God’s Story                                                  1-6-19

Bottom Line:  We can’t have a relationship with God if we don’t understand Him.  He wants us to know Him!

Introduction:

 A. Who are some people that you just don’t understand?

   1. Politicians who divide, attack, and generalize

   2. House buyers who are picky or pet obsessive

 B. How about folks you’re learning to understand?

 C. Folks you once didn’t understand and now you are part of them?

   1. Older people?

   2. Car blinkers on…

 D. Our path to understanding God is like that…

   1. Don’t understand – maybe don’t want to

   2. Start to understand – growing and learning

   3. Understand and unite

 E. Where are you in your understanding of God?

   1. Time? The more years trying the better…

   2. Information?  God’s Word & God’s people…

   3. Desire?  Being a seeker of God…

 F. Remember, to know Jesus is to know God – reverse too

   1. John 14:1, “You believe in God, believe also in me…”

   2. “We are one” – “All the fulness of deity dwells…”

 G. Jesus talked a lot about folks not understanding God!

   1. Luke 15, Tax collectors & sinners gathering to hear Jesus.  They were seekers!

   2. Pharisees & teachers of the law shocked & critical

   3. Teaching moment about the character of God & Jesus

    *2 stories about priorities and 1 about His character

 H. Story about one lost sheep, a lost coin, & a lost son

   vs.3-7; vs.8-10; vs.11-19:  Special Reading

   1. God’s love & care for His own!

   2. God’s rejoicing over one being found!

 I. The story of the Prodigal Son is really the story of God!

   1. It is what Jesus wanted us to know about His Father

   2. It’s vital for us to understand & know our Father

          * This parable helps us learn that…

1.  Our loving Father gives!

 A. His sons were well taken care of! (Remembered in the pig pen!)

 B. He even gave them what they wanted rather what they needed!

 C. He allows freedom to make bad choices!  Love does!

2.  Our loving Father longs for our return!

 A. Looking and anticipating, vs.20-21

 B. How long?  Without limits!  (OT principle)

 C. There is no angry & resentful Father waiting to punish!

3.  Our loving Father wants to celebrate with us! vs.22-24

 A. God is a rejoicing God!  Mostly over us!

 B. God has blessings planned & prepared for us!

 C. God never gives up on us!

4.  Our loving Father desires a personal relationship with us! vs.25-32

 A. We can call Him Father but really not know Him!

 B. We can’t compare our relationship w/ Him to others!

 C. God pursues but he doesn’t force!

 D. God won’t make us see what He’s always done for us!

Conclusion:

A. The older brother is God’s people who really didn’t understand Him!

B. Do we really understand our Father?  Do we see Him as a loving, giving, seeking, forgiving, and rejoicing God!

C. The last words of the Father/God: “This brother of yours was dead, and he’s alive!  He was lost, and he’s found!”

   * Nothing means more to Him than you coming back!