Dr. Stanley explores the love of the Father through the parable of the prodigal son. All of us have sinned and fallen away from God in our own ways, but no matter where sin takes us, the path back home is always the same. And at the end is a Father, longing to embrace us. For more messages from Charles Stanley, including this week’s broadcast, go to intouch.org/tv.

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Jesus was a master storyteller

and the parable of the prodigal son is

one of those National stories

and this is the setting for this passage

of scripture that I want to read and it

is a setting for the message out on our


and if you’ll turn to the 15th chapter

of Luke and I want us to read

beginning in

the 25th 21st verse

and you remember that the prodigal son’s

left home made a mess of his life

and then the prodigal something happens

to him and the scripture says

in verse 20 of the 15th chapter so he

got up and came to his father but while

he was still a whale

the father saw him and felt compassion

for him and ran and embraced him and

kissed him

and the son said to him father I’ve

sinned against heaven and in your sight

I’m no longer worthy to be called your

son but the father said to his slaves

quickly bring out the best robe and put

it on him put a ring on his hand sandals

on his feet

and bring the vetted calf kill it and

let us eat and celebrate for this my son

was dead

and has come to life again he was lost

he’s been found and they began to


what was Jesus saying

Jesus was saying simply this

the door is wide open for Sinners to

come home

and he wanted to make a point to these

Pharisees and Sadducees who were

criticizing Jesus audience the Bible

says the large crowd we’re going out

along with him and he turned and said to

them and then of course it talks about

the Pharisees and said just he’s being

critical of what Jesus was doing

and this is the message that Jesus had

for his audience that no matter what

goes on in the person’s life and how far

down they get how empty how Wicked how

vile how sinful how futile their life

may be there is an Open Door

to Salvation to forgiveness and a new

beginning if that were not true you and

I would not be sitting here all of us

have sinned against God all of us have

had to confess and repent of sin not

once but many times but our names got

written in the Lamb’s Book of Life one

time it only gets there one time there

were no races in the Lamb’s Book of Life

and all of us who have trusted Christ as

our savior have our names there and so

it’s not a matter of looking up anything

when you die and to see if your name is

in the Lamb’s Book of Life it’s the all

right and God knows when we’re coming

they claim our inheritance amen

so I want us to look at this particular

Parable in this light

first of all to look at the simple steps

that this young man took to get where he

was because people are still taking

those steps and so Jesus describes the

life of The Prodigal Son

and so the first word is dissatisfaction

he was at home he had everything in the

world he could imagine his father took

good care of him he had a great future

but he was dissatisfied probably because

his brother had passed on some news that

he’d received from people traveling

about the far country wherever that was

and how exciting it was and how

beautiful the women were and how great

the situation was and on and on they

went and so he became dissatisfied

he looked around him and became

dissatisfied not because he didn’t have

what he needed but because of what he

heard watch this be careful what you

listen to

and secondly that dissatisfaction

created a desire within him and that

desire was to be able to enjoy some

things other people had mentioned to him

and so he’s sort of tired of living out

there had everything he wanted but

something deep down inside of him had a

stronger desire I can tell you what that

is the old sin nature is there to expose

its Cravings then came the deception in

his thinking because he thought well

this is not the way I want to live I

don’t have to live this way I’m missing

something in life and so I think I just

need to make some decisions here and

change things a little bit

so he made a decision step by step he

made a decision he made a decision to

leave man decision to leave his parents

his brother his home his family and he

made a decision to enjoy life that was

his decision I’m going to leave all this

old stuff I’m sick and tired of all this

I’m gonna I’m gonna enjoy life for a

change that’s what every poor sinner

says at some point in their life I want

to enjoy life which means I want to

leave what I have and I’m going to

involve myself in some things that

probably wouldn’t be acceptable for some

but but I’ve got to enjoy life that’s

always a decision that’s dangerous and

so what follows that decision departure

he left

he packed up his Goods for the goods he

wanted he didn’t pack up many of them

because he intended to buy new clothes

he intended to look like somebody knew

he’s living the old behind him and so he

was leaving and so he left against his

father’s will of course but he left

and then comes the Delight

and that is everything was new he had

plenty of money he dressed well he had

any kind of transportation that they

would have had in those days but he had

everything he wanted his dreams were

coming true he was sick and tired of

living out yonder up yonder in some

distant place when all of these folks

down here having such a big time I want

to go to a big city I want to live life

I want to I want to experience life I’m

tired of living in this little old town

this is not a place I want to live and

so instead of asking is this wise or

unwise I want what it has to offer so

naturally he began to enjoy it but like

every person who tastes sin and every

person who chooses to walk away from God

after the money began to run up after

his friends began to run out after his

clothes got into the ward

when all of that ran out the scripture

says he became very disillusioned

watch this carefully sin will always

leave you very disillusioned you may

think it’s going to satisfy you but it

cannot and because sin cannot satisfy or

you say well I’m satisfied for a season

only for a season but even then when you

get by yourself and you close your eyes

at night and you think about reality

you’re not happy you’re living out of

the will of God you’re not happy he

became disillusioned

so what happens the further down you go

in wrong thinking wrong use of your

money wrong use of relationships taking

advantage of people

and all the rest that goes on in a

sinful lifestyle what happens he began

to feel hopeless because he knew when he

left home it was going to be an awesome

wonderful life for him because that’s

what the devil always says well if you

had a taste of this if you had him if

you had her if you could drive this and

live there and wear this then you know

life would change for you listen I would

never question the fact that sin doesn’t

have some pleasure in it but beneath the

pleasure is the penalty the penalty for

sin is always the same the wages of sin

is death

that doesn’t mean it’s always physical

death the wages of sin is death death to

happiness death to peace death to

security sin always has a final chapter

in that final chapter is physical death

and eternal separation from God it’s not

a matter of doing this sin of that sin

it’s a matter of rejecting Jesus Christ

as the Savior and Lord of your life

that’s the sin that takes a person

down the road away from God and to miss


to be eternally separated from God

because you knowingly willfully reject

Jesus Christ as your personal savior

and so that’s why he found himself and

finally he had to give up he was in

total despair in other words he ends up

in a Hog Pen and the truth is that

people today it’s it’s the same story

you start out with everything and

everything looks like it’s going to be

just right and you’re going to make it

and what happens you can’t tell exactly

when it’s going to happen how it’s going

to happen but I’m telling you one of

these days you’re going to trip up one

of these days you’re going to discover

that things are not like you were told

that they would be and look around you

at the mistakes you’ve made it looks

like you’ve gotten by with it but you

haven’t because the soul that sentence

shall die the wages of sin is death be

sure your sin will find you out you

don’t get away with it and so he finds

himself now everything’s gone

how he thought about his father and that

the household and now how he thinks

about them he lost it all

and he’s trying to feed Hogs just to


and then by the grace of God he comes to


and he begins to think about what he

used to have

and he heads home

and the real story of this Parable is

the Father’s attitude about him and so

what happens is

God is portrayed here as the prodigal’s


and so

here’s the difference here’s what


it’s what happens to the father we know

what happens to the son

he’s messed up badly he’s lost

totally disappointed disillusioned in

total despair

and what about the father so look at the

steps of the father

what he’s been going through while his

son’s been absolutely living in sin

Disobedience to God remember first of

all there was a Wounded Heart when he

told his father what he was about to do

he wounded his father’s heart you got to

be a dad to know that I want my part of

my share of The Inheritance I want to

live a little bit and I thank you Father

for being good to me but I got to live

some I’m sick and tired of being around

you and being told what to do and have

limitations on my life and I hear these

stories of people who are coming up and

down the road telling me where they’ve

been what they’ve done and so forth and

so it wounded his father’s heart

so God has a wounded heart and so

the father’s thinking

why do you want to leave everything

for what’s going to prove to be a

disappointment but you see people who

are living in sin and who want to sin

against God they don’t they don’t see


and so the next thing you notice about

his father is he wondered about him

continuously just like you what is a

parent your son of your daughters left

they’re living in another country maybe

some other state they don’t hear from

you anymore much and so you wonder

what’s happening to them you wonder how

they’re doing financially you wonder

about their friends what kind of friends

they have what do they do on Sunday do

they go to church and not go to church

uh what kind of places do they inhabit

and uh

do they ever think about their father

and mother

and so all the questions that were

naturally go on in the father’s mind

and then of course in the midst of all

that he’s waiting for him patiently

and how many fathers and mothers

grandmothers grandfathers have waited

patiently for the Renegade sons and

daughters and grandchildren who

deliberately willfully walked away from

their home because they wanted to live

life on their basis they wanted to live

life on that time schedule they want to

enjoy some things in life that were

forbidden in their home because their

parents were spiritually minded and uh

they you know they talk about the Bible

we’ve had all of that so here they are

and here he is

and the father’s thinking about all the

things he must be into but he’s

patiently waiting for him watch this

watch this carefully Jesus is describing

our Heavenly father’s attitude toward

you and me

not only is he waiting patiently for him

but the next level of his relationship

he was watching for him

and he oftentimes probably would stand

on this porch and look down the road he

could see a pretty good ways and he saw

all these Travelers coming and going and

would hope that one day he would but

he’d been watching for years and he

hadn’t come but he didn’t give up what’s

God saying I’m not giving up on you


and so he watched and he waited and he

watched many Travelers and um

he sometimes was thinking maybe he’s not

coming back but maybe he will come back


he watched and watched and watched and


hoped and prayed and yet nothing ever


But Then There came another level

he wanted him to return soon

he couldn’t be he couldn’t come soon

enough he wanted his son to no matter

what kind of shape he is in whatever he

did whatever happened to him he wanted

them back

and so the scripture says couldn’t be

soon enough naturally

I’m sure his brother probably had some

words to say about all that but he

wanted him back watch this carefully I

don’t know who you are where you’re

living in life and what’s going on

you’ve walked away from God way back

Yonder God still Waits For You he still

wants you to come home to him he wants

you to be wise enough to recognize that

sin ultimately is going to destroy you

sin ultimately is going to deprive you

of everything in life you want it may be

late in life it could be soon in life

but God will patiently awaits as as the

father is pictured here

and he wanted him to return no matter


and then that last stage is the one he’s

looking for he welcomed him home and if

you could imagine what was looking

at all that road all that empty time he

was looking and waiting and and then one

day he was looking he’s standing out

there looking and watching waiting

and there’s something about that guy

walking up the road it looked a little

familiar not too much he he the way he

carried himself

and he looked and he certainly didn’t

look like the guy that left all dressed

up and he kept looking and finally he

realized yes that’s him and so he took

off running after him

he didn’t stop to say well what kind of

shape he’s in anything else he just took

off running and when he got to him what

did he do he didn’t stand off and say

you look like a what happened to

you you’ve lost years what did he do

when he saw him he grabbed him and

hugged him and the scripture uses the

term in the in the Greek verb tense

there he kissed him and kissed him and

kissed him and kissed him and hugged him

and hugged him and kissed him and kissed

him and said we’re going to have a party

he’s trying to confess sin and what a

mess he made of his life he wasn’t

listening to any of that they were going

to celebrate that night get ready no

matter what

now what was God saying God was

picturing for us

humanly speaking how God feels when you

get right with him

and you may be one of those persons

who’s messed up your life badly in fact

you’re ashamed to tell anybody where you

came from and you wouldn’t doubt telling

anybody where you’re going you just

blunted badly I want to tell you the

same father

who waited for his son is the same

loving Jehovah Yahweh Elohim god of the

heavens who’s waiting for you

and he will forgive you just as history

father forgave him

and so just imagine what that looked

like out on the road Father and Son

rejoicing of seeing each other once


Jesus knew how to tell a story

and he was saying to all those Sadducees

and Pharisees out there you want to know

what God thinks of these Sinners who are

watching me this is what he thinks of


and so the story we know it is the

parable of the Prodigal Son thank God he

put this in the Bible because everywhere

watch this all of us will see ourselves

in one of those three persons

either the forgiving father

or the Renegade son or the bitter

brother we’re all somewhere in that

where do you see yourself are you a

forgiving person do you hold grudges

against people are you living in sin all

of us are somewhere in all of that and

so they had a big celebration and you

know the story about the sun coming in

and we’ve talked about his attitude but

this is all about God

this is all about a heavenly father who

loves us

and who forgives us

the Bible says the wages of sin is death

but you don’t have to die in sin the

soul that sinneth it shall die yes but

you don’t have to

and there’s a world of people living in

sin because they have chosen to disobey


and probably some of you sitting here

how many of you who are watching or

listening that’s what you’ve done

you came from a home where your mother

and Dad read the Bible or they went to

church and you decided you outgrew that

that’s old-fashioned you don’t do that

today and now where are you if you face

yourself you know deep in your heart you

are far away from God what you thought

was going to make you happy has not made

you happy and so you try this and you

try that and you try the other and when

you’ve tried everything the world has

tried do you realize what you’ve done to


realize what you’ve done to your own

character to your own sense of

self-esteem and yet God will forgive you

he will take all of your sin away he’ll

forgive all of your sin he will change

your life he’ll restore you he will do

for you what you cannot do for yourself

and so for this father he was so

grateful to have his son back he didn’t

have to hear a bunch of confession he

just wanted to celebrate and what it

says is this the heart of God is so

tender he rejoices when a sinner comes

home so what happens he forgives his son

restores him to his household

and so when we think about that and

think about how God is restoring today

there are four of the words I want to

give you four of the words that describe

what God has for us

and the first one is forgiveness it

doesn’t make any difference what you’ve

done watch this carefully you may have

said but I’ve just been so mean and

rotten and ungodly and disrespectful and

I’ve been on drugs I’ve been a

prostitute oh no known you go let me

tell you something you can’t name

anything God won’t forgive you for

that doesn’t mean there’s not a penalty

for sin but listen God’s forgiveness if

we confess our sins that is we agree

with God that we’ve lived and sinned and

disobeyed him if we confess our sins

he’s faithful and just always

trustworthy faithfulness just to forgive

us of our sins and they cleanse us from

all unrighteousness that’s the promise

of God that’s the first step secondly

acceptance he not only forgives us of

our sin he accepts us as the way we are

he accepts you one of his children watch

this carefully you don’t have to get all

straightened out to get God’s acceptance

you come to him pleading as a sinner

asking for forgiveness and his

acceptance is on the basis of what he

did at the cross

when Jesus died on the cross he paid

your sin debt in full no matter what

you’ve done or how long you’ve done it

forgiveness of our sins acceptance by

him and restoration

that is he restores us what does he

restore he restores our sense of

self-worth he restores our sense of

dignity he restores our attitude about

other people he restores everything

about us restoration it’s not enough

just the Forgiveness of our sins but he

has to straighten out some other things

in our life that got Twisted by sin and

wrong thinking and then following all of

that of course is rejoicing when a

person comes to Christ

all of these simple words describe what

happens in their life forgiveness

acceptance restoration and rejoicing and

in the parable they had a big party a

big celebration

this is a simple but awesome story

because it’s God’s message

that no matter how Wicked and sinful and

valid you’ve been God is willing to

forgive you not because you deserve it

not because you’ve done this or we’ll do

that but because when Jesus went to the

Cross he took the sin that of the world

upon him and anyone who comes to him

asking for forgiveness surrendering

their life to him will be forgiven the

name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life

and you will forever be a child of God

doesn’t mean you’re not going to sin

anymore and you may be saying well I

know that I’ll sin again then what it

doesn’t mean that you’ll never sin again

but it means this you have a

relationship to God that’s not separated

you have a relationship to him that is

like this he will forgive you of your

sin when you confess and repent of it if

you sin against God as a Believer is

there a penalty yes there is

but you’re a child of God and so the

grace of God wraps around us we’re

always a child of God watch this this is

the awesome power of the death of Jesus

every person

from Adam to the last person who will

ever live their salvation their

acceptance before God all goes back to

one thing and that’s the cross of Jesus


that’s the payment for our sin

and that payment is sufficient for all


God wants us to listen to him to hear

him to surrender to him surrender our

life to him God wants to bless us with

the best

and that blessing is available to all of

us who are willing to follow him

so I’d ask you this

are you saved

that is are you a child of God

has ever been a time in your life when

you could say at that time in my life

here’s what I did

I ask the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive

me of my sins and I surrendered my life

to him knowing

that it wasn’t because of any good thing

I’ve done knowing that I’d probably sin

again but I want him to have my life I

yielded my life to him in fact I got

baptized and I want to live a Godly life

and one of these days when he calls me

home I want to be sitting already amen

not having to fix up anything

sitting already there’s only one way to

be ready

and that is a personal relationship to

Jesus Christ whereby you have confessed

your sins so I’m going to pray a simple


if you have never trusted Jesus Christ

as your savior you need to do it right

now because you see you don’t have any

Assurance of tomorrow you may live

tomorrow and you may not live tomorrow

you can live eternity

with the Lord Jesus Christ if you’re

willing to ask him to save you and if

you’ll pray this prayer

honestly sincerely with all your heart

God will change your Eternal Destiny in

a matter of moments

so let’s pray right now

father we thank you for this simple

story but awesome story of your

forgiveness of your grace and love and

mercy Lord I pray

and every person here

who is unsaved but pray this prayer

sincerely with all their heart

Heavenly Father

I am a sinner

I have sinned against you

broken the Commandments

headed my way

I’m asking you to forgive me of my sin

and give me that new beginning

I believe that you will accept me

out on the basis of our good

I will be

but on the basis of what you said the

shed blood of Jesus Christ at Calvary

he paid my sin dead in full

I pray father

that each person who’s prayed that

simple prayer would accept

your forgiveness right now

and praise you for it

and I thank everyone in Jesus name amen