29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.
30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’
31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.
THE PRODIGAL SON – PART 2
As we looked at the prodigal son story yesterday we see the younger son who came home realizing he had been living wrong, and upon approaching his father said he was no longer worthy to be called his son. He was trying to get his worth from what he had done, not from who he was as this man’s son. The older son actually does the same thing, but instead of belittling himself, he exalts himself, doing just the opposite of the younger son.
The older son comes in from working and hears a party going on. He finds out his younger brother had come home and his dad was celebrating his return. The older son got angry and would not go inside. The father comes and pleads with him to come in and celebrate with them. The above verses reveal his response. He got angry, declaring he had never transgressed his father’s commands, and his father had never thrown a party for him, but the moment this wayward son came home he has a celebration.
This older son believed he deserved this because of what he had done, not because of who he was as a son to this father. His father responds and tells him that all he has was available to him. Why had this older son not enjoyed what was his by birthright? Because he was trying to earn what was already his. In the same way we don’t earn our worth and what belongs to us because of what we have or have not done. It is ours because we have been born into the family of God, and therefore it is available to us by faith in who we now are in Christ Jesus.
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.’
THE PRODIGAL SON – PART 1
Many have read or heard of the prodigal son story Jesus shared in Luke 15. Often the emphasis is on the son who had received his inheritance from his father and he went away and wasted his inheritance. But something that is rarely seen and I believe is one of the most important parts of the story is revealed in both of these brothers.
This younger son who took his inheritance went to a far country, and after he had spent all he inheritance, he got a job feeding another man’s pigs. He would have gladly eaten the pigs food, but he was given nothing to eat. Realizing his fathers servants ate better than him, he goes home but he makes a powerful statement to his father in the above verse. He repented for what he had done, but he said he was not worthy to be called his son. The father surprises him by putting a rob, a ring, and new sandals on his son, and he even throws him a party.
The father was glad his son was home. He did not treat him like a servant, because he was still his son. This young man was trying to find his worth in what he had done. He belittled himself for how he had been living. No matter what we have done if we have been born again, we are still sons and daughters of God. We should repent for wrong living and return to our Father, but our worth is found in who we are as God’s children, not in our actions. What we do does not change who we are once we have been born again.
15 Therefore, pay careful attention to how you conduct your life — live wisely, not unwisely.
16 Use your time well, for these are evil days.
When you look at men and women of God who walk in great faith, and who understand and use their God-given authority, many wish they could be like them. Guess what, you can. So many Christians fail to recognize the key area to deal with in their life that is needed to attain that walk with God they say they want. What is that key ingredient? Time.
We choose every day things that determine what we do with the time we are given. If you look at any person from the natural standpoint that has gotten good at something, they did so because they devoted much time to that area of their life. What many don’t know is that devoting time to spiritual development makes a powerful impact on every part of your life. Many today will not take the time to get to church services, or spend time in prayer, reading the Word, etc. What the devil and your own flesh will do is to get you to be foolish with your time.
Often the reason many have to work so much is because of all the things they want in the natural, so they work countless hours to pay their bills because of all these things. Others are busy with their hobbies and other things that will never help them develop their walk with God. Put the kingdom first on your time list and all the things you need will be added unto you. Ask God to help you to balance the use of your time. The difference between those who have a close walk with God, strong faith, and are spiritually mature, is how they use their time.
‘Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.
There is nothing too hard for God, and as a believer in Christ we need to be reminded of three powerful truths about our God. (Romans 8:31) – What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Here in Romans is the first of these three things. “GOD IS FOR YOU”. That’s right, as a born again child of God He is not against you as some may think. The death of His Son proves He is for you. He wants you to live a victorious life.
(Hebrews 13:5-6) – 5 For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Here is the second key truth, “GOD IS WITH YOU”. Did you know you are never alone. God will NEVER leave you nor forsake you. Some say they feel God is far from them. They are going by feelings, not by His Word. He is with you always.
(1 John 4:4) – You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. The third truth you should never forget is that “GOD IS IN YOU”. Greater is He who is in you then He who is in the world. There is nothing to hard for your God, and wherever you go He is right there with you. Never forget He is FOR YOU, WITH YOU, and IN YOU, and therefore there is nothing to hard for you to overcome because wherever you are, your God is there.
1 Timothy 1:14
…and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.
When we are born again there are two very important elements that we find in our relationship with Jesus Christ. They are faith and love. Once born again we are given a measure of faith, and the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. God gives us these two new elements so that we can begin to live a whole new way of life. We are to learn how to walk by faith, and walk in the love of God.
We are to take the measure of faith God gives us and continue to develop and use our new found faith. Simply put, faith believes in and acts as if the Word of God is true, because it is. Walking by faith is walking by what God’s Word says and not what your circumstances say. Feeding on the Word is vital to your faith walk, for this is how faith continues to come. But you must act upon the Word to walk by the faith you have been given.
We are to also walk in love, treating others the way we want to be treated no matter how they treat us. This also requires action on our part based on the love of God that is now in our hearts, and not acting upon our fleshly outer nature. Faith is dependent on this love for faith works through love. If you get out of love, your faith will not work. Receiving Christ as your Lord means to receive a whole new way to live your life here on earth. God gave us new life so we could live a “new life”, walking by faith in the love of God.
Rom. 8:6 The corrupt nature’s attitude leads to death. But the spiritual nature’s attitude leads to life and peace.
How you view things in this life determines whether you will walk in death or life. Death refers to that which came as a result of sin, and leads one to be separated from life, which is defined as the God-kind of life. If we continue to live our lives with our minds governed by what we see around us, only viewing life from a natural perspective, or what is known as the corrupt natures way of seeing things; this will keep us separated from the life God desires for us to walk in for we are then walking by sight and not by faith.
Stop seeing things in this life from the world’s viewpoint, only focused on what is seen with the natural eye, instead see what God sees. Man sees sickness, God sees healing. Man sees defeat, God sees victory. Man sees hopelessness, God sees hope fulfilled because He sees all things through what Christ has done for you. What you look at, what you focus your attention on will motivate you. Look to God’s Word.
The reason many believers do not walk in what God sees is because they are not doing as scripture teaches us, which is to walk by faith and not by sight, focusing not on what is seen but what God has said. The more we take on the attitude of God through the promise of His Word by choosing to focus on and declare what God’s Word says we have been given through what Jesus has done for us, seeing things as God sees them, the more life and peace we will walk in.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
…in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
God’s desire for us is to see His will manifested. A key to seeing God’s will manifested is in thanking Him for what He has already done for us through Christ Jesus. Thanksgiving is a key to faith. To walk in God’s promises you must see what He has promised in His Word as already done, for in the eyes of God everything you have in Christ is already an established fact.
In Philippians 4:6 the apostle Paul reveals to us that we are to be anxious for nothing, which means we are not to worry about anything. He goes on to tell us that we are to make our requests known to God with thanksgiving. You give thanks for what someone has done for you. God has already made a way for us through Christ Jesus to provide all that we need. You are the redeemed of the Lord, you are not going to be.
What God promised us in Christ was established 2000 years ago through His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. So to live a life of thanksgiving don’t focus on what you see in the natural, focus on what God’s Word has said, and start thanking Him for what He has already done for you through Christ. Those who are grateful (full of gratitude), will be faithful (full of faith).
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
There is no doubt that Jesus will return to catch away those who are ready. Jesus said to watch and pray, to be ready. He taught a parable of 10 virgins that relates to His return to catch away those who are wise. Five were wise virgins and five were foolish. To become a virgin (pure), you must be born again. The wise virgins not only had their lamps lit (which represents one who is saved) but they also had an extra jar full of oil.
The foolish had their lamps lit, but their jars were not full. This jar being full means they remained active in pursuing God, and pursuing the things of God. The foolish were instead consuming their time with worldly things and not actively pursuing God. Jesus called such believers lukewarm, for the things of God were no longer a priority to them. These foolish virgins tried to get the wise virgins to give them some of their oil, but you can only get it by pursuing God for yourself.
The wise were ready for Christ’s return and were caught up with Him when He came back, but the foolish were left behind. Don’t be a foolish virgin who has accepted Christ but is not walking with God, and is instead chasing after this world. Be a wise believer who is actively pursuing their relationship with the Lord for Jesus is coming soon!
Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
The word “perfect” means complete. It is not other people, things you own, nor your status in life that makes you complete. It is Jesus Christ and Him alone that makes your life complete, and that is why they preached Christ to everyone. Ever since the fall of man in the garden when Adam and Eve sinned and turned away from God, man has been incomplete without God and always will be. The Creator Himself who brought us into existence is the only One who can make us complete.
When we try to find our worth in what we do, what other people think of us, or in what we have in this world, we are always going to feel incomplete, because in doing so we are trying to find our worth in the creation and not our Creator. It’s not a selfie you take that everyone likes, nor getting compliments on something you’ve accomplished that gives you value and worth.
Our value and worth comes from the One who loves you and gave His life for you so that you could be reunited with your heavenly Father, that is where true value and worth are found. It is through Jesus Christ that we can regain our worth by finding our identity in our Creator once we are born again, for we become a new creation. So look to Jesus and Him alone, not the world, not other people, nor the things in this world, and you will have all that completes you.
So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.
God’s Word will only help you to the degree that you hear, receive, and act upon it. God’s Word spoken brought into existence everything we see. There is nothing more powerful than the Word of God. His Word is a prevailing force. The word prevail means to prove more powerful than any opposing force, to be victorious.
Think about how powerful God’s Word is. It brought all things into existence. In the scripture above we see that the Word continued to grow mightily and prevail over whatever they came up against. This was a result of the disciples teaching the people what God’s Word said. The more that Word grew and came alive in the hearts of those who heard it, the more that Word prevailed in and through their lives.
To get God’s Word in our hearts we must hear it, speak it, meditate on it, and live it. For those who do this prevailing force, the Word of God, will work in and through your life proving itself more powerful than any opposing force. It will help you to live a victorious life, for you shall know the truth, and that truth shall set you free.