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.



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)


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


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

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