Summary: The love of God refelcted in teh Prodigal Son Parable.

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“A Fathers Love”

June 17, 2007

Me: My father turned 80 this week. Whenever he introduces us, no matter how old we are he says, “This is my boy.” He gets so excited whenever we go and visit. That’s the way parents are.

John and Charles Wesley’s mother was asked which child she loved the most. She replied, “Whichever one is away.”

We: Have you ever had the feeling that you were too far away from God to return? Have you ever felt like you had messed up so much you could never return?

God: Jesus answered that thought with a famous story.

Before we get into that story I want to give you a little context.

“Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. 2 This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!” Luke 15:1-2 (NLT)

Jesus was focused on one thing: life change.

Jesus entire life was consumed with reaching the unreachable.

“For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.” Luke 19:10 (The Message)

The story we want to look at today is in relationship to two other stories about things of value being lost and found again.

“To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. 13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.” Luke 15:11-16

Son leaves, Squanders all of his money, parties hard, gets work tending to sheep which are unclean animals, and desires to eat the pods being given to the pigs.

When we follow our own plans and desires, we usually find ourselves empty.

“When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’ Luke 15:17-19

The first step in returning is to realize we are at the end of ourselves.

When we think God is going to reject us, we limit his grace.

Even in our most selfish state, God’s attitude toward us is always love.

“Church history is the story of God’s incredible patience with his wayward people.” John Stott

“Have mercy on Me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins.” Psalm 51:1 (NLT)

“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’ 22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.” Luke 15:20-24

God celebrates the return of his children.

“Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’ 28 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’ 31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’” Luke 15:25-31

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