Summary: This story is often referred to as the story of the prodigal son, but I would like to introduce it to you as the story of the prodigal father, that reveals to us the extravagant love of God.
INTRO TO TOPIC:
A certain medieval monk announced he would be preaching next Sunday evening on "The Love of God." As the shadows fell and the light ceased to come in through the cathedral windows, the congregation gathered. In the darkness of the altar, the monk lighted a candle and carried it to the crucifix. First of all, he illumined the crown of thorns, next, the two wounded hands, then the marks of the spear wound. In the hush that fell, he blew out the candle and left the chapel. There was nothing else to say.
“I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. And here is how to measure it – the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends.” (John 13:34-35).
THE EXTRAVAGANT LOVE OF GOD:
“1 Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, "This Man receives sinners and eats with them." 3 So He spoke this parable to them, saying...
BIG IDEA: This story is often referred to as the story of the prodigal son, but I would like to introduce it to you as the story of the prodigal father, that reveals to us the extravagant love of God.
Prodigal - Rashly or wastefully extravagant: Giving in abundance; lavish; unsparing generosity
11 Then He said: "A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ’Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’
• Notice the approachability of the Father! He was extravagant and generous.
So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, (he was far away from God) and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living... //Skip down to verse...//
17 But when he came to his senses, he said, ’How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
• Sometimes the Lord will let us come to the end of our ropes because then and only then will we come to our senses!
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants." 20 And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him* and kissed him.
21 And the son said to him, ’Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ’Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
• A picture of the extravagant love of God the Father:
• If another family came, they would kill a chicken, if they had many guests, a goat or a lamb. But to kill the fatted calf? That was done only if the whole village was invited!
25 Now his older son was in the field (serving faithfully). And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ’Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’ 28 But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him.
• Notice the father ran to the other son, just as he had to the wild and rebellious son!
29 So he answered and said to his father, ’Lo, these many years I have been serving you…
• Notice he had a servant mentality - not that of a son!
I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’ 31 And he said to him, ’Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.”