THE STORY OF GOD’S LOVE

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THE BIBLE IS THE STORY OF GOD’S LOVE. ONE OF THE MOST WELL-KNOWN PASSAGES OF THE BIBLE SPEAKS ABOUT THAT LOVE IN THESE WORDS: “FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONE AND ONLY SON, THAT WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL NOT PARISH BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE” (JOHN 3:16) (father two sons)

father two sons
father two sons

       CONSIDER THIS STORY THAT NOT ONLY ILLUSTRATES GOD’S LOVE FOR US, BUT ALSO ILLUSTRATES WHAT IT MEANS TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN:

  A CERTAIN FATHER HAD TWO SONS. THE OLDER SON WAS A HARD-WORKING, FAITHFUL YOUNG MAN WHO LABORED IN THE FATHER’S FIELDS WITHOUT GRUMBLING OR COMPLAINING. THE YOUNGER SON WAS DIFFERENT, HOWEVER. HE LOVED TO PLAY, AND AS HE GREW OLDER HE BECAME NOT ONLY LAZY BUT ALSO BAD AND DEVELOPED BAD HABITS OF DRINKING. ALWAYES WASTED MONEY. HE BECAME AN EMBARRASSMENT TO HIS FATHER. 

father two sons

     ONE DAY HE WAS WEARY OF BEING TOLD TO WORK ALL THE TIME. SO HE DEMANDED OF HIS FATHER THE INHERITANCE THAT WAS DUE HIM. (SOMETIMES JEWISH SONS WOULD GET THEIR INHERITANCE BEFORE THE FATHER DIED.) THE FATHER GAVE HIM THE MONEY HE HAD COMING AND THE SON LEFT FOR THE BIG CITY, NOT TO WISELY INVEST THE MONEY THERE BUT TO SQUANDER THE MONEY IN EVIL WAYS. HE SPENT IT ON DRINKING AND GAMBLING AND WOMEN. WITHIN A SHORT TIME HE WAS WITHOUT MONEY—AND OF COURSE WITHOUT FRIENDS, FOR THOSE HE THOUGHT WERE HIS FRIENDS WERE ONLY INTERESTED IN GETTING HIS MONEY.

father two sons

    A DROUGHT STRUCK THE LAND DURING THIS TIME, AND THERE WAS LITTLE FOOD AND FEW JOBS. THE YOUNG SON BEGAN TO STARVE. HIS FINE CLOTHES BECAME DIRTY, TORN RAGS. FINALLY, HE RECEIVED A JOB FEEDING PIGS FOR A FARMER. HE WAS SO HUNGRY THAT HE WANTED TO EAT THE FOOD THAT HE FED TO THE PIGS.

      THE HUNGER PANGS IN HIS STOMACH GREW WORSE. HE FELT MISERABLE. THE YOUNG MAN CAME TO HIS SENSES WHEN HE REALIZED THAT EVEN THE SERVANTS AT HIS FATHER’S FARM WERE BETTER OFF THAN HE WAS. BUT HE ALSO REALIZED THAT HE HAD SINNED AGAINST HIS FATHER.

     THE BIBLE SAYS, “WHEN HE CAME TO HIS SENSES HE SAID, ‘HOW MANY OF MY FATHER’S HIRED MEN HAVE FOOD TO SPARE, AND HERE I AM STARVING TO DEATH! I WILL SET OUT AND GO BACK TO MY FATHER AND SAY TO HIM: FATHER, I HAVE SINNED AGAINST HEAVEN AND AGAINST YOU. I AM NO LONGER WORTHY  TO BE CALLED YOUR SON; MAKE ME LIKE ONE OF YOUR HIRED MEN.’ SO HE GOT UP AND WENT TO HIS FATHER” (LUKE 15:17-20).

father two sons

     CAN YOU IMAGINE HOW HE MUST HAVE FELT AS HE SET OUT ON HIS TRIP BACK HOME? CERTAINLY HE MUST HAVE FELT ASHAMED FOR WHAT HE HAD DONE, FOR ALL THE HURT AND PAIN HE HAD CAUSED HIS PARENTS. CERTAINLY HE MUST HAVE BEEN AFRAID. WHAT SORT OF RECEPTION WOULD HE GET? WOULD THE GATE BE LOCKED? THE SERVANTS EVEN LET HIM IN? WOULD HIS FATHER SPEAK TO HIM OR PUNISH HIM? WOULD HIS FATHER EVEN LET HIM GO BACK HOME AFTER THE EMBARRASSMENT THAT HE HAD CAUSED HIM?

     AS HE NEARED HIS HOUSE HE SAW A FIGURE STANDING BY THE GATE, AND HE NOTICED THAT THE GATE WAS NOT CLOSED BUT OPEN. AS HE DREW CLOSER HE NOTICED THAT IT WAS HIS FATHER, LOOKING DOWN THE ROAD IN HIS DIRECTION. HIS FATHER SAW HIM AND STARTED TO RUN TOWARD HIM. JESUS SAID, “BUT WHILE HE WAS STILL A LONG WAY OFF, HIS FATHER SAW HIM AND WAS FILLED WITH COMPASSION FOR HIM; HE RAN TO HIS SON, THREW HIS ARMS AROUND HIM AND KISSED HIM” (LUKE 15:20)

father two sons

       THE SON BEGAN TO TALK. “FATHER, FATHER, I HAVE SINNED AGAINST GOD AND AGAINST YOU SO BADLY THAT I AM NOT WORTHY TO BE TREATED AS YOUR SON ANYMORE. WOULD YOU PLEASE HIRE ME BACK AS A SERVANT?”

       BUT IN HIS EXCITEMENT IT SEEMED THAT THE FATHER HARDLY HEARD THE SON AT ALL. “SERVANTS!” HE SHOUTED. “SERVANTS, COME HERE QUICKLY, AND BRING THE FINEST ROBE WE HAVE AND PUT IT ON THIS BOY. BRING SANDALS. AND BRING THE FAMILY RING FOR HIS FINGER. GET FOOD READY FOR A GREAT FEAST— THE GREATEST FEAST WE HAVE EVER HAD. LOOK AT WHAT HAS HAPPENED. MY BOY, MY PRECIOUS SON—HE WAS DEAD; NOW HE IS ALIVE. HE COME BACK TO ME! HE IS HERE! LET US REJOICE AND CELEBRATE.”

      SO THE WAYWARD SON WAS NOT PUNISHED, NOT REPRIMANDED, NOT CLOSED OUT. THE GATE WAS OPEN, NOT SHUT. THE FATHER WAS OVERJOYED, NOT ANGRY. THE SON WAS TREATED AS A SON, NOT AS A SERVANT, NOT EVEN AS A CRIMINAL.

THE MEANING OF THIS STORY

THIS STORY IS A DRAMATIZATION OF THE PARABLE OF THE LOST SON TOLD BY JESUS AND FOUND IN LUKE 15:11-32. JESUS OFTEN TAUGHT IN PARABLES. WHAT DID HE MEAN BY THIS STORY? JESUS WAS ILLUSTRATING THE TRUTH THAT THERE ARE ONLY TWO KINDS OF RELIGION IN THE WORLD TODAY. ONE KIND OF RELIGION SAYS THAT WE MUST EARN OUR WAY BACK TO GOD. GOD IS AN ANGRY GOD, AND WE MUST APPEASE THAT ANGER WITH SACRIFICES AND RITUALS. WE CAN NEVER BE FULLY CERTAIN THAT GOD WILL ACCEPT US BECAUSE WE NEVER KNOW FULLY WHAT WE CAN DO TO PLEASE HIM. THIS IS NOT THE RELIGION OF THE BIBLE.

     THE OTHER KIND OF RELIGION, JESUS SAYS, SHOWS US THAT GOD, LIKE THE FATHER IN THE STORY, INS EAGER TO HAVE US COME BACK. WE DO NOT HAVE TO EARN OUR WAY BACK! GOD HIMSELF WELCOMES US BACK. AND JUST AS THE FATHER PUT A ROBE ON HIS SON, PUT SANDALS ON HIS FEET, AND PUT A RING ON HIS FINGER, SO THE HEAVENLY FATHER WILL MAKE US PRESENTABLE TO HIMSELF.

father two sons

     THIS IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL TRUTH IN THE WHOLE WORLD! WE CANNOT MAKE OURSELVES ACCEPTABLE TO GOD BY ANYTHING WE DO. NO RITUALS OF WORSHIP, NO SACRIFICES, NO AMOUNT OF GOOD WORKS CAN EVER BRING US TO THE POINT WHERE WE CAN RETURN TO GOD AND SAY TO HIM THAT HE MUST LET US BACK INTO HIS PRESENCE. BUT IF WE COME HUMBLY, SORRY FOR WHAT WE HAVE DONE, IF WE COME AS THE SON RETURNED TO HIS FATHER, THEN JESUS SAYS THAT GOD WILL HAVE THE SAME ATTITUDE TOWARD US THAT THE FATHER HAD TOWARDS THE SON. WE WILL BE WELCOMED BACK! AND GOD HIMSELF WILL WASH AWAY ALL OUR SINS. HE WILL CLEANSE US FROM EVERYTHING WE HAVE DONE WRONG. IT WILL BE AS IF OUR SINS NEVER EXISTED! THE BIBLE SAYS:

father two sons

HE (GOD) WILL NOT ALWAYS ACCUSE,

        NOR WILL HE HARBOR HIS ANGER FOREVER;

        HE DOES NOT TREAT US AS OUR SINS DESERVE

        OR REPAY US ACCORDING TO OUR INIQUITIES.

        FOR AS HIGH AS THE HEAVENS ARE ABOVE THE EARTH

        SO GREAT IS HI LOVE FOR THOSE WHO FEAR (RESPECT OR REVERENCE) HIM;

        AS FAR AS THE EAST IS FROM THE WEST,

        SO FAR HAS HE REMOVED OUR TRANSGRESSIONS FROM US.

        AS A FATHER HAS COMPASSION ON HIS CHILDREN,

        SO THE LORD HAS COMPASSION ON THOSE WHO FEAR HIM.

PSALM 103:9-13 (father two sons)

THIS IS THE WONDERFUL TRUTH OF THE BIBLE. NO OTHER RELIGION TEACHES THIS. ALL OTHER RELIGIONS SAY THAT WE MUST MAKE OURSELVES PLEASING TO GOD. ONLY TRUE CHRISTIANITY, THE RELIGION OF THE BIBLE, SAYS THAT WE CAN NEVER MAKE OURSELVES PLEASING TO GOD; BUT GOD HIMSELF WILL DO THIS FOR US. ONE OF THE OLD PROPHETS OF THE BIBLE PUT IT IN POETRY WHEN HE SAID:

      I DELIGHT GREATLY IN THE LORD;

      MY SOUL REJOICE IN MY GOD.

      FOR HE HAS CLOTHED ME WITH GARMENTS OF SALVATION

      AND ARRAYED ME IN A ROBE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,

      AS A BRIDEGROOM ADORNS HIS HEAD LIKE A PRIEST,

      AND AS A BRIDE ADORNS HERSELF WITH HER JEWELS.

                                                                                      ISAIAH 61:10

GOD WANTS YOU TO COME BACK

  THE WHOLE MASSAGE OF THE BIBLE IS THAT GOD SO LOVES US THAT HE WANTS US TO COME BACK TO HIM. JUST AS THE FATHER STOOD LONGING, WAITING FOR HIS SON TO RETURN, SO GOD LONGS FOR US TO RETURN TO HIM.

      BUT HOW CAN GOD FORGIVE OUR SINS? DOES HE JUST IGNORE THEM? THAT IS NOT FAIR, IS IT?

       NO, GOD DOES NOT IGNORE OUR SINS. OUR SINS ARE PUNISHED. BUT GOD LOVES US SO MUCH THAT HE ALLOWED HIS SON JESUS CHRIST TO BE PUNISHED FOR THOSE SINS. REMEMBER THE BIBLE PASSAGE AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS STORY? “FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONE AND ONLY SON……”GAVE FOR WHAT? HE GAVE JESUS TO BEAR THE PUNISHMENT FOR SIN THAT WE SHOULD BEAR. SO WHEN WE RETURN TO HIM AND CONFESS OUR SINS, HE CAN FORGIVE US BECAUSE HE TELLS US THAT ALL THE SIN WE HAVE COMMITTED HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY THE DEATH OF CHRIST ON THE CROSS.

father two sons

      PETER, ONE OF JESUS’ DISCIPLES AND AN IMPORTANT FIGURE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, PUT IT THIS WAY. WHEN MANY PEOPLE ASKED WHAT THEY COULD DO TO BE SAVED, HE SAID, “REPENT AND BE BAPTIZED, EVERY ONE OF YOU, IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF YOUR SINS. AND YOU WILL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT” (ACTS 2:38).

      WE MUST DO TWO THINGS TO COME BACK TO GOD:

     1. REPENT. THIS MEANS THAT WE MUST SAY THAT WE HAVE SINNED. IT MEANS THAT WE MUST ADMIT THAT WE CANNOT MAKE OURSELVES PLEASING TO GOD AND MUST THROW OURSELVES ON HIS MERCY. WE TELL GOD THAT WE ARE SORRY FOR OUR SINS.  

     2. BE BAPTIZED. THIS MEANS THAT WE MUST BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS OUR SAVIOR AND PUBLICLY STATE THAT BEFORE OTHER. THIS PUBLIC STATEMENT BEGINS WITH BAPTISM, BUT IT IS A PUBLIC CONFESSION THAT WE MUST MAKE WITH OUR MOUTH AS WELL. WE MUST BE WILLING TO BE KNOWN AS CHRISTIAN.

WHAT IS CHRISTIAN (father two sons)

  A CHRISTIAN IS A PERSON TO WHOM GOD HAS GIVEN HIS HOLY SPIRIT. A NEW LIFE COMES INTO THAT PERSON THAT WILL NEVER STOP, NOT EVEN AT THE TIME OF PHYSICAL DEATH. THE HOLY SPIRIT DWELLS IN US, GIVING US PEACE WITH GOD, AND PRODUCING FRUIT IN OUR LIVES OF LOVE, JOY, PEACE, GENTLENESS, KINDNESS AND HOLINESS. (father two sons)

HOW TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN (father two sons)

YOU CAN BECOME A CHRISTIAN RIGHT NOW. THIS IS DONE BY MAKING A COMMITMENT TO CHRIST IN PRAYER. PRAY THIS PRAYER:

       HEAVENLY FATHER, I HAVE SINNED AGAINST YOU AND AGAINST OTHERS. I CONFESS THIS SIN AND ASK THAT YOU RECEIVE ME BACK AS YOUR CHILD TO LIVE WITH YOU FOREVER. I BELIEVE THAT YOU HAVE PUNISHED MY SINS IN YOUR SON JESUS AND THAT NOW THEY HAVE BEEN REMOVED FROM ME AS FAR AS THE EAST IS FROM THE WEST. MAKE ME PLEASING TO YOU NOW. PUT THE ROBES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS ON ME. GIVE ME YOUR HOLY SPIRIT AND FILL ME SO THAT YOU CAN PRODUCE PEACE, JOY, LOVE, KINDNESS, GENTLENESS AND PURITY IN MY LIFE. FOR I ASK IT IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, MY NEW SAVIOR AND LORD. AMEN. (father two sons)

GROWING AS A CHRISTIAN (father two sons)

HAVING PRAYED THAT PRAYER, YOU CAN HAVE THE ASSURANCE THAT GOD ANSWERS IT AND A NEW LIFE HAS BEEN STARTED IN YOU. THIS NEW LIFE WILL NOT BE SNUFFED OUT. “BEING CONFIDENT OF THIS, THAT HE WHO BEGAN A GOOD WORK IN YOU WILL CARRY IT ON TO COMPLETION UNTIL THE DAY OF CHRIST JESUS” (PHILIPPIANS 1:6). TO FOLLOW JESUS, TO BE HIS DISCIPLE, MEANS THAT YOU ARE HUNGRY TO KNOW MORE ABOUT HIM. YOU FIND OUT MORE ABOUT GOD BY STUDYING HIS WORD DAILY, PERSONALLY, IN YOUR FAMILY AND IN GROUP BIBLE STUDY.  (father two sons)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQqT_zirQpJJewIeXcH-snQ?view_as=subscriber

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