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Connecting Generations: Lesson 4 – The Two Errors


The Two Errors

(Luke 15:11-32, II Corinthians 7:1)  In Jesus’ story of the prodigal neither son understood his father.  Both of the boys were wrong in attitude and actions.  One sinned in the flesh and the other in the spirit.  They failed to realize their father was master of all three places, the house, the field, and the far country.

The house in this story represents the church.  It is in the house where we discover life, love, and purpose.

The field in this story represents the harvest.  It’s in the field where we learn to work together with our brothers to live productive lives.

The far country in this story represents the world.  It’s in the far country where we discover the marketplace and find the government.

Both sons tried to find fulfillment separate from their father; the younger son in the far country and the older son in the field.  It’s our relationship with the father which makes life worth living.  The apostle Paul quotes from the book of Exodus giving us God’s intent for our lives, “I will dwell in them and walk among them.  I will be their God and they shall be My people…  I will be a Father to you and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Almighty.”  (II Corinthians 6:16-18)

Younger Son – non-conformist, impulsive, and risk-taker.

  1. Non-conformist  God placed inside him the desire to create.  He was always coloring outside the lines.  Instinctively he knew there must be more to life than the house and the field.  Something in his spirit told him that the world was bigger.  His desire to create caused him to search the horizons. He dreamed of doing great things.  His older brother thought he was a lazy daydreamer and resented him.
  2. 2. Impulsive  His error was rejecting his father’s authority.  It wasn’t a sin to desire the unknown but he was foolish thinking he could do it alone.  We should never go to a far country unless our father sends us.
  3. Risk-taker  We call this faith.  Faith is seeing the opportunity and moving toward its fulfillment.  Faith rejects the word impossible.  It wasn’t wrong to dream of the impossible but leaving the house without his father’s blessing left him without purpose in the far country.

Older Brother – traditional, calculated, and cautious.

  1. Traditional  Traditions aren’t bad as long as they are productive.  Traditions become evil when they replace the father’s authority.  (Matthew 15:1-9)  Traditions should serve us instead of us serving traditions.
  2. Calculated  The older brother was slow in making decisions.  This tendency can be both good or bad.  It helps us avoid mistakes, but we also can miss a lot of good opportunities.  Because life is in constant motion many opportunities are moving targets.  We must not act foolishly but respond quickly before the opportunity is lost.  Our caution can also be a lack of faith.
  3. Caution  The older brother was working faithfully in the field but he wasn’t happy.  He lived by the rules, but his work wasn’t fulfilling.  He was an angry man and blamed his unhappiness on his father.  He’d worked hard but what had his brother done to deserve a celebration?  He failed to realize this party wasn’t a reward for hard work but a celebration of grace.  Just as we celebrate a newborn grandchild, this was a celebration of life.  We celebrate a new grandchild without them having done anything to earn it.

Here is the error of the two boys; neither son can fulfill his destiny alone.

The younger son dreamed of doing great things in a far country, but without his father’s wisdom and his brother’s fruitful labor, all he had to trade was his inheritance.  He was wasting his inheritance instead of making a profit from the harvest field.

The older son was faithfully working the field to produce a good harvest, but why was he working so hard?  He can’t eat all the food produced by the field alone.  The harvest wasn’t intended to be stored in the barn but to be traded in the marketplace.  The older brother needed a good agent to represent him in the marketplace.  He needed someone he could trust to help him market his goods.  Who could represent him and his father better than his younger brother?

We need our father’s authority and our brother’s faithfulness and creativity to live productive lives.

Lessons in the series Can Man Live Without God?

Connecting Generations: Lesson 1 - The Two Prodigals

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