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Don’t Lose Focus in the Father’s House

Sermon Notes by Pastor Dr. Shana Wise

Luke 14:1-6, Now it happened, as He went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath, that they watched Him closely. 2 And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had dropsy. 3 And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

4 But they kept silent. And He took him and healed him and let him go. 5 Then He answered them, saying, “Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?” 6 And they could not answer Him regarding these things.

It is interesting how we can be in the house of God, doing His work, but we lose focus on the point of the why we have been called to ministry. This was the problem with some of the religious leaders of Jesus’ time and even today in 2022. Jesus often addresses his critics and blinded religious rulers with parable stories about the Kingdom of God.

Let us examine one of his parables that he used about the Kingdom of God as it relates to the prodigal son.

The Parable of the Lost Son

Luke 15:11-32Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So, he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’

How many of us have found ourselves in the predicament of this son? Maybe we were living reckless before we gave our life to Christ, or maybe we knew about God but still preferred the world instead of living holy for the Kingdom? No matter where you are in your journey, God has a way of humbling all of us. In this son’s case, he realized that he had sinned against his father (God), and he wanted to come home. Deep in his heart he knew that what he had gotten himself into was less than what his father had for him.

20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.

When I read these verses, I saw a few things as it relates to the Kingdom of God. The father had compassion on the son who had sinned against him. The father loved his son and was excited to see him return home. He wanted his son to feel his love, so instead of him coming home and being a servant, his father restored him to his rightful position in the house which equals sonship. Lastly, he hosted a huge celebration within the home because his son had returned. These are all attributes of the Kingdom of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’

28 But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore, his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 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. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’

31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 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.’”

The second son in this story represents how we can lose focus in our Father’s house. He was angry that his brother was getting attention and praise because he returned home. In this moment, what was revealed through his response was self-righteousness. Self-righteousness happens when we lose focus on the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom belongs to God, and he is holy. As mentioned before, the Kingdom of God is about love, compassion, restoration, and celebration when a sinner repents. The son could not accept his brother coming home and being restored because he was focused on himself.

The lesson we can learn as believers in Christ is that no matter how long we have been saved and living righteously, we must remember why Jesus saved us. He saved us to bring others to him. He saved us to demonstrate the virtues of the Kingdom of God on earth. Our lost brothers and sisters need to experience the joy of the Kingdom through our witness of love.

I challenge you this week to reexamine the areas of your personal walk with Christ. Purpose in your heart to stay focus on the Kingdom of God daily. Ask God how you can be used to help grow His Kingdom on earth. Lastly, ruthlessly eliminate anything that is causing you to lose focus on the Kingdom of God.

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About the Author

Dr. Shana Wise is an ordained Pastor and CEO of Wise Choice Ministries (est. 2016). She is the founder of The Well Christian Women’s Network formally known as Christian Women Preachers United. Dr. Wise is the author of women’s devotional, Acts of Intercession, The Impact of Your Election, and co-author of Basic Ministry Training Manual (available on Amazon) and Chief Women Arise. She received a Doctor of Divinity degree in 2019 from St. Thomas Christian University. Her passion is to teach and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, equip others to apply the Word to their lives, and demonstrate the Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. She is a televangelist that appears on social media outlets. Shana is married to Deacon Ron Wise and is the mother of four children.

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Acts of Intercession

The Impact of Your Election

Basic Ministry Training Manual

Chief Women Arise

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