Jeremiah chapter 5 is the chapter that's rebuking the children of Israel for a lot of the sins that they've been involved in and talking about the fact that a lot of judgement is going to be coming their way very soon and warning them, "Look, you think it's not going to happen but it really is going to happen."
Let me just reread just the last couple of verses here beginning in verse number 27. The Bible reads, "As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit. Therefore, they become great and waxen rich. They are waxen fat, they shine. Yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked. They judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge. "Shall I not visit for these things?" saith the Lord. "Shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land. The prophets prophesy falsely and the priests bear rule by their means, and my people love to have it so and what will ye do in the end thereof?""
The title of my sermon this morning is What Will You Do in the End Thereof? Now a lot of people today are very shortsighted. They don't see down the road. They can only see what's happening right now and that's where I want to preach about this morning because these people thought that because things are going good right now that things were always going to go good and God keeps wanting them to know bad things are going to happen. You need to change your ways, etc.
Now flip over to Hebrews chapter number 12. This morning I want to preach about shortsightedness, asking yourself the question what will you do in the end thereof is something that many people don't even ask, they don't even think about. They can only see what's right in front of them. I think the best example in the Bible of someone who was very shortsighted, he didn't look at the big picture of things was Esau.
Look what the Bible says in Hebrews 12:15. "Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator or profane person, as Esau, who for 1 morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected for he found no place of repentance though he sought it carefully with tears."
This is a great example of someone who is very shortsighted. In the Old Testament, Esau, the brother of Jacob, being the first born son was entitled to a double portion of the inheritance. According to God's law, if a man had multiple sons, they would divide up the inheritance after the father was gone but the eldest son would get a double portion. Since there were only 2 sons involved, Jacob and Esau, then basically we're talking about Esau getting 2/3s of the wealth and Jacob's going to get 1/3 of the wealth because he gets double what his brother gets.
One day, Esau's out hunting and he's starving hungry, he comes home and Jacob has made this soup, this pottage and it smells really good and Esau was saying I'm dying of hunger. He hadn't eaten in a really long time. Jacob says to him, "Sell me your birthright and I'll let you eat this soup. I'll let you eat this pottage." Esau says, "What good is my birthright going to do me if I die of hunger." He eats the soup and the Bible puts this little commentary on the end of the story; so despised Esau his birthright. He did not value it. It didn't really matter to him, and it seems like a really stupid story when you look at it and think think good night. Did he actually just sell half of his inheritance for a bowl of chili, for a bowl of soup, for food? It seems ridiculous, doesn't it?
Actually, this is how a lot of people think because the inheritance is so far out, it literally means nothing to them. It's not even just that they devalue it, it's that they ... It has no value to them because so many people can only see the immediate, what's right in front of them, and they give no thought to the repercussions of their actions down the road. Here's the thing about sin though because the Bible is likening Esau's decision to sell his birthright for a bowl of soup. It's likening that to what a fornicator does, someone who commits a big sin like fornication. That's basically what they're doing.
Esau was trying to fulfill a physical appetite. He had a lust for food and so he's willing to sell something very valuable just to gratify that lust. Well, the Bible is saying that that's what you're doing when you commit fornication because the Bible says in verse 16 here, "Lest there be any fornicator or profane person, as Esau, who for 1 morsel of meat sold his birthright." The Bible is saying that if you commit fornication, you're like Esau. You're selling your birthright for just a temporal pleasure that's going to be gone in a moment and as the saying goes, pleasure for a moment, pain for a lifetime. When you commit the sin of fornication, that has lasting repercussions and it's compared to the stupidity of the decision that Esau made. It's that big of a mistake.
Now you young person, teenager, young adult, you might not be able to see that committing fornication has that devastating of a repercussion but according to the Bible, it does. You're looking at this story saying that guy sold a whole bunch of money, a whole bunch of wealth because his father Isaac was a very wealthy man. He sold out half of his inheritance for a bowl of soup. That's really ridiculous but here's the thing, you're losing just as much when you commit fornication. You're losing just as much when it comes to rewards in heaven. You're losing just as much when it comes to your quality of life on this earth because you're doing damage to yourself, you're doing damage to that other person, and you're doing damage to your future marriage by making that foolish decision to commit for ... You say, "Why, you're being really hard on people commit fornication." No, the Bible is being hard on people who commit fornication.
The Bible is saying that you're a profane person. The Bible is the one that is saying that you are as foolish as Esau and you're selling out your virginity, you're selling out your purity, you're selling out your godliness for just a little feeling of pleasure on this ... It's just like the feeling of when you eat a really good bowl of pottage. When you're that hungry, it's good. It's the same thing, and that's why God uses this comparison.
The Bible says in verse 17, "For you know how that afterward, when he would've inherited the blessing, he was rejected for he found no place of repentance though he sought it carefully with tears." Now here's the thing, when Esau sold his birthright for that bowl of pottage, he thought that he was just selling his birthright, that's it. He basically looked at the cost of selling his birthright and he said, "I'm willing to pay the price to gratify my lust right now. I'm willing to pay ... It's so far off and I [despise it 00:07:22], I don't care about it. Half the money will be great anyway. Who needs the other half?"
He thought he was only selling the birthright, but what happened? He also lost the blessing which is not something that he bargained for because later on, basically Jacob with his mother end up deceiving their father and stealing the birthright from Esau. That's where the tears come in because even though Esau didn't really care about his birthright, he cared about the blessing. When it came time to get the blessing and the blessing wasn't there and when Isaac instead blesses Jacob and makes Jacob the ruler over his brother Esau, then he's balling and saying, "Oh my father, bless me. Even me also." He is searching for a second chance there and basically Isaac tells him no. It's too late for you. Then Esau tries to lie about it and say, "Oh well, he already stole my birthright from me and now he's stealing my blessing." The reality is that Jacob didn't steal the birthright at all, he bought it fair and square, and it was Esau who was stupid and despised his birthright.
The moral of the story here is that when we get involved in sin, it costs us more than we think it's going to cost us. We think, "Okay, I'm going to gratify this lust and here's what it's going to cost me and I'm willing to pay that price." Oh no, you're going to pay much more than you thought. Sin always takes you further than you want to go, it keeps you longer than you wanted to stay, and it costs you more than you're willing to pay. That's the story of Esau here where afterward, when he would've inherited the blessing, what's the Bible saying? He would've inherited the blessing but he didn't. Why? Because he sold the birthright. That's what the Bible is saying here. That was the repercussion for his foolish decision to sell the birthright, and he found no place of repentance though he sought it carefully with tears.
You see, a lot of times when we're young, we make foolish decisions then we get right with God. When we get right with God, we say, "Well now that I'm serving God, I want God to bless me now." God says like Isaac, "Sorry, too late. Your blessing's gone." This is a preaching that sometimes people don't want to hear because they want to hear that God is a God of a second chance. God is the God of a second chance because it's not like Esau's life was just over. Esau was able to straighten things out in his life. He was able to get some blessings from God but it wasn't the original blessings, those could never come back.
It's not that I'm saying that once you make a big mistake, hey you're done, you're finished. No. You can always get right with the God. You can always come back to the Lord. He always has a plan B for your life but plan A isn't there anymore, and the reason why this preaching needs to be preached is not to give somebody a bad time who's already made mistakes in the past. The Bible says forget those things which are behind. Reach forth unto those things which are before. Press toward the mark, for the price of the high calling of God and Christ Jesus. There are teenagers and young people in this room who they might've heard their whole life, God of the second chance, God of the second chance, God ... You know. Then they just think that they can go out and sow their wild oats and live a sinful and wicked life in their teens and early 20s and that there aren't going to be any consequences. No, you will live with the consequences for the rest of your life. The people who've gone down that road could tell you that.
If you're one who's made mistakes in the ... We've all made mistakes to some degree but if you made big mistakes in the past, your attitude toward this sermon should be yeah, warn them. Warn the young people so that they don't make these mistakes, that they take their decisions seriously, and that they don't just look at the immediate future right in front of them but that they take a broader view and understand hey I'm not just losing the birthright, I'm losing the blessing. I'm losing more. It's going to cost me more than I thought.
Go to 2 Peter chapter number 1, 2 Peter chapter number 1 and think about how shortsighted fornication is in the first place. See the young person, the teenager basically finds themselves unable to restrain their lust and they say everybody's doing it and it's unreasonable to say that we should abstain from this. Just in case somebody's new to church or you're new to the Bible, fornication is when people go to bed together before they're married. That's what fornication ... People are sleeping together and they're not married.
Think about how shortsighted this is. Let's say you're going to get married in your 20s. Let's say you're going to get married when you're 25 years old. Now I got married when I was 19 and there's no law against getting married when you're 18, 19. You know what I mean? If you get your act together, get mature, and get things in order, you can get married when you're 18 like my friend Pastor Roger Jimenez got married when he's 18. I got married when I was 19. There's no law against that. Let's say you get married at 25, even later than I got married, quite a bit later. Then think about it.
Let's say you're going to live until you're about 75. Then chances are, you're probably going to be married for 50 years and you're only going to be a teenager, you're only going to be a young adult for just a few years, just 1 decade. Are you really going to have to deal with these issues and these real strong temptations in those teenage years, early 20s and if you can't handle it, you get married. It's better to marry than to burn, the Bible says.
See, people are so shortsighted, they're completely ignoring the 50-year relationship and just only seeing the right here, right now and not understanding that look, God's not expecting you to be celibate as a Christian. God's telling you that you can enjoy that physical act all you want for 50, 60 years of your life, as much as you want but you got to wait for it. Don't be so shortsighted where you just say, "You know what, I can't just wait a little longer." No, you need to wait a little longer and then enjoy for the rest of your life instead of messing up your whole life and living with that the rest of your life because of the decisions that you make.
Think about it in the story of Esau. He's says, "Well, I'm dying of hunger." Wait a minute, he probably could've just waited a little longer and cooked his own food. It would've taken him a little while to prepare his own meal and the chili was right there, it's ready to eat, it's ready to eat, but he could've just waited a little longer or he could've just walked a little further and just gone to the neighbor's house where the price was a little lower than your birthright, right? He could've just gone a little further to the restaurant or to someone else's house or to his parents or he could've just poured a bowl of cereal or whatever. This is the stupidity that God's warning us against, of just throwing it all away because you just can't wait. That's what the Bible is teaching.
Look at 2 Peter 1:4. The Bible says, "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature ..." Watch this, "having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." There's corruption in the world through lust, the Bible says. "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity for if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind and cannot see afar off and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins."
Here's a scripture that's specifically warning people who can't see it far off. They can't see the big picture. What are the things that are going to abound in us that will help us to see the big picture. Some of these are pretty obvious when the Bible says patience, obviously that's someone who sees the big picture, somebody who's willing to wait patiently for things when they come in God's timing. Temperance, what does temperance mean? Controlling yourself. This is another thing that someone who has a long view of things is going to have more temperance and keep themselves under control. Have patience, have godliness. Don't be a blind person who can't see afar off.
Now flip over, if you would, to Luke chapter 15. Here's another famous story besides the story of Jacob and Esau about someone who took a really short view of things and this is the story of the prodigal son. In this story, it's the opposite. It's the younger brother who is shortsighted in this story and it's the same deal. The older brother is going to get 2/3s and the younger brother is going to get 1/3. In this story, it's about the fact that the younger brother wants his inheritance right now.
It says in verse 11, "He said a certain man had 2 sons and the younger of them said to his father, "Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me," and he divided unto them his living."" Instead of waiting for his dad to pass away and he's going to inherit all things, he says, "No, I want my inheritance, all of it, right now." I think part of what's pictured by this parable, if you think about Jesus speaking in Matthew 6, he talks a lot about a lot of people who have their reward right now because the Bible talks about having an inheritance in heaven. The Bible says that our inheritance in heaven is incorruptible and fadeth not away. He said, "Lay up treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt and where thieves do not break through nor steal for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
God tells us to make sure that our inheritance is in heaven, not in on this earth. Think about all the people that [inaudible 00:17:52] in Matthew 6. It says people who do their alms before men. They do their righteousness before men to be seen of them. The Bible says, "Verily I say unto you, they have their reward." Those who pray publicly, big long flowery prayers, and those who sound the trumpet when they give alms, and those who fast publicly that they may appear righteous unto men. The Bible says, "Verily I say unto you, they have their reward." They're like the prodigal son in the sense that they're saying give me my reward now. They don't want to wait for God to exalt them in due time.
The Bible says, "Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord. He'll exalt you in due time." They say, "No, I want to be exalted right now. I want people to declare me righteous right now. I want my prayers and my fastings and my alms to be seen of men that I might have praise of men right now." God says, "Well okay, you can have it now but you're not going to get it later." He said, "You have no reward of your father which is in heaven. You already had your reward."
This is especially true of preachers because there are a lot of preachers out there who instead of just faithfully serving God, preaching the truth, waiting on the Lord to build the church, waiting on the Lord to exalt them in due time, just being humble. What does it mean to be humble as a pastor? You know what, it means that you're okay if the church is small in the beginning because you're not trying to impress people. You understand that great things take time to build and so you just humbly, patiently allow God to do his work and you get up and preach the truth faithfully. You preach hard and if people quit the church and it slows things down, well you know what? You know you did what was right.
It's funny because when you preach hard, sometimes people will accuse you of being prideful. To any hard preachers, "Oh, it's pride. Pride." You know what's really pride? Pride is when you think, "Well, I'm going to do this myself. I'm not going to let God ... I'm not just going to preach what the Bible says whether it's popular, unpopular, in season, out of season. No, no, no. I'm going to do it myself, and I'm going to use man's wisdom so I'm going to trim out certain parts of the message that I find to be unpalatable to the people in my area or to my generation or to my culture. I'm going to censor the message. I'm going to not preach on certain parts of the Bible because I'm so smart ... I'm smarter than God. I know that we'll do more for God if I just preach certain parts of the Bible even though he told me to preach the whole thing." It's pride.
Also it's pride, pride likes to be patted on the back. Look, a prideful person, do they like accolades? Do they like to be loved of all men? Do they like to be complimented? Of course. Now as a humble person out seeking accolades, recognition; I want to make sure that if I give somebody a gift I want to make sure that I get recognized and everybody knows I gave them that gift and I get all the thanks and the praise and then I'm seen of men. That's not humility. Humility isn't looking for a pat on the back. They're just looking for a reward in heaven. They just want to do their righteousness before the Lord.
Think about this. When it comes to preaching, what's the prideful man going to preach? What people want to hear. Why? Because he loves the pat on the back. He thrives on it. There are people in this world who they enjoy it, they thrive on it, and they're like the Pope where it's just like ... Everybody's bowing down to them, worshiping them, and they just take it all in, just receive all that adoration, worship, and they love it and they thrive on it, and they enjoy it.
See, a humble person isn't out seeking the limelight, isn't looking to be lifted. Some [inaudible 00:21:56] uncomfortable with it because it's not what it's about. Here's the thing; prideful, arrogant preachers who trim the message preach a positive-only message; they love the accolades, they love the recognition, they're like the prodigal son because of the fact that they're getting their reward right now by being loved and praised and exalted of all men. Whereas the humble preacher is getting his reward later. He preaches faithfully God's word and here's the thing, not all of that's in heaven. Some of that even comes on this earth.
God will sometimes lift people up on this earth like you think of a humble guy like Mordecai. He was lifted up, right? He was exalted. He wasn't out seeking that kind of praise and recognition. The guy who was seeking it, Haman in the book of Ester, God brought him down, humiliated him in the worst possible way, even him dying an ignominious death whereas the humble guy, Mordecai, who basically ... You say how do you know Mordecai was a humble guy? Well because Mordecai did a great deed where he saved the king's life and he didn't really get any gratitude for it. He didn't really get any thanks for it, but you don't see him bringing it up and bringing it out and trying to, "Hey everybody, did everybody hear what I did?" He just quietly did what was right and everybody forgot about the good deed that he did. Nobody knew, nobody saw it but then years later, God exalts him.
A lot of our rewards sometimes will hit us even in this life but a lot of it's common in the next life but the bottom line is if we're like the prodigal son, we want to just, "Give it to me now." If we're wise, then we're willing to patiently wait and take a longer view, not a shortsighted view. Well hey, I'm willing to give up my reward in heaven to have a fancy car now, fancy house now, accolades now, praised of all men now. That's just another angle on this story when you read this. He says, "Hey, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me." He wants his inheritance now.
It's just like when Jesus said of these people that do stuff before men, they have their reward. They're getting their inheritance early on this earth. Problem is on this earth, it fades away. On this earth, it's temporary. Your reward in heaven is eternal. On this earth, moth and rust corrupt, thieves break through and steal. On this earth, it's the praise of men which is vanity and in heaven, it's the praise of God. That means a lot more than somebody patting you on the back. When Jesus pats you on the back, that means a lot more.
The Bible says as we continue to read the story, it says at the end of verse 12, "He divided unto them his living." Verse 13, "Not many days after, the younger son gathered all together and took his journey into a far country and there wasted his substance with riotous living." He shortsighted. He could've taken that inheritance that fell to him now and use it to buy a business, something that would provide a continual source of income for the rest of ... He's a young guy. Something that would provide a continual ... He could've bought a house. That way hey, his house is paid off.
He could've bought some land and say, "Okay, well I can farm this land for the rest of my life or I can run this business." He could've bought cattle or something and that would be what he would use. He could've bought some kind of tools or just something that's going to provide a continual source of income for him. Instead, he doesn't see that he's going to be on this earth for 70 or 80 years. He just goes out and immediately in a very short time spent all the money right now. This blows it all, and it says he wasted it. He wasted his substance with riotous living.
Now the Bible doesn't go into detail of what that means, but if we just understand what rioting means and riotous living means biblically speaking, basically what we're talking about is what we would refer to today as drinking, partying, and sleeping around. That's basically what this guy was probably involved in just based on the word riotous living. Probably going to places like Vegas and obviously, things were different back then but there's no new thing under the sun. People are people, human nature is the same as it was in the story.
Basically, to think of it in today's terms, it would be like if your son got the inheritance, you had a big family business and all kinds of wealth and he gets that piece of the inheritance and a few days later, he's on a plane to Vegas and he's a high roller, he's a big shot, he's wearing fancy clothes. Then as a result of having fancy clothes and buying expensive things, he's surrounded by beautiful women that are basically there because of the money, that are there because of the partying, because of the lifestyle. All of a sudden, he's the coolest guy because he's got the cool car and the cool friends and he's partying and having a great time but he blows through the money fast because he's stupid. He's foolish, he's wasting his money. He's not taking a long view. He's shortsighted, he's like Esau, just gratify the flesh now, have fun now.
Listen to me, there's so many teenagers today, they have zero thought of the rest of their life. It's almost like a disease amongst teenagers. It's almost like a mental disorder where teenagers just cannot see afar off. It's just like, "What? I have to wait 1 month for something? My life is over." That's how they think. It's like, "What are you talking about?" We can all sympathize because we've all been there. I know when I was a teenager, I wasn't thinking about life in my 30s. The thought of being 34 years old never entered my mind. You don't even ... That doesn't even come in your mind at all. You're not thinking about old age. No, you're thinking about right now, maybe the next few days, the next few weeks. This is how teenagers think and this is why so many make stupid decisions and that's why they commit fornication, they get drunk, they waste their substance, whatever.
Instead of taking a longer view and the Bible's commanding us young people to take a longer view of things and to say, "Wait a minute, it's not worth it to go out and party now and ruin my life now. I'm going to live with that for the rest of my life." The stupid things that you're doing. I just thank God, by the grace of God that I didn't screw up my life in my teenage years because you know what? I was stupid when I was a teenager. When I was a teenager, I thought I was really smart. When you're a teenager, you think you're smarter than everyone else and you think that your parents don't know what they're talking about and you know everything. That's just how teenagers are, but the wise teenager will listen to preaching and live right.
Part of the reason why I didn't screw up my life as a teenager was just because of the fear of God. I just knew that God was going to punish me and everything. I wasn't really planning my 30s, it was more like God's going to kill me [inaudible 00:29:17]. You don't have that attitude because God does kill people. Here we see that he goes out and wastes his substance with riotous living.
Listen, if you're a teenager this year or young adult, I want you to listen to what I'm saying. Or maybe you're a preteen and you're almost there. I want you to listen to what I'm saying and just stop and think, "Do I want to be a fool or do I want to be a wise person? Do I want to just spend the rest of my life dealing with baggage and dealing with repercussions from stupid decisions I'm making right now? Or do I want to spend the rest of my life enjoying the fruit of doing what's right?
It's not even just things that are obvious like going out and getting drunk or fornicating. You say, "What's the big deal about getting drunk?" Because of the stupid stuff you do when you're drunk, for example. It's not even just that. Even if we were to get away from that extreme ... Because those are extreme sins my friend according to the Bible. We might think in America, they're little. The Bible puts them the big category.
Even if we just look at what you do as a child in the sense that when you do your work as a child and when you study; let's say you're being home schooled or you're in school, actually studying and working instead of just fooling around on video games or just fooling around, just clowning, if you actually take it seriously, that's actually going to determine how well you live the rest of your life because guess what? If you're stupid, you're not going to get a good job because you won't read, you won't read your Bible, your won't read your school books, you won't buckle down and get some work down, you know what? The rest of your life, you're going to be behind the curve on things. You're not going to be as effective at your job and that's going to affect your earning power for the rest of your life even just from [carnal 00:31:15] viewpoint.
The things that you do when you're young will affect the rest of your life. The things that you do to your health when you're young affect the rest of your life. Just think about how shortsighted it is to just fill your body with junk food because here's the thing, when you eat junk food, the effect is not usually immediate. Sometimes there's a running trip somewhere to eject some of what's been put in. I'm saying usually if you go out and just eat a bunch of junk food and just eat the worst genetically modified, partially hydrogenated fast food combo with the extra big gulp of genetically modified corn syrup and you go out and eat all that junk, it's not going to affect you today probably. It probably won't even affect you tomorrow. Cumulatively, you're destroying your body by just putting junk in your body, just poison, junk.
Are you think about that when you're a teenager? No. When you're a teenager, it's just eat, drink, and be merry because tomorrow we die. The wise person looks a little further out and says, "I'm going to live in this body for the rest of my life. I'm going to have these teeth in my mouth for the rest of my life. I better not just destroy them and trash them because I'm in this body for the next 50 years, 60 years, 70 years." Get exercise and not just be slug and everything like that.
The Bible says here that ... In verse number 14, "After he wastes his substance with riotous living. When he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land and he began to be in want and he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him in these fields to feed swine and he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat and no man gave unto him."
It's funny how he was buying all the rounds of drinks and he was buying all the girls and he was paying for everything but now that he's out of money, nobody's there to help him. Everybody forsakes him because the kind of friends that you make living a fornicating, partying, drinking lifestyle are not the kind of friends that are really going to be there for you when you need them. These people have completely forsaken him and so he joins himself to a citizen of that country basically to feed the pigs. That's the best job he can get because instead of honing his job skills, instead of spending time reading and studying and learning and getting smarter, instead of learning how to use tools and learning how to be an effective worker, he has no skills, he has no ability because he's been ... Nobody's looking for a professional gambler right now, professional partier right now.
Basically now, he has the worst job you can imagine where he's just doing the most unskilled labor. This is not skilled labor, dumping slop into a pigpen, that's his job. He's so hungry that he's looking at the slop in the husks that the pig are eating and he's thinking, "I would like to eat that right now because I have nothing to eat. That actually looks pretty good right now." When he thinks that thought, he hits rock bottom at that point which is good and sometimes people need to hit rock bottom.
The Bible says in Luke 15:17, "And when he came to himself he said, how many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare and I perish with hunger? I will arise and go to my father and will say unto him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee and am no more worthy to be called thy son. Make me as one of the hired servants."" Look, this is humility, isn't it? There's no pride here. There's no arrogance. Hey, it's my life. What was the first thing that the prodigal son said to his dad? He said, "Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me." See, he feels that he's owed something. The world owes him a living. Give me what's coming to me. I'm going to spend it how I want. It's my life. Don't tell me what to do.
Now he's been taking down a notch, hasn't he? He hit rock bottom and now he's extremely humble saying, "I'm no longer worthy to be called thy son. I have sinned against heaven and against thee. Just make me as one of the hired servants. I'm not even trying to be your anymore. I just want to be a servant." He's hit rock bottom.
See, part of the problem today with young people is that no one let's young people hit rock bottom anymore. First of all, hopefully young people wouldn't go down this road but if they do go down that road, they deserve to hit rock bottom and you're not doing them a favor by propping them up and stopping them from hitting rock bottom because then they never come to their senses. What did it take for him to come to his senses? He had to be hungry for a few days, he had to work in a horrible job, stinky, smelly job where he was starving and looking at pig slop and wishing that he could eat it. You have to let people sometimes go to the pigpen.
That's what 2 Thessalonians chapter 3 was teaching on Wednesday night when it said, "There are these people that are walking among you disorderly, they're working not at all." The Bible said, "Them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ that with quietness they work and eat their own bread for even when we were with you, this we commanded you that if any would not work, neither should he eat." Those are hard words. If any would not work, neither should he eat, but that's Bible. So many parents today, they want to prop up their young adult child as they live a life of riotous living.
It would like how this story would've ended up if the dad wouldn't just kept sending him more money. He goes and parties and wasted and the dad just keeps sending him more money and just keeps sending money. I'll tell you this, when he said, "Hey, give me the portion of the goods," and he left, the dad's attitude seems to be an attitude of don't let the door hit you on your way out because you don't see the dad telling him, "No, son. Stay here son." He just says, "Okay. See you."
When he comes back, he's humble and then the father's ready to welcome him with open arms when he's ready to submit unto his father's will, when he's willing to do what he's supposed to do. So many people today, it's like their adult children, they'll just have them living in their home, just living a life of fornication, living a life of drunkenness. Then when they screw up their finances, they come in and bail them out. They bail them out and they think that they're helping their child by bailing them out, buying them groceries, helping out. Sometimes, you got to let people hit rock bottom. When they're living a life of fornication, when they're living a life of drunkenness, they need to get out of that situation. If they make their bed, they're going to have to lay in it.
That's why it's important to teach our kids now while they're still under our roof and young enough to where we have power over them when they're young and we can make sure that they do what's right. When they're at an age where we can tell them, "No, you're going to church, period." You pick them up and put them in the car. They're going to church and they're going to do what's right and they're going to finish their food and they're going to obey and they're going to do their work and so on and so forth. You fix ... It's a lot easier to fix it then than when they get 18, 19, 20, 21. If you made the mistakes earlier and they get 18, 19, 20, 21 and they had this attitude that just says, "Hey, give me what's coming. My name's Jimmy. I'll take all you give me. I'm going to go out and live a party lifestyle. I'm going to go out and get drunk. Oh mom, can you come pick me up? Oh mom, can you give me a ride? Oh mom, can you help me out?" No.
Look, if I'm paying the bills, I'm making the rules. I'm not paying anything for any child of mine that's going to go out and live a wicked lifestyle. I'm not going to support that. I'm not going to condone that. I'm not going to finance that. If you choose that path, you're choosing to do it on your own, kids, because your parents are not obligated to sit there and finance you and take care of you as you disobey them and disregard what they're ... Look, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Any one who's living in my house is going to be under my rules and they're not going to be a drunk and they're not going to be a fornicator, they're not going to do these things. When they want to go out and do their own thing, then they can go out and do their own thing. You know what, they're going to do their own thing at that point. They're going to do it on their own.
Now if they're going to do what's right, then the blessings are there for them from mom and dad. If they're going to go out and shame the name of Christ and shame the name of their family, then at that point they're on their own. That tough love is what sometimes needs to be shown unto people in order for them to wake up and come to themselves. This bible story is there to teach us that. A lot of people misunderstand this story, they don’t get the story. A lot of people say this is salvation. The prodigal son story is a story about salvation but hold on, he's already a son.
See, this is about a Christian because think about it, we're already sons of God only when we're saved. See, no one who is unsaved is a child of God. The bible says, "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God even to them that believe on his name." You become a son of God when you believe on the Lord, Jesus Christ. These 2 sons ... And obviously the parable has a lot of different interpretations because the Bible is so deep. There are many interpretations. One interpretation is that the elder brother is Israel and the younger brother is the Gentiles. That's an interpretation that's clearly in the passage. A major interpretation here is children of God. We have 1 child of God who obeys the Lord and we have another child of God who goes out and lives a party life.
Then another interpretation of the parable is just the surface meaning of a dad with 2 kids. Just the meaning that's just right there, the literal interpretation of just a dad with 2 kids. That's what I'm focusing on here when we talk about letting people hit rock bottom and not propping people up. This is why you're not doing people favors when you help them. People who won't work and you keep giving them money and they won't work. What are you doing? You're just reinforcing that bad behavior. You got to let people sometimes hit rock bottom. You got to let them sleep outside sometimes or sleep in the car or go a few days without food because that will sometimes wake people up whereas if there's always somebody to bail them out, there's always a safety net.
Think about this, the circus has a safety net, right? They got the tightrope acrobat and then the safety net. Now think about this, I would never go walk out across a tightrope if there was no safety net. If there were a tightrope and there were a safety net right there and somebody said, "Hey, would you like to try walking across this tight rope?" I might say, "Yeah, that looks fun," and do it.
There's a thing up here at Castles N' Coasters off the [I-70 00:42:55]. They have this ropes course and you're harnessed in though, you put on a thing and you're strapped in. You can be a little more daring because you know that if you fall off ... Because I've fallen off a couple of times and you're just dangling but at the same time you're not breaking any bones or dying or anything. You get a little more daring, no hands and you're leaping and going across the tightropes and everything like that because you know the safety net's there, because you know you're harnessed in. It gives you much more boldness.
Well, we talk about today how, "Well, our society we need to have the safety net." That's what the government will often talk about. The liberal communist type elements in our society will have this attitude like, "Well, you know we need to have the safety net there in place." Talking about all the welfare and all the programs and all the social security, socialist security and medicare and all these different ... All this part ... They say, "You know, that's part of the safety net." You know what the safety net does? It makes people take chances. It makes people ... Let me put it in another way, it makes people live their lives in a reckless way is what it does.
When you give everybody a safety net, then we can go out and be reckless and know we're never going to have to pay the piper. We're never going to have to face the consequences. We can destroy our bodies and somebody's going to be there to pick up the tab. We can go out and we can smash up our car and we can not show up to work and we can go out and just drink and fornicate and party. We can treat our parents like junk because we don't need them to bail us out because Uncle Sam's going to bail us out. We can just treat our parents like garbage and tell our parents to go jump in a lake because if we get poor, we'll turn to the government. We can tell our church to go jump in a lake because what do we need them for, we got the government take care of it.
See, if the safety net weren't there, people would be a little more careful with how they live their life, wouldn't they? Then they'd realize, "Well, you know what, I need my parents as a safety net. I need church as a safety net." Then there's the ultimate safety net, God. Then they'd realize, "Hey, I'm going to treat my parents well. I'm going to treat the church well. I'm going to treat God well. I'm going to live my life in a way that makes sense. I'm going to take care of my body, and I'm going to take care of my own finances by working 6 days a week and making things happen but no, the safety net's there." We can all just be these daredevil acrobats just whoa like there's no tomorrow. "Whoops, fell down. So what? Who cares?"
He comes to the father. He's humble now and he says "I'm no more worthy to be called thy son." Verse 19, "Make me as one of the hired servants. And he rose and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said in him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight and am no more worthy to be called thy son." But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe and put it on him and put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet and bring hither the fatted calf and kill it and let us eat and be merry for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. And they began to be merry.""
Now obviously he wasn’t literally dead, was he? He was dead unto him. It doesn't seem like this guy had a real good relationship with his son while his son was out partying and rioting. No, because he wouldn't be using that kind of language about his son, "Hey, he was lost, he's found. He was dead, now he's alive again."
It says in verse 25, "Now his elder son was in the field and he came and drew nigh to the house. He heard the music and dancing and he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. He said unto him, "Thy brother has come and thy father hath killed the fatted calf because he hath received him safe and sound". He was angry and would not go in. Therefore, came his father out and entreated him. He answering said to his father, "Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment and yet thou never gavest me a kid that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this thy son was come which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf."" He said "Look, I couldn't even have my friends over for a goat barbecue and you're serving filet mignon here. You're killing the fatted calf. You're serving all these great beef. I couldn't even eat cheap meat with my ... You don’t let me party like this with my friends."
Now at this point, the moral of the story is forgiveness. The father is the good example of the guy who forgives the young person who screwed up their life and is ready to welcome them with open arms once they come to themselves. Then it's like, "Of course, you're welcome back now that you're willing to do what's right and submit under the authority of dad." Yes, of course, and not only are we going to just be grudging, "Well, I guess we'll forgive because the bible said." No, come on in. Whether that's the church, the family, whatever. We want to welcome back the prodigals that stray when they get right with God, welcome back. Let's forget about it, move on.
What does it say here? "He said unto him," verse 31, "Son, thou art ever with me and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry and be glad for this thy brother was dead and is alive again and was lost and is found." The brother is the bad example who doesn't want to forgive the wayward family members once they get right. Doesn't want to forgive the wayward church member once they get right. The Christian who doesn't want to let people live things down when they make mistakes and do wrong, but we don't want to misunderstand the story because there is still a consequence to sin. Notice what he tells him in verse 31, "He said unto him, "Son, thou art ever with me ..."" watch this, "And all that I have is thine." What's he telling him? You're getting everything, that you're inheriting everything.
The younger brother comes back, we should welcome him with open arms. We love him, we forgive him, let it go, move on. At the same time, we need to realize that when you take a shortsided view of your life, you still have to suffer the consequences for the rest of your life. This guy, for the rest of his life, is not going to have anything. Unless he gets to himself, but everything that the father had for him has been wasted and it's gone and it's not going to be replaced.
See, when dad dies, we're not going to divide 3 ways and give 2 parts to the older brother and 1 part to the younger brother. No, it's all going to the older brother because you already got your inheritance. You wasted it, you spent it, and now you're going to be here similar unto the hired servants in the sense that you have no inheritance. You have to work and pull your weight around here as one of them. Now, that doesn't mean we're not happy to see you. It doesn't mean that we're not going to have a party and you're going to have a nice hoorah here and kill the fatted calf. We're going to rejoice that you've come to your senses but you know what? We need to understand that when we go out and commit this type of sins in our youth, we live with the consequences for the rest of our lives.
Think about it, it just make sense. It's foolish to think that there'll be no consequences for the stuff you do when you're young. The bible says, and if you would go to Ecclesiastes chapter 12, the bible says over and over again that we're going to have to suffer for the rest of our lives when we make stupid decisions. There are going to be repercussions.
The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 11:9, Ecclesiastes 11:9, "Rejoice, o young man, in thy youth and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth and walk in the ways of thine heart and in the sight of thine eyes but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart and put away evil from thy flesh for childhood and youth are vanity." What's he saying? Childhood and youth are vanity. He's saying that this idea of you got to enjoy your freedom when your young, you got to enjoy that time. Those are the best years of your life and you got to really live it up because that's your one chance to live it up. In your childhood and youth, you go out, you party, you have a good time, you sow your wild oats and then you settle down into real life when you're about 30. Isn't this what the world teaches?
"Hey you're young, don't tie yourself down with a serious job. Don't get tied down with a wife and kids, what are you doing? You got to go out and party and enjoy and don't grow up too fast," they'll say. Wait a minute, what does the bible say? Does the bible say, "Hey, don't grow up too fast."? Does the bible say, "I don't want to grow up. I'm a Toys R Us kid."? There's a million toys at Toys R Us that I can play with, from trucks to games to video games, the biggest toy. I don't want to grow up but even if I did, I'd want to be a Toys R Us kid. Look, this is the way people are living their life today. It's a joke, people. That commercial was joking but there are people out there literally are in their 30s and 40s and are really into video games. It's out there.
This is probably the first generation of 30-year-old people and 40-year-old people that play video games because video games weren't invented. Here's the thing, when you tried to show ... When video games first came out and you tried to show a 40-year-old, they had no interest in it. I remember putting my dad in front of Super Mario brothers. This is what he did, he just ran straight ahead, ran straight into the first little Goomba. You know what I mean? You know that first little Goomba, all you have to do is jump. He just ran right into that Goomba and just died and then he's just like, "This is stupid. I'm never playing it again." He's never played it. I don’t think he's ever played.
We finally later talked him into Duck Hunt just because it's like you're shooting or whatever, but he got so mad at that little dog. He's like, "Shut up." Look, but nowadays though ... The kids who grew up with it though, some of them don't want to let it go. You know it and I know it. There are people in their 20s, 30s, 40s that are now playing video games. That's how they spend their life. It's so childish, it's so juvenile. What about this, he said, "Look, childhood and youth are vanity. Yeah go on, live your fun, youth and party and whatever." He said, "God's going to bring you into judgment for it and it's all emptiness, it's all vanity, it's all worthless anyway."
Look, why would you want to go out and party your whole 20s away. Then okay now I'm 30, I'm going to settle down. Then the whole rest of your life, you're going to be like, "Whoa, this isn't as fun as what I was doing." Think about it. It's like spoiling your dinner. It's like eating a bunch of ice cream before dinner and then you eat dinner and you're like, "Whoa, this dinner is bland." No, no, you just spoiled your dinner by eating ice cream before dinner. Everybody understand what I'm saying? Save the ice cream for dessert. Don't eat ice cream before dinner but that's what they're teaching you as a way of life. In your youth, you go out, you party, you have fun, you do it. Think about how stupid this is.
The world tells you, "Go out and sleep with 20 different people. Make sure you find which one you like, whatever." They want you to go out and be with all these people physically that you're not married to and be a whore and a whoremonger, and that's what people are doing today. They're going out and being with 10, 20 different people, however many people, sometimes more than that. Then okay, then you settle down with 1 person and you're monogamous. You married, you settle down with one ... Why would you want to ... When you're married to somebody and you're going to be faithful to that 1 person for the rest of your life, why would you want to be with 20 other different people before that? How is that going to help your marriage at all?
Just think about how stupid that is. First of all, men are jealous beings and women are ... You don't want your spouse to have been with a whole bunch of other people before you're married. Does anybody like that thought of all the people ... No, that's not helping your marriage at all, number 1. Number 2, oh you got to go out and be with everybody and where ... It's like you try every ... Look, let me give it to you. I'm trying not be crass here. I'm trying to keep this G rated for the children that are among us here, but honestly I feel like it's important that people think these things through as young people. I feel like it's important to teach this because people don't think and they mess up their life. They don't realize why it's important to be pure and why it's important to just keep that within marriage.
It's like this; when I go out to eat with my wife, I order food that I like and then she orders something that she wants. Once I choose, I don't change my mind. I choose like this is what I'm going to eat. I order it. This is what happens every single time. My wife says to me, "Oh you got to try mine. It's so good." She just wants me to try 1 bite of hers. I'm always like, "No, I don't want to try 1 bite of yours." This is why I don't want to try 1 bite because if I try 1 bite of her, what if it's better than what I'm having? Think about it. Then I'm just going to spend the whole rest of my meal thinking to myself, "Well, I should order what she ordered because mine's not as good. But if I never tasted that, I'm just happy with what I've got." Is anybody listening?
I ordered food that I chose, I looked at the menu, nobody forced me to order what I ordered. I looked at the menu and I found something I liked and I chose it and that's what I'm eating. You say, "Oh, but you got to try this." It's like, "Well no, because if I tried and I like it, then I might think to myself wow, this isn't as good as I thought it was now that I've had that." Number 2, let's say I taste it and it's not as good. Then it's like, "Why did I waste a bite on that junk? I could've had more enjoyment of what I'm eating over here." It's kind of a lose-lose.
There's nothing immoral about trying other people's food at the table but there is something immoral about trying other people's spouse. See what I'm saying? Get an attitude that just says, "You know what, hey God has given me this menu and I'm going to choose one and I'm going to be happy and content and like it. I don't need to go try everything else in the world just to see if maybe there was something out there better." It's too late, you've already ordered. You're already eating your meal. It's like, "Well yeah, but what if there's something better out there?" So what?
Think about this. There are 7 billion people in the world. Are you going to try all of them? Think about that. There's 7 billion people. You're like, "Well, how do you know that you married the best one?" Guess what? Nobody in here married the best person on the planet. Just statistically speaking, that would be ridiculous to think that you married the best husband or the best wife on the planet. It doesn't make any sense because there's 7 billion people. What are the chances that the best person is happen to living in Arizona? The whole planet, you married the ...
You know what? That's a stupid way to look at marriage of, "Oh, I don't know if there's something out there better I could've had. That's stupid because you know what? Marriage is about loving someone that you chose. You choose someone and you love that person with all your heart and you only have eyes for them. You don't go comparing them to other people and trying to see, "Hey, I wonder if there's somebody out there who's better." That's a wicked thought. Do I live in the best house? Do I drive the best car? Drive the best this, the best ... That's a stupid way to live your life. You love that person, you choose someone that you like, and you love that person for the rest of your life and you only have eyes for them and you only think about them.
When you've been with a million other people, then all of a sudden you're comparing and everything like that. You know what? I'm trying to be ... Keep it real clean up here but you know what? It's real important what I'm saying because there's so much fornication that's going on today and there's so much adultery that's going on today. It's because people don't understand the wisdom that I'm giving you right now. What I'm giving you is wisdom. Wisdom that says, "You know what, you only be with 1 person. That's God's design, that's God's plan. That's going to lead you to happiness in the long run for the rest of your life. You're going to be happy enjoying what God has given you, not this thing of try everything on the menu and basically for the rest of your life just sit there and think about what you're missing." What a wicked attitude that's always thinking about what we're missing instead of what we have?
Instead of looking at the wonderful life that we have, the wonderful food that we have in the fridge, the house that we have, the car that we have, the spouse that we have, the kids that we have, the church that we have. Everything we have. Are we just looking at someone else and oh, I wish I had that. That's covetousness. I wish I had that house. I wish I had that spouse. I wish I had that car. It's a wicked way to live your life.
What I'm saying is if you have a long view of things and not the shortsighted view, you take the long view and say you know what, in the long run, I'm going to be better off if I obey the Lord. Always going to be better off if I obey even if in the short term, it's hard and I have to stop for a little, always better off in the long run obeying the Lord. Always better off in the long run saving yourself for marriage and being a virgin when you get married. That's better in the long run.
It's always better in the long run to be faithful to church, to obey your parents so that they will be there for you and you can have a relationship with them when you need it and it's always better. People today, they can only just see the short term of just, "Hey, it's fun to go out and be with all these different people and be a whoremonger and fornicate." Yeah, if it feels good, do it, party, [inaudible 01:02:20]. No, you'll be brought into judgement for all these things. You will do irreparable damage to your life and you will live with the consequences for the rest of your life or you can ... Instead of sowing the wild oats, sow good seeds and reap them the rest of your life.
I'm telling you, some of the most important years of your life are your teenage years. It's setting the course for the whole rest of your life. What you do ... I heard somebody say this; what you do between 18 and 25 will determine how you live the rest of your life and that's true. It's very true. Even what you're doing from 12 to 18 is also setting the course for the rest of your life. Young people, please, if you ... You're like, "I can't see past next Friday." I just ... What? It's a fog. Take my word for it.
Trust me as a guy who's 34 and all the other adults here that are in their 30s, 40s could all tell you the same thing. Trust me, it's going to matter to you when you get there, what you did. Even though now all you can see is the next ice cream cone and the next party and the next whatever, you're going to one day look at things differently. Put away the childhood and youth, grow up, it's vanity, get into real life, kids. Get into real responsibility as young as you can. You'll be glad that you got a head start on life. [inaudible 01:03:43].
Father, we thank you so much for your word, Lord, and we thank you that you are the God of the second chance and that whenever we want to get things right you, you're always willing to welcome us with open arms. That's a blessing because we've all made mistakes, we've all screwed up, we've all been the prodigal son to some degree. Lord, please help no young person to misunderstand the story and think, "Oh, I can go on party and then I can always come home." Lord, help them to realize that they're losing a lot. They're losing the birthright and then they're losing the blessing and that they're going to cry a lot of tears someday if they sell out now. They're going to cry a lot of tears and they're going to find no place of repentance. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.