Summary: God is an extravagantly loving Father who longs to welcome his children home with a joyful celebration.
INTRO TO TOPIC: Discuss Miley Cyrus & Billy Ray’s response to his prodigal daughter.
Billy Ray’s song: “That's what daddy's do, they shield you from the rain, Shelter in the storm, there to ease your pain, Wherever you may roam, what you're going through, Know I'm by your side 'cause that's what daddy's do.” The unconditional love of a father for a child.
“Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such despicable people -- even eating with them! So Jesus used this illustration.” (Luke 15:1-3, NLT).
• Jesus hung around with sinners, that got the religious people mad. (Pharisees = bloggers!)
• To answer why he hung out with bad people, he told them three stories.
I. THE LOVING FATHER:
1. The story of a shepherd who had 100 sheep and lost one and went looking for it.
- Why would he leave the 99 just to look for one? What does this teach us about God?
2. The story of a woman who had 10 coins and lost one and went looking for it.
- She still had 9 coins, but went crazy looking for one. Trashed the house looking for one.
- What’s going on here? She still had the majority of the coins.
3. The story of a father who had two sons and lost one and welcomed him home.
• The shepherd represents Jesus, the woman with the light represents the Holy Spirit, and the Father represents God the Father. Joyful celebration when they found what was lost.
• Jesus is teaching us that people are infinitely valuable to God.
THE BIG IDEA: God is an extravagantly loving Father who longs to welcome his children home with a joyful celebration.
II. THE REBELLIOUS SON: (Luke 15:11-24).
“11 To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: "A man had two sons.”
• This story is different from the other two. The sheep was a dumb animal and got lost. The coin didn’t get lost on its own. But the son chose to leave the father.
“12 The younger son told his father, 'I want my share of your estate now, instead of waiting until you die.' So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
• As a father, if one of my children said this to me, I would have been devastated.
13 A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and took a trip to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money on wild living.
• He turned his back on the father with no thought of returning (distant land = far away)
• I’m sure the father stood there weeping as he watched him leave.
• The younger son was a fool and soon wasted all of his money on casinos, bars, loose women, strip clubs, nice vacation, bigger toys, fancy clothes, etc.
14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve.
• Next thing you know, he’s homeless, on the streets, lost weight, maybe strung out
15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him to feed his pigs. 16 The boy became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.
• The only job he can get is working for a pagan pig-farmer. Worst possible job for a Jew.
17 When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, 'At home even the hired men have food enough to spare, and here I am, dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, "Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired man."'
• So many people who don’t know God struggle with a sense of worth.
• He finally came to his senses and decided to GO HOME to the Father’s House.
III. THE WELCOME HOME:
20 So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming.
• Here we see the father again, watching and waiting every day for his son to return.
20b Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.
• The father saw him because he had been looking for him and ran towards him.
• You don’t often see old men running, unless they’ve committed a crime, or someone is trying to do something bad to them. The father hiked up his robe and ran.