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Characteristic 1: He was approachable.
Characteristic 2: He was forgiving.
Characteristic 3: He was faithful.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL OF OUR FATHERS joining us today! Today has been set aside as a day to celebrate all fathers. May you be bountifully and beautifully blessed on today as we celebrate you our positive role models one of God’s greatest gifts placed in our congregation!
So what is a father? A father, our fathers as we remember them have been our caretakers, our shoulders to cry on, our heroes helping us to fight thru battles, our rock, our strength and support when we felt like we were falling, our voices of wisdom when we were lost and needed help with navigating thru life and its troubles. Our fathers who we looked to for guidance in our decision making and could count on when needed. These are just a few of the things that some of us experienced as we hold on to those memories created with our dads and/or significant male role models in our lives. When fathers were fathers!
Background: In our scripture lesson on today, we read a parable about a father and 2 sons. Jesus often spoke in parables using memorable stories involving familiar people and situations that his audience could relate to in order to illustrate His priority, which in this case was to convey the message to the people of God’s passion to seek and to save the lost. The Bible, particularly in the parables, have told us what God is like, and so, I want you to see in this particular parable, how a father’s love was the main ingredient.
This particular parable titled “The Prodigal Son” usually focuses on the lost son but for today, we will focus on the father and 3 characteristics, which we will cover.
POINT 1: He was approachable.
The son in this parable must have believed that he could approach his father or come to him without question and ask him for anything. In this particular case he felt no fear nor remorse in asking for such a big thing as his inheritance up front and early. The son had to be confident that his father was approachable. The young man here was referred to as “The Prodigal Son.” Prodigal means spending money or resources freely and recklessly; wastefully extravagant. The boy came to his father and said, "Father, I want what is mine." Now, why in the world would that boy want to leave such an environment as that? Why would he want to leave a home where he could talk to his father and have such a relationship with his father?
Before we get too critical about that boy, however, let's look at us. Why would we, who have been blessed by God with mercy and grace not to add with so many gifts of intellect, wisdom, life, a portion of health and strength and blessings, approach God wanting more then forget about the giver, our Heavenly Father! Only to find ourselves having to run back to God for forgiveness! God is a kind Father to all his children, and gives to them all life, and breath, and all things, even to the evil and unthankful--He divided to them life. God’s giving us life is putting us in a capacity to serve and glorify him.This father, was approachable. Our heavenly father is approachable.
POINT 2: He was forgiving.
After the son got out there to find that he was a horrible steward over that which his father had given him he had to come running back for forgiveness. The son returned tattered tore raggedy and messed up full of explanation asking to be considered a servant, calling himself no longer worthy to be his son but his father interrupted him, and instead prepared a feast , a rich and royal provision made for him, according to his birth and quality, far beyond what he did or could expect. The prodigal son came home between hope and fear, fear of being rejected and hope of being received; but his father was not only better to him than his fears, but better to him than his hopes not only received him, but received him with respect.His father showed him the exact same love that God shows us.
We come to God tattered and tore some more raggedy than others, messed up, jacked up, many at a loss for words because we have lived life thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to however, Romans 12:3 warns us against this. But God receives us with open arms ready to forgive us of our sins. When God forgives the sins of true penitence, he forgets them, he remembers them no more, they shall not be mentioned against them, but God does for those who return to their duty, and cast themselves upon his mercy, abundantly above what they are able to ask or think. Our Heavenly Father shows us that main ingredient LOVE! The love described in Psalm 103:13-14, Psalm 118:18-19, Psalm 119:65-68 and Proverbs 3:11-12.
POINT 3: He had faith.
I can imagine the father had taught his son about the Lord. (Proverbs 22:6) Now he had to trust in letting him go that the son would experience life and return. This father had a saving faith and a living faith. Dads, you cannot be the best father possible unless you have invested and instilled in your children a saving faith. Regardless of how much you love and care for your children, if you have never introduced them to Christ you fall woefully short of God's expectation for you as a father. Your children need a father who knows the Father.
Praise God, dads, if you having a saving faith. But are you living for God, does your faith stand as an emblem of security for your children? Do your children see you pray on a daily basis? When they grow up, will they remember how you lived by faith. Fathers are teachers. From our fathers, we learn that life is opportunity. It must be lived with courage. Sons and daughters learn from fathers that you can't always take the easy route. The best life requires listening to God and being obedient to His will and to His way. Hebrews 12:6-11 offers a perfect explanation on The Discipline of God as it relates to a Father and His Children.
Conclusion: The parable represents God as a common Father to all mankind, to the whole family of Adam. We are all his offspring, we all have all one God created us and one Heavenly Father. We get lost sometimes but our heavenly Father is always standing there with His arms wide open to receive us just as the Father was in the parable. We serve a true and living God our Heavenly Father who encourages each of us through our relationship with his son, Jesus Christ our intercessor, our mediator, and promotes each of us to be the best that we can be. John 3:16-17