THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF LOSTNESS
YOUNGER BROTHER LOSTNESS
IS SO EASY TO SEE
FOR HE IS A
BUT OLDER BROTHER LOSTNESS
FOR HE IS A
BUT HE IS “MORE” LOST THAN HIS BROTHER
FOR HIS HEART IS SO HARD
THE FATHER GOES OUT TO EACH SON
BUT ONLY THE YOUNGER BROTHER
New sisters are adding a sweet richness to our fellowship — so varied, and yet, we are one!
- A bored stay-at-home mom in a one bedroom Chicago apartment who longs for more intimacy with God
- A Presbyterian pastor from Ontario who says “Lent always humbles me to the core”
- A grandmother in a cabin in the woods who loves time with God
- A group of women from my church (GPC) including my dear friend Rachael, and Rebecca’s mother Lila, & sister-in-law Angela!
- And so many more
So much gold — here’s just a few nuggets:
Deanna from Ohio called us:
A support group for idolaters… 🙂
Each day I am both brothers. I wake up, read God’s Word and encounter the Savior. then I get up from my chair, start my day. throughout the day, I’m wandering away from the Father to my idols… Oh how grateful I am that the Father loves both sons...
And then she shared this great link — watch it when you have a free four minutes!
That I already have favor with God!
If God is for me who can be against me?
No one not even myself.
There, out in the darkness, a fugitive running
Fallen from God, Fallen from grace
God be my witness, I never shall yield
Till we come face to face
Till we come face to face
He knows his way in the dark
Mine is the way of the Lord
Those who follow the path of the righteous
Shall have their reward
And if they fall, as Lucifer fell
The flame, the sword!…
Likewise, a beautiful picture of “younger brother lostness” and the gospel melting his heart occurs in the scene where the bishop shows Jean Valjean grace. Jean Valjean, his heart hardened by injustice, has now become a real criminal, for he has stolen from the bishop, who was so kind to him.
Watch — and see in this, a portrait of the gospel of God: Link
What we must see is that the gospel is the solution to every problem. If we are rebels running from God, holding onto control, our life will be filled with pain — and our only hope is to return in repentance to the Father, who will welcome us with open arms.
If we are older brothers (or as Keller put, “older brotherishistic!”) also holding onto control, and are not experiencing intimacy with God, but rather, loneliness and pain, our only hope is to return to the Father in repentance, and He will welcome up with open arms.
I WAS SO EXCITED LAST WEEK WHEN WONDERFUL NEW WOMEN BEGAN TO COME.
But then I began to feel anxious. How could I welcome each warmly? How could I watch over them? And even my helpers, I knew, were sensing it. I felt like a shepherd with so many sheep that many were in danger.
My symptoms that reveal my control idol were back: the stiff neck, the butterflies, the trouble sleeping. I cried out to God, reminding Him that He told me the gospel was the solution to every problem. So I asked Him the question I have learned to ask:
How is the gospel the solution to this problem?
He was just waiting for me to ask. His Spirit whispered: I love them. I laid down my life for them. You are not their shepherd. I AM the good shepherd. I know my sheep and they know me.
And so I felt free to make a change. Instead of posting all our comments, we would do them for our Lord in our secret place. But we would mine the gold and the questions to share with one another! And then Cyndi suggested: PUT URGENT PRAYER REQUESTS IN CAPS.
The knots in my neck began to loosen. I posted the SOS, and you responded. You were relieved too! We love each other, we want to care for each other, but we are not THE GOOD SHEPHERD. He’ll watch over us. That’s the good news of the gospel.
Please believe me how glad I and sisters who have been here are to have you. Please don’t interpret this as not wanting you. Please stay and share the gold, we’ll all be richer. If nothing else, please share the Icebreaker and Take-A-Way!
Sunday/Monday: Icebreakers (There’s always gold to be mined here.)
1. Comment particularly on the picture of God you see in the Bishop in the short movie clip above. What sacrifice did the Bishop make — and why? When you put this into the realm of the gospel and you, how does this melt you? What parallels do you see with the father of Luke 15?
2. One huge red flag of “older brotherishness” is a lack of intimacy with God. This is a primary goal of this study — did you sense any growing intimacy with God last week? If so, share.
3. Have you gotten or made steps to get one of the extra reading books suggested last week? What have you done?
4. Did anything else stand out to you from the above — if so, comment.
Monday-Wednesday: Bible Study
RED FLAGS FOR “OLDER BROTHERISHNESS”
We may not be older brothers, but we all have “older brotherishness” in our hearts, for the default mode of the human heart is to go back to earning our own righteousness instead of trusting His grace. We are motivated to do good things often, not out of a response to God’s love, but in attempt to earn His love, feel good about ourselves, or to look good, or to get something from God. This runs deep within us and we must be alert to the red flags so we can repent and run toward the arms of God. He is there, like the father in this story, waiting to embrace us.
RED FLAG # 1: UNDERCURRENT OF ANGER
If we think by being good God owes us a comfortable life, we will always be angry — either at God for not giving us what we think He owes us, or we will be mad at ourselves for not holding to the standards.
5. Read Luke 15: 25-32
A. Describe the scene in verses 25-27. How does this scene represent the gospel?
B. Find everything you can about the older brother in verse 28.
C. How does he describe his service for the father? (J. B. Phillips says, “I have slaved for you.)
D. What did the younger brother offer to become when he came home? Comment?
The following is excerpted from Tim Keller’s Gospel in Life:
RELIGION: I obey, therefore I am accepted.
GOSPEL: I am accepted, therefore I obey.
RELIGION: I obey God in order to get things from God.
GOSPEL: I obey God to get God — to delight in Him and to resemble Him.
RELIGION: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I am angry at God or myself since I believe anyone who is good deserves a comfortable life.
GOSPEL: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I struggle, but I know all my punishment fell on Jesus and that while God may allow this for my training, He will exercise His Fatherly love within my trial.
6. Read the above contrasts carefully. In what areas do you lean toward religion instead of the gospel?
7. Think about a time when trouble came into your life. Did your reaction show any older brotherishness?
RED FLAG # 2 ALL DUTY AND NO BEAUTY
The older brother sees his service to his father, not as a joy, but as “slaving” for him. Though his father is overjoyed to have his brother home, he does not share in the joy, for he does not love the father. There is no gospel transformation, no gospel joy, no gospel excitement, and no beautiful intimacy with God.
I have older brotherishness in me. What is the solution? Neither guilt nor fear works for long. What works is beholding the beauty of Jesus, and of what He did. That melts my icy heart and transforms me. That is why I want you to listen to the sermon “The True Older Brother” by Keller. Be sure to listen to the end, when you will be drawn by the beauty of our Lord. For then, the gospel can set you free.
Listen to the following sermon: Link