Introduction: We started this series of lessons with the warning that
we are the church of the last days, the Laodicean church. Revelation
3:15-16 tells us that our church is “lukewarm,” and God would rather
it be hot or cold. If we are lukewarm, we are not willing to grow and
change. What, exactly, does it mean to grow and change? What will
motivate us to grow hot? Let’s jump into our study of the Bible and
see if we can find the answers!
- The Sons
- Read 1 John 2:3-6. When we say that we need to grow, does
it mean that we need to better obey God’s commands?
- Read Luke 15:11-12. Why would a son ask for his portion of
the estate before his father died? (He must have wanted to
do something with the money that his father would not
- Did the son have a legal right to a portion while his
father still lived? (No. His father owned the
- What attitude does the son show towards the father?
- How do you think the father’s friends viewed him
after he had divided his property with his younger
- Read Luke 15:13. Now we know what the son had in mind with
his share of the estate. Do you think the father knew what
the son had in mind when he divided his property?
- If so, why did the father do it?
- Read Luke 15:14-16. How long did it take for the son to
waste part of what it had taken his father a life-time to
earn? (“Not long.”)
- Why do you think the story tells us that the pigs
were eating better than the son? (The son could not
get much lower in life.)
- Read Luke 15:17-19. What caused the son to come to his
senses? Common sense? Hunger? The Holy Spirit? Disaster?
- Thinking back to Laodicea, would you call the son
“cold?” Thinking back to 1 John 2 would you call him
- If the son had not faced disaster, would he have come
to his senses?
- What part of the son’s thinking shows that his change
of heart was based on more than his stomach? (He
acknowledges his sin.)
- What was the essential sin against the father?
(The son did not trust the father to know what
is best in life.)
- Read Luke 15:20. Why was the father filled with
compassion? The son had greatly reduced his wealth and
embarrassed him. The son no doubt looked terrible (pig
ready), and might be coming back for more handouts. (The
father loved him.)
- Read Luke 15:21-23. Was the son no longer worthy to be
- What did the father think of the worthiness of his
son? (He treated him as his son!)
- Read Luke 15:25-27. How would you have reacted if you were
the older son?
- Read Luke 15:28-30. On what is the older son focused?
- Think back to Laodicea. Is this son cold or hot?
- Does he obey the commands as required by 1 John
- Does the older son love the younger son?
- Does the older son know and trust the father? (He
considers obedience to the father “slavery.”)
- What is the father’s attitude toward his older son?
(Love. Just like for his younger son.)
- Think about the two sons. What is the same about both of
them? (They were focused on self.)
- Did they know their father?
- How long had they been around their father?
- What did both sons fail to understand about their
father? (That he wanted what was best for them. That
he loved them.)
- Knowing God
- Let’s revisit a challenging story that we have previously
examined in this series of lessons. Read Matthew 7:21-23.
We previously concluded that these miracles were done by
the power of God, because Jesus tells us that Satan will
not drive out demons ( Luke 11:17-19). What is the problem
with these miracle-working Christians? (They never knew
Jesus so that they failed to do His will.)
- How would you compare them to the older son in the
story of the two sons? (They are precisely like him.
They are followers of God. They work in the name of
God. They do the deeds God requests.)
- Read 1 Corinthians 13:3. Would you say that this person is
- Is there any possibility that this person who gave
away everything, including his life, was doing it for
selfish reasons? (That seems impossible. How can a
selfish person give up his own life?)
- What is the ingredient missing from the 1 Corinthians
13:3 person, the older son and the younger son? (They
all fail to understand the importance of love for
others, and the fact that the Father loves them and
has their best interests in mind.)
- Re-read 1 John 2:3-6. Didn’t the older son completely obey
the Father? If so, these verses say that he loved his
- What two key words do we find here? (Knowing God and
love. Where the older son failed to do was know his
Father. What the miracle workers failed to do was to
know God. What the self-sacrificing person failed to
have was love.)
- If these obedient people did not know God and the
disobedient people (the son who left) do not know
God, what does it mean to know God?
- What role does obedience play in knowing God?
(If we know God, it is reflected in our
obedience. But, obedience does not mean we know
- Re-read 1 John 2:5-6. Is this also true for love?
That obedience does not mean that we love, but loving
God is revealed in obedience.)
- The Father
- In the story of the two sons, are we looking at a story
about salvation or a story about growing?
- Does the fact that the two boys were “sons” mean that
they were saved?
- If you say, “no,” they are not saved simply because
they are sons, at the end of the story, do you think
the younger son is saved? What about the older son?
- Re-read Luke 15:20 and Luke 15:28. What do we learn about
the father? (He pursues his sons!)
- What does this teach us about salvation? (God wants
to give it to us. God pursues us.)
- Miracle Grow
- What do you think it means to “grow?” When we talk about
growing in our Christian experience, (I’ll ask again) does
it mean to better obey? (No. It means to know God better.
Obedience flows from knowing and loving God.)
- Read Philippians 2:12-13. When we are told to “work out
your salvation,” what does this mean?
- What is our work?
- How do our works impact our salvation? (Verse 13 is
the key. We must have the Holy Spirit living in us.
For it is the Holy Spirit who gives us the will to
obey and the attitude of love. It is all the gift of
God. However, we have the “work” of choosing to have
the Holy Spirit live in us.)
- How should the two sons have followed this advice?
(Instead of being focused on self, they should have
said “What will please my father? What would my
father have me do?”)
- Is that heavy lifting with a God who pursues
- Is that what righteousness by faith means?
- Friend, are you lukewarm? Why not today and every day
invite the Holy Spirit to live in you to turn your focus
- Next week: Reformation: Thinking New Thoughts.