Overwhelming Grace

SCRIPTURE: Luke 15:20-24

20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.

22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.


Today, we come back to the heart of Luke 15 and to the heart of the FATHER. Jesus told this story because the Jews had a twisted view of God. Jesus is trying to convey a truth that the Pharisees and Scribes don’t understand: God is a loving God full of compassion, just like this father WHO OVERWHELMED HIS SON WITH GIFTS OF GRACE.


Today I want to jump right into the message with no introduction


  • Yes God the heavenly Father is Holy and He cannot be touched or tempted by sin. Sin must be dealt with. We can’t sweep it under a rug.
  • But He is also good, good to all [this father was good to both sons].
  • He is filled with love and compassion. He takes no delight in the death of the wicked. He gets no kick out of the condemnation of a sinner.
  • He longs to forgive, He anxiously awaits our repentance.
  • His heaven rejoices over the repentance of ONE sinner and today, that could be you!
  • He is Gracious and Good, the giver of all good things. We are never more like Him than when we are giving.
  • There is no celebration is heaven today over our good deeds: heaven celebrates when we repent. The Pharisees never brought any joy to Jesus.


  1. The RECEPTION…the hug, kiss, the affection and forgiveness
  2. The ROBE…the robe was the best garment in the house, reserved for special guest and dignitaries. Thus the Father is treating his son like a king.
  3. The RING…the ring is a signet ring. It is both a symbol of authority and status. The signet ring was the equivalent to a CREDIT CARD. It had the family crest on it and could be used to purchase property or to consummate a business transaction. It was a big deal.
  4. The SANDALS…Slaves did not wear shoes. This practice is not that ancient. There is an old black spiritual called, “All God’s Children Got Shoes.” You might say the shoes were a symbol of freedom.
  5. The PARTY…The fated calf was reserved for a special occasion. Again, the Father is treating the son as though he had never sinned.


  • The thing that stunned the Pharisees who are listening to the story is that justice is not served: the boy deserved a beating, not a party.
  • Why would the Father give lavish gifts to a man who was so undeserving?

Understand today: that the Father is this story is our Heavenly Father. When the prodigal came home, he came rehearsing a speech but he never got to finish his speech because his father interrupted him and started giving him gift after gift and not a single gift was deserved. Everything was GRACE. Before the boy can finish his confession, bang, bang, bang, the Father is giving him gifts. The kid had to be OVERWHELMED. He got run over by a truck load of GRACE. He had to be stunned by His father’s kindness. This was not what the boy expected: gift after gift–grace upon grace. I know how the boy feels. TODAY I AM OVERWHELMED BY GOD’S GRACE. I am stunned by HIS INFINITE GOODNESS.


I am telling you today, if you will come to the FATHER, the way the younger son came to his father, humble, broken and repentant, confessing your sin…You too will be overwhelmed by His grace. NOTE: the prodigal did not return blaming his older brother or his father but himself.

I read this story many years ago and cannot remember the reference but a woman of renown and prestige decided to join a local church in her city. She thought it would be good for her reputation and her business interest. When she came for membership [during the invitation] she told the pastor, “I want to join this church.” He said, “That is good but first you need assurance of your salvation: have you been saved?” The woman didn’t understand so the pastor said, “Have you repented of your sins and trusted Christ for forgiveness?” This offended the dear lady. “I have no sins to repent of,” she said. The pastor shocked her with these words, “Then, madam, you may as well return to your seat because I cannot help you.” Angry, hurt and embarrassed, she returned to her seat but she was not happy with the outcome. The more she thought about it the more angry she became. So she marched down the aisle for a second time but this time demanding that the pastor present her for membership. Again, he refused and sent her back to her seat. Then a miracle of grace happened, her anger turned to sorrow. The Spirit of God convicted her and she began to weep. She walked the aisle for the third time but this time she told the pastor, “I am a sinner. God has convicted me and I want to repent.” The pastor smiled and said, “Now, I can help you.”

There is nothing anyone can do to help an unrepentant sinner other than pray for them.



Scripture: Luke 15:1-10, NLT

1 Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. 
2 This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them! 
3 So Jesus told them this story: 
4 “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? 
5 And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. 
6 When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ 
7 In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! 
8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? 
9 And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ 
10 In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.” 


The Key to understanding Luke 15 is found in the first two verses: Jesus loved sinners, He even ate with them and this infuriated the Jewish Religious Establishment. These Jewish Religious Leaders believed that God hated sinners and could not wait to punish them. Jesus was God and yet He loved sinners; He came to seek and to save the LOST [Luke 19:10]. To reinforce this truth, that God loves sinners and wants to save them, not condemn them, Jesus told three stories. 


Today we are going to look at what these stories have in common. There are four things that each story has in common:
  1. In each story, something or someone is LOST. [Sheep, Coin, Son]
  2. In each story, that which is lost has VALUE. [Livestock, Money, Person]
  3. In each story, there is someone who CARES about the lost. [Shepherd, Woman, Father]
  4. In each story, there is a CELEBRATION once the lost are recovered.

We will cover number 4 in a later message: today we are going to focus on the first three AND we are going to combine 2-3 which means our sermon has two major points


  1. First, there is a lost SHEEP.
    • How did the sheep get lost? {Sheep wandered or just took its focus off of the shepherd. The sheep went astray {Isaiah 56:3}
    • What did it mean for the sheep to be lost? The sheep was more than disoriented, more than separated from the shepherd and flock, the sheep was in a POSITION OF PERIL or extreme danger. {Hell and Judgment}
  2. There is the lost COIN.
    • How did the coin get lost? It is an inantimate object, it could not lose itself. It was lost due to human carelessness, human error.
    • The coin did nothing to get lost. {David in Psalm 51:5, Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. NLT,  I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. 
    • What do you have to do to be lost? Nothing, it is our default setting. We are lost due to human errror, the error of our grandparents Adam and Eve.
  3. The Lost SON. The Sheep probably wandered, the coin was a victim of human error but the Son was lost because he chose to be lost.
    • There are those who are like the sheep: they know they are lost but they have no idea how to be found. They feel afraid and helpless. They long for the Shepherd to find them.
    • There are some like the coin, they don’t even know they are lost. They need a revelation, a light.
    • There are those like the Son, they are lost, they know they are lost and they have no intention of repenting because they are dead set in living life their way even if that means living in rebellion against God.


  1. The lost Sheep has a caring Shepherd. I’m sure you may have noticed the progression: livestock, money, people. The sheep was probably worth about $20, the coin $100 and the Son of course priceless. The sheep might not be that valuable to some but to the shepherd, he was highly valued. {My daddy and his cows}
  2. Coins have little value today but in ancient times, all money was in coins. Even we in America once had valuable coins like a $20 gold piece. So we are not talking about a quarter or a dime. Think of it as a hundred dollar bill. How many of you womem, would turn on the lights and search for a $100 bill?
  3. Then there is the lost Son. Now we are talking about a human being created in God’s image. You cannot put a price tag on a human. This story has a strange twist to it, the FATHER, who we loved the son more than the Shepherd loved the sheep or the woman the coin, did not go in search of His Son. Why? Did he not care? We can coherse fear, we can make someone fear us but we cannot make another human being love us. The Father allowed his son to rebel, to show disrespect, to go to a far country. But he was always at home, waiting, praying, watching for his son’s return.


It doesn’t matter why you are lost or who’s fault it is: what matter is that you be found. Since you are a human being, you have to decide for yourself, you have to repent and turn from your selfish ways just like the prodigal. God is the LOVING FATHER who waits for your return.

We know that God is holy, He revealed Himself to Moses as the Holy God, A consuming fire and in CHRIST we have a greater revelation: God is LOVE. You may think He cannot be both but He is can and is: He hates sin but He loves sinners. THIS IS THE GOSPEL TRUTH.

I want to close with a story about Beth. She was a little 8 year old girl in our WEE Care program and she was acting out to the point that all the worker were frustrated and exasperated. They brought Beth to me to see if I could help; she was one strike away from being expelled. It took me a while to get Beth to open up but finally she told me about the fear she had and I am sure this fear was the motivation of her misbehavior. Beth father had abandoned them when she was six; leaving her, her 4 year old brother and her mom. Beth got up one morning and he was there and she had not seen him since. Her mom was very young; she had children before she was mature enough to be a parent. She was also lonely and she had been inviting male friends to their trailor. Beth was horrified by the prospects. She told me, “I’m afraid me and my brother will wake up one morning and mom will be gone just like dad.” Beth was a beautiful little girl but she acted like a beast and no one wanted to be around her: what was I to tell this 8 year old child. I tried to reassure Beth of her Mothers love but then I told Beth–“I can guarantee you that you are loved unconditionally by Jesus and He will never abandon you.” I wish I could have guaranteed her Mother’s love but I couldn’t but I could guarantee the love of Jesus. He loves you, He died for you and He longs to be your best friend. Would you repent of your sin today and trust Him as your Savior.