Sermon Summary: Trinity 3 – June 21, 2015 (Luke 15)
Who Knows the Father?
To know the father is to know the Son. This is the witness of the Bible and it is helpful for us to know who God really is. Every person in their conscience knows God gives rules, enforces them, demand that they be obeyed and will discipline those, punish those who don’t do it. But he who knows this does not know God as Father because he doesn’t know the Son. He knows only God as the two sons in Jesus’ parable knew their father. And that is not knowing Him as He is.
Knowing the Father Means More than Abusing the Father’s Gifts
The first son thought he was pursuing happiness, happiness that was doing what he wanted to do and what made him feel good. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. One way Scripture says it is this: his God was his belly. After he blows his money on whatever he wanted to do, he does learn that happiness didn’t exist in those things. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. You learn that happiness doesn’t lie within the drink when you’ve had the drink several times and you are not fulfilled. You learn that happiness does not lie within sex itself when you’ve had sex and you still aren’t fulfilled. The same is true for food, anger, gossip, money and seeking glory. You can find fulfillment in God who gives those gifts, but not in the gift itself.
Knowing the Father Means Knowing You Can’t Make Up for Your Sins
But how the son views the father is revealed even more when the son comes back. He thinks he can work his sins off somehow, to make it all better himself, to confess that he doesn’t deserve to be a son but he can do enough as a slave to make it worth his fathers. 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’
Knowing the Father Means Knowing His Mercy
The second son thought that his father was a father gave others what they deserved. And he deserved a lot, he thought he followed the rules and then he would get his reward. 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command. This time was a time for justice and revenge. This father was going to punish those who cheated him and make those suffer who have made him suffer. But then he sees how the father rejoices at the appearance of the younger son and welcome him back and loves him. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. He doesn’t know what his father is about and what it means to be this father’s son. The father is just, but he is also faithful to the promise that he will love his son and always welcome him back with an open heart.
The Father Teaches Us About Our Fatherhood
In that he shows us what “fatherhood” is to be about: seeking opportunity and opening doors for relationships, for sharing both hurts and happiness, sorrows and joys. The godly father is the one who keeps the door of his heart open to his children, a picture of God the Father’s open heart and constant invitation to us. As a shepherd seeks for the lost sheep, as a woman gets down on her knees to look for a lost coin, and as a father looks down the road, waiting for his lost son to come home again, so God is ever seeking, calling, inviting us into relationship and communion with Himself.
We Are Both of the Sons Who Sometimes Doesn’t Know the Father
Which son are you? I suppose it depends on the day or the minute. Do you just want to do what you want to do because it feels good and you want to do it? Do you think you can work your wrongs off and get, maybe not his full favor, but some of His favor? or do you demand the father give justice and revenge for those who are wrong? Do you want him to give them what they deserve and lay the smack down on the the wrong stuff they do in their life and to you?
We Are Also In Christ and Know the Father
But, dear saint, you are also the third son – the one who knows the Father because the Son has revealed the Father to you. The Father is Jesus is full of riches and he passes it out prodigally, freely and richly and undeservedly. Remember from last week who is invited to the party?
12He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
Jesus and the Father
Jesus makes it possible for the Father, who is loving and who is giving, and at the same time just, too, to without any inconsistency or shadow of doubt welcome us home when we have wandered. The Father and Son were together in this: that the Son alone must suffer and die for you. The Father loves the Son because he lays down His life. Jesus is the one who warms the heart of the Father in heaven, even while you are yet how far off, to run and forgive you, to welcome you home, and to feed you His costliest feast, not the fatted calf, but the only begotten Son, that you might be sons and daughters of the living God.
Freedom is Found in Knowing the Son and the Father
We are too often as reluctant to confess our sin as the younger son, and too often every bit as reluctant to forgive others as the older brother. But, because you know the Father, you, without fear, repent – even though it is scary to say, “I was wrong.” And you, without fear, forgive – even though forgiving, forgetting, and wiping clean the debt of sin others have from is also scary.
But you know the Father’s heart. The seeking, finding, forgiving, merciful, pardoning, sustaining, looking-on-you-in-your-affliction-and-pain-in-mercying, God of your salvation, mighty, caring Father. He gives it all to you today. Welcome to the feast.