"A Dad Who Runs"

Preached by on June 16, 2019
— From the series,

One of the most famous parables of Jesus is our text for Father’s Day. As we examine this father, maybe we will see God in a new light as our Father.

A Dad Who Runs

(Luke 15:11-24)



A.  Happy Father’s Day to all our dads out there.  I am one of you, so happy Father’s Day to me!  It is a joy to celebrate this day with my daughter and newest son-in-law and his family.  Celebrating Sarah and Connor’s marriage was a great joy for all who were present.

B.  Father’s Day is a day of celebration of good dads.  It is often cheaper than mother’s day, and sometimes dads grill out their own dinner.  I am a blessed dad and am blessed by my dad.  My children have blessed my life and are a blessing to others.  Those who are married, married people who love them.  I see in my children all the great qualities of their mom and some my qualities – the good and the bad – also.

C.  To be a father is more than just being a biological being.  It is being one who invests himself into the lives and spiritual care of his children.  A father learns how to balance work and time at home without sacrificing the spiritual training and connection to the church family.

D.  There are many “how-t0” books to help people become what someone thinks is a good dad, but the best book to understand the role of fatherhood is “the Good Book.”  The best role model of a loving, attentive father is God.  Today, we are going to take a look at one of the most famous stories ever told by Jesus and look at the dad of the story.


I.  The Story

A.   The story that Jesus tells in greater detail than most parables, begins a dad.  The story speaks about a son who left home and a son who stayed home, but the parable is not so much about the boys as it is about the father of the boys.  It begins by Jesus saying, “There was a man who had two sons.”

B.  I come to this story, especially in the context that Jesus tells it and the other two stories, and know that the father is God.  In the story the father has to deal with great pain because of both of his kids.  Much of the story centers around the younger son.

C.  READ Luke 15:12-13.  As I have said, I am blessed with good kids, but I know there are many Christian parents who have known what this father feels.  They have seen a child walk away from faith and family and live a life centered upon self.  Sometimes it is an addiction issue, sometimes is simply a rebellion issue.  In either case, the parents hurt because they fear what will happen to their children living outside the grace of Jesus.

D.  One of the things that impress me about Job is how the bible describes him.  It says that Job was blameless, upright and feared God.  But it also says that he had 10 children.  When the kids had their time together we read this (Job 1:5).  Do you think he wanted them to be right with God, but sometimes feared they would walk sinfully?

E.  In our story, we find a father who looks every day for his son to come home.  Even though this is a parable, it is one that touches the emotions of parents.  We want what is best for our kids and fear what happens when they no longer care.  We know the dangers of the world and at times we unable to love them into righteousness.  That was the case with this young man.  But his days of money ran out.

F.  READ Luke 15:14—16.  There are few things worse than a child in pain.  You hurt when your kid hurts.  As dads we often don’t know how to express our emotions and sometimes people think we don’t care, but that is far the truth.  We cover our feelings with statements about how to fix the problem, but inside we are crying our heart out.  This young man hit the bottom that any Jewish boy could it.

G.  READ Luke 15:17-19.  I love that Jesus kept this story going.  This kid does what needed to be done but only he could it.  The dad couldn’t do it for him.  He needed to realize his sin and he needed to come home.


II.  The Dad Who Ran

A.  The story comes back to the father, because the story was all about the father anyway.  (READ vs 20-24).  His father, your father, saw him and saw me.  God came running for his child who was willing to come home.

B.  As a dad we rejoice when our kids make the right changes in their lives.  Changes that put God first.  Changes that show the world they are repentant.  Good dads run to their kids because they don’t want their child to think it’s all about them and the sin.  It is all about love and what a father does for a child who will give their life to our Father in heaven.  So we welcome them, love them, help them and surround them.  We want them to know home is the best place to be.  God ran.  And he ran for me.



A.  Phillips, Craig and Dean sang a song that the words have touched me in powerful way.  It may not be a song you have hear before, but the words tell the story you just heard preached.  List to “He Ran To Me.”

B.  A dad who runs.  God, who we so often hear is seated on the throne.  Good, who we so often hear is powerful and omnipotent, ran to meet his son who came home.

C.  What you need to know that the way that boy came home was simply a humble sinner with nothing to say for himself.  He came, just as he was.  One the most compelling invitations songs is “Just As I Am.”  Today, that song can be your words, from your heart, to come to your Father, just as you are.  If you need to feel God’s arms wrap around you through us, then come as we stand and sing.

Because of Jesus,

Jeffrey Dillinger, minister


When God Ran


Almighty God, The Great I Am, Immovable Rock, Omnipotent, Powerful,
Awesome Lord. Victorious Warrior, Commanding King of Kings, Mighty Conqueror and the only time, The only time I ever saw him run,
Was when He ran to me,
He took me in His arms,
Held my head to His chest,
Said “My son’s come home again!”
Lifted my face, Wiped the tears from my eyes,
With forgiveness in His voice He said
“Son, do you know I still love You?”

He caught me by surprise, When God ran

The day I left home, I knew I’d broken His heart.
And I wondered then, if things could ever be the same.
Then one night, I remembered His love for me.
And down that dusty road, ahead I could see,
It was the only time, It was the only time I ever saw Him run.

I was so ashamed, all alone, and so far away.
But now I know, that He’s been waiting for this day
I saw Him run to me,

He took me in His arms,
Held my head to his chest,
Said “My son’s come home again!”
Lifted my face, Wiped the tears from my eyes,
With forgiveness in His voice
I felt his love for me again.
He ran to me,

With forgiveness in His voice He said “Son”
He called me Son.
He said “Son, do you know I still love You?”
He ran to me, God Ran, I saw Him run to me
And then I ran to Him, When God ran

Songwriters: Benny Ray Hester / John Parenti,

Sung by Phillips, Craig and Dean