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Bible Pathways 10/27/2000

October 27

Luke 14 -- 16

Our Lord illustrates two alternatives in life. The first is that of a self-centered prodigal son who demanded freedom from his father's authority and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance (inheritance). . . . When he had spent all . . . he began to be in want. . . . And no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said . . . I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against Heaven, and . . . you (Luke 15:13-18). The word "prodigal" means a waster; he wasted his father's substance. As he struggled with a sense of emptiness and the shame of a wasted life, he finally came to his senses and returned to his father saying: Father, I have sinned against Heaven, and in your sight (15:21). It was after he had repented that his father made him aware of the seriousness of his sin: This my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry (to celebrate) (15:24).
Just as the prodigal son discovered that his father's compassion and love were far greater than he had realized, so too will every repentant sinner discover that the Heavenly Father is waiting with great love and compassion for all who come to Him. However, it does not, and cannot, restore or reverse the result of wasted years. It is an inevitable and irreversible law of the universe that whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7).
Jesus also told of a rich businessman who never recognized that he had "wasted" his life, for he had become "very successful." But he died sooner than he expected. He might even have been a deacon in the First Church and had an extravagant funeral where the preacher told what a fine man he had been. But in hell . . . being in torments. . . . He cried . . . I am tormented in this flame (Luke 16:23-24). It was only then he discovered that hell was eternal and that between him and Abraham there was a great gulf fixed (16:26). He sinned not only by ignoring his own eternal spiritual needs, but by not considering the needs of the beggar Lazarus or anyone else. He had lived to please only himself. The rich man's preoccupation with success crowded out any desire to use his abilities for the glory of God.
The foremost purpose of our brief life on earth is to take time to prepare for an endless eternity. Since the believer's true citizenship is in Heaven (Philippians 3:20), we dare not make secular goals, material gain, and physical satisfactions our priorities. All mankind, rich or poor, have one thing in common -- physical death will open the door either to Eternal Life or to eternal hell. With this rich man who was tormented in this flame, we see the difference of eternal consequence between the lost and the saved in our destiny. Putting off being saved to a more convenient time should be a reminder that Pharaoh continued to harden his heart. The final sad commentary Jesus made was: If they hear not (do not respond to) Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rise from the dead (Luke 16:31).
Cross Reference:
For Luke 16:15: See Proverbs 21:2.


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Memory Verse for the Week:
Hebrews 3:14

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