Participants: Martin Fancher
Series Code: FC
Program Code: FC000291
00:30 Welcome to Faith Chapel.
00:32 My privilege to be here today.
00:34 My name is Poster Martin Fancher.
00:36 I Pastor the Defuniak Springs and Fort
00:38 Walton Beach, Florida, Seventh-day
00:40 Adventist Churches. It's my privilege to be
00:42 here to share with you a message important
00:44 to my heart and I hope to yours,
00:47 entitled the Father's love.
00:51 I was recently reading an article and ran
00:53 across a mother telling a story of
00:54 putting her daughter to bed.
00:56 As she put the daughter to bed,
00:58 she told the story of the Prodigal Son in
01:01 her own words to the daughter.
01:03 She wrote while putting my
01:04 Four-year-old daughter to bed.
01:06 I told her this story about a boy who ran
01:09 away from home. Who finally squandered
01:11 what money he had until he didn't even
01:14 have enough to eat. Had to go live and eat
01:17 with the pigs and finally he went home
01:20 to a dad who welcomed him home
01:22 with open arms. What do you think
01:25 about that? Well, the Four-year-old
01:27 fought and fought and finally came up and
01:30 said the lesson we learn is never leave
01:33 home without your credit card.
01:36 Well, that is a lesson that we can learn from
01:39 that story, but it's not quite how it works.
01:43 And I'm sure that people wish it were that easy.
01:45 Don't leave home without your credit card.
01:47 But when it comes to salvation and the
01:49 good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
01:52 I'm afraid it's even easier than that.
01:56 We're going to look at how God wants us to
01:59 live by comparing our lives with that of two
02:03 boys and their father found in the Gospel of Luke.
02:07 Let's take a look at the first few verses here
02:09 of Luke chapter 15 verses 11 through 16.
02:14 Then He said: A certain man had two sons.
02:17 And the younger of them said to his
02:19 father, Father, give me the portion of
02:21 goods that falls to me. So he divided to them
02:24 his livelihood. And not many days after,
02:27 the younger son gathered all together,
02:29 journeyed to a far country, and there
02:31 wasted his possessions with prodigal living.
02:34 But when he had spent all, there arose
02:36 a severe famine in that land and he
02:39 began to be in want. Then he went and
02:41 joined himself to a citizen of that country,
02:44 and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
02:47 And he would gladly had filled his stomach
02:49 with the pods that the swine ate, and no one
02:52 gave him anything. Wow! You must be
02:55 able to picture that by now.
02:56 First of all before we hold our breath here
02:59 it was common place back in biblical times
03:02 for a father to divide his wealth between
03:04 his sons. But still the sub text could easily
03:11 be seen that the sons didn't wanna wait for
03:14 the father's death. So he divides out
03:17 his living between the two sons.
03:19 He didn't just give the one to the son.
03:21 He gave to both sons and the Bible tells us
03:24 here that he went into a far country and he
03:28 wasted it on what the Bible calls prodigal living.
03:32 Well, the Bible doesn't give us
03:33 complete description of what this prodigal
03:35 living is, but if we use our imaginations I'm
03:38 sure you'll feed your some of that out.
03:40 He simply wasted his money, probably
03:43 doing all the things that he had wanted to
03:45 do in his heart, but felt compelled not to
03:47 do, because he was under his father's care
03:50 or too often isn't that how we lived here today.
03:54 We want to live the Christian life and do
03:57 the things that we want to do, yet in our
04:01 hallow hearts there maybe some wild oats
04:04 we wish to sow, but afraid to sow,
04:08 because of the circumstances we're in.
04:10 But God said it's not the outward appearance.
04:14 The Lord looks on the heart, so we can't fool
04:17 God when we have these secrete
04:19 thoughts and desires. He knows the inner
04:21 most desires of our heart, as He knew this
04:24 young man. And this young man left his
04:26 father and left the country with his
04:29 divided goods and he spent, spent, spent
04:33 until a famine came up. And then of course as
04:36 the Bible tells us, he didn't even have
04:38 enough to eat and so he went and lived
04:40 with the swine, the pigs to eat.
04:42 What the pigs would eat and of course we
04:44 know pigs eat what's leftover the scraps
04:47 and slop. Doesn't sound too appetizing
04:50 especially in the Jewish times where
04:52 God has forbidden them to associate with
04:55 the hogs and the pigs. Here he is sitting in
04:58 there among them waiting for the scraps
05:01 to eat. Tell you what, I don't know if you've
05:04 ever considered running away from
05:05 home, but if you ever did, hopefully you
05:08 thought a little far enough ahead then
05:10 you pack a few things and have a little bit of
05:12 common sense, because it appears
05:14 this youngster didn't. But you know it's
05:16 when we don't have common sense that
05:18 the common becomes uncommon.
05:20 It's when we don't have a direct idea of
05:22 what we need or know we need to do,
05:25 when God can get a hold of us and show
05:26 us what He wants us to do. If we are open to that.
05:31 Well, the story's not ending there,
05:32 that's the beauty of this. He would not only
05:34 started this downward track of sin well he was
05:37 at home once the meals were divided among him.
05:41 He went ahead and left the country and
05:43 continued on this downhill side.
05:45 He didn't learn any lessons, he did not try
05:47 to better himself in fact and different
05:49 verses of the Bible show us that he got
05:51 friends they were not his friends.
05:54 They were friends because they were
05:55 friends to his money, and when he ran out
05:56 of money, he ran out of friends.
05:59 Well, let's take a look as the story continues
06:01 in verses 17 to 24. The Bible says, But
06:05 when he came to himself, he said, how
06:08 many of my father's hired servants have
06:11 bread enough to spare, and I perish
06:14 with hunger. I will arise and go to my
06:18 father, and will say to him, father I have
06:21 sinned against heaven and before you,
06:23 and I am no longer worthy to be called
06:25 your son. Make me like one of your hired
06:28 servants. And he arose and came to his father.
06:32 But when he was still a great way off,
06:34 his father saw him, had compassion,
06:37 and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.
06:40 And the son said to him, Father I have
06:42 sinned against heaven and in your sight,
06:45 and I am no longer worthy to be called
06:46 your son. But the Father said to his servants.
06:50 Bring out the best robe and put it on him,
06:53 and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.
06:55 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it,
06:57 and let us eat and be merry.
07:00 For this my son was dead and is alive
07:02 again, he was lost and he is found.
07:05 And they began to be merry.
07:08 Isn't that a wonderful story?
07:11 The father well he was a far away off
07:14 saw him in tender pretty and loved his son.
07:19 Oh! My favorite expression in that text
07:22 was where he came to his senses.
07:25 Oh! I like that. Isn't it always in
07:27 the desperation? And in the depths of
07:31 our trials and tribulations that
07:33 sometimes that the only time that we
07:35 truly come to our senses. Oh! My friend God
07:39 would have us come to our senses much
07:41 earlier, but it's our stubbornness.
07:43 It's our choice to walk the way we walk to
07:46 go where we want to go rather than follow
07:49 the leading of God through the Holy
07:52 Spirit to where He wants us to go.
07:55 But that's alright, because God has
07:58 made a way. If we will humble ourselves
08:01 and pray, He can deliver us,
08:04 as He delivered this young man to his father.
08:09 The Bible tells us there that as he came
08:12 to himself he compared himself
08:14 with the servants. I heard one fellow
08:17 to say that he would rather be a custodian
08:19 in heaven then a King in Hell.
08:22 Well, I'm not so sure that I want anything
08:26 to do with hell, but I certainly wouldn't
08:28 mind having any part of heaven.
08:30 Regardless of what job it is.
08:32 Jesus says that the last shall be first and the
08:35 first shall be last, to simply be in heaven
08:38 to be with Jesus Christ is the absolute
08:42 ultimate price that we live for
08:44 here on this earth. This young fellow
08:48 came to his senses, compared himself to
08:50 the servants there that were working in the
08:53 field and he said I must go to my father
08:56 and I must apologize, I must tell him I'm
08:59 sorry for what I have done and I ask if he
09:02 would have enough petty to make me a
09:05 servant in his household then at
09:07 least I wouldn't be so hungry.
09:10 Wow! To go from the sun of this wealthy
09:16 man to a servant in his own home,
09:21 but you know what? When you come to
09:23 your senses and you realize our value to
09:27 God and the exorbitant price our
09:31 sin has placed on the son of God.
09:36 I would rather be a servant in heaven
09:39 then not make it to heaven at all.
09:42 The price that Jesus paid for us was a
09:45 restorative price to bring me back into a
09:48 saving relationship with this son
09:51 unknown at this time was going to
09:54 experience for himself. The Bible continued
09:59 by saying that he went back, but the Bible
10:01 interrupts the story by saying well he was
10:03 yet a long ways away the father saw him
10:07 and had tender compassion for him.
10:10 We call that love, he loved his son.
10:13 How did he know, how did he know that
10:15 the son was coming home on that day.
10:19 Oh! My friend I like to picture it that, that
10:21 father was out there looking each and
10:24 everyday praying that this would be the day
10:28 that his son comes home. He never wanted his
10:31 son to live. He didn't want the family
10:33 broken up, he loved his son and regardless
10:36 of what his son had done, he loved him
10:40 with the love that only a father can have.
10:45 Well, the father came out, meet him out there.
10:49 Wouldn't even let his son get through his
10:52 speech, he got started, but his father cut him
10:55 off grabbing a hold of him.
10:57 Hugging his neck and restoring his position
11:00 in the family. Oh! Yes it says go get him a
11:02 new robe to put on. That's the new coat.
11:05 He told him, go get a ring to put on his
11:07 finger back in Bible times as you probably
11:10 know the ring was similar to what our
11:12 credit cards are today. He can go to the
11:14 market and he could stamp the family ring.
11:17 It was a signet ring, it was a signing ring.
11:20 And it was very valuable and he
11:22 restored him to his place in the family.
11:26 I was gonna say rightful place,
11:27 but it wasn't. We had already squandered
11:30 his living. The father was extending grace,
11:35 mercy and love. Well, we don't even
11:38 have to get to the end to realize that the
11:40 father here represents our heavenly Father
11:43 in heaven who seeks to restore each and
11:45 everyone of us to our place in this world.
11:49 And let me tell you it's not our rightful place.
11:52 We've sinned, we've fallen short of the
11:54 glory of God. In fact, one author put it this
11:56 way they said that Jesus gave to us that
11:59 which he deserve, excuse me, Jesus gave
12:03 to us that He deserves, so that he could take
12:05 on Himself that which we deserve,
12:07 which means Jesus gave me eternally and
12:12 the chance to live forever and a perfect
12:15 robe of righteousness to cover my sins.
12:18 And He took my sins to Calvary
12:21 and died for me. What a trade? What a trade?
12:26 No one can put a price tag on the
12:30 father's love as this boy was about to find out.
12:35 He was being restored to a position that was
12:38 no longer his in this family except the
12:41 father gave it to him. But the story is not
12:45 over with, before we review once again.
12:48 We're going take a look at the finishing
12:50 of the story, so that we can see just how
12:53 this ends. Take a look at Luke 15 verses 28
12:57 through 32, but he was angry and world
13:01 not go in. Therefore his father came out
13:04 and pleaded with him. So he answered and
13:06 said to his father. Lo these many years
13:09 I have been serving you, I never
13:10 transgressed your commandment at any
13:12 time, and yet you never gave me a
13:14 young goat, that I might make merry
13:17 with my friends. But as soon as this
13:20 son of yours came, who has devoured
13:22 your livelihood with harlots, you killed the
13:25 fatted calf for him. And he said to him,
13:28 son, you are always with me, and all that
13:32 I have is yours. It was right that we should
13:34 make merry and be glad, for your brother
13:37 was dead and is alive again,
13:41 and was lost and is found.
13:43 Wow! That kind of seemed like it jumped
13:45 out of the wrong place. We were no longer
13:46 talking about the younger brother anymore.
13:49 We are now jumped to the older brother
13:51 that's what the younger brother must
13:52 have been thinking about. What was left after
13:55 the father divided his money among the two
13:57 boys; he had spent all his money, the father
14:00 was now living with the older brother,
14:03 because the older brother now had the
14:05 reminder of the money. And when dad restored
14:07 the younger brother to the family, he restored
14:10 him to his brother's money.
14:15 Well, maybe that explains a little bit
14:16 why when the brother makes his way in
14:19 from the fields and he hears this music and
14:21 he stops a servant and ask what's going on.
14:24 And the servant says oh haven't you heard
14:26 your brother has come home.
14:28 Oh! And that's where we pick up the Bible
14:30 text there. He got so upset, he refused to
14:34 go into the party for his own brother.
14:37 Well, don't be too hard on the older
14:40 brother yet. We may find that we have
14:41 more in common with him then one might thing.
14:44 But the love of this father knows no ends
14:47 just as the love of our heavenly Father
14:49 knows no ends. Here love is for both
14:52 of these sons. He wants them both
14:55 restored to this family. And so he goes, he
15:00 leaves the party for his own son and he goes out.
15:04 And the Bible uses the world entreat.
15:07 He goes out to bring his son back and he
15:11 speaks with him. And the brother is so angry.
15:15 This older brother that he comes
15:17 out with this speech. Now it's interesting
15:19 that he says what's right on his mind.
15:22 It's a little deeper then one might even
15:24 understand to listen again in this context.
15:28 He says, lo, I have been with you all this time.
15:34 And he said, I have never transgressed
15:37 your commandments, yet you never threw
15:42 me a party. And, if it went there, that
15:48 wouldn't be so bad, but he continues.
15:50 And he says but as soon as this son of
15:54 yours came back. This son who by the
15:56 way spent all his money on harlots and
16:00 riotous living and all this waste, you come
16:05 and you kill the fatted calf just for him.
16:08 My friend I have read the scriptures through
16:10 there in Luke 15 so many times and
16:12 I don't understand where it says that he
16:14 spent this on harlots or anything.
16:16 I begin to wonder if maybe the brother had
16:18 a few oats of his own that he wanted to sow.
16:22 I wonder if maybe he was the legalistic son.
16:24 Being the older son and he knew that the
16:26 younger son was running away from
16:27 home and taking the money with him and
16:29 though he wanted to do that he owed dad a debt.
16:33 And he said I'm going to be the son that
16:35 stays home and takes care of dad.
16:37 But you know what though he was there
16:38 in those fields working his heart was
16:41 with his younger brother. He wasn't there.
16:44 He was working on his own farm for his father.
16:50 The very farm that dad gave him,
16:54 it wasn't for the father to kill the fatted calf
16:58 for his son. That fatted calf belonged
17:03 to this older brother. It was his fatted calf.
17:06 In fact if anything the father killed someone
17:10 else's calf for his son. But the brother is
17:16 focused on his younger brother that
17:19 wasted the money. And he said it's just
17:22 not right. It's just not right.
17:27 My friend, each and everyone of us,
17:29 each and everyday are one of these brothers.
17:35 The story doesn't end there, it can't end there.
17:38 It doesn't tell us whether the brother
17:40 goes in or not. But I think Jesus left
17:45 that intentionally open, because from
17:48 time to time we pick on these brothers
17:54 mistakenly we don't understand that we
17:57 are one of these brothers. And that it's our
18:00 heavenly Father who has given us that
18:04 which belongs to Him and it's ours.
18:07 There are too many people waiting for
18:10 heaven to live. When God says, I've come
18:14 that you might have life and have life
18:17 more abundantly right here on this earth.
18:20 Oh! This is not as good as it gets.
18:23 But when you have Jesus Christ it's not
18:25 going to get any better until He takes us to
18:29 His house. And we pray that, that day
18:32 will be very, very soon. So the father is an
18:37 example to us of what God is to us here in
18:41 these days in which we live.
18:44 Well, there are days when I'm that younger
18:46 brother my friend. There are days when
18:49 I've sinned and I've walked away and I've
18:51 gone different places and I've done
18:53 different things and that doesn't make any
18:54 difference. The fact is my heavenly Father
18:57 stood there waiting for me to come home
18:59 to welcome me into the family.
19:01 He has said I'll never leave you, I'll never
19:04 forsake you. Those are words that we
19:06 live by. The older brother, he stayed,
19:10 worked out in that field. He pretended by the
19:14 way he lived that it all belonged to his father.
19:19 Here the Bible is clear that the father divided
19:21 it to the kids. So there he was living with the
19:26 father, but not accepting the gift of
19:30 the Father. Oh! We just had more time to
19:34 go deeper into that one little point if he
19:37 only understood that he was in the presence
19:42 of his Father, but accepted no gifts from him.
19:49 If we go to a birthday party and you're
19:52 bearing a gift and you hand it to the one
19:55 celebrating the birthday and they never reach
19:57 forward to take it. The gift maybe theirs,
20:01 because it's brightly wrapped and has a
20:03 beautiful tag on it with their name on it.
20:05 But if they do not take it and receive it to
20:09 themselves, the gift has not been received,
20:13 so therefore it cannot be enjoyed.
20:16 And this older brother was not enjoying that
20:19 which was his. The older brother
20:20 couldn't enjoy what was his, because he
20:23 had not claimed it. My friends, some of
20:27 you may not have been out into the
20:29 world and done all the things that one could
20:32 do out there. Those things that separate us
20:35 from the love of God. You may not have
20:38 been unfaithful and broken this
20:41 commandment or that commandment or
20:42 your sins in your eyes might not be that bad.
20:46 But I'm here to tell you. It doesn't make
20:48 any difference whether there are
20:51 little sins or big sins, because scripture is
20:53 clear, sin separates us from the love of God.
20:58 It does, big or little that relationship is broken.
21:04 Oh! We throw away things in this day and
21:07 age when they break. And we call it disposable,
21:13 the love of God is indisposable.
21:18 But there are people that throw it away
21:20 everyday of the week. Oh! My friends some
21:25 of them I don't think they do it
21:26 intentionally. Some of them are not sure
21:28 they know what they're doing.
21:29 Otherwise I'm certain they know, but they're
21:33 free to choose as you and I.
21:36 And I pray that we choose the way that
21:40 restores the family. God wants His family restored.
21:47 As we look at the story of these two boys.
21:51 In some Bibles it's called the story of the
21:53 Prodigal Son. Some has suggested it's the
21:56 Prodigal Sons. As I shared with you
22:00 earlier the true focus is the love of a father.
22:07 Oh! My friends it does not make a
22:09 difference if your father did not love you.
22:13 You have a heavenly Father that does,
22:16 if you're fortunate enough to have an
22:17 earthly father who loves you, then that's
22:21 a small picture of what our heavenly
22:25 Father wants with us. He want so much for us.
22:30 But how much do we want it.
22:33 All too often like the young son, our eyes
22:37 are in another country, they're in another land.
22:39 We talked about going to heaven,
22:41 but we glance over at the things of this world.
22:46 The Bible tells us that by beholding,
22:49 we become changed. And do what?
22:52 Whatever it is that we're beholding.
22:56 That's why I love that song that we sing so
22:59 often, turn your eyes upon Jesus.
23:01 Look full in His wonderful face,
23:04 And the things of this earth will grow
23:07 strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.
23:14 You wanna know why they turn
23:15 strangely dim? It's because we're no
23:19 longer attracted by that anymore.
23:23 It's because our desires have been
23:25 transformed by of living vibrant
23:29 relationship with Jesus Christ and
23:31 we've become more Christ like.
23:35 We will have no desire for the things
23:39 of this earth that separate us from God.
23:43 Oh! I would love to think that the story
23:45 ends with the older brother looking at the
23:49 father and saying dad you're right.
23:51 You're right, I did not accept this free gift
23:55 that you gave me. You divided your
23:57 wealth I can do anything I want.
23:59 It's not your fault in fact you did the right
24:03 thing by bringing my brother home.
24:06 You did the right thing and I picture in
24:08 my mind the older brother going into the
24:11 party and going right over to his younger
24:13 brother and giving him a great big hug
24:15 like dad did just earlier that day.
24:18 And giving him a hug and welcoming him home.
24:21 But my friend, if I'm not willing to go out
24:23 and hug those in the world and welcome
24:26 them home. And maybe I'm still
24:29 standing out in my field. Maybe, I've got a
24:32 works oriented relationship with
24:34 Jesus Christ. And I'm trying to earn
24:36 my salvation and don't even realize it.
24:39 God doesn't want us to work.
24:42 He wants us to love Him and then all that
24:45 we do will be in response to Him.
24:50 There is a story I heard a long time ago
24:51 that I really appreciate. It's a story of a young
24:56 man who ran away from his home in Mexico.
25:00 And his father wanted his son home so bad.
25:03 He did everything, he stayed by the
25:05 telephone, he went to the mailbox, he hoped
25:07 somehow this son would make contact
25:09 with him. But last day in and day out there
25:13 was no contact from the son.
25:16 He didn't know whether the son was
25:17 dead or alive, but all he knew was he loved
25:19 his boy and wanted to restore him to the family.
25:23 And so he did what only a desperate
25:25 father could do. He took out a full page
25:27 ad in the newspaper in the largest city in Mexico.
25:30 And that ad simply said Paco, I love you
25:37 and wants you to come home, signed,
25:41 your father. Meet me at the corner of these
25:45 two streets on this particular day and time.
25:50 Well, on that particular day and
25:51 time came, his heart weighed, he didn't
25:53 know whether he was gonna be there or not.
25:55 He didn't know if he was gonna be
25:57 disappointed if he wasn't, was his son
25:59 dead or would the son just not come.
26:01 And reject him, he didn't know.
26:06 The only think he truly knew was the
26:08 love of a father who says my son,
26:12 my daughter, my kids are with the risk.
26:16 And so at that point of time he rounded the
26:18 corner and let me tell you right away.
26:22 He did not see Paco standing on the corner.
26:26 In fact, he saw over 500 Pacos that had
26:31 read that. And all prayed that
26:34 it was their father welcoming them home.
26:38 Oh! My friend, Jesus is calling us home.
26:42 He wants to give us what belongs to Him.
26:46 He died to give us the ultimate price.
26:49 That price that He wants to give us,
26:52 is not just eternity in paradise.
26:56 It's eternity with our Lord and
26:58 Savior Jesus Christ. Will you bow your
27:01 heads with me as we pray? Gracious Father in
27:05 heaven, restore us to your family.
27:10 As these two brothers, through their story
27:13 we've seen that reconciliation is possible.
27:16 Whether we're the younger son or
27:18 whether we're the older brother out in the field.
27:20 We too can be restored to the family
27:23 that which is rightful to yours.
27:24 You want to give to us. And though we may
27:28 not understand it. We accept this gift
27:31 today and always asking you to live out
27:35 your life within us. Until that day you
27:38 come is our prayer in Jesus name, amen.
27:43 May God grant you the strength of
27:45 conviction to follow your heart,
27:49 because when you follow your heart,
27:51 your heart will always lead you home.