Bible Ballistics: Vol. 19 No. 07 Who Are You Running With???
I’m sure most of us are familiar with the parable of the “Prodigal Son”; which could also be called the parable of the son who never left; but our focus today will be on the “Prodigal” and hopefully we’ll address the other at a later time. Yet the thing I’d like to do today, is a bit of an overview of the main points in the passage I have posted below. The main point being your choices will determine your results, and Jesus Himself gave us such a poignant and powerful portrait of the choices of this life. And contrary to popular opinion those you choose as companions will make a difference in your life.
“Be not deceived:
evil communications corrupt good manners.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 KJV
Or as the New American Standard Bible says it:
“Do not be deceived:
‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’”
So, Luke records this picture that Jesus painted so beautifully:
“Likewise, I say unto you,
there is joy in the presence
of the angels of God
over one sinner that repenteth.
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
and before thee,
19 And am no more worthy
to be called thy son:
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
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.” Luke 15:10-24
Jesus begins this chapter by describing the urgency with which people look for those things which are lost: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. Painting a beautiful picture of the “joy in heaven” over “one sinner that repenteth”! The importance of the comparison seeming to be that only when something is lost do we look for it; and until we, as sinners, see our lost condition and repent of our sins, and are ready to trust in/to the substitutionary, atoning, sacrifice that Jesus was about to provide for “the world” on Calvary! The issue is our choices and those we allow to influence us.
In this parable we see the father (a picture of God The Father) and the two sons—one who openly wanted to go his own way, the other who stayed, but was angry and bitter when his “brother” returned with a repentant heart and a desire to “serve” his father willingly. Who are you/I wanting to serve? Self or God/our Father God? Do we want only His blessings (our inheritance) with no compunction to obey or follow Jesus, or have we seen our sin, and come to God as the prodigal did—in recognition of our sin and a desire for restoration and the opportunity to serve, rather than demanding our own way, indulgence, or greed?
In verse 13 we see the father grant the son’s request and give him a portion of his wealth; then the son departs and goes off to do “his own thing”, with the implication that he squandered his resources with riotous living, also implying that he was probably surrounded by ‘friends’ so long as his generosity lasted, but when his resources had come to an end, he began to “be in want”. And it comes to mind that his want must have been because all of his ‘temporary friends’ were no longer interested in his “welfare”! He was alone, destitute and without food because of a famine in the land. How interesting that we are often persuaded by those ‘friends’ who are looking for ‘something’, usually ‘for nothing’, but leave when it’s no longer convenient or profitable!
Then as we go on, it’s my favorite part, the “pig pen”! Here is a fine young Jewish man—a wealthy one, and remember to the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, wealth meant “God’s favor”—who had chosen foolishly, demanded “his portion” of his father’s wealth, took it, left town, found new friends, spent the wealth foolishly, if not in immorality, indulgently, and in self-importance until the money ran out—the friends ran out—the food ran out—but his belly was now hungry! So, where did he wind up? In the pig pen! This fine, formerly upstanding, Jewish young man has now been reduced to the “pig pen”, not only feeding the pigs, but being so hungry, he was fain to eat from the very “pig trough”! But here we have the whole point of the parable—until we see our circumstances in reality—a pig pen of our own making—we have no hope of restoration.
In verses 17-20 we see the key to salvation—recognition of sin—a willingness to see our own sin and be willing to repent (turn from our sin to God), and come to God with no conditions, no demands for blessings or provision of anything but salvation in Jesus! Oh, what a different message than we often hear around us today!
But then, the most beautiful part of this story, when the son was on his way home, the Father (implying that HE has been looking for his son for all this time) seeing the son, a long way off, ran to greet him, and welcome him home; even before the son made his declaration of repentance—the Father knew! God knows, when you take that first step. Don’ let the enemy of your soul prevent you from taking that first step!
I invite you to recognize your pig pen, recognize those people who are holding you in the pig pen, recognize that sin is contagious, and there are those who are willingly sinning and want you to join them in that pig pen, and the judgment it brings.
Paul describes it in a different way, those who are pleased to be in sin, want company.
“And even as they did not like to retain God
in their knowledge,
God gave them over to a reprobate mind,
to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all
maliciousness; full of envy,
whisperers, 30 Backbiters,
haters of God, despiteful,
inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers,
without natural affection,
32 Who knowing the judgment of God,
that they which commit such things
are worthy of death,
not only do the same,
but have pleasure in them
that do them.” Romans 1:28-32
Who are you running with? Are you caught in a pig pen that you think you can’t get out of? Remember that Jesus is greater than anyone or anything that may be holding you. If you don’t know Jesus, you can call on HIM today. If you do know Him and belong to Him but have let the enemy have a stronghold in your life—you can repent and call on Jesus who will forgive, deliver, and cleanse your sin! It’s your choice but choose wisely there is a test. Come to the Father while there is time.
“If we confess our sins,
he is faithful and just
to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us
from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
“Seek ye the LORD
while he may be found,
call ye upon him
while he is near:
7 Let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts:
and let him return
unto the LORD,
and he will have mercy upon him;
and to our God,
for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts
are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,
saith the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts
than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:6-9
Don’t run with the pigs—The Father is waiting for you!
Amen and Amen!!!