Summary: No matter what we’ve done, our heavenly Father will always take us back.
A Son Only a Father Could Love
Text: Lk. 15:11-32
1. Read Lk. 15:11-19
2. Illustration: Once a mother allowed her children to get a hamster with the understanding that they take care of it. So they got a hamter and named his Danny. However, after a while it was the mother who was caring for the hamster. So she decided it was time for the hamster to go. She made a few phone calls and found a new home for the hamster. When the children came home, she broke the news to them and they took the news remarkably well. One of them said, "He’s been around so long, I am really going to miss him." Another one said, "Maybe if we feed him less he wouldn’t make as big a mess." But mom said the hamster had to go. She told the children to go get Danny’s cage. Then they all cried out, "Danny? We thought you said Daddy!"
3. Today is Father’s Day, and what a more appropriate story about a Father’s love then the story of the Prodigal Son.
4. As Father’s we are blessed to have such a tremendous example to follow - that of our heavenly Father.
Proposition: No matter what we’ve done, our heavenly Father will always take us back.
Transition: The first thing that we learn from this story is...
I. A Godly Father Loves His Son No Matter What (11-19)
A. Prodigal Living
1. The story begins with a young man who wanted to break away from the nest.
a. Like thousands before and after, he had his "reasons" and was not shy about expressing them.
b. He wanted to be his own man — his own boss.—Preaching the Word
2. So he went to his father and asked for his portion of his father’s wealth.
a. The "share of the estate" (v. 12) that a younger son would receive on the death of the father would be one-third, because the older (or oldest) son received two-thirds, a "double portion"— Expositor’s Bible Commentary, The, Pradis CD-ROM
b. This is a foolish thing for the son to ask because when it was gone so was his inheritance.
c. This was also unwise of the father because if his son squandered it, which he did, he could never get it back.
3. However, in spite of all of this the father gives his son the money and the son immediately leaves.
a. As you might imagine, this father was probably furious at his son’s foolishness.
b. You might also imagine that this father was heart broken to see his son, whom he loved, walk out the door.
c. But this father never stopped loving his son inspite of his actions.
4. When the son left, he went to a far country and "wasted his substance with riotous living."
a. The word "wasted" in Greek means "to spend foolishly and to no purpose." —Louw & Nida: NT Greek-English Lexicon
b. He chose a country that was drastically different from his father’s, a country that was full of carousing and drunkenness, partying and immorality, selfishness and greed, sin and shame, death and hell.
5. However, we must realize that he threw away more than his father’s money.
a. He threw away his father’s values.
b. He threw away his father’s name.
c. He threw away his father’s love.
6. Although this is not actually a part of the text, if you read between the lines, you can see in the back of your mind that the whole time this is going on, the father is back home:
a. Praying for his son’s safety.
b. Praying that his son would see the error of his ways.
c. Praying that his son would just come home.
B. Feed the Swine
1. Once the son had run out of money, their came a famine in the land and "he began to be in want."
a. The money ran out.
b. The parties ran out.
c. The so-called "friends" ran out.
d. He had nothing left.
2. So he went to one of the local farmers and got a job feeding his pigs.
a. This shows the depths to which this young man had sunk.
b. Remember that in Judaism a pig is an "unclean" animal (Bock, NIV Application Commentary, 413).
c. Illustration: Once when I was in Bible College, I was doing some fill-in preaching for the school. The directions to the church read "when you get to the pig farm, turn right." So I asked a simple question, "How will I know when I’ve made it to the pig farm?" The secretary simply said "You’ll know!"
3. His situation became so desperate that he even considered eating what the pigs were eating. They don’t call it "pig slop" for nothing!