I want to give you a diagnosis of what spiritual deadness is, and a prescription for it, and some ideas for how to take that prescription to your church.
“Prodigal” originally meant extravagant. The point of the parable is for the religious people. The main point is that both brothers are alienated from the father. There are two ways to be your own savior and lord. One is by being really bad. The other is by being really good. Those are two ways to get the father’s things. The trouble is that the elder brother believes that his way is the way. And it is the “good” brother who is lost and the “bad” brother who gets saved.
The gospel is neither religion or irreligion. Elder brothers obey God to get things. Gospel brothers obey God to get more of God.
It’s impossible for elder brothers to not loathe others who are not living up to the standards they themselves adhere to.
Elder brother’s can’t forgive.
When the father lavished forgiveness on the younger son, it was at the cost of the elder son. The half of the inheritance that belonged to the younger son was gone, spent.
Church renewal, spiritual renewal is not just practical 5 steps. Though, here are five things you can do.
1. You as the leader must work this in your heart yourself.
2. If you’re a preacher/teacher, when you communicate, be very careful to move beyond Biblical Principles to the Gospel. Take them back to Jesus.
3. Get the leaders together, and take them through a book, like The Prodigal God.
4. Work it in your congregation.