This week, the parable of the prodigal son will help us believe that God's always waiting to welcome us back when we’ve wandered.
Luke 15:11–24; Romans 2:1–4; Ephesians 2:1–10
Talk about a time when you accidentally threw something away and regretted it.
What are some mistakes or poor decisions that people your age might make?
- How might someone’s mistakes or poor decisions disconnect them from their loved ones?
- From God?
Talk about a time when you felt far from God. Why do you think you felt that way? If you came back, what brought you close to God again?
- [Read Ephesians 2:1-10 below.] How do these verses remind you of the runaway son?
- How do they remind you of yourself?
Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
What does the parable of the runaway son teach us about who God is?
- How have Christians made you feel welcome?
- How have they made you feel unwelcome?
- What can our group do to be more welcoming—especially to those who have wandered away from God?
When is it hard for you to be welcoming to others?
This week, what will you do to welcome others in the same way that Jesus welcomes you back?