Discover God's Love: Parable of the Lost Sheep & Lost Coin Bible Study

Parables Bible Study #4 – The Parable of the Lost Sheep and Lost Coin (Luke 15:1-10)

Pastor Duke Taber

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Introduction

The Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Parable of the Lost Coin are two short stories that Jesus told to illustrate God’s love for the lost and His joy over their repentance. These parables, recorded in the Gospel of Luke, were spoken in response to the grumbling of the Pharisees and scribes, who criticized Jesus for associating with tax collectors and sinners.

Through these simple yet profound stories, Jesus reveals the heart of God and the nature of His kingdom. He shows us that every person, no matter how lost or marginalized, is precious in God’s sight and that heaven rejoices over every sinner who repents and returns to the Father.

As we study these parables, may we be reminded of God’s great love for us and His desire to seek and save the lost. May we also be challenged to share in His heart for the lost, to rejoice over every person who comes to repentance, and to participate in His mission of reconciliation and restoration.

Reflection Questions:

  1. What comes to mind when you think of the Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Parable of the Lost Coin?
  2. Have you ever experienced a time when you felt lost or far from God? How did God pursue you and bring you back to Himself?
Parables Bible Study #4 - The Parable of the Lost Sheep and Lost Coin (Luke 15:1-10)

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The Context

The Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Parable of the Lost Coin are found in the opening verses of Luke 15, which begins with a description of the setting and audience for Jesus’ teaching. We read that “the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, ‘This man receives sinners and eats with them'” (Luke 15:1-2, ESV).

This context is important for understanding the meaning and significance of the parables. The tax collectors and sinners were considered outcasts in Jewish society, despised for their moral failings and their association with the Roman occupation. The Pharisees and scribes, on the other hand, were the religious elite, known for their strict adherence to the law and their self-righteous attitudes.

By welcoming and dining with tax collectors and sinners, Jesus was challenging the social and religious norms of His day. He was demonstrating that God’s love and grace extend to all people, regardless of their past or their position in society. He was also subverting the Pharisees’ narrow understanding of righteousness and their exclusionary approach to ministry.

The Pharisees’ grumbling reveals their hardness of heart and their failure to understand the nature of God’s kingdom. They viewed sinners as irredeemable and unworthy of God’s mercy, and they saw Jesus’ association with them as a threat to their own status and authority.

In response to their criticism, Jesus tells three parables: the Parable of the Lost Sheep, the Parable of the Lost Coin, and the Parable of the Prodigal Son. These stories are designed to reveal the heart of God and to challenge the Pharisees’ misunderstandings about sin, repentance, and grace.

As we study these parables, it’s important to keep in mind the social and religious context in which they were spoken. We must also examine our own hearts and ask ourselves if we harbor any of the same attitudes or prejudices as the Pharisees. Do we view certain people or groups as beyond the reach of God’s love? Do we rejoice over the repentance of sinners, or do we grumble and resist when God’s grace is extended to those we deem unworthy?

Reflection Questions:

  1. Why do you think the Pharisees and scribes were so critical of Jesus’ association with tax collectors and sinners?
  2. In what ways do we sometimes exhibit the same attitudes or prejudices as the Pharisees?

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

Parables Bible Study #4 - The Parable of the Lost Sheep and Lost Coin (Luke 15:1-10)

In the Parable of the Lost Sheep, Jesus tells the story of a shepherd who has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. He asks, “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?” (Luke 15:4, ESV).

The shepherd’s response to the lost sheep is remarkable. He leaves the ninety-nine in the open country, potentially exposing them to danger or thieves, in order to seek out the one that is lost. He does not rest until he finds it, and when he does, he joyfully lays it on his shoulders and carries it home.

Jesus then says, “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7, ESV).

This parable reveals several important truths about God’s character and His relationship to sinners. First, it shows that God is a seeking God, actively pursuing those who are lost and far from Him. He does not wait for sinners to come to Him but takes the initiative to search them out and bring them back into the fold.

Second, the parable emphasizes the value and preciousness of every individual soul. The shepherd leaves the ninety-nine to seek out the one, demonstrating that each sheep is important and beloved. In the same way, God values every person and desires that all should come to repentance and be saved (2 Peter 3:9).

Third, the parable highlights the joy that God experiences when a sinner repents and returns to Him. The shepherd’s celebration over finding the lost sheep points to the rejoicing that takes place in heaven over every sinner who turns from their sin and embraces God’s mercy and grace.

As we reflect on this parable, we must ask ourselves if we share in God’s heart for the lost. Do we value every person, regardless of their past or their present circumstances? Do we actively seek out those who are far from God, sharing with them the good news of His love and salvation? And do we rejoice when a sinner repents, recognizing the incredible miracle of transformation that takes place?

Reflection Questions:

  1. What does the shepherd’s response to the lost sheep reveal about God’s character and His love for sinners?
  2. How can we cultivate a greater sense of the value and preciousness of every individual soul?

The Parable of the Lost Coin

Parables Bible Study #4 - The Parable of the Lost Sheep and Lost Coin (Luke 15:1-10)

The Parable of the Lost Coin follows a similar pattern to the Parable of the Lost Sheep. In this story, Jesus describes a woman who has ten silver coins and loses one of them. He says, “What woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?” (Luke 15:8, ESV).

Like the shepherd in the previous parable, the woman goes to great lengths to find the lost coin. She lights a lamp, sweeps the house, and seeks diligently until she finds it. And when she does, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost” (Luke 15:9, ESV).

Jesus then draws the same conclusion as in the Parable of the Lost Sheep, saying, “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10, ESV).

This parable reinforces the themes of God’s seeking love, the value of every individual, and the joy of repentance that were present in the Parable of the Lost Sheep. It also adds some additional insights and emphases.

First, the parable highlights the thoroughness and persistence of God’s search for the lost. The woman does not simply look for the coin halfheartedly or give up when it is not easily found. She lights a lamp, sweeps the house, and seeks diligently until the coin is recovered. In the same way, God is tireless in His pursuit of sinners, using every means to draw them back to Himself.

Second, the parable emphasizes the value of what has been lost. The silver coin, though just one out of ten, is still precious to the woman and worth seeking after. In the same way, every person, no matter how lost or far from God, is of immense value and worth in His sight.

Third, the parable underscores the communal nature of God’s joy over repentance. The woman does not celebrate alone when she finds the coin but calls together her friends and neighbors to rejoice with her. This points to the shared joy that exists in heaven and among God’s people when a sinner repents and is restored to fellowship with God.

As we reflect on this parable, we must ask ourselves if we are diligent in seeking out the lost and if we truly believe in the value of every person. We must also examine our own hearts to see if we share in God’s joy over repentance and if we are quick to celebrate and welcome those who turn from their sin and embrace God’s grace.

Reflection Questions:

  1. What does the woman’s response to the lost coin reveal about God’s pursuit of sinners and the value He places on every individual?
  2. How can we develop a greater sense of shared joy and celebration over the repentance of sinners?

The Heart of God for the Lost

At the core of both the Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Parable of the Lost Coin is a revelation of God’s heart for the lost. These stories show us a God who is not content to let even one person remain separated from His love and grace. They reveal a God who actively seeks out the lost, who values every individual, and who rejoices over every sinner who repents and returns to Him.

This vision of God stands in stark contrast to the attitude of the Pharisees and scribes, who viewed sinners as beyond the reach of God’s mercy and who resented Jesus’ association with them. It also challenges our own tendencies to write off certain people or groups as unworthy of God’s love or to view repentance and restoration as something less than miraculous.

The parables remind us that God’s love is not based on our worthiness or our moral performance but on His own character and grace. They show us that no one is too lost or too far gone for God to pursue and to save. They call us to share in God’s heart for the lost, to value every person as He does, and to rejoice over every sinner who repents and is restored to fellowship with Him.

As we seek to embody this heart for the lost in our own lives, we must begin by cultivating a deeper understanding of God’s love and grace. We must meditate on the incredible lengths to which God has gone to seek us out and to bring us back to Himself, even when we were lost in sin and rebellion.

We must also ask God to give us His heart for the lost, to help us see every person as valuable and precious in His sight. This may require us to confront our own prejudices and biases, to repent of any attitudes of self-righteousness or superiority, and to actively seek out those who are far from God.

As we do so, we can trust that God will use us to participate in His mission of seeking and saving the lost. We can have confidence that our efforts to share the gospel, to love and serve others, and to celebrate repentance and restoration are in line with God’s own heart and purposes.

Reflection Questions:

  1. How do the Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Parable of the Lost Coin challenge our assumptions about who is worthy of God’s love and grace?
  2. What steps can we take to cultivate a deeper understanding of God’s heart for the lost and to share in His mission of seeking and saving sinners?

Conclusion

The Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Parable of the Lost Coin are powerful reminders of God’s great love for the lost and His joy over their repentance. They reveal a God who is not content to let even one person remain separated from His love and grace, who actively pursues sinners, and who rejoices when they return to Him.

As we reflect on these parables, may we be inspired to share in God’s heart for the lost. May we see every person as valuable and precious in His sight, regardless of their past or present circumstances. May we be diligent in seeking out those who are far from God, sharing with them the good news of His love and salvation.

And may we rejoice with all of heaven when a sinner repents and is restored to fellowship with God. May we recognize the incredible miracle of transformation that takes place when a lost sheep is found, a lost coin is recovered, and a lost soul is brought home to the Father.

Let us go forth with renewed passion and purpose, participating in God’s mission of reconciliation and restoration. Let us love as He loves, seek as He seeks, and celebrate as He celebrates. And let us trust that He will use us to bring many lost sheep and coins back into His fold, for His glory and for their eternal good.

Reflection Questions:

  1. What is one key takeaway or insight you have gained from studying the Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Parable of the Lost Coin?
  2. How can you apply the truths of these parables to your own life and relationships this week?
  3. Take some time to pray, asking God to give you His heart for the lost and to show you specific ways you can participate in His mission of seeking and saving sinners.

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