LESSON 7
THE RESTORATION OF HUMAN NATURE 
(LUKE 15; 1 PETER 1; MATTHEW 22; MARK 4)

Copr. 1999, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.  All scripture references
are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973,
1978, 1984 International Bible Society,  unless otherwise
noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of
Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found
within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a
blackboard or some other visual aid. This lesson can be
found at: <url:http://www.CameronLaw.com>

Introduction: Last week we discussed our "relationship" with
Satan since the entry of sin into our world. This week we
look at the impact of the entry of sin on our Lord and what
He did about it on our behalf.  Let's get into our
discussion!

     I.    THE PLAN

               A.   Let's read Luke 15:11-16.  We know from verse 13
          that the son lost all of his money. Is that what
          the son thought would happen when he left his
          father's house?  Did the son think about his
          future at all?

                         1.   Assume you have savings for retirement.

                                   a.   Would you give your savings to your
                    children before you died?

                                   b.   If you did give your savings to your
                    children, what would you hope your
                    children would do with them?

                         2.   If you knew that your children would squander
               all of the money you spent your life saving,
               what would you do? Would you give it to them
               anyway? (Probably not give it to them.  Or put
               it into a trust with a trustee.)

                         3.   Do you think the father in this story had a
               pretty good idea what his son was going to do
               with his money?

                         4.   This story is generally thought to illustrate
               God's attitude towards sinners and the plan of
               salvation. Did God know in advance that Adam
               and Eve would sin?

                                   a.   Did He know it more certainly than this
                    father in our story?

                                             (1)  Do you think that we approach sin
                         with the same attitude that this son
                         approached his independence?  Are we
                         even thinking that we might get in
                         trouble?

                                   b.   Read 1 Peter 1:18-21.  What does Peter
                    tell us is the timing of the plan of
                    salvation?

                                             (1)  What does this say about the God's
                         knowledge of whether Adam and Eve
                         would sin?

                                             (2)  If God knew in advance that Adam and
                         Eve would sin, why did He create
                         them?  Why did He allow them to sin?
                         Why did He permit all of this pain
                         for Himself?

                                                       (a)  Is there anything He could have
                              done about it?  If so, what?

                                                       (b)  If you were God, what would you
                              have done about it?  What would
                              you have been unwilling to do
                              about it?

                                                       (c)  Those who argue in favor of
                              abortion say that the child
                              would not have a good life or
                              the mother would suffer because
                              of the birth of the child. How
                              does this compare with God's
                              unselfish decision to create man
                              even though it would cause Him
                              to be tortured and die?

                         5.   Let's go back and finish the story of the
               prodigal son. Read Luke 15:17-24.

                                   a.   Why did the son go back? (He was hungry.)

                                   b.   Is that a "worthy" motive?

                                   c.   Is this a fair analogy for salvation?
                    Can we turn to God because we are
                    "hungry" as opposed to because we love
                    God?

                                   d.   Tell me the thought process you believe
                    this son went through to return to his
                    father? (First, he realized that he had
                    made some bad choices.  Second, he
                    decided that he would be better off with
                    his father.  Third, he was willing to eat
                    his pride, confess he was wrong and
                    submit to his father.)

                                             (1)  Is love a part of this? (I am sure
                         that this son loved his father --
                         but not more than the son loved
                         himself. However, I do not think the
                         son's love for his father was a
                         motivating factor here.)

                                                       (a)  If I am right, when does love
                              come in, if ever? (In response
                              to the father's loving
                              acceptance of the son who
                              screwed up his future and
                              wronged his father.)

                                                       (b)  Why do you think the father
                              decided to take his son back?
                              Was it a rational decision?

                                                                 i)   Did the son merit being
                                   taken back?

                                                       (c)  When do you think the father
                              decided to take his son back?
                              When he saw him on the road?  Or
                              at some previous time?

                                                                 i)   If you say, "some previous
                                   time," tell me when?

                                             (2)  Are we celebrating those who have
                         returned to God?  Or are we letting
                         them slip through our fingers?

                                             (3)  Do we, as a church, have the same
                         attitude towards prodigals as this
                         father?

     II.  IMPLEMENTING THE P

               A.   Let's read another parable that Jesus tells about
          the plan of redemption. Let's read Matthew 22:1-4.

                         1.   How important is this banquet to the king?

                         2.   Does the king need guests?  If so, why? If
               not, why?

                         3.   What reasons do you think the guests might not
               have come in response to the first request?
               (The king thinks it is because they think the
               wedding dinner is not yet ready.  Verse 4
               tells them dinner is ready now!)

               B.   Read Matthew 22:5-8. Now tell me why the guests
          still do not come? (There two reasons: some care
          more for their business affairs than their king.
          Others are hostile to their king.)

                         1.   Verse 7 tells us that king killed those he had
               invited and sacked their city.  How do you
               explain the difference between the way the
               king treated these people and the way the
               father treated the prodigal son? (The son came
               home.)

                         2.   Notice v.8 says "those I invited did not
               deserve to come."  If this is a parable about
               salvation, does this prove that we have to
               merit salvation? ("Merit" is a questionable
               term here. What they had to "merit" was paying
               attention and answering the invitation.
               "Merit" was avoiding hostility and
               indifference towards the King.)

                                   a.   Is hostility and indifference still a
                    problem towards our King?

                                             (1)  Is it a problem in your life?

                         3.   Let's continue. Read Matthew 22:8-14. What do
               you think is meant by "bad people" (v.10) and
               what are bad people doing at the wedding?

                                   a.   Compare Luke 14:21 which is part of a
                    similar story.  Does this give you a
                    clearer idea of what is meant by "bad
                    people?" (I think the idea is that every
                    one gets invited. Whether they have
                    moral, financial or physical problems
                    they get an invitation.)

                                             (1)  What is "good" about all these "bad"
                         people? (They accepted the
                         invitation to come to the wedding.)

                                             (2)  Is accepting the invitation enough?
                         (No. You had to have a wedding
                         garment.)

                                             (3)  So far we have several requirements
                         for salvation, right? 1.Paying
                         attention; 2. Accepting the
                         invitation; and, 3. Putting on a
                         wedding garment.  If this is so
                         easy, why does Matthew 22:14 say,
                         "Many are invited, but few are
                         chosen?"

                                             (4)  We need to discuss what this all
                         means in more detail.

     III. THE GARMENT

               A.   What is the wedding garment?

                         1.   Does the wedding garment make bad people good?

                         2.   How did the man get into the wedding without
               wedding clothes?

                                   a.   What does it mean to "get into the
                    wedding?"  (This is a church member,
                    someone who professes to be a Christian.
                    That is why he is "in."  However, God
                    notices that he does not have a wedding
                    garment.)

                                   b.   What do we learn from the fact that the
                    man is "speechless" when he gets
                    challenged by God?  Does this tell us
                    that this guy was stupid, or a man of few
                    words?

                                             (1)  If you were the person without the
                         wedding garment, what would you say?

                                                       (a)  What could you say? (You could
                              say, "I couldn't afford a
                              garment."  "They failed to give
                              me one when I arrived."  "Sorry,
                              didn't realize this was a formal
                              affair."  The fact that the
                              fellow is speechless shows that
                              he had no excuse. Obviously a
                              garment was available for him,
                              he knew he needed it and he
                              simply did not wear it or took
                              it off.)

               B.   Read Eph 2:8-9 What role does this suggest that we
          play in our salvation?

                         1.   What role do we have in wearing the wedding
               garment?

               C.   Let's look at Mark 4:26-29.  We are told the
          kingdom of heaven is like this story.  Have we
          read somewhere that our garment "grows?"

                         1.   How can salvation be both like a garment and a
               growing seed? (Our salvation is external, like
               the robe.  However someone who is saved will
               be growing in his relationship with God just
               as the seed grows and matures.)

               D.   Friend, God holds out the invitation to come.
          Don't be too busy for it.  Don't forget the
          importance of it. Don't be too proud to accept.

               E.   NEXT WEEK: CONDITION IN DEATH