Robert Morris — The Father's Battle
This weekend I want to share with you the father's battle. And I'm actually not going to tell you what the father's battle is, until the end of the message, alright? But let me show you some things in Luke 15. I'm starting with, here at three points, here's the first one. You are precious. I think Luke 15 tells us some things that we need to know about ourselves. And I think that's what Jesus was trying to communicate with these three parables in Luke 15. Not just the parable of the prodigal.
So Luke 15 look at verse 1, it says, "Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to hear him and the pharisees and scribes complained saying, 'This man receives sinners and eats with them.' So he spoke this parable to them". That's why he spoke the parable. And of course he tells three parables here. "Saying, 'What man of you having 100 sheep if he loses one of them does not leave the 99 in the wilderness and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he's found it he lays it on his shoulders rejoicing. And when he comes home he calls together his friends and neighbors saying to them, "Rejoice with me for I have found my sheep..'". I just want you to notice those two words, "'...my sheep which was lost.' And I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 just persons who need no repentance".
So he tells three stories and we're gonna read all three. The first one is about a shepherd that has a 100 sheep and he loses one, he leaves the 99 and goes after the one. He finds it, puts it on his shoulders and brings it home and calls his friends and says, "Rejoice with me". Obviously, the shepherd represents Jesus. John 10:11, Jesus said clearly, "'I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives his life for the sheep.'" Now this is really simple, I'm saying the point is from this parable, that I want you to hear and I think the Lord wants you to hear, is you are precious. You, individually.
I want you to think about this. This shepherd has a 100 sheep. He loses one and he goes after that one. Just one sheep. See we're precious because Jesus knows all of His sheep. He says, "Rejoice with me because my sheep that was lost, I've found". And I also want you to notice that the shepherd doesn't send someone to find the sheep. He comes himself. I have a study on this and I don't have time to do it all, but I'm just gonna give you three of the verses. I love the phrase, and you can do this study yourself, I love the phrase he himself. It's in many places in the Bible. He himself.
Let me just show you three in Hebrews. Hebrews 1:3, "When He by Himself..". In other words no one helped Him. "By Himself He purged our sins". Hebrews 2:18, "He Himself has suffered". Hebrews 13:5, you probably know this scripture, but look at this part of it, "He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'" He Himself. Isaiah 59:16, this doesn't say He Himself, but I want you to notice, "He..". This is the messianic scripture, it's talking about Jesus, in the Old Testament. "He saw that there was no man. And He wondered that there was no intercessor..". Remember I told you about intercession is like the word intersection. It's bringing two things together. He wondered there's no one to bring God and people together, there's no one to do it. "Therefore His own arm brought salvation".
Here's what I want you to know and because we're gonna read so many scripture, I can't comment on all of it as much as I'd like to. But here's what I want you to get from this first parable. Jesus Himself came to get you. He didn't send someone to come get you. He Himself. He left the 99 and He came to get you and you personally. And you'll see that as we go on in the message.
Years ago I was reading a book and this story was in the book. Reminding me of what the Lord did for us, it says, "After World War I the United States allocated funds for the orphans in Europe. In one of the orphanages a very old and thin man brought in a very thin little girl and said, 'I'd like you to take care and take in my little girl please.' They asked him if she was his daughter and when he said yes they said we're very sorry but our rules are that we can't take in any children if either of the parents are still living. He said, "But I've been in prison camps and now I'm too old and too sick to work. She'll die if you don't take care of her.'
They felt compassion, but they told him they couldn't do anything about it. Then the man said, 'Are you telling me, that if I died you'll take care of my little girl? And she can live and have food and have clothes and have a home?' And they said, 'Yes.' And the father reached down, pulled her up to himself, hugged her, kissed her, and then put her hand in the hand of the man at the desk and then said to him, 'I'll arrange it'. And he walked out of the orphanage and he hung himself".
The reason I read you that story is because I think that's what Jesus did. I think He said to the Father, "You mean if I die, they can live"? And the Father said, "Yes". And he put my hand in the hand of the Father and said, "I'll arrange it". The Shepherd left Heaven to get you, to get one sheep. So you're precious. Why else would a shepherd step in front of a wolf? For each sheep.
Here's number two. You are valuable. This is from the second parable that He tells in Luke 15. You're valuable. Luke 15:8, so just stay in Luke 15 for the whole message, "Or what woman having ten silver coins..". I wish I could really go into the background of why there's silver here, not gold. I'll go into a little bit of it. That's amazing. "It says if she loses one coin, what woman does not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she's found it she calls her friends and neighbors together saying rejoice with me for I found the piece which I lost". Which I lost. It was her coin. "Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over every sinner that repents".
I think the reason that He uses a coin now is because He's trying to show value. A silver coin showed value. And I think He uses a woman because He's trying to show the Holy Spirit. If you think about the first parable is about a shepherd, that's obviously Jesus. He said I'm the Shepherd. The third parable the prodigal son is about a Father. This is about a woman. Now, I know this isn't always the case, but for the most part women are more in touch with their feelings than men are. That's why we get married. Because a woman will say, "You mean your parents left you and you were raised by wolves"? And a man will say, "Yep". No emotion at all. "Your parents left you"? "Yeah". "Didn't that hurt"? "No I liked the wolves". She said, "I think it hurt". "No, it didn't hurt me".
What she does is, she'll grab the memory and she'll grab a feeling over here. And men have never attached the two. And she'll start saying, "Yeah I think it hurt you". "No it didn't". "Yeah I think it did". "No it didn't... Ahh"! Like that. And you say, "What is it"? She says, "It's a feeling, honey. That's a feeling". That's a feeling. You know, when you say the Holy Spirit in scripture you see emotion. I don't know if you've done this but you'll see joy. The fruit of the Spirit is joy, joy is an emotion. The Holy Spirit brings joy, righteousness, peace, and joy. When you study scripture about the Holy Spirit you see that he's grieved. Grief is an emotion. When a believer goes in to sin it grieves the Holy Spirit.
James 4:5 says that, "Do you think the scripture says in vain the Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously. Jealously. Jealousy is an emotion. Now there's a good jealousy and a bad jealousy. The bad jealousy is that you're jealous because of what it means to you. The good jealousy is you're jealous for what it does for the other person. How it affects that person. And we know there's a good jealousy because the Holy Spirit feels it. The root word of silver in Hebrew — and that's why I said I can't go into all of it — but it means desirable. See, think about this she had ten coins, but she yearned for the one she lost. The shepherd had 100 sheep. He still had 99, but he grieved for the one that was lost.
Here's the Holy Spirit turning the lamp on, turning the light on, so that we can find out way home. Something else you need to know about these silver coins is they always had an image on 'em. They had the image of the ruler. You remember the story? They said, "Should we pay taxes"? I'd still like to ask Jesus that still today. Should we pay that much, you know, Lord. So but Jesus said, "Whose image is on the coin"? You remember that? Whose image? They said, "Caesar". He said, "Give to Caesar, what is Caesar's..". Or renders what — you know, what the Old King James says. "...And unto God what is God's". OK but there was an image on the coin.
Listen to me, I've got a great question for you. Whose image is on you? You know. You were created in the image and the likeness of God. Here's what I'm tryin' to tell you. You're valuable. Your value, the value of anything — and I know my throat from the drainage is kinda sore so just don't let that bother you but I can tell it even more now. I was gonna not say anything, but now I have to say something, so I got it.
The value of anything is determined by what someone's willing to pay for it. And God paid the blood of his Son for you. And He paid the same price for you that He paid for any leader you see in the body of Christ. There's not one person that you've ever seen or read a book from that's more valuable to God than you. These coins all have the same value, but she wanted to find the one because each coin has value. And I think that's why he told us this. So you're valuable. And here's the third one. You are unique. I never seen this before in the parable of the prodigal son.
Look at verse 11, "He said, 'A certain man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, 'Father give me the portion of goods that falls to me. So he divided of them his livelihood. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far away country and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living". Living without restraint. "But when he'd spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land and he began to be in want. And then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate. And no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself..".
Now we've talked about that phrase, it's up to you. If you're gonna return to God or not. "He said how many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare and I perish with hunger. I will arise and I will go to my father and say to him, 'Father I have sinned against heaven and before you. And I'm no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants". And watch verse 20 carefully. "And he arose and came to his father, but when he was still a great way off his father saw him and had compassion. And ran and fell on his neck and kissed him".
Now what I'm about to say, is difficult to say because I'm gonna talk about something that is very sensitive. But it's the way the Lord showed me this truth. Debbie and I have never lost a child and we've never had a miscarriage. We've had grandchildren who were miscarried and who are now in Heaven. But we personally never lost a child. And I'm very, very sorry if you did and I don't mean to use this illustration in an insensitive way. But the Lord showed me the fallacy of my thinking through this passage of scripture and showed me something I've never seen.
Sometimes when a person has a miscarriage, you might think — have this thought — If someone else has had this thought please understand, the person having this thought is not trying to be insensitive, it's just not thinking correctly. But I've had the thought, "Well do they have other children? At least they have other children". Now here's what the Lord showed me. Each child is unique. If you lose a child, even if you have other children you still grieve. It still breaks your heart. Because that child is unique. Please hear me, you are unique. You're unique to God. See it's easy for us to think about that God loves us as a group. But I'm telling you that God loves you as a person.
Think about this. He created all the animals, all the shape, and sizes, and colors of all the different animals. He created all the mountains, and the valleys, and the streams. He created all the stars, and the planets, and the solar systems. He created it all. So he has the ability and the knowledge. To create every detail that we see around us. So you need to know He has the ability and the knowledge to know you personally. If he can create every detail of every animal and every plant. And they're all so different and they're all so unique. He knows you. And see and that's hard for us to believe; but, he knows you.
As a matter of fact, He created you because there is no one that's living now who or has every lived that has the exact DNA you have. And God designed it. And there's no one living now or that has ever lived that has the exact finger print that you have. And in your mother's womb God designed your fingerprint. That's why the father was grieving for the son that was lost. Because he missed that son. That's why He grieves when a person who's His sheep, who belongs to Him becomes a prodigal. Because that's His child. His image is on that child.
So I entitled the message "The Father's Battle". What's the father's battle? Well I saw something in these 3 parables I've never seen before. There's one major difference in the third parable than the first two. First one remember is a shepherd that loses his sheep. Second one, a woman that loses a coin. Third one, a father that loses a son. OK, here's the thing that's different. The shepherd goes and gets the sheep and brings it home. The woman searches the house and finds the coin and puts it back in her collection. But the father didn't go get the son. You wanna know why? Because the son has a choice. You know what the father's battle is? Waiting. Waiting for his kids to come home.
See the reason the father didn't go get this son and bring him home was because his body would have been home but his heart wouldn't have been home. Because God created you in His image. We talk about God's will. God's will. Since God has a will, you have a will. So the father's battle is waiting for His kids to come home; and you have to notice, all three of them were looking. The shepherd was looking, the woman was looking, and the father was looking because he saw him when he was still a great way off. So he was still looking, he just couldn't go get him and bring him home. Because the difference is the son is a person, he's not a sheep, and he's not a coin. He's a person and he has a will and he can decide whether he's gonna come home or not.
Years ago, when our Grand Prairie campus was the Shady Grove church, I was an associate pastor there. And one weekend I was preaching, just kinda in the rotation to preach. And Pastor Owen was the senior pastor. So I don't even remember what I preached on, I just remember this happening. And I found out later how it happened and what happened to precede it. There was a man who'd been away from God for ten years, wouldn't go to church, was angry at God. Been a believer, but wouldn't go back to church. For ten years. And his wife was a believer during this time and loved the Lord, but he wouldn't go to church.
So finally, he said, "I need to go back to church". And so they're driving that morning, the same morning that I'm preaching and they're driving to church and he pulled into a parking lot and grabbed the steering wheel like this. And she said, "Honey, what's wrong"? He said, "I'm the prodigal son. I feel like the prodigal son". She said, "Yeah but you're going home". He said, "Yeah, but I don't know if He wants me back. And I think He's gonna ask me where I've been and what I've done. And I'm not sure He wants me back". And so she prayed for him. They got back out on the road and came on to church.
I preached, I don't even remember what I preached on, but I just said if you wanna come to the alter, if you need to come back to God, or if you need to come to God, then come on. And he came down and he stood right here. And when I looked at him I got this impression from the Lord. And so I went over and I put my arms around him and I gave him a hug; and he hugged me and he started crying. And then I said to him, "I don't know you, but the Lord told me to tell you — He said for me to say to you, 'I know you feel like the prodigal, but I don't care where you've been and I don't care what you've done, I just want My son back. I just want My son back'".
I'm telling ya. Jesus died for what you did. He died for where you been. And the Holy Spirit has turned the light on so you can get home. And the Father's waiting for his son or his daughter to come home. He's waiting. I want you to bow your head and close your eyes. I want you to just take a moment and say, "Lord, what are you saying to me through this message"? I really believe there are some people that just need to come home in one area of your life. That's why I feel like the Lord spoke to me. I feel like there are people who would say, "I wouldn't classify myself as a prodigal, but there's an area of my life. In that area, I need to come home. I need to come back to God in that area". We want to pray for you. And we want to pray with you.
If you're going through any type of a difficulty. Maybe you're not a prodigal that needs to come home in an area, but maybe you're going through a difficulty with your job, your finances, your marriage, your family, your health. We all go through difficulties so don't ever be embarrassed to ask for prayer at church. Don't ever feel like I'm a big bad sinner if I go ask for prayer. Because we all need prayer. Everyone here needs prayer. I asked for prayer right before this service for my voice and for the message and for the service. So we all need prayer, I asked for prayer. So whatever area, you'll need prayer in. Here's a burden on my heart, if there's an area in which you need to come home you know it, right? Lord I pray that you'll right now give courage to every person who needs prayer in any area, in Jesus' name. Amen.
The Father really is waiting. He's waiting for all of His kids to come home, every son and every daughter. He's standing on the front porch looking for you. And I want to encourage you. You're watching today and it's not an accident. God wants you to come home. So make a decision right now. Right now in your heart. Decide I am going home to the Father. I'm so glad you made that decision. And I'll see you next time.