Morning Bible Study
Baptism next week. Should you get
baptized? Some folks are quite excited about getting baptized…
Servant School – open to all. Lots of opportunities to grow.
Chris Tomlin video concert Tuesday, Oct. 25, aimed at getting America to
pray for our upcoming election. Tickets
are $7 + $1 processing fee ($5 cheaper than the theaters), and you have to buy
them online – links on FaceBook and our Webpage. Hurry before the rest of the world finds out
about our hosting it.
The crowds around Jesus were growing.
The religious leaders were quite upset that Jesus was spending so much time
Jesus responded by telling a series of parables, intended to show the heart
of God towards lost people…
15:11-24 The First Prodigal
:11 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons.
:12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the
portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his
:12 give me the portion …
The son doesn’t want to stay around for his father to die, he wants his
It’s as if the son is saying to his father’s face: “I wish you were dead!”
Does that sound to you cruel for the son to say this? It did in ancient times.
:13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together,
journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal
:13 journeyed to a far country
A man scolded his son for being so unruly and the child rebelled against
his father. He got some of his clothes, his teddy bear and his piggy bank and
proudly announced, “I’m running away from home!” The father calmly decided to
look at the matter logically. “What if you get hungry?” he asked. “Then I’ll
come home and eat!” bravely declared the child. “And what if you run out of
money?” “I will come home and get some!” readily replied the child. The man
then made a final attempt, “What if your clothes get dirty?” “Then I’ll come
home and let mommy wash them,” was the reply. The man shook his head and
exclaimed, “This kid is not running away from home; he’s going off to college.”
Jesus isn’t talking about a little boy running away from home … or going
off to college. He’s talking about
something far more serious.
I wonder if Jesus was thinking of the son running to a place like Beit
She’an when He told the story.
In Jesus’ day, it was a center for Greek and Roman culture, offering the
best of what the world had to offer.
A place for loose living.
It’s very hard when someone you love starts down a path away from God.
It’s particularly hard when the path they are on is self-destructive.
It’s a good thing to try and reach out and help the other person.
(Galatians 6:1 NKJV)
if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore
such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be
But sometimes the other person simply doesn’t want help, and you may need
to let them go.
Some people won’t learn what they need to learn until their life is in
The truth is some may never learn.
Some people have a mistaken notion about God.
They think that if God doesn’t want them doing their little sin, that God
would do something to stop them.
When you continually fight against Him, God may choose to simply let you go
in order for you to learn the hard way.
He won’t stop loving you, but He may let you go.
:13 wasted his possessions with prodigal living
We find out later in the story (Luke 15:30), that he probably spent his
money on prostitutes.
:14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land,
and he began to be in want.
:15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he
sent him into his fields to feed swine.
:15 joined himself to a citizen
He got a job feeding pigs.
This doesn’t sound like the best job for a Jewish boy.
:16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the
swine ate, and no one gave him anything.
:16 the pods that the swine ate
the pods – keration
This is most likely the wild carob (Ceratonia
oreothauma), which only had black, bitter berries, barely nourishing
enough to feed pigs, let alone people.
:16 he would gladly have filled …
would gladly – epithumeo –
to have a desire for, long for; to lust after
Imperfect tense – he was continually “lusting” after pig food.
He would have eagerly eaten pig food.
For us, it would be as if you were hungry enough to eat…
I was kind to you. Before they ate
the tarantula, they had already eaten grasshoppers, ants, and cockroaches.
It seems that there is no limit to what mankind will lust after.
Anything that might seem “forbidden” is something that someone has lusted
In today’s society, we have come to the conclusion that if a person “lusts”
for something enough, we ought to let them have it.
A man “lusts” for naked women – just click on that internet picture.
A person “lusts” for a “high” – we legalize marijuana.
A person “lusts” for someone they’re not married to – divorce is easy and
A person “lusts” for someone of the same sex – we’ve even legalized same
A person “lusts” to become a sex they were not born as – we think they
ought to be allowed to change.
We might think that if we
just do that one little thing we want to do, then our “lust” will stop
bothering us and life will be okay.
The truth is, lust will continue to want more and more and more.
27:20 NLT) Just as Death and Destruction are never satisfied, so human desire
is never satisfied.
What starts off as a seemingly innocent little lust can grow into something
Uncontrolled lust only takes you one direction, downhill.
Ted Bundy was a serial killer who killed at least 30 young women between
1974 and 1978.
Before he died in a Florida electric chair in 1989, he was interviewed by
James Dobson. When asked what made him
Bundy put the blame on graphic pornography. “Like an addiction, you keep craving
something that is harder,” intoned Bundy, “until you reach a point where... you
begin to wonder if maybe actually doing it would give you that which is beyond
From U.S. News &
World Report, February 6, 1989 –
Little lusts can lead to eating pig food in a distant land.
:17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired
servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
:17 when he came to himself
Sometimes it takes difficulty or tragedy for a person to “come to himself”.
Where were you fifteen years ago?
The following Sunday we had a lot of people showing up to church.
The problem was that for many, it wasn’t really hitting bottom. Within three weeks most visitors were gone.
A person can’t just be “scared” into changing. They need to hit bottom. “Bottom” doesn’t have to mean anything more
than realizing that you’re on the absolute wrong path in life.
:18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have
sinned against heaven and before you,
:19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of
your hired servants.” ’
:18 I have sinned
It starts with confession
That’s the first step to getting back home.
Admit that your sin has offended God.
Sin is “against” God. It’s against
His ways, His character, His laws.
51:4a NKJV) Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your
Confession brings forgiveness from God.
John 1:9 NKJV) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our
sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Admit that your sin has affected others.
The son realized that it was “before” the father that he had sinned.
5:16a NKJV) Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one
another, that you may be healed.
If you’re not ready to humble yourself and ask the people
you’ve hurt for forgiveness, you’re not ready to come home.
:20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way
off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and
:20 he arose and came to his father
What God is like
Remember that Jesus is telling us this story because the scribes and
Pharisees were upset that Jesus was spending too much time with “sinners”.
They had this twisted notion that God hated sinners.
Jesus is going to blow up that picture.
1) He is patient
his father saw him
The father didn’t chase the son into the big city, but he waited at home
Even when the son was still a long way off, the father could see he was on
his way because he watched.
He’s waiting for you to come home.
He’s watching for you.
Peter 3:9b NLT) …No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to
be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
2) He understands
had compassion – splagchnizomai
– to be moved in one's bowels, where the ancients thought the emotions of love
and pity came from.
God understands. He
cares. He’s moved with compassion
103:13 NASB95) Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear
He cares what happens to you.
3) He loves you
This isn’t some kind of cold, passionless love.
kissed – kataphileo – to
kiss much, kiss tenderly, kiss again and again.
This isn’t a kiss on the hand, but a kiss on the cheek or the forehead.
The son might have kissed the father’s hand, or even his
feet, but the father preempted this by kissing his son on the cheek.
God has such tender affection toward you. He loves you so much.
This is unconditional affection. This isn’t only when you’re good. Note that the son has yet to say that he’s
sorry. The Father starts loving on the
son before he even gets a word out.
4) He runs
Even though God is patient, He is also a little anxious. Did you notice what this father did when he
saw his son at a distance?
ran – trecho – to run; of
persons in haste
It was very undignified for an older nobleman to run
anywhere. Yet this father is not ashamed
of gathering up his robes and running to meet his son.
You may think that you’re still a “great way off” from being home, but
you’re only as far as it takes to turn around and start back.
You’ll find Him running to you. He wants you home.
Years ago a musician named Benny Hester wrote a song about the only time he
saw God “run” …
Video: He Ran To Me – Phillips,
Craig and Dean
Don’t give up
Some of us know Prodigals, some are even in our own family. Follow the example of the Father’s heart and
don’t give up on them.
Letting a person “go” does not mean “giving up”.
While you are waiting – pray.
:21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in
your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
He says exactly what he had planned (vs. 18-19), except he does not get a
chance to say, “make me as one of thy hired servants” because he is
interrupted by his father…
:22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it
on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.
:23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and
:22 best robe
The best robe would most certainly be the father’s own robe.
:22 ring on his hand
The ring was a signet ring, a sign of authority.
:22 sandals on his feet
Sandals meant this young man would not be a slave, but a free man.
:23 the fatted calf
Slaughtering a calf instead of a goat or sheep meant that most if not all
of the local village would have been invited for a barbecue that big.
This welcome back would include the whole community.
:24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’
And they began to be merry.
:24 he was lost and is found
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done.
It doesn’t matter how far you’ve strayed.
The Father has been yearning for you to come to your senses.
He has been yearning for you to turn around.
He has been yearning for you to come home.
It’s not just sons that stray.
Sometimes daughters also run away from home…
On Wednesday, our beloved Kim Beller in Hungary posted this on Facebook:
Today, 18 years ago, I stopped running away from God and started running
towards Him. I used to party every day, any chance I could get. I would wake up
every morning, heavy-hearted and found no true purpose, no matter how hard I
chased it all! I ended up with a big heart break. I always knew there was a
God, but did not know Him personally until that night I cried out to Him,
And He did.
I have never ever regretted that decision! And as time goes on, I do come
face to face with pain/ hurt & struggles, but Now I take comfort in the one
who carries me through. ☺️
Jesus is the only one who can fill that void...and He has...
Here is the verse that spoke to my heart that day, September 8, 1998:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take
my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and
you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Are you still running from Him?
It’s time to come home.
(Pray for parents of prodigals. Pray