"And he said, A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat; and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, "How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger." I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.' And he arose and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off. his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him: and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it: and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again: he was lost, and is found.' And they began to be merry." (Luke 15:11-24).

    I want to dedicate this sermon to all the prodigal boys and girls in the country. This parable very plainly teaches that God is ready to forgive all that will truly repent and return to the Father. You will note that the occasion of the parable was the slur of the Scribes and Pharisees as they cried, "This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them."

    I want to call your attention to seven things concerning the prodigal son referred to in our text.


    We find this young man saying, "Give me the portion of goods that falleth unto me." (Luke 15:12). It is always a sad thing when we see a young man that despises his home. The prodigal was ill at ease in his father's house. Some forceful stories of the "far country" had come to his ears. He was tired of being tied to home. He despised his birthright. He hated the privilege of his father's prayers, presence and counsel. He wanted to to "see the world and have some real fun." He wanted to get out from under his mother's apron-strings. He was tired of receiving orders and being told what to do.

    What a picture this is tonight of hundreds of not only our young men, but our young women also. You are tired of your father's house. You feel that you are being cheated out of some fun or some special morsel of worldly pleasure by staying in your home. You want to move to the city, get your own room, come in as late at night as you please. You young men want to get in the Army or Navy to see the world YOU SAY, but away back in the back part of your mind, it is not the world you want to see, it is the WOMEN of the world. Isn't that true? Boys, what FOOLS you are.

    Young people, who gave you the idea that if saved, you could not be happy? The very streets of the Father's city are filled with happy boys and girls. Fun? Is there no fullness of joy in God? Are there no pleasures forever more? Does separation from the things that destroy health, the purity of life, and heaven mean that you cannot have happiness?

    Who has robbed the Garden of God of its fragrant flowers? Young people, it is a lie. You do not need to feed the appetites of the flesh with the VULGAR DANCE, with the FILTHY PICTURES fin most theatres, or with the dangerous game of CARDS in order to be happy.

    Young people, if you remember nothing else, remember that the "far country" is the dismal way of darkness and death. Be not allured from home by the Devil's lie. He will deceive you. He will promise but will not pay. He will paint pictures that are not real. His name is deceiver, and he is a liar from the beginning.


    It was not enough to spurn his home, he left it. "And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country." (Luke 15:13).

    Can you, in your imagination, see this young man packing his suitcase, taking stock of his new possessions. How rich he must have felt. How he must have built "air-castles." Never did the sky seem clearer and never life more promising.

    Boy, oh Boy! The "Good times" that were ahead for him — he thought. Were not these feelings the same as some of you fellows had before entering the service?

    The father, perhaps gave certain warnings, but the son had no ears to hear these miserable tales of disaster. He in all probability thought Dad an "Old Timer" or "out-of-date" sort of fellow. Ringing in the ears of some of you men, is the good advice your mother, your wife, your sister, your pastor gave you. You ignored it. You made fun of them. Well, haven't you found that their advice was not too "much out of date"? Boys, they are your best friends. Listen to them!

    I can see the prodigal start on his way. He is aglow with the glory of self-interest. The father is broken with disappointed hopes. Perhaps the dear father went with him to the top of hill. Seems I can hear him say, "My son, you have asked for your goods. You have broken with your home; new experiences will be yours; you are traveling a very dangerous robber-infested road; pitfalls are on every hand; I will not be near you to counsel you; nor your home nearby for a refuge. I greatly fear for your safety. I know what lies ahead, but my son, if ever you are down and out and you need a friend, remember though all others forsake you, yet will not I. My home is always open, the latch- spring is on the outside of the door; my heart will never cease to love you; my home will never be barred against you, my son. Farewell!"

    Then the soil, with his portion about him, went on his way. The old Father probably watched his son go away until distance hid his view.

    How many of you dear fathers and precious mothers and sweet wives have watched the train or bus until out of sight as it bore away the dearest one on earth to you? You remember how your heart ached? How lonely the old house or farm was without him.

    I remember reading a story somewhere. There was an old man, in the eighties, who was sitting one afternoon beside his dying wife. She, too, was in the eighties. They had lived out their lives. They had had eight children, and the Lord had taken every one to Himself, some of them when they were small, some of them when they were older. This couple had no grandchildren, and were alone in the world. The aged husband was seated on a chair beside the bed, and his wife was asleep. After awhile she woke up and reached out to touch his hand.

    "John," she said, "It is night, isn't it? It's dark."

    He wanted to say, 'Why, Darling, it's bright daylight," but he caught himself, for sight was beginning to fail. He said softly, "Yes, it is almost night" He meant the long night.

    "Why don't you turn on the light?"

    "I will." He stood and turned on the light.

    "The dynamo must be bad," she said.

    "Well I guess it's worn out."

    With her hand in his, she dozed off again. Once again she awoke.

    "John, aren't you almost ready for bed?"

    "Yes, Darling, almost."

    He meant that long, narrow bed from which there is no arising until Jesus comes.

    "Have you taken care of the house?"

    "Yes, Darling."

    "Are the windows taken care of?"

    "The door locked?"

    "Yes, Darling." His voice was tender.

    She drew a deep breath and asked, "John, are the children all in?

    The great hot, heavy tears rolled down his cheeks as he whispered. "Yes, Darling, they are all in." He meant that all were in heaven with Jesus.


    "And took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living." (Luke 15:13).

    This journey into a far country took more than a day. There was the FIRST NIGHT away from home, before there was the second and third.

    I imagine as the young man prepared for bed, as the evening shades fell on that first day out, he could remember every word his old father had spoken to him. He could see his sweet-faced mother with the tears streaming down her cheeks. He could see his brothers and sisters as they watched him take his flight. For the first time as he lay upon his bed, he seemed to see the look of troubled fear upon his father's face. He was half minded to turn back home, but another voice was urging him on.

    And as he journeyed on, less and less the remembrance of home troubled him. He was becoming dead to the memory of his father's care. Many "new things" were coming his way and "Why should I worry" about the old folks back home continually on his lips.

    How many of you boys have forgotten the promises you made to some dear mother, or wife, or sweetheart.

    Slowly, step by step, the prodigal son went away from home and friends and loved ones. No one travels the downward road in one day

    Our descent is at times so gradual that we are scared to detect the fact of our downward trend.

"Drifting away from Christ in thy youth.
Drifting away from mercy and truth,
Drifting away from God.
Why will you drift on billows of shame,
Spurning His grace again and again?
Soon you will be lost!
In sin to remain.
Ever away from God."

    Each day, the nearer this young man got to the far country, the less and less he cared for homes He was entering the land of "No restraint," the country of "Do as you please."

    No young man can fellowship with drunkards and harlots and love his mother and sister, or father or his wife at the same time. The far country is a place where one forgets home and all its precious ties.

    He wasted his substance with riotous living. When he left home, he had not anticipated this. He had looked forward to having a good time, but he was too smart to be caught by the "shysters" of this world. But the world was so alluring and gay, he could not resist its call. His "brakes" would not work. He realized he was losing out, hut he could not stop. The young men in our country today are fascinated by the pleasures of the world. In our Army camps they often lose their bearings, and lose the power to retrace their step. It is the movie, and the theatre, and the card table and the dance and then the scarlet sin, and then a wasted life.


    "How many hired servants of my father's house have bread enough and to spare, but I perish with hunger." (Luke 15:17).

    This longing for home began when the prodigal had spent all and when he was left to "feeding swine." Isn't that true in every wayward heart? No thought of home and loved ones until you land in jail. When he began to be in want, those who had treated him so well during the days while his goods lasted, forgot and forsook Him. He was forced to the meanest of tasks for a Jew, the feeding of the swine. Even this base and lowly task did not furnish him with sufficient funds to meet his needs. He was staring to death, and no one would give him to eat.

    Listen, my friends, this is the tragedy of serving sin. Sin will wreck you, rob you, leave you wounded and naked upon the road of life. Sin will take our health, break your heart, wreck your home, and then turn a deaf ear to your cry. Sin is a pitiless tyrant. Sin paints alluring pictures of its gardens, but its flowers yield a perfume that produces the sleep of eternal death.

    The utter despair of the prodigal brought him back to his senses. "He came to himself" declares the Word of God. His dire distress brought back the memory of his father's bountiful storehouse. He said. "How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare." Yes, home looks good once more.

    To be a "SON" was in former days, not even worth the while, but now, to be a "SERVANT" was the height of his ambition. "If I could only get to the "Back-yard." "If I could only be a boot-black, or a waiter or a washer of the dishes in my father's house," thought the prodigal.

    Look at him. Do you not see your own picture? There he sat and there he considered his ways. Home was gone, food gone, character gone. Goods were gone, clothing was gone, joy was gone. Father, mother, brother were all gone. He was alone, all alone. There he sat and longed for a servant's place. He was penniless, for he had spent all. He was friendless, for "No man gave unto him." He was hungry, for he said, "I perish with hunger."


    "I will arise and go to my father." (Luke 15:18).

    Once he had said, "I will arise and go to the far country." Then he had refused his father's warnings. Now, be realizes the truth of the father's words. He turns his face back home.

    That is what we mean by "conversion." It is turning square around. It is halt. Right about face. Forward march. David said, "I thought on my ways and turned my feet unto His testimonies."

    This young man awakened to the sinfulness of his heart. There we* no self-justification. No laying upon others the responsibility of the wasting of his goods. No excusing his career. He simply said, "l have sinned."

    We see the pride of the flesh gone out of this defeated boy. "I am not worthy to be called thy son," he cried. The prodigal son threw himself upon the mercy and grace of the father. He demanded no favors. He was not worthy. This was just what made it possible to kin the fatted calf and to place the ring upon his hand. "By grace are ye saved." It is the contrite guilty, and the acknowledged unworthy that God delights to robe.

    I once heard a preacher tell a story that touched my heart very much. He told how late one cold night the president of an orphan home was summoned to the door by a timid knock. Standing just outside the door was a ragged and dirty, shivering little orphan boy asking admittance to the orphanage. The president said, "But son, what have you to recommend you to this home?" If you please, Sir," said the little half starved tad, as he held up the ragged edges of his coat, "If you please, Sir, I thought these here would be all I needed to recommend me."

    My dear friends, that is all the prodigal had. "I am not worthy," and that is all he needed.


    "And when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him." (Luke 15:20). These words are enough. They mean much. Beneath the surface lie words of truth. They suggest that the Father had long been watching the road that led toward home, anticipating the coming of his wayward boy, How these words strike my heart as I hear him say, "All day long have I stretched forth my hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people."

    Think tonight, how long God has waited and w etched for some of you to come home. Don't keep him waiting another moment. Right there, right now, close your eyes. Say, "I am a sinner, save me." "I am a backslider, forgive me of my sins." Believe he has done it and go rejoicing on your way.

"Come home, come home.
There is bread and to spare,
And a warm welcome there,
Oh prodigal child, come home.''


    "The father saw him, anti had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. "Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him. put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet, and bring hither the fatted calf, and let us kill it; and let us eat, and be merry, for, tints my son was dead, but he is alive again: he was lost, but is found, and they began to make merry." (Luke 15:20).

    I remember reading the story of an elderly Mother and Father who visited in a tent meeting out west. They had only one child, a boy named Jim. Both of them were saved in this meeting and fully consecrated their lives to God. Their boy was a riotous boy and spurned his mother's love and his father's discipline. They tried to talk to their son and tell him of their recent conversion and faith in the Lord. He was not at all interested and sought to become an even more wicked boy.

    One night Jim went out on one of his parties. Mother anti Father had their supper and Mother left Jim's on the table and covered it with a cloth. Father went on to bed but Mother sat and waited for Jim to give him his supper when he came. In the late hours, Jim staggered up on the porch of the little home and opened the door. He saw his Mother waiting for him and began cursing and demanding that she give him his food. She kindly uncovered the table and Jim sat down and began to eat. Upon taking a few bites, he discovered that everything was cold. In a drunken rage, he stood up and took hold of the table cloth and snatched all the food and dishes off on the floor; then, he walked over and slapped his Mother and began cursing again. All this had awakened his father and by this time, he was in the kitchen and had seen what had happened. He took hold of Jim's collar and showed him the door. He said, Jim, if you have no more respect for my wife and your mother than that, get out and don't ever come back again." He pushed Jim through the door and closed it.

    Weeks passed and Mother grieved for her only son. Home was not the same with Jim gone. Father was not the same. Even though Jim had done wrong. they still loved him dearly.

    Jim had gone into the city to live. One night while roaming the streets, he passed a little mission and was led to stagger in and take a back seat He listened to a man of God preach the Word with power. It seemed to do something to him and when the preacher had finished his message, he gave an altar call and Jim staggered down the aisle toward the front. People stared at him but he fell on his face and cried out to God to have mercy on his sinful soul. God heard his cries and gloriously saved him.

    Jim went back to his dirty little room in the slum section of the city and sat down to write home. He began, by saying, "Mother, God has forgiven me of the awful things that I have done. I know you will forgive me, Mother, but will Father? I remember how I used to play down by the railroad track in front of the house and how you use to hang the family wash on a line nearby. Mother, I'm boarding the fast train coming home and I want you to ask Father if he will forgive me. If he will, will you hang a sheet on the clothesline near the railroad track. If I see the sheet as I pass by, I'll know everything has been forgiven and will get off at the next stop and head for home.

    Love, Jim."

    The day came that Jim was expected to be on the fast train. As he neared his home, he became so nervous from fear that he would not see a sheet on the clothes line, that he sat down in the corner of the train coach and asked the conductor to look toward the house just around the next curve to see if he could see a sheet on the line. The train rolled on and as it turned the curve, the conductor turned to Jim and said, "The clothes line is touching the ground with sheets on it and there's a little old lady standing in the yard waving her white apron and a little old man waving his white handkerchief." Jim leaped for joy and gave the train's cord three hard pulls for it to stop at the next junction. He got off and ran for home and such a welcome you have never seen.

    Just remember one thing, that all this happiness and merry making was because the son came home saying, "I have sinned," and because he came saying, "I am not worthy to be called thy son."

Friend, father, mother, brother, sister, or wife, won't you come home, turn from your sins and turn to the Saviour?

"It pays to serve Jesus,
It pays every day,
It pays every step of the way,
Tho' the pathway to glory may sometimes be drear,
You'll be happy each step of the way."

Will you give your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ this moment? May God help you and bless you.
Maze Jackson