These are my notes from the talk, with some questions for Grow Groups to consider and discuss together.
PRAY: Thanks to God for IVY KINGSWAY! What a great way to start off our new service there at Cineworld Didsbury. Next Sunday we’ll have the lights in too that we’ve partnered with the cinema in buying, it’ll be even better!
Mike said his talk is for those who have felt that your walk with God is drifting or has drifted. Because God wanted us CLOSE.
Question – Do you feel close to God right now? How do you know when you are?
Read 1 John 3:1 – How great is the love of the Father that he has LAVISHED on us that we should be called the children of God! That’s what we are!
Question – Discuss the word Lavish. What images does it bring to mind?
The story of the Prodigal son is actually all about the Father and how he relates to 2 different types of people:
Read the story together and look at the setting in Luke 15.
Two camps heard the story when it was first told ; Sinners - and religious mutterers.
Which do you usually err toward?
Focus on Vs 11;
Throughout the whole OT and into the NT, the firstborn son got a double portion of what everyone else got. If there were 2, the oldest would get 2/3.
But the elder son behaved as though he had never received anything.
Question: In what ways might we not receive our inheritance? What stops us receiving what the Lord has for us?
The young son took his third and went to the world of the Gentiles to party; where some wild living took place. After he’d spent everything, he began to be in need. Ended up hungry for what the pigs were eating.
There was a point at which he ‘Came to his senses’ = this literally means he saw himself in a mirror; saw himself for what he had become. He then decided to go home and say, ‘I’ve sinned.’
Question: what do people think of when they hear the word sin?
The word here in Greek is Hamartia = falling short. When Tyndale translated this it was during the time when everyone in England had to practise archery. And in archery there’s a HIT, a MISS and a SIN. And sin = the shot that falls short of the target. He sees that he’s fallen short of his Father’s expectations for him.
But while he was still a long way off…. his Father saw him and was filled with compassion. He RAN to him. This was what you didnt ever do in public if you wanted to maintain your dignity (like breaking wind in company)! He smells of the pig sty but he doesn’t have to have a bath before. Put his shoes on (slaves went barefoot – children get shoes). And they all eat veal.
Question: Is the church generally known for its welcome of people far off or for its rejection of them? How can we be more like the Father?
MEANWHILE.. the older son is out there in the fields. He’s a long way from his Father too it seems. Religious people don’t get involved in celebration and dancing so he stands outside and asks what’s happening. And becomes angry, judgmental, cross. Religious people can end up like that because of all they feel they have given up to get close to God – but they just get further away from him. So then the father goes out to him too – to plead with him. Leaves the party of which he is host, to go to this other lost son.
The younger son has become a fool, waiting for his dad to give him a goat that he already owns!
What do these words mean to you as you hear them spoken by God to you?
‘You are always with me and everything I have is yours!’
Are you as close today as the Father longs for you to be? What step do you need to take?
Who do you know who is far from God right now? Practically, how can you ‘run’ to connect them back to the love of God?