11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
Week four and guess what? Satisfaction is still guaranteed! Well it it’s time to wrap up this series. It is time to bring this thing to a close. Our guiding scripture for this series has been John 6:35, when Jesus tells the Jews of His time I am the bread of life, whomever comes to me shall not hunger, and whomever believes in me shall never thirst. Someone say satisfaction guaranteed! In week one I told you that our satisfaction is guaranteed because God loves us and because God loves us we get His attention, we get His affection, and we get His action. In week two I shared with you that our satisfaction is guaranteed because God leads us. He leads us because He has a purpose, He has a plan, and He made a promise. And last week I flipped the script because I told you our satisfaction is guaranteed based on what we do instead of what God does. And we must long for God. Because when we long for God we’ll listen to God, we’ll learn from God, and we’ll lean on God. And as we close this out I want to let you know that our satisfaction is guaranteed because God, The creator of heaven and earth. The bright and morning star, the beginning and the end. The Alpha and the Omega. The king of kings and the Lord of lords longs for us! So not only do we long for him but He longs for us!
I read this in the daily journal by Sheridan Voysey….
Blaise Pascal once said the now-famous words: “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which [can] be filled . . . only be filled by God.” St. Augustine once prayed, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You.” In Revelation 21 we see the end of human longing—the heart at rest in relationship with its Creator in His eternal kingdom.
Something we spend less time thinking about, however, is the longing that God has—a longing that will also be fulfilled on that great day. Now, to be sure, an omnipotent, self-sufficient God doesn’t lack anything. We don’t meet God’s needs. But throughout biblical history, God has expressed His longing for us: “You will be Mine.”
• “I will claim you as My own people, and I will be your God” (Exodus 6:7).
• “I will be your God, and you will be My people” (Leviticus 26:12).
• “I will put My instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people” (Jeremiah 31:33).
• “You will live in Israel, the land I gave your ancestors long ago. You will be My people, and I will be your God” (Ezekiel 36:28).
For thousands of years, God has had one desire—a people drawn to Himself. This longing has fueled His missionary endeavors: sending prophets to call back His straying people, sending His Son to find His straying sheep (Luke 19:10). In the kingdom of God, His desire will finally be fulfilled: “I will be their God, and they will be My children” (Revelation 21:7).
God is our King and Judge, that’s true. But we often miss His Fatherly heart—a heart that longs for our free, loving, devoted allegiance to Him; a heart that awaits that longing to be fulfilled.
Has anyone in the room ever longed for someone or something before. It’s is like you just don’t feel right until you have that someone or something back.
You can’t eat.
You can’t sleep.
You can’t function.
You don’t feel right.
Something is missing.
And this is how this father felt in the absence of his son. This is how God feels about us before we are saved and when we’ve gone astray. This parable is just an example or an illustration about God’s longing for His children. Shall we look at the text.
The entire 15th chapter of Luke is dedicated to parables and/or stories about something being lost and then found. The stories describe the deep longing that the people had for the things that they had lost. One person lost a coin, another lost a sheep, and another lost a son. Now we have all heard the story of the prodigal son. If you have not heard the story before, let me give you the cliff notes or the abbreviated version so that we can get to the heart of the sermon. There is a man that has two sons, and the youngest son asked his father if he could have his inheritance early. This young man was extremely bold or extremely stupid. Anyway his father said yes, gave him his inheritance. The young man left for a distant country and squandered all of his money on wild living. He found himself in a desperate situation.
He had no money.
No place to live.
He was down and he was out.
So he hired himself out and ended up in a field feeding pigs, and he longed for the food that the pigs were eating, but no one would give him anything.
When he came to himself.
When he came to his senses.
When he realized what a fool he had been.
When he realized how much he messed up, he thought to himself, I should go back to my father and work for him, even his servants have food to spare. So he was going through the scenario in his mind of what he would say to his father. He was practicing his lines. Father I have sinned against you and heaven and I am no longer worthy to be called your son, make me like one of your servants. So when he got his lines just right he headed home to his father. Now when his father seen him in the distance he was filled with compassion. He ran to him, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son spoke his prepared lines, father I have sinned against heaven and against you, I am no longer worthy to be called your son. But his father told his servants go and get the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found. And they began to celebrate. When the older brother came home from work, he was like what in the world is going on. And one of the servants told him that his brother has come home and the we’re celebrating his return. This infuriated the older brother and he refused to go to the party. So his father goes out to plead with him to come in and the brother expresses his feelings. All these years I’ve been here working for you. Being faithful to you, and you never gave me a celebration like this but this son that has wasted your money on who knows what gets this great celebration. The father said son you are always with me and everything I have is yours, but we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.
Now although the text does not explicitly say this, I think that it is safe to believe by the father’s reaction to his son’s return that he longed for his son. This is evident in the way he ran to his son when he saw him.
How he embraced him.
How he kissed him.
How he gave him the best robe.
How he put a ring on his finger.
How he put sandals on his feet.
How he celebrated his return.
None of that would have occurred if the father was not longing for his son. And beloved God feels the same way about us. Look at your neighbor and tell them God longs for you. And because he longs for you your satisfaction is guaranteed. And since he longs for us these three things happen.
He searches for us…. I just have to believe that this father searched for his son. As excited as he was when he saw his son, I think it is safe to assume that he searched for his son.
He thought his son was gone.
He thought his son was lost.
He thought his son was dead.
And most parents are going to search for their children if they haven’t heard from them in a while. And I truly believe that God searches for his children as well. He did it with Adam and Eve in the garden after they had sinned (notice I said they…). Because the Bible says when he came looking for them they hid in the bushes because they were naked and God called to the man, where are you? And if he searched for them after their sin I truly believe that he searches for us as well. Now don’t get it twisted, God does not search for you and I as one who does not know where we are. I mean He is God. He knows all. He knew where Adam and Eve were when they hid in the bushes. But He searches for us in the sense of meeting us where we are to let us know that there is no place that we can go, where He won’t go to get us. He searches for us. And because He searches for us these three things that happen.
First of all He see us. Just like the father saw his son in the distance, God see us.
He see us and everything that we do.
He sees the ups and the downs.
He sees the highs and the lows.
He sees the good times and the bad times.
He sees us at our worst and he sees us at our best.
He sees us for who we really are, not who we pretend or try to be.
But the important thing is He sees us.
How many times have you been in a room full of people and felt all alone?
How many times have you been in a relationship and felt all by yourself?
How many times have you been around coworkers and felt as if no one valued your opinion?
How many times have you felt as if you did not exist?
How many times have you felt like nobody sees you?
Well I stopped by today to let you know that God sees you?
But not only does God see us but God sprints to us. He meets us right where we are. I am in the book. When the man sees his son the Bible says that he ran to him. Is there anybody in the room today excited about the fact that God will run to you. God will sprint to you. God will come to you. Think about it, there are a number of stories where people brought their issues to Jesus, but there are just as many stories of Jesus going to the people that needed him as well.
He went to Zacheuas’ house.
He went to Lazarus’ tomb.
He went to the dead girls house.
He went to the disciples on the lake walking on the water.
God will meet you right where you are. So that means you don’t have to get it together before you come to God. If you have to get it together before you come to God you will never come to God. This is a trick and lie of the enemy. God sprints to us right where we are.
So God see us, God sprints to us and then God shows us.
He shows us just how much we mean to him.
Just how much he loves us.
Just how much he misses us.
Just how much he longs for us.
Just like the father when he sees his son, then sprints to his son, and then shows his son how much he means to him. The scripture says he was filled with compassion for his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Now you know that grown men don’t usually hug and kiss their grown sons, but this is how much this father longed for his son. I can’t pay Noah to kiss me. But I hug and him and Elijah all the time. I tell them I love them all the time. And they asked me once why I did this so much, and I told them I do it because my father rarely did it to me.
He wasn’t a kisser.
He wasn’t a hugger.
He wasn’t an expresser of his feeling.
He rarely directly told me how he felt…. And I don’t want there to be a doubt in my boys minds that their daddy loves them. And that’s the way God feels about us. He shows us all the time how much he loves us. For God… God shows us!
God searches for us, and once He finds us He secures us. He affirms us. He lets us know without a shadow of a doubt that we belong to him.
That He is our God and we are His people.
That we are His children and He is our father.
I can just hear this father saying don’t worry about what you’ve done.
Don’t worry about what you’ve said.
Don’t worry about what people say.
Don’t worry about the past.
You’re home now and daddy has your back.
I’ll take care of everything.
And isn’t that what God does for us.
He keeps us.
He comforts us.
He wraps his arms around us.
He reassures us that everything is going to be alright.
He secures us and does this in three ways.
First He stays with us. He said that He would never leave us or forsake us. And this father could have easily shunned his son for his mistakes, but he forgave him and stayed right by his side. He probably watched his son sleep those first couple of nights just to make sure that he was ok, and he was really home. I am so glad that God stays with us. If someone would have pulled one eighth of the stuff that we’ve pulled on God we would have left in a New York minute. But God stays with us. Think of all the times you mess up and God stayed.
All the times we fell short of His glory.
All the mistakes we made.
All the times we failed.
All the times we said the wrong thing.
All the times we did the wrong things.
All the time we went to the wrong place.
All the times we had a bad attitude.
All the times we refused to forgive.
All the times we held a grudge.
All the times we were the cause of the drama.
Someone give God praise for the simple fact that in spite of ourselves God stays with us.
God stays with us and God speaks for us. The father tells his servants to get his son the finest robe, put a ring on his finger, and sandals on his feet. The father speaks and things happen. When God speaks things happen. He spoke the entire world into existence and this same God speaks for us. He makes sure that we have everything that we need and He does it just by speaking. I am so glad that my God speaks for us.
God stays with us, God speaks for us, and God stands up for us. When the older brother heard what was gong on he was furious and acted like a fool. So his father had to check him. He said, son you are always with me and everything I have is yours, but we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again, he was lost and now is found. And the same way this father stands up for his son is the same way that Yahweh stands up for us.
He told us that He would make our enemies our foot stool.
He said that He would prepare a table for us in the presence of our enemies.
He said that the battle is not ours it’s belongs to the Lord.
So, I am going to give God praise because He stands up for me.
God searches for us, God secures us, and God sustains us. Sustain means to give support or relief to. Or to supply with sustenance or the necessities of life. Is that not what the father did for his son. He runs to him, hugs him, kisses him, and then he sustains him. He gives him a robe, gives him sandals, and prepares him a meal. Psalms 119:175 says let me live that I may praise you and may your laws sustain me. I am so glad that God sustains us. He supplies all of our needs according to his riches in glory. He sustains us in three ways.
God Strengthens us. God sustains us by strengthening. By giving us what we need He strengthens us. I am sure the son was weak, and famished, and suffering from malnutrition. So his father feeds him giving him strength. His father covers him giving him strength. Psalms 147:13 He strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you. That’s why we can do all things through Christ that strengthens us. Does anyone know what I’m taking about this morning?
When I’m down He lifts me up.
When I’m out He brings me in.
When I am broke He makes me whole.
When I am lost He makes sure that I’m found.
When I’m weak He makes me strong.
Is there anybody here that is grateful for the fact that God strengthens us!
God strengthens us and then God showers us. This father showered his son with his love. He didn’t just give him clothes to wear. He said get him the finest robe. He made sure that his feet were covered and he threw him a party because he wanted to celebrate the homecoming of his son. This son that was dead is alive, was lost and now is found. He showers his son just like God showers us with his love.
Just like He showered the Israelites with manna and quail He showers us.
Just like He showered the 5,000 with two fish and five loaves of bread He showers us.
Just like He showered the blind with vision He showered us.
Just as He showered the diseased with healing He showers us. God showers us.
So God strengthens us. Then God showers us. Last but not least God seals us. What are you talking about preacher? Let me show you. The father put a ring on his finger. And considering the fact that this seems to be a very wealthy family the ring probably had the family crest on it. In which they would use to place their seal on letters and contracts or other important documents. So by placing this ring on his son he was sealing in the fact that all was forgiven. He was sealing in the fact…
You are back in your proper place.
You are in the family again.
You are my son.
And I am you father.
Just like God tells us, the past is gone.
The old has past the new has come.
I will be your God and you will be my people!
God longs for us so He searches for us, He secures us, and He seals us!
There once was a man named George Thomas, pastor in a small New England town.
One Easter Sunday morning he came to the Church carrying a rusty, bent, old bird cage, and set it by the pulpit. Eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, Pastor Thomas began to speak….
“I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me swinging his bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright. I stopped the lad and asked, “What do you have there, son?”
“Just some old birds,” came the reply.
“What are you going to do with them?” I asked.
“Take ‘em home and have fun with ‘em,” he answered. I’m gonna tease ‘em and pull out their feathers to make ‘em fight. I’m gonna have a real good time.”
“But you’ll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do then?”
“Oh, I got some cats,” said the little boy. “They like birds. I’ll take ‘em to them.”
The pastor was silent for a moment. “How much do you want for those birds, son?”
“Huh?? !!! Why, you don’t want them birds, mister.
They’re just plain old field birds. They don’t sing. They ain’t even pretty!”
“How much?” the pastor asked again.
The boy sized up the pastor as if he were crazy and said, “$10?
The pastor reached in his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill.
He placed it in the boy’s hand. In a flash, the boy was gone.
The pastor picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot.
Setting the cage down, he opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out, setting them free.
Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the pulpit, and then the pastor began to tell this story:
One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation.
Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting. “Yes, sir, I just caught a world full of people down there. Set me a trap, used bait I knew they couldn’t resist. Got ‘em all!”
“What are you going to do with them?” Jesus asked.
Satan replied, “Oh, I’m gonna have fun! I’m gonna teach them how to marry and divorce each other, how to hate and abuse each other, how to drink and smoke and curse. I’m gonna teach them how to invent guns and bombs and kill each other. I’m really gonna have fun!”
“And what will you do when you are done with them?” Jesus asked.
“Oh, I’ll kill ‘em,” Satan glared proudly.
“How much do you want for them?” Jesus asked.
“Oh, you don’t want those people. They ain’t no good. Why, you’ll take them and they’ll just hate you.
They’ll spit on you, curse you and kill you. You don’t want those people!!”
“How much? He asked again. Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, “All your blood, tears and your life.”
Jesus said, “DONE!”
And when He said done, it was finished and as long as we believe, just like those field birds we will be free!
So you see Beloved God longs for us so much that in spite of us He still sent Jesus to die for us…
So it does not matter what you’ve done we will be His people and He will be our God.
It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve messed up.
It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve fallen short.
It doesn’t matter how far we’ve gone.
It doesn’t matter how dark it looks.
It doesn’t matter how impossible it seems.
God longs for us and our satisfaction is guaranteed!
And because my satisfaction is guaranteed I’m going to give God praise. You know why.
Because from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same the name of Jesus is worthy to be praised.
Oh magnify the lord with me, let us exalt his name together.
I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart.
I will enter His courts with praise.
I will say this is the day that the lord has made.
I will rejoice for He has made me glad.
Has He made anyone in the room and online glad today?
If so give him praise
If not give him praise anyway because your gladness is on the way!
I love you Lord
And I lift my voice
To worship you
Oh my soul rejoice
Take joy my king
In what you hear
Let it be a sweet sweet sound in your ear.