Before we jump in let’s review 10 of our 11 Characteristics concerning the Character of God:
- You can’t create God in your own image (Rom. 1:25).
- Heaven yes…Hell no!
- Sin ruins the view
- Will the real God please stand up? (John 10:10)
- Jesus the transition (Heb. 1:3)
- It is finished (John 19:30, Rom. 6:14)
- Stupid is as stupid does (James 1:13-17)
- Don’t assign the blame…get into the game (John 9:1-4).
- God wants you to live on “easy” street (Matt. 25:24-26).
- God is not mad at you (II Cor. 5:17-21).
This week we jump into our 11th Characteristic concerning the Character of God with an important question…
11. How does God respond to you after you’ve sinned? (Luke 15:11-32)
Let’s look to the Bible for the answer…
“And he said, A certain man had two sons: 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. 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. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat; and no man gave unto him. 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! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee. And am no more worthy to be called thy son; make me as one of thy hired servants. 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 is neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in y sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 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: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment; and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.”
Now please allow me to share with you a number of principles from these powerful verses:
Verse 12…Notice the words “give me”. In life there are two kinds of people: givers and takers. Be a giver! Also know with money comes options. Make sure you are ready to handle the “options” that come with your inheritance.
Verse 13…Notice the words “far country”. At the time this was an actual place called the Gadarenes. This was the dwelling place of the infamous “madman of Gadara” (see mark 5:1-20). This should tell you everything you need to know about what an awful place this “far country” was! If you proceed ahead to Luke 15:30, here the Bible tells us very clearly that the prodigal son spent his father’s money on prostitutes.
Verse 14…This is the perfect storm. The younger son’s money runs out and there is a recession in the land.
Verses 15-16…The Bible tells us “If you associate with the wise you’ll be wise. But the companion of fools will be destroyed” (see Prov. 13:20). Here is another vital principle to remember as you look at this verse: If you don’t listen to your Father, you’ll listen to a pig! The “pig” represents “consequences”. It’s always God’s best to teach you through His Word, but if we don’t listen…then consequences become a very real teacher.
Remember this: Sin will always take you farther 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! Remember this also: Your sin won’t stop you from being a son. Your sin will just cause you to live like a servant!
Verse 18…Notice in essence the prodigal son invokes the power of I John 1:9. Here the Bible tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Verses 20-21…If we will take the first step towards God, He’ll come running towards us! Remember this: Your God is a watching, loving, running, hugging and kissing God!
Verses 22-23…The “best robe” was an actual robe used at the time called the “garment of change”. This robe was luxurious and used in marriage by kings. It always signaled a dramatic change in someone’s life. The prodigal son was also given a “ring on his hand”. This was the king’s signet ring which represented his authority. Shoes were also put on his feet. At the time in which this was written, when you had your shoes off it indicated a time of mourning. When your shoes were on it was always a joyous occasion! The fatted calf was rare and they only had one, and it was always used for a very special occasion!
From these verses you can see the true nature and character of God towards us even after we’ve sinned! After we’ve sinned is when we need Him the most. The Bible tells us when sin abounds grace also much more abounds (see Romans 5:20). Now please don’t mistake me, grace is not the power of God to overlook sin. Grace is the power of God to overcome sin
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
The Greek word translated “reconciliation” is the word katalaggo and it means “to change from enemy to friend”! Isaiah prophesied about the very same thing when he said, “For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee” (Isaiah 54:9).
In the same way that God has sworn that we will never experience a flood to the magnitude of the days of Noah…He will never be angry with us again. (He may not always like our choices but He always loves us.) So when did this change occur? When God poured out all of His wrath on Jesus at the cross!
The Bible also tells us that “God is on your side” (see Psalm 118:6). Also that “God is for you, who can be against you” (see Romans 8:31).
Remember this: God is not mad at you…He is madly in love with you!
Join us next month as we wrap up this powerful series!