Summary: The prodigal son needed change! And as we look at his story, we can see how to help our children find the changes they need.

Part 3: Helping Your Children Change

(Series: Heavenly Help for Your Family)

Luke 15:11-24

Sermon by Rick Crandall

McClendon Baptist Church - June 25, 2006

*Change is hard! Mark Twain once said, “The only person who likes change is a wet baby.” (1) And that’s about right.

*Nobody likes change, but life is all about change, and everybody needs change. If you think you don’t, then you probably need it more than anybody else here.

*Today our focus is on changes for our children. And if there ever was someone who needed change, it was this prodigal son. Here was a child who broke his father’s heart. Down in vs. 12, the son said, “Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.”

*He was asking for his inheritance ahead of time. So it’s as if he was saying, “Dad, I’d just as soon you go ahead and die. But since you won’t, how about giving me the money that’s coming to me anyway.”

*That young man needed change! And as we look at his story, we can see how to help our children find the changes they need.

1. First, make a maximum effort.

*The dad in this parable made a maximum effort with both of his sons. We see the same thing in the first two parables the Lord told in Luke 15. In vs. 4, the Lord said, “What man of you, having a 100 sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the 99 in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?”

*Then there was the woman in vs. 8. Jesus said, “What woman, having 10 silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and seek diligently until she finds it?” The Lord was stressing a maximum effort, because He made the maximum effort to seek and save us. Jesus even died on the Cross for our sins.

*And when it comes to our children, God wants us to make a maximum effort too, because our children are a precious gift from the Lord. This is why in Matthew 18:5-6, Jesus said, “Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

*The dad in this story never lost sight of the value of his children, and we need to remember how precious our children are. That will help us to make a maximum effort.

*Last Saturday, I was walking in our neighborhood, and I passed a house where a little girl about 3-years-old accidentally got Mom or older sister wet with the hose. The adult screamed her name and then screamed, “What’s the matter with you?”

-I promise you that the scream did a whole lot more damage than the water.

*Pastor John Ortberg once gave us this wake up call: “I look in on my children as they sleep at night, [and] I think of the kind of father I want to be. I want to create moments of magic, I want them to remember laughing until the tears flow . . . I want to have slow, sweet talks with them as they’re getting ready to close their eyes. I want to chase fireflies with them, teach them to play tennis, have food fights, and hold them and pray for them in a way that makes them feel cherished.”

“I look in on them,” John continues, “and I remember how the day really went. I remember how they were trapped in a fight over [a game] and I walked out of the room because I didn’t want to spend the energy needed to teach them how to resolve conflict. I remember how my daughter spilled cherry punch at dinner and I yelled at her as if she’d revealed some deep character flaw; I yelled at her even though I spill things all the time and no one yells at me; I yelled at her -- to tell the truth -- because I’m big and she’s little and I can get away with it. I remember how at nights I didn’t have slow, sweet talks, but merely rushed the children off to bed so I could have more time to myself.” (2)

*Most of us have been there, haven’t we? But God wants us to make a maximum effort for our kids.

2. That’s one way to help our children be all God wants them to be. But also strive to help them see the right road in life.

*If only the prodigal son could have seen where he was headed in vs. 13-16. Listen to these verses again from the New Living Translation:

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