In Luke 15, Jesus describes three different parties. These parties were the results of finding a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. In each case, there was great rejoicing. Jesus taught these parables to help us understand how much rejoicing there is in Heaven over each sinner who repents. If there is any way to increase the joy in Heaven, this is it. It is why Jesus came to earth. It is why the Bible was written.

In the parables, the rejoicing takes place before the party. The point of the party was to include others in the rejoicing. Like with all true, wonderful things, the world creates its own versions, copies that are distortions of the real thing. The world has parties, but instead of being a result of rejoicing, they try to be a cause for rejoicing, like the parties the prodigal son threw in the far country. The real rejoicing took place when he came home.

The worldly man does not have joy in living, so he seeks a vicarious joy. Entertainment, music, sports, movies, plays, novels, and pornography can all become substitutes for the real joy. He becomes addicted to them as he returns to them again and again trying to build up his joy.

*Excerpted from Being Christian. To purchase, visit