Summary: A sermon on the Prodigal Son, and how we can always go home to Jesus when we stray from the faith.

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You Can Always Go Home (Luke 15:11-24)

Ernest Hemingway wrote a story about a father and his teenage son. In the story, the relationship had become somewhat strained, and the teenage son ran away from home. His father began a journey in search of that rebellious son.

Finally, in Madrid, Spain, in a last desperate attempt to find the boy, the father put an ad in the local newspaper. The ad read: "Dear Paco, Meet me in front of the newspaper office at noon. All is forgiven. I love you. Your father." The next day, in front of the newspaper office, eight hundred Pacos showed up. They were all seeking forgiveness. They were all seeking the love of their father.

I think that all of us have, at some time in our walk with God, fallen from the path God would have us walk. Perhaps it was that you haven't been to church in some time, and it all started with one missed Sunday, then two, then three, then the next thing that you knew it had been six months or a year.

Maybe you fell into some kind of sin. Maybe it was something serious like sexual misconduct, or maybe something not as serious and you felt that church was the last place that you would be welcome.

Maybe you are like me. I went to church all of my life from the time that I was an infant, then in 1996 at the age of 37 I realized that I wasn't saved. I thought I was saved, but then brought low by a series of what seemed to be "unfortunate events". I came to the Lord that hot Friday evening in July 1996, and my life has never been the same.

Does it seem that you just don't have a relationship with God? Does it seem that God is far away from you? Does it seem that you have this hole in your life, and you don't know how to fill it?

Some of us have these feelings but for different reasons. Some that read this devotional today may not be saved, and have no relationship with God at all. Some of us here, on the other hand, may be out of fellowship with God because of what we have done.

This week, we will study the Parable of the Prodigal Son, and we will learn that as one redeemed by Jesus Christ, you can always go the Father.--JH

Drop Dead

All the tax collectors and sinners were approaching to listen to Him. And the Pharisees and scribes were complaining, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them!" Luke 15:1-2 (HCSB)

It's critically important to remember the context of this story. In the beginning of Luke 15, those normally considered the scum of the earth--"tax collectors and sinners" had flocked in to hear the teachings of Jesus. In response, the Pharisees complained (murmured--NLT or grumbled--ESV) "This Man welcomes sinners, and eats with them!" Give this some thought: how many times have we ever heard "That man REALLY needs Jesus" or "you talk to that woman?" or "that person is the slime of the earth" or something similar?

In the first two parables proceeding the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the shepherd and the woman went seeking, illustrating the value of people. In this parable Jesus teaches us that you can always come home. This applies for those that have no relationship with God, and also for those that are saved but have backslidden into sin.

Then He said: "A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.' So he divided to them his livelihood. (15:11,12)

To the Jew, what the younger son was asking for was unthinkable. The younger son would have been about 18 years old or so, and capable of living as an adult. In essence what the younger son was saying to the father was "I wish you were dead", as he wanted his part of the estate. At this point the Pharisees were looking down upon this young man; it was as though he told his father, "I want my money, so drop dead."

And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. (15:13)

Being that the younger son would have been given land and animals along with money, he would have sold all off to take with him on his journey. What did he do? He "wasted his possessions on prodigal living". Some Bible versions translate this using his money on "wild living", "loose living" and "parties and prostitutes". In fact, in verse 30 the older brother who stayed behind referred to the prodigal as spending his money on prostitutes.

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