FAITH

DK  LESSONS FROM THE PRODIGAL SON (3)

‘When he finally came to his senses…’ Luke 15:17 NLT

The Prodigal Son’s journey to ruin didn’t happen overnight. It was a slow, steady build-up, like cholesterol in your arteries. He took his father’s blessings for granted and stopped being grateful. No wonder David wrote, ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities… heals all your diseases… redeems your life from destruction… crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies… who satisfies your mouth with good things…’ (Psalm 103:1-5 NKJV) The Prodigal Son was from one of the best families in town, yet he ended up penniless, friendless, eating with pigs, trying to satisfy a legitimate hunger in an illegitimate way. Why do we get involved in extramarital affairs, go on drinking and drug binges, or work ourselves to death and sacrifice our families in the process? Because inside each of us is an emptiness that nothing and no one but God can fill. Jesus said, ‘When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself…”I will go home to my father and say, ‘Father, I have sinned'”…’ (Luke 15:17-18 NLT) If you let Him, God will stop you in the nick of time. He will remind you of who you are and you belong. You will start seeing the mud you’re wallowing in, the false friends, the empty achievements, the people around you who are no happier than you. If that’s where you are right now, come home. Your Father is waiting to wipe your slate clean. He still loves you. Tell the devil, ‘I’ve changed my mind. I’m going home.’

DROP YOUR BAGGAGE :

…let us strip off every weight that slows us down… – Hebrews 12:1, NLT

What’s happened in your past is not nearly as important as what is in your future. Where you’re going is much more significant than where you’ve been. But if you stay focused on the past, you’ll get stuck where you are. This is the reason a lot of people don’t have joy or enthusiasm for life. They’re dragging around all of this negative baggage from the past. Somebody offended them last week, and they’ve got that stuffed in their resentment bag. Last month, they lost their temper and said some things they shouldn’t have. They’ve got that in their guilt and condemnation bag. Ten years ago, they lost a loved one. They still don’t understand it. They’ve got that hurt and pain in their disappointment bag. They carry around their bag of regrets, all the things they wished they would have done differently.

Life is too short to live that way. Learn to travel light. Every morning when you first get up, forgive the people that did you wrong the day before. Forgive your spouse for what they said. At the start of the day, let go of the disappointments, the setbacks from yesterday. Start every morning fresh and new. God did not create you to carry around all that baggage. Let it go and move forward in the life of blessing He has in store for you!

ONLY JESUS IS ALTOGETHER LOVELY :

LEVITICUS 2:1 – ‘When anyone offers a grain offering to the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour…

I love the symbolism of Jesus as fine flour. Fine, even flour comes from wheat that has been pounded and beaten again and again, and sifted several times. Doesn’t that remind you of Jesus’ sufferings and sacrifice for you?

And like fine flour, there is nothing coarse about the person of Jesus. Everything about Him is in even proportions. Every word that He spoke when He was in this world, every thought of His, every action of His, was so fine! When He was kind, He was not soft. When He was assertive, He was not overbearing. He is steel and velvet, meekness and majesty. Like a perfect diamond, every which way you turn Him, you see flawlessness, beauty and brilliance. There is no one altogether lovely like Jesus!

What about Bible greats like Moses and Abraham, or Peter, John and Paul?

Moses, whom the Bible says was more humble than any man on the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3), was once so furious with his people that he struck a rock twice, something he was not supposed to do. (Numbers 20:1–12) His temper got the better of him on that occasion.

Abraham, whom Christians regard as a man of faith (Hebrews 11:8–10), lied about his wife being his sister when a king coveted her. He endangered her life just to save his own skin. (Genesis 20:1–18)

Peter, who was deeply zealous for Jesus, denied Him three times. (Matthew 26:33–34) John, the beloved disciple who leaned on Jesus’ bosom, was all ready to call down fire from heaven to destroy the inhabitants of Samaria who had rejected Jesus. (Luke 9:52–54)

What about Paul, the apostle of grace, who blazed the missionary trail which future missionaries would follow? Even Paul went to Jerusalem when he was told not to by the Holy Spirit through some disciples and the prophet Agabus. (Acts 21:4, 10–11)

Beloved, the best of us can miss the mark. The only one who is faultless, flawless and altogether lovely is Jesus. And because He never misses the mark, you can look to Him. He will never disappoint you!

WHEN YOU SEE GOD’S GRACE, HE SEES YOUR FAITH :

Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

Many a time, people ask me, “Pastor, I know that God’s promises are true, but how can I be sure that His promises will come true in my life?”

My friend, if you want God’s promises to be sure in your life, you cannot depend on yourself. If you depend on yourself — your obedience, goodness, service and even faith — you will not be able to receive God’s promises. But when you depend on God’s grace — His unmerited, unearned, undeserved favor toward you — that is when His promises become sure in your life.

This was true of the woman with the issue of blood. (Matthew 9:20–22) She didn’t go around saying, “I must have faith… I hope that I have enough faith… I will have faith… I will not lose faith.” No, she was only conscious of the grace of Jesus — how He always healed the sick, how powerful He was in raising the dead and how willing He was to use that power for her healing.

She just saw His grace abounding toward her, so much so that she said, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” And when she came behind Jesus and touched the very hem of His garment, she was healed. At that same moment, Jesus stopped, turned around and said to her, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.”

When the woman saw His grace, God saw her faith! And so it was by grace, through faith, that God’s promise became sure in her life.

God wants you to see His grace. And when you see His grace, He sees your faith. God says, “For by grace are you saved through faith.” The Greek word for “saved”, sozo, doesn’t just mean to save from hell, but also to heal, preserve and make whole. So it is by grace that you are made whole, kept healthy, preserved and blessed. It is by grace through faith that God’s promises become sure in your life.

My friend, don’t worry if you feel that you lack faith. Begin to see God’s grace in your situation and He will see that as faith. And because He sees your faith, you will receive the breakthrough you need!

GOD DESIRES FAITH :

Luke 2:7, “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”

What an amazing account! God Almighty was born of a virgin and placed in a feeding trough in a stable. Who would ever expect the Creator of the universe to make His entrance into the world in such a humble fashion?

Men always seek to proclaim their glory as far and wide as possible. Yet here is the only one who really has any glory to proclaim, and He comes humbly. It wasn’t because He didn’t have the power to do things otherwise.

He could have chosen to be born in a fashion that would have brought all creation to their knees in worship. He could have announced His birth to the most powerful and famous men of the day instead of lowly shepherds. He could have had the most luxurious accommodations instead of a stable. But that is not the way of our God. It would not have taken any faith on the part of men if Jesus came in such a manner that His deity was obvious.

Likewise with us, the Lord could manifest Himself to us in such a way that we couldn’t miss Him, but that wouldn’t please Him. God desires faith and, “without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Heb. 11:6).

Today, let’s please our Heavenly Father and acknowledge His presence in faith just because of His promise (Mt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5).

GOD CAN DO IT AGAIN

PSALMS 45: 40    The people asked, and He brought quail, And satisfied them with the bread of heaven.
41    He opened the rock, and water gushed out; It ran in the dry places like a river.
42    For He remembered His holy promise, And Abraham His servant.
43    He brought out His people with joy, His chosen ones with gladness.
44    He gave them the lands of the Gentiles, And they inherited the labor of the nations,
45    That they might observe His statutes And keep His laws. Praise the LORD!

GOD WHO BLESSED HIS PEOPLE WITH THE LANDS, HOUSES, AND VINEYARDS OF THE GENTILES FOR WHICH THEY DIDN’T LABOR AS WELL AS SILVER AND GOD OF THE EGYPTIANS, CAN DO IT AGAIN FOR HIS PEOPLE. BUT HE HAS COMMANDED THEM TO  SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS:

MATTHEW 6: 25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
26    Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
27    Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28    “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;
29    and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30    Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31    “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
32    For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
33    But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

BELIEVING IS RECEIVING :

Mark 5:28–29 :28For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” 29Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction.

You have heard people of the world say, “I will believe it only when I see it.” Generally, that is the way the world thinks. But God’s ways are not like the ways of the world. The world says, “If I can’t feel it or see it, I cannot believe the miracle is here.” God says, “If you believe it before you feel it or see it, you will see your miracle.”

Believing first before seeing the evidence of what we are believing for is called faith. Faith is like a spark and Jesus is the dynamite powder.

In the story of the healing of the woman with the issue of blood, there were many people who touched Jesus (Mark 5:31), but nothing happened to them. They didn’t touch Him in faith. But when the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years came to Him and touched Him in faith, He felt power leave His body (Mark 5:30), and it sparked off an explosion of healing in the woman’s body!

Hearing about how good, kind and loving Jesus was fired her faith to believe that He could and would heal her. So convinced was she (even when the condition in her body was still evident) that she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” Did she experience her healing first before she believed? No, she believed first in Jesus’ goodness and power, acted in faith and only then felt the healing in her body.

In the same way, God wants you to believe in His goodness and love toward you. He wants you to know how willing He is to act on your behalf to bless you, and how, with Christ, He will freely give you every good thing. (Romans 8:32)

He wants you to declare by faith that all is and shall be well with you, and to expect to see just that. And then, no matter how long you have had the problem, no matter how bad the experts say it is, an explosion of healing and restoration will take place, and you will receive what you are believing for!
 

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