Summary: This is a sermon on the celebration of the churches 30 Year Anniversary, but can used anytime.
A Homecoming to Remember
Today we celebrate our 30-year anniversary. Now this is a time when we reflect on the history of this church and we think about those who have stayed and made this church what it is today and we think about those who have went on to serve the Lord elsewhere.
Anniversaries are special. Reminds me of a husband and wife who were getting ready to celebrate their 30th anniversary. The couple decided as a gift they would purchase a new vehicle. He wanted a new truck. She wanted a fast sports car. The discussion was getting very heated when finally the wife stated, "Look, I want something that goes from 0 to 180 in four seconds or less, and that’s all there is to it!
When her big day came, the wife went out to the garage, but there was no new car. Angry, she went back into the house looking for her husband, but he was not at home. Frustrated and upset, she went into the bathroom to get dressed, and there, sitting on the floor and wrapped in a big red ribbon, was her birthday present - something that would go from 0 to 180 in four seconds or less - a brand new scale.
Needless to say this was not a happy anniversary; and Heritage has had its peaks and its valley’s as well. You hear of people refer to event like today as reunion’s, like when you have your class reunions and you get together with friends and classmates of the past and you reacquaint yourself. Some people refer to today’s event as a homecoming. You have these with family reunions and church events such as today.
But this morning we are going to look at another homecoming and the three main characters in this homecoming to remember.
First of all we have…
There are some very unique things we read here in our text. The first thing that I noticed was…
a. The release (Vs.11-13)
During these times the younger son would have most likely would receive about half of what the older son would receive, or a third of his father’s estate. The early Jews warned fathers about breaking up an estate too early. But here the father granted the request. No doubt this broke his father’s heart, but the father knew that the son had to make his own decisions. He did not have to finance his son’s departure, but he did out of his love for him. This illustrates how God permits each person to go his or her own way.
We much like this son often go out on our own with our own plans and intentions. God, who gave us our own free will, knows that when we are on the wrong path and tries to discourage us from doing so, yet Jesus is a gentleman. He has the power to make us do what ever He pleases; yet He never forces us to accept His views or opinions.
Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and dine with him, and he with Me.
He stands, He knocks. He does not beat the door down, he knocks. He waits for us to open the door. He doesn’t force His way in. We have to open the door and invite Him in. And once we allow Him in, then we develop a relationship with Him.
Then I noticed…
b. The forgiveness (Vs.20-24)
Now the father did not have to have compassion on the son. He could have came home to an “I told you so” dad. The dad had ever right to tell the son, “You made your bed, lie in it. Go back to your pig pin”.
But our text said that while the son was still a great way off, his father saw him…and had compassion on him, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.
Then he said bring out the best robe and put on him. Maybe he got a good whiff of his pigpen cloths.
He said place a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet. And then the father says to bring out a fatted calf; we are going to have a party in honor of my returned son.
This reminds me of our Heavenly Father. Now many scholars have different views of what this represents, but I’ll share with you mine.
This son represents a Christian, Someone who has a relationship with Jesus Christ. When we as Christians decide to go out on our own without any consideration for our Heavenly Fathers will, even though it disappoints Him, even though it breaks His heart, He allows it.