Summary: Father’s Day Sermon. The parable of the Prodigal Son gives us insight to the kind of relationship the father had with his sons that every Dad should aspire to cultivate with their children.
A FATHER’S RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS SONS
A. Jesus introduced God as a Father of love, compassion, forgiveness; a Father we can approach with our FEARS, PROBLEMS, SINS, and STRUGGLES, and He will always be there to HELP us.
The concern of most fathers is, “How do I as a father present God as our Heavenly Father to my children?” As fathers, we want to BE and DO the BEST for our children, but we don’t always.
B. As we look around, it isn’t difficult to see many fathers who often FAIL (four extreme examples stand out).
1. Irresponsible Dads.
This kind of Dad keeps his own AGENDA. He doesn’t want to be TIED down to too many commitments. Irritating things like going to SCHOOL FUNCTIONS, DISCIPLINE, KEEPING PROMISES are seen as a BOTHER and a HINDRANCE to his own personal HAPPINESS.
2. Negative Dads.
These Dads are often OPINIONATED and DOGMATIC. They think they are always RIGHT and do not like to be CHALLENGED. They frown more than they smile, and their speech is characterized by DISTRUST, REBUKE, and CONDEMNATION. Very little AFFIRMATION and AFFECTION are shown. RULES, ROUTINES, and RIGID order are the marks of their LIVES and HOMES.
3. Distant Dads.
This type is becoming more COMMON in our time. These Dads are usually on the go: to WORK, CIVIC CLUBS, SCHOOL MEETINGS, CHURCH ACTIVITIES, and a dozen other places. When he is home his thoughts are somewhere else. These PREOCCUPIED Dads are frequently BRIGHT and in GREAT DEMAND, but an invisible and often impregnable wall separates then from the families who
so much want to BREAK through and spend some time together.
4. “Super” Dads.
You know these are “Super Dads” because they tell you. These fathers advertise themselves with bumper stickers and license plates. They portray themselves as having all the bases covered. They have planned LIFE for themselves and everyone in their families. However, these Dads haven’t learned how to be FLEXIBLE. When something unexpected happens that throws off their routine, they become FRUSTRATED and DISAPPOINTED easily.
B. God doesn’t ask us to be SUPER DADS, just to be AVAILABLE, APPROACHABLE, and REAL before our KIDS.
Will we MESS UP? You better believe it—many times. I think back over some of the MISTAKES I’ve made as a FATHER and it just BREAKS my HEART. And BELIEVE me, the MISTAKES still come from time to time. I still SAY and DO things that I shouldn’t, but I’m not
AFRAID or too PROUD to tell my KIDS “I’m sorry”.
Although I am not a PERFECT Dad, one thing my children and grandchildren know without a DOUBT is that I LOVE them DEEPLY.
In Luke 15:11-32, Jesus presents us with a unique portrait of God as our Father. We call this the “Parable of the Prodigal Son.” The emphasis of this story is not on the younger son, but on the LOVING Father. Jesus wants His hearers, the self-righteous Pharisees and Scribes, to see God from a perspective on which they have not been focusing. They looked at God as merely a God of JUDGMENT and WRATH, but Jesus wanted them to see God as a Father who is PATIENT and FORGIVING. I want to focus on the Father’s relationship with his two sons.
I. THE FATHER’S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE YOUNGER SON
A. The Father had CULTIVATED an HONEST and OPEN environment.
1. The YOUNGER son was able to approach his Father with a difficult and demanding request: “Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me”- v. 12a.
a. If this Father had been a “hard nosed,” domineering, unloving man, there would be no way that his son would be able to approach him with such a REQUEST.
Now, some fathers will probably tell you that’s the way it should be. These fathers feel that they must have absolute control. They look at their ROLE as a father as being more like a PRISON WARDEN in charge of hardened CRIMINALS, than one who has been entrusted by God with fragile human beings to be gently molded into the likeness of Christ.
b. I know that we Fathers mean well, but sometimes we make it so DIFFICULT for our CHILDREN to APPROACH us with almost anything for FEAR that we will OVERREACT.
2. One of the hardest things PARENTS have to deal with is giving their children FREEDOM.
It hurts to LOVE a child because you know there are CHOICES that he or she is going to make that will not be in his or her best interest. But part of the MATURING process is having to suffer the consequences from bad decisions and choices, as difficult as that might be for both the child and the parents.