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Mark Driscoll speaks on lessons from prodigal son

April 20, 2012 : By Bethany Pico/Liberty University News Service

In his first time speaking at Liberty University, Pastor Mark Driscoll preached on the parable of the prodigal son in Friday’s convocation.

Driscoll is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Wash., and is one of the world’s most quoted pastors. He was named one of the “25 Most Influential Pastors of the Past 25 Years” by “Preaching” magazine and his sermons are consistently No. 1 on iTunes each week for Religion & Spirituality, with millions of downloads each year. He is also the author of 15 books.

In convocation, Driscoll used Luke 15 as the main text to challenge students to check the attitude of their hearts.

“The key with the story is as you read it you have to find yourself in it,” Driscoll said. “There is the father who symbolizes God the Father. And there are two sons that share the stage with him. One is rebellious, one is religious. You and I are welcome to read the story and ask, ‘Which one am I?’”

Driscoll said the rebellious son is “dishonoring, disregarding and disobeying” to his father. He demonstrates his “heart of ingratitude” by acting selfishly by partying and squandering his inheritance. When he realizes he cannot survive on his own, he returns to his father’s house.

Despite the sin of the rebellious son, his father accepts him.

“If you’ve been in sin, been in rebellion, been in folly and you come back to the Father, He has no second-class children. He isn’t going to make you try harder, do better, earn favor. He is going to start with love, affection and grace,” Driscoll said.

While the religious son witnesses the love of his father, he suffers with the sin of covetousness, pride and self-righteousness because he is jealous of his father’s welcome to his brother.

Driscoll said the religious son struggled with internal sin despite giving the air of “a good moral devout kid” to the outside world. In actuality, both sons were in sin and needed the help of God’s “redeeming son,” Driscoll said.

“God wants you to use these years to hone in your understanding of the gospel, your love for the Bible, your heart for the nations,” Driscoll told students. “Ten thousand of you filled with the Holy Spirit, knowledgeable in the Father’s love, unleashed on the earth with the message that there is a big brother named Jesus who forgives sin, who forgives religion, who forgives rebellion, who provides humility, is a force to be unleashed.”

He closed by challenging students to make the most of their time while studying at Liberty.  

“Do not waste these years on rebellion. Do not waste these years on religion. Get to know Jesus, He loves you very much,” he said.

During Driscoll’s visit to Liberty, he and his wife, Grace, are hosting the Real Marriage conference in the Vines Center Friday and Saturday. The conference tour is based upon his latest book, “Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship & Life Together.”