Drop files to upload.
Faithlife
Faithlife
Avatar
Avatar
Sign in

The Gracious Father

Marriage and Family  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 1 view

Discover and practice the grace and love of God by carefully looking at the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

Notes & Transcripts
Introduction (Angela)
In our journey through the theme of relationships in marriage and family, we have looked at moms, kids, and those who are not married. Next Sunday, we will conclude this series by looking at biblical marriage. Today, my husband and I want to draw our focus on FATHER.
Fathers are important—critical to the health and vitality of children—which heavily impacts every aspect of community.
Dr. Edward Kruk, in an article written for Psychology Today, made these sobering statistical observations: (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/co-parenting-after-divorce/201205/father-absence-father-deficit-father-hunger)
Truancy and poor academic performance (71% of high school dropouts are fatherless).
Truancy and poor academic performance (71% of high school dropouts are fatherless).
Delinquency and youth crime, including violent crime (85% of youth in prison have an absent father—fatherless children are more likely to offend and go to jail as adults).
Drug and alcohol abuse (fatherless children are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol, and abuse drugs in childhood and as adults).
Homelessness (90% of runaway children have an absent father).
Exploitation and abuse (fatherless children are at greater risk of suffering physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, being five times more likely to have experienced physical abuse and emotional maltreatment, with a one hundred times higher risk of fatal abuse; a recent study reported that preschoolers not living with both of their biological parents are 40 times more likely to be sexually abused).
Dr. Kruk sums up his findings with these words: “Given the fact that these and other social problems correlate more strongly with fatherlessness than with any other factor, surpassing race, social class and poverty, father absence may well be the most critical social issue of our time.”
Talk with school teachers, community activists, and law enforcement — and they will confirm these facts.
Talk with school teachers, community activists, and law enforcement — and they will confirm these facts.
Having a good, stable father benefits us all.
However, a good father does not necessarily mean that we would be free from problems. I know of children from strong, stable families, who made poor choices. But, having dad that is there for you—that is strong and loving—this is a powerful thing.
Text
Did you know that Jesus taught about this?
Luke 15:11–16 ESV
11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
Luke 15:11–23 ESV
11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. 17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.” ’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate.
Luke 15:11–24 ESV
11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. 17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.” ’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
Luke 15:11-
Luke 15:11-
Luke 15:11-
Luke 15:11–32 ESV
11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. 17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.” ’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. 25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’ ”
Luke 15:11-
Transition
This story that Jesus told is commonly referred to as “The Parable of the Prodigal Son.”
With this title, it focuses the theme of the younger son who “wasted” or “squandered” his inheritance in “wild” or “loose” living.
Unfortunately this title, focusing on the younger son, causes us to miss the point that both Jesus and Luke are making.
The parable should be called “The Parable of the Gracious Father,” for he is the character who occurs in both halves of the story and is the main character of the parable.
So, on this Fathers’ Day, we want to draw your attention to THE Father who, through His abounding grace and compassionate mercy, is able to empower us in our relationships—our relationship with God and our relationships in marriage and family.
Jesus is confronting the wrong thinking of the Pharisees and religious leaders of his day.
They were appalled at how Jesus acted toward sinners— “This man received sinners and eats with them.” ()
So, through a series of three stories (called parables), Jesus revealed the passion and heart of God for people—even those people who live in sin.
Introduction to the story of the Prodigal Son: (Ed)
It must have been heart-wrenching for the Father to hear his youngest son’s request: “Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me...” ()
hhh
This son’s intentions and actions would soon be clear: he “gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.” ()
They were appalled at how Jesus acted toward sinners— “This man received sinners and eats with them.” ()
The son takes advantage of the Father’s hard work. He makes an unusual request of the Father—give me my share!
Luke 15:2 ESV
2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
So, through
The son comes across as arrogant and disrespectful. But the Father is not aloof, distant, or unapproachable. He is connected to His sons. He is there—for them—to listen—to hear them out.
Luke 15:
And that describes our Heavenly Father.
Even with a son who
Psalm 17:6 ESV
6 I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words.
The Psalmist says:
I see love here—our Heavenly Father loves us—even in our failures—even in our lack of integrity—even in our selfishness—God loves us—God loves people!
No matter what I do, what I say, where I go—God loves me!
Now, I’m not preaching universalism here—I am not diminishing or changing the meaning of the Cross—and Christ’s substitutionary work for salvation—I’m not suggesting that because God loves us, we can do what we want—believe in what we want—and ignore the need to have faith and trust in God alone for salvation, and have no consequences for our actions.
But what I am saying is that God love us, values us, and has imprinted His image on us!
And, that love is displayed powerfully in this story.
After the son left—it didn’t mean that the Father stopped loving the son.
For when the son lost everything—and found himself working by feeding pigs—where he longed “to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate”—he came to his senses.
He realized that even the servants of his father had food to eat—he would go back home, confess his sinful ways, and be willing to serve.
Luke 15:20 ESV
20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
Luke 15:20-
The Father ran and embraced the son.
When Adam and Eve sinned against God, they hid themselves—but God sought them out.
When King David committed the sins of adultery, lying, and murder—God sought him out.
When Peter denied Jesus three times—it was the resurrected Jesus who sought him out.
When we sin and hide from the presence of God—it is God who seeks us out.
Clearly, the Father had been waiting and looking for the son’s return.
The Father’s eagerness and joy at his son’s return is unmistakable.
This is the magnificent attribute of God that sets Him apart from all the false gods invented by men and demons.
He is not indifferent or hostile, but a Savior by nature, longing to see sinners repent and rejoicing when they do.
Let me pause here to remind us of a critical truth concerning what God does and what we need to do—and how this is beautifully illustrated in this story.
Ephesians 2:8–9 ESV
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
It is God who seeks after us—it is God who draws us to Himself—but we have a part to play in this drama called life.
We see the son coming to his senses—and starts for home. He hoped that instead of judgement, he would experience grace and mercy.
Faith is the step we need to take—a step encouraged and empowered by the Holy Spirit—to draw us toward the loving arms of God.
For the son in our story, something quite unexpected happens!
Luke 15:21–24 ESV
21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
Luke 15:21
His father forgives him.
Instead of receiving what he deserved (judgement), the son received forgiveness and restored relationship.
The son owned up to his sin: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you...”
What the son realized is what we need to recognize.
His sin was not only to his earthly father—the sin also was an offense to his Heavenly Father.
Confession is essential to restored relationship—it is more than a mere acknowledgement of a transgression—it is seeing sin as God sees it—it is deliberate rebelling against the holiness and authority of God.
Confession does not offer excuses—it submits to the full justice of God! It is surrendering our will for His will.
1 John 1:9 ESV
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Forgiveness—one of the most powerful acts of grace one could ever experience. God’s grace is greater than all our sins.
Greater than every lie.
Greater than every act of hatred and bitterness.
Greater than every act of disobedience—every act of pride—every act of selfishness.
I am so amazed at God’s grace—instead of the judgment we deserve, we receive grace—forgiving grace. But, it does not stop there!
As Jesus continues His story to describe the awesomeness of the Father, he goes in a direction not expected:
Instead of rebuke, the son receives “the best robe”—not just any robe, but an ornate garment signifying high honor
Luke 15:22–24 ESV
22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
Instead of shame, the son receives “a ring”—which symbolized authority.
Luke 15:22
Instead of rejection, the son receives shoes—indicating that he is not a servant, but has been reconciled and welcomed back as a full member of the family.
This is our heavenly Father—who lavishly pours out to those who repent His blessings.
Conclusion
Our Heavenly Father is one who:
…who loves us.
…who seeks us.
…who forgives us.
…and who blesses us.
Dads! I think we can learn from God about fatherhood.
I think we can impact those statistics that were quoted at the beginning of this message.
If we love—if we seek after our children—if we readily forgive—and if we bless our kids—oh how the family can be impacted for the good.
RELATED MEDIA
See the rest →
RELATED SERMONS
See the rest →