Wayne S. Walker

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son…” (John

     INTRO.:  A hymn about the love which God has for the whole world is
“Love For All” (#282 in “Hymns for Worship Revised”).  The text was
written by Samuel Longfellow (1819-1892).  A Unitarian minister in New
England and younger brother of the famous American poet Henry Wadsworth
Longfellow, he entitled it “The Prodigal Son,” because it was based on
the well-known parable of Jesus, and first published it in “Hymns of the
Spirit,” which he edited in 1864 with his fellow Unitarian minister
Samuel Johnson (1822-1882).

     The tune (Horton) was composed by Xavier von Wartensee Schnuyder
(1786-1868).  A native of Lucerne, Switzerland, he studied music from an
early age and eventually settled in Frankfort, Germany, where he taught,
composed, and took an active part in the musical life of that city.
Little information is known about this piece of music.  It is usually
dated 1826 and is listed in Henry L. Mason’s “Hymn-Tunes of Lowell Mason”
as an undated arrangement made from Schnuyder by Lowell Mason

     This song describes the love that God has for His prodigal children.

I. Stanza 1 reminds us of how the prodigal left home
 A. He left his father and his family: Lk. 15.11-12
 B. In like manner, all of us have sinned against our heavenly father:
Rom. 3.23
 C. Thus, we have also left our Father and strayed away: 1 Pet. 2.25

II. Stanza 2 reminds us of how the prodigal was disobedient and suffered
the consequences
 A. He eventually began to feel the results of his waywardness: Lk.
 B. God made all of us with a conscience to know right from wrong: Jn.
 C. And if our consciences are tender, we’ll also come to feel the
results of our waywardness: Rom. 2.14-15

III. Stanza 3 reminds us of how low the prodigal had sunk
 A. Because he didn’t listen to his father, he fell into the most
revolting situation for a Jew of feeding swine: Lk. 15.15-16
 B. For us, sin brings about a far more serious situation, separating us
from God and bringing spiritual death: Rom. 6.23, Jas. 1.13-15
 C. And if something is not done about it, the final result will be
eternal death in hell: Rev. 21.8

IV. Stanza 4 reminds us of how the prodigal finally came to himself
 A. Ultimately, he determined to return to his father and ask
forgiveness: Lk. 15.17-19
 B. Such a change of heart is known as repentance: Acts 2.38, 3.19,
 C. If and when we come to ourselves, genuine godly sorrow will produce
repentance in us as well: 2 Cor. 7.10

V. Stanza 5 reminds us of how the prodigal found a loving father to
receive him
 A. When he returned, the father was waiting for him: Lk. 15.20-24
 B. The father in the story represents God and the great love that He has
for us: Eph. 2.4-5
 C. Thus, when we truly return to God, we’ll find Him willing to forgive
us and take us back: 1 Jn. 1.8-9

CONCL.:  As sinners, saved by the grace of God, we can be thankful that
God provided the means and afforded us the opportunity to come to
ourselves and return to Him for salvation.  Also, as His children, we
should be grateful that even now, when we sin, He is faithful and just to
forgive us our sins as we confess them to Him.  Therefore, we need  to
spread the message to others that there is “Love For All.”

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