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Gospel Doctrine Lesson Eighteen

He was lost,
and is found

Purpose: To help
class members
understand the joy
that comes when we
repent and when we
help others repent

Parable of the Lost things: Luke 15
The parables found in Luke 15 are often presented as four different
parables, when in fact they should be taught as one parable: the
parable of the lost things. While each story tells about a different item
being lost, the underlying theme is the same: joy in heaven at the
return of one of Heavenly Father’s children. The difference in the stories
is how the object came to be lost in the first place. Using this as our
starting point we will look at the stories in the following order:
Parable of the Lost Sheep: Finding the distracted
Parable of the Lost Coin: Finding the neglected
Parable of the prodigal son: finding the rebellious
Parable of the other prodigal son: finding the prideful

Elder M. Russell Ballard
said, “Jesus taught these
parables because He
wanted us to know that
none of us will ever be so
lost that we cannot find
our way again through
His Atonement and His

April 2012 General Conference

The Lost Sheep
Luke 15:3-7

There is something unusual about sheep. Unlike other animals they do not
deliberately run away. A dog who wants to be free will escape through a hole in the
fence. A pig or cow will do the same. But sheep do not. They do not run away. They
only wander away. They do not mean to. They just drift away without realizing it.
You can watch a sheep get himself lost. He is with the flock at first. Then he sees
some grass a few paces away that interests him so he goes over to it. Then he sees
some more in another few steps and moves to that. Then he finds more a little
beyond. He is concerned only about the immediate, and, little by little, he is drawn
away without realizing it.
Have you ever “wandered away from the Savior’? Maybe not so far as to have left
the church entirely, but in your heart, in your actions? What did that look like?
Did you skip prayers one morning because you were busy? Skip scripture study the
next day because you were tired? Which of your habits lead to wandering? What
does wandering look like in your life? What are the symptoms? (e.g., grouchiness,
impatience) How can you recognize when you have wandered and bring yourself

Parable of the Lost Coin
Luke 15:8-10
In the parable of the lost coin the thing that was lost, was lost at
home, a place of apparent safety. We think our families are safe
places. That those within the walls of our own home are not
susceptible to the influences of Satan. This parable teaches us
otherwise. The woman in the story is unaware for a time that the
coin is lost, but when she discovers its absence she is stirred to a
flurry of activity to recover it. Hence this parable illustrates for us
how we can recover lost things.

Jewish Culture

How to find lost things

The coin referred to here is a
small silver piece worth, in our
money, about 16 cents. The lady
had ten of these, so the total
value of her wealth was $1.60.
That is not very much, but it
was more than simply some
money to this woman because it
had great sentimental value. We
learn from those who have
studied the customs of ancient
days that this was part of her
When a woman married she took
money that she had
accumulated throughout her life
and sewed it into a headdress
which she wore on her wedding
day. She used ten silver coins -which is why our Lord picked
this number to illustrate the
story. Therefore these ten coins
were of tremendous significance
to her as a woman. They
symbolized her dowry. They
represented not just the value
of the money, but all that she
had to contribute to the
marriage. This headdress was of
such value to the women of that
time that, by law, it was
impossible for it to be taken
from them -- even to pay a debt.

1. (v8) Light a lamp; Bring more light
into your life…what is the symbolism
here? Why does the search for another
start with you?

How to find lost things

Step Two: The woman began sweeping. In those days it was customary to spread
straw on the floor. Usually the floors were earthen and, in order to have something
soft underfoot, straw was spread. A coin falling down into the straw would be
difficult to find. So the woman took a broom and swept up all the straw. Describe the
symbolism behind the second step presented here:

Step Three: She sought diligently. The word diligent implies repeated efforts over a
protracted period of time. It implies that she gave herself entirely to her task and
did not just look around a little bit in her spare time. How can you be more diligent
in your search for lost things? (e.g., those who have wandered away or been lost to
the church)

Parable of the Prodigal Son
Luke 15:11-24
Dr. Helmut Thielicke's title for his commentary on this parable is not
"The Prodigal Son," as we would think, but "The Waiting Father.” He
points out that what Jesus is trying to show us in this story is not the
boy's heart, but the father's. It is a picture of the heart of God. When
you stray, our Father in Heaven waits for you to return. We you pray,
he listens to you as a father listens to a son. Just like the father in
the parable, our father in heaven has given you his ring. He hasn’t
given up on you. He hasn’t turned away. He hasn’t walked out. He
could have. Others would have. But he hasn’t. Spend some time writing
what this parable teaches you about the heart of your Father in