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Sermon for March 27, 2022 – 4th Sunday of Easter Preparation

Speaking Of Life 4018 | Labels

Labels make the grocery experience so much better by giving us an idea of what’s inside a product. For us humans, it might be difficult for us to express to the world who we are inside. It’s easy to get labeled by people for how we look, say, or what we even wear. Society might fail to understand us but Jesus fully accepts and loves us for who we are beyond our flaws and mistakes.

Program Transcript


Speaking Of Life 4018 | Labels
Jeff Broadnax

Have you ever gone into a pantry and found a can of food without a label on it? The only way for you to figure out what’s inside is by opening the can. After opening the unlabeled item, what is the likelihood that the reality would actually meet your expectations? Probably, pretty slim.

This is why labels are so important at a grocery store. They can give us a glimpse of what to expect on the inside. Oftentimes, the label will even include a picture of the product inside to add that extra level of confidence that what you are getting is what was being advertised.

Labels are vital to a grocery store’s business, but when it comes to human beings, labels can be incorrect and downright damaging. Have you ever heard someone remark, “He’s the forgetful one,” She’s the slow learner,” or “He’s the problem child.”?

Sometimes we can be quick to label someone without having much knowledge of who they really are. Maybe we just saw the color of their skin, or their political bumper sticker, or something else that triggered a judgmental reaction.

Several years ago, I remember reading how our brains are wired to make those kinds of snap judgments as a means of self-protection and decision-making. I don’t remember the source, but I found it fascinating. It may be true, but what I do know is those snap judgments raise a huge red flag for interpersonal relationships – especially if we don’t monitor our biases.

In the Apostle Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church, he addressed a similar situation that was taking place among them and gave us a different perspective.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5: 16-
17

The church in Corinth may have been a diverse congregation but accepting and receiving one another as equals were in short supply. They were still employing a worldly point of view by placing discriminatory labels on each other. And because of this, you had people that were separating themselves into their own groups according to their own biases, be it their race, wealth, statuses, or culture. Their judgmentalism was not only disrupting their fellowship, but it was also a bad witness to those outside the church.

What the church in Corinth failed to recognize is that through Christ we receive our true identity, and all other labels, whether to race, social status, or political ideology,  pale in comparison. We haven’t had something merely added to us or even just an upgrade to a 2.0 version of ourselves. Our true identity, in Christ, brings us into wholeness and is the fullness of who we are. It is not merely a picture but the substance of who we are. We are the blessed, free, and highly favored children of God. It is the truth of who we are, something we never have to question. And that is how we are to see each other.

What label will you choose to wear? Will you consign yourself to what the world has to say about you, or will you agree with the only assessment about you that reveals the whole truth about who you are? The label of being a new creation in Christ Jesus and accepted by The Father. That’s a label that cannot fall off.

I’m Jeff Broadnax, Speaking of Life.

Psalm 32:1-11 • Joshua 5:9-12 • 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 • Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

The theme for this week is God’s great act of removing our sins and the shame that sin brings. God has done all the work necessary to reconcile the world to himself. In our call to worship Psalm, the psalmist asserts the relief felt by those whose transgression is forgiven and whose sin is covered. In the book of Joshua, God removes the disgrace of the Israelites captivity and takes them out of that situation. In 2 Corinthians, Paul proclaims that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s sins against them. And in Luke, Jesus tells a parable of a father who forgives his prodigal son and goes above and beyond to restore him to full sonship.

The Heart of the Father

Luke 15:20b-24

Think of a time when you did something as a child that you knew you would get into trouble for. And because of your actions, you hid or stayed away. Maybe you broke your mom’s favorite vase or neglected to do something that your dad told to you do. Sometimes those experiences get carried over into our relationship with God. Sometimes we stay away from God because we think that we are not worthy, or that we have done something that disqualifies us from his love. We even think that God’s response to us will be according to the level of how much we think we need to grovel to get back in his good graces.

 

We are going to be looking at a story today of a son who has hit rock bottom and is highly fearful of returning to his father. Although we know this story as The Parable of the Prodigal Son, the story is more about the heart of the father. We will be looking at three facets of the father’s heart: his compassion, confession, and celebration.

Compassion

Then Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So he divided his property between them. A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout 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 to his fields to feed the pigs. He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up 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 like one of your hired hands.”’ So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. (Luke 15:11-20 NRSV)

In this first section, we are going to consider the compassion of the father. To add context to this, you have a son who has previously asked for his share of the inheritance. The father has granted it to him, and the son heads off to go live it up and party hearty. That is, until the money runs out and the fun is over. He then finds employment doing the most degrading job a Jew could imagine and that is to feed the pigs, which were better fed than he was, and that’s not saying much. Having reached the end of his rope, he decides to come home but feels great shame and unworthiness at the same time. Having run out of options he feels that maybe his father would accept him back as a servant on his property.

One thing that we need to understand is that a son who asked for his share of the inheritance was essentially saying to his father, “I wish you were dead.” This would have been unthinkable, and it would have scandalized their family in front of the whole village. In fact, a father was expected to shun a child that asked for such an outrageous request. For all intents and purposes, that son was now considered dead.

In the event of the son’s return, it was likely that the people of this town saw him coming. Knowing the disgrace and shame he has caused his father, it is likely he would have been treated harshly upon his return.

But then we see the father in the story. The father sees the son from far off. Perhaps he is seeing a commotion. Perhaps the father has been keeping an eye out for him this whole time. We don’t know. What we do know is, he takes off running, most likely with robes lifted past his knees—a shameful way for a man to expose himself. Suddenly, the son is no longer the focal point, and it’s the very scandal of their father’s running and exposure of skin that hides the shame of the prodigal. The father would rather bare the shame than to see it upon his son.

The Father likely knew what kind of condition his prodigal son would have been in, and he responded with compassion. Similarly, God saw humanity distancing itself from him. He saw our lostness, our guilt and shame and had compassion on us. Romans 5:8 says that,  “while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” Echoing this, Ephesians 2:13 says, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” He took our shame and nailed it to the cross.

Confession

Then 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 slaves, “Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.” (Luke 15:21-22 NRSV)

In this section we are going to look at the confession of the father. No, I did not say that incorrectly. Did you notice in verse 22 that it indicates that it wasn’t the son’s attempt at confession that moved the heart of the father. In fact, he interrupts the son’s bumbling attempt at confessing. The son presupposes his disqualification as son, but the father throws him a party instead.

We see that the father even kisses his son. According to their customs, a kiss would have signified a death to the past as well as approval. Both of which the prodigal son received.

The father has his best robe placed on the son as well as his signet ring and a pair of shoes. In other words, his past identity as a barefooted slave was now past him, and the father confesses that his son is now worthy of honor (the robe), authority (the ring), and freedom (shoes).

Today as God’s children we wear the robe of righteousness that is ours in Christ. We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit which acts as our engagement ring to assure us that we will receive everything promised to us. And we are told by the Apostle Paul as well that, “It is for freedom that we have been set free.” The Heavenly Father confesses about us being included in Christ? Do we know our place in him? Have we truly looked into all that is ours by being placed in Christ?

Celebration

And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and us found! And they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:23-24 NRSV)

In the last two verses we are looking at the celebration of the father. Now, if the party were supposed to just include his immediate family, then a goat would have sufficed quite nicely. But instead, we see the father instructing them to kill the fattened calf. This would have fed the entire village. As Jesus pointed out to the pharisees earlier in this chapter, “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who have no need of repentance.” (Luke 15:7)

There was an old story that many have heard, there are even songs related to the story. A son had left his village as a disgrace. He had brought shame and dishonor to his family. He went to live in a big city and to get away from the situation that he had caused in his village. After a while he began to miss his family but was unsure as to whether he would be welcomed home or not. He wrote to his father to let him know that he was taking the train back home to his village. He told his father that if he is still welcome to come home, then the father should place a yellow flag at the train station near their village. The son indicated that if he did not see the yellow flag then he would stay on the train and keep going.

When the train came near to the village, the son was extremely nervous. He was afraid to even look out the window as he feared the worst. But when they got within a mile of the train station, he peered out the window and saw something that he couldn’t even imagine. Lining the street were dozens of yellow flags leading to the train station. There were flags on fences, flags in trees, flags on people’s rooftops and a grand assortment of yellow flags at the station itself.

The father was so overjoyed to have his son back that he made his joy unmistakable. Think of how the father felt as he went around to all of his neighbors to get permission to plant flags on their properties, their trees, fences, and on their roofs. This shows a father who is only thinking of how much he wants the son to know that he is forgiven and then to celebrate the reunion.

Just as the prodigal son being brought back to life was the cause of the father’s celebration, in the same way our Heavenly Father rejoices over humanity being placed in the Son of God. The heart of the Father is to see us truly live as who we are: honored, favored, and free children of God.

Let’s sum this up. First, the father was moved by compassion for the son. Rather than having his son bear shame and guilt, the father covers it up and places it on himself. Likewise, Jesus, who is one with the Father, goes to the cross in our place and takes our shame and guilt upon himself, fulfilling the Father’s compassion for us

Second, despite the prodigal son’s attempt at confession, it is the confession of the father welcoming this son fully back into the family that gets the attention. Though we are instructed to confess our sins, it is not an attempt to get into God’s good graces. We are already in because of Christ, who has confessed that he will draw all people to himself. We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

And lastly, the father celebrated the son’s return in grand fashion. And in Christ, the heart of the Father was pleased to welcome us into his great fellowship between Father, Son and Spirit where the celebration will continue without end.

The Temptation of Jesus w/ Gary Deddo W4

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The Temptation of Jesus w/ Gary Deddo
March 27 – 4th Sunday of Lent
Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 “Sinners Coming Near”

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Program Transcript


The Temptation of Jesus with Gary Deddo

Anthony:  Our fourth and final passage for this month comes from Luke 15: 1 – 3, and 11b-32 from the NRSV.

It is the Revised Common Lectionary passage for March the 27th. Gary, would you do us the honors of reading it, please?

Gary:  Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

So, he told them this parable:

“There was a man who had two sons.  The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So, he divided his property between them.  A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living.  

When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout 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 to his fields to feed the pigs.  He would gladly have filled himself with[b] the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything.  But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger!  I will get up 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 like one of your hired hands.”’  

So, he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.  Then 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 slaves, ‘Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  And get the fatted calf and kill it and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.

“Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing.  He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on.  He replied, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.’  Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him.  But he answered his father, ‘Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends.  But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!’  Then the father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.  But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.’”

 

Anthony: That’s a good one. All that is mine is yours. Tax collectors, sinners coming near to Jesus. Gary, what does this reveal about God in the person and work of Jesus Christ?

Gary: Yes. Well, again, this tells us actually much more about Jesus than anybody else. But it is in parabolic form. And of course, the context is the parable of the lost.  The lost sheep, the lost coin. And now we have the lost sons.  Actually, this parable is often called the parable of the prodigal son. I really call it the parable of the lost sons. That illuminates a little bit more of the story, it seems to me.

But in this, yes, Jesus is the one who welcomes anybody.  We never see him turn anyone away. And often those who respond to him are those who are unexpected, especially in the eyes of the Jewish religious leaders of the day, whether they were Sadducees or the Pharisees and including the scribes as well, because of their understanding of who God is and how they were to relate to God and how God was to relate to them in general.

So, it was surprising.  And Jesus did attract a lot of people who were unexpected. And here, tax collectors were those Jewish persons who were working for the Romans and really were, to one degree or another, traders.  They were bribed and used by the Romans to collect the tax.  Also, here is the idea of sinners, is really the Jewish leaders’ notion of who was a sinner and who wasn’t. So, it’s a technical word here, the sinners, those unexpected.

So yes, Jesus welcomes all.  Of course, welcoming children was another aspect. He welcomed all, but sometimes what is forgotten is many of those, he welcomed, rejected him.  They didn’t stay with him.  Just because they were tax collectors and sinners, didn’t itself mean that they stayed with him. I was recalling as I was reading this over again, the ten lepers that came to Jesus, only one – and he healed all ten – only one returned to give thanks to God. The others walked away.  It’s astounding and it’s grievous and it’s sad.

Yes, Jesus welcomed and even healed, but that didn’t necessarily mean that everyone he welcomed stayed with him. In other words, they didn’t receive what he had to give, and so they walked away. They left him even if they were tax collectors and sinners.

There were some Pharisees, as we know, and possibly some Sadducees, who did in the end become believers in Jesus, Nicodemus being probably the one that we know the best of all those. Jesus does indeed welcome all, that they might know the Father through him and come to receive the Spirit at the end of his ministry.

He does, and he welcomes.  He’s not a respecter of persons. He does not show partiality in who he receives, but some show partiality towards him, nevertheless. “Those who he would gather, but they would not.”

Anthony: This is a favorite parable of many, and there’s quite a bit to unpack. And I just want to give you a chance to rift, Gary, just to share whatever you’d like with our listening audience from this particular pericope.

Gary: Yes. I’ve actually given several sermons just on this one parable. There is a lot to unpack, especially to pay attention to the whole and how all the parts fit and how the other two parables lead up to it, much less Jesus’ ministry.  But as a highlight, he’s questioning the leaders of the Jewish people who object to those listening to Jesus and his message about God and God’s relationship to those who are lost. But his parable also is a word of help to all, whether leaders or potential followers, who see who God is and what it means to be in right relationship with him, who see in Jesus, the true nature of God’s heart, mind, character, purpose, will, and ways.

So, as I said before, the religious leaders were often thinking the main game is to avoid absolutely as much as possible, any need to repent.  In other words, to establish your own righteousness on the basis of following God’s laws. And if those don’t work, create laws around those laws and laws around those laws and laws around those laws.

So you can’t even get near the central law to violate it. And then God will be happy with you. You avoided the need to receive repentance. Of course, that whole pattern of avoiding too is disobedience, is distrust in who God is, the God who has a welcoming and forgiving heart. So, it seems to me here that what we see is the nature and character of Jesus and therefore of the Father.  And he’s giving all a chance to repent and believe in God through him, that is, to come to know God’s true nature, God’s true character and what it means to be in right relationship, which means to receive God’s love and God’s forgiveness, God’s renewal, God’s restoration, and finally God’s transformation to eternal life. I think that’s really what’s going on here. And so yes, the father represents God the Father and the sons represent two different approaches to who they think the Father is.

But I think here what Jesus demonstrates is neither the younger Son nor the older son know the Father’s heart, neither of them in right relationship, not just the younger, but the older. That’s the mistake that’s made. Of course, the people coming to Jesus are represented by the younger son coming back to the father.

Of course, the elder Son represents the Pharisees and Sadducees who are angry at these sinners and tax collectors, surely who are far more sinful than they are, that they shouldn’t be welcomed back like this. They shouldn’t be. So, they’re envious. They’re jealous and they’re protecting their own self-righteousness and the way they think about their relationship with God.

In the end, the parable questions, really everybody, because it presents the true picture of the nature of God’s character and renewal, but it does call for repentance, coming back to the Father.

And I think a third thing that’s missed is, I think, in terms of this parable and what it tells us about Jesus, it seems to me, is that Jesus is the true elder Son here.  And if these Pharisees and Sadducees and others were true, elder sons, what would they have done? They would have gone out and gone after the younger rebellious son to bring them back to the father. But not only do they not go out, they said they don’t deserve our going out to get them. We deserve the Father’s favor, not those lost and all.

Jesus as the true elder Son then is the one who goes out, finds the lost son, brings him back to the Father so that they can be reconciled. So that’s the ministry of Jesus, ultimately that is represented here in this parable.

Another interesting thing here is that the elder son – it’s interesting – he says he’s done everything his father has told him to do. What’s his view of the relationship that he has with his father?  Again, it’s kind of earning God’s favor, earning God’s love.  But it’s interesting; when is the first time he might be willing to admit he disobeyed?  When he’s invited to come into the banquet, he refuses. My way of characterizing is the younger son was inwardly rebellious and outwardly rebellious, both, but he began to turn around. And if you say how?  I would say is it has to be by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. That’s how, but that’s not a part of this story exactly. But it raises the question. The younger son came back by the drawing of the Holy Spirit, but then he doesn’t fully realize the love of the Father until he comes back. But he starts out with an inward rebellion and an outward rebellion, but he does repent.

And when he enters in, rather than keeping with his story, “I don’t deserve it. I don’t deserve it,” and keep punishing himself. “I don’t deserve it. I don’t deserve it. I’m not going in. No, no, no!” He fully repents. How does he repent?  By receiving his father’s forgiveness. By receiving it, that’s an even greater humility than just saying I sinned against you and sinned against heaven. He has truly his heart inwardly, and now outwardly he goes into and wears the clothing that his Father gives him that shows his true belonging.  So, he changes inwardly and outwardly.

Now what about the elder son? Outwardly, it looks like he’d been conforming, but really he was inwardly rebellious, just as rebellious as the son who left.  Inwardly, he was not willing to risk freely receiving the love of the father as it really was. He was attempting to earn what the father has freely given.

I don’t know if you’ve ever had this happen. Have you ever tried to give a gift to someone freely, just spontaneously or maybe planned, but you just wanted to give it to give it and then it’s rejected? “No. Well, let me pay you for it. Well, I’ll have to do something for you.”

I don’t know how to, how do you receive that?  Or maybe you’ve done it. I’ve done it.  It’s a rejection of it because you don’t want to be beholden to them, because you don’t want to be that close, because you don’t want to be a receiver. You want to be independent in control of your own life in control of the terms of the relationship.  You want to be in charge.

And there’s nothing like a legal relationship that does that. If you… then I. If I… then you.  We want to protect our pride and our independence, legal relationships with God and with others, if we can manage it.  Legal relationships so that the mediator becomes the law between us. And this is the inward rebellion that God, by his mercy and grace has to overcome by his word and his Spirit in us, because we will be like one of these, both outwardly rebellious and inwardly rebellious or outwardly looking like we’re conforming, but inwardly rejecting and rebelling. This is the hardness of the human heart that God, by his Spirit needs to overcome. And that the evil one wants to play on in our lives so that we have at least a modicum of distrust of God, keeping our distance and not freely receiving all that he has to give us.

And so finally though, it does come out, right? The elder son becomes outwardly rebellious. Outwardly, he refuses to go into the banquet. He refuses to hear, “Son, you’ve misunderstood me all along all. That was mine is yours all those years because you belong to me, because you’re my son.”

And the truth comes out, and I think this parable then exposes everybody’s need, whether you’ve been inwardly and outwardly rebellious or not, of course we’ve all been some of both I’m sure.  Well, if I know myself anyway.  So, this is very powerful, but also confronting. And I think some of us – sometimes I’ve asked people, how do you think of yourself or how do other people regard you?  As a goody-goody? So, you’re like the elder son?  Or you’re the outwardly rebellious one?

I think we tend to categorize ourselves and others in these two things, but Jesus shows, we both need the love of the Father that is brought to us by he himself, even in telling this parable.  He’s being the true elder Son by telling this.

Anthony: You know, as I’ve thought about this passage through the years, Gary, I can’t help as I try to think Christologically about it, that this scripture should always lead us to praise, right? If it doesn’t, we’re doing it wrong. If theology doesn’t lead us to worship, we’re doing it wrong. But as I’ve tried to think about this, Christologically, I’m grateful that Jesus, the True Son, is the one who came into the far country into the wilderness, as we were reading in an earlier passage, to rescue us, to do it on our behalf and in our place. And thanks be to God that he welcomes us, at every turn he’s willing to receive us back as we respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. This is good news.

And I just want to thank you for being a part of this conversation today. It was rich and there’s so much for our pastors and teachers to chew on because of what you said. And I’m just thankful that your theological mind and heart leads to an exegesis that points out the living Word in the written word.

Thank you, brother, for being a part of this conversation. And as is our typical way of ending here on Gospel Reverb, I’m going to ask that you pray over those who are listening, that they would continue to, as you said over and over, to repent, to have their mind radically changed and reoriented to God.

And I thank you for what you said as well – one other point of emphasis I wanted to mention – what you said about the warning passages, which there are many in the New Testament, that that’s always done out of love.  God in Jesus Christ never acts out of character. He can only act out of his character, which is love.  And even a warning is an act of love that draws us into right relationship with him. Thank you, brother.

Would you pray over our listening audience as we close up shop here today?

Gary: Yes. Thank you. Anthony, it has been a privilege to be with you. Let me pray.

Gracious God, Father, son, and Holy Spirit, how grateful we are that we have your word and that even by your Spirit, you can give us ears to hear and hearts willing to receive.

Even though we have to die to our pride, we come alive in you. And so by your word and by your Spirit, which will be at work upon all those who hear this at a later time, because you’re the living God who continues to speak by your word. Would you use these words? Not for my sake, for GCI’s sake, but for the sake of your glory and your goodness that each one who hears this might hear your word, might hear you speaking in them, that they might hear of your true nature, your true character.

Then they might be drawn to you and be willing to die, to pride, die to self-satisfaction, leave behind the hope of any kind of self-righteousness because that’s never what you wanted or intended, but to give us yourself as a gift and all that we have in you, all that you accomplished for us, overcoming the evil one himself, and all the temptations that come to us from the world, and that the evil one plays on and the weakness of our fallen flesh.

And so Lord, we entrust your word and these words that we’ve exchanged in this recording, that you would use it for your glory to bring many to you, to strengthen and encourage all who listened to it. Draw them closer to you into a deeper trust and confidence in your holy love shown to us so powerfully in Jesus Christ that we might worship you, Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit we pray. Amen.


Small Group Discussion Questions

  • Think of a time when you did something foolish. What was it that brought you around to confess what you did?
  • Name a time when you witnessed God’s extravagant love towards either you or someone else.
  • Considering Jesus’ description of the Father’s heart, do we sometimes still feel unworthy to approach God? If so, why?
  • How might our lives be different if we were convinced that we wear the robe of righteousness at all times?
  • How does it make you feel to see others being rejoiced over when you think that your own efforts have gone unrecognized?

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