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The Grace of God is the one of the most talked about attributes of God – the other one is Love. Grace is unique to the Christian faith – no other belief system teaches this “amazing grace”. Yet many people (including Christians,actually mainly Christians!) find this grace to be offensive, extravagant, outrageous.

The story that Jesus told about the two prodigal sons (!) is the setting for this session


[1]  THE AUDIENCE (VS. 1-3)

The key to understanding the story is to identify the make-up of the audience

Ø  Tax collectors and notorious sinners – those who were rejected by religious establishment

Ø  Pharisees and teachers of religious law – polarised audience in their understanding of God.


[2]  THE YOUNGER SON  (vs. 11-16)

a. The younger son is described in terms that identify him with the “tax collectors & notorious sinners.

b. They, like him, had gone away from God (their father) and lived in a remote and rebellious place

c. Their sin was overt – open for all to see – they didn’t try to hide it – social & religious rejects.

d. The younger son’s self-judgment = “I am not worthy” (v.18)


[3]  THE OLDER SON  (vs. 25-32)

a. The older son is described in terms that identify him with the “Pharisees & teachers of religious law”

b. They, like him, dutifully did all the right things like a “good little Jewish boy” trying to please God.

c. For their many differences, they did believe one thing in common – performance- based lifestyle

i.e. the way to find acceptance with their father was to perform, obey, try harder, jump higher

d. The older son’s self-judgment – “I am worthy” Look at all he had done to win his father’s favour


a. What kind of father did you or do you have? How has he shaped your image of your heavenly father?           *Affirming?    *Demanding?   *Caring?    *Abusive?     *Supportive? What do we learn of grace                 

b. The father bestows and respects the gift of free will (v.12) His grace does not imprison the son

c. The father relates to his sons on the basis of grace – not rules & regulations  (v.31) not performance

d. The father’s grace is not diminished by the young son’s rebellion  (v.20)

e. The father’s grace is not increased by older son’s loyalty & obedience – not performance-based

f. The father’s grace is incredibly patient and forgiving – long before his younger son returns  (v.20)

g. The father’s grace restores younger son to full sonship (vs. 22,23)

h. The older son had the same invitation but refused to join in (vs.28-31)


“That’s not fair! After all, the older son did the right things but his younger brother was the rebel”. How do you respond to that statement?

Grace is the unconditional acceptance that God extends to all so that they might live in relationship with our heavenly father. This offer is not dependent on our performance – good or bad

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