Connect Group Guide

The Prodigal Son  

Theme: (Luke ch 15:1-31) There is a spiritual revival happening! Tax collectors and people “far from God” (anyone who is not in Christ is far from God!) are coming to Jesus! When some of the Pharisees saw this they muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” They saw the sin in others but they couldn’t see the sin in their own lives! Physical blindness is bad, but spiritual blindness is worse. If you are blind physically you are aware you are blind. When you are spiritually blind, you are blind but you think you can see. The Pharisees didn’t see their need for Jesus, their belief was in themselves. Based on their blind hearts, Jesus tells this story!

Major Points:

1. A Prodigal Son

Vs 11-24, What do we learn from the prodigal son?

A.) The Lie of sin

Sin over promises and under delivers! 

Sin has a pattern. 

It didn’t start in the pigpen, it started with a step away from the father.

Sin makes a promise. 

It promises that satisfaction can be found in something else other than God. It makes a promise but never delivers on it in the end


Sin has a price. 

It cost us everything! We see this all through the Bible.

B.) The Result of sin

Sin takes you further than you want to go, it keeps you longer than you want to stay, it cost you more than you want to pay.

He was living for a distant country. 

The wrong kingdom.

He had an empty stomach. 

Sin never satisfies but leaves us empty. 

He was good as dead. 

Apart from God, we're dead in sin.

He hit rock bottom

Sometimes God uses rock bottom to get out attention

C.) An Ah-Ha Moment

Vs 17-20

He came to his senses  

Repentance starts when we have an honest assessment of ourselves.

He remembered the generosity of his father. 

What the father had for him at home was better than what he was searching for out in this world.

He turned back to his father and confessed his sin. 

He had Godly sorrow, not just worldly sorrow.) He was broken over his sin.



  • How has sin overpromised and underdelivered in your life? How has your sin been lying to you here lately?
  • How has sin led you to “the pigpen”? What have been some results of the sin in your own life personally?
  • Do you remember a time when you “came to your senses?” How did God bring you to a place where you finally saw him for who he is and you finally saw yourself for who you are apart from Him?

2. A Forgiving Father

Vs 20-24, What do we learn from the forgiving father?

One word: Grace

A.) The Heart of God

He was Filled with compassion! 

He Ran toward his son

Why he was a long way off.

He kissed him. 

This is called a kiss of Grace, when he should have killed him, he kissed him.

B.) The Truth of Salvation

Forgiveness was given! 

He wanted to earn his way back to sonship! We don’t earn our way back into God's family we repent and come back to the father.

Acceptance was received! 

Mercy is when you don’t get what you deserve, and you get everything you didn’t deserve.

Restoration was made! 

He was covered in a robe, sealed with a ring, Sacrifice was made, brought back into the family.

Rejoicing was had! 

The father threw a party! 

C.) The Best Celebration Ever

Notice when they partied! 

Quick! Right away! Justification and restoration happen immediately! Salvation is not a process! When we put faith in Christ we go from death to life immediately! And that requires an immediate celebration! Nothing brings God more joy than when one sinner repents!

Notice why they partied! 

My son was DEAD but not he is ALIVE again! We don’t go from bad to good, or sick to well, we go from death to life. Dead in Adam, Alive in Jesus!

Notice who they celebrated! 

They weren't primarily celebrating that the son who came home, but a father who forgave his son and brought him back into the house! The father was the means of the celebration! In heaven, our celebration will be focussed on the Grace of God who covers our sins and lavished his love on us.


  • If the heart of our God (Jesus was telling this story) is the same as the heart of the father in this parable, how would that change the way you brought your sin and baggage to God? How would it change the way you view sinners coming to church?
  • The natural reaction of our hearts is works-based riotousness! We like to earn our strips back the same way the younger brother was planning on doing. Why can't you earn your way into God’s family? How does this stir in you a heart that wants to follow and obey Jesus instead of earning his love?
  • How does seeing the way God celebrates one sinner coming to repentance change the way you view God? How does this challenge you when it comes to others being saved? Do you celebrate worldly matters more than you do spiritual ones?

3. A Pharisee Brother

Vs 25-30

What do we learn from the older brother?

A.) He focussed on his performance vs 29

His performance was rooted in selfish gain. 

He didn’t obey the father because he love the father, he obeyed the father because he loved himself. 

He was obeying the father to get the father's stuff. He thought that because of his obedience, the father owed him one.

B.) He was filled with religious pride vs 30

When you start looking up to yourself, you start looking down on others!

It produced comparison

It’s easy to compare ourselves to those around us that are doing “worse than us.”

We should compare ourselves to the holiness of God! (No one is righteous no not one.)

It caused a judgmental spirit

When your eyes are focused on you and your “good works” you are quick to notice the shortcomings of others.

It brought about anger

When you think God owes you one because of your obedience, you get mad when someone else gets something you think you deserve. When that happens you get mad at them and God.

C.) He missed the party vs 28 (Refused to go in)

There's no need to believe that the older brother repented and went into the father's house because this isn’t a real story! Jesus is telling this story to a real audience, and in that audience are real older brothers. (Pharisees) Jesus is trying to show them who they are in the story. Jesus is pleading with them the same way the father pleads with the older son in this parable. The truth is the older son didn’t repent and go into the party, the older son took two pieces of wood and killed the father.


  • Who are you in the story? What's your next step?

Younger brother characteristics

  • You want independence
  • You don’t want anyone telling you what to do, even if it's God doing the telling.
  • You're looking to something other than God to give you only what he can give you? (You love Gods stuff)
  • You’ve hit rock bottom! (God has you in here for a reason today!)
  • You think that you're too far gone (This story is for You) 

Older brother characteristics

  • You're comparing yourself to others instead of God. 
  • You talk about people's problems to other friends but not to God. 
  • It bothers you - when people from your past show up at church.
  • You see sin in others - but miss your own.
  • You don’t think this message applies to you!
  • You think God owes you something because of your good works