Bible StudyIf you have time, read the whole story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 5:11-19. If not, you will still be able to do the study.
This whole study could be summed up this way: We must understand we are lost before we want to be found.
1. He took responsibility for himself.
People often blame heredity or environment for their sins, but the Bible says:
Ezekiel 18:20, 23: The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them... 23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
We really must get to the point in life where we quit blaming others or circumstances for our sins.
2. He came to the end of himself, realizing his spiritual poverty.
The unsaved man thinks he's already good enough for heaven, or he thinks he's capable of earning his way.
Matthew 5:3: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (NIV)
and in the NLT:
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for [God], for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs."
Have you ever pondered this fact--that you and I are completely lost without Jesus--unable to save ourselves. The better we understand our need, the more deeply we depend on the Lord.
3. He remembered his father's goodness.
The unsaved man doesn't acknowledge God as the source of all blessings.
James 1:17: Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
I'm always surprised how harshly unbelievers judge God. Often those who say they don't believe in God are the first to blame Him for suffering and evil. I recently wrote a devotion about Atheist Evangelism.
4. He realized he'd sinned against God and his father.
The unsaved man excuses or ignores sin.
Romans 3:23,24: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
This is the bad news and the GOOD NEWS.
5. He admitted he was unworthy to be his father's son.
The true believer knows he doesn't deserve salvation.
Romans 3:12: All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
I am disturbed by a trend I see in modern Christianity. It's the often-expressed belief that we are worthy of Christ's death. Scripture clearly tells us we are not. That's why it's called grace--it's undeserved.
But the good news is GRACE!
When we can ask God for mercy, He gives us what we don't deserve and cannot earn:
Ephesians 2:8-9: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
Wow!! What a gift!!
Meaning of prodigal: Even though most folks use it to mean a wayward person or a person returning from a bad life, prodigal actually means spending wastefully or extravagantly
If you have questions about salvation or if you would like to share more about salvation with an unbeliever, I've written two evangelistic posts that might be helpful:
Can a Simple Misunderstanding Keep You From Heaven?
This is about an incident I experienced on a hospital visit.
Are There Many Ways to Heaven?
This incorporates some of my own confusion about salvation.
copyright 2013, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted