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Sermon overview: Being with the father

by Mike Vandermause on September 23, 2016


Pastor Troy will wrap up his three-part series on the parable of the prodigal son on Sunday, September 25. He focused on the younger brother (the prodigal) in the first week of the series, the older brother in the second week and in the series finale will examine the father, who showed how furiously he loved and pursued his sons.

Bible passage

Luke 15: 11-32

Key points

*The focus of this parable that Jesus tells comes down to the love of the father for his sons, which points out the love of God for all his children no matter what path they take. God loves people who are lost and wandering.

*We shouldn’t take on a posture like the younger brother of trying to get things from God as if he’s a genie. We also shouldn’t be like the older brother and try to do things for God and think he owes us something. Instead, God desires that we be with him.

*The father saw his prodigal son from a long way off, an indication that he was checking on him constantly. That’s an endearing picture of a father going out every day and looking for his wayward son. The father also pursued the older brother, who was resentful and wouldn’t come to his younger brother’s return party.

*The father didn’t focus on the sins his prodigal son committed when he wandered away. The father never says "I told you so” upon his son's return. He instead celebrates his return. He runs to him and passionately celebrates his son by “throwing” his arms around him. This is a picture of Romans 5:8 in which God demonstrates his love for us while we were still sinners.

*The father’s actions upon his prodigal son’s return don’t fall in line with Jewish culture. The son’s wayward actions would have humiliated and disgraced his father, and thus the father would not have been looking for his son or run out to embrace him. 

*Why did the father run to his son? He wanted to be the first one to greet him. One would have expected the community members to greet the son with shame and guilt. But the father greeted him warmly with love. In the same way God takes on our guilt and shame through his son and rather than condemn us for our wayward actions, he passionately loves us.

Discussion questions

*What was it like growing up when you would disappoint your parents? What do you wish it would have been like and why?

*Share a time when someone you love disappointed you. Do you tend to forgive or hold a grudge?

*Is there anything you could do that would remove you from being a good son or daughter of God? Is there anyone in world history that God doesn’t love?

*How has God been generous in his love for you? Can you grasp how wide and deep God’s love is (Ephesians 3: 18-19)?

*If God simply wants you to be with him — as opposed to doing things for him or getting things from him -- how can you practically make that happen? In other words, what does "being with the father" mean to you?