He wants you home
Tax collectors and sinners are gathering around to hear Jesus. The Pharisees and scribes of the law are grumbling that Jesus welcomes and eats with sinners. Jesus tells them three parables back to back (showing God’s patience through the ministry of repetition and reminders) dealing with lost things being found: a sheep, then a coin, and lastly a son. The third parable of the father and two sons is only found in Luke. This last parable depending on different translations is titled “The parable of the lost son” or “The prodigal son”.
The Word of God
“And he said, "There was a man who had two sons. 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. 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. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. "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! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants."' 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. 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.' 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. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.' And they began to celebrate. "Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 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.' But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 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. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!' And he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'"”
Luke 15:11-32 ESV
Our Heavenly Father ALWAYS has desired restored relationship with sinners since the first sin in the Garden of Eden where He then also sought and found the lost Adam and Eve hiding, naked and ashamed. Once He finds us and we submit to Him he then clothes us, feeds us, and empowers us. He goes to great lengths to restore that relationship, even being misunderstood, humiliated, hated, despised, and blasphemed.
There is one Father, one home, and one way home
We are ALL prodigals: dead, lost, blind, and naked (God hands all over to disobedience...so that He may have mercy on them all)
The question is whether we are aware of being dead and lost?
2 Corinthians 4:3-6
“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
How loud do you have to scream to wake up a dead man? It’s a miracle!
Has your current lifestyle become sickening to you yet? Have you come to such a place of need that your eyes have been opened that you need to go back to your heavenly Father’s house? Until you are desperate, repentance won’t be yours.
1 John 2:15-17 ESV
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
The world is passing away, in a famine, so come home now. Today is the day of salvation.
Father God desires us all to come home
The parable is left open ended with no response from the bitter older son on purpose to display the Father’s desire for the self righteous son to repent and come back home to the celebration from the village.
You are not too far away from home (he went to a far country)
It doesn’t matter how far you think you’ve gone. Home with your Heavenly Father is only as far away as repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
Your sin, your reckless living, your abandonment of God and His ways and His people is not unforgivable
Unless you say it is. The only unforgivable sin is to reject the savior!
The Father and all of heaven CELEBRATES when one sinner repents, trusts in Jesus, and comes home.
Heaven is now among us and is still coming.
Matthew 6:10 ESV
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Matthew 4:17 ESV
“From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Luke 17:20-21 ESV
“Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, "The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you."”
The Father draws us by His Spirit to Jesus so we may find our way home.
Jesus is the Father in the flesh sent to us to reveal the Father’s will, the Father’s heart, and provide the way back to the Father. Jesus is the Father’s ‘Good Shepherd’ sent to find and bring home is lost.
John 6:44-45 ESV
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, 'And they will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—”
Come home by repenting of our sin, and believing the good news of the Father’s provision for us to come through the life, death, burial and resurrection of his one perfect son Jesus Christ.
More scriptures to meditate on
Matthew 6:1-8 (The Father sees us in secret and rewards us openly)
1 John 3:1
See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God.
John 14:1-11 (Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father)
John 16:2-27 ESV (The Father loves me and listens to me because of Jesus)
"I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.”
John 3:16 ESV
For God so loved the world, He gave His only Son so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.
Luke 19:1-10 ESV
“He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today." So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, "He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner." And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold." And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."”
What does it say?
Jesus is telling the third parable in a row dealing with lost things being found and the ensuing celebration that follows. All three parables were being told to the Pharisees who were grumbling because Jesus was ‘receiving sinners and eating with them’. The tax collectors and ‘sinners’ were also listening in.
The parable says one man, a wealthy landowner, had two sons. The younger son told his father to give him his share third of his inheritance now instead of waiting until his father died. The son was most likely a teenager as he was not married. The father did not insist on his own way but gave his son a free will and allowed him to go his own way. The father divided the inheritance and gave it to his son. The inheritance most likely consisted of land, cattle, sheep, and other items that the son had to convert to cash to be able to travel. The son hung around for not many days before he left on a journey to a far country. In this far country he squandered his inheritance on reckless living which included prostitutes. The son spent everything he had. At the same time he went broke a severe famine struck the country and he was in dire need. He started looking for a job and found one feeding pigs for a Gentile citizen of that country. While working this job he was starving so much he wanted to eat the pigs food. No one showed him any charity. The despair of the situation brought clarity and he realized that even the servants in his fathers house had plenty of food to eat. He decided to leave the far country and return back to his fathers house where it would be better to be a servant that’s well fed than a free man starving in that far country. He rehearsed his speech to his Father how he realized he had sinned against heaven and his father and realized also that he was no longer worthy to be called a son, but would still like to be in the house as a servant. When he went back to his father’s house his father must have been waiting and looking for him because when the son was a long way off the father saw him. Moved with compassion the father ran to him, embraced and kissed him. The son tried to recite his speech confessing sin and not being worthy to be called a son but the father cut him off and immediately had the servants bring the best robe, a ring, and shoes for him. He also had them bring the fattened calf to kill and start a celebration of the sons return. The father didn’t label the son as rebellious, but as dead and lost...now alive and found.
The older brother was working in the field when he heard the party raging. He asked the servants what was happening who told him that his brother had returned and the father had killed the fattened calf and started a celeration. The older son was angry and refused to go to the party. The father came out to the older son to entreat him to come in but the older son angrily in self righteousness rebuked his father for injustice, not every rewarding him for his hard work and dedication. The older son spoke poorly of his brother reminding his father of the younger son sins, all the while not even acknowledging him as a ‘brother’ but only as his father’s son. The father kindly reminded his older son that he has him (the father) and that all he owns is his, and that celebrating and being glad is the proper thing to do because his son was dead and lost, and now is alive and found.
What does it say about God?
God is wealthy.
God is a father who has more than one child.
God is kind and patient. (Did not ‘flip out’ at the sons ultimately disrespectful request)
God gives us free will and allows us to make our own choices and suffer our own consequences. He did not chase after the son.
God is not easily angered or offended.
God has a pleasant and prosperous household andHe takes very good care of his servants as they had more than enough bread.
God is ALWAYS watching over us, looking for us to return home.
God FEELS COMPASSION for his dead and lost children. (The embrace is closeness and the kiss signifies forgiveness)
God QUICKLY restores a child returning home with high quality gifts to meet their needs for body and soul (the best robe which was probably the father’s robe and shoes) and that display their restoration to sonship (the family signet ring which would allow the son to approve family transactions)
God SHOWS his compassion with displays of affection and love. (Embraces and kisses)
God has been PREPARING for my return (the intentionally fattened calf)
God raises the dead and finds the lost.
God and his heavenly hosts party when sinners repent. (The calf could feed a whole village, so this is a public affair)
God now goes after the rebellious and the religious. Both sons
What does it say about me?
I am spoiled
I am rude.
I am disrespectful.
I am self absorbed.
I am reckless.
I am a victim of my bad decisions.
I am stupid.
I am prideful.
I am forgetful.
I have needs that drive me.
I am a refugee on earth, I am not home yet.
I have the capacity for repentance and returning.
I don’t have to stay in my situation.
I am loved by my father.
I am pitied by my father.
I am served by my father.
I am provided for by my father.
I am celebrated by my father.
I am defended by my father.
What does it say about the world around me?
The world is not my home.
The world is not trying to help me.
The world is using me.
The world is full of ways to be reckless.
The world can not control me.
The world doesn't take care of it’s servants (contrast the father’s servants)
The world is ruled by Satan who came to only kill, steal, and destroy.
What do I do?
Believe the good news that God WANTS to be my Father and desires me.
Change my mind about my life’s direction, stop serving myself and the world, accept Jesus sacrifice for my sin, and go home to my Father.
Receive the Father’s blessing of restored relationship, status as a son, and heavenly authority to serve him as an empowered servant son.
CELEBRATE praising our good, gracious, Heavenly Father!
Second City Church - A Good and Gracious Father - Pastor Cole Parleir 2019