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Feast of the Father
Scripture: Isaiah 25:6-9; Matthew 8:11-12; John 2:1...
Track 4 of 4 in the The Two Lost Sons series
Running time: 1 hour, 08 minutes
In Luke 15 Jesus tells us in a few words what our hope is like. He describes for us what our salvation is like. Not something that is to happen in the future, but now. If you are in covenant relationship with Jesus, you are in salvation right now. You have hope. It is not something that is to come but something that has already come. Every Christian is saved.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

Feast of the Father
“He Heard Music and Dancing”

The Gospel is so awesome. It is “Good News”. Have you ever had someone come up to you and express, “Have you heard the good news”? They are all so excited and bubbly, dancing and giddy. As they stand around you dancing you can’t help to be dancing with them and excited. You have a smile and you wonder what the good news is. You want to know and as they continue to dance and act so excited, you too are even more excited even without even knowing what the good news is. For many Christians today, that is how they are. They are excited about the Good News but in reality they are waiting on someone to tell them what it is so they can know why they are excited.

We have assurance of salvation! We are rescued from our sins! We no longer stand condemned! We are declared not guilty! We are freed from the bondage of sin! We are free in Christ! All of this brings hope! Yet, when one asks a Christian, what do you hope for in Christ? I bet most will just look at you and ask what that question meant. What do you mean when you asked me what I hope for in Christ?

You and I have this awesome identity and relationship with Jesus. Grace abounds, hope is here and yet many ask the question, what now?

Someone tell me about your hope in Christ? What can you expect and what is your hope like? When people see you every day, what would they say about your hope? Does anyone even know what I am talking about?

In Luke 15 Jesus tells us in a few words what our hope is like. He describes for us what our salvation is like. Not something that is to happen in the future, but now. If you are in covenant relationship with Jesus, you are in salvation right now. You have hope. It is not something that is to come but something that has already come. Every Christian is saved.

So how is that salvation going for ya?

In Isaiah’s predictions about a new time coming, it is interesting to read how he describes salvation. In Isaiah 25 he tells Israel what it will be like when God comes to save them. We’re not talking about Heaven, but a time that they will physically experience salvation. We learned from Daniel that everything was pointing to a time when prophesy would be fulfilled. It was fulfilled in Jesus.

Isaiah 25:6 In Jerusalem, the LORD Almighty will spread a wonderful feast for everyone around the world. It will be a delicious feast of good food, with clear, well-aged wine and choice beef. In that day he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign LORD will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against his land and people. The LORD has spoken! In that day the people will proclaim, “This is our God. We trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!” For the LORD’S good hand will rest on Jerusalem.

Jesus later says the same thing to a Roman soldier who sought Jesus out for his help.

Matthew 8: 11-12 And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be cast into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Jesus left for us a feast that we call the Lord’s Supper. It is not the final feast but one he left for us as a sign of his saving Grace. Jesus Parable of the two lost sons ends in a feast. The feast in this parable represents the great festival of God at the end of time.

Why does Jesus speak this way? There is no other way to vividly convey what it means to live out a life based on His saving work.

How many of you have ever attended a feast or a party? What were they like? In order for the party to be a success and to be fun, what must be included? What do you have to experience in order for it to be considered a great party?

Jesus uses all through the Gospels the concept of a party to explain what the Kingdom of God is like. There are four ways to experience a feast and these four ways also helps us understand what God feast is like.

Salvation is Experiential:

What was the grandest party, reception or feast you ever attended? What made it so grand? Our senses of sight, smell, sound, and taste are all filled up.

I find it interesting that Jesus spent a lot of time eating, drinking and having fun with a lot of people at parties. In fact, do you remember where his first public miracle took place? At a wedding reception, party.

John 2:1-3 The next day Jesus’ mother was a guest at a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother spoke to him about the problem. “They have no more wine,” she told him.

It was an embarrassing thing to run out of food and wine at a Jewish wedding. When his mother came to Jesus, she directed Jesus to take care of the situation. She already knew what he was capable of doing so she went to the only source who could fix problem.

John 2:4 “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

I always wondered why Jesus performed this miracle when the time wasn’t right. Why did he do it? Jesus came to bring festive joy. He is the real master of the banquet, the Lord of the feast.

Too often people misunderstand what salvation is all about. Too often the focus is on judgment, a legal verdict, being declared not guilty. We are no longer liable for wrong doings. However, salvation is not only objective and legal; it is also subjective and practical, something to be experienced.

True or False: There is a difference between believing God is gracious and tasting that God is gracious.

There is a difference when someone tells you honey is sweet and actually tasting it for yourself to experience sweetness. For many Christians, they only know Grace is sweet because someone told them it is sweet. Never have they actually experienced grace to know fully what it is. The same is true with salvation. Many accept the idea that they are saved but have never experienced the party of salvation. A person has to sense the party in their heart.

Is it possible to have this kind of experience? What prevents a person from experiencing the sweetness of Jesus mercy? If you are more rational, controlled temperament, an elder brother-type, experiencing God’s sweetness can be hard to do. Are you too eager or not eager enough for what Jesus offers?

Salvation is Material:

A meal is a very physical experience. Jesus left for us a meal, the Lord’s Supper, to experience and remember him by and the final goal of history is a meal, the wedding supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19). It is neat what the resurrected Jesus did when he met with his disciples. They ate a meal together. Before his death and crucifixion, they ate together. When he came back to them, he ate with them. Luke made sure that the meal was in physical form.

Luke 24:41-43 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.

What is the point to all this? Jesus wants us to know that the material world matters. The very first thing God did in the Bible was to create the physical realm for man to live in. God cares for his physical creation and he calls it “Good”. The physical world is not an illusion. It is real and God meant for us to experience it.

True or False: The only purpose of salvation is to pardon man from sin.

This statement is false because so many places in scripture talks about not only man’s redemption but the renewal of his creation back to where it originally was. God will bring an end to disease, poverty, injustice, violence, suffering, and death. The climax of history is not a higher form of disembodied consciousness but a feast. If you are living salvation to someday be floating somewhere on a cloud in heaven, you will be totally bored. Heaven is a feast to enjoy.

What does this say about what we need to be doing while enjoying our salvation? Jesus not only preached the word but he also healed the sick, fed the hungry, and cared for the needs of the poor.

Matthew 25: 31-36, 40 When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

How can we really tell that the sinner understands that his grace was costly? A sensitive social conscience develops. How would the younger brother react to the poor? How would the elder-brother react to the poor?

Salvation is Individual: A person must eat and drink regularly

Can someone tell me what “Default Mode” means? Your computer works automatically in the default mode unless you deliberately tell it to do something else. In default mode, your computer can do a lot of things but you can get your computer to do a lot more by getting out of default and use your custom settings.

Do we as Christians have a default mode? How or what is it?

For most Christians, religion operates on the principle of “I obey – therefore I am accepted by God”. But, the basic operating principle of the Gospel is “I am accepted by God through the work of Jesus - therefore I obey.” That relationship with Jesus makes a new connection and relationship with God. We get a new identity. But that is not the end. We must not think that once believing it, the Christian is now finished with the Gospel message.

“Religion mode” is the default mode of the heart (What is life like in this mode?)
“Gospel mode” reveals a lot more options, brings color and excitement to the norm. (What is life like I this mode?)

The elder brother was stuck in the “religion mode”. Partaking regularly in the Gospel move us from the religion mode to the Gospel mode. We must feed on the Gospel, as it were; digesting it and making it a part of ourselves. That is how we grow.

When a person turns on the Gospel mode, how is that manifested? In giving? In relationships? In marriages? In generosity? In faithfulness?

True or False: Our problems arise largely because we don’t continually return to the Gospel to work it in and live it out.

Is there such a thing as cheap grace? If so, what is it? The teaching that stresses that grace is free so it doesn’t matter how we live.

How we live our lives does matter but we have to be careful not to return to legalism, religious mode (elder-brother). The solution is to focus on how seriously God takes sin and how he could only save us from it at a tremendous cost to himself. Understanding this, we dramatically reshape our lives. We no longer live a selfish life but we stand up for justice and sacrifice for our neighbor. Martin Luther says it best:

We are saved by faith alone (not by our works), but not by faith that remains alone.

If Jesus grace to you doesn’t cause you to show grace to others, then you have to seriously question what operating mode you are working in.

Salvation is Communal:

When your family gets together to celebrate holidays, weddings, reunions or significant social events, how important is the meal? Would ever consider not having a meal?

I find it interesting that Christians recognize the importance of having a meal together when people get together, but in their spiritual life, the opposite is true. A high percentage of people want to achieve spiritual growth without losing their independence to a church.

Have you ever heard this before? What are these saying?
I am spiritual, but not religious.
I like Jesus but not Christianity.

What causes this attitude to develop?

In conclusion, this parable teaches us the sensual way of the younger brother and the ethical way of the elder brother are spiritual dead ends. Jesus shows us that there is another way to life, through Him. And to enter that way and to live a life based on his salvation will bring us finally to the ultimate party and feast at the end of history.