So I recently got my work visa, (praise the Lord!!) so now I'm the administrator for Hillcrest Baptist. In other words...Clint is my boss! This leads to some pretty funny sinarios when people in the church ask to make an appointment with Clint and he says...uh, speak to my secretary. And they're like...uh, who?!? Or when people call and ask if my "daddy," the pastor is in. Maybe American accents sound younger? So half of my job is telling random people that Clint will not be attending their ecumenical meetings. Clint gets like 10 invitations a week for faternals and prayer meetings and stuff where all the churches in Hillcrest try and unite. Its so weird cause they all have such opposite beliefs, but they trading peace for false unity. If Clint went to half of those meetings, how would he even have time to prepare 2 sermons or counsel his own congregation?!? I have no idea how other pastors do it, unless they spend 10 minutes preparing on Saturday night.
So Clint and I were used to hearing 6-7 sermons a week, and now we don't really get that, so we download tons off the internet, or get them from friends. This last week I've been listening to sermons that Christen Hardy sent us on the Prodigal Son.The preacher pointed out something I've never noticed before. The context of the prodical son is that the Pharisees are complaining that Christ is spending time with the tax collectors and sinners. In response Jesus tells the parable. Everyones focus is always on the prodical son, but he points that there are 2 responses by 2 brothers. He points out the response of the older brother once the repentant son comes home. Luke 15: "Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!' His point is that the response of the prodical son is the same as that of the tax collectors and sinners, he repents of his sin, and running home to his Father. But the older brother's response is the same as the Pharisees...'look at how I've served you, and you're not showing me any glory!!' His point is that both brothers are lost. The younger brother is lost cause of his wickedness. But the younger brother repents, and comes home....."Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son." But older brother is lost because of his "goodness"! The older brother rejects the pleading of his father, and cause of his good works.... not his badness is the reason he's lost. He thinks he's repentant cause he confesses his sin all the time and is a 'good son' but is relying on that for his salvation. He stays outside and refuses to join the celebration for his younger brothers return, and is therefore outside the blessing of the Father. So there are 2 ways to be lost in your sin. Either the wickedness of sin itself, or in thinking you are "to good" and don't need God. So he was saying that true repentance is looking at your wickedness as well as your "righeousness" and confessing the motive behind it. When you start repenting of that then you can start seeing growth in your life. It just was so clear when listening to the message. I had never really focused on the response of the older brother!! It was an amazing sermon, thanks Christen for sending it!!