Summary: Our true nature is defined by whose we are. Jesus seeks to restore us to the Father‟s love.

Summary – Our true nature is defined by whose we are. Jesus seeks to restore us to the Father‟s love. Return to Prodigal Son but with focus on the blessing the Father brings itself… and how that reflects what Jesus bears in himself… and imparts to all who receive his life as central identity. Jesus is the means to being restored in the life-giving blessing.

Intro –

Continue in series focused on what it means to live in the blessing… referring to living in relationship to God‟s blessing. We‟re going to engage again the story Jesus tells about the Prodigal Son. But let me begin by noting…

One of the great questions that many take up is whether we should deem ourselves as human beings to be inherently good… or inherently bad (depraved.) I think it‟s an interesting question… and not a simple one to answer… as there is the sense of something great in us… and something shameful and self-absorbed.

It reflects the dilemma that runs through every life… as we live between an ideal self and a real self… and between the denial and despair that each reflect.

When God looks at us… he sees the more defining issue. After God declared that human life… to be that which uniquely bears His own image… to be VERY GOOD… the Scriptures describe how we sought life apart from Him… and the first question is not about whether we now are inherently simply good or bad…God raises a more fundamental question: Where are you? In other words, where are you in relationship to me? He is speaking into the fundamental issue that defined what was now at hand for every human life…our nature as those bound as children to the source of all has sought to find itself in it‟s own self-existence… where true worth was lost to a false pride… and love was lost to fear… and we began to exist in exile from the only source of true life and love.

We have been trying to find ourselves in what we do… but who we really are is not defined by what we do… but WHOSE WE ARE. It is IDENTITY that that defines who we really are.

Sociologists have noted that we become what the most important person in our life thinks we are.

God knows that the deepest issue that we face is that of having turned away and given ourselves over to false sources of defining us… idols… including ourselves.

It is not that we simply don‟t do what we should… but that we don‟t know who we are. We are not living in relationship to who we really are.

This is what Jesus described in the story that he said tells about what he is doing.

Luke 15:11-19 (NIV) 11 Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. 13 "Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17 "When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of

my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.'

As noted… the whole story is about a Father… because that is precisely what Jesus was coming to restore. He as the Son was living out of a perfect relationship to God the Father… and that is the relationship he came to restore.

J.I. Packer is 84 years old. He is a prolific author, powerful theologian, beloved professor and godly man. So, when a man like this draws our attention to that which he believes is most important for us to know, we should listen and think carefully about it!

“You sum up the whole of New Testament teaching in a single phrase, if you speak of it as a revelation of the Fatherhood of the holy Creator. If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God‟s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means he does not understand Christianity very well at all.” - J.I. Packer

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