The Elder Brother Spirit
Rev. Lily Lim | On 22, Sep 2015
Luke 15:25-32 (NIV)
V25- “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.
V26- so he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.
V27- ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
V28- ‘The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.
V29-But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.
V30- But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!”
V31- “’My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.
V32- But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”
There are two basic ways people try to find happiness and fulfillment.
Jesus uses the parable of the younger and the elder brothers to portray these two basic ways: the way of MORAL CONFORMITY and the way of SELF-DISCOVERY.
The elder brother in the parable illustrates the way of MORAL CONFORMITY. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day believed that, while they were a people chosen by God, they could only maintain their place in his blessing and receive final salvation through strict obedience to the Bible. They all believe in putting the will of God and the standard of the community ahead of individual fulfillment. In this view, we only attain happiness and a world made right by achieving moral righteousness. We may fall at times, of course, but then we will be judged by how abject and intense our regret is. In this view, even in our failures, we must always measure up.
The younger brother in the parable illustrates the way of SELF-DISCOVERY. This paradigm holds that individual must be free to pursue their own goals and self-actualization regardless of custom and convention. In this view, the world would be a far better place if tradition, prejudice, hierarchical authority and other barriers to personal freedom were weakened or removed.
Here we have a concise portrayal of the two ways. The person in the way of MORAL CONFORMITY says, “I’m not going to do what I want, but what tradition and the community wants me to do.” The person choosing the way of SELF-DISCOVERY says, “I’m the only one who can decide what is right or wrong for me. I’m going to live as I want to live and find my true self and happiness that way.”
This morning, I would like to focus on the elder brother since we have already heard many sermons about the prodigal younger son. I would like to title my sermon this morning as – THE ELDER-BROTHER SPIRIT.
(1) DEFINITION OF ‘ELDER-BROTHER SPIRIT’
The Elder-Brother spirit is defined here as a moral conformist spirit, likened to that of the self-righteous Pharisees during Jesus’ time.
The Elder-Brother spirit says, “The immoral people- the people who ‘do their own thing’ – are the problem with the world and moral people are the solution.”
(2) THE INNER MOTIVATION OF THE ELDER- BROTHER SPIRIT
Luke 15:29 (NIV) – “All these years, I’ve been slaving for you.”
The elder brother is fastidiously obedient to his father and therefore, by analogy, to the commands of God. He is completely under control and quite self-disciplined. So we have two sons, one ‘bad’ by conventional standards and one ‘good’, yet both are alienated from the father. The father has to go out and invite each of them to come into the feast of his love. So there is not just one lost prodigal son in this parable – there are two.
Jesus the storyteller deliberately leaves the elder brother in his alienated state. The bad son enters the father’s feast but the good son will not. The lover of prostitutes is saved but the man of moral righteousness is still lost.
Why doesn’t the elder brother go in?
He himself gives the reason: “Because I’ve never disobeyed you” (verse 29). The elder brother is not losing the father’s love in spite of his goodness but BECAUSE of it. It is not his sins that create the barrier between him and his father. It is the PRIDE he has in his moral record; it’s not his wrongdoing but his RIGHTEOUSNESS that is keeping him from sharing in the feast of the father.
How could this be?
The answer is that the brothers’ heart and the two ways of life they represent are much more alike than they first appear.
What did the younger son most want in life?
He wanted to make his own decisions and have unfettered control of his portion of wealth. How did he get that? He did it with a bold power play, a flagrant defiance of community standards, a declaration of complete independence.
What did the older brother want?
If we think about it we realize that he wanted the same thing as his younger brother. He was just as resentful of the father as was the younger son. He, too, wanted the father’s goods rather than the father himself. However, while the younger brother went far away, the elder brother stayed close and ‘never disobeyed.’ That was his way to get control. His unspoken demand is, “I have never disobeyed you! Now you have to do things in my life the way I want them to be done.”
The hearts of the two brothers were the same. They each wanted to get into a position in which they could tell the father what to do. Each one, in other words, rebelled – but one did so by being very BAD and the other by being extremely GOOD. Both were alienated from the father’s heart; both were lost sons.
Do you realize what Jesus is teaching?
Neither son loved the father for himself. They both were using the father for their own self-centered ends rather than loving, enjoying and serving him for his own sake.
Application: This means that you can rebel against God and be alienated from him either by breaking his rules OR by keeping all of them diligently.
It’s a shocking message. Careful obedience to God’s law may serve as a strategy for rebelling against God. You can avoid Jesus as Savior by keeping all the moral laws. If you do that, then you have “rights.” God owes you answered prayers, and a good life and a ticket to heaven when you die. You don’t need a Savior who pardons you by free grace, for you are your own Savior.
This is clearly an elder-brother spirit.
Why is he so angry with his father?
He feels he has the right to tell the father how the robes, rings and livestock of the family should be deployed.
In the same way, religious people commonly live very moral lives, but their goal is to get leverage over God, to control him, to put him in a position where they think he owes them. Therefore, despite all their ethical fastidiousness and piety, they are actually rebelling against his authority.
Application: If like, the elder brother, you believe that God ought to bless you and help you because you have worked so hard to obey him and be a good person, then Jesus may be your helper, your example, even your inspiration but he is not your Savior. You are serving as your own savior.
Underneath the brothers’ sharply different patterns or behavior, is the same MOTIVATION and AIM. Both are using the father in different ways to get the things on which their hearts are really fixed. It was the WEALTH, not the love of the father, that they believed would make them happy and fulfilled.
At the end of the story, the elder brother has an opportunity to truly delight the father by going into the feast. But his resentful refusal shows that the father’s happiness had never been his goal. When the father reinstates the younger son, to the diminishment of the older son’s share in the estate, the elder brother’s heart is laid bare. He does everything he can to hurt and resist his father.
Application: If, like the elder brother, you seek to control God through your obedience, then all your morality is just a way to use God to make him give you the things in life you really want.
E.g. The bargain young Salieri makes with God in Peter Shaffer’s play Amadeus:
“I would offer up secretly the proudest prayer a boy could think of. “Lord, make me a great composer! Let me celebrate your glory through music – and be celebrated myself! Make me famous through the world, dear God! Make me immortal! After I die, let people speak my name forever with love for what I wrote! In return I vow I will give you my chastity, my industry, my deepest humility, every hour of my life. And I will help my fellow man all I can. Amen and amen!”
Salieri begins a life under this vow to God. He keeps his hands off woman, works diligently at this music, teaches many musicians for free and tirelessly helps the poor. His career goes well and he believes God is keeping his end of the bargain. Then Mozart appears with musical gifts far above Salieri’s. His genius had obviously been bestowed on him by God. Amadeus, Mozart’s middle name, means ‘beloved by God,” and yet he is a vulgar, self-indulgent “younger brother.” The talent God lavished so prodigally on Mozart precipitates a crisis of faith in the elder-brother spirit of Salieri. His words are remarkably close to those of the older son in the parable: “It was incomprehensible…Here I was denying all my natural lust in order to deserve God’s gift and there was Mozart indulging his in all direction – even though engaged to be married- and no rebuke at all.”
Finally Salieri says to God, “From now on we are enemies, You and I,” and thereafter works to destroy Mozart. Sadly in Shaffer’s play, God is silent, unlike the father in Jesus’ parable, who reaches out to rescue the elder brother even as he begins to sink into bitterness, hate and despair that eventually swallows Salieri.
What is the inner motivation of elder-brother spirit?
Elder brothers obey God to get things.
They don’t obey God to get Himself – in order to resemble Him, love Him, know Him, and delight Him. So religious and moral people can be avoiding Jesus as Savior and Lord as much as the younger brothers who say they don’t believe in God and define right and wrong for themselves.
Here, then is Jesus’ radical redefinition of what is wrong with us. Nearly everyone defines sin as breaking a list of rules. Jesus, though, shows us that a man who has violated virtually nothing on the list of moral misbehaviors can be every bit as spiritually lost as the most immoral person. Why? Because sin is not just breaking the rules; it is PUTTING YOURSELF IN THE PLACE OF GOD AS SAVIOR, LORD, AND JUDGE just as each son sought to displace the authority of the father in his own life.
The young Salieri by seeking to put God in his debt and get control over him through his good works – instead of relying on his sheer grace – he was acting as his own SAVIOR. When he became murderously bitter toward Mozart, certain that God was being unjust, he was putting himself in the place of God the JUDGE.
Application: There are two ways to be your own Savior and Lord. One is by breaking all the moral laws and setting your own course and one is by keeping all the moral laws and being very, very good. Everyone is dedicated to a project of SELF-SALVATION, to using God and others in order to get power and control for themselves.
Although the sons are both wrong and both loved, the story does not end on the same note for each. Why does Jesus construct the story so that one of them is saved, restored to a right relationship with the father and one of them is not? It may be that Jesus is trying to say that while both forms of the self-salvation project are equally wrong, each one is not equally dangerous. One of the ironies of the parable is now revealed. The younger son’s flight from the father was crushingly obvious. He left the father literally, physically and morally. Though the older son stayed at home, he was actually more distant and alienated from the father than his younger brother because he was blind to his true condition.
Because the elder brother is blinder to what is going on, being an elder-brother Pharisee is a more spiritually desperate condition. “How dare you say that?” is how religious people respond if you suggest their relationship with God isn’t right. “I’m there every time the church doors are open.” Jesus says, in effect, “That doesn’t matter.”
Application: All these years you have slaving for God. What is your heart motivation? Why are you obeying God? Why are you serving God? Is it really for God himself or are you trying to get things from God through your obedience?
(III) CHARACTERISTICS OF ELDER- BROTHER SPIRIT
V28- ‘The older brother became angry and refused to go in.
We see that the elder brother “became angry.” All of his words are dripping with resentment. The first sign you have an elder-brother spirit is that when your life doesn’t go as you want, you aren’t just sorrowful but DEEPLY ANGRY AND BITTER. Elder brothers believe that if they live a good life they should get a good life, that God owes them a smooth road if they try very hard to live up to standards.
What happens, then, if you are an elder brother and things go wrong in your life? If you feel you have been living up to your moral standards, you will be furious with God. You don’t deserve this, you will think. After how hard you’ve worked to be a decent person! What happens, however, if things have gone wrong in your life when you know that you have been falling short of your standards? Then you will be furious with yourself, filled with self-loathing and inner pain. And if evil circumstances overtake you and you are not sure whether your life has been good enough or not, you may swing miserably back and forth between the poles of “I hate Thee! And “I hate me.”
Elder brothers’ inability to handle suffering arises from the fact that their moral observance is results-oriented. The good life is lived not for delight in good deeds themselves, but as calculated ways to control their environment.
Allow me to tell you an apocryphal story that conveys the difference between a result-oriented selfishness and a faithfulness born of love.
Illustration: One day Jesus said to his disciples: “I’d like you to carry a stone for Me.” He didn’t give any explanation. So the disciples looked around for a stone to carry and Peter, being the practical sort, sought out the smallest stone he could possibly find. After all, Jesus didn’t give any regulations for weight and size! So he put it in his pocket. Jesus then said: “Follow Me.” He led them on a journey. About noontime Jesus had everyone sit down. He waved his hands and all the stones turned to bread. He said, “Now it’s time for lunch.” In a few seconds, Peter’s lunch was over. When lunch was done Jesus told them to stand up. He said again, “I’d like you to carry a stone for Me.” This time Peter said, “Aha! Now I get it!” So he looked around and saw a small boulder. He hoisted it on his back and it was painful, it made him stagger. But he said, “I can’t wait for supper.” Jesus then said, “Follow Me.” He led them on a journey with Peter barely being able to keep up. Around supper time Jesus led them to the side of a river. He said, “Now everyone throw your stones into the water.” They did. Then he said, “Follow Me,” and began to walk. Peter and the others looked at him dumbfounded. Jesus signed and said, “Don’t you remember what I asked you to do? Who were you carrying the stone FOR?””
Like Peter, elder brothers expect their goodness to PAY OFF and if it doesn’t there is confusion and rage.
If you think goodness and decency is the way to merit a good life from God, you will be eaten up with anger, since life never goes as we wish. You will always feel that you are owed more than you are getting. You will always see someone doing better than you in some aspect of life and will ask, “Why this person and not me? After all I’ve done!” This resentment is your own fault. It is not caused by the prosperity of the other person, but by your own effort to control life through your performance. The strong undertow of anger this causes may not turn you into a murderer, as it did Salieri, but it will constantly cause you to lose your footing in various ways.
Application: Are you angry when God doesn’t answer your prayers? Are your answered prayers becoming a savior of your life rather than Christ? Why are you praying so hard? To get the wealth from Christ or to get Christ?
2. SUPERIORITY COMPLEX
V29-But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.
V30- But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes…..
We also see that the elder brother has a strong sense of his own superiority. He points out how much better his own moral record is than the lover of prostitutes. In disdainful language (“This son of yours….”) he won’t even own his brother as a brother anymore.
Elder brothers base their self-images on being hardworking or moral or members of an elite clan, or extremely smart and savvy. This inevitably leads to feeling superior to those who don’t have those same qualities. In fact, COMPETITIVE COMPARISION is the main way elder brothers achieve a sense of their own significance.
Racism and classism are just different version of this form of the self-salvation project.
This dynamic becomes exceptionally intense when elder brothers pride themselves above all for their right religion. If a group believes God favors them because of their particularly true doctrine, ways of worship and ethical behavior, their attitude towards those without these things can be hostile. Their self-righteousness hides under the claim that they are only opposing the enemies of God. When you look at the world through those lenses, it becomes easy to justify hate and oppression, all in THE NAME OF TRUTH.
Application: Do we think we are more superior than others because we have the right doctrines, with a nice church? Are we very competitive?
(3) JUDGMENTAL SPIRIT
Elder brother self-righteousness not only creates racism and classism, but at the personal level creates an unforgiving, judgmental spirit. This elder brother cannot pardon his younger brother for the way he has weakened the family’s place in society, disgraced their name, and diminished their wealth. He highlights the fact that the younger brother has been with ‘prostitutes,” while he has been living a chaste life at home. “I would NEVER do anything as bad as that!” he is saying in his heart. Because he does not see himself as being part of the common community of sinners, he is trapped by his own bitterness. It is impossible to forgive someone if you feel superior to him or her.
E.g. If they see people who lie or cheat on their wives, or don’t pray to God – they look down on them. If such people WRONG THEM, elder brothers feel their spotless record gives them the right to be HIGHLY OFFENDED and to perpetually remind the wrongdoer of his or her failure.
Application: Are we judgmental? Do we have racism and classism? Are we very unforgiving to those who have wronged us? Are we still highly offended by people around us who have failed us?
(4) SLAVISHNESS AND EMPTINESS
Another sign of those with elder-brother spirit is fear-based compliance. The older son boasts of his obedience to his father but lets his underlying motivation and attitude slip out when he says, “All these years I have slaving for you.” To be sure, being faithful to any commitment involves a certain amount of dutifulness. Often we don’t feel like doing what we ought to do but we do it anyway for the sake of integrity. But the elder brother shows that his obedience to his father is NOTHING but DUTY all the way down. There is no joy, or love, no reward in just seeing his father pleased.
The service elder brothers render to God is SLAVISH, JOYLESS DRUGERY. The word “slave” has strong overtones of BEING FORCED OR PUSHED RATHER THAN DRAWN OR ATTRACTED. A slave works out of fear – fear of consequences imposed by force. Ultimately, elder brothers live good lives out of fear not out of joy and love.
Illustration: Once upon a time there was a gardener who grew an enormous carrot. So he took it to his king and said, “My lord, this is the greatest carrot I’ve ever grown or ever will grow. Therefore I want to present it to you as a token of my love and respect for you.” The king was touched and discerned the man’s heart, so as he turned to go the king said, “Wait! You are clearly a good steward of the earth. I own a plot of land right next to yours. I want to give it to you freely as a gift so you can garden it all.” And the gardener was amazed and delighted and went home rejoicing. But there was a nobleman at the king’s court who overheard all this. And he said, “My! If that is what you get for a CARROT- what if you gave the king something better?” So the next day the nobleman came before the king and he was leading a handsome black stallion. He bowed low and said, “My lord, I breed horses and this is the greatest horse I’ve ever bred or ever will. Therefore I want to present it to you as a token of my love and respect for you.” But the king discerned his heart and said thank you, and took the horse and merely dismissed him. The nobleman was perplexed. So the king said, “Let me explain. The gardener was giving ME the carrot but you were giving YOURSELF the horse.”
Elder brother may do good to others, but not out of delight in the deeds themselves or for the love of people or the pleasure of God. They are not really feeding the hungry and clothing the poor, they are feeding and clothing themselves. The heart’s fundamental self-centeredness is not kept intact but nurtured by FEAR-BASED MORALISM.
Application: Are you serving God out of fear or love? Are you doing your Essential Community and Essential Commission out of fear or love?
(5) LACK OF ASUSRANCE OF GOD’S LOVE
The last sign of an elder-brother spirit is a lack of assurance of God’s love. The older son says, “You never threw ME a party.” There is no dancing or festiveness about the elder brother’s relationship with his father. As long as you are trying to earn your salvation by controlling God through goodness, you will never be sure you have been good enough for him. You simply aren’t sure God loves and delight in you.
What are the sign of this lack of assurance?
Every time something goes wrong in your life or a prayer goes unanswered, you wonder if it is because you aren’t living right in this or that area.
Another sign is that CRITICISM from others doesn’t just hurt your feelings, it devastates you. This is because your sense of God’s love is abstract and has little real power in your life and you need the approval of others to bolster your sense of value. You will also feel irresolvable guilt. When you do something you know wrong, your conscience torments you for a long time, even after you repent. Since you can’t be sure you’ve repented deeply enough, you beat yourself up over what you did.
Another symptom is A DRY PRAYER LIFE. Though elder brothers may be diligent in prayer, there is no wonder, awe, intimacy or delight in their conversation with God. In fact many elder brothers, for all their religiosity, do not have much of a private prayer life at all unless things are not going well in their lives. Then they may devote themselves to a great deal of it, until things get better again. This reveals that their main goal in prayer is to control their environment rather than to delve into an intimate relationship with a God who loves them.
Application: Does our church have all these characteristics of an elder-brother spirit? As pastors, leaders and members, do you have these characteristics too? Can we take criticism and correction from others? Are our prayer lives for the sake of the trip planner or for God? When bad times hit you, do you think God is cursing you or do you still have the confidence of His love?
(4) SEVERITY OF THE LOSTNESS OF AN ELDER-BROTHER SPIRIT
Jesus aimed this parable primarily to the Pharisees, to show them who they were to urge them to change. The younger brother knew he was alienated from the father, but the elder brother did not. That’s why elder-brother LOSTNESS is so dangerous. Elder brothers don’t go to God and beg for healing from the condition. They see nothing wrong with their condition and that can be fatal. If you know you are sick you may go to a doctor but if you don’t know you are sick, you won’t – you’ll just die.
(5) THE TRUE ELDER BROTHER
How can the inner dynamic of the heart be changed from one of fear and anger to one of joy, love and gratitude?
The first thing we need is GOD’S INITIATING LOVE. Notice how the father comes out to each son and expresses love to him, in order to bring him in. The father goes out to the angry, resentful elder brother, begging him to come into the feast. This shows that even the most religious and moral people need the INITIATING GRACE OF GOD, that they are just as lost and it shows there is hope, yes, even for Pharisees. God not only loves the wild-living, free-spirited people but also hardened religious people.
The second thing we need is a TRUE ELDER BROTHER.
E.g. Edmund Clowney recounts the true story of a young man who was a U.S. soldier missing in action during the Vietnam War. When the family could get no word of him through any official channel, the older son flew to Vietnam and risking his life, searched the jungles and the battlefields for his lost brother. It’s said that despite the danger, he was never hurt, because those on both sides heard of his dedication and respected his quest. Some of them called him, simply, “the brother.”
This is what the elder brother in the parable should have done; this is what a true elder brother would have done. He would have said, “Father, my younger brother has been a fool and now his life is in ruins. But I will go look for him and bring him home. And if the inheritance is gone – as I expect – I’ll bring home back into the family at my expense.”
Indeed, it is only at the elder brother’s expense that the younger brother can be brought back in. Because as Jesus said, the father had divided his property between them before the younger son had left. The younger brother had gotten his one-third portion and it was completely gone. Now, when the father says to the older brother, “My son, everything I have is yours,” he is telling the literal truth. Every penny that remained of the family estate belongs to the elder brother. Every robe, every ring, every fatted calf is his by right.
Forgiveness ALWAYS comes at a cost to the one granting the forgiveness. The younger brother’s restoration was free to him but it came at enormous cost to the elder brother. The father could not just forgive the younger brother. Somebody had to pay. The father could not reinstate him except at the expense of the elder brother. There was no other way. But Jesus does not put a true elder brother in the story, one who is willing to pay any cost to seek and save that which is lost. It is heartbreaking. The younger son gets a Pharisee for a brother instead.
But we do not!
By putting a flawed elder brother in the story, Jesus is inviting us to imagine and yearn for a true one.
And we have him. Think of the kind of brother we need. We need one who does not just go to the next country to find us but who will come all the way from heaven to earth. We need one who is willing to pay not just a finite amount of money but at the infinite cost of his own life to bring us into God’s family for our debt is so much greater. Either as elder brothers or younger brothers we have rebelled against the father. We deserve alienation, isolation, and rejection. The point of the parable is that forgiveness always involves a price – someone has to pay. There was no way for the younger brother to return to the family unless the older brother bore the cost himself. Our true elder brother paid our debt, on the cross, in our place.
There Jesus was stripped naked of His robe and dignity so that we could be clothed with a dignity and standing we don’t deserve. On the cross, Jesus was treated as an outcast so that we could be brought into God’s family freely by grace. There Jesus drank the cup of eternal justice so that we might have the cup of the Father’s joy. There is no other way for the Heavenly Father to bring us in, except at the expense of our true elder brother.
How can the inner workings of the heart be changed from a dynamic of fear and anger to that of love, joy and gratitude? Here is how. You need to be moved by the sight of what it costs to bring you home. The key difference between a Pharisee and a believer in Jesus is INNER-HEART MOTIVATION. Pharisees are being good but out of fear-fueled need to control God. They don’t really trust him or love him. To them God is an exacting boss, not a loving father. Christians have seen something that has transformed their hearts toward God so they can finally love and rest in the Father.
E.g. There is an acclaimed foreign film Three Seasons about the life in postwar Vietnam. The story is told of Hai, a cyclo driver and Lan, a beautiful prostitute. Both have deep, unfulfilled desires. Hai is in love with Lan but she is out of his price range. Lan lives in grinding poverty and longs to live in the beautiful world of the elegant hotel where she works but in which she never spends the night. She hopes that the money she makes by prostitution will be her means of escape but instead the work brutalizes and enslaves her. Then Hai enters a cyclo race and wins the top prize. With the money he brings Lan to the Hotel. He pays for the night and pays her fee. Then, to everyone’s shock, he tells her he just wants to watch her fall asleep. Instead of using the power of his wealth to have sex with her, he spends it to purchase a place for her for one night in the normal world, to fulfill her desire to belong. Lan finds such grace deeply troubling at first, thinking Hai has done this to control her. When it becomes apparent that he is using his power to serve rather than use her, it begins to transform her, making it impossible for her to return to a life of prostitution.
Jesus Christ, who had all the power in the world, saw us enslaved by the very things we thought would free us. So, he emptied himself of his glory and became a servant (Philippians 2). He laid aside the infinities and immensities of his being and at the cost of his life, paid the debt for our sins, purchasing us the only place our hearts can rest, in His Father’s house.
Knowing He did this will transform us from the inside out, as Hai’s selfless love did for Lan. Why wouldn’t you want to offer yourself to someone like this? Selfless love destroys the mistrust in our hearts toward God that makes us either younger brothers or elder brothers.
When we see the beauty of what Jesus has done for us, it attracts our hearts to him. We realize that the love, the greatness, the consolation, and the honor we have been seeking in other things are here. The beauty also eliminates our fear. If the Lord of the Universe loves us enough to experience this for us, what are we afraid of? TO THE DEGREE WE SEE HIS BEAUTY, WE WILL BE FREE FROM THE FEAR AND NEEDINESS THAT CREATES YOUNGER BROTHERS OR ELDER BROTHERS.
There is a poem by William Cowper:-
To see the Law by Christ fulfilled,
And hear his pardoning voice,
Changes a slave into a child
And duty into choice
We will never stop our elder-brother spirit until we acknowledge our need, rest by faith and gaze in wonder at the work of our true Elder Brother, Jesus Christ.
Why are we obeying God? Why are we serving Christ? Why are we praying? To get things from Him in your prayers or is it because we are amazed by his love for us? Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to burn away all our wrong inner motivations of fear, self-centeredness and control and replace it with a pure love towards God in our obedience and service. Let the Holy Spirit quicken the love of our True Elder Brother in our hearts so that we can stay amazed by His love. Love is still the greatest!
PREACHED AT ETAB 1ST ENG SERVICE ON 20 SEP 2015