God’s Unconditional Love

Public Reading: Luke 15:1-32

Sermon Introduction:

•    Three Parables; One Message

o    God’s unconditional love

•    A lot of times these three are treated separated

o    Especially the prodigal son

•    Yet they are really all connected to each other

o    As is Luke 16 and the first ten verses of Luke 17
o    Today we are going to focus on the three parables
o    Next week we will cover Luke 16 through Luke 17:10

•    Now before we dive into the first parable, let us look at the setting

o    Luke 15:1-2

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

o    Jesus was drawing the wrong kinds of people to himself.
o    The religious leaders may have been more hospitable or open to his message if only he would be harder on those who didn’t obey the rules
o    Their primary debate with Jesus that he received sinners and ate with them – granting them grace instead of punishment.
o    And in response to this grumbling, Jesus told these stories:

Parable One: Lost Sheep

•    What man among you would not leave your 99 sheep in the open country and go and find the lost?
•    How much more does heaven rejoices over one sinner repenting than 99 who needs no repentance?

Parable Two: Lost Coin

•    What women among you, having 10 coins and losing one, will not light a lamp and search for the lost coin?
•    How much more does the angels of God rejoices over one sinner who repents?

Parable Three: Lost Son

•    There was a man with two sons
•    The youngest one wished that his father was dead so that he could have his inheritance.
•    The father, knowing this, split his inheritance in half and gave it to his two sons
•    While the oldest stayed, the youngest left home and spent all his inheritance on parties, women and ‘good’ living
•    One day, while at the end of his rope, the young son decides to return home and beg for a job as a hired worker
•    As he neared his father’s house, his father sees him and runs out to meet him
•    He throws his arms around his son and hugs him – refusing to listen to the boy’s states about how unworthy he is
•    The father then throws a party for his youngest son who has returned
•    The eldest son hears about his and gets upset because his father never threw him a party while his youngest brother went out and shamed himself before returning
•    The father, saddened by this, goes out to his oldest son and tells him, “Everything I have is yours; but rejoice with me this day for your brother who was dead is now alive.”

Major Characters

•    The children of Israel

o    The sheep
o    The coins
o    The two sons

•    Sinners

o    The lost sheep
o    The lost coin
o    The lost son

•    Pharisees and scribes (God cares about these too! Jesus also hung out and ate with them!)

o    The 99 sheep
o    The 9 coins
o    The eldest son

•    God

o    The shepherd
o    The women
o    The father

The Point

•    Jesus was trying to get a point across the Pharisees, scribes and the other religious leaders

o   The point was that God loves His children unconditionally!!!

•    Take the last parable, as it is the most detailed,

o    Neither son in the parable fully understood the Father
o    They both thought that their father’s love was based upon performance

*    The youngest thought that since he had performance negativity, then his father would hate him
*    The oldest thought that since he had stayed with the father and work with him (i.e. obeyed the law and the prophets), then his father would love him

o    Both failed to realize that the father loved them both for who they were not what they did

*    I.e. they were his sons!!!

•    This is really, really important to fully grasp and understand

o    God loves each one of  us not because of anything we ever or will do, but because he made us
o    Romans 5:8 “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
o    This truth can be seen throughout the Bible

*    Adam and Eve – God loved them both before and after they turned their backs on Him
*    Abraham – He was an idol worshiper when God first called out to him; then he was a liar and a blunder; yet God loved him all the same
*    Moses – God saved him as a child, then Moses messed up and had to flee Egypt and living as a fugitive for 40 years. God goes out into the desert and find him, bring him back into full relationship with him
*    David – God chose him when he was barely old enough to do anything, just the youngest son and the runt of the liter;
*    And so and so on

o    Story after story of God loving us and pursuing us because of His love for us, not because of what we did or could do. Simply because He loves us

•    The Psalms are full of verses about God’s unfailing love

o    Psalm 13:5-6

5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing the LORD’s praise,
for he has been good to me.

o    Psalm 33:21-22

21 In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
22 May your unfailing love be with us, LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.

o    Psalm 36:6-8

6 Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
You, LORD, preserve both people and animals.
7 How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.

o    Psalm 52:8

8 But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
for ever and ever.

Love Changes Us

•    They both had to learn what it meant to be loved unconditionally
•    Consequences

o    Here’s another very important fact
o    Just because the father loves us unconditionally doesn’t mean that there isn’t consequences for our actions

*    The younger son still went through pain and sorrow before returning home

•    He also had to deal with the guilt and emotional scars on his soul for what he had done…
•    He had to overcome his fear of the father

*    While the eldest son’s live may look good on the outside, (i.e. he was still living in his father’s house), he had to give up trying to earn the father’s love

•    He had to let go of the judgmental mindset that refused to celebrate when his younger brother came home
•    Remember, the oldest brother was a typecast for the religious leaders who were trying hard to follow the law of Moses
•    Yet in doing so, they missed the message of grace and love – it became about doing

•   We are going to talk more about the consequences of our action next week – followed by a period of self-examination through 1 Peter and guided by some personal devotions that are coming in…
•    Yet before we go there, it is of the uttermost importance that we all come to a deep, deep understanding about the love of God

o    He is passionately in love with us and loves us no matter what!

•    It is also important to note the order in with Jesus taught this message

o    Jesus starts with a message about God’s conditional love
o    Then he talks about the consequences of our actions
o    This is not the order that Josh picked – but the order in which Jesus taught!

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