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Luke Chapter 15

  • Bible Study on Luke 

    Luke Chapter 15


    >> Click Here For Audio Version << 
     

    Luke 15 Outline:

    15:01-02 Sinners gather to hear Jesus.
    15:03-07 The parable of the lost sheep.
    15:08-10 The parable of the lost coin.
    15:11-32 The parable of the lost son.

    Fun Facts:
    — A Greek drachma coin was made of silver and worth one days wage for a laborer picking fruit.
    — A man lost a sheep, a woman lost a coin, a father lost a son, but they were all recovered.


    Study Notes:
    Luke 15:01-02 Tax collectors helped the Roman occupiers to collect taxes from the locals. They also kept a portion for themselves as a commission and they grew very wealthy, because Rome split the take with them. They were in a social class well below sinners and considered outcasts, but the words of Jesus drew them. The Pharisees would not associate with a an “ungodly man” and took it so serious that they would not even teach such people the law. When Jesus welcomed these outcasts and even ate with them, the Pharisees fumed.

    Jesus came to save the lost, and could not without meeting them. Too many times the church has God in a bottle and will share Him with those deemed worthy, but withhold Him from others, at least they think they are. We turn God’s word into a torture device and use it to divide, separate, and exclude the ones that we dislike. We turn the outcasts away from our “social club” but then God appears in their midst instead of ours, because He is always seeking the lost. When we put them out, you can rest assured that He went after them.

    Luke 15:03-07 Jesus told a parable about the lost sheep based on their customs. Everyone believed that God welcomed penitent sinners, but Jesus portrayed God as actively seeking out the lost sheep, and this was entirely new. The parable shows God taking the initiative and seeking out the lost sheep. When He found the lost sheep, He rejoices and even calls together His friends and neighbors to rejoice with him. He was so happy to have found the precious sheep that had gone astray. He left the saved and safe behind and went after the lost.

    Luke 15:08-10 Jesus told a parable about a woman that had ten silver drachma coins, but lost one. She lit a lamp and swept the house carefully until she found it. The Greek drachma was a day’s wage for a laborer and ten would be about two weeks pay. The coins were quite possibly the woman’s dowry and worn as an ornament. To her, they were very valuable. She searched carefully and rejoiced when she found the coin, then called her friends together and celebrated. Again, we see a picture of God and the angels rejoicing over one lost person who repents. In the amplified repentance reads: “(changes his mind for the better, heartily amending his ways, with abhorrence of his past sins).”

    Luke 15:11-32 Jesus told a parable about a son that asked for his inheritance before his father died, and then blew it all on prostitutes and “wild living.” This is one of the most loved parables of Jesus and says something to everyone. To the tax collectors and sinners it says that God loves them and welcomes them back after living it up. To the scribes and Pharisees it says that those that reject repentant sinners are out of line with the Father’s will, like the elder brother.

    Verse 11 makes it clear that there were two sons and that the elder son plays a smaller role in the story, but was with them from the beginning. The younger son asked for his share of the inheritance. (13) He gave no reason, but when the Father gave it to him, it quickly became apparent. He wanted to party like it was 0099. He gathered all that he had, left nothing behind, and set out to see the world on his own.

    (14) Sure enough, when he had spent all that he had, disaster struck. He ran out of money and straight into a famine. In our personal life, we took the Dave Ramsey course (www.daveramsey.com) and found that when we established an emergency fund, we pretty much stopped having emergencies. I would highly recommend his teaching to any Christian needing to get control of their finances and wish that I had seen it twenty years earlier. Financial stewardship matters. Money is not to be our focus in life, but handling it properly will bring more. “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?” (Luke 16:11–12).

    With all of his money now gone, he needed to get a job, but in times of famine they are hard to come by. He began to be “in want” and lacked even food to live when he finally got a job feeding pigs. To a Jew, there would have been nothing more disgusting. This was an ancient version of “dirty jobs.” Pigs were considered “unclean” (Lev. 11:7) and Jews would normally have nothing to do with them at all. He had now reached rock bottom. The pigs were more valuable than him, as they were worth feeding, but he remained hungry. He had seriously low esteem.

    The cold rock bottom of hardship has a way of bringing us to our senses and soon he came to himself (17) and remembered that his father’s servants had plenty to eat, but here he was dying of hunger. They had “bread enough to spare.” He decided to return home to his father and ask for a job. Then at least he would have enough to eat and be in a comfortable environment.

    So the young man returned to his father with his head down in shame and the speech that he had prepared, but the father had been waiting, hoping, that his son would return one day. The father saw him, had compassion on him, ran to him, embraced him, and kissed him. When the son turned towards the father, and away from his life of destruction, the father ran to meet him.

    The father was so excited that the son did not get to finish his speech before he was being clothed in the festive robe of honor, a signet ring, and sandals. The best robe was a sign of his position, the signet ring represented his father’s authority, and the sandals showed that he was a freeman (only slaves went barefoot though the son was so destitute he could not afford shoes). Then the father made a feast and killed the “fatted calf” which was a carefully looked after animal saved for really special occasions. To the father, there was nothing more important or special than having his son back. The father’s love for his returning son is so apparent, extravagant, and encompassing. The son was surrounded by the father’s love and provision.

    The father and his whole house celebrated and rejoiced the night that the young son returned just as the man rejoiced when he found the lost sheep (5), the woman rejoiced when she found her lost coin (9), the Father and the angels in heaven rejoice (7) when a sinner repents (turns away from their sin). There is a theme here of God not only welcoming sinners back, but actively seeking them out and rejoicing when they agree to return.

    When I look at this story I see a young man that was living with his father, but grew bored and craved what the world had to offer. The grass appeared greener out there. He gathered all the money that he could, left the safety of his father’s house, and set out binging on self-indulgence and pleasure until all that he had was gone. When he finally hit rock bottom, he deeply regretted what he had done and returned to the father once again, who took him in with open arms. To me, that is a very close example of a back-sliding Christian. So many I know are “on or off the wagon” with the wagon being whatever their personal weakness is.

    We have a will to do whatever we want, and we know what we should do because God’s law is written on our hearts (Rom. 2:15). God wants us to stay in His house, but we are free to leave it if we choose to follow our own lusts. The door is not locked. No one can snatch us from His hand (John 10:29) but we can crawl out of it by following our own desires: “but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed” (James 1:14). The father said that the son “was dead, but alive again. He was lost, but is now found” (Luke 15:24). The son was with his father, then became lost, then found. He was alive, then dead, then alive again. The sheep were with the shepherd, then lost, and then found. The coins were with the woman, then lost, then found.

    Following sin leads to death. Obeying God leads to righteousness: “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16). Calling Jesus Lord merely gives Him a title, making Him Lord requires obeying His teachings. Your Lord is who you obey, and many times, that is ourself. Jesus said: “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46 WEB).

    The older son was working his father’s field and when he returned, he heard the music and dancing. Somehow he was so into his work that he missed what the father was doing. When he asked the servant what was happening, the servant told him about his brother returning home safe and sound and what the father had done for him. The older son then became angry and refused to go in. This is a clear reference to the religious but compassion-empty Pharisees view of the tax collectors and sinners coming to Jesus. He saw himself as the perfect son but the “I have slaved for you all of these years” shows him as self-righteous and bitter. He was “earning” the father’s love though he was already a son. The prideful and self-righteous never feel that they are treated as well as they deserve, or that we do not get credit for all that we have done. He even calls his brother “this son of yours.” The father can welcome him if he wants to, but the older brother disowned him. Yet the father referred to him as “this brother of yours.” The father loved both of the sons. The older son is steadfast and hardworking. The younger son is unstable and on and off again. The prideful one disowns the other, but they are both still his sons.

    I have been on both sides of this fence. I was once the utterly lost younger brother, but then once found, soon became the self-righteous older brother that everyone else needed to live up to. Then I was led away by my own lusts, and later returned as the humble prodigal son not worthy to be called one. All I can say is when you fall, get back up as quickly as you can and take another step. God is always waiting on your return with open arms.

    Study Questions: (if your answers are very long, you may want to type them first in something like Notepad, which doesn't require an Internet connection, then copy and paste (Ctrl-A to select, Ctrl-C to copy, Ctrl-V to paste), to prevent mishaps. Also, there is a 3K character limit, so if they are super long, feel free to post more than once, and just answer a couple of questions at a time. Also, you are welcome to post any questions you may have. We look forward to your thoughts!)

    1. In Luke 15:1-2, Jesus was criticized by the Pharisees for keeping company with the “tax collectors and sinners” (tax collectors were considered outcasts at the time) and for breaking bread with them. In a culture that often prefers judgement, how can we better minister as Jesus did?

    2. Jesus described, in the parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15:3-7), the joy of finding one stray sheep, a joy greater than that of having "ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Since our own righteousness is considered as “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6), what are your thoughts these ninety-nine?

    3. In Luke 15:8-10, Jesus described a woman who lost a coin and that nothing was more important to her than finding it, though she had others. What does this parable mean to you?

    4. The father of the prodigal son in Luke 15:20-24 not only accepted this son who had returned in shame, but ran to him as soon as he saw his son in the distance. What does this parable tell us about God’s love for us?

    5. The older son’s response to the return of his brother and the subsequent celebration was one of anger and jealousy. It is possible for all of us to have this reaction to those we deem “less worthy”. How can we avoid this trap?


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43 comments
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Carol Pady
Carol Pady 1. We should have compassion for the lost sinner not judging them but praying for them. 2. The ninety nine were abiding in Christ. Through Christ they were saved and counted as righteous. 3. God searches for the lost and rejoices when we are found. He desires all to come to repentance and salvation through Jesus. 4. It tells us that God loves us even though we stumble, He rejoices when we repent. He is faithful to forgive us and embrace us. 5. We should remember that only through Christ are we forgiven as Christ forgives others we should always be humble, for we also were at one time lost in our sin.
July 20, 2015
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Patty Martin
Patty Martin (1) Jesus often kept company with the lost to teach them and reach them.  We should do the same.  I believe that so many of the lost have either not been taught the Word correctly or not taught at all.  Many have encountered criticism and judgment from those who proclaim to be Christians.  We must keep an open mind and realize they are not where we are in our walk with Christ.  We want to be inviting them to Christ, not pushing them away with harshness and accusation.  Learning about how Jesus approached the lost and imitating his way of love and gentleness in truth is the only way we can possibly reach someone who doesn't know Christ.
July 20, 2015
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Patty Martin
Patty Martin (2) The ninety-nine were safe to be left alone because they already belonged to Christ, knew his voice and they followed him. Jesus came to save everyone, even that one lost sheep.  As much as I enjoy being with my Christian friends and value their friendship and fellowship is in my life, I often have to step out of my comfort zone among friends to reach out and try to save the lost.  Jesus will use our hearts, mouths, and arms as we try to bring unbelievers to Christ.  This is our true calling as Christians and Jesus has prepared us for this task.  Jesus doesn't want even one person to remain lost in the wilderness of this world.  Even if we are only able to save one, Jesus will rejoice!
July 20, 2015
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Patty Martin
Patty Martin (3)  We may have many Christian friends, but if we have even one friend that is a nonbeliever or who has lost his/her way, we must reach out to them and do our best to bring them to Jesus.  We don't ever give up on them or think they are a lost cause.  We don't ignore them or remain silent, waiting for them to fall, but do everything we can to help them find Jesus. We reach out to them, live our lives in a way that honors God, invite them to church and other gatherings, pray for them and love them.  We may be rebuked by them but we don't give up because even that one person is so valuable to Christ.  He loves us with all of our flaws; therefore we should love others who are flawed and help them find their way to Christ.
July 20, 2015
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Patty Martin
Patty Martin (4) God loves us even with all of our inadequacies.  Our sins and flaws don't surprise God, for He knows all.  When we confess our sins and failures to the Father, ask for His forgiveness, and pray for strength and guidance, He is graceous and merciful.  We may have turned our backs on Him, but He never turns His back on us.  He is there with open arms and a rejoicing heart to welcome us home.  God rejoices when we have a heart that seeks Him.
July 20, 2015
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Patty Martin
Patty Martin (5) It is definitely possible for us to have the same reaction of anger, jealousy and envy against one we deem "less worthy."  I have to admit that I've had these feelings in the past about friends, coworkers, and family members.  To understand that these feelings are sinful and are the enemy's control over us is crucial.  When these feelings arise, we must stop right then and there, find a quiet place, and ask God to soften our hearts and rid us of these negative emotions.  I have found this to work when those feelings begin to arise, and by counting the many ways God has already blessed me, by realizing that I am unworthy of all my many blessings, and praise God for what I have.  Only then am I able to remove the negativity of my human nature and rejoice in the blessings of others.       
July 20, 2015
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Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd Amen, Brian!
July 20, 2015
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David and Dianna Wyles
David and Dianna Wyles 1) By showing love and acceptance like Jesus did. He showed us how to be kind and accept people right where they are in life. The heart change came from faith and believing in Jesus moved them to change, they did not have to change first 2) The nintey nine already had the faith to follow Jesus, it's the lost ones that Jesus needed to save.
July 21, 2015
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David and Dianna Wyles
David and Dianna Wyles 3) To me it means that all are worthy of being found, and we much reach out to those struggling with faith and show them Gods love so they will not be lost 4) That gods love is unconditional and he will recieve us back to him if we ask  repent, & seek him. 5) Yes it's possible,and happens, we can avoid it by humbling ourselves and knowing everyones walk of faith looks different and yet the same...we have the same goal >> to seek God, but our journey is different and we should remember not to judge or compare unless we have truly walked a mile in those shoes... then one would think understanding would be in order...
July 21, 2015
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David and Dianna Wyles
David and Dianna Wyles Thank you for the food for thought for the week! What an inspired study!
July 21, 2015
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Elena Vasquez
Elena Vasquez Good morning, God bless you. Question 1:  I think that we have to be less prejudiceous, and more open and free minded to spread the gospel to the souls that are most in need. Sorry, keep in mind that my native language is spanish, and i could have many mistakes triying to express in yours. 
July 21, 2015
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Elena Vasquez
Elena Vasquez Question 2: I think tht ninety one sheeps also need to repentance, because they are sinners too, and their sins are almost of omission
July 21, 2015
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Kay Rushin
Kay Rushin Q3-We all are important to him, I equate this to my kids, who to love? it is unthinkable. I love them all. Q4-Unconditional, The past was forgotten. Q5-I remember where I was at in being so mad at God. All my sinful ways, Seeing him on the cross for me. I try hard to internalized that feeling.
July 21, 2015
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Kay Rushin
Kay Rushin Q1- I was lost myself once, you are not alone, I often talk about people who walk around with a Halo on, like they have never been lost, this keeps the lost away, our only difference is I accepted his grace. Q2- When will fall under a false impression, our good works save us, we are saved by grace. Many may do good, but have we given our live to Jesus?
July 21, 2015
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Deborah Webb
Deborah Webb In all 3 parables there is Great Rejoicing because that which was lost is found.  This reminds me of the rejoicing from family and friends when I accepted Christ as LORD of my life.
July 21, 2015
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Jacqi Stephens
Jacqi Stephens 1. In Luke 15:1-2, Jesus was criticized by the Pharisees for keeping company with the “tax collectors and sinners” (tax collectors were considered outcasts at the time) and for breaking bread with them. In a culture that often prefers judgement, how can we better minister as Jesus did?  Don't judge others.... we as society are so quick to judge others when we have no idea what their situation is today, tomorrow or yesterday
July 21, 2015
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Elena Vasquez
Elena Vasquez Hi, good morning, shalom, peace be with you. Question 3: this parable means that each soul is very important to God. Question 4: this one means the great joy and happiness that's in our Heavenly Father and in the angels when a lost soul returns to Them.
July 22, 2015
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Kathy Banfield
Kathy Banfield #1 I recall working as an RN in the early days of AIDS. I was caring for the first HIV-positive patient at that time, the son of a prominent family here in Bergen County. The patient was also gay. Well, back in the early 80's, most nurses were afraid of what they never dealt with before, and I found that I was the only one administering care to that poor man. He died a horrible death, and in retrospect, much of his pain could have been alleviated if more nurses had simply utilized basic hand-washing techniques, donned gloves, and just took care of him as they would a patient with hepatitis! The same situation repeated itself soon afterwards. I was actually rendering personal hygiene to an AIDS patient, because many of the CNAs refused to even enter her room!AIDS reminds me of the leprosy in Jesus' days.Hopefully, in 2015, nurses are better educated than they were when I was employed at the local hospital. #2I personally have to ensure not to neglect those 99 remaining sheep! For once I find the lost, I tend to forget the rest. They deserve my attention, too! For instance, in trying to restore an old friendship, I neglected my one true friend--my ex husband. "Focus" is something I really need to work on! #3 This parable often leads me to think about society today. In 2015, if a woman lost a coin, she'd probably either forget about it, not bother looking for it---or STEAL someone else's coin! I admit, that's a pretty pessimistic way of viewing this parable. But we do live in a throwaway society. I often find brand-new electronics in people's trash--or sofas being tossed simply because they are stained! #4 If a mere mortal went overboard welcoming his lost son, imagine what our IMMORTAL God will do when a sinner repents! Jesus said the same thing in Matthew.chapter 7.Oh, I can really relate to that older son! How many times I sat with my co-workers and lamented the unfair treatment and demands placed on us RNs, while the LPNs seemed to get away with murder! (well, not exactly--but you get the point!) I definitely have to work on not feeling slighted and comparing myself to others.Sometimes, when I get tired and hungry, Life's woes just pile up and I feel sorry for myself. So, I must not let myself get too tired, lonely (then I have too much time to think, to ruminate) or hungry. God bless you, Pastor Todd a d Sylvia! I look forward to your Bible studies and really learn a lot from them!
July 22, 2015
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Deborah Webb
Deborah Webb Luke 15:20-24 reminds me of the Love that Christ has for me (personal). In spite of my choices, my mistakes and missteps, when I come to myself and return to the father, He welcomes me back.  No excuses needed.  Awesome!
July 22, 2015
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member 1) We as children of God should show love and compassion for all as Jesus did. We should be a Godly example and a light that will shine bright in this dark world.
July 22, 2015- Edit- Delete
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member 2) For Jesus to go out and look for that one lost one, He must have felt like the 99 already understood what being safe was all about. The one lost sheep wasn't safe, because he had left the safety of the shepherd, but the 99 were safe and waiting for Jesus to return with the one that was lost, so they could rejoice with Him over finding that little lost soul.
July 22, 2015- Edit- Delete
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Amen, He loves us even in our darkest hour. He always stands with arms outstretched to welcome His children home.
July 22, 2015- Edit- Delete
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Yes, Jesus wants us to love the hurting and the ones that seems like no one else will love and care for. We are just instruments in God's loving hands. Thank you Kathy for caring so much.
July 22, 2015- Edit- Delete
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Amen, may we all realize we should love as Jesus loves us and not to be anyones judge.
July 22, 2015- Edit- Delete
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Amen, there is nothing greater to rejoice over than when someone comes to know Jesus as their Savior. God bless you.
July 22, 2015- Edit- Delete
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Amen.
July 22, 2015- Edit- Delete
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member God bless you. 
July 22, 2015- Edit- Delete
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Beautifully spoken, may we all know if we get lost in this dark world, Jesus is looking for us and He has His arms opened wide to bring us back home.
July 22, 2015- Edit- Delete
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Beautifully spoken.
July 22, 2015- Edit- Delete
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Amen
July 22, 2015- Edit- Delete
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Amen, may I always be a light that others can see in this dark world and may I live a life that they would see Jesus shining in me.
July 22, 2015- Edit- Delete
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Amen
July 22, 2015- Edit- Delete
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member I pray that I will always have a hand that reaches out to anyone who needs Jesus.
July 22, 2015- Edit- Delete
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Amen. I so enjoy all your answers. They were a blessing to me. Thank you.
July 22, 2015- Edit- Delete
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Darlene Blackmon
Darlene Blackmon The prodigal son has been one of my favorite versus because of the reflection the story tells which I can relate to with the father and sons. In the past I felt I have been in all their shoes.  Thank you Lord for bringing truth to us all and I pray the Holy spirit will bring words through me to help minister your word to whoever you allow me to bring into your kingdom.  In Jesus name....Amen.
August 9, 2015
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Deborah Alexander
Deborah Alexander Q#4 This tells me that God loves us with a love that will never die. His love is totally unconditional and He looks beyond our faults and still meets our needs.  This is great news for us to know that His Grace & Mercy for us is  truly a Blessing.
August 9, 2015
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Robynne Moore
Robynne Moore Question 1:  We can better minister as Jesus did by following his example.  The Pharisees were a group of religious leader who felt they had it all together.  They looked down on the very people who they should have been helping.  We can never think of ourselves more highly than we out to because such was some of us, "lost and in need of being found."
August 10, 2015
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Robynne Moore
Robynne Moore Question 2:  My thoughts on the ninety-nine are those that are outside of the church walls.  There are many in need of the Jesus we claimed that have saved us.  We should go outside the comfort of our church walls and pews and get out into our communities to try and reach those that are lost in their sin.  I believe that God has a soul waiting for us to reach!
August 10, 2015
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Robynne Moore
Robynne Moore Question 3:  What this parable means to me is persistance in seeking that one which is lost.  Don't give up until you find that one.
August 10, 2015
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Robynne Moore
Robynne Moore Question 4:  What this parable tells me about God's love for me is pure unconditional love.  He is yet waiting with open and loving arms even when we are so underserving after taking His love for us for granted.
August 10, 2015
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Robynne Moore
Robynne Moore Question 5:  We can avoid this trap by much prayer and  taking our eyes off what we feel was not done for us and appreciating what is being done for the one which was lost.  They have now become a part of our kingdom family and are no longer lost.  
August 10, 2015
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Sandra Rhodes
Sandra Rhodes In question 1 , we can not hold ourselves in such high esteem that we fail to see all people thru JESUS eyes ! That we realize every living soul has value , a d is worthy to be saved !
August 13, 2015
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Lissy Verghese
Lissy Verghese Thank you dear Pastor!
August 28, 2015