Saturday, June 18, 2016

HEAVENLY FATHER’S PURE LOVE: SCS 88


My Father (1919-1989)

Sunday, June 19, 2016, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 88

PRAYER for Today:
Heavenly Father,
We know we are all broken and in need of your grace. Only You are able to heal the hearts and souls of all of us who are full of sin and bring light to the darkness in our lives. Help us Father to accept your freely given gift of grace that we might be reconciled to You. It is in Your Resurrected Living Son’s name we pray.
Amen.

SCRIPTURE LESSON for Today:  

Luke 15 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

15 Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3 So he told them this parable: 4 “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

The Parable of the Lost Coin

8 “Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9 When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

The Parable of the Prodigal and His Brother

11 Then Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. 14 When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. 16 He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. 17 But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will get up 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 like one of your hired hands.”’ 20 So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. 21 Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.
25 “Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. 27 He replied, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.’ 28 Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!’ 31 Then the father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.’ 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.’”

SERMON for Today:

This chapter in Luke is about the redemptive power of the love of a father for his child.  Whether you are talking about our Heavenly Father or a father here on earth.  Pure love or uncritical love has the power to produce hope in the most beaten, burdened and hopeless person on earth.  One sure way to put them the rest of the way in the ground if they are already down is to keep harping on how they got in whatever predicament they find themselves in.   Most people know how they got there.  What they cannot remember any longer is that there is hope.  

The story found in the Holy Scriptures is a story of hope.  The shepherd goes hunting the lost sheep.  The woman hunts the one lost coin.  The father welcomes home his lost son like a returning king.  Hope.  Now. Not in the bye and bye. Now.  The son was not told you have to wait to eat of the fatted calf until you get to heaven.  The blessings of having a relationship with Jesus and the Father does not start at death.  It starts at the birth of the new self in Christ Jesus.

1 Timothy 1:15 King James Version (KJV)

15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

Paul is no longer the chief sinner if he ever was.  I took his place.  However, I still have hope.  Abundant hope.  I have this abundant hope because my Heavenly Father has pure love for me.  Love that means I can eat the fatted calf if I come home with repentance in my heart and fall at His feet.  I know I am not worthy, but Jesus made it possible by His sacrifice for me.  I get to keep trying and the Holy Spirit, the Angels, Jesus, and God all are helping and pulling for me to succeed.  My team is a winning team even if I am a very weak link.  Knowing who is for me makes me a very important person and gives me hope to try anew each new morning.

You have the same team pulling for you.
May God bless each one of you this Father’s Day 2016

© Ed Cooper,June 19, 2016, Stoney Creek, Tennessee, Appalachia  
  All rights reserved
(Ed Cooper is a retired minister and mental health advocate. He lives with his wife Patty in the mountains of East Tennessee.)





No comments:

Post a Comment