The Riches of God
You’re familiar with the parable of the Prodigal God, right? The “Prodigal God”? Yes.. No..? How about the “Prodigal Son”? You’re familiar with that one aren’t you? Well, it’s the same parable.. The Prodigal Son, or, The Prodigal God.. same parable.
I’ll explain that to you in a few minutes, but first, I’d like to talk to you about some of the characteristics of our God; Namely.. His rich grace, and His love, His gospel message, His glory, His power.
I’d like to start with a passage from Romans chapter 10. If you’d like to follow along, that would be great. I’m going to begin by reading verses 11 thru 16..
“For the scripture saith; Whosoever believeth on Him, shall not be put to shame. For, there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; For the same Lord, is Lord of all, and is RICH, unto all that call upon Him.”
Keep that in mind as we go through this lesson. The Lord “is RICH unto all that call upon Him.”
“For, whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord (whosoever shall call on His authority) shall be saved.” (Keep in mind, that you can’t “call on His authority” without obeying what His authority tells you to do)
So then, “Whosoever shall call on the authority of the Lord, shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him, in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him, whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear, without a preacher? And how shall they preach, unless they be sent?”
“Even as it is written; How beautiful are the feet of them who bring glad tidings of good things! BUT, they did not all hearken to the glad tidings; For Isaiah saith; Lord who hath believed our report?”
Now, the next verse, is a verse that is quoted over and over again, and it’s a verse of affirmation, of a fundamental truth. Even though many people choose not to hearken to the word of God, verse 17 says; “So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”
Verse 18 says; “But I say; Did they not hear?” And that’s a fair question.. Since “faith comes by hearing the word of Christ”, did those who choose not to believe, simply not hear? But the scripture says; “Yea, verily; Their sound went out into ALL the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.” In other words; Yes indeed, they heard. So then, “Faith comes from hearing”, but it really depends on your heart, doesn’t it?
Faith Can Come From Seeing
But you know, you can have the beginnings of faith, even without hearing the word of Christ. If your heart is right, you can just look around you, and SEE the word of God.
The bible says, in Psalm 19, verse 1; “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament (that’s the sky, around us) showeth the work of His hands.”
And in Romans 1, verse 20, it says; “For the invisible things of HIM, (of God) since the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood, through the things that are made; Even His everlasting power, and divinity, that they may be without excuse.” In other words.. They that claim that God doesn’t exist, are without excuse, because all you have to do, is take a look around you!
Therefore, we have a certain degree of faith in God, simply because of the physical evidence, of His word.
But complete “faith” in God, requires knowing the WORDS that He has revealed to us, and believing every word. 1 Thessalonians 2:13 says; “..We thank God without ceasing, that when you received from us His word of the message, even the word of God, you accepted it, not as the word of men, but as it is, in TRUTH; The word of God, which also worketh in you that believe.”
But here’s a point, that I’d like us all to understand; Since faith comes by hearing the word of God, then what comes from hearing MORE of the word of God? Well, More faith! And what comes from hearing even more of God’s word? Even more faith! You can have more, and more, and more faith, but it requires hearing, more and more and more of God’s word. It takes hearing His word, and reading His word, studying His word. And the more you study, the more you’ll learn, and the more you learn, the more you’ll know. And the more you know, about the “unfathomable riches” of God’s word, the greater your faith will become; And I can guarantee you of that!
We’ll never really have “enough” faith, and it’s impossible, to have too much!
With the “Word of God”, you can literally, learn something new every day; And every day, your faith can grow.
Where I first worked, after I moved here to Buffalo, there was a poster on the wall, that said; “The person who thinks they’re too old to learn, probably always has been.”
Don’t ever think that you’re too OLD to learn, and don’t ever think that you already know ENOUGH, or that you know it all. Like the old saying goes.. You learn something new every day.
Maybe You Can Learn From This
I learned something new this past week, and I’d like to share it with you today. Actually, what I learned, isn’t “new”, it was just new to me. But I want to share it with you, because maybe it will be new to you too, and maybe your faith can grow because of it.
I saw an advertisement last week, for a book; And the book was titled, “The Prodigal God”. And I thought to myself; They must be using the word “Prodigal”, figuratively or something. How can “prodigal”, be used in reference to God? Would you have ever thought of calling God, “A prodigal God”? When I hear that word, I just naturally think of the parable of “the prodigal son”. The son, who Jesus said; “Wasted his substance, with riotous living”. (Luke 15, verse 13)
That’s what “prodigal” means, right? It means wasteful. Here’s a definition from an on-line dictionary..
PRODIGAL: Most frequently used in a bad sense..
Spending money or resources freely and recklessly; wastefully, extravagant.
wasteful · extravagant · spendthrift · improvident · imprudent · immoderate · profligate · thriftless · excessive · intemperate · irresponsible · self-indulgent · reckless · wanton.
“Prodigal habits are hard to break.” That’s a sentence used as an example.
But did you know, that “prodigal” can also be used in a good sense. It has a “good meaning”, but I didnt know that until last week. And here’s that “good meaning”, of the word “Prodigal”..
PRODIGAL: Having something, or giving something, on a lavish scale. (Does that description fit God?)
Here’s some synonyms; See if they “fitly” describe our God..
generous · lavish · liberal · unstinting · unsparing · bountiful · copious · (“copious”, means.. abundant quantity and in supply) profuse · abundant · rich · bounteous.
And here’s an example of that word, in a sentence, used in a good way; “The dessert was sweet with brown sugar, and prodigal with whipped cream” It was lavish, and abundant, with whipped cream. Sounds good!
The Rich and Bountiful and Unsparing Blessings of God
And so now that I know what “prodigal” means, I think I understand why, that book is called, “The Prodigal God”. Our God has everything, on a lavish scale. Our God is generous, and He’s liberal, and He’s bounteous, and abundant, and rich, and unsparing. And He gives, on a scale that we can’t even comprehend. And who are the recipients of God’s “prodigal” giving? We are; You and I, and all Christians. The recipients of the lavish, and bounteous, and generous, and rich, and unsparing, blessings of God, given through Jesus Christ.
Have you remembered that verse that I asked you to keep in mind? Romans 10, verse 12; “For the same Lord, is Lord of all, and is RICH unto all who call upon Him.”
Jesus said, in John 10, verse 10; “..I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
Psalm 10, verse 22 says; “The blessing of Jehovah, maketh rich.”
“Blessed be the God and Father, of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing, in the heavenly places, in Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 1, verse 3
We’ve been studying from the book of James, in our Sunday morning bible class, and James 1, verse 17 says; “Every good act of giving, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights (in other words, the Father of goodness) with whom there is no variance, neither shadow of turning.” Only lavish, and abundant blessings.
2 Corinthians 9, verses 10 & 11, tells us; “And he that supplieth seed for the sower, and bread for food, shall supply, and multiply, your seed for sowing, an increase the fruits of your righteousness; You being enriched in everything, unto all liberality, which worketh through us, thanksgiving to God.”
The bible is full of verses like those, telling about God’s riches, and God’s abundance, and God’s lavish giving; Giving so unsparingly, that He gave even His own Son, as a sacrifice for our sins. “For God SO loved the world, (that means.. He loved the souls, living in the world) that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3, verse 16.
The “Prodigal God” ! And here we are, all of us, who at one time, were ALL, “prodigal” sinners! “Prodigal” sons and daughters; Wasteful, and reckless, and imprudent, and irresponsible, and self-indulgent. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3, verse 23.
And thank God, that He gave us the opportunity to come home, to His lavish blessings!
In the story of the “prodigal son”, the father was evidently always looking for his son to return, hoping for his son to return. And the son did, finally decide to go home, because he learned the hard way, that life without his father’s blessings, wasn’t much of a life at all. And so the scripture says, in Luke 15, verses 18 & 19; “I will arise and go to my Father, and I will say to Him; Father, I have sinned, against heaven, and in Thy sight. I am no more worthy to be called, your son; Make me as one of your hired servants.
And in the story, the boy did, just as he said he would. The bible says, in verses 20 & 21; “And he arose, and came to his Father; But, while he was yet far away, his Father saw him.. (you see.. the Father was evidently always, “looking” for His son to come back home) “..His Father saw him, and was moved with compassion, (abundant compassion, I might add) and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.”
What’s God telling us here? God is telling us how He feels, when one of His children comes back home. “His Father SAW him coming, and was MOVED with compassion, and RAN, and FELL on his neck, and KISSED him!” “Kissed” by God. That’s how it is, when someone comes back home, to God. And that’s how it is when you remain faithful to God too. God showers all His faithful children, with spiritual “kisses”, and with spiritual “hugs” and with everything spiritual blessing, that we need. He gives us everything, there is to give, and there’s joy in heaven!
Jesus said in verse 10 of this chapter; “I say unto you; There is joy, in the presence of the angels of God, over one sinner who repents.”
The Generous and Abundant and Liberal and Lavish Forgiveness of God
Back to the story of the prodigal son though.. Verse 21 says; “And the son said unto Him; Father, I have sinned.. (let me stop a minute; Do you remember what God says in 1 John 1, verse 9.. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness.” Thank God for that, right?
“Father, I have sinned, against heaven, and in Thy sight; I am no more worthy to be called Thy son.” Now, what comes next? A good wippin’? No, not hardly. Now comes the abundant forgiveness, and the lavish blessings, from “The Prodigal God”.
The story continues with verses 22 thru 24; “But the Father said to His servants; Bring forth quickly, the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fatted calf, and kill it, and let us eat, and make merry. For this My son was dead, and is alive again! He was lost, and is found! And they began to be merry.”
God’s abundant, and unsparing blessings; Not just any blessings, but the best, and unsparingly. “Bring forth quickly, the BEST robe, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet”.. And let’s have a feast! A celebration of life! “For this My son was dead, and is alive again; He was lost, and is found.”
“Prodigal” in the good sense, means.. Having, and giving, on a lavish scale. God’s blessings are indeed “copious”, in other words, they are abundant in quantity and in supply. God own everything! It’s all His! God says in Psalm 50, verses 10 thru 12; “For every beast of the forest is Mine. And the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains; And the wild beasts of the field, are Mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you; For the world is Mine, and the fulness thereof.”
And even though it’s all His, He’s wants to share it, with us. It’s really not so much that God is willing to share it all with us, but God WANTS to share it with us. That’s precisely WHY, His blessings are so lavish, and so abundant, and so unsparing; Because He loves us SO much!
Do you love God? What would you do for Him? Would you give to God, just as generously as He’s given to you?
Would you “hear” His word? Would you “believe” that Jesus is the Christ? Would you “confess” your faith, openly, before men? Would you be willing to “repent” of your sins, an to be “baptized” for the forgiveness of your sins; And would you be willing to sacrifice enough, in order to “remain faithful” to Him, for the rest of your life?
“Come to the feast” as they say.. The “Prodigal” feast!