A Father and His Prodigal Children

Dr. Brent Aucoin June 16, 2019 Luke 15: 1–2, 11–32
Outline

Luke 15:1-2, 11-32 - Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” 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; 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.’ ”

3 truths about our Heavenly Father and His children that can transform you, your fathering, and your family

I. Recognize the Problem With the Father’s Sons—His Children Seek the Father’s Things and Not the Father

A. The younger son is the “immoral/irreligious” person who seeks to use God’s things for his own pleasure

B. The elder son is the “religious” person who seeks to impress God to gain access to God’s things and exalt himself

None of the father’s sons were concerned about simply being with the father himself.

Romans 1: 25 - For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

Psalms 73:25 - Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.

Psalm 16:11 - You will make known to me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

II. Understand the Consequences For the Father’s Sons

A. The younger son demanding earthly pleasures though temporarily “rich” became “lost,” “in a far country,” impoverished, enslaved, polluted—alienated from his father

B. The elder son seeking to earn earthly pleasures became blind, embittered, entitled—also alienated from his father

III. Embrace the Solution For the Father’s Sons—The Father’s “Prodigal/Extravagant” Mercy

Guests and regulars, thank you for being with us on this Father’s Day.

If your father is still living and walking with the Lord, my hope is that you will have a blessed day in honoring him and thanking the Lord for him.

If your father is still living and not walking with the Lord, my prayer today is that you will cry out to the Lord for his salvation and if possible love him with the love of Christ today.

If your father is deceased, I pray for the Lord’s comfort for you today.

If you can say, I never really had a father, or my earthly father harmed me instead of protected me, my prayer today is that you would look to our perfect Heavenly Father and that He would raise up examples of godly fathers figures around you.

Whatever your situation is today, I know that God has a special grace tailored for each one here.

I am Pastor Brent Aucoin and I serve as the Pastor of Seminary and Soul Care ministries.

I want to thank our church family for the enormous outpouring of support for my family and me during the recent unexpected death of my mother.

On May 22nd my mother had an outpatient procedure. There were complications and on May 23rd at 10am a doctor told me there was no imminent danger. Four hours later by 2:00 pm she was in the presence of Her Savior.

My family two weeks prior had just experienced the joy of being with my mother. My mom and my sister (seen in these pictures) traveled from Oklahoma to Indiana to see my son graduate from Purdue University.

I am thankful for those three days I had with my mom. Those days were filled with laughter and rejoicing. Some of my last words to her were “mom, you and my sister should travel more since you have the time now and you have the financial means.”

I did not know that God would have her travel home to heaven.

The last few weeks, I spent in Oklahoma with my wife and my only sister where I performed my mom’s funeral and cleaned out her house which had 50 year’s worth of memories for my sister and me.

Janet, my daughter Karis, my son Josh traveled back from Oklahoma last weekend with a U-Haul’s worth of stuff (from both my mom and dad), my mom’s car, and broken hearts.

One of the items I brought back was my mom’s Oklahoma hat that she loved wearing. She looked better in it than I do.

If you are wondering why there is a bear in the background of my photo, the church at which my mom’s funeral was had VBS that week.

Another of the items that I brought back was this cartoon that someone had made of my dad who died five years ago.

Dad was a pharmacist and an innovative one at that.

He was the first pharmacist in SW Oklahoma to implement a computerized system back in the day when computers were as big as this pulpit.

He also led the way in something known back in the 80’s and 90’s as “compounding.” Compounding was producing mixtures of elements to create an ointment or substance that would have some medicinal benefit for the customer. And that is what this cartoon shows among other things.

As I mentioned we brought back a U-Haul’s worth of stuff and my mom’s car.

These items along with the inheritance my sister and I will receive will be a blessing to me, my sister and mom’s grandchildren.

I found myself over the last couple of weeks looking at all this stuff, including the mom’s nice car and thinking….I don’t want this stuff…I want my mom and dad.

If I could trade, I would trade my mom’s hat and car for my mom.

If I could trade, I would trade my inheritance for my dad.

  • My mom’s hat is not my mom
  • My mom’s car is not my mom
  • My dad’s cartoon picture is not my dad.
  • I cannot pick up the phone and call my mom’s hat and have a discussion
  • I cannot pick up the phone and have a conversation with my dad’s picture

None of these items are a replacement for my mom or my Dad or their presence in my life.

I want you to imagine for a moment the following scenario….

What if you and I said,

“ I would rather have my mom’s hat, car than my mom”

“I would rather have my dad’s wealth than my dad”

Do you know what that means—I wish my mom or dad were dead.

You may say that is shocking and nobody would ever say that.

Well, the fact is all of us children, and we are all children of somebody, have all done exactly that….

However, in all of human child history, there has only been one son, one child, who only wanted the presence of His Father and not His stuff….

With those thoughts in mind please turn in your Bibles to Luke chapter 15 on this Father’s Day.

That is on page 60 in the back section, the New Testament, in the Bible in the chair in front of you.

Today we are considering

A Father and His Prodigal Children

If you are new to the Bible, let me just give a brief overview of the Bible.

The Bible that is in the chair in front of you has a front section call the Old Testament.

That section lays the foundation for God’s solution for man’s problem—You may say—I don’t know there is a problem. We will talk about that today…

God’s solution for man’s problem is a son, a child of the Heavenly Father know as Jesus Christ.

  • The OT could be summarized as Jesus Christ, the son of God, predicted
  • The first four books of the NT, called the Gospels, in which we find ourselves today in Luke, could be summarized as Jesus Christ, the son of God, revealed.
  • The remaining books of the Bible could be summarized as Jesus Christ, the son of God, explained.

So that means in Luke, we are in the section that could be summarized as “Jesus Christ the Son of God” revealed.

In the Gospels in including Luke, God’s solution to man’s problem is being presented to the world.

And the world, humanity, in the book of Luke is wrestling with WHO JESUS IS and WHAT God the Father’s plan really is.

In the process we learn about who we really are.

And we see all of this in the fairly well know story about the Prodigal son.

The story is called the parable of the prodigal son.

A parable is a story set in an earthly context that illustrate God’s truths

Let’s read….

Luke 15:1-2, 11-32

  • Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him.
  • Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

(these are the people that the religious folks would consider beneath them…all of us tend to struggle with “those people” who we consider are beneath us).

(The Pharisees and scribes are the religious, moral folks, looking down upon the “sinners”)

Now how many distinct groups of people do we have here? Two

The religious folks and the irreligious folks….

Now, let’s go to verse 11…

….

11 And He said, “A man had two sons.

How many sons do we have….TWO!

12 “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.

The younger son’s request is unheard of. It was equivalent of wishing the father dead. Note that the father, however, divided the wealth “Between them”.

The elder brother is included in the “them.”

What should have been the older brother’s response to the younger brother’s request? “NO way….that is wicked….I will not stand for this”

Is the elder brother in good relationship to Father? No…!!!

In that culture…the father would have the right and be expected to disown and severely discipline the sons for this kind of treatment

13 “And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together (The inheritance/property was sold. This would have been scandalous in the community. Like me have an auction for my mom’s hat, car, dad’s picture while they were still living.)

and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living.

14 “Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished.

15 “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.

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.

17 “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!

18 ‘I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight;

19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.” ’

The son was thinking of being a hired man—not even a servant who lived in the household. The idea is that he would “pay back” his father.

20 “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.

While still a long way off!!! His father saw and came out of the house and ran after him, embraced and kissed. Is this a picture of a dignified patriarch?

What picture of the father is being painted?

Just as the son was extravagant in his loose living, the father was over the top with extravagant compassion and grace!!!

In fact the term “prodigal” which is not use in this story is a term that is used to describe extravagant and excess….

In the same way that the son was a prodigal in excess in his outrageous living….guess who also was extravagant and a prodigal…the Father in His grace…

What would the community have said of this Patriarchal Father gathering up the hems of his garment and running to this immoral son?—undignified, wrong, the son should grovel do hard labor…..and make it up to the father….

21 “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.’

What has changed in the son’s confession? He drops the fact that he has to “make” it up to the father….

What stimulated that change?

22 “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;

23 and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate;

24 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.

Notice the beautiful picture here…of putting on the father’s best feast robe covering his filth and having a community celebration. –the fatten calf would be enough to feed a hundred…

25 “Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing.

26 “And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be.

27 “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.’

28 “But he became angry and was not willing to go in;

In a “community” celebration the elder brother to not be a part of the father’s feast was highly insulting.

and his father came out and began pleading with him.

What has the father now done with both the younger and the older? Come out to meet the sons…

29 “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;

Notice the disrespect.—“Look here”— His pleasure was not in being with the father but using the father’s stuff in partying with his friends.

30 but when this son of yours came (Notice “this son of yours” not “my brother”.), who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’

31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours.

The father’s presence and the father’s wealth were his. Remember the father had divided the inheritance.

32 ‘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.’ ”

Who else is in a far/distance country and can not celebrate…the elder son….!!!

In the time that we have left let’s consider very simply…

Three truths about our Heavenly Father and His Children that can transform you, your fathering, and your family

I. Recognize The Problem with the Father’s Sons—His Children Seek the Father’s Things and Not the Father

In this parable—an earthly story that illustrates heavenly truth…

Who is the Father? God!

Who are the Sons? Us!

And, in general, the TWO sons, representing humanity fall into TWO categories….

And while the story seems to highlight the extravagant loose living of the younger son…

The story leaves us with a disturbing question regarding the elder son…what is his anger all about….What is the very problematic attitude toward His Father?

Ultimately, both of the Father’s sons have issues….

And that means that if these sons represent us….then we all have issues!!!!

First…

A. The younger son is the “immoral/irreligious” person who seeks to use God’s things for his own pleasure

Most of you here today, if you are in church, probably would not consider yourself in this category…

Maybe you came from a life of loose, extravagant living for earthly pleasures and treasures but now you are “in church.”

Or maybe you came to church because you want to get out of a life of loose living for earthly pleasures and treasures….and you want to be better….

You may be thinking about the younger son…living for the pleasures of the world…that’s not me…or that’s in my past…or that is why I am here to change from that because I don’t want to be like “that person”

And we all know who “that person” is…..right….!?

The black sheep of the family

The problematic person in the family

That person in the church or the community that is difficult

to deal with…

But one surprising element in this story is the elder son…not the younger son….

B. The elder son is the “religious” person who seeks to impress God to gain access to God’s things and exalt himself.

What was the motivation for the elder son’s good moral behavior toward his Father?

In other words…why did the elder son attempt to do all the right things?

Why did the elder son, so to speak, “go to church” and try to be “good”

He did not care about his father but he also simply cared about “His father’s things.”

  • The elder son never rebuked his brother upon the division of the inheritance.
  • The elder son revealed his true motivations when he said, “You never even gave me a goat to go and party with my friends.”—His delight was not in being with the father, the relationship with the father…but the elder brother’s delight was trying to impress the father….in order to get the fathers things….
  • None of the Father’s sons were concerned about simply being with the Father Himself.
  • Not as the younger son he had alienated himself
  • Not as the elder son he had alienated himself

We are the Father’s children today.

From the beginning of creation….when God created Adam and Eve…We have thought that we needed more than the Father….

Adam and Eve thought if they just had the fruit they would be like God…and they would be more satisfied and somehow more complete.

The Problem with the Father’s children,

you and I,

and your children

is that we all seek the earthly pleasures and treasures

and even if we strive to be religious, often our delight is

trying to impress God to get his stuff

The Father’s children, the father’s sons both the immoral and the so called “moral,” our problem stated clearly is in Romans 1:25…

Romans 1: 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

From birth we do not proclaim….

Psalms 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.

Psalm 16:11 You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Father’s today what do you want more than God

A prestigious job?

Sexual pleasure?

A certain type of spouse ?

Your own children who obey and don’t seek pleasures and

treasures themselves?

Convenience?

And because of we seek these things and not God this…let’s …

II. Understand The Consequences for the Father’s Sons

A. The younger son demanding earthly pleasures though temporarily “rich” became “lost,” “in a far country,” impoverished, enslaved, polluted—alienated from his father

B. The elder son seeking to earn earthly pleasures became blind, embittered, entitled—also alienated from his father

If our delight is in anything other than God Himself…these false gods will always leave us

Lost

In a far country

Spiritually impoverished

enslaved

Polluted

Blind

Embittered

Entitled

Alienated from God

This morning on Father’s day, I want you to hear a story about a man and his family named Buono….Listen to the testimony to see how this earthly father sought the Heavenly Father’s things and not the Father and how this impacted on his earthly family…Then listen to what changed both him and his family….

INSERT VIDEO TESTIMONY HERE

I want to thank The Buono family, Christian Aprea, and Elise Karis for being vulnerable with us today.

And I want to thank Jeremy Vegter who put the video testimony together.

The first truth about our Heavenly Father and His Children that can transform you, your fathering, and your family is

  1. Recognize the problem with the Father’s children—this is in all of us including your children…it was in Mark Buono and then it was in all of his children….

The second is to

  1. Understand the consequences—this problem produces—ultimate alienation from God…and its chaotic consequences..

But you saw the solution did you not?

The third truth that can transform you, your fathering and your family this father’s day is to

III. Embrace The Solution for the Father’s Sons—The Father’s “Prodigal/Extravagant” Mercy

The story of the prodigal son was meant to provoke in us surprise—not that someone could wish his father dead and take his stuff….Really that is what we all do….with our heavenly father…and sometimes earthly parents…

The turn of this story, the pivot of this story, the surprise of this story…is how the father who had every right to disowned both sons

  1. Disown the younger son who wished him dead to take his stuff
  2. Disown the elder son who did not rebuke his younger brother and did not come to the father’s celebration… in essence manifesting the same spirit as the younger son….

But the true surprise of this story….is the picture of a venerated patriarch of a community, picking up his robes and running in an undignified way to embrace this filthy, corrupt, dishonorable son and then to everyone’s surprising….clothing the polluted dirty younger son with His finest robes, putting on royal jewelry, and throwing a feast that would feed a hundred…

That is the surprise…..that is what the older son who was trying to earn his father’s favor could not imagine…..the relationship that the elder son had with the father was not based the grace of the father but his own attempt to get his father impressed with him. ….

If prodigal means “extravagant” or “lavish” then the younger son’s “prodigalness” in immoral living is outmatched by the father’s “prodigalness” in his grace…

Where sin increased….grace increased even more….

Folks, the father in this story provided

the best clothes that covered the filthiness of the immoral son

Folks, the father in this story related to his sons in terms of grace which

the older son did not understand.

How is it that the Father could relate to his sons in grace?

Where is the justice for the outrageous sins of the younger and the elder sons?

How can the Father do this?

Folks, well, the one telling the story of the prodigal sons was himself a son….

Jesus Christ was the unique Son of God different from the two sons in this story…

Jesus Christ was the only Son of God who only and always desired one thing….not the father’s things…but the father….

He was the true righteous son unlike the younger and the elder….

When He was offered all the world’s pleasures and treasures…by the tempter Satan….He said…Thou should worship God alone…

The true Son…the righteous son… did not seek to be good to get the Father’s things but because he loved the Father for Himself….not his stuff….

The righteous son… never asked….Father what did you give me???!!!…..in fact….The moment in his life that formed his greatest distress was not when he was loosing some earthly pleasure or treasure but when on the cross….He was alienated from the father’s presence and he lamented not the loss of some earthly pleasure but the pleasure of his Father…

“My God my God why have you forsaken me…”

The only righteous son….was alienated from the father….

But because the true, righteous son…took the consequences of our alienation from the father….for our seeking the father’s things and not the father…so that we ultimately could have a relationship with the Father….

He took on the pollution of our worshipping of all but God (there is the Father’s justice) so that the Father could cloth us in the garments of Christ’s Righteousness…(there is the Father’s grace)

Just as the Father clothed the polluted son in this story.

And the Father invites the elder son to consider the basis of his relationship with the Father….

Friends, it is now time for some Father’s day questions:

  • Do you recognize the problem in your children—living for all of God’s earthly creation and not living for God….why are your children that way…but their father you are that way….
  • Do you understand that the consequences are not just earthly disastrous but eternally disastrous…?
  • Have you considered the prodigal mercy of God as the only solution for your eternal salvation and for your family….

We wish God were dead but we want his stuff…

  • Gospel appeal
  • Believer appeal

Dr. Brent Aucoin

Roles

President, Instructor - Faith Bible Seminary

Pastor of Seminary and Soul Care Ministries - Faith Church

Bio

B.S.: Mechanical Engineering, Oklahoma State University
M.S: Engineering, Purdue University
M.Div.: Central Seminary
Th.M.: Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Ph.D.: Baptist Bible Seminary (Clarks Summit, PA)

Dr. Brent Aucoin joined the staff of Faith Church in Lafayette, IN in July of 1998. Brent is the President of Faith Bible Seminary, Chair of the Seminary’s M.Div. Program, Pastor of Seminary and Soul Care at Faith Church (Lafayette, IN); ACBC certified; instructor and counselor at Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries; and a retreat and conference speaker. He and his wife, Janet, have two young adult children.

View Pastor Aucoin's Salvation Testmony Video