Far off! Far away! Far from home! Far gone! Gone too far! How far? So far from here! Too far! Far from us! Far apart! Far out! Far from each other! Far from God! How far is far? O!
We use it all the time. So does the Word of God! We would not get FAR without it! It is FAR and away one of the most important words in the Bible. We would not be able to communicate without it.
THE FAR COUNTRY
FAR! Such a little word holding tons of eternal and spiritual reality. It is jammed packed with meaning and destiny for all of us. It describes the position of every man to God. To say that is not FAR FETCHED!
Perhaps the character in the Bible best known for “FAR-NESS” is the restless and aimless “Prodigal Son” of whom it is said in Like 15:11,
“AND HE TOOK HIS JOURNEY INTO A FAR COUNTRY, AND WASTED HIS SUBSTANCE WITH RIOTOUS LIVING.”
We note that it was his journey! It was his decision to go there. He has heard 👂so much about it, and it seemed like it would be utopia. The reports were so alluring, and he could not wait to get going! He got an early start!
It could be likened to one of your children heading out to a spring break in Miami, Florida. It is the first time away from home, and they can’t wait. By the way Dad, can you help me with some bucks. It is going to be a blast! Thanks Dad!
He left everything and everyone far behind. Far from his father. He heard the call that assured him that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. He took all that his father had given him, ran far away from home, and squandered it all in sex, suds, and slime. He ended up eating corn husks with the 🐖 pigs.
Oink Oink became his theme song. Pig pens became his dwelling. Pig food became his diet. Pig dung became his aroma. No smell on earth more repulsive. You could smell him a mile away. A far cry 😢 indeed from what he had with dad!
Home never seemed so FAR AWAY! Have you ever been HOMESICK? I wanna go home! HOMESICK! IT’S awful! There is no loneliness like homesickness. It makes you sick!
Are you homesick for God? Spiritual loneliness? That’s because we have moved, not God. GOD is where He has always been, but we are not. That far off sinking feeling that can cause you to cry 😢 rivers of tears. That is where the prodigal is! It is a longing that nothing and no one else can fulfill. Only God our Father through Jesus Christ.
WHO IS THE PRODIGAL SON?
Who is this boy, known as the prodigal son? By the way, the name PRODIGAL is not in Luke 15. We gave him that 🚹name. We labeled him as if he was one of the most tragic and wasteful losers in life. We set him apart from all the rest of us! You know how we express it, “How sad, he came from such a good 👍 family. All the other kids turned out well, but not him. A prodigal kid. What a shame.”
No 👎, that is not who he is. I can understand why you would so view him! Labeling people cuts them off and isolates them from us! But in point of fact, he is EVERY MAN! He is you and he is me! He is all of us. All we like sheep 🐑 have GONE ASTRAY, we have TURNED EVERYONE TO HIS OWN WAY. (Isaiah 53:6) We all do it differently, but all are variations of the same theme – we went our own way FAR FROM GOD! And we all try to fill our emptiness in our own way.
The prodigal son is not an exception to humanity, who goes out and destroys his life in raucous and raunchy living! You know, poor kid, it seems that that there is always one rotten apple 🍎 in every bushel. NO! He is the POSTER CHILD for every single man that has or will walk the earth. He is not the EXCEPTION, he is the RULE. He is not rare, he is universal!
We read about every 🚹 man and all men 🚹🚹🚹 in Romans 3:23,
“ALL HAVE SINNED AND FALLEN SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD.”
How short? FAR SHORT! FAR, FAR FAR SHORT! When it comes to measuring up to the awesome glory of God, we are all SHORTIES! God is the LONG OF IT, and we are THE SHORT OF IT! That is what sin does, it makes us all spiritual MIDGETS, and God is a spiritual GIANT!
“WE ARE ALL FAR SHORT OF WHO GOD MADE US TO BE. WE DON’T REFLECT HIS GLORY, WE DETRACT FROM IT!
That is what SIN really is. It erases the GLORY OF GOD FROM our lives. Sin is the opposite of God. God loves and sin hates. God forgives and sin is does not forgive. God is pure, and sin loves filthiness. All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.
HOW FAR ARE MEN FROM GOD
That is the real meaning of the FAR COUNTRY where by nature we all live. The far country is thickly populated. It is the most densely populated country on earth. Teeming millions. It is as real as any country on the map! You don’t need a passport to go there. It is the native country of every human being. And you thought that China is the most heavily populated! Think again!
It is a long ways away from the NEAR COUNTRY. Those who are close to God live there. It is far less populated than the FAR COUNTRY. It has its own language, values, morals, and laws. The King 👑 of the NEAR COUNTRY is JESUS CHRIST! He is the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. You need a BORN AGAIN PASSPORT to go there.
THE FAR COUNTRY is ruled by the Prince of Darkness. FAR AWAY FROM GOD! As far from God as Heaven is from Hell, holiness is from sin, God is from Satan, PERFECTION IS FROM IMPERFECTION! The FAR COUNTRY also has its own language, values, morals, and laws. To be sure, each of these countries are foreign countries to each other.
FAR COUNTRY in that it is far from God.There is a GRAND CANYON between God and man. You can try to get a running start and jump it, but you will kill yourself! You will die in your sins.
That is what sin does, IT SEPARATES US FROM GOD! There is only one thing that separates us from God, and it is not the church ⛪, it is not the government, it is not your neighbor, it is not even the devil. It is your sin and my sin that is the GREAT GOD SEPARATER!! (Isaiah 58:1-2)
That is why Jesus died, to take away our sins to BRING IS TO GOD! So we read in I Peter 3:18,
“AND SO JESUS DIED ONCE FOR OUR SINS,THE JUST FOR THE UNJUST, TO BRING US TO GOD.”
“GOD IS OUR TEMPORAL AND ETERNAL DESTINATION. WHEN WE DIE, OR WHEN JESUS COMES AGAIN, WE ARE GOING HOME TO GOD.”
The glorious ending to the story is that this son turned from his sinful ways, and returned home to his father. His father when he saw 👀 his son coming, ran down the road, fell on his son’s neck and kissed him! Is that nearness? HOW FAR IS FAR, HOW NEAR IS NEAR? In Jesus we become as near to God as we were far from Him!
“NEARER STILL NEARER CLOSE TO THY HEART
DRAW ME MY SAVIOR, HOW PRECIOUS THOU ART!
HOLD ME OH HOLD ME CLOSE TO THY BREAST
SHELTER ME SAFE IN THY HAVEN OF REST.”
Dad then threw a big salvation party for his son. All of Heaven rejoices!
“NONE SO FAR BUT CAN BE BROUGHT NEAR!”
Jesus often spoke in parables, and I was told as a little 👦 boy that PARABLES ARE EARTHLY TEMPORAL STORIES WITH HEAVENLY ETERNAL MEANING.
The words of Jesus in Matthew 5:25-26 are among them. He says,
“AGREE WITH THY ADVERSARY QUICKLY, WHILE THOU ART IN THE WAY WITH HIM; LEST AT ANY TIME THE ADVERSARY DELIVER THEE TO THE JUDGE, AND THE JUDGE DELIVER THEE TO THE OFFICER, AND THOU BE CAST INTO PRISON. VERILY I SAY UNTO THEE, THOU SHALT BY NO MEANS COME OUT THENCE, TILL THOU HAST PAID THE UTTER MOST FARTHING.”
1. The ADVERSARY in Jesus’ parable is the LAW OF GOD. Adversarial because the LAW OF GOD teaches us about OUR SINS! It teaches us that we are SINNERS. It rightfully condemns us for we have all sinned!
There is no wiggle room in the LAW! There are no mulligans when it comes to living by the law.There are no do-overs. It is all or nothing! You don’t get a second chance! You have to be right every time all of the time, or be wrong period. The Law is unforgiving. It won’t budge. It is set in stone just like Moses’ two tables of stone.
Trouble is you have to be perfect to receive the law’s approval. NONE of us are! I think Jacob says it best in Genesis 47:9,
“FEW AND EVIL HAVE THE DAYS OF MY LIFE BEEN.”
Well stated! That would be a fit eulogy for every man’s life. When it comes to law, we don’t have a leg to stand on! David said it so well in Psalm 69:2,
“I SINK IN THE MIRE WHERE THERE IS NO STANDING.”
Law is merciless, as there is no mercy in law! It is in that sense our ANGRY 😠ADVERSARY. Not one speck of mercy! ZERO MERCY!
We read Romans 7:7,
“What shall we say then, is the LAW sin? God forbid! I WOULD NOT HAVE KNOWN SIN BUT BY THE LAW OF GOD. FOR I WOULD NOT HAVE KNOWN LUST EXCEPT BY THE LAW THAT SAYS, ‘THOU SHALT NOT COVET.'”
I AGREE! My adversary hurts me to help me! He wounds me to heal me! The Law of God is FRIENDLY FIRE. It convicts me of my unrighteousness. Yes, it causes guilt and the need for forgiveness. I AGREE! It sets my conscience on fire. It drives me to Christ FOR FORGIVENESS!
That is why the world hates the LAW of God, and wants it removed from all of life. That is why secular heathen America has outlawed the LAW of God. It bugs their conscience, and convicts them of sin. For them, it is unfriendly fire. They don’t agree with God’s law, they disagree most vociferously.
LAWLESSNESS is now the in-thing in the United States of America! America now agrees with lawlessness, and disagrees with law-ness. In every area and on every point!
2. THE JUDGE is GOD HIMSELF!
HERE COMES THE JUDGE! The ADVERSARY – LAW turns men over to THE JUDGE! That’s the exchange! That’s the hand-off. Adversary to the Judge.
It’s as if the LAW says to the JUDGE,
“HERE, YOU TAKE HIM NOW, HE IS INCORRIGIBLE, I’VE DONE WHAT I CAN WITH HIM, AND HE IS AS GUILTY AS THEY COME.”
It would be nice if our adversary would transfer us to a probation officer or a half-way house. Or maybe some COMMUNITY SERVICE WITH A FEW THERAPY SESSIONS THROWN IN. You know like trimming the bushes around the COUNTY COURT HOUSE. Or maybe pay a fine but with time served. No! Sorry!
The Law of God declares us guilty, and turns us over to the JUDGE who must pass sentence. And the punishment must FIT THE CRIME! There is the rub! There must be the SAME PROPORTION BETWEEN THE SIN AND THE PENALTY, BETWEEN THE GUILT AND THE SENTENCE.
“WE SINNED AGAINST THE ETERNAL GOD, AND THE PUNISHMENT MUST THEREFORE BE ETERNAL.”
“WE SINNED AGAINST THE FIERY HOLINESS OF GOD, AND THE PUNISHMENT MUST BE HOLY 🔥 🔥🔥 FIRE.
“ALL SIN IS AGAINST THE HOLY GOD, AND IS NOT AGAINST THE PROBATION OFFICER OR THE COURTHOUSE.”
The JUDGE knows this, that there can be no lowering of the sentence when the One SINNED against is INFINITELY HIGH.
Have you ever noticed how cold and chilling a court room can be? All rise! The JUDGE walks in, and suddenly everything changes. FOR He must deal on the basis of LAW, and if the LAW finds you guilty, you’re toast. You can sing and dance all you want to, but you will never make it to AMERICA’S GOT TALENT.
That day is now soon upon the world when the GREAT JUDGE OF HEAVEN AND EARTH shall judge the whole of humanity. He shall summon all men before Himself to receive sentence according to merit or demerit. It is the GREAT DAY OF RECKONING! It’s coming as sure as anything that God says!
Feel the powerful emphasis as we read in Psalm 50:6,
“For the heavens shall declare His righteousness, FOR GOD IS JUDGE HIMSELF.”
In that day all of the heavens shall shout that GOD IS RIGHT AND MAN IS WRONG. Can you hear 👂it already?
That is why when the heavens scream righteousness and the JUDGE CONVENES COURT, the godless and lawless shall cry out to the mountains to fall on them to be able to hide themselves from the JUDGE!
GOD HIMSELF! That is to say He will not assign JUDGMENT to someone else! There is only one JUDGE OVER THE UNIVERSE, and it is not the United States Supreme Court. All the Justices themselves will be Judged by GOD HIMSELF.
3. THE OFFICER is Satan to whom God Himself will assign the God deniers and the Christ rejectors. The first OFFICER OF HELL IS THE DEVIL. If you will, Satan is the JAILER OF HELL. THAT IS BAD NEWS FOR ALL HELL DWELLERS.
Satan IS THE REMORSELESS EXECUTIONER OF THE SENTENCE. He will rub it in, and throw salt in the wounds of the impenitent. He wants all men in hell, and will celebrate the eternal suffering of the damned. Misery loves company, and Satan is the most miserable wretch of all. He feeds off from the misery of others.
Satan will turn on those who served him like a crazed wolf. In John 10:12, Jesus likens him to a wolf. He is the ALPHA MALE OF THE WOLF PACK! He like a wolf is a PREDATOR, and everyone in Hell shall be his prey.
He will be UNBEARABLE as he takes all of his vengeance against God who kicked him out of Heaven, and dumps it all over the eternal HELL DWELLERS.
Even as God makes Heaven, so too the Devil makes Hell. The FIRST OFFICER of Hell is the one who officially makes HELL – HELL! You will know you are in hell when you see Satan who runs the place. He is an insane incensed maniac with foam all over his wolfish mouth.
It reminds me of Shawshank Redemption when ANDY is playing the opera music all over prison. The warden commands him to turn it off, and instead Andy turns it louder. The head of the prison guards taps on the window of the locked door, and says to Andy, “YOU’RE ALL MINE NOW.” That was the guard who beat prisoners to death and murdered others. THAT IS SATAN THE FIRST OFFICER OF HELL!!!!
4. THE PRISON IS HELL ITSELF.
That fiery prison of the damned who would not turn from their sins and accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord.
We MUST note here that HELL IS IN FACT CALLED A PRISON. MAXIMUM SECURITY PRISON! You have to hear this! No one can bust out! In earthly prisons there are those who are LIFERS. In the prison of hell, they are all ETERNALS.
There are no parolees. No early release based on good behavior. The sentence cannot be revoked. It cannot be repealed. There are no claims of mistrials. There are no presidential pardons.
No one can find their way out of outer darkness. No one can break the eternal chains. No one can break through Satan and his demons, the chief officer and his prison guards.
The words of the prophet speak so powerfully in Isaiah 27:11,
“THEREFORE HE THAT MADE THEM WILL NOT HAVE MERCY ON THEM, AND HE THAT FORMED THEM WILL SHOW THEM NO FAVOR.”
5. FARTHING is a word made up of 2 words, FAR and THING. Not exactly a well known word, the Greek word is ASSERION.
FARTHING is a very tiny monetary unit, worth about a 1/4 of a penny. It is a FAR OUT THING to think that you can buy anything important with a FARTHING. EVEN YOUR UTTERMOST FARTHING – YOUR LAST RED CENT.
Which means you could never buy your way out of HELL into HEAVEN. That is too FAR a THING for a FARTHING! Not even close!
Listen! You can’t POST BOND IN HELL! If there was such a thing, BOND would have to be set at UNLIMITED AMOUNTS – INFINITY! There are not enough FARTHINGS to even make a dent! That is the exact point that Jesus is making!
The Roman Catholic Church has taught for eons that you can spring loved ones out of Purgatory by giving money to💰the church. They are called INDULGENCES.
Man has always believed that MONEY IS THE ANSWER TO EVERYTHING! You can buy your way out of anything. In some instances it is better known as BRIBERY. Money under the table. However you say it, MONEY TALKS!
As if you can BUY OFF THE JUDGE. As if GOD IS ON THE TAKE. More than ever in our day, man has turned religion into a MONEY RACQUET! It floods TV 📺 night and day. It is now the norm!
But the great good news is THAT JESUS CHRIST has paid the price of His previous blood to save us from Hell and bring us to Heaven.
We read in Ephesians 2:13,
“BUT NOW IN CHRIST JESUS, YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY HAVE BEEN BROUGHT NEAR BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST.”
Are you ready to make the move? From the FAR COUNTRY to the NEAR COUNTRY? From SATAN to GOD? It won’t cost you a farthing! Jesus has already paid for the whole trip! See you there! AMEN!