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!

  1. The Sons

    1. 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?

    2. 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

      1. Did the son have a legal right to a portion while his
        father still lived? (No. His father owned the

      2. What attitude does the son show towards the father?

      3. How do you think the father’s friends viewed him
        after he had divided his property with his younger

    3. 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?

      1. If so, why did the father do it?

    4. 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.”)

      1. 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.)

    5. Read Luke 15:17-19. What caused the son to come to his
      senses? Common sense? Hunger? The Holy Spirit? Disaster?

      1. Thinking back to Laodicea, would you call the son
        “cold?” Thinking back to 1 John 2 would you call him

      2. If the son had not faced disaster, would he have come
        to his senses?

      3. What part of the son’s thinking shows that his change
        of heart was based on more than his stomach? (He
        acknowledges his sin.)

        1. What was the essential sin against the father?
          (The son did not trust the father to know what
          is best in life.)

    6. 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.)

    7. Read Luke 15:21-23. Was the son no longer worthy to be
      called “son?”

      1. What did the father think of the worthiness of his
        son? (He treated him as his son!)

    8. Read Luke 15:25-27. How would you have reacted if you were
      the older son?

    9. Read Luke 15:28-30. On what is the older son focused?

      1. Think back to Laodicea. Is this son cold or hot?

        1. Does he obey the commands as required by 1 John

      2. Does the older son love the younger son?

      3. Does the older son know and trust the father? (He
        considers obedience to the father “slavery.”)

      4. What is the father’s attitude toward his older son?
        (Love. Just like for his younger son.)

    10. Think about the two sons. What is the same about both of
      them? (They were focused on self.)

      1. Did they know their father?

      2. How long had they been around their father?

      3. What did both sons fail to understand about their
        father? (That he wanted what was best for them. That
        he loved them.)

  2. Knowing God

    1. 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.)

      1. 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.)

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 13:3. Would you say that this person is

      1. 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?)

      2. 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.)

    3. 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
      Father, right?

      1. 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.)

      2. 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?

        1. 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

      3. 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.)

  3. The Father

    1. In the story of the two sons, are we looking at a story
      about salvation or a story about growing?

      1. Does the fact that the two boys were “sons” mean that
        they were saved?

      2. 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?

    2. Re-read Luke 15:20 and Luke 15:28. What do we learn about
      the father? (He pursues his sons!)

      1. What does this teach us about salvation? (God wants
        to give it to us. God pursues us.)

  4. Miracle Grow

    1. 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.)

    2. Read Philippians 2:12-13. When we are told to “work out
      your salvation,” what does this mean?

      1. What is our work?

      2. 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.)

      3. 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?”)

        1. Is that heavy lifting with a God who pursues

        2. Is that what righteousness by faith means?

    3. Friend, are you lukewarm? Why not today and every day
      invite the Holy Spirit to live in you to turn your focus
      on God?

  5. Next week: Reformation: Thinking New Thoughts.