In Today's Scripture Reading:
Humility; more parables; prodigal son; rich man and Lazarus; the joy of eternal life with Abraham; the horror of eternal hell
Our Lord illustrates the two alternatives in life. The first choice is a self-centered son who demanded freedom from his father's authority, and then took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance (inheritance) with riotous living. . . . when he had spent all . . . he began to be in want (faced starvation) (Luke 15:13-16). A wise alternate choice is illustrated by this prodigal son when he said . . . I perish (die) with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee (15:17-18).
The word "prodigal" means a waster; the young man wasted his father's substance. After he repented, his father made him aware of the seriousness of his former life as a sinner when he said: This my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry and enjoy fellowship with each other (15:24).
Just as the prodigal son discovered that his father's love was far greater than he had previously realized, so too will every repentant sinner discover that the Heavenly Father is waiting with great compassion to forgive all who come to Him.
Jesus then told of a rich man who never recognized that he had "wasted" his life, even though he had become "very successful." 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). The rich man's preoccupation with success crowded out any desire to use his abilities or resources for the glory of God. The foremost purpose of our brief life on earth is to prepare for an endless eternity, and then do what we can to provide spiritual food for others.
Since the believer's true conversation (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, has one thing in common — physical death will open the door to either the joy of eternal life or the horrors of eternal hell. Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard. . . . How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation? (Hebrews 2:1,3).
14:32 ambassage =b> delegation; 15:16 would fain =b> craved to; 16:11 unrighteous mammon =b> the use of your money in this world.
For Luke 16:15: See Proverbs 21:2.
Pray for Staff: Benjamin Wallace • Government Official: Rep. Maurice Hinchey (NY) • Country: Nauru (11,000) in the central Pacific • Major languages: Nauruan and English • Religious freedom • 57% Protestant; 24% Roman Catholic; 10% Buddhist and Chinese folk-religionist • Prayer Suggestion: Magnify the Lord; exalt His Name (Psalm 34:3).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:8