Summary: Note: This sermon is inspired and provided by "City On A Hill" which owns the rights to the movie, "I Can Only Imagine". Much of the sermon structure is theirs, and it's been edited toward my personal preaching style as well as the personal illustrations
As Christian’s, forgiveness is a topic that we often talk about, but struggle living out.
Jesus knew that forgiveness was not easy.
-He lived his adult life in a place where a lake was the dividing line between two people groups who deeply hated each other.
- Jesus lived as a subject of the Roman Empire, who were deeply hated by the nations they conquered
-He grew up in a family where some of his family members didn’t believe who he said he was.
-He was treated harshly by people who didn’t really know him.
-He was killed by the very people he came to save.
JESUS KNEW THAT FORGIVENESS WAS NOT EASY, BUT JESUS ALSO KNEW THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS.
Today, we are going to take a look at Luke 15, which is known as the Parable of the Prodigal son.
Within the bible, parables are earthly stories with deep spiritual and heavenly meaning. Jesus often taught in parables to help explain God’s heart and priorities.
This story in particular was about a son who desperately needed the power of forgiveness in his life.
Prayer- that God shows us where we have unforgiveness in our lives
In Luke 15:11 Jesus begins this story:
“A MAN HAD TWO SONS. THE YOUNGER SON TOLD HIS FATHER, ‘I WANT MY SHARE OF YOUR ESTATE NOW BEFORE YOU DIE.’ SO HIS FATHER AGREED TO DIVIDE HIS WEALTH BETWEEN HIS SONS.”
The story opens up with the younger son requesting his inheritance before his father has died. The father agrees and divides his property between the older son and the younger son.
Think about what this meant in those times-
Wealth was generally found in land ownership.
This essentially meant the land the father owned was likely split down the middle so that the younger son could sell off his property to someone else and take the cash.
Today that would be like one of your children coming up and saying, “Dad, sell your house, your cars, your boat, the camper or anything you own of value and give me half.”
What the son is really saying here is “I need you to die so I have what I need to be happy.”
We learn a few things about the son from this verse about the effects of sin on the heart
1. Sins blinds you to everything else.
2. Then it makes you incredibly selfish. You become the object of your own worship.
When that happens, you don’t want dependence on anyone or anything.
I grew up in some very broken circumstances. When I was 16 it all culminated in me leaving home. For 2 years I lived with various friends crashing on couches and living from one party to another.
I remember when I was walking away for my home and feeling this sense of being finally free from rules, finally free from hypocrisy, finally free from the abuse. I remember how much my heart soared with a sense of freedom and independence and how good I felt.
Fast forward to Thanksgiving. I'm walking around the city of Kenosha with nowhere to go. Every house I walked past I see multiple cars parked in front of the homes, I hear the celebrations of families together, I smell the food that is being served.
I remember how my heart ached for that sense of belonging to a family instead of being essentially homeless.
I see myself in this story and know exactly where this son is heading.
At some point in our lives, we have all been the son, haven’t we?
We have all struggled at one time or another with selfishness and wanting to do things our own way. And because we have all been there, there is no one in this room who does not need forgiveness.
We also learn something about the Father from this verse:
THE FATHER ALLOWS HIM TO GO.
Rather than retaliating against his son’s bad behavior, he allows him to go.
It is both a gift and a burden from God- that we have free will to choose our way, but if we choose our way instead of God’s way, we have to accept the responsibility for it, as the son will soon find out.
“A FEW DAYS LATER THIS YOUNGER SON PACKED ALL HIS BELONGINGS AND MOVED TO A DISTANT LAND, AND THERE HE WASTED ALL HIS MONEY IN WILD LIVING.
ABOUT THE TIME HIS MONEY RAN OUT, A GREAT FAMINE SWEPT OVER THE LAND, AND HE BEGAN TO STARVE.”
Some of you in this room, or those listening by podcast have made your home in a distant land. You chose to run as far away from the truth as you can. Therefore, today you are living far away and have made your home outside of God’s will.