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Funeral Sermon - Prodigal Sons

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Death always causes us to think about life. How will I spend the few days I have? Am I missing something? Does my life matter?
Death causes us to think about God. Who is He? What does He want from me? Is He pleased with me? How can I know if I will be with Him in heaven when I die?
Death causes us to think about God. Who is He? Does He have a purpose for me? Is He pleased with me? How can I know if I will be with Him in heaven when I die?
If we look at the Bible today two realities surface:
Assuring promise: God loves me, and He desires for me to spend eternity with Him. He offers me the gift of eternal life if I believe in what Jesus did on my behalf.
A stern warning: A possibility that I might forfeit the gift of God by rejecting the love of God.
A familiar story that reminds us of who we are and who God is. We need the reminder!

We are all prodigals.

This is going to be really good and encouraging, but to get to the really good stuff we have to talk about the truth about us. The truth about all of us is portrayed in this simple story:
A man had TWO sons. Both sons treat their father terribly.
Both sons treat their father terribly - younger son -
He saw the
Younger son: Give me, and I’m turning my back on you. I want nothing to do with you.
He saw the father as restrictive - He couldn’t chase the desires of his heart as long as he was under his father’s house
So, he takes everything the father gave him and wastes it.
Let’s be honest: some of us have treated God that way. We want the gifts of God, but we don’t want anything to do with Him. We want the money, the blessings, the nice things of life, but we don’t want a relationship with the God who gives us every good gift. And, we waste the gifts that God gives us on trying to make ourselves happy, etc.
Older brother: He’s not much better. When his brother comes to his senses and returns home, the father throws a party. It infuriates the older brother.
“Where’s my party? I never disobeyed you.” The older brother wants the Father’s stuff as well. After all, he deserves it. Looks down at his brother with judgmental heart.
Some of us are like the older brother. We have our act together. We’ve done everything right. We’ve worked hard. We look at God and say, “You owe me. Look at how well I’ve lived. Give me.” We look at others with judgment and we feel like we deserve blessing while others don’t.
The older brother is just as much a prodigal as the younger. Neither brother really wants anything to do with the father, and both brothers want the father’s money. Neither want the father.
Apart from Christ, we’re all prodigals. We either look at God and say, “Give me and leave me alone.” Or, “Give me because I deserve it. I earned it.” Regardless, we all want the same thing - we all want the good stuff of life, but we don’t want the giver of the good stuff. We are all prodigals.

We have a God who is full of prodigal love.

Prodigal = overly wasteful or lavish and extravagant
Here’s where it gets good. The younger son comes to his senses. He’s eating slop out of the pig trough - he could go home - it would be better for him to be a servant in his father’s house than to live in slop.
Note - the son doesn’t expect the father to embrace him as his son - he’s just hoping the father will have enough mercy to just let him live as a slave in his house.
He makes the long journey home - And the imagery is the father is waiting at the door each day, looking out the window, waiting for the return of his son. When he sees his son making his way home, he runs to his son and, embraces him, and kisses him. This is unexpected! Everyone who hears the story would be shocked! After what the son did to his father, the father should scold, should punish, should say, “I told you so.” But instead, lavishes his son with prodigal love - throws a feast, gives him his best robe, etc.
This is our God - He loves with a prodigal love - a love we don’t deserve - He gives us the best of what He has.
The best God had was His own Son. God a God of love but also justice. Can’t let our sin go unpunished. If He let our sin go unpunished, He would not be a just God. So, in His love, He gave His Son, who died in our place and experienced the punishment we deserved so that we might get the best - the love of the Father - and a share in the inheritance of Christ - eternal life. Jesus, the Son of God, has run to us with arms wide open so that we can know the love of the Father.
Why this message on this day?
It’s time to see God for who He is. He is a God of justice yet a God of love. To reject His love is to receive eternal punishment.
It’s time to be honest. Where do you stand before God? Are you embracing His love? Rejecting His love?
It’s time to come home. Today, God will embrace you. Come to Him and He will meet you where you are with His prodigal love.
Reality, you will meet your death. Maybe sooner, maybe later. When your time comes, will your life have been a prodigal life or a life where you lived to know the One who knows you and loves you?
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