Hello This is a Test

Group Guide

This Week's City 7:

2. Are there sources outside the Bible that confirm the Biblical account of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead? Many Roman and Jewish historians have confirmed that the apostles died as martyrs for preaching that they saw Jesus risen from the grave. No one dies for something they know to be a lie.
(Luke 1:1-4; Acts 26:26; 1 John 1:1-4, Josephus, Clement, Hegesippus, Tertullian, Origen, Polycarp)


Have you ever lost something that ruined your week? When something gets misplaced, who is the worst "looker" in your family? 

Discussion Question:

Have someone read Luke 15:1-32 aloud.

  • We've all heard the story of the prodigal son before. He runs off, squanders his inheritance and ends up with nothing. Eventually, after being thoroughly humbled, he decides to return to his father. Scripture says he "came to his senses." He chooses to come back fully expecting to have to be his father's slave in order to repay the debt he owed. He admitted he had disgraced himself, sinned against God, brought shame on his father's house and didn't deserve to be called his son anymore. This is an obvious parallel to a sinner repenting and turning to God. Talk about the time you came you your senses, humbled yourself and returned to your Father. What is your prodigal story?

  • To ask your father for your share of the inheritance early was unheard of in those days. It would be like saying you wished your father would hurry up and die so you could have his stuff. Even more surprising was the father agreeing to it. The more expected response would be to disinherit the son. But this was no ordinary father. Not only did he give his son this share early, it says he was watching and waiting for his son's return. On top of that, when his son was still a long ways off, he ran to meet him and embraced him. His arms are wide open, not closed in judgement. But it gets even more amazing than that. In these ancient times, a man of his social stature would be wearing intricate robes. To run down a dusty road, having to gird his robe at his waist, exposing his legs, would have been unthinkable... even shameful. So the father went as far as to shame himself in order to restore his son. Again, this points to our heavenly Father that humbled himself and came to earth as a man, lived a perfect life and became sin for us while we were still in our sin. Describe how it hits you to think about God's incredible act of grace and mercy, running to embrace you as you were still covered in the filth and stench of your sin.

  • Jesus was FULL of grace and truth. He balanced them perfectly. He spent most of his ministry reaching the worst of sinners. But he didn't act like their sin was ok. One way to say it is that Jesus took sinners to dinner, but he wasn't afraid to call a sinner a sinner. While we can't possibly do this as perfectly as Jesus, it does give us something to strive for. We should seek to emulate our Savior and balance every interaction and response, every day, with both grace AND truth. Most of us fall heavier on one side or the other. Some are all truth and no grace, some are too heavy on the grace and afraid to speak the truth. When it comes to your life and relationships, which side do you tend to lean more towards? Which one do you need God to help you improve on?

  • The first takeaway from Sunday was that the RELIGIOUS son must REPENT of his SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS. In the parable, the older son, the one who hadn't squandered his inheritance, is incredulous at his father's response to the son who had sinned against him. He is enraged and refuses to join the festivities. Here is the irony: The brother who had been on the outside is now on the inside, while the brother who had been on the inside is now on the outside. This has been a theme of Jesus teaching. The religious think they are worthy and righteous, and the ones who know they are in rebellion realize they aren't worthy. No one gets into the Father's house by pleading their own worthiness. Only those who acknowledge their unworthiness will get there. What does this saying mean to you... "It's easier to reach the one in the pigs than the one in the pew." How do we keep our hearts from turning self-righteous?

  • Finally, the REBELLIOUS son must REPENT of his SELF-CENTEREDNESS. Sinners are hearing these stories Jesus is telling and having to ask themselves, "Am i the lost sheep? The lost coin? the lost son?" One of the greatest abilities we have as humans is the ability to deceive ourselves, to rationalize, to make up excuses. Some of us continue to delude ourselves, postponing that painful moment of honest self-evaluation. But we, like the younger son, must eventually wake up to the reality of our condition. The prodigal was then able to receive transformational love. Here is the point: Regardless of where you have been you can always come home. Are any of you noticing that your heart has drifted from God? Have you left his house to go your own way? Is there any one in your life that we need to pray will come to their senses and return to their heavenly Father?

Prayer Topics:

  • That we would be quick to turn to God in repentance when we sin.
  • That we would seek to live as people of grace and truth.
  • That we would never become self-righteous, thinking God owes us anything.
  • That we would be faithful to pray for prodigals in our life.

No Comments