Sunday, November 12, 2017

Our Gracious Heavenly Father

Temple Baptist Church - 11-12-2017
Genesis 3, Luke 15:17-24


A.  I have spent several months preaching on both “Walking With God” and “Walking Away From God.” 

1.  At this point, let me say one more time that “there is no benign state of neutrality with God!”  We either walk with God or we walk away from God; we are either for Him or we are against Him; we either gather or we scatter.

2. While we can walk away from God, we can never walk away from the Voice of God: the inward voices of the Holy Spirit and the engrafted Word of God.

B.  I used both stories to show attributes of God from two sides.  There are both similarities and contrasts in these two stories.

1.  One walked away in Shame.  Adam and Eve tried to cover their shamefulness and hid from God.  God came to them and called. 

2.  One walked away in Shamelessness.  The Prodigal Son went to a “far country” and ultimately ended up in the hog pen.  The Prodigal’s father did not come to where he was but waited for him to come to himself and come home.

3.  Adam and Eve answered the Voice of God when He called and got right with the Lord. 

4.  The Prodigal Son came to himself but had a long walk home. 

5.  With both, there was still a price to be paid.

C.  The moral of these two stories is:

1.  We cannot hide from the Voice of God if we are saved!  There is an old saying: “You can run but you can’t hide!”

2.  We do not have to go to the hog pen before we get right but God will let us if that is what we desire.

3.  One of the great dangers of walking away from God is not returning.  Not every child of God gets right and even a hog pen will not change their direction.  They get an early departure from this life if they are truly saved.

D.  Now, let us take a short look at two things:  1)  How the Prodigal got right  2)  what he found when he got home.

1.  How the Prodigal Son got right.

a.  He Realized His Mistake – vs. 17  “when he came to himself”  (He came to himself – means he wasn’t thinking!  It is a shame that the word “when” must be there.)

b.  He Resolved – vs. 18 “I will arise and go to my father”  (He knew who his real friend was. His Father would never forsake him.)

c.  He Repented – vs. 18-19  “sinned against heaven and before thee”  (He realized that his sin was against God as well as his earthly father.  When we sin against God, we also hurt our families.)

d.  He Returned – vs. 20 “he arose, and came to his father”  (He swallowed his pride and admitted his wrong.  It was a long way back.  A far country is often a long journey.  When we get right with the Lord, there are often things that follow us the rest of the days of our lives.)

e.  He Was Restored – vs. 22  “robe…ring…shoes”  (The father was more than gracious, he was forgiving.)

2.  What the prodigal found when he came home.

a.  A waiting Father.  Listen to His Voice or a Long Walk Home, God is always graciously waiting.  Luke 15:20a  And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him …

Hebrews 13:5  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.  (Never means never!  Some people just don’t get it, but I am glad that I do!!)

Isaiah 49:15-16  Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.  (16)  Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.

b.  A loving Father:  Hide from God or Hog Pen, God still loves His children.  Luke 15:20b   … and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

Jeremiah 31:3  The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.  (God’s love neither changes nor diminishes.)

c.  A forgiving Father: the Prodigal was completely restored to his original position.  Luke 15:22  But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

Ephesians 4:32  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.  (We are to forgive as God forgives: immediately and completely.  What a forgiving Father we have.  70x7 each day is more than enough and if we go beyond that, He still forgives.)

d.  A gracious Father:  A Joyful Life or a Life of Miserya joyful life awaited the returning son.  Luke 15:23-24  And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:  (24)  For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

1 John 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (We confess and forsake, He is faithful and just to forgive, cleanse, and fully restore) 

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