Reaching the unseen

REACHING THE UNSEEN IN 2016

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REACHING THE WORLD FOR JESUS

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Vision: To reach the world on the internet to fulfill the command of Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 – “to go into all the world and teach all nations”.

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Monday, November 16, 2015

THE PARABLE OF THE LOVING FATHER

THE PARABLE OF THE LOVING FATHER
LUKE 15: 1-15

We live in a world of ungrace.  God’s grace is often hard for us to fathom, and so Jesus talked to us about it often.

Although this is often called the parable of the Prodigal Son, the key figure in the parable is the Father. I prefer to call it the Parable of the Loving Father. Jesus is teaching us the God of the Universe is like the father in this story. It’s not enough to believe in God; you must understand the nature of the God Jesus came to introduce. The wonder and beauty of the character of God can been easily seen in this beautiful parable.

Chapter 15 begins with this: “Now the tax collectors and ‘sinners’ were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’”

This is what prompts Jesus to tell three parables that highlight God’s extreme grace--the Pharisees’ extreme ungrace.  In essence, Jesus is saying, “You think you know God, but you do not. God doesn’t play by your rules. Here is what God is all about.”
In the parable, the father represents God the Father.
And this father had two sons.  One of these boys is called the ‘older’ and the other is called the ‘younger’.

The story of the Prodigal Son, after all, appears in a string of three stories by Jesus—the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son—all of which seem to make the same point. Each underscores the loser’s sense of loss, tells of the thrill of discovery, and ends with a scene of jubilation.

Jesus says in effect, ‘Do you want to know what it feels like to be God? When one of those two-legged humans pays attention to Me, it feels like I just reclaimed My most valuable possession, which I had given up for lost.’” 

In Luke, right before the parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus says in verse 10: “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

The God of the Universe has a message for you today. He is saying to you, “I love you, so you are free to go.” God loves you so much He will never force you to stay in fellowship with Him. So, if you are bound and determined to do something as foolish as walking out on God, He won’t stop you. 
Remember, God doesn’t play by our rules.  Who do we know who might feel too embarrassed to come back home…to return to church?

We, the Church, are the Body of Christ on this earth.  We are to represent God to the world.  We are to play by God’s rules, not our own.  The church should be the place where people aren’t afraid to come back.
We should be the place of celebration.

Starting in verse 17 we get to see a real turning point in this parable.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’  So he got up and went to his father.”

Look at what Paul says to the Christians in Ephesians Chapter 2: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world…All of us also lived among them at one time…But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead…it is by grace you have been saved.”

Our God is loving Father, Who does not hold our sins against us, but throws a party when we come to Him for salvation and forgiveness!  And while we are still a long way off, he runs to us!  “When you start home, I’ll meet you more than halfway!”

The father refused to entertain the idea his son would be a servant. You see, even when the son was in the far country, the relationship was intact; it was the fellowship that was broken. Immediately the father commanded his servants to bring the best robe. He took that beautiful robe and lovingly placed it around his son, covering all the filth and dirt of his mistakes. That’s a lovely picture of how God covers our sin with a robe of righteousness.

The Pharisees and the teachers of the law are represented by the older son in this parable who “became angry and refused to go in” to the party.
They didn’t like the fact that God doesn’t play by their rules.  They didn’t like the fact that God rejoices and welcomes ‘sinners’.


So where are we in this parable?  Are we inside the party celebrating?  Or are we standing outside.