John 10:10 “ The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
Luke 15 tells the story of the Prodigal Son. The word ‘prodigal’ means ‘wasted.’ The one who hurt the most is probably the father who hurt inside. The story is really more about the older brother and how the reaction when the son comes back should be one of rejoicing. The older brother had a terrible attitude. Jesus taught how Christians should react when something or someone is lost and then is found.
The Prodigal Son is also about a father’s love. He never held back. He allowed both sons a position and status in his house. The son (prodigal) was a second-born. He felt there was more out there than where he was at. His attitude was completely wrong. You should never imitate him, yet don’t you?
Everyone can relate to letting the Father down. Everyone can relate to the shame and guilt. Everyone can relate to the Prodigal Son.
The story is not just about the Prodigal Son, it was also about the dad. He waited patiently. He was gracious and loving. That father ‘saw him a great way off’. That suggests that he was looking.
God is never surprised when a Prodigal comes home. He is waiting, looking, and comes running out to meet you. You know how to get home. He waits. He will run to you!
The prodigal has this speech all ready, but he didn’t even finish it. His father wiped away all the shame and guilt and fear and welcomed his precious son. The father ‘fell on him and kissed him.’ He embraced in such a way, throwing himself in a hug. There was so much joy that overwhelmed that father. God has such a desire to embrace you!
There is one other place where that same word is used. That’s in Acts 10 where the Holy Ghost fell on them. It was almost a violent emotion. It was an embrace. ‘You’ve been lost long enough. You are welcome back into a relationship with Me.’
God is not a judgmental god.
In today’s world, there are people who change their appearance every week with their hair colors and piercings because they are hurting inside. They do drugs and alcohol and don’t look so good anymore and can’t make themselves look right. There was nothing about that prodigal that could make his father love him, but He did! He didn’t say, ‘You look terrible!’ Instead, he said, ‘My son has come home!’ and he rejoiced.
Valentine’s Day for some is a tough day. For some, there is hurt, and even bitterness. Jesus can be that Love that you need in your life.
Hosea 1:1-2 “The word of the Lord that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel. The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea. And the Lord said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the Lord.”
God told this upright man to go to the ‘red light district’ and get a wife. Hosea was told to go get a prostitute and marry her. The Lord wanted to teach his people just how much He loved them.
Hosea 3:1-3 “Then said the Lord unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the Lord toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine. So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley: And I said unto her, Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man: so will I also be for thee.”
The prostitute was broken and bruised, not beautiful. Hosea fell in love with her. It was the same kind of love God feels for you.
Hosea 2:14 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.”
God wanted to speak kindness to her. She hadn’t heard that kind of talk before. It was sweet and good and loving. This is a picture of God as a husband and lover.
Hosea was a prophet and never disobeyed the word of the Lord. It might have been difficult, but he allowed God to speak through his life.
Gomer was in the pit of sin and was removed. She started to realize she was someone special. Marriage was a great thing. You would think that Hosea and Gomer lived happily ever after, but then…
Gomer craved the streets again. This was after they had kids. Hosea didn’t even know if they were his. He pleaded with her to stay home with him and their children. He was rejected and possibly angry. He said, ‘God, what’s going on?’ God replied, ‘This is exactly what My people are doing to Me.’ Hosea said, ‘What do I do?’ God said, ‘You go out and buy her back.’
Hosea 2:16 “And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali.”
Baali means ‘master’. Ishi means ‘husband’. It wasn’t about the fact that she had been bought and was now owned, nothing more than a servant. She was to be loved as a true wife.
God wants to take you and lift you up higher out of that pit. He wants you to be His, not as a servant and Master, but as a wife and a Husband. He loves you!
Jesus opened His heart and His life. Will you let Him be your Ishi today?
No, you’re not worthy, but He loves you anyway! He wants you!
When the enemy of your soul gives that list of all the wrong you’ve done and all the mistakes you’ve made and on the witness stand, you are asked, ‘How do you plea?’ Plead the BLOOD!
He is our Husband and our Father. He is also our Friend.
‘Birds of a feather flock together.’ You become like the friends you hang out with. Hang out with Jesus.
When you don’t know who you are, find your identity in Jesus. He is a Good Friend to you.
The Good Samaritan broke down the racial lines and cared for a hurt person.
Luke 10:33 “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,”
Life might have left you half dead on the ground and nobody cares. God wants to say, ‘I know you’re bloodied up and beat down. The thief has done this, but I am come to bring you abundant life. I will do whatever it takes to bring you back to health because I LOVE YOU!’
Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden. God told them not to eat from that one tree or they would die. God doesn’t lie. They walked out of the garden, still alive, but they still died. Something spiritual died. They had all kinds of guilt and shame now. They walked out of the Garden of Eden half dead. They needed new life. They needed to be born again.
The Samaritan found this guy on the streets who was half dead. That’s the picture of humanity without God. You might have a good job, good family, nice house, but you’re dead without God. He will scoop you up and take you to the hospital, pour oil on you, wrap your wounds. He loves you that much.
You want something, but you don’t know where to find it. It won’t be found in drugs or stuff or sex. You WILL find what you’re looking for in Jesus.
Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.
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If you are in the Chicagoland area, come to The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!