Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study. This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!
Kendra Graham NOTES from Luke 15:11-32
WHAT DOES IT SAY? THE FACTS ONLY PLEASE.
In this step you need to list the outstanding facts of the passage. DON’T get caught up in the details, just list the facts. Do not paraphrase. Use the actual words of the passage. This is God’s Word, a lot of times this step seems tedious to some, but I urge you, as we read, and say and write God’s Word, it begins to sink deep into our hearts. If you just pick one fact out of the verse, write it down and meditate on it.
Verses 11 & 12: A man had two sons; the younger said, “Father give me the share that falls to me.” He divided his wealth between them.
Verse 13: The younger gathered everything, went into a distant country, and squandered his estate with loose living.
Verse 14: When he spent everything, a severe famine hit and he began to be in need.
Verse 15: He attached himself to a citizen of that country, he sent him to feed swine.
Verse 16: He was longing to fill his stomach; no one was giving anything to him.
Verses 17-19: He came to his senses and he said, “My father’s men have more than enough; I will get up, go to my father and say, ‘I have sinned; I am no longer worthy to be called your son, make me as one of your hired men.’ ”
Verse 20: He came to his father. While he was a long way off, his father saw him, felt compassion for him, ran, embraced him, and kissed him,
Verse 21: The son said, “I have sinned, I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”
Verses 22 & 23: The father said, “Bring out the best robe, put it on him, put a ring on his finger, sandals on his feet. Bring the fatted calf, let us eat and be merry.”
Verse 24: “This son of MINE was dead, and has come to life AGAIN. He was LOST and has been found.”
Verses 25 & 26: His older son came, approached the house, heard music and dancing, summoned a servant and began inquiring.
Verse 27 & 28a: Your brother has come, your father has killed the fattened calf, and he has received him back safe and sound. He became angry, not willing to go in.
Verse 28b: His father came out and began entreating him.
Verses 29 & 30: He answered, “LOOK! For years I have been serving YOU, I NEVER neglected a command, YET YOU NEVER GAVE ME…. BUT WHEN this son of YOURS came…. YOU…. for HIM!
Verse 31: He said, “My child, you have always been with Me, all that is mine is yours.”
Verse 32: We had to rejoice this brother of YOURS was dead and has begun to live, was lost and has been found.”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN? THE LESSONS.
Look for a lesson to learn from each fact. What are the people doing that they should be doing? What are the people doing that they shouldn’t be doing?
Is there a command to follow? A promise to claim? A warning to heed? An example to follow?
Verses 11 & 12: This story is for church people, given by Jesus. Jesus uses words and stories that we as church people can understand and relate to. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45) “The words of the reckless pierce like swords.” Proverbs 12:18. It matters to God what my heart proclaims to Him in His presence.
Verse13: The younger son grew up in His presence; having head knowledge of His Father’s Word, and His character. The son desired all the presents of the Father, but none of His presence. The son was intentional about leaving; thus despising and hurting the Father on purpose.
Verse 14: Often God allows you to have exactly what you beg and manipulate for.
Verse 15: We will never come to God so long as we are trying to fix the situation or clean ourselves up first. We will end up dirtier in the end.
Verse 16: People will always fail you, even people from a far country. You will always fail you. You were not created with the ability to save yourself. You are created to need your Heavenly Father. The wages of sin are death (Romans 6:23).
Verses 17-19: You never come to Jesus until all other options are off the table; even then, the personal schemes to be accepted back continue (He came to HIS senses, still depending on himself! Don’t miss that). You cannot earn forgiveness, even with self-deprecation for the rest of your life. It will never be enough.
Verse 20: You come to God in humility, only to look up and see the reckless love of a compassionate God running full force towards you already, embracing you, not because of what you have done, where you have been, or what you are going to promise to do in return to make up for all of it…The Father embraces you because of who you are, and you are His handmade creation and you mean everything to Him! (While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8) At this point you realize you know that YOU know His arms stretch further than your soul could ever fall. #compellingcompassion
Verse 21: BECAUSE of the reckless love of the Father… your great plan to redeem yourself through self-imposed slavery, falls off, realizing your great plan fell so short, that all you can do is repent at His feet…. satisfied, complete, and overwhelmed in His arms which never let you go in the first place. #compellingcompassion #recklesslove
Verses 22 & 23: The Father FREELY gives you: His forgiveness, His robe, His ring, His shoes, His food, His personal status in society at the EXPENSE of His life. His compassion cost me nothing, but took everything from Him, and He did it without regret or hesitation.
Verse 24: You are claimed by God! He knows you better than you know yourself, and still He purchases you AND CLAIMS you with pride and joy!
Verses 25 & 26: We are intrigued by what brings joy to the Father.
Verses 27 & 28a: It is easy to get mad when underserving people receive forgiveness and renewed status. If you live a good life, you deserve a good life, right? If you live a bad life, you deserve punishment, or at the very least a penance to work off. Often it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking… GOD owes me. EVEN All of our good works, cannot pay off the debt we owe. (ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23) Even the SUPER GOOD rule followers who have never messed up!
Verse 28b: The Father pleads for the soul of the self-righteous. Challenges force choices… even for a saint of saints.
Verse 29: Extreme “goodness” can keep me from the presence of God just as much as extreme “badness.” (All our righteous acts are as filthy rags. Isaiah 64:6)
Verse 30: The older brother is just as resentful of the Father’s presence as the younger son was. OFTEN saints “stay close” and “Follow ALL the rules,” careful to never disobey (or if they do, blame another for it), NOT for the joy of God’s presence, but to prove they are more deserving than anyone of God’s presents. To prove we deserve the position of honor, the high commanding status, the robe, the ring and the sandals of the King. All the while this way of thinking proves the wickedness of their hearts. (The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9)
Verse 31: Often we miss what we have right in front of our face. Don’t miss the fact that joy, fullness and contentment are found in the Presence of God, not in His presents.
Verse 32: Don’t miss everything you were created for! You were created to know God and walk with God because you were created to need God. Life begins when you realize this and thus walk accordingly. Jesus, compelled by a relentless love for you.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME NOW? APPLY IT…. TODAY.
Take the lessons you learned and put them into the form of a personal question that you would ask your spouse, or a friend or your son or daughter.
As you write the questions, listen for God to communicate to you through His Word.
*Do not rush. Do not write things down just to have something on paper, this step takes more time that you may think. This is where Scripture meditation becomes real, this is where you begin to hear that still small voice speak to you, and place His finger in your life and begin to direct your paths…. this day, and the next, and the next. Do you trust Him enough to put into place that which He is moving you to?
Verses 11 & 12: What are you looking for out of God? (Might as well be honest here… God already knows.)
Verse 13: Did you grow up in the church, know better, but you still left God anyway, for no other reason but that you wanted to and there were things you felt you deserved to experience and have, with or without Him? Have you been satisfied knowing all about God (Oh God) but never really wanting to know Him on a personal level (My God)?
Verse 14: When has God allowed you to have exactly what you wanted only to end up wishing He hadn’t in the end?
Verse 15: What are you desperately trying to fix or clean up before coming to God?
Verse 16: Has there ever been a time when you tried everything in your power to change and yet you ended up worse in the end, but still refused to go back to God? (A marriage, an addiction, anger…)
Verses 17-19: How have you tried to earn forgiveness? By making yourself feel bad for the rest of your life? By carrying around guilt for everyone to see? By beating yourself up at every opportunity to make yourself feel better? When will you give up the notion that you can feel bad enough or hate yourself enough to deserve the acceptance of the Father?
Verse 20: Will you allow the arms of a relentlessly compassionate Father to love you in spite of you?
Verse 21: Will you accept the gift of undeserved, unearned grace and let your notion of paying your own debt go? What can you do to make yourself worthy of it anyway?
Verses 22 & 23: Will you allow the Father to extend to you the forgiveness which He has rightfully purchased on your behalf with His blood and lavish all that is His on you, or will you choose to grip your guilt, rejecting all the Father died to give you?
Verse 24: Are you constantly allowing yourself to be defined by your sin, or by your Savior? Will you allow your Savior to take His joy in claiming you?
Verses 25 & 26: Are you intrigued or frustrated by what brings joy and a festive spirit to God?
Verses 27 & 28a: Have you ever been perturbed by the fact that the returning sinner, an irresponsible saint, gets all the attention and credit, when you have rightfully earned and worked for recognition your entire life? Have you never been recognized for your faithfulness to the church, to Bible studies, to the rules, to your job, and that really angers you? (Again, might as well be honest here… God already knows.)
Verse 28b: When have you been lost as lost can be in your own self-righteousness? Have you missed the fact that the Father is pleading even for the “good” ones to put down their good morals and good works, to “Come, Follow Me.”? Did you ever realize that even the best saint of saints is in desperate need of a Savior?
Verse 29: Have you been separated from God trying to prove your worth by your perfection?
Verse 30: Did you realize your good works are soiled with false, self-serving motives just as much as the one who has committed nothing but bad works?
Verse 31: Have you been satisfied knowing all about God (Oh God), being right next to Him, His Word, His church, your entire life, but never really wanting to know Him on a personal level (My God)? Have you been struggling to live up to a theoretical concept of God instead of enjoying the reality of a relationship with God?
Verse 32: What will you choose? Don’t you want to know this God you were created to walk with and need?
LIVE IT OUT!
Hold yourself accountable to LIVE OUT in your daily life that which God impresses upon your heart. Write it out, sign it, date it and claim the transforming power of God’s Word and His presence in your life.
Whether good or bad, I am in need of a Savior full of Grace and love. Look for the love of a relentless God on my behalf today. Identify if and when I have been the younger brother, and if and when I have been the older brother. Then, bask in the grace of a loving God. Oh that He will strengthen my grip on His grace and mercy to me.
Homework: Matthew 14:13-21
Get stuck? www.annegrahamlotz.com and Anne will walk through the Three Questions with you and help you along!