Luke 15:11-24 The Prodigal Son

Welcome back the group and acknowledge any new members. Share with them that the purpose of the group is to help people discover more about God and how He relates to their lives. Explain that anyone is welcome, and if they have other friends that they would like to invite to join, they are always welcome.

Care

Begin the session by asking:

· What are you thankful for this week?

· What are you struggling with and how can we help?

Spend time praying for their concerns

Accountability

· How did you apply the lesson from last week? How did it go for you?

· Who did you share the story with, and what was their response?

Story: Luke 15:11-24

Relate the Purpose: Understand that our relationship is permanent, but our fellowship (experience of the relationship) changes. To restore fellowship, we must confess our sins and turn back to God.

Relate the Background: Tax collectors and sinners had been listening and responding to Jesus’ teaching. The self-righteous Pharisees and the teachers of the Law didn’t like it that Jesus was associating with these sinful people. So Jesus told three stories: (1) the lost sheep - where the shepherd leaves the 99 safe sheep, finds the lost sheep and rejoices; (2) the lost coin - where a woman loses a coin, hunts for it, finds it and rejoices with friends in finding it; (3) the third story is our story, the lost son.

Read the Story: Either the facilitator or members of the group can read. Read it once with Bibles open with the members following along, and once with Bibles closed.

Luke 15:11-24

11 Jesus also told them another story:

Once a man had two sons. 12 The younger son said to his father, “Give me my share of the property.”So the father divided his property between his two sons.

13 Not long after that, the younger son packed up everything he owned and left for a foreign country, where he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 He had spent everything, when a bad famine spread through that whole land. Soon he had nothing to eat.

15 He went to work for a man in that country, and the man sent him out to take care of his pigs.[a] 16 He would have been glad to eat what the pigs were eating,[b] but no one gave him a thing.

17 Finally, he came to his senses and said, “My father’s workers have plenty to eat, and here I am, starving to death! 18 I will go to my father and say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against God in heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer good enough to be called your son. Treat me like one of your workers.’”

20 The younger son got up and started back to his father. But when he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt sorry for him. He ran to his son and hugged and kissed him.

21 The son said, “Father, I have sinned against God in heaven and against you. I am no longer good enough to be called your son.”

22 But his father said to the servants, “Hurry and bring the best clothes and put them on him. Give him a ring for his finger and sandals[c] for his feet. 23 Get the best calf and prepare it, so we can eat and celebrate. 24 This son of mine was dead, but has now come back to life. He was lost and has now been found.”And they began to celebrate.

Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

Retell the Story: Have a group member retell the story in their own words. If they miss parts or misunderstand, ask the rest of the group to help them, or fill in what they have forgotten.

Ask Questions for discussion and clarification: These are sample questions you might use for this story. Also use your own. Let their answers to your questions do the teaching.

Application

What is your “I will _____________”for this lesson?

Possible I will statements:

· I will ask forgiveness from God for sins I committed this past week.

· I will thank God every day that He still loves me even if I sin.

Who will you share this story with?

Summarize the Session: (Relate to the Purpose)

We have seen in this story the willingness of our heavenly Father to forgive our sins because we are His children. When we sin, it will not change the fact that we are God’s children, but sin does have its consequences (like what the son experienced) and it will affect our fellowship with God. That’s why He awaits our repentance and our confession. 1 John 1:9 assures us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” We should confess sin immediately when we become aware of them. This would avoid all the misery the young man experienced in the story.

Close in Prayer

In your prayer thank God for His readiness to forgive us, based on Christ’s death, and His joy over our repentance and confession. Thank God for His joy over us as we are back in fellowship with Him

Set the time and place for the next meeting, and remind them to feel free to invite others to join the group.