Summary: This parable teaches us to seek a close relationship with our children. We need train our children by instruction and example in the way they should go.
A Model Father
Text: Luke 15:11-24
ILL: It’s the third Sunday in June, and I’d like to say happy Father’s Day to all the dads here today. Father’s day owes its existence primarily to the persistence of one Sonora Smart Dodd. Sonora got the idea for Father’s day in 1909 while listening to a Mother’s day sermon. Sonora had been raised by her father after her mother’s death, and she wanted her father to know how special he was to her. Largely through her efforts President Coolidge designated the 3rd Sunday of June as “Father’s Day.” and the very first national celebration of this day was on June 19, 1924 (But not finalized until 1972.)
And so today we recognize the fathers and in our lesson we are going to look at the example of one Father in particular, A Model Father. We will find this man in Luke chapter 15.
The theologian William Barclay says of this parable, “For centuries the third parable has been called ‘The Parable of the Prodigal Son.’ It would be far better if we were to call it ‘The Parable of the Loving Father’ for it is the father and not the son who is the hero of the story.”
A. Prodigal: Webster definition:
1. Recklessly extravagant
2. Characterized by wasteful expenditure
B. Two Sons
1. Not one good, one bad. Both had problems.
C. The father.
1. Today we focus on the father.
I.He was a Trustworthy father
A.The father was approachable.
1.In his play The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare said, “It is a wise father that knows his son.” A father must also ensure their children know the father as well.
2.Knowing a child and being known by a child requires a trusting relationship between a father and a child.
3.It requires effort on the part of the Father to establish that trust.
a.It requires consistency in our character.
b.It requires that we listen when our children come to us, whatever the reason.
c.Ephesians 6:4a “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger…”
d.The NIV translation says do not exasperate your children. Don’t wear them out. Don’t nag them. Don’t make them hostile. Treat them fairly but that doesn’t mean you don’t discipline them. Just be consistent and fair. Be reasonable. The passage means do not unnecessarily make them angry.
4.We need to build that trust in the child so that they will approach us with whatever is on their minds.
B.The younger son brought a difficult request to the father
1.He wanted to do things he’d never done. See things he’d never seen. He wanted to go to a far country.
2.He could have contrived to gain his inheritance without talking to his father.
3.He could have had intercession by a third party.
a.It may seem strange that such a demand should be made, and that the parent would accede but it was built into the laws of some of the nations in the Middle East.
b.“It appears indeed that the spirit of this law was to provide for the child in case of ill treatment by the father: yet the demand must first be acceded to, before the matter could be legally inquired into; and then, “if it was found that the father was irreproachable in his character, and had given no just cause for the son to separate from him, in that case, the civil magistrate fined the son in two hundred puns of cowries.” See Code of Gentoo laws, pr. disc. p. 56; see also do. chap. 2: sec. 9, p. 81, 82; xxi. sec. 10, p. 301.” (Source: Adam Clarke’s Commentary On The New Testament)
4.He went to his father and asked for his inheritance. And I believe we can see a reason why the father gave the son his request.
[The father knew he had provided the son with a spiritual foundation…]
II.He provided a spiritual foundation
A.The rest of Ephesians 6:4b “…but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
1.What kind of instruction? That would be moral and spiritual instruction.
2.A better way to say this is to teach them absolute truth; right from wrong; good and evil; morality & Immorality; Heaven and hell.
B.The Priest Of The Family
1.Isaiah 38:19b “…A father tells his sons about Your faithfulness.”
2.I feel confident this father passed his knowledge and experiences on to the son.
C.The young son eventually realized his sin.
3.Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
4.The responsibility for raising a child rests with the parents, not a school, not a city, not a government.
5.No guarantee, we all have the freedom to choose our way.
6.If your children follow God, thank the Lord; if not, pray for them and be an encouragement to them. Show them the path to follow.