Prodigals in a Far Country
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Luke 15:11-24.

11 And 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 falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.

13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

Sin Is a Prison House

My heart is turned toward the prodigal son who has left Father's house and gone down into a far country. Along life's journey, we see precious young people wasting their lives and the opportunities which God has given them, giving their strength to sin and this old world. It troubles the hearts of the people of God because we can see the terrible condition in which dear ones are living who are lost in the world of sin. They have no idea of the severity of what they're mixed up in, but the saints of God realize their true condition.

The cry of the church is, "Give us souls, Lord. Give us people who are honest hearted." The Apostle Paul let us know that there's only one thing which will reach a lost and dying world, and that's the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul said in Romans 1:16, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth..." The Gospel will still reach down to men and women with old, hard hearts and melt them down and bring them to God.

It's a sad situation when people fold up the Word of God and give place to gimmicks, clown shows, and such like. What the world needs is the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. My friend, I am glad to report to you that it will free men and women from their sins. I haven't lost confidence in it; it's the only thing that will work.

When the Gospel is preached in its unadulterated purity, it produces the glorious Church without spot or wrinkle. It will reach right down into the hearts of men and women and reveal their need: how lost and how far away they are from God. I got saved when I was fifteen years old, and I have never regretted giving my life to God. I thank Him often.

Oh, how many precious souls I see today wasting their lives in sin and riotous living. Jesus gave a lesson in our Scripture text about the prodigal son which we want to consider. The devil is real, and he's working through all the fancy things he can. He's painting a rosy picture, telling us to put off salvation and wait a while. He will tell us, "You have plenty of time"; but while we're waiting, the devil is just binding us tighter and tighter with the things of this world.

I beg of you, today, if you don't know Jesus, talk to Him right now while there's time and opportunity. Make your way from sin; make a clean break and come to Jesus Christ. You'll never be sorry that you turned you life over to Him.

It does my heart good to see young men and young women consecrate and dedicate their live wholeheartedly to the Lord's service. There's just something about it that thrills my soul. When we see people get saved, it's just about like getting saved all over again. We desire to see people sell out to Jesus Christ, turn their lives over to Him, and turn from this wicked world of sin which has them bound.

Oh, how we need to realize that sin is a prison house: we can't leave it any time we want to. The devil will let us roam free to a certain extent, but he makes sure the doors are locked and the windows are shut. There's only One who can set us free, and that's Jesus Christ, the Son of the living god.

I don't know where I would be or what kind of mess my life would be in if Jesus hadn't found me. I'm so glad that I surrendered my life to Him when He called on me. My life has been worth living; He made it worthwhile down through the years, and I intend to serve Him all the days of my life, by the grace of God.

The good news of the Gospel of the Kingdom is what reached me one day. Even at an early age, the devil already had things planned for me. As I began to venture out into this and that, the devil was leading me down the wrong way. I thought I was getting along pretty good. I thought I was happy and contented. I was watching other people, wanting to be like them; but when the Gospel reached me, it showed me how miserable I was and what a sad state I was really was in. I cried out for mercy, and the moment I wholeheartedly turned my life over to Jesus, just that quickly, salvation reached me and set my soul free.

Wasting Our Portion of Goods

A parable is a short story containing comparisons used to teach some truth. Jesus taught the people by using parables. He would take something in a natural way and teach the message of the Kingdom of Heaven so that people would be able to get a glimpse of it and gain understanding.

The word prodigal is defined as "spending too much, being wasteful; living an abundant, lavish life." When Jesus taught these lessons, He had more in mind than to reach one person. Isn't it amazing that even though the Word was spoken about two thousand years ago, it is still effective today? The Gospel still points out the faults, sins, and needs of men and women just as it did then; it hasn't changed.

Sometimes people get their minds on money, but God has given us many more precious things. Not only are people wasting money, but they're also wasting many other precious things which God has given them. We want to consider something that God has given every individual: we can waste our life in sin, or we can dedicate it to God and live a holy life. In our Scripture text, Jesus said a certain man had two sons. He was pointing out that countless numbers of prodigals in our world today are taking their portion of goods and going to a far country. The father gave the younger son the portion of goods that was coming to him.

Today the portion of goods that God gives to most every individual is a body, a mind, health, ability, talents, and time. Let's think about it! There's an allotted time for each one of us on the earth. One of these days, our time will pass and we will go the way of all the earth. Then we will have to give an account of the time we have lived---how we have used that time, and what we have done with our bodies. The majority of people in the world are using their bodies for everything else but to give glory and praise to God and to serve Him.

Our heavenly Father is looking down, and it does His heart good when He sees us going about doing everything we do for the glory of God. We should give thanks to God, give glory and honor to His Name, and honor Him in all our ways; acknowledge the Lord. This is God's plan. I thank God for the health I have; I thank God for my body, and I want to use it to serve Him. I don't want to waste it in sin.

How sad it is to go through life and waste our youth and our strength, and then get down to the end of the way and begin to cry out to God when we don't have anything much to offer Him. Oh, how we need to remember our Creator in the days of our youth. When we're young, we have strength, but as we grow older and the years have gone by, our hearts may be filled with a desire to do something for God, but our bodies are about worn out and our time is almost gone.

Young people need to give themselves to God They need to give Him their strength and everything they have. If only God can get vessels, He will fill them; He wants not just a few but many. We are a vessel whom the Lord desires to use. The Lord has need of us all; He has something beautiful for our life if we will just turn it over to Him.

Turn from the World and It's Follies

The enemy of our soul works at a slow pace many times. The condition of our heart can be a waxing condition, and we won't realize how entrapped we are until the Gospel reaches us. Only when the Gospel reaches our heart and life can we truly see that we can't get free from the prison house of sin that we're in.

I didn't realize how bound I was. I began to get hooked on the habits of life, but all the while I thought I was doing pretty good. When the Lord began to reveal the truth through the preached Word of God, I saw that prison door was locked, and I couldn't get out unless Jesus would open the door.

Thank God, the Gospel is a glorious door to the Kingdom of God. You can get free today from the kingdom of darkness and be translated into the glorious Kingdom of God where you can live holy, righteous, and free from sin, and you can praise God all the days of your life. Salvation is the greatest thing that ever happened to man. Poets down through the ages have tried to express it. Peter said it is "joy unspeakable and full of glory." If I were to preach all day, I couldn't tell it all.

When Jesus came, even the religious world was in a terrible condition. People had not heard from God for a long time. Some of them just kept trying to practice a little religion, but when Jesus came, the Bible says that men in darkness saw a great light. I'm glad I saw that light, and I'm glad I'm walking in it; in Him there is no darkness at all. In those who sat in the regions of the shadow of death, life sprung up. Why? Jesus passed by.

There's no regeneration outside of Christ; there's no life outside of Him. No mere form of religion can take us through; a new birth must take place (a regeneration. not just a change of mind) to have a new heart. Someone may ask, do you mean that God will give me a new heart right in this life?" He surely will. He lifts us up to a heavenly place, far above this old world. This is why our hearts cry out to God, "Lord, save precious souls." True saints can see the world and all its follies, and when we see precious people wasting their lives in sin, our hearts are burdened because we know what their terrible end is going to be.

Sometimes we can talk with dear ones, and they will just laugh and make light of what we say. When that happens, we shouldn't get upset because it just lets us know how blind they really are; they are unable to see. When people finally get saved, the testimony of many is, "I don't know why I waited so long. I wish I would have gotten saved sooner." You won't miss anything worthwhile by getting saved when you're young. I missed a lot of things, but I never missed anything worth while by giving my life to God. I thank God for the mind I have. The minds of many have been destroyed while living in sin. Come to God while you have something to offer Him. God is offering you everything. Please don't wait until you have nothing to offer Him.

How it pleases God when young boys and girls, young men and women will humble down and say, "God, I want to consecrate my life to you. I want to turn from sin and live for you the rest of my days." It causes the heart of God to rejoice. How indebted we are to Him. In Him we live and move and have our being.

Oh, how selfish and unthoughtful it is for us to take advantage of God by taking the portion of goods which He has given us and waste our lives in riotous living. Think about it: if it were not for God, we couldn't draw another breath; if it were not for God, we would never know morning has come.

Our God Is Able to Deliver

Somebody may say, "It's hard to live for God." No, it's not hard. Life wouldn't be worth living if it weren't for Jesus. I've tried the way of sin and found that it didn't satisfy. Having tried both ways, I can tell you that living for God will satisfy your soul. It makes you happy, not just for a moment, but it gives you everlasting joy, contentment, and peace right in the midst of trouble.

There will be troublesome times and hard places along the way, but even right in the midst of all that, there will be peace that passes ALL understanding. This is not a peace down on an earthly level; it's a glorious peace. Jesus said, "...My peace I give unto you..." (John 14:27). While there may be trouble all about us, this peace is working on the inside. I wouldn't want something that didn't work, would you? This salvation has been proven, tried, and tested in hard places.

Salvation not only has power to save us, but it also has power to keep us. When I look upon some of the dear older saints whom I have known for a number of years, and they are still walking in God's way, it encourages me. It lets me know that if God will keep them, He will keep me. When they testify of what God has done for them, keeping them steady through the hard places of life, I say, "Praise God! I know that He will do the same for me."

When Daniel went down into the lion's den, the devil wanted to put him to the test. He spent the night down there and came out showing that the mighty power of God was still working,.

The devil is hard to convince: you can black his eye (so to speak) tonight and in the morning he will be right back again, trying to lead us astray, trying to tell us another lie. The three Hebrew boys were thrown into the fiery furnace. I can just about hear how the devil worked on them before they were thrown in, saying, "You had better yield yourselves and bow down, or you're going to die." That old king thought maybe they didn't understand, so he told those fellows, "I want to give you another opportunity."

After he explained all that they were supposed to do, the three boys said: "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up" (Daniel 3:17-18).

God is still able today, but there is one thing necessary on our part: we must have our minds made up that we are not going to bow; we must stand for God. That old king had them bound and thrown in that fiery furnace, but they did not burn. He looked in and said: "Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?...Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God" (Daniel 3:24-25).

Sometimes we feel as if we're in the fire, but we're not in there alone, and the fire won't hurt us. If we really belong to God, the devil doesn't have any fire that can hurt us. The fire that the three Hebrew boys were thrown into was just a temporal fire. Not only did Jesus have power over that fire, but He has power over eternal fire. If we have a part in the first resurrection (being spiritually born again), the second death won't have any power over us.

Jesus satisfies. Lets not be afraid to consecrate our life to Him. Salvation has stood down through the ages, and it will stand the test today. God is saying, "Just try me, and see if I will not pour you out a blessing that there will not be room enough to contain." God can take care of all our needs; He will take care of you and I!

All of our blessings are not tangible, but He's not limited to supplying our spiritual needs. There's no limit to what God can do for us except those limitations which we put on Him. David said in Psalm 37:25, "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

The Blindness of Sin

Let's not waste the portion of goods that God has given us. So many times, people will say, "I wish I had it to do over. If I had my life to live over, I would live differently." We can turn today and walk with God and have no regrets. If we don't live for Jesus, we're not just going to lose our soul in the eternal lake of fire, but the devil wants to deal us a hard life even in this time world.

From time to time, I see people whose lives are so mixed up and so troubled. The enemy of their souls has persuaded them to get into situations which have brought them so much trouble. You would think that people who are in so much trouble would be saying, "Preacher, what could I do to be saved? What could I do to get out of this trouble?" but they don't.

The enemy has convinced some to just move to another city, or that just around the next corner things are going to be better, things are going to be different; but nothing is going to be different without Jesus. The reason people who are living in sin have troubles is not because of the city in which they love or the color of their skin; but it is sin that is to blame for it all.

Our body that God has given us is a wonderful machine. The Bible says that our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost. Our body wasn't given to us to waste in riotous, ungodly living. Sometimes I hear people testify that even though they are saved now, they still suffer for things they did while living in sin. They will tell how they abused their body in things which they did. Even though God has saved them, they're still suffering.

Our body wasn't given to us to abuse or for us to be a slave to it, but God gave it to us to be used as a vehicle for the soul that in all we do we would glorify God. Precious souls are wasting their health and their youth that God has given them with riotous living down in a far country.

Our mind that God has given us is wonderful. We need to use it to think on the good things of God and to work for the glory of God, and not to promote evil. Genesis 6:5 says, "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and the every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." There are people in whom the enemy has taken over their hearts and minds. They've given themselves over to him, and he possesses and uses them as a machine to think of wickedness and evil. His purpose is to find more things to present to the public to destroy precious souls. Let's not allow our mind to be used in riotous living.

Many of us---Our health, our ability, and our talents are being wasted out in the world. I'm glad to be delivered; this old world holds nothing for me. Many people take whatever talent they have an waste it on the world, trying to make it big, trying to reach the top and become famous. They think, they've really gained something, but you can be delivered from that. We all should be able to testify with David and say, "I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness" (Psalm 84:10b).

Again, let's not waste our ability out there in sin, but rather give ourselves to God. Serve Him with all that's within us; we won't be sorry. By the grace of God, I don't want the devil to profit one little bit from my life. I don't want to give influence to the work of the devil or to his kingdom. I want to give it all to God. All glory and praise belong to Him. Think with me...It's impossible for us to live a life of sin without affecting others around us. Somebody may say, "I'm not hurting anybody but myself." Dad, if you're lost today, you are influencing Mom; you have an influence on the children, and on all those around you. No man lives to himself or dies to himself. Our life is having an influence. Again, think with me...we can't live a life of sin and have it affect just us; it affects others. There are people who, if they would get saved, would have a great influence on others. We don't want to be lost ourselves, and we surely don't want to be the cause of others being lost.

The blindness of sin will cause us to go on wasting our portion of good in riotous living. The devil will do his best to get us to try many things in life. Many could testify of how they went on a one-night fling, just one time to try something, and they lost their health and their mind. The devil is a liar...he never did tell the whole truth.

There's a Price Tag On Sin

The Bible says it's impossible for God to lie; He will always tell you the truth. Jesus stands with outstretched arms and says, "...whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:17). Salvation is the gift of God through Jesus Christ, our precious Savior.

If we refuse to believe the Gospel now, there's going to come a time when we will be a believer. Then we will know that the Gospel is true, but if we wait until then, it will be too late. There's not an unbeliever in hell.

We must turn from our sins now while we have the portion of goods that God has given to us. Let's remember---there's a price tag on wasting our lives in riotous living. So, let's not sped our time in sin.

I'm reminded of the rich man in Luke, Chapter 16. He was much like the prodigal son. The Bible lets us know that he had everything he wanted. He was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. He had plenty of this world's goods. A begger by the name of Lazarus was laid at his gate, full of sores, just desiring some crumbs that fell from his table, but the rich man din't want to be bothered with him.

This world's goods is not all there is to life. The devil will try to get us to live just for this time world, but we need to get out eyes on eternal things. The Apostle Paul said those things which we can see with our natural eyes are just temporal, but the things which we cannot see are eternal. The saints are laying up their treasures in Heaven.

The rich man had his treasures on the earth, and he didn't have time for Lazarus. He may have been too proud, and perhaps it even made him ashamed to see him. But one day the angels came and carried Lazarus away to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died, and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being tormented in the flames. He was not there long before he was a believer, but it was too late.

I've heard people say, "If I go to hell, I won't be by myself, I'll have plenty of company." The rich man didn't want his brothers to come to that place. He found no consolation in the thought that he had five brothers who were living just as he had been living. The cry of his heart was, for of all, that Lazarus be sent to dip his finger in water and cool his tongue, but father Abraham said that he couldn't becuase of the great gulf fixed between them.

Father Abraham pointed out to him that Lazarus had lived a life of suffering, while the rich man fared sumptuously, having everything. The he tole him, "Now Lazarus is comforted, but you are tormented. You see, payday is going to come, a d time when men and women will have to give an account for the portion of goods that God has given them. Let's ask ourselves...How is it going to be with my soul?

Let's read Ecclesiastes 11:9, "Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in th days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thin eyes: but know thou, that fro all these thing God will bring thee into judgment." God is going to bring us into judgment for all things. There's a price tag on living in sin, wasting our good in a far country with riotous living.

Our Only Hope of Salvation

I want to say a few things about the far country. We can sit right in a Bible Church pew and be in a far country. The far country is a state of the mind, the heart, and the affections; it's the distance between us and God---it's rebellion against God.

There was a happy ending when the prodigal son lost all of his money and his friends and got right down on rock bottom. He came to himself; this is exactly what God wants us to do. He wants us to see the awfulness of sin. The Gospel will remove all the false glamour from the life of sin and show us exactly where we are and how we're living. The prodigal son came to himself and said, "I will arise and go to my father." The Bible says he did just that.

By nature, we don't like to hear anything with what we consider to be a bad ending, but we like those endings where they all lived happily ever after. Can you see the mercy of God when this prodigal son took his journey into a far country? Oh, how the mercy of God was watching over him. There was no guarantee that he would ever return to his father's house. He could have lost his life in the far country, but God had mercy. Thank God for every person who gets saved, but most prodigals never return. They live and die in the far country. May God touch hearts and help us as the people of God, to labor as never before for precious souls.

The Gospel is the only hope of the world. We need to work while it is day, with all of our heart, as if this were the last day, reaching out to a lost and dying world. There are still precious souls who will heed the call of the Gospel and get saved if we carry a burden for them.

Many of us have children who are in the far country. They've taken their portion of goods and they're wasting it in sin, far from God. Are we crying out to God for them as we really should? The Bible says that when Zion travails, sons and daughters will be born. It takes that travailing and crying out to God for precious souls who are lost in sin. Sin will take you further than you want to go, it will keep you longer than you want to stay, and it will cost you more than you want to pay. It doesn't start out like that. The devil has it all glamorized. People who are right down in the very gutter of sin, bound with the habits of life, would tell you, "I never intended to get hooked on these things."

The enemy of our soul not only is out to cause us to lose our soul in hell, but he wants to cause us to live a miserable life in this world. People commit suicide because their lives get in such turmoil that they can't see any reason for living or any way to go on. God doesn't distress people; it's the devil. The Christian life is a beautiful life with Jesus.

I know the Scripture lesson mentions two sons, but there are really three sons in this parable---the older son, the younger son, and God's Son who gave us the parable; and He stands with outstretched arms, beckoning those of us in need...to seek the Lord while there's time and opportunity. If you are unsaved, won't you turn from the ways of sin and turn to God? I beg of you, as one who loves your soul, don't turn Him away.

In Acts 2:40 Peter told the people to, "Save yourselves from this untoward generation." What the Bible is referring to is that you receive the cup of salvation which is being offered to you. Don't reject the Savior; it's your only hope of salvation.

[The End]




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