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Why The Distant Country?


 Luke 15:11-20a

I would like to ask you to look once again at verses 13-14.

 “And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living.  “Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be in need.

  “Why do people (young people, middle aged, even older people) go to the ‘distant country’?”

What is it about people, that we set out for the very destinations that we know we should not be going to?

And it is a choice.

One answer might be our constant quest to find excitement…to be entertained…to find thrill.

So we take off down that road to the “distant country” and we try things…things that people promise will make us happy.

And notice, the young son in this parable thought it could be bought.

And you know as well as I do that the “distant country” is a master at telling us that the happiness and joy we seek is just “one more purchase away.”

Every day people go home and turn on that little electronic marvel in their front room that we call television, or turn on that computer, or connect to the internet on the phone..

First of all, that box is going to tell them its perverted idea of what and where “happiness” is…and that it is ok to do whatever they have to obtain that happiness.

But do you know what the problem is?

The “distant country’s” public relations department doesn’t tell you/I what Jesus says here.

I want you to notice how low Jesus takes this young man.

So he goes to find any kind of work he can find and he is hired by a man who cares absolutely nothing for him.

The “distant country” doesn’t tell you/I all of this…it just shows us the glitz and the glamour.

Notice what this young man learned about his time in the “distant country.”

In fact, the only two things he had left were his memory and his ability to think.

“When he came to his senses,” he said, “How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!” ‘I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight;   I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.” And he got up and came to his father.

Many look at this story…and what this young man did…and they shake their heads and say, “How sad…how foolish he was.”

Most do not realize that.

This boy came to his senses and he was honest enough to admit that what he was doing was killing him.

How many, perhaps some of us…know what we need to do…but just won’t.

This boy came to his senses, and look what he does.

In verse 18, Jesus says some very specific things that this boy said once he came to his senses and realized the truth about himself.

Notice, the boys says, “I have sinned.”

And that is what it is.

And notice, this boy didn’t do what a lot of people do today.

And then in verse 19 he says to his father, “I am no longer worthy to be called your son, make me as one of your hired men.” 

This boy came home completely humble…realizing he had no right to receive mercy.

In some form or fashion we have all left the Father and gone to the “distant country”…we have given in to sin.

But do you know what…it is not a one way street to that country.

In this parable, Jesus says, “Acknowledge your sin and confess your unworthiness, and then get up and go back home.”

God wants you to come home. So the moral of the story is: quit looking for love in all the wrong places and get back to where you belong.