Sunday School Blog
Sunday School Lesson
“The Father of Two Lost Sons”
June 25, 2017
Jesus often used parables, earthly illustrations, to teach spiritual truths. Parables are illustrations, word pictures, and stories familiar to the hearer’s context meant to reveal spiritual truths and scriptural principals.
The parables of the “lost sheep, lost coins, and the lost son” are in response to the religious leaders’ condemnation of Christ for associating with “sinners.”
“Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.”
While we tend to focus on the younger son, and the Father, center stage is the older son who represents the intolerant religious leaders who thought more about their religion and legalism than they did the heartbeat of God.
The parable of the “lost son,” as well as the other two in chapter 15 is meant to reveal God’s heart for His creation, and to rebuke the religious for snubbing their nose at sinners in need of a Savior, forgetting that they themselves apart from God’s graciousness would be in the same sinful state.
This lesson is meant to cultivate a heart for what/who God loves. This will be accomplished in light of God’s mercy toward us who have been redeemed.
Truth – All humanity has one thing in common: we were all sinners separated from God on the road to hell.
Present in this parable is the lostness of the younger son, the love of the Father, and the legalism of the older son.
This story will challenge the believer to see the lost world through the eyes of the Father … we may not like what they do … but must always remember God loves them and Jesus died for their sin.
Some things to look for in the story: the source of sin (self-desire), the calamity of sin (what happens and where sin leads you), the son’s repentance, the Father’s forgiveness and restoration, and the older son’s unwillingness to accept his brother’s return (in direct opposition to the father’s response).
Like the younger son, we’ve rebelled against our Father and squandered His good gifts (Luke 15:11-19).
The younger son is absorbed with “self-desire” (What he wanted, no matter who it hurt… the Father’s heart must have been broken).
Consider: How some want from God, but do not want God.
It was not beyond the law for the younger son to demand his inheritance prior to the father’s death; it was however, an abnormal request.
Note – the father granted the son’s request (He could have refused). How does this part of the story reflect on God’s allowing us to do what He knows is wrong for us and will result in our calamity?
The younger son displays a selfish attitude that leads to sinful activity
What happens next could be summarized by, Sin takes you where you don’t want to go, costs you more than you want to pay, and keeps you longer than you want to stay.
When the temporal is gone, happiness leaves as well, leaving one is a state of misery.
NOTE – the spiritual decline … “give me” “squandered his estate” “famine” “feed pigs” “eat … pigs were eating.”
Associating with Gentiles and working with pigs reveals how far the son had fallen … SIN will make you do things you never thought you would
Be careful what you think you have to have, once you have it, you may realize you don’t want it. Only then it’s too late.
The younger son’s selfish-ego and self-desire broke his father’s heart and led to his spiritual defilement before the heavenly Father.
Realizing his desperate situation the younger son decided to return to his father. He would confess his failure, repent of his sinfulness, and seek forgiveness falling on the mercy of his father.
NOTE – His confession included his failure toward his earthly father and his heavenly Father.
Like the father, God celebrates when a sinner returns to Him (Luke 15:20-24).
The father never stopped loving the rebellious son
SEE: Romans 5:8 & 2 Peter 3:9
The son’s actions demonstrated real repentance (he acknowledged his sin, demonstrated his sorrow, and committed to change)
The son’s actions also demonstrated real faith (he put his faith in his father’s forgiveness)
DISCUSS – Repentance and faith in biblical salvation
The father’s actions demonstrates biblical forgiveness and acceptance (the father responded to the son’s confession and commitment by forgiving him and then restoring him to sonship).
DISCUSS – How the father’s actions reveal God’s response to the repentance and faith of a sinner?
When we come to God in repentance and faith God not only forgives us but He makes us His children with all the rights and privileges of His “only begotten Son.”
Like the older son, some resent God’s grace and cling to religious observance (Luke 15:25-32).
The older son seems surprise at the younger son’s return, resentful, and jealous. Rather than focus on the younger son’s return he focused on his sin. Instead of rejoicing with the father, he rebuke the father’s forgiveness and what he perceived as his own mistreatment.
DISCUSS – How we sometimes get caught up with a person’s sin and fail to see God’s amazing grace and His ability to change their life. Sometimes we fail to remember that what God did for us He can do for others, no matter where they come from or what they’ve done.
Theological Theme: God’s desire, God’s will is that sinners come to Him in repentance and faith.
Christological/Christ Connection: Jesus came to seek and to save those who are lost. Christ died for sinners.
Missional Application: Not only should we rejoice with those who come to the Father in repentance and faith, we must actively involve ourselves with introducing sinners to the Savior.