And He said, “A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’ So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.
John Piper spoke to 40,000 young people in the year A.D. 2000 a message entitled “Don’t Waste Your Life,” and Piper’s popularity, because of that one talk, skyrocketed. Three years later Piper published a book of the same title (600,000 in sales). If we had to summarize the most beloved story Jesus ever told, a parable that has changed millions of lives, the story of the prodigal son is most likely that one story.
Eternal Reward and Punishments
Every theological writer knows seminal writing is rare. From the Latin word serere, which means “to sow,” writing that is seminal represents only the seed (semen) for a future and greater harvest of truth. For example, Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses (1517) declared it is “faith that justifies,” not the sacrament. Luther’s writing, though thoroughly biblical, was deemed heretical by the Roman Catholic Church. Five centuries later Luther’s heresy has become evangelical orthodoxy, widely accepted by Christians around the world. Seminal theological writing is rare because as Solomon declared: “Is there anything of which one might say, “See this, it is new”? Already it has existed for ages which were before us” (Eccles 1:10).
Ephesians 4:14-15; 24-25 (ESV)
So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ. And to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each on of you speak the truth with his nighbor, for we are members one of another.
John 1:14 (NASB)
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Romans 1:28-32 (KJV)
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient. Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.