Someone once described Father’s Day as the same as Mother’s Day only you don’t have to spend as much on the present. Well today I want to look at fatherhood, and especially at the father’s heart.
Now admittedly some fathers are not great, and while they might profess love, they often don’t show love or communicate it. Dad, this morning to the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.
But first, before we dive into the Father’s heart,
Here’s the top ten things a father will never say…
- Take my wallet and GO CRAZY shopping.
9. No son of mine is going to live under this roof without an earring. Now quit complaining and let’s go to the mall.
- Here honey, you use the remote.
7. Well, how ’bout that? I’m lost! Looks like we’ll have to stop and ask for directions.
6. Your Mother and I are going away for the weekend … you might want to consider throwing a party.
5. Whaddya wanna go and get a job for? I make plenty of money for you to spend.
4. Hey, let me hold your purse while you try that on.
3. Let’s watch a chick flick tonight!
2. Honey, I know you’re tired. You stay home and relax while I take our child to the school speech night.
and the Number 1 thing you’ll never hear a Dad say:
1. When I was growing up, we had it really easy!
THE HEART OF THE FATHER
In our society fathers used to be honoured, but now they are figures of ridicule. Mr Brady as given way to Homer Simpson. But the true father is not a dope, or a control freak, or a disinterested observer, he actively loves unconditionally, and always is open to welcoming a wayward child home.
Let’s have a close look at God’s love for us as we examine a beautiful passage on the Father’s Heart…, and no other passage illustrates the Father’s Heart like this.
Luke 15:11-24 (ESV Strong’s)
And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
THE FATHER’S HEART IS GENEROUS
If this parable we see the father being generous with his sons. Great fathers are generous, not stingy. The younger son asked for his share of the inheritance early, and even though the father knew that his son was going to squander it, he remained generous. In their culture, asking for your inheritance early is like wishing your father was dead, yet despite this selfish, hurtful request, the father remained generous in heart.
John 15:13 (ESV Strong’s)
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
John 3:16 (ESV Strong’s)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
My dad laid his life down for me…
Story of my drowning.
Sometimes we feel like God is holding out on us, punishing us, judging us, withholding blessing from us, but the Bible teaches us that we serve a generous and loving Father. The heart of the Father is always loving, and generous.
Ephesians 3:20 (ESV Strong’s)
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,
The heart of the father is exceedingly and abundantly generous!
THE FATHER’S HEART IS NOT CONTROLLING
As painful as it was, the father in the parable gave his son his inheritance early, generously and without conditions. He didn’t say, “OK, here’s the money, but you need to invest it. Or tithe it to the church. Or buy me a new mower.” Giving unconditionally, takes courage as a parent! He knew
Galatians 6:7 (ESV Strong’s)
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
The father could see disaster was coming, but he let his son make his own decisions. God is that father… He blesses all of us, without controlling us, even those who hate Him, because His love is unconditional.
I recall as a teenager going out one night and getting very drunk, sneaking in late. Next morning I felt terrible, and told my mum and dad the food must have been off, and I needed a Panadol. He said, no, you need to feel the consequences of your decision.
Fathers, while we need to protect our kids, they reach a point when they make their own decisions. When we don’t agree with them, it’s tempting to go all religious on them, or kick them out or reject them. You don’t have to agree with them, but You need to love them unconditionally. If you reject them, you will never reach them.
One of our foster girls decided to turn into a boy, and she asked if I love her, and if I would support her decision. I replied, “Yes and no. Yes I love you, I will never stop loving you, no matter what. However, I cannot and will never agree with your lifestyle choice, but will love you anyway.”
Parents, I know many of you grieve over your children, that they have rejected Christ. You brought them up the right way, but there comes a time, when they make their own decisions. Fathers and mothers, listen… stop making yourself feel guilty for the decisions your children have made.
You may have made mistakes, and you could argue that the father in the parable made a mistake trusting his son. Ultimately, when they are of age, the decisions they make are not your fault… they are their decisions. That being said, we are responsible to pray for our children’s salvation!
THE FATHER’S HEART IS BROKEN
Psalms 78:40-41 (ESV Strong’s)
How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the desert! They tested God again and again and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
God’s Heart is broken and He grieves when we rebel against Him. Imagine how the father in the parable felt when this wayward son took his inheritance and headed off to blow it all on partying. This father who had nurtured and provided for the son, brought him up in all the right ways, found the son he loved had it thrown back in his face! Love us always risky, because your heart can be broken.
Some of you here know exactly how that feels. Some of you fathers understand this, because your kids have rebelled against what you believe is true, and squandered their lives and broken your heart! If that is you as a parent…
Psalms 34:18 (ESV Strong’s)
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
When I rebelled against my parents for a short time, I wasn’t thinking of their pain. I was just having what I thought was a good time; parties, girls, drink, etc. I broke my parent’s heart, and in my selfishness I never even realised how much… until I became a father.
We are all like the prodigal son when we walk away from our Heavenly Father. Some of you here have been breaking your heavenly dad’s heart for a long time. While you plunge into the life you choose to lead, with the consequences you complain about and blame God for, you are plunging a dagger into the heart of people who love you, and especially God.
THE FATHER’S HEART IS PATIENT
So the father in the parable lost his son to a foreign country, where the son squandered all the father’s money on sex, drugs and rock n roll.
Do what you wanna do, be what you wanna be, yeah!
Many of us have tried to live a life satisfying our own desires, and when we live this life we start to understand how shallow it really is. In a heartbeat you could die, and have nothing to show for the life you’ve lived except a trail of broken hearts and disappointments. When you stand before God, and you will, the only thing that matters is whether you have asked Jesus into your life as Lord and Saviour. Nothing else counts. Not money, prestige, fame, cars, houses, even family… nothing else counts. God either sees your sin, or He sees His Son.
Right now, God is patiently waiting for you. He waits for you to turn to Him…
2 Peter 3:9 (ESV Strong’s)
The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
God doesn’t want you to perish. If you die in your sins, it will break His heart because YOU will have chosen to go to hell. He gave the best of heaven to stop you going to hell, and waits patiently for your to respond.
Look in your heart. That emptiness, that hole which is never filled, that’s a God shaped hole, that only God can fill. If you want your life to count, if you want to live in peace and have your soul prosper, commit your life to Jesus today. He awaits patiently, with arms open.
THE FATHER’S HEART IS ACTIVELY SEEKING
Once the son left with the loot, the father didn’t just go back to life as usual. I believe that from the very day the son left, the father was actively seeking him. He was scanning the horizon, praying and looking out for his return.
Ezekiel 34:16 (ESV Strong’s)
I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak,
Luke 15:4 (ESV Strong’s)
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?
If you are not walking with God, your father is actively seeking you right now. Don’t reject Him again, but run into His arms of love. You are loved, no matter what you’ve done, no matter how ashamed you are, you are loved by God. You don’t have to become good enough for God, just accept His free gift of salvation…
Luke 19:10 (ESV Strong’s)
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
GOD’S HEART IS RESPONSIVE
Once the son hit rock bottom, he came to his senses and decided to return home and just become a servant, knowing he had ruined any chance he had of being a son. He knew the Jewish law…
‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones.
But the son took a chance on returning to the father. You need to take a chance and return to your Heavenly Father this morning, because I can assure you He’s not out to punish you, He is seeking you to love you and accept you.
Luke 15:20 (ESV Strong’s)
And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
The father was ready to respond in love and welcome him home. Jewish fathers never run like this, but this one did! This father ran and embraced the son, and your Heavenly Father is ready to respond in the same way with you right now. Whatever you’ve done, whatever you’ve fallen to, God loves you today…
We don’t deserve such love, but the generous and unconditionally loving father lavishes spiritual riches and blessings upon us, and gives us eternal life. We deserve death, you and I, but if we repent and come to Jesus, He gives life, and life to the full!
Luke 15:21-24 (ESV Strong’s)
And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
THE FATHER’S HEART IS RESTORATIVE
This father not only forgave his wayward son, but he restore him to the position he had originally despised and cashed in on. There was no retrospective punishment, there was no penance required. The father didn’t have a list of rules to follow, or a set of standards or a contract the son had to sign, there was only the restoring love of the father.
Isaiah 61:7 (ESV Strong’s)
Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy.
See the amazing love God has for you! He will restore the life you should have led all along, a double portion, more than you deserve, more than you could even imagine!
SOMEBODY WANTS YOU HOME
Here’s the true story behind a popular song from the 1970s…
“A man was sitting in a railroad coach next to a young man who was obviously depressed. Finally the young man revealed that he was a paroled convict returning from a distant prison. His imprisonment had brought shame to his family, and they had neither visited him nor written often. He hoped, however, that this was only because they were too poor to travel and too uneducated to write. He hoped, despite the evidence, that they had forgiven him.
“To make it easy for them, however, he had written to them asking that they put up a signal for him when the train passed their little farm on the outskirts of town. If his family had forgiven him, they were to tie a white ribbon in the big apple tree which stood near the tracks. If they didn’t want him to return, they were to do nothing, and he would remain on the train as it traveled onward.
“As the train neared his hometown, the suspense became so great that he couldn’t bear to look out of his window. He exclaimed, ‘In just five minutes the engineer will sound the whistle indicating our approach to the long bend which opens into the valley I know as home. Will you watch for the apple tree at the side of the track?’ His companion said he would; they exchanged places. The minutes seemed like hours, but then there came the shrill sound of the train whistle. The young man asked, ‘Can you see the tree? Is there a white ribbon?’
“His companion said, ‘I see the tree. But there’s not one white ribbon, there’s hundreds. Son, someone surely does love you, and wants you home.'”
Today there are a hundred white ribbons tied to the old Apple tree, and they are all just for you! Your Heavenly Father’s heart is breaking for you, longing for you, waiting for you.
Some of you here have never asked the Lord into your life. You’ve been spending your life doing whatever you choose to do, just like the wayward son, but today the faithful Father is calling you home to Himself. Those hundreds of ribbons are tied to the tree, just for you see, so give your heart to Him today! He says come, come to the water and drink, come to the Lord and let Him show you how you can live a life beyond anything you could possibly imagine. He has a plan and purpose for you, so come to Jesus today and live!
Some of you here know the Lord, but have not been walking closely to Him in recent times. Father’s Day is a great time to bless your Heavenly Father’s heart and tell Him that you love Him. His arms are outstretched, and He is calling you today. Recommit your life to Him, come to the Father on Father’s Day.
Now, let’s finish by praying for our kids who are not walking with God.