Summary: A Father's Day sermon that looks at the attributes of the father of the prodigal son and how they apply to our heavenly Father.
Father of the Prodigal
While Mother’s Day is one of the largest attendance days in churches, Father’s Day, unfortunately, is one of the least attended. And to me this is sad, because while mothers should and need to be honored, because they put up with so much with such grace, Father’s Day messages are usually about how we as fathers need to do a better job.
And yes we do! But what I want to look at with you on this Father’s Day is our heavenly Father, and our honor of Him, which honestly needs to be every day of the week, and especially every time with gather together in church.
I love what the Bible says about our heavenly Father. Take a look.
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1 NKJV)
The type of love that God the Father bestows upon us is unconditional. That is the meaning of the word used here by the Apostle John in the Greek language. God in His unconditional love has made us children of His.
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NKJV)
Here we are told that while Jesus comforts our hearts, and establishes every good work and word, it is our heavenly Father who loves and consoles us, giving us hope through His grace.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will.” (Matthew 10:29 NKJV)
There is absolutely nothing that is hidden from our heavenly Father, and He knows everything that is going on in our lives, even down to the number of hairs that are still left on our heads, which is the very next thing that Jesus says (Matthew 10:30). Nothing escapes His notice, and there isn’t anything we’re going through that He doesn’t care about.
“Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:36 NKJV)
Jesus is telling us that we are to be merciful to those who have wronged us. In other words, were not to bring judgment upon others by remembering that our Father in heaven is merciful, that is, not giving us what we deserve, which is judgment and death.
“Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.” (Galatians 1:3-4 NKJV)
Here is Paul’s blessing upon the church in Galatia, and how grace and peace come from both God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. And then how it was by the will of our heavenly Father that Jesus, His Son, should die for our sins.
Honestly, how does it get any better than that?
In fact, if we were to take all that the Scriptures have to say about our heavenly Father, what we would learn is that
• He is concerned for and about us, interested in every intimate detail of our lives.
• He never gives up on us, and stands with us in both the good and bad times that happen in our lives.
• He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us even though we don’t deserve it.
• He is always available to us, and doesn’t condemn any one of us.
• He gives us hope, and heals us spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
Today, in honor of Father’s Day, I’d like to take some time and look at the father of the prodigal son and the attributes that he exhibits, and what they can teach us about our gracious Heavenly Father.
The story is found in Luke 15:11-32, and we’ll visit the story as we proceed through these various attributes.
The first attribute is the giving nature of our heavenly Father.
“A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood.” (Luke 15:11-12 NKJV)
Now, consider the hurt and the pain this must have caused the father. He knew that his youngest son wanted to leave home, perhaps forever. It surely would have broken his heart, because he knew, just as all parents know and fear, and that is, the pain and sorrow our children will likely experience in a world that wants to gobble them up for lunch.
But still he did as the son requested. The father knew that he didn’t have to do it, and that he could have even forced him to stay, but he also knew that he couldn’t force nor compel his son’s love. Love has to be desired and freely given. And so with a broken heart, the father gave to his son his inheritance.