Summary: The love that our heavenly Father has for us is recklessly extravagant, and is able to fill the Father hunger within us.
THE PRODIGAL FATHER
[Read Luke 15:11-24]
-Maybe you’ve heard another version of this story of the Prodigal Son:
The Prodigal Son in "F"
Feeling footloose and frisky, a featherbrained fellow forced his fond father to fork over the farthings, and flew far to foreign fields and frittered his fortune; feasting fabulously with faithless friends. Fleeced by his fellows in folly, and facing famine, he found himself in a filthy farmyard. Fairly famishing he fain would have filled his frame with foraged food from fodder fragments.
"Phooey, my father’s flunkies fare far finer." The frazzled fugitive frankly faced facts, frustrated by failure and filled with foreboding, fled forthwith to his family. Falling at his father’s feet, he forlornly fumbled, "Father, I’ve flunked. I’ve fruitlessly forfeited family favor."
The farsighted father, forestalling further flinching, frantically flagged the flunkies to fetch a fatling from the flock and fix a feast.
The fugitive’s faultfinding brother frowned on fickle forgiveness of former folderol, but the faithful father figured: "Filial fidelity is fine but the fugitive is found. What forbids fervent festivity? Let flags be unfurled, let fanfares flare." So father’s forgiveness formed the foundation for the former fugitive’s future fortitude.
Intro.: Putting the silliness aside, let’s talk about one of the greatest needs in our world today. “It is being recognized more and more. Its effects are being felt over several generations. It is repairable only by the men in our society. It is within the true domain of ’home improvement.’ It is known as ’Father Hunger.’ Father Hunger is painfully felt by several generations. Grown men, some of them fathers themselves, feel a longing and emptiness created by the absence of fathering.” By Kate McGoey-Smith Home Fires
On this Father’s Day I thought it would be an appropriate occasion to take a look at the heart of a father. Fathers are a gift from the heavenly Father. Of course, everybody knows how sweet and wonderful Mothers are, but today I’d like to look at the story Jesus told about a special father. The reason this father was special is because Jesus was using Him to describe what the heavenly Father is really like. I’m afraid that we often get wrong ideas in our head about what our heavenly Father is really like. It is normal for us to see Him as distant and either aloof or angry. Many people view God the Father the same way they see their earthly father, and even to relate to Him in the same way. Sometimes this is good, other times it is not. Maybe we don’t think we can ever really gain His approval because we could never gain the approval of our earthly father. Well, Jesus told this story to show that God the Father is not distant or unkind or unconcerned about us. Jesus really shattered their image of who God is. Many have called this parable “The Prodigal Son.” However, I have entitled this message “The Prodigal Father.” Webster says the prodigal means “recklessly extravagant.”
Prop: The love that our heavenly Father has for us is recklessly extravagant, and is able to fill the Father hunger within us.
Interr: How can God’s extravagant love fulfill the Father Hunger within us?
Tran: Let’s look at several characteristics of the Prodigal Father to see how our heavenly Father showers us with His extravagant, prodigal love.
I. The Prodigal Father Gives (v.12)
12 The younger one said to his father, ’Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
-For a son to ask this of his Father went against Jewish values and their culture. Sons were to honor their fathers, giving them honor, respect, submission, and obedience. This son clearly did not honor his Father. In fact, some believe that demanding his inheritance was the equivalent of saying, “Father, I wish you were already dead.” Deut. 21:18-21 tells that the OT consequence for a son who did not honor his father or mother was death. That same chapter also explains that the firstborn received two shares of the inheritance. Therefore, this 2nd born son would have received 1/3 of the estate. That could be the equivalent of a few hundred thousand dollars in today’s economy.
-Most people, including many who were listening to Jesus that day, would consider this son to be a waster. Most would consider him to be a good-for-nothing, lazy, worthless young man. Furthermore, they would have also viewed the father as foolish, because he was willing to give so much wealth to a foolish young man. This son was very undeserving, yet the father gave him what he asked for. Does this mean that every father should give his kids whatever they ask for? I don’t think so. However, there are situations when fathers have to let go and release their kids into God’s hands completely, praying that they will come to themselves and commit their lives to the Lord.