"There can be no party until (and if) the prodigals come home.
The son left the father. He was rebellious, independent, angry. He wanted to see the world, to taste it's delights. He took of drink, women, greed, lust, selfishness, partying, carousing, waste and wantonness. He ended up losing all and eating slop with pigs in the mire.
At the end of himself, the son starts back home. He remembers the good food and warmth of his home. He hopes his dad will welcome him. He trudges fearfully, yet desperate.
As the son nears the father's house, he is spotted. The father had been watching...waiting...praying....weeping for his son. He missed him.
When his son came nearer, the father ran to him. He hugged him close; tears falling.
The father greatly welcomed his son home. He planned a great celebration! He gave him gifts and honour and love. His son was home again. The prodigal had returned.
Our Father is (also) calling His prodigals back home. He misses them. He weeps for them. He waits...watches...bottles their tears....hears their cries. He loves them. He loves them.
Yes, Father is dealing with His lost ones, His strays. He will 'leave the 99' to find the 'one' lost. He will help them, deal with them, chastize, deliver, lead, guide, show grace, bring adversity, allow trials: draw them in through many ways, many avenues. (He has His ways...).
'Creature comforts' never satisfy, never last. Lusts and needs of the flesh are fleeting and always in need of replenishment. Human resources are limited. Human love, concern, empathy and care are also limited. God's love is UNLIMITED. He is love unlimited. He knows no boundaries.
God, our Father, is a loving parent. He cares deeply for His children. He wants all to be with Him...and NONE to perish. Those far AND those near...are close to His heart.
Regarding the 'older brother' of the prodigal son: he is jealous and hurt. He sees his disobedient, runaway, riotous brother returning to a grand welcome. He feels ignored, disrespected, not-appreciated. He may becoming bitter, hostile, fearful.
The father reassures his eldest, saying all that he has is also the son's. The older brother has had the love of his dad for the entire time. He has to humble himself and be glad for his little brother's deliverance.
These examples represent the church and the prodigals. There is an 'angry older brother' within the church body. They are not (always) gladly anticipating a prodigal's return. They often feel resentful and envious. Some of them may even leave their Father when the lost children come back. This is wrong.
The 'elder' must love the 'younger'. They must see- must realize, the great loss that was averetd. The son was 'dead' spiritually, but is 'alive' again. He has returned from the dead!
Let the prodigal feel love, feel acceptance, feel forgiveness. Let him come back with 'no strings attached'. Let the lost find rest for their souls.
Their Saviour holds out His arms for His lost lambs. (Can you?)
There wuill be NO PARTY until....until, until the dirty,
ugly (in spirit/in soul),
and (even) defiled come.
Welcome home kids. Your Father has been waiting. It's time for a party."
"...the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his life with riotous living.
(18) I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against Heaven, and against you.
(20) And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion on him, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
(23) ...let us eat, and be merry.
(24) For my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found."
"What man of you, having a 100 sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety nine in the wilderness...and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
"They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way: they found no city to dwell in. (5) Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them, (6) Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses."
Psalm 116:6 b "...I was brought low, and He helped me."
Isaiah 38:5 b "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears..."