Two sons, two rebellions, two confrontations. One father, one response: My door is always open. In this message, Dr. Stanley explores the love of God 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. Discover just how tender God’s heart is toward you. For more messages from Charles Stanley, including this week’s broadcast, go to


you’ve walked away from god way back




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 waits


four decades ago

we started in touch ministries to lead

people worldwide into a growing

relationship with jesus christ

throughout the years we’ve seen god’s

greatness his love and his blessings in

such awesome ways that we just want

everyone to know him

so let’s open god’s word and seek him


next on in touch the forgiving father


jesus was a master storyteller

and the parable of the prodigal son is

one of those masterful stories


this is the setting for this passage of


that i want to read and it is a setting

for the message i want to bring

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 sons

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

it was still a way off

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 have

sinned against heaven and in your sight

and no longer worthy to be called your


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


and bring the fatted 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 celebrate

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 a large crowd were going

out along with him and he turned and

said to them

and then of course it talks about the

pharisees and 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 a 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


if that were not true you and i would

not be sitting here all of us have

sinned against god

all of us had had to confess and repent

of sin not once but many times but our

names got written in the lamb’s work of

life one time

it only gets there one time

there were no erasures 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 there

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


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 made a 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 going to

i’m going to 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 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 new

he’s leaving 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 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 out 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


watch this carefully


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 you think about reality you’re

not happy you’re living out of the will

of god you’re not happy he became


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 try 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

and 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 where he found himself and

finally he had to give up

he was in total despair

in other words he ends up in a hulk 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


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’s

in it 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 at the

household and now how he thinks about

them he lost it all

and he’s trying to

feed hogs

just to exist

and then by the grace of god he comes to



he begins to think about what he used to


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 particle’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

but 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 wound in his father’s

heart you’ve got to be a dead to know

that i’m i want my part of my share of

the inheritance i want to live a little

bit i’m 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 threats 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


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


is he wondered about him continuously

just like you would as a parent your son

or your daughter’s 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


you wonder how they’re doing financially

you wonder about their friends what kind

of friends they have

what do they do on sunday did they go to

church and not go to church

what kind of places do they inhabit and


do they ever think about their father

and mother

and so all the questions that were

naturally gone 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’ve deliberately willfully walked

away from their home because they want

to live life on their bases they want to

live life on their time schedule they

want to enjoy some things in life that

were forbidden in their home

because their parents were spiritually

minded and uh

you know they talk about the bible we’ve

had all of that so here they are

and here he is


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


he oftentimes probably would stand on

his porch

and look down the road he can see a

pretty good ways and he saw these

travelers coming and going and

with 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 either 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


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


he wanted his son to no matter what kind

of shape he was in whatever he did

whatever happened to him he wanted him


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




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 patiently waits

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


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


and there’s something about that guy

walking up the road that looked a little

familiar not too much he he the way he

carried himself

and he looked and he suddenly 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 look how you wasted

everything you you’ve lost years what

did he do when he saw him he grabbed him

and hugged him and the scripture uses a

term in the and the greek verb tense

there he kissed him and kissed him and

kissed him and kissed him 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 tell

anybody where you’re going you’ve just

blown it 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 who will forgive you just as his f

he father forgave him

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 well they went to

church and you decided you outgrew that

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

today and now why 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 yourself

realize what you’ve done to your own

character to your own sense of


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 want 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

restores him to his household

and so when we think about that and

think about how god is restoring today

there are four other 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 only on 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 in sin and

disobeyed him if we confess our sins

he’s faithful and just always

trustworthy faithful and just the

forgiveness of our sins and to 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

except you’re 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


forgiveness of our sins acceptance by

him and restoration

that is he restores us what does he


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 that 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

violent you’ve been

god is willing to forgive you

not because you deserve it not because

you’ve done this or will do that but

because when jesus went to the cross he

took the sin-debt of the world upon him

and anyone who comes to him asking for


surrendering their life to him will be

forgiven their 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 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 and there are peoples who say that

once you’re saved you sin against god

you’ve got to be saved again that’s not

salvation there’s no assurance in that

because sometimes we sin against god

little things we call them little we

don’t maybe intend to do or we hurt all

kind of things we do in life and we ask

god to forgive us because we don’t want

anything in life it doesn’t suit who he

is and who he and who we are

does god forgive us yes he does

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 christ

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 send our life to


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 can say at that time in my life

here’s what i did

i asked 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


because you see you don’t have any

assurance of tomorrow you may live

tomorrow 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 that every person here

who is unsaved would pray this prayer

sincerely with all their heart

heavenly father

i am a sinner

i have sinned against you

broken the commandments

had it 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

not on the basis of how good

i will be

but on the basis of what you said the

shed blood of jesus christ at calvary

he paid my sin that 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 you for in jesus name


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