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Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Parables Of Forgiveness

on August 28, 2014

Memory Verse: 2 Peter 3:9

 

Life Application: God desires for everyone to repent.

 

Bible Text:

Matthew 18:12-14

Luke 15:3-7

Luke 15:8-10

Luke 15:11-32

John 1:9

Psalm 119:11

Psalm 119:105

2 Peter 3:9

Parables

Sometimes it is hard to get others to understand what you are trying to say. Not everyone has experienced the same things you have. Because God is so awesome and greater than anything we could understand, He had to find a way to tell us everything we need to know about Him. Many times God uses something we see and understand to explain or illustrate spiritual or invisible principals.

A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly or spiritual meaning. At times Jesus taught in parables. Jesus said He used parables to hide the truth from those who don’t want to listen. He used parables to communicate truth to those who already believed in Him.

Parables can also give us a glimpse of what heaven is like and what future things God has planned for us that we otherwise might not be able to understand.

Three wonderful parables concerning the lost are “The Story Of The Prodigal Son“, “The Lost Sheep“, and “The Lost Coin.”

 

The Lost Sheep

Throughout his ministry Jesus was often criticized for socializing with sinners. On one of these occasions Jesus told the parable of the lost sheep.

Matthew 18:12-14 NKJV           

“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

Luke 15:3-7 NKJV          

“So He spoke this parable to them, saying: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”

In this parable a shepherd is out in the fields with one hundred of his sheep. While there one of his sheep stays away from the others. Knowing that the sheep was in great danger due to being separated from the others, the shepherd leaves his ninety-nine sheep where they are and goes out to search for the lost one. Knowing the value of each and every sheep and that a sheep apart from its shepherd is defenseless and in grave danger, the shepherd searches and searches for the one who strayed away.

When the shepherd finally finds the missing sheep he is overcome with joy. Instead of criticizing or reprimanding the sheep for straying, the shepherd lifts the sheep onto his shoulders and takes it back to the others. Due to the weight of the sheep this would not have been an easy effort, however the shepherd did not mind because he was so happy. He gladly bore the discomfort and the pain because of his heart of compassion. Upon returning home, he tells his friends what happened and he invites them to celebrate with him over the return on the one sheep that strayed away.

The Parable Of The Lost Coin

Luke 15:8-10 NKJV           

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

In the parable of the lost coin, a woman has ten coins and she looses one in the house. She lights a lamp and begins to search for the coin. She was very diligent in her search. She swept the entire house in her efforts to find the coin. She was very careful to look underneath things and in the dark corners. The woman valued the coin and she was willing to search until she found it. She was very, very happy when she finally found it.

The Parable Of The Prodigal Son

Luke 15:11-32 NKJV           

“Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’ “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry. “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’ “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’ “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”

The parable of the prodigal son is one of the most well-known stories of Jesus. Prodigal mean extravagantly wasteful, spendthrift or extravagant to a degree bordering on recklessness.

In this parable, Jesus told a story of a man who had two sons. The younger son asks his father to give him his inheritance early. Normally a son would receive his inheritance at the time of his father’s death. The fact that the younger brother wanted his money early showed a rebellious heart and a disregard for his father’s authority.

Once received, the son promptly sets off on a long journey to a far away land and begins to waste his fortune on wild, sinful, and reckless living. After a period of time his money runs out and a severe famine hits the country. The son finds himself in very bad circumstances.

Eventually he is so desperate he takes a job feeding pigs. To Jewish people pigs were unclean animals. They were not even allowed to touch them. He is so hungry that even the pigs food looked good to him. One day the prodigal son begins to think of home, where even his father’s hired hands ate better than him in this foreign country.

Finally the young man comes to his senses. He decides to return to his father and ask for forgiveness and mercy.

As the young son is walking back on his father’s property, the father sees him and runs out to hug him. The father who had been watching and waiting, receives his son back with open arms of compassion. He is overjoyed by the return of his lost son. Immediately the father turns to his servants and asks them to prepare a giant feast in celebration in his son’s return.

Meanwhile, the older son is in the fields working. When he returns he discovers a party going on to celebrate his brother’s return. The older brother becomes so angry over the celebration that he won’t even go in the house. The father wanted his older son to celebrate with them so he went outside to try to convince him to come in, however the older son still refused to come in.

Conclusion

The parable of the prodigal son is a wonderful picture of the great love of God towards us. Just like the father in the parable was able to see the younger son when he was still a long way off, God is watch for the lost to return to Him and receive His mercy and compassion. God seeks after us and reaches out to us. When we come to Him in humility, He washes away all our sins and wrongdoings.

When the son took a job feeding pigs it showed that he had fallen as low as he could possibly go. Like this son, some rebellious and sinful people must hit rock bottom before they come to their senses and recognize their sin.

To God, each and every person that is away from His is viewed as lost. One meaning of lost is unable to find the way to a place. Our sin causes us to stray away from God and become lost. Just like the shepherd in the parable, God considers each and every one us valuable. God has a heart of compassion and it is not His desire that any perish. He has sent the Holy Spirit to search for the lost and to draw them to God through Jesus Christ. Like God the Father, Jesus loves the lost. It was that great love that led Him to sacrifice His life on the cross to take our punishment for our sin.

Heaven rejoices when a sinner repents and is restored to a right relationship with God.

In the parable of the lost coin the woman has ten coins in her house when she looses one of them. The ten coins could represent people that have accepted Jesus as their Savior – they are “in the house” of God. However, one of these people fall into sin and becomes lost (separated) from God. They need to be found.

It is possible that after accepting Jesus as their Savior, a person can walk away from their relationship with God by returning to a lifestyle of sin. This is referred to as backsliding. The person is still loved by God and He desires for them to he found and restored unto Him. Like the woman in the story, God shines a light into the situation by the power of the Holy Spirit and through His Word.

Jesus provides the light for sinners to be found.

John 1:9 NKJV             

“That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.”

Psalm 119:11 NKJV          

“Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.”

Psalm 119:105 NKJV            

“Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path”

The person, though in sin, is still valuable to God and He will do whatever He has to do in order for them to return to the other valuable coins in His house.

Upon finding the coin the woman calls her friends and neighbors in order to share the good news. When a sinner is restored to fellowship with God, whether it is the first time or the one hundredth, it is a cause for rejoicing.

 

2 Peter 3:9 NKJV                

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

God is always seeking sinners, those in the world and those sitting in the church, and rejoices when they are found. He is not content for any person to be separated from Him.

 

Review

1. Many times God uses something we see and understand to explain or illustrate _____________ or invisible principals.

2. A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly or spiritual ______________________.

3.Jesus said He used parables to ___________ ________ ____________ from those who don’t want to listen.

4. Jesus also used parables to communicate _________________ to those who already believed in Him.

5. Throughout his ministry Jesus was often criticized for __________________________with sinners.

6. How many sheep did the shepherd have out in the field?

 

7. How many sheep strayed away from the shepherd?

 

8. Was the sheep in any danger when it strayed away from the shepherd?

 

9. Are we in any danger when we stray away from Jesus, the Great Shepherd?

 

10.What does the shepherd do when he realizes that one of his sheep is missing?

 

11. Were are the sheep valuable to the shepherd?

 

12. What did the shepherd do when he finds the lost sheep?

13. Upon returning home what did the shepherd do?

14. In the parable of the lost coin a woman has ____________ coins.

15. How many coins did the woman loose in the house?

 

16. In her search for the lost coin, what is the first thing that she did?
17. The woman was very _______________________________________ in her search.

18. What does diligent mean?

19. The woman was very ____________________________ to look underneath things and in the dark corners.

20. The woman ______________________ the coin and she was willing to search until she found it.

21. Are “lost” people valuable to God?

 

22. What was the woman’s response when she found the lost coin?

23. What does prodigal mean?

24. How many sons were in this story?

 

25. What did the younger son ask for?

 

26. What did the younger brother’s request show?

27. Once received, the son promptly sets off on a long journey to a far away land and begins to __________________

his fortune on wild, sinful, and reckless living.

28. After a period of time a severe _________________________ hits the country.

29. After his money runs out the son is so desperate he takes a job __________________ __________________.

30. How did the Jewish people feel about pigs?

31. What did the pigs have that the son desired?

32. When the younger son comes to his senses, what did he decided to do?

33. When the father sees his son coming down the road, what does he do?

34 . Immediately the father turns to his servants and asks them to prepare a great feast in _____________________

of his son’s return.

35. Where was the older son when the younger one returned home?

 

36. When the older son returns he discovers a party going on to celebrate his brother’s ____________________.

37. Was the older brother happy and overjoyed at his brother’s return?

 

38. How did the older brother show his anger over his brother’s return and the celebration?

39. What did the father do when he heard that the older son would not come in and join the celebration?

40. Did the older son ever join them inside and celebrate with them?

41. The parable of the prodigal son is a wonderful picture of the great ____________________ of God towards us.

42. God is watching for the lost to return to Him and receive His _______________ and _____________________.

43. When we approach God in _______________________, He washes away all our sins and wrongdoings.

44. What does humility mean?

45. When the son took a job feeding pigs it showed what?

46. Like this son, some rebellious and sinful people must hit _______________ ___________________before they

come to their senses and recognize their sin.

47. When we refer to someone as being lost, what do we mean?

48. God has sent the Holy Spirit to search for the lost and to draw them to God through ___________________ _________________.

49. It was Jesus’ great love for us that led Him to ___________________________ His life on the cross to take

our punishment for our sin.

50. What happens in heaven when someone is “found”?

51. It is possible that after accepting Jesus as their Savior, a person can walk away from their relationship with God by returning to a ______________________ ___________ _______________.

52. When a person turns their back on God and walks away from Him, the person is still _______________ by God.

53. According to Psalm 119:11, why is it important to hide God’s Word in your heart?

54. According to Psalm 119:105, what is God’s Word to us?

55. When a person is in sin, God and He will do _______________ He has to do in order for them to return to Him.

56. When a sinner is restored to fellowship with God, whether it is the first time or the one hundredth, it is a cause for ________________________________________.

57. According to 2 Peter 3:9, what does God desire?

58. God is always _____________________________ sinners, those in the world and those sitting in the church.

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