First Christian Church, Abingdon, VA

Saturday, April 7th, 2018

God wants us to know, believe and receive the extraordinary, unconditional love that He has for us. We invite you to join us tomorrow in worship as Tom shares, “HOPE FOR THE REBEL” taken from LUKE 15:11-32. If the Prodigal Son could sit down and talk with you today, Im sure it would start with the declaration If I Knew Then What I Know Now... And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my fathers hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’” Christs parable of The Prodigal Son has two main points to it; the attitude of the Father, towards his wayward son; and the attitude of the elder son, towards his brother. Jesus told the story, to highlight the vast difference between Gods mercy, love and grace on the one hand, and the Pharisees hard, judgmental attitudes, on the other hand. We learn from the story, that God loves the sinner; every bit as much before he repents, as afterwards; and that, when the sinner has repented, he or she is fully restored into the family of God. Have you ever been in the “pig pen” of life? Wallering in your failures? The good news is that God offers forgiveness. God loves you and is there with open arms to welcome you back home, The father would rather have the relationship than to get the work done. All that the father wanted both of them to know was how deeply they were loved. It wasn’t their obedience he wanted most, but their affection. There will always be work to do but the your relationship with God is so important. God wants your relationship more than your obedience. Obedience is good but when the relationship is left out it is like empty works. Pretend its EASTER and come back to church tomorrow. After all, Hes still ALIVE! Come worship with us ....put Christ first in your life. The most important gift you can receive is through those doors of a church....spiritual nourishment and growth, bring honor to Christ, fellowship with other believers and receive his word. What can be more important to you than Gods gift? Its a GIFT you can take with you FOREVER! Sunday school is at 10 AM and worship at 11 AM.