position of embracing and receiving back and forgiving and and bestowing upon them the restoration of a relationship and fellowship like we once had. It's powerful stuff, challenging stuff to consider. But there's a third. Person in this account that we should consider. And it's. Where the Lord has drawn my heart for this evening, and that is the older son. And the older son is really the point of this parable. Because in the older son, Jesus is addressing the religious leaders. If you back up to the first part of Chapter 15 verse one, it says then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to him to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained. Saying this man receives sinners and eats with them. And then in verse three it starts by saying. So he spoke this parable to them. And Jesus is going to go on. In this chapter, to give 3 parables. The parable of the Lost Sheep. If you have 100 sheep. You count them in the pen and there's 99. You realize one is missing. You go and you find that one lost sheep. And then you rejoice and you call your neighbors together to celebrate that you have found that lost sheep. He tells the parable of the Lost coin. A woman has 10 coins. Finds that one of them is missing. She searches everywhere and then when she finally finds it. She rejoices and celebrates, calls all her friends together and say rejoice with me. I found the coin that I had lost. Then the parable of the Lost Son, same thing. Something valuable is lost. Then when it is returned, there is rejoicing in celebration. And that's what the religious leaders are observing. They're observing the tax collectors, the, the sinners, the, the openly, sinful people, rejoicing and celebrating, coming to Jesus. But they're not. Participating in the celebration instead, they're complaining. About Jesus fellowship being with. These sinful people And in this account Jesus is showing how their heart is different than God's and so he uses this older brother to be the model and picture of them in what they're witnessing in the life and Ministry of Jesus. He's speaking to the religious. He's speaking to the legalistic. And he is using the older brother as an illustration for that, and so I've titled the message. This evening am I one? Of the bitter older brethren. Am I one of the? Bitter older brethren that I was. Walking Maui around the neighborhood last night. Listening to the passage over and over again as I do and preparation for teaching the study on Wednesday nights. And I was meditating on. The prodigal son I was meditating on the father. But I began to wonder. I began to think. Which one of these? Really is more likely for me to relate to right now at this point in my life. Yes, I can look back on seasons of my life where I was definitely the prodigal son and wasteful living, and I perhaps, hopefully not will experience other seasons of. That in the future, right? Right now where I'm at I was meditating on this parable and I was saying Lord where? Where am I? Am I in the situation where you want to speak to me about the father where I've got people in my life that I need to openly receive back and embrace and? I I can glean some powerful truths from both of those. But I began to realize, as I considered this over and over. The one that I'm most likely to be like in this time and season is the older brother. I'm more in danger of being like him than the younger brother right now. And so I have to check my heart. Am I one? Of the bitter older brethren, Pastor David Guzik says it's easy to see ourselves as the prodigal. How many of us can see ourselves as the elder brother? And so this evening I would ask for you to open your heart before the Lord. And invite him to reveal if this is the aspect of the prodigal story that. You need to pay attention to, and perhaps there's some things the. Lord wants to teach. You and open your eyes about. Am I one of the bitter older brethren? Well, there's five points we'll work through to consider that this evening to help us evaluate if I'm in that camp. If I have bitter older Brethren syndrome, you know, if I'm. In the same mindset and mode and hearts as the older brother in this parable. We'll start in verse 25 and 26. Here's point number one. Am I suspicious? Of celebration. Am I suspicious of celebration? Verse 25 says now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he. Heard music and dancing. So he called one of his servants and asked what these things meant. We pick up the account here in verse 25 after the son has recovered from his sin. Come to an awareness of his position and what he has done. Returns repentant only and confesses to the father is embraced and the father throws this great celebration for this son that was lost but has now been found. But the older brother was not present. For these things that led up to this, he was out working in the field, and this was the older brothers. Mode he was always working. Putting in great effort putting in lots. Of sweat, lots of energy, lots of strength. He was always working hard. And as he came and drew near the house, he hears music and dancing. Now try to picture yourself for a minute. You return to your home after a day of work and you hear music and dancing inside the house. Do you option a stand at the curb and shout for somebody to come out and explain it to you or option B? Walk in and find out what's what are we celebrating? What's going? On how how? How come there's some, you know, great rejoicing going on in here. The the older brother he comes back he hears the the music and the dancing. It's clear there is a celebration. But he's not ready to celebrate. He he doesn't want to just. Join in, he doesn't want to go find out for himself. Instead he stands afar off. Servant come here. Explain this to me what is going on here? He finds himself as the older brother in this place of suspicion in this place where he is slow to celebrate reluctant. To enter in. To the joy. That others are experiencing around him. He won't engage personally. So get someone else to explain it for him. Explain it to him. I think this is an interesting thing for. Us to consider. Because we can. Find ourselves in a place of bitterness. Where where we? Are suspicious. Of joy. Celebration praise music and dancing where where we are reluctant to enter in. To the joy that others are experiencing. This of course can happen many ways and and I'm not going. To try to. Cover all of that. This is meant to help us ask the question. Am I suspicious? Of celebrations. Has bitterness. Become a foothold in my heart so that. I am reluctant to enter in. I can't fully just join in joy. You know, the Scriptures teach that as the body of Christ. We rejoice as others in the body of Joyce and we weep as others in the body weep there there is to be that communion. But but when we find ourselves in this condition. As the older brother. When other people are rejoicing, we. Are standing far off. A generation before us, perhaps we'd bring up the hippie days. The days, early days in Costa Mesa, where there was revival happening amongst the young people. But of course there was. The religion or the religious that we're looking on that, and thinking that can't be good. That can't be right. We don't want to join in on that celebration. You remember Pastor Chuck sharing the story of the ushers posting up signs you can't come in barefoot, right? And then Pastor Chuck had to sit down with them and say, look, we, let's pull up the carpet if that's an issue because we we want to welcome them in. There's a revival happening, but but there is these blocks sometimes that keep us from entering in. To the joyful event that joyful occasion that is going on. You can think about times of worship. You know we can have. A mindset and a heart. Or we hear. About worship at some place else and. We say whoa. Did you hear they use lights and smoke machines? It's terrible, can't believe they're doing that. We might say, well, that's a concert. Our concerts bad well at the church there that shouldn't be happening on Sunday morning. I'm not saying that we should all start using lights and smoke machines. But at the same time, if there is a work of the Lord where there is rejoicing in celebration and praising the Lord. Just because I don't understand it or it's not my personal preference, that doesn't mean it's forbidden for everybody. In fact, maybe I should take this time to just say kind of, you know, don't tell anybody, but we use lights and smoke machine for the VBS this last summer. 2 summers, actually. That's the one before and this last one. Listen, I don't use a smoke machine when I worship because. That would be very inauthentic for me. But that doesn't mean I have to forbid it for everybody. And and stand aloof on the outside and say, you know, this is terrible. What's happening? I can't believe it and be upset and angry and bitter over it. Again, I'm not trying to rundown all the examples. I'm trying to get us to think about and ask questions. Am I suspicious of celebration of rejoicing of praise and joy? Or am I willing to enter in? I could say it. This way older bitter people are slow to celebrate. But quick to regulate. Older bitter people are. Slow to celebrate, but quick to regulate. We are you want to make a rule about you can't do that anymore. We're quick to do that. Yes, let's make a rule. We'll enforce that that would be great. I really celebrate those rules that are being made we we can fall into this legalistic mindset. When we find ourselves in the condition. Of the older brother. You know Jesus warned against. The old wineskins. That that there needed to be a fresh work of God and many times that. Well, it couldn't be done with an old wineskin, because. It would burst. And that was the religious leaders old Wineskins, they they were refused. To accept the new thing that God was doing, they were suspicious. The tax collectors the the sinners are gathering together with Jesus and they're having dinner together. They're enjoying themselves. They're they're celebrating. And the religious leaders are complaining. Am I suspicious of celebration? Am I cautious when it comes to praise and joy and joining in and rejoicing with others? What is happening in the celebration that they are experiencing? Well, it's a good thing to consider. I encourage you to consider it some more, but moving on to verse. 27 and 28. Here's the second question to help us consider, am I one of the bitter older brethren? Question #2 am I angry? About grace and mercy. Am I angry about a demonstration of Greece and mercy? Verse 27 and he said to him, this is the father speaking to the older brother. Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound. I'm sorry it's the servant speaking to the older brother. Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted. But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore, his father came out and pleaded with him. So because he wouldn't go in, the servant has to explain to him what's going on there on the outside. And hearing the explanation doesn't help him to join the celebration. Instead it makes him angry. He is furious. Now he's not just suspicious of the celebration, but he is completely against it. And he is saying, no way am I? Going to be part of that. And even just a small part, I'm staying out here. Now the father. Doesn't want him to stay out there. And so he comes out, and he pleads with him. Please son, come in and join the celebration. And so you can see here that older son has a different heart than the father. The heart of the son and the heart of the father are not In Sync. Now the older son. He was a really good son. He's gonna go on and talk about that. He's not the one who took all the father's goods and wasted them and embarrassed the family by living the way that he lived and running off like that. He he's a good son. But his heart. Is not in line with his father. The whole point of. What Jesus is teaching here in this chapter is the joy of the father that sinners are drawing near. Again, Jesus told the parable of the Lost Sheep in the first part of the chapter. And then he explains it a little bit. In verse 7, Luke 15. Seven, he says, I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over 1 Sinner who repents. Than over 99 just persons who need no repentance. Heaven is rejoicing right now. Religious leaders the father is rejoicing. And you are complaining. You got a lot of things going for you on the outside. You look really good. You're very obedient. But the real issue is the heart and your heart is not In Sync with the father's heart. Then he tells the parable of the woman who lost the coins. He applies it in verse 10. Likewise, I say to you there is joy in the presence of the angels of angels of God over 1 Sinner who repents. The Angels are rejoicing. The father is rejoicing. All of Heaven breaks out in joy and singing, and celebration when one Sinner repents. And here's a gathering of many sinners coming to Jesus. And the religious leaders. Are upset and they're angry. Because those people do not deserve to draw near to God, they don't deserve to experience the work of God. They don't deserve to experience the goodness of God. And the fact that they would be blessed that they would rejoice, that they would receive from God, made them angry. And that's how the older, older brother. Responded in this parable, verse 20. 8 But he was. Angry and would not go in. His heart was completely the opposite. Of the father's heart. It's not. It's not really strange. For us to find ourselves in this place. Where we over the years learn. Outwardly, how to perform the Christian life? How to put on the things we're to put on and do the things that we're to do and have the conversations that we are. Supposed to have. But we can. Do all of those external things and have a heart? That is out of sync with the father. And so Jesus here is making the point. There's joy in the presence of God. When one person repents, it's a it's a cause for celebration. And Pastor David Guzik points out. That the religious people of Jesus Day believed differently. And they even had a saying. There will be joy in heaven over 1 Sinner who is obliterated before God. That was the saying that was the hearts of the religious leaders and. Inferring that from the brothers response, that was really the heart of the older brother. He would have preferred it if the younger brother had been destroyed. And received all of. The consequences for what he deserved in the way that he behaved, he. Would have preferred. That, but to throw a celebration that this despicable son has returned home. That makes me furious. He doesn't deserve that, but This is why. We refer to and remind ourselves about Grace and mercy. He deserves judgment. He deserves father. You should treat him as if you were dead to you. And maybe he deserves that. But Mercy makes the father say. I'm not going to treat him that way. I'm going to hear him out. I'm going to receive him back. I'm still going to relate to him as my son. Well, he doesn't deserve to have. A party thrown for him. Well, that's Greece. I'm not just going to receive him back and allow him to have a relationship with me, but I'm going to rejoice and celebrate and bless him with the best robe in the house and shoes to wear and a signet ring. The family ring so that he's part of the family once again, I'm. Going to go. Above and beyond. Just holding back the consequences that he deserves and I'm going to bless him. And receive him back with open arms. This is the way that. God works Grace and mercy. Our chief attributes in the way that God relates to people. But we can sometimes find ourselves in a position where we. Are not excited about God's grace and mercy and the lives of other people. Where we can look on with hearts that are. And offended. But how could that person? Be blessed, receive that. How could that person? Experience those things you know. I've been praying about that and praying for that for so long and. I don't get it, but they get it. Do you know how they live? God, we we can find ourselves in a place where we become angry that God is gracious and merciful. To other people around us where our hearts are out of sync with God. And on the outside we can do our best to be obedient and we can look like we are walking with God and have that obedience to God. But on the inside our hearts do not demonstrate the grace and mercy. That the father even chose to us. And said, we're angry. When others are blessed, we weep when others rejoice. Because they don't deserve it because we deserve it more. Because we were hurt by them and want to see them. Suffer for it. Am I angry? About grace and mercy. A few chapters back in Luke Chapter 10. Luke records for us that account when the lawyer came to Jesus and said, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus turns the question on him and say, well, what's? Written in the law, how do you read it? And the lawyer responded two things. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and all your mind. That's thing number one and love your neighbor as yourself. The lawyer said. I read the Bible and it tells me the two most important things that God wants is to love God with all my heart and to love my neighbor. And Jesus told him in Luke chapter 10, verse 28 you have answered rightly do this and you will live. Here the older son doesn't love his father and he doesn't love his brother. If he loves the father, then he'll be able to celebrate with the father because something so valuable and important to the father has returned his father's rejoicing and the love for the father would make the older son. Join in that celebration with him. If he loved his brother, he would want what's best for his brother. He would want to see good happen for his brother. He would want to see the father's blessings. Poured out upon. His brother, and so he would join in the celebration at the brothers return. But here the older brother reveals in his attitude and his anger. He does not love the father and he does not love his brother. These are serious things. The apostle John, in his letters, makes a very clear to us. If you can't love your brother, who's right there in front of you. What makes you think you can love? God, you can't. It's easier to love the person who's in front of you that you can see than it is. To love God, who you can't see. And we think that's backwards many times, and we think, no, that's the person who bugs me and irritates me. It's easier to love God, who doesn't bug me and irritate me so much. But in that we are just declaring. Our hearts are out of sync with the father. Because when we love the father, we love the people that. He loves When we love our brother, we want good for them. We pray for good for them. We rejoice and celebrate when they experience grace and mercy from God, even though they don't deserve it, even though they've hurt us deeply, even though they have. Done so much to deserve. The opposite. Of the goodness that they're experiencing. Am I angry? About grace and mercy. Creeps in so subtly. Being quiet for a long time because I'm debating in my head whether I want to. Share the next thing I'm about to share. The Lord has. Worked hard. To do a work. In me and I would. Venture to speak on behalf of Kim as well. To look on others who don't want children and then receive them. Who don't deserve children and then get them anyways. And to not have them ourselves, that's. It's a temptation to be angry about grace and mercy. And the Lords worked us through that. I'm not Speaking of fresh wound, it's just fresh cause. I bring it up again, but. There's things like that in our lives where. We've been disappointed. We had hopes and dreams, perhaps, or we were working hard towards something we we wanted, something we we were let down in some way and so now when others receive that. Oh, that that. Wound is revealed and. We can be angry. About the grace and mercy of God being poured out on somebody else's life. It reveals that our hearts are out of sync with God. When others are blessed when others rejoice. And we're hurt by it. We're angry over it. Even if those people had hurt us the older. Brother, you could understand. And he's offended by the younger brother and the disrespect that the younger brother showed the father and the disrespect to the family and the older brother having. That kind of. Banner over him everywhere he goes. That's the brother of the guy who you know did such a terrible thing like like, oh, there's so much reason why we can understand why he's angry. But it doesn't excuse. Just because you and I can understand why he's angry, it doesn't excuse and give him the right. To allow his heart to be out of. Sync with the father. The older brother. Needs repentance just as much as the younger brother did. Because he does not love the father and he does not love his brother. Moving on to verse 29 for point #3. Am I impressed with my own efforts? Verse 29 so he answered and said to his father. Lo these many years I have been serving you. I have never transgressed your commandment at anytime. And yet, you never gave me a young goat. That I might make merry with my friends. Here we get the idea. The older brother is impressed. He's fully aware, very conscious of the sacrifices that he has made. The father is saying please come in and celebrate and he says Father listen here. I have served you for many years. I'm the older brother. Remember I was serving you before the younger brother, even. Had a chance. And when the younger brother went crazy and took all your money and went and lived shamefully, and brought shame to our family, I kept serving you faithfully. I've been serving you for many years. And I never transgressed your commandment at anytime. Really kind of makes you wonder right? How could this not be an exaggeration? Older brother, you never disobeyed the father, not even one time at any time. You're so perfect in your obedience to your father. Not once did you disobey. Clearly, his heart is so different than the fathers that cannot be true. But from his perspective. Oh boy has he worked hard. Has he labored intensely and given so much and for so long, he's been so obedient? He's impressed. With his own efforts. Again, Jesus here is so clearly addressing the religious leaders of the day. They're looking at the people who. Are coming to Jesus with. Despite in their minds despising the people that are coming, and they're saying so many years, I have been serving God and I never transgress his commandments at any time. And here there are these sinners, and Jesus is just welcoming them and bringing them in, and they're experiencing good things. They're so impressed. With their own efforts. Pastor Wisby says the publicans and sinners were guilty of the obvious sins of the flesh. But the Pharisees and scribes were guilty of sins. Of the spirit. Their outward actions might have been blameless. But their inward attitudes were abominable. Their inward attitudes. Are abominable. Self righteousness. Is not. Something that God takes joy in or deals with lightly. We cannot by our efforts. A position of fever. We cannot with. Our efforts earn. The blessings of God, the forgiveness of God. Isaiah makes the point clearly in. Isaiah chapter 64. Our righteousness the best that we can produce is filthy rags. And and we can. Give so much. Now understand the older brother. Although he's exaggerating a bit. He's also. Accurate a bit. He has worked hard for many years, even when the father is at home. Just kick him back and this the younger son shows up. Where is the older brother? He's out in the field. He's not goofing off, he's not slacking off. He's working hard. He's putting in 110% all the time, every day he is. Working diligently. Doing his best. To fulfill the father's wishes out there in the field, he he is laboring intensely for a long time. Every day he works long hours. He comes home exhausted. He's wiped out. And so impressed with the sacrifice that he is making. With the labor that he is producing. See, we can find ourselves in that similar spot where we are working hard. The things of God for our family, for ourselves where where we can put in all kinds of efforts? And be deceived into thinking. That our efforts are more valuable than they actually are. It's not that we are not called to put in effort. But at the same time. Our efforts. Do not measure up, they don't. Bring us to that place. We're that now we deserve something. Before God. But he was very conscious, very aware of his own efforts, especially in contrast to this younger brother who just wasted. He just wasted stuff. And here I am working so hard. It's very impressive. Father, you should be impressed by how much I'm doing by how hard I'm doing it, how faithful, how diligent I am. And the father acknowledges the work, and he acknowledges the effort. But what matters most to him is. The heart. Continuing on here in verse 29, but now also venturing into verse 30, we get point #4 question #4 am I frustrated by a lack of recognition? This links together goes hand in hand with how impressed he was with his efforts. And that made him all the more frustrated. By how those efforts seem to go unnoticed? By his father. Looking again at verse 29 and 30 it says so he answered and said. To his father. Lo these many years I've been serving you. I'd never transgressed your commandment at any time, and yet you never gave me a young goat that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots. You killed the fatted calf for him. The older brother here is so frustrated. Here I am working so hard and I've been diligent and faithful and you've never even given given me a young goat. And here comes this guy. He's accusing the father of playing favorites. Here comes this guy, my younger brother. But he doesn't even claim him, right? He says this son of yours. He's not even referring to him as my he's dead to me, this son of yours, he comes back after being so shameful and wasteful and you killed the fatted calf. Now think about the contrast. A young goat. Those are easy to come by. Easy to replace. The fatted calf was a calf that they would prepare and save for a big celebration. You couldn't get a fatted calf. In the next week or two. The calf is born and you pamper it and you treat it well and you take care of it and you give it extra and you. You build up that calf. It takes months to prepare that calf. And so you would work towards. Oh, there's going to be a wedding. There's going to be a celebration. We're preparing for a feast in a couple of months from now, and so let's prepare the fatted calf, right? So, so there was this great value in the fatted calf because it took long to develop and prepare it for the feast. But a young goat you can get those. Any day of the week, and. Those are popping out all the time. And you know, still provides enough good meal for friends to come over. And make merry. It's a, it's a good feast. But the fatted calf that was like the all you can eat buffet of all you can eat buffets that was like the big celebration. He said look, you never spent $5 on me to send me to McDonald's? And here you are sending my. Younger brother, this son of yours too. And all you can eat steak dinner. Like you didn't even send. Me to McDonald's dad, what's the deal? You're not recognizing you've got it backwards. Fine if you wanna send your younger son to McDonald's sending to McDonald's, but I'm the one who deserves. The fatted calf. You can start to. Evaluate this and kind of perhaps see where the older brother is coming from, right? But again, his. Heart is not in line with the father. Let me ask you this. In this parable. Thinking about the father. That gave. The inheritance early to the younger son when he asked for it. That was not a normal thing. It was a very dishonorable thing. It was a very foolish thing for the son to request. And to do. But the father gave. That early inheritance. Now, do you imagine a father that gives a full inheritance early? Do you imagine that that same father would not give a young goat? To a son who requested it. Do you imagine that this father is playing favorites and he's like, yeah, that's my younger son. I'll just give him whatever he's want. He's spoiled, I'll just do it. That's that. Is not the picture that Jesus is painting here. Jesus is painting the picture of a generous father. And we can understand from this it's not that the father was reluctant to give a young goat to the older brother, but that the older brother. Didn't ask. He worked hard and he labored, and he grew bitter over it, and he never asked his dad for a goat. To have a good time with. His friends. I can relate to that. Never ask thinking hey Dad should just recognize my hard work and reward me without me asking. That's how it should go. They should just recognize how much effort I'm putting in and reward me. That's how the Lord should treat me. That's how it should work. Now listen, that's not always how it works. And if recognition is what you're seeking, and recognition is what you're after. Understand your heart is not in line with the father. You're one of the bitter older brethren. James tells us in James Chapter 4 where do fights and wars come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for? Pleasure that war in your Members. You lust and do not have you murder and covet, and cannot obtain. You fight and war, yet you do not have. Because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive because you ask amiss that you may spend it on your pleasures. This passage here in James Tailored for the older brother in this parable. He's upset, there's fights and wars coming from within him. Upset and angry. Battling against his brother. Battling against his father. And he doesn't have what he wants. He doesn't ask. You know, sometimes. The Lord blesses us out of the blue. Sometimes the Lord works in our lives and it's a surprise. But there's also times where God has reward where God has blessing. Where God wants to work. But sometimes, even though that's God's desire and that's God's heart. Sometimes you don't have because you do not ask. There is the need for us to ask. And and asking will it really requires that humility? It really requires that we not be so impressed with our efforts and. Think that we deserve so much, but but. That we acknowledge. Our need, we acknowledge our condition, we acknowledge. The need for mercy and grace. When I'm frustrated by a lack of recognition. My heart. Is out of line. My heart is not In Sync. With the father. Jesus taught in Matthew Chapter 6. In regards to prayer, he says when you pray. You shall not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets. That they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. In Matthew Chapter 6, Jesus. Walks through a few spiritual disciplines and says, look, make sure you do these things in secret. These are about your relationship with the father. This is between you and God. But if you do. It to put on a show. Jesus says you have. All the rewards you're going to get. If you do it to develop and and pursue your relationship with the father, then you will be rewarded by your father. It will be eternal reward. It will have great value, but if you demand the recognition now and you behave in such a way that you get the recognition, now that's the reward that you get. Demonstrating the reality that your heart is not seeking to please God. You're after something else. You're chasing an idol you're pursuing. Your own recognition, your own promotion, your own celebration. And you're not interested in the will of. The father you're not willing to wait for. The reward of the father. You want what you want right now. To please yourself. It's a condition of the bitter older brethren. Well, finally point #5 verses 31 and 32 gives us that final question. Am I blind to future rewards? Verse 31. He said to him, that's the father speaking to the older son. You are always with me. And all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad for your brother was dead and is alive again and was lost. And is found Jesus. Brings it back to the beginning. This is about rejoicing. Over what was lost but now is found rejoicing about your brother who is dead. He was on the path of death. He was as good as dead, but now he's repented. He's come back and he is alive again. And part of our family. It's right that we should make merry. And so the father explains, this is the right thing to do but understand here there is not an injustice that's happening. The inheritance has been divided. In this parable, Jesus is not saying. The younger son comes back and gets a whole other. Extra inheritance from the father. He gets embraced and brought back into the family. The relationship is restored, his position as a son is restored, but the inheritance. The son already received and spent so. This is not an injustice against the older son. He tells him in verse 31 son you are always with me and all that I have is yours. Because there's two sons, the younger son already got his inheritance, the older son. Inherits everything else because. When the father. Enters into eternity. The older son is the only one available to receive the inheritance. All that I have is yours. Not stealing from you, not robbing from you. You still get your inheritance. It's in the future. It's interesting how much. The older brother and the. Younger brother actually have in common. They wanted it. The younger brother. Was not willing to work for it and wait for it. So he got it early. The older brother was willing to work for it, but not with a good heart not. With a good attitude he. He didn't really care about the father, he didn't want to know the father. He didn't want a fellowship with the father. He didn't stick around. Because he loved the father, he stuck around because he. He wanted the stuff. But his heart was far away from the father. Commentator Craig Keener says it this way. The older brother's response is even worse than the modern readers might assume because the inheritance had been divided. The elder brother was already assured of his share. Effective on the father's death, he had nothing to lose economically by his brother's return. He was not going to lose anything. Financially, this was not about. The finances. He was offended. He was hurt. And he couldn't see past that. To what would be his? He couldn't walk by faith. He could only walk by sight and. How he felt. The apostle Paul and 2nd Corinthians Chapter 4 tells us to that he says, although they're suffering, although they're going through such hardship, he says we do not lose heart, even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day for our light affliction, which is, but for a moment is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Well, we do. Not look at the things which are seen but. At the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. There is a need for us to continually fix our eyes on the things that are not seen. And sometimes we're blind. To the future rewards. We refuse to seek. The promises of God. We want the rewards. Now we want the satisfaction, the fulfillment. We want everything now. The word is not promised. Those rewards now. He hasn't promised peace and safety and you know all all of our goals achieved and all of our dreams realized. He has promised reward. To those who pursue him and his heart. But his heart's far away now. It's interesting to note the Father ministers to the son. He's pleading with him. He's talking to him. The father would rejoice just as much. If the older son had laid down his bitterness. And joined in the celebration. Both sons are lost. Before the younger son returned, both sons are lost the the the older son is there but but he's not there with the father, he's there. Working hard impressed with his own efforts. Bitter over the lack of recognition, lying to the future rewards he's not there. His hearts. Not in tune with the father. So the father was there in that place. Missing both sons. Now the younger one has come back cause for great rejoicing of the older son. Had changed his heart. The father would have rejoiced. Just as much. Pastor Warren Risby says the same father who ran to meet the prodigal. Came out of the House of feasting to plead. With the older son. How gracious and condescending our father is and how patient he is with our weaknesses. Am I one of the bitter older brethren? Food for thought things for us to wrestle with a bit before the Lord and my suspicious. Of celebration am I angry about Grace and mercy? I'm impressed with my own efforts. Am I frustrated? By a lack of recognition. And am I blind to future rewards? But I pray that you. Would help us. To see clearly to hear your voice clearly. Recognizing our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked and. But if we can, our sinful nature. Would prefer and would just desire to keep us. In a place of bitter religion. But Lord, you desire to set us free and to bring us in to the celebration and to help us to recognize when we become like the religious leaders. When we become like the older brother. For that we would lay aside. That we would confess. That we would repent. That we would come back to you. And seek your heart above all else. I pray that you would work that into us and draw us near to you. In Jesus name Amen.