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Luke Chapter 15:1-32 

Memory verses for this week:  Col 2:7  Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 

Introduction: We continue our study of the book of Luke this week as we continue in chapter 15.   Last week in our study, Jesus taught again about how it is permissible to heal and do good on the sabbath.   We also studied about how many are called to the feast of the Lord but few choose to come.   We closed the lesson on the parable of salt and discussed how we should be people worthy of ‘our salt.’


I.  The Murmuring Pharisees 

Luke 15:1  Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.

Luke 15:2  And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. 

Note it was the publicans and sinners who drew near to the Lord.   The Pharisees despised the publicans and sinners. 

Luke 18:9  And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

Luke 18:10  Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

Luke 18:11  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

Luke 18:12  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

Luke 18:13  And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

Luke 18:14  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. 

The Scribes and Pharisees murmured because Jesus received sinners.   Thank the Lord Jesus cares about sinners.   Without that, none of us would have hope of salvation.   These Scribes and Pharisees were also sinners like all men, but they did not acknowledge that.   Jesus told his disciples that hey would have to be more righteous than the Scribes and Pharisees to enter into the kingdom of heaven. 

Mat 5:20  For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. 

Exo 15:24  And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? 

The people murmured against Moses there in the wilderness.  Paul warned the Israelites to not murmur like those people in the wilderness. 

1 Cor 10:10  Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.


II.  Parable of the Lost Sheep 

Luke 15:3  And he spake this parable unto them, saying,

Luke 15:4  What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

Luke 15:5  And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

Luke 15:6  And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

Luke 15:7  I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

All through the Lord’s ministry, there were people who failed to understand his interest in lost sinners.   This misunderstanding was especially so among the religious Jews.  The lost sheep in the parable typifies a poor lost sinner who knows he is lost and needs a savior.  The shepherd leaves the 99 in the wilderness and goes out to find the one lost sheep.   He doesn’t give up until he finds the sheep and brings it back to the fold.     Just like the shepherd carried the lost sheep back to the fold, the Lord carries us home all the way.   He doesn’t just save us and leave us to ourselves to try and keep up.    It says in verse 7 that there is more rejoicing over one sinner that repents and comes home than over 99 righteous ones.


III.  Parable of the Lost Coin 

Luke 15:8  Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?

Luke 15:9  And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.

Luke 15:10  Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. 

One of the ten pieces of silver was lost.   In these days, the 10 pieces of silver were joined together in a chain and given by the husband to seal the marriage ceremony.   They were worn across the wife’s forehead and valued as a wedding-ring is to us today.  If one coin should be lost it was thought it indicated that the wife would be unfaithful to her husband.  Because of this, there was an urgency of the woman to find the lost coin.   To find it, meant the women had to be active to discover the coin.  The coin would not find its way back to the woman.   So it is with the lost soul.  We must depend upon the Lord for salvation.  He comes and seeks those who are lost. 

Rom 3:10  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Rom 3:11  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.


IV.  The Parable of the Lost Son 

Luke 15:11  And he said, A certain man had two sons:

Luke 15:12  And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.

Luke 15:13  And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. 

The father had two sons.   The younger one decides he wants to take his part of the inheritance and go his own way.  The father gives him his portion, and he departs and goes into a far away country where he wastes his substance on riotous living. 

Luke 15:14  And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

Luke 15:15  And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

Luke 15:16  And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 

The young man found misery in this far away country.   After he had wasted away all that he had, things were not going so well.  After he spent all, there arose a mighty famine in the land.   The man soon came into a need of want.  If we try to find satisfaction in the things of this world, we always come up disappointed after a while.  The world can never satisfy the needs of the soul of man.  In his distress, and in order to keep from starving, the young man took a horrible job for a Jew.  He agreed to feed swine.   Swine were considered unclean in a Jew’s sight, and this was a despised job.    It is worthy to note that all the friends who were there to help him spend the money are no where around when he is in need.  Here among the unclean beasts, the young man begins to realize his ingratitude to his father. 

Luke 15:17  And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

Luke 15:18  I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

Luke 15:19  And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 

The important thing was that the young man finally came to himself.  He came to the important place of repentance in his life.  Sometimes it takes a real tragedy to make one come to himself.  In verse 18, it says that he decides to arise and go back to his father.   He decides he will return to the father and confess that he is no more worthy to be called a son, but wants to come and work as a hired servant.   All of us must come to this point in our life if we want to be saved.  We must come to ourselves, realize our lost condition, and by faith turn to Jesus to be saved.    

Luke 15:20  And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

Luke 15:21  And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

Luke 15:22  But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

Luke 15:23  And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

Luke 15:24  For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

It says he returns to the father and finds he has been looking for him to return.  His father saw him when he was a great way off.   When the son confessed, the father ordered the best robe to be placed on him.   This robe speaks of the robe of righteousness of God.   They kill the fatted calf and had a great feast.   They had something to be merry about… a lost son was found and a dead son was made alive.


V.  The Older Son 

Luke 15:25  Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing.

Luke 15:26  And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.

Luke 15:27  And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.

Luke 15:28  And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and entreated him. 

The elder son is indignant that the father has received the younger son back.  This attitude is like that of the Pharisee.  He did not dare say he was saved, but did not imagine he was lost.  In his heart, he was showing no more love to his father than there had been in the younger son who went away.    

Luke 15:29  And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:

Luke 15:30  But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.

Luke 15:31  And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.

Luke 15:32  It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found. 

The older son speaks of all the years of service he had done faithfully for the father.  He speaks evil of the younger brother and says that never had the father given him a kid to make merry with his friends.  He had not wasted his money on living with harlots like his younger brother.   This attitude exists sadly in the lives of many church members.  They think of only themselves.   They can’t imagine anyone should be given an opportunity before it was first given to them.   Jesus loves us all.   The father says ‘Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.’   He says that the older son should be glad that the lost son had come alive and was now found.  All of us should rejoice when a lost man or woman comes to Christ for salvation.


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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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