Over the years we have looked at this passage of Scripture time and again and we have learned much. We have considered it from the aspect of the prodigal, the brother, and the father.
This morning I want us to focus on just one phrase found in verse 13. The ‘far country’. The prodigal was not the only person to visit this place. As a matter of fact, it is not always a geographical location, the other brother visited there without leaving home. Everyone of us has either been there, or perhaps we are there right now! It is anyplace and every place whenever we are away from our heavenly Father, God. By nature it is where we were born, we were all citizens of the far country. "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Rom 3:10;23) If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, then you are still there today!
However, it is also a place that those who are believers, those who are born-again, those who are Christians, can also go. If they choose to do so.
I. We think that the far country is a place of escape.
A. From the invitations of God.
1. God invites us to be saved.
"The Lord is ... longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Pet 3:9)
2. God invites us to submit.
"Submit yourselves therefore to God ... Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you." (James 4:7;8)
3. God invites us to serve
"If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour." (John 12:26)
B. From the intervention of the Holy Spirit.
1. He convicts us of our wrong.
2. And He leads us to do right.
"And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:" (John 16:8)
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come." (John 16:13)
C. From the indictments of conscience.
1. Rebukes our sin.
2. Reminds us of what is right.
3. Resisted, soon becomes silent.
D. From the influences of good.
1. We have had good education.
2. We have had good examples.
3. We have had a good environment.
E. From the intercession of others.
1. The pleading prayers.
2. The passionate prayers.
3. The perpetual prayers.
II. What leads us to that far country?
A. Sometimes it is dissatisfaction
1. Dissatisfied with responsibilities.
2. Dissatisfied with routine
3. Dissatisfied with life itself.
B. A desire to be "free".
1. We really are not looking for real freedom.
2. Freedom from regulation
3. Freedom from responsibility
III. What happens in that far country?
A. We affect ourselves
1. We forfeit the blessings of God
2. We force God to chasten us
3. We fail to find what we sought
a. Seek freedom, find slavery
b. Seek happiness, find sorrow
c. Seek change, find sameness
B. We affect others: This always happens!
1. We affect those who love us.
a. Cause them suffering
b. Cause them sorrow
c. Cause them pain and heartache.
2. We affect those who are led by us.
a. The uncontrolled drunkard:
b. The unwed mother:
c. The rebellious encourages rebellion.
C. We arrive at a crossroads
1. Our choice is simple.
2. We can continue to go on to ruin.
3. Come to our senses and get right with God.
IV. What happens when we return?
A. We are rescued from a path that would certainly lead to more heartache and destruction.
B. We are reconciled to God and those around us whom we have hurt.
C. We are restored to a place of fellowship and security.
D. We are re-commissioned: put back into service again!
1. There is still time for you.
2. There are still a place of service for you.
Where are you this morning? Have you ever trusted in the shed blood of Christ for your personal salvation? The opportunity is now. Will you come? Christian, have wandered away from God? Why not come home this morning? Come back in repentance and confession and find the restoration that can only come from your loving Father.
Do you know a prodigal? A son or daughter? A mom or dad? A family member or maybe just a good friend? Don’t give up on them ... pray for them, take every opportunity to love them and ... trust God to deal with their hearts. Verse 20 tells me that the father was constantly looking for his son to return -- waiting for him with open arms and a loving heart.