Two things I regularly pray for my Children, my wife and I have five Children and two things that I regularly pray for them is first that they would know the Lord that they would know the love of God, that they would know it in such a way that it would change them, that it would ruin them for anything else other than a life committed to the Lord, jesus christ. And then the second thing that I’m constantly praying for them is that they would know how much the mother and I love them. I pray these things because I’m reminded of how I grew up, ignorant and oblivious to these two realities. Um I didn’t know the Lord growing up as a young child. So his love was not something that I was well acquainted with, although his blessings were all around me and although a very real sense this love kept me and kept me to a place where I would eventually come to know the Lord. But then when I also think about my relationship with my parents, the ingratitude, the inability to see the small sacrifices and the little things that they did that were tokens of their love for me that were expressions of their deep care and concern for my life that I took for granted. But later in life I realized how special it was. And so I’m thankful by the grace of God that I have a very good relationship with both of my parents and so when I think about today’s teaching and this story, the parable of the prodigal son we are dealing with family matters. We have a wayward son a forgiving father and a prideful brother and we have in this story, jesus telling it wrongly. I might add, when you think of the cultural circumstances, the cultural realities of his day, he tells it intentionally wrongly to drive home one point and that point is this, that God is more willing to embrace repentant sinners than you and I are even willing to admit that we’re sinners. This is the third parable that he has told to the same group of people in the same setting to make that point clear. And he uses family Story of a family, a father with two sons. And so before I impact that more, let me pray for you, let me pray for us. Let me pray for our time, Father in heaven, this is your world, you are God Almighty, you rule and you reign and this is your word that you’ve given to your people. I pray Lord that as your faithful ministers all over the globe on the sabbath day, open your word that many would be reminded of your great love, the great truth and power of the gospel of your son, jesus christ who gave his life to save many. I pray God that in places where there is great darkness that the light of this word would penetrate and have lasting impact, pray God that you would raise up faithful servants in every single place on this globe who will run the race with endurance, who will make disciples, who will continue to carry on this legacy of proclaiming, christ God, we want to see you glorified in our lifetime and in the lifetime of our Children’s Children. So God, this morning with our time work mightily, we ask it in jesus name, Amen, Amen again. This parable known by many as the parable of the Prodigal son. It may be the famous or the most famous of the parables that jesus told the parable of the good samaritan might be up there. A lot of people know about that when people, even outside of the church are familiar with that parable, but this parable here is incredibly popular. It is quite famous this story of the Prodigal son and again, it is a story dealing with a family and a family situation and now Jesus tells it based on a relationship with the father and two sons and I want to say from the onset that ladies don’t check out because this story and the principle behind it applies to everyone. It applied to everyone in that crowd. But jesus specifically chose to tell it in this way because the history of God and his people was one that they understood as a father with his son. That’s why even the prophets would utter from Egypt or out of Egypt, I have called my son Speaking of the people of Israel led out of Egypt by moses by moses, but eventually jesus would also fulfill that that picture again, he’s only telling it and using a father and two sons to illustrate a point and that being the relationship between God and his people. And as we think about the characters in the story, the younger son obviously identifies with the tax collectors and sinners. This is early on in chapter 15 of Luke. They are the ones who are being drawn to Jesus and then the older brother in this story, obviously he relates to the Pharisees and the religious leaders. They are the ones who are offended. They are the reason that Jesus has told three consecutive parables driving home the same principle that God is more willing to receive repentant sinners. Then you and I are willing to admit that we’re sinners. And it is the reason why I say to you that Jesus is intentionally telling the story in a way that is culturally wrong because he wants to make a point so clear. So let’s look at it. He begins by saying that the younger son Verse 12 comes to his father and says give me the share of property that is coming to me and he the father divided his property between them. And then not many days later the younger son gathered all that he had and took a journey into a far country and there he squandered his property and reckless living and when he has 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. So we have here the wayward son, he comes to his father. He essentially says, I cannot wait until you die to receive my inheritance. I need it. Now that’s offensive. That is the wrong way to do things. And the father obliges. He gives him the inheritance. That is the wrong thing to do. But he does it, it gives it to him based on the old testament, Law and covenant? The older son would have received the double portion and the younger son, and this situation would have received one third of his father’s inheritance, which two thirds then would go to the older son. So it gives him a third of all that was owed, or all that belonged to. The father gives it to the younger son. But then it says that not many days later this younger son gathered all that he had and took a journey into a far country and there he squandered his property in reckless living. Now, why does he go to a far away country? Well, what do you do when you want to do something that you know you shouldn’t do. You go away from people who know you people who might tell you that what you’re about to do is wrong and you hide so that you can get away with it so that you could indulge your sinful heart. That’s what he’s doing. He understood that if he were to sell any of his family’s holdings, that would have been given to him that that was against old testament law, that he wasn’t permitted to do that. That’s what the whole story, the book of ruth is about dealing with property in exchange of property. He goes to a far away country so he can get away with it right in that human nature. Isn’t that what we do? How many times have we seen the cookie crumbs leading to a corner or closet? And some kid has taken a cookie without asking before dinner and it’s eating in secret why he knows it’s wrong. So the younger son knows he’s not supposed to get rid of his family’s property, Goes to a far away country. No one who might possibly be able to identify him with his family and call him out on the wrong that he is about to engage in and to live and indulge all of the sin that he desired to indulge in this younger son has a love for the world. He in his selfish and gratitude. He is blind to the vast ocean of his father’s love for him. He cannot even see it. He has offended his father by demanding his inheritance before his father’s death. His father has given it to him. His father has been good to him, his entire existence. He cannot see it. He doesn’t have the gratitude to give thanks to his father for all that his father has done for him. And so he goes and he squanders it because he loves this world. He wanted the pleasure of this world. He wanted to be accepted by this world. He believed that this world would satisfy the deepest longings of his soul. But as the story goes on, the money didn’t last. The pleasure didn’t fulfill like it, promised circumstances of life begin to pile up and to overcome him to the point to where he goes and hires himself out to a pig farmer. He’s so hungry that he’s eating the pods that are to be given to the pigs. Again, this example, this illustration by jesus is so offensive to a jew, pigs are unclean to work in that industry meant to be unclean to eat what pigs would eat. This man had fallen so far from his father’s graces and to be in that situation, when you hear me use the term unclean to a jew, that meant he could not step foot into God’s temple, He could not come and be among the congregation of God’s people because his lifestyle had rendered him unclean, he was outside of the fold Continentally, He’s dead to God. So in verse 17, the wayward son says he came to himself, wow! He came to himself. I love what jesus is getting at here. He was so entrenched in his rebellion and love for the world that he lost himself. He lost sight of where he had come from, who his father was. He lost sight of what was right and what was wrong. He lost his mind, that’s what it looked like, right? Not intentionally insane. But he’s at a place where he is not looking like the same human being that others understood him to be. And it says he came to himself, his mind change. That is code for repentance, wow, I am messed up. I have lacked gratitude towards my father, towards the goodness of my father. And when I think about the days of living in my father’s house, even his servants are well compensated, well fed and they are joyful. If I could just be in their place, I would be better off. And so he comes to himself, he begins to rehearse as it were a prayer of repentance, Verse 18, it says he he says, I will arise and go to my father and I will say to him, father, I have sinned against heaven and before you and in the original greek that last phrase, father, I have sinned against heaven and before you could actually be translated to say, my sins are so many. They reach all the way up to heaven. His mind has changed. His heart has changed. He says, I’m no longer worthy to be called your son, treat me as one of your hired servants. And he arose and he came to his father, the forgiving father, the wayward son. And I’m going to forgiving father says. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion and ran and embraced him and kissed him again, jesus, You’re telling the story wrongly. No dignified, wealthy individual would have endured that type of family Shane brought upon his name because of the ways of that younger son and then would have had the audacity to run in his dignified state to greet him a long way off. What are you getting at, jesus? It’s getting at the fact that God is more willing to receive a repentant sinner than we are even admitting, acknowledging that we’re sinners. The father has been watching the father has been waiting for this moment when his son’s eyes would open to the love of the father and he saw it. He remembered it in the context of a hired worker, hired workers, a joyful, well fed, well compensated in my father’s house. Some of you think to have a great influence for jesus. You need a massive platform. You think you need to be, you know, have a great following, but it was a hired worker full of joy at working in the father’s house that turned a wayward son back to the father, your faithfulness to God, your ability to have contentment in christ right where you are, have an amazing impact on the people around you, but back to his father, dignitaries didn’t do this, they didn’t run like that and and then to embrace a guy who probably looked and smelled like he had worked with pigs. He embraces him, kisses him, I want him to know he loves him. The sun isn’t even given an ability to express his prayer of repentance, that he’s been practicing all the way there and the fathers already embracing him. It’d be like that sometimes, you know, it’d be like that sometime. I know that’s not grammatically correct, but you’ve been a place where you realize you’re in sin, that kind of sin. That makes it hard for you to hold your head up or lift your head up or to open your lips and utter a prayer. And in that moment when you you finally decide, I got to confess this to God, I’ve got to go to him and immediately just a sense of peace. God reminding you, bringing to memory gospel truth that jesus paid for that sin are you are now a son in his kingdom and how just disarmed all of the condemnation. That’s why we can say therefore now there’s no combination for those who are in christ jesus, I’m telling you it be that way sometime. So the father embraces him, the sun praise his prayer. He says Father, I’ve sinned against heaven and before you, I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Now, before we moved too quickly to correct the sun here, let’s stay here for a moment because this is true. He had dishonored. The father’s name is squandered. Whoa of his possessions that the father had given him. He was not a beaming and shining, shiny example of righteousness and goodness. He was far from that. But you know who else was like that? The same tax collectors and sinners who are in this crowd that the Pharisees don’t even want to be near. They were like that. Possibly some of us felt like that been there. You know what it’s like. Maybe even now some of you are in that place when you look at your sin and you consider the holiness of God and the goodness of God, just don’t feel worthy. I think it’s important to not just move on too quickly there to correct the sun, but to do what jesus did in telling this story, allow the father to work through the holy spirit to bring the correction because that’s the lasting correction. We can’t change that God can know and God will because he’s so willing to embrace repentant sinners. And so the father said to his servants, bring quickly the best robe and put it on him. The best robe, put it on in, jesus, you’re telling the story wrong, this man does not deserve that. The best robe was reserved for the distinguished and honored guest. You know if, let’s say some celebrity was coming to your house to watch the super bowl later today, right? You you want you you want to preserve like this comfortable chair, you’d want the proper setting, you want your friends to know that he was coming and then you would want them to know that he is the distinguished guest in your home, right? Not a guy who’s been working with pigs, living like a pig. And yeah, the grace of God, the goodness of God, the love of the father. We just can’t comprehend that martin Luther said, you know the first line of the Lord’s prayer, our father in heaven, he says if I understood that prayer would change my life if I could just understand it, I don’t think we understand it. I mean we understand the love of God, the Pharisees. The religious leaders clearly didn’t understand it. That’s why jesus is telling the story in this way to try to help them to understand it. This is an incredible display of love and forgiveness. I’m gonna be honest with you. People have offended me for far less than what his son has done to his father and it’s been hard to forgive them. Can you relate to that some of you are holding onto unforgiveness right now for things far less than this. It brings out the best robe he puts a ring on his hand. This is more than just some bling bling kids is more than just that, right? There’s some bling to it. But this ring signified authority. He was being charged with making decisions on behalf of the father. So yeah, it was some bling, but it was some legit authority to to put shoes on his feet. Another luxury. The father is removing all condemnation. The father is removing all sense of unworthiness. The father is restoring, receiving an unworthy sinner and he’s pouring out all of his love upon him with these small tokens and expressions of that love. If you and I could see it, you and I could understand it. That this is what God has for us, this is what he has for us. In christ it goes on and it says that the father commanded that the fattened calf be brought. They were to kill it. They were to eat and celebrate, you know, people didn’t eat meat every day. I need meat every day. My wife has learned to love me in spite of the fact that I need meat every day. But people would take a calf and they would fatten it up and they would save it for a special occasion. And so this calf had been being prepared for special occasion. And the father, seeing the center return says, we must rejoice, this is it. This is the occasion for the son of mine was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found. And it says they began to celebrate. That was a party. I love it, jesus, I love it. He tells his stories and it’s a picture of a heavenly reality. How many times does he speak of banquets and feast in the kingdom of God? Yeah, have a glorious hope. We have a glorious hope. So this is the wayward son returning to the forgiving father and now enter entering the scene is the Prideful brother Verse 25 says. Now his older brother 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 mean. He has 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 fatted 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 he’s alive. He was lost and is found the prideful brother. He’s blind to the vast ocean of God’s love. He’s unable to accept and to receive the fact that God is so willing to receive repentant sinners and in the process, he’s unable to see his own sinful pride and says that he was in the field and he drew near to the house, but he wouldn’t go in himself and inquire and find out what was going on. He would much rather call to one of the servants tell me what’s going on cause I don’t really want to go in there. That in and of itself is an indication that he had a problem with the father. Just didn’t understand. The father probably didn’t understand the goodness of the father. The love of the father was something he certainly did not understand. But the real hero of this story is the father. He’s waiting for the wayward son to return. And now he leaves a party. A party. That is an expression of his joy of the returning of this wayward son. He leaves that party to go and try to win a prideful and obstinate son who won’t come in, who won’t come in. He goes out to him when I first began to see what jesus was saying there. It humbled me? Because clearly the prideful son is an analogy for the Pharisees and religious leaders. A man who are jealous of jesus, men who have slandered jesus, men who have nothing but bad things to say about jesus men who would go on and plan the arrest and murder of jesus. And Jesus represents the father in this story. And what does the father do to those very men? He goes out to them and invites them to come in to the party, the same man that he knows all these things about. He knows that they are doing these very things. He knows this because he is not only fully human, but he is fully God. And he is pleading with these Pharisees, come and celebrate what God is doing. He extends an invite to them knowing their sinful hearts. You ever met someone that you thought, man, I would never invite them to church? Of course, I don’t expect you to say that out loud, but in your heart, you heard me right? You heard me right? God is more willing to receive a repentant center then you and I could ever imagine there’s just something about his divine nature. It says that God is love is so much deeper, far more wider reaching than we could ever imagine. So Jesus is demonstrating the heart of the father and he’s appealing to the Pharisees and the Pharisees are clueless. They are blind to the love of God, which ultimately reveals that they’re not really Children of God until they repent. Do you understand that? Because the Children love what the father loved. One of the interesting things and cool things about attending a husker football game. They got this new thing now, what they call it, like Simba cam or something like that, you know, Simba the little Lion Lion King. And it’s all these parents holding up their Children that they’ve brought to the husker game, football game. Little kids, little kids who can’t tell you what um you know what, what plays are being run on the field, Who can’t tell you, you know, the score of the game, don’t know what’s happening on the field, but are being shaped by what their parents love and who will one day grow up and be what lovers of husker football kids just love what the parents love when they see their parents taking joy in something, when they see something having an impact on them, emotionally impacting them, whether good or bad they sit, kids are impacted by, that reminds me of, you know, my dad’s Jamaican and like growing up around my dad, guess what I love Jamaican culture and now my kids have a love and an affinity for Jamaican culture and the younger kids, even though not all of them enjoy Jamaican food. They will try it and they might respond to dad, I’m not that Jamaican, but but they’re willing to try because they see the love and the joy that that has about it. That’s why it’s so important for your dad’s to be in church and to bring your kids with you and to open your bibles at home and to read the word and to show that you have this love for God, he’s more important to you than anything else. Henry Skakel, he’s a old, dead christian saint, but a wise one, he said this, he said. But if God is the object of our love, we should share in his infinite happiness without contamination or the possibility of it being diminished, we should constantly rejoice and beholding the glory of God and receive comfort and pleasure from all the praises with which men and angels extol him? It should delight us beyond all expression to consider that the one who is beloved in our own souls is infinitely happy. Code word. Get into that party and celebrate the joy and the happiness of the father. That’s what I saw last night with these dads and their daughters dancing on the dance floor here, no rhythm in the room at all. Dads who you couldn’t pay in any other circumstance to do that. But man, were they joyful, were they passionate and it just added more and more joy and celebration to the room because their daughters were happy and the daughters saw that their dads were happy to be there. No dad made their daughter feel like it was a chore to be there. It was amazing and the dad is happy that his wayward son has come home and his prideful brother, he can’t participate in the happiness of his father. Likewise, the Pharisees can’t. They are struggling. They have a hard time participating in the love of the father and seeing how God was accomplishing his plan of redemption through jesus drawing back to himself all of these wayward sons and daughters, they couldn’t celebrate that. They couldn’t celebrate it. They bought into a way of thinking that led them to value separation from centers in a way in which was more condemning and judgmental. What do I mean by that? So for the Pharisees, if someone was lost in that particular situation, there was no way back and you needed to stay separate from them as a christian, we are called to come out of the world, but coming out of the world doesn’t mean that we just hit a button and say beam me up scotty, you know like I don’t need to be around people anymore. It means that the values of the world no longer drive our lives. The things that are most important to this world are no longer the things that are at the top of our list of priorities. But christ is obedience to him, walking faithfully with him and in him and with his people. The Pharisees couldn’t see that. I mean jesus was not condoning the sin of the tax collectors and sinners of his day. He was not cheering them on on the path to destruction in hell. He was calling him back to the father because God is more willing to receive a repentant senator. Then we are at acknowledging our own sin. So in closing I want to leave you with this with these questions to ponder are you like the wayward son? I mean I get it. You may be here this morning, but in your heart you are far from the father. You have a love for this world. You’re blinded by his love for you until you lock the gratitude and the devotion to him. That follower of jesus is expected to give because your heart has wandered far from him. So do you need to come home? Are you one that needs to come home this morning? See man, I know I’m here, but mostly it’s because I’m obliging people. I’m smiling kind of getting along. But I know in my heart of Hearts man, if I’m honest, I’m in sin, I love my sin and I don’t know a way out your life the younger son and it’s time for you to come home others of you. You have a faith in christ where you struggle in relationship in community with others. I think you need to hear that it’s time for you to join the celebration. You need to learn how to love people who are at different places in their walk with christ than you are or maybe a bit quirky and weird, but you need to learn how to join in on the celebration, what God is doing and how to draw more of that out of people. I’d encourage the good that God is doing in people’s lives, learning the grace and the wisdom of speaking the truth and love and building others up, spurring them on to do good works for christ. Lastly, we all need to consider what needs to change in our lives. That would help us to be in a position like the father to be on the lookout. For those who need to come home have the ability and the capacity to care about those who aren’t in the room. What needs to change? Let’s go back to the love of the father, a set of hearts and our minds on that. Let’s stay in there and allow that to be the driving force. Amen. I mean, let me pray for us that close this out father. We sang a song this morning declaring that your mercy is more for some. That’s too good to be true for others. They can’t comprehend the value of such a declaration. But Lord all of us desperately need you to make this clear to make it obvious, but there’s far more to you and to your love for us and to your love for your, your people, then we have understood. so father, if that means some in this room this morning hearing the call to come home Lord, I pray that that phrase, we’ll just ring out over and over again in their soul, come home. And if it’s slower to love to love to to learn how to love to have an enduring love towards others in your family. God I pray that love Love would just continue to echo and echo and echo in our souls love the Lord most importantly and pray that as we wrestle with these things as we consider these things, the reality of jesus christ, suffering on that cross for our sin would come into higher definition for us. It would be the foundation of our love and our doing in this life. God we ask that you would solidify all of this in christ’s name. Amen.