- Sermon Notes
Call on Your Father
Illus. I’ll tell you when.
This morning we are going to look at a parable that is unique to the book of Luke and is found in chapter 15. It centers on a son who is lost, at the end of his rope and without hope. After asking for His inheritance he was given his share, he left with it all and what we see is that he hits rock bottom after a major free fall. With nowhere to turn he looks for a way out from any other, but ultimately realizes the One he needed to call upon was his Father.
Read: Luke 15:11-32
This story is known as the story of the prodigal son, which is a parable. A parable is a story about something that can been seen in the world, thrown alongside a spiritual reality. The Father in this story is God, and the two sons are illustrations of two different types of people.
The reason why this parable is given is because Jesus was eating, drinking, and speaking to tax collectors and sinners who were looked down upon by the Pharisees and religious leaders in that day. Jesus had begun taking heat for His heart toward the lost, and here He provides a parable, pointing toward His passion and mercy for those who despite all He has given, have run away.
I. Place Him at the Center of Everything
- In their day, like ours, most any inheritance given would be given after the death of the one giving the inheritance.
- The second son comes to ask for his inheritance, and in doing so, he is essentially telling his father, “All that matters to me is the inheritance, lets fast forward to what it will be like when you die.”
- His share as the younger of two sons would have been one-third, as the older would have received a double portion as prescribed by the law (Deut. 21:17).
- Although it was a careless and greedy request, with many implications toward his father, his father allowed his son his desire.
- Not many days later, the son gathered everything (13), went off to a distant country, squandered all he had been given, and spent everything.
- He lost it all, but all was not lost. He had taken everything, and spent everything, but what was missing in the term everything was the most important thing…his father.
John 15:5, I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered.
- Certainly, there is a physical and financial reality to this parable Jesus is giving…Don’t spend more than you have, don’t squander, rather, ponder and plan how you can steward well what He has given into your hand.
- Place Him in the center of it all. We also understand however, that everything given is a gift from God.
James 1:17, Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights…
Psalm 24:1, The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.
Romans 11:36, For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
Verse 13… the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country.
- The young son took everything he had been given from his father but cut his father out of his life.
- With that I ask a question: what is everything to you?
- Your reputation, a relationship, your job, your possessions, finances, skills, or abilities? Is the Lord the Lord of those things? Is He at the center?
Matthew 6:33, Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
- Perhaps there are situations where you remove God from the center. Or make the decision to disregard certain sections of Scripture to “spend your life how you prefer.”
- As Jesus spoke of being attached to the vine, He used the term, “abide.” To abide is a term that means to remain, continue, to not depart, to be continually kept.
Illus. Behind you.
- After the prodigal son spent everything with nothing to show for it, a severe famine hits the land he is living in.
- He then hires himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and begins working in the fields, feeding pigs.
Luke 15:16, And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him.
- With no resources, he began working fields filled with pigs. For a Jewish person, pigs were unclean animals (Lev. 11:2-8, Deut. 14:8), they could not be eaten, or used for sacrifices, they would not even touch a pig for fear of defilement.
- His willingness to work with pigs showed great humiliation. To desire the food that was being fed to pigs showed that he was degraded beyond belief.
- He had cut out his father, but he until this point he did not realize that there was something missing from what he thought was everything… It was his father that was missing.
Illus. I know what it looks like.
Psalm 63:1, O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; my soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Vs. 17, But when he came to his senses… He realized what it was like at His father’s house
- Race to God’s embrace
- What set off the change in the situation of the son, was that he came to his senses.
- Other translations saw he “came to himself,” meaning he was not himself while lost.
- The real man was the penitent, not the prodigal.
Psalm 30:5, For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
Lamentations 3:19-21, The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this (NLT):
Lamentations 3:22-23, Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions (mercies) never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
- He came to his senses and began rehearsing what he would say as he made his way to his father, realizing that even the hired servants in his father’s house had food to spare…His idea was that he would head home and ask his father to “make him as one of his hired men” (v. 19)
- When he was leaving he said, “Father give me,” but upon his return, “Father, make me.” It was the second which would bring about joy and blessing.
Matthew 5:3-6, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
- With no money, no dignity, and, so he thought, no claim to sonship in his father’s house, he headed home to confess his sin, and ask to be hired on.
Psalm 84:10, Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
- He got up and made his way to his father, but while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming and felt compassion on him, ran to meet him, embraced and kissed him.
- Compassion: A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
- The picture is of a father who was attentive and aware when his son turned toward his fathers’ house.
- A father who had his eyes on the horizon, a father who wasn’t concerned about what it cost, wasn’t concerned about his arrogance when he left and squandered his inheritance.
- The father didn’t wait, didn’t run to him and set him straight, didn’t need an update, and account of his whereabouts. He simply knew that his son was lost, but was now found, was dead and had come to life.
Illus. Arms wide open.
- Perhaps you have gone your own way… Perhaps you have wandered and squandered, unsure if there is a place for you in your Father’s house…I’m here to tell you, there is.
- Don’t let your resumé get in the way
- The son begins reciting what he rehearsed.
Luke 15:21, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son….’
- The father wasn’t interested in his resume. He knew enough, but what was important to him was that his son had returned.
Luke 15:22-24, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.
- The son isn’t even able to finish what he rehearsed, rather, heading toward his father, he becomes immersed in his love.
- He has the finest robe put on him (reserved for the guest of honor), a ring (signifying authority as a son, not a servant), and sandals (were not usually worn by servants, but he had been restored to sonship). And the fattened calf (reserved for only the most special occasions).
- What it all symbolizes is the reality of blessing in salvation…Ephesians 1:3, the Father has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
- Without a single word about the past, the Father pours out His love upon those who come, those who return, those who call upon Him.
- As the party is going on, the older son hears about it and becomes angry. He then begins counting the ways that he was worthy …It was then that His father came out to plead with him to come and join the celebration…
- But in his anger, he began expressing his frustration that this other son squandered it all away, yet now he gets the fattened calf, even though he remain home, working away, he never had been given as much as a goat to celebrate with…
- His father tells him that they had to celebrate, his brother was lost but is now found…The older brother then remains silent, balking at celebrations sound.
- It shows the heart of the Father, but also the heart others often have. Both sons needed to understand the Father’s love.
Ephesians 2:8-9, For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Romans 11:6, …If it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.
Matthew 11:29-30, Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
Psalm 50:15, Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you.
And He said, “A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’ So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.“Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. 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 became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’”