Summary: Practical instructions for parents of children who are choosing the world over Christ. This a look at lessons learned from father of the prodigal son.
PARENTING THE PRODIGAL
A. One of the greatest challenges placed before anyone is the challenge of raising children
so that they will become faithful Christians themselves!
1. It is a sobering and even scary task before a parent – They are molding hearts and
shaping lives… The consequences don’t just last 80 but for an eternity!
2. A parent’s task is to bring them up in the nurture & admonition of the Lord (Eph 6:4)
3. As a rule if you raise a child right they will do right (Prov 22:6); however, this is a proverb
which means it’s generally true – What do you do when children become unfaithful?
B. This evening I want us to examine the parable of the prodigal son from an angle we
typically don’t approach it with: Lessons we can learn about parenting the prodigal
1. Certainly the ideal is for every Christian to raise children that become faithful Christians,
but the reality is that in many cases children grow up and turn out to be unfaithful:
a. This is a painful experience many of you know too personally – It breaks your heart
when your children, despite all your effort, insist on rebelling against God
b. You wrestle often with fears concerning their eternity and grasp for things to do and
words to speak that would spark change, but often answers seem impossible
2. While we understand the parable of the prodigal son was not initially intended to teach
lessons about parenting, there are great lessons to be gleaned! (Luke 15:11-32)
I. UNDERSTANDING THE PARABLE OF THE PRODIGAL SON TEACHES:
A. The Parable Of The Prodigal Son Is Directly A Lesson In Forgiveness:
1. Notice first of all the background to this parable – (Luke 15:1-3)
a. As was often the case Jesus is surrounded by those whom the Pharisees and
Scribes rejected… SINNERS! These people KNEW they weren’t righteous
unlike the Pharisees and scribes who assumed they were but really weren’t!
b. They couldn’t understand why a teacher of God’s law would allow Himself to be
surrounded by such scum! Jesus answer is simple: They need salvation!
c. Jesus then begins to preach a powerful sermon on forgiveness… He does so by
telling three convincing parables: The lost sheep, the lost coin, & the lost son
2. In the Parable of the Prodigal Son Jesus teaches about the power of God’s love and
forgiveness to us and our reception of those who are being forgiven:
a. The father is representative of God – God is the Father of all and it is God whom
we reject when we choose to leave His house & waller in the mire of sin!
b. The prodigal son is the tax collectors & sinners – They’d been spending their lives
in wasteful living but were choosing to return home – A picture of each of us!
c. The older brother is the scribes & Pharisees – They were angry at the reception of
the prodigal son and were self-righteous about it… Did this son truly NEVER
transgress his father’s commandment? – Can show our attitude toward others
3. Consider some of the powerful lessons we learn from this parable:
a. God’s love and forgiveness – Even though we may pull away from him and insist
on living a life of sin He is still longsuffering & waiting eagerly for us to return
b. Ourselves in relation to sin – When we pull away from God & insist on living in sin
we have to hit bottom, realize our sinfulness & state, come to our senses and repent, and return back to God with a willing heart to serve Him again
c. Our need to forgiveness – When one returns to God we should treat them with the
love & patience God shows! Remembering our need for forgiveness too!
B. Jesus’ point is to teach us about being forgiven and forgiving others – but as we have
already observed, we can learn lessons here about parenting the prodigal:
1. We can learn these lessons because the father is a representation of God, our Father in
Heaven, who deals with His children in perfect ways! (Heb 12:5-7; Matthew 7:9-11)
2. Let’s consider the relationship between the father & his prodigal son & the way the father
treated his son so that one day his son would come to his senses and return
II. LESSONS FROM THE FATHER ABOUT PARENTING THE PRODIGAL:
A. Sometimes children insist on rejecting God even though you honestly try to prevent that!
1. The prodigal son insisted on leaving home despite a strong foundation (Luke 15:11-13)
a. We are told nothing of the prodigal son’s upbringing; but we can safely assume
from the great way his father handled this situation he raised him very well