Luke 15:28-30 (NKJV) But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I 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.’
In this parable, the elder son tried to earn his father’s acceptance. He was self-righteous, and what was hidden in his heart surfaced in the fit of jealousy—”I have served you for many years, I was a servant, I was good and yet you did not allow me to party!”
Sometimes, we may also have a similar attitude towards God and our fellow brothers and sisters. When we feel that they are blessed, we find ourselves thinking they are not as good a Christian as we are, we complain inwardly, and we make comparisons.
Luke 15:18-19 (NKJV) I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”
While the elder brother was self-righteous, the younger brother demonstrated true repentance, which involves an honest confession of our sins, without any excuses—“I have sinned against heaven and before you”. The concept of repentance in the Jewish setting centres on the idea of return.
1 John 1:8-10 (NKJV) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
God’s grace is given to all who will receive the Father’s compassion. One should not serve God to win His approval, because we are accepted by God based on His grace, not works! Likewise, neither should our children attempt to win our approval or get our attention. God does not want us to feel as though we are hired servants. Instead, He is more interested in having the close father-and-son relationship with His children.
Ephesians 1:6 (NJKV) to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
Sermon Series: The Love of the Father (The Compassionate Father and the Two Lost Sons)
约翰一书1：8-10（NKJV）我们若说自己无罪、便是自欺、真理不在我们心里了。我们若认自己的罪、 神是信实的、是公义的、必要赦免我们的罪、洗净我们一切的不义。我们若说自己没有犯过罪、便是以 神为说谎的．他的道也不在我们心里了。