Summary: You’re simply a person in want, and you’re turning to ‘things’ because you have not understood how good ‘Father’ is!!! “Stop solidifying your identity based upon what you do, or what you did; Start identifying with who you are in Jesus, and you’ll change what you do.” P.H
How the Father Sees.
(Download a good picture of Rembrandt’s portrayal of the younger son. Play on screens while I talk).
Author Henri Nouwen recalls his visit to a museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he spent hours reflecting on Rembrandt’s portrayal of the younger son—You might know as the prodigal son.
As the day wore on, changes in the natural lighting from a nearby window left Nouwen with the impression that he was seeing as many different paintings as there were changes of light. Each seemed to reveal something else about a father’s love for his broken son.
Nouwen describes how, at about four o’clock, three figures in the painting appeared to “step forward.”
One was the older son who resented his father’s willingness to roll out the red carpet for the homecoming of his younger brother. Secondly, the younger son who wasted his inheritance on prodigal living. This son squandered the family fortune, causing them pain and embarrassment in the process.
The other two figures, one of an adviser of the family, and the last—near the door on the back left, the mother.
Nouwen saw himself in all of them—in the wasted life of the father’s youngest son, in the condemning older brother, the sinners and the religious leaders. However, Nouwen also experienced the Father’s heart, He experienced the love of the Father that was big enough for anyone and everyone.
I’ll ask you this question now, and then at the end of the service: Can we see ourselves anywhere in Rembrandt’s painting?
Luke 15:1-7TLB Dishonest tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus’ sermons; 2 but this caused complaints from the Jewish religious leaders and the experts on Jewish law because he was associating with such despicable people—even eating with them! 3-4 So Jesus used this illustration: “If you had a hundred sheep and one of them strayed away and was lost in the wilderness, wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine others to go and search for the lost one until you found it? 5 And then you would joyfully carry it home on your shoulders. 6 When you arrived you would call together your friends and neighbors to rejoice with you because your lost sheep was found.
Verse 7 Jesus states, “Well, in the same way heaven will be happier over one lost sinner who returns to God than over ninety-nine others who haven’t strayed away!
“All that Father does is motivated by His everlasting love for us.’ ‘A love that is perpetual, unending, and eternal. He has drawn us with a loving-kindness that will never run out or dry up.” P.H
Hear the Father’s heart—Jeremiah 31:3AMP The Lord appeared to me (Israel) from ages past, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love;
When describing what everlasting love means, I believe that Jack Winter says it best... "There was never a time in all of eternity when we were not loved by God."
There is nothing we can do to make God love us anymore than He does right now.
Going forward, Luke 15:8-10, Jesus speaks again of a woman that had 10 valuable silver coins, but one coin was lost in the vicinity. Jesus states, “This lady will sweep the floors and look in every nook and cranny of her house, until she finds this valuable coin.”
And then Jesus states, “And when she finds it, she rejoices over the one coin!”
Verse 10… in the same way Jesus say’s, “There will be more joy over one lost sinner that repents!”
“What do I hear Jesus say throughout chapter 15?” P.H
Jesus stresses’ how much love His Father has for every individual—lost and found! By the way, the Bible never calls the younger son—the prodigal son—That’s what he did, not who he was!
This gets the reader of Luke 15, ready for—verses 11-32, In these verses, we see a non-fictional story about a father with two sons.
Contained within Luke 15:11-32, these 21 verses of scripture are awesome truths that show us what can happen to anyone who rejects fellowship with the Father.
Luke 15:11b-13TLB “A man had two sons. 12 When the younger told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now, instead of waiting until you die!’ his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and took a trip to a distant land, and there wasted all his money on parties and prostitutes.
For decades we’ve majored on “the prodigal.”
Commentaries call the younger son— The prodigal son, preachers call him— The prodigal son, but the Bible, nor the sons Father ever calls him—the prodigal son.
Again, remember this, prodigal living is what the younger son practiced, it wasn’t who he was!
Please hear this, “God sees who you really are, and not what you do.”