Lost, and Is Found”
The Savior teaches the worth of souls.
Jesus teaches that Heavenly Father rejoices in forgiving the repentant.
A man who Jesus has healed of leprosy returns to thank him.
A study of this lesson will help us understand the joy that comes when we
repent and when we help others repent.
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 18 Handout (PDF)
The Worth Of Souls
LUKE 15:1-7. Parable of the lost sheep.
LUKE 15:8-10. Parable of the piece of silver.
This is a wonderfully plain parable.
All of us have lost something at one time or another. It might have been
a set of keys, a ten dollar bill, an earring, a sock, or a computer file.
It is amazing to me the efforts we sometimes make in search of our lost
And when we find the lost item, there is satisfaction, even rejoicing at
its recovery. Why do we rejoice when we recover a ten dollar bill, when
we have thousands in the bank? Why do find pleasure in the recovery of
a lost sock, when there are bunches in the drawer? We place value in these
The Lord seems to be saying to those he is teaching, and to us, "Consider
the value you place in your earthly treasures, your sorrow when they are
lost, and your pleasure when they are recovered. Likewise, can you imagine
the great joy in the heavens when one of my children repents and returns
to the household of God?"
HOW MANY HAVE TEMPORARILY LOST A CHILD? WHAT HAPPENED AND WHAT DID YOU
DO? WHY DID YOU PURSUE THE LOST ONE WHEN YOU STILL HAD CHILDREN AT HOME?
"Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight
of God; For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered
death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all
men might repent and come unto him. And he hath risen again from the dead,
that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance. And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!" (D&C 18:10-13)
IN WHAT WAYS MIGHT A PERSON BE LOST?
All those who came to this earth knew the eternal plan in the pre-existence.
When the veil of forgetfulness was drawn across the eternal memory, we
were all lost.
There are those who have grown up being taught the truth, but have veered
away from the gospel without ever having obtained a mature testimony.
There are those who have received a testimony, but have been led away by
There are those who have a testimony, but have given in to temptation.
There are many around us who have been alienated from their loved ones
and from society for any number of reasons.
WHAT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TOWARD THOSE WHO ARE LOST?
Every member a missionary.
Every member a neighbor.
Fulfill our callings as leaders, teachers, and home and visiting teachers.
President Gordon B. Hinckley: "Some of our own...cry out in pain and
suffering and loneliness and fear. Ours is a great a solemn duty to reach
out and help them, to lift them, to feed them if they are hungry,
their spirits if they thirst for truth and righteousness....
"There are those who were once warm in the
faith, but whose faith has grown cold. Many of them wish to come back but
do not know quite how to do it. They need friendly hands reaching out to
them. With a little effort, many of them can be brought back to feast at
the table of the Lord.
"My brethren and sisters, I would hope,
I would pray that each of us...would resolve to seek those who need help,
who are in desperate and difficult circumstances, and lift them in the
spirit of love into the embrace of the Church where strong hands and loving
hearts will warm them, comfort them, sustain them, and put them on the
way of happy and productive lives." (Ensign, Nov. 1996, p86)
We recall the tragic massacre in at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. The
lives of several wonderful young people, and a teacher, were lost in the heartless
act of two boys. Many of us shed tears as we listened to the stories
of the survivors and felt the pain of parents, friends, and loved ones.
There have been many discussions regarding the question of how such a thing could occur. Debates
have raged as to how we can keep such a thing from occurring again. Legislation
has been considered in terms of gun control and internet access. TV, movies,
and video games have been blamed for creating an atmosphere of violence.
In spite of all of this, these heartless acts seem to continue.
The two boys that committed this atrocity
were sons of our Heavenly Father, but they became lost sheep. What happened?
When did they become lost sheep in our society? Could someone have made
a difference in their lives by reaching out?
I recall small incidents in my life where
small acts caring and kindness made a difference to me. The neighbor lady
who always shared graham crackers with the neighborhood kids. The neighbor
kid who took a shy boy and invited him over to play. My friend's parents
who always seemed to be interested in what was going on in my life. The
kid who threw me the basketball when he knew he could make the shot. The
teacher who took time to write a note praising a report. A mother who took
time to make sure I got a good breakfast. A father who took me fishing
and hunting. A home teacher who had the courage to challenge my inactivity.
A child that drew a picture and wrote, "I love you daddy."
There are other boys and girls, children and
adults, that have become lost sheep in our society. There are others who
are testing the fence to find a way out. What would the Savior do? How
would he treat these people? How did the Lord live his life? Was he caught
up in becoming a successful businessman, a great orator, the mayor of Nazareth?
Jesus Christ changed the world forever by his gentle acts of love. The
world will never be changed for the better by wars, laws, or governments.
The world can only be changed, and the lost sheep gathered in, by following
Jesus' wonderful example.
HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND AT THE RETURN OF A PERSON WHO HAS BEEN LOST?
Heavenly Father Rejoices In Forgiving The Repentant
"And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father,
Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided
unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son
gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there
wasted his substance with riotous living." (Luke 15:11-13)
WHAT DID THE YOUNGER SON DO WITH HIS INHERITANCE?
We can imagine this son traveling to a wealthy city, finding a fine place
to live, and living a life of ease. Riotous living paints a picture in
my mind of spending evenings in smoky night clubs, gambling, drinking,
and participating in other immoral activities.
Rather than using his inheritance as a base of investment or in starting
a business, something that would have paid him for a lifetime, he wasted
every penny in riotous living.
Prodigal: "A person who spends money or uses resources with wasteful
extravagance; wastrel or profligate." (Random House Webster's College
Dictionary 1996, p1076)
WHAT ARE SOME WAYS THAT PEOPLE TODAY MAKE ERRORS SIMILAR TO THOSE OF THE
What do we do with our time and talents, the mortal inheritance we have
received from Heavenly Father?
"And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that
land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen
of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly
with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him."
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PRODIGAL SON AFTER HE WASTED HIS INHERITANCE?
NOW THAT HE WAS IN WANT, WHO IN THIS FAR COUNTRY CARED FOR HIM? WHAT CAN
WE LEARN FROM THIS?
Satan will not support his victims once he has brought them down.
"And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants
of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and
will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy
son: make me as one of thy hired servants." (v17-18)
WHOM DID THE SON THINK OF WHEN HE SAW THAT NO ONE IN THE FAR COUNTRY CARED
WHAT CAN WE LEARN ABOUT REPENTANCE FROM THE SON'S ATTITUDE?
Neal A. Maxwell: "There are many prodigals who lack the meekness and
the intellectual clarity to do what the prodigal son did. Saying, in effect,
'Living like this is ridiculous!,' the prodigal son 'came to himself.'
He realized how much better off he would be to return to his father. He
did not ponder, 'What will they say? Will anyone come out to meet me?'
Instead, he arose and went home. Being sufficiently meek to feel caused
him to think, and humbleness of mind saved his soul." (Meek and Lowly,
Thomas S. Monson: "Should there be anyone who feels he is too weak to
change the onward and downward moving course of his life or should there
be those who fail to resolve to do better because of that greatest of fears,
the fear of failure, there is no more comforting assurance to be had than
the words of the Lord: '. . . my grace is sufficient for all men that humble
themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me and have
faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.' (Ether
12:27)." (CR, Apr 1965, pp47-48)
"And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a
great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell
on his neck, and kissed him.
"And the son said unto him, Father, I have
sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called
"But the father said to his servants, Bring
forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and
shoes on his feet:
"And bring hither the fatted calf, and
kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
"For this my son was dead, and is alive
again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry."
WHAT DID THE FATHER DO WHEN HE SAW HIS SON COMING?
HOW DID THE FATHER RESPOND TO HIS SON'S CONFESSION?
At this point, it is important to remind ourselves that Jesus began this
sermon by talking about the joy in heaven "over one sinner that repenteth."
The Master is not just telling a story, but he his teaching us about the
his love and the love of our Heavenly Father.
HOW IS THE FATHER IN THIS STORY LIKE OUR HEAVENLY FATHER WHEN WE REPENT?
"Yea, and as often as my people repent will I forgive
them their trespasses against me." (Mosiah 26:30)
"Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is
forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more." (D&C 58:42)
Hugh B. Brown: "...your Father in heaven loves you; he loves you with
a love beyond what your earthly parents can know. If you make mistakes
-- and you will and all of us have -- our Heavenly Father stands ready
to forgive and to welcome you when you come to yourselves and turn your
backs on the husks and your faces toward home. He will embrace you and
say, 'For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost and is
found'." (CR, Apr 1955, p81)
IN WHAT WAYS ARE WE LIKE THE PRODIGAL SON?
President Gordon B. Hinckley: "I ask you to read that story. Every parent
ought to read it again and again. It is large enough to encompass every
household, and enough larger than that to encompass all mankind, for are
we not all prodigal sons and daughters who need to repent and partake of
the forgiving mercy of our Heavenly Father and then follow His example?"
(Ensign, June 1991, p5)
WHAT HOPE DOES THE PARABLE OF THE PRODIGAL SON OFFER US?
If we humbly repent, the words of Isaiah come alive in us. "Come now,
and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall
be as wool." (Isaiah 1:18)
"Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew
nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and
asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come;
and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him
safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in:
therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo,
these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy
commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry
with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come,
which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the
fatted calf." (v25-30)
WHY WAS THE ELDER SON ANGRY WITH THE WAY HIS FATHER RECEIVED THE YOUNGER
WHY IS IT SOMETIMES DIFFICULT TO WELCOME BACK A "PRODIGAL SON" WHO HAS
"And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that
I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry,
and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was
lost, and is found." (v31-32)
HOW DID THE FATHER RESPOND TO THE ELDER SON'S COMPLAINT?
Joseph Fielding Smith: "So we learn that there is rejoicing in heaven
over every sinner who repents; but those who are faithful and transgress
not any of the commandments, shall inherit 'all that the Father hath,'
while those who might be sons, but thought their 'riotous living' waste
their inheritance, may come back through their repentance to salvation
to be servants, not to inherit exaltation as sons.
"The wonderful story of the prodigal son
has been misinterpreted almost universally. How frequently is the statement
made from sectarian pulpits that because this younger son transgressed
and committed all manner of sin and then repented, he was better off than
his older brother who did not sin. By many the real lesson in this parable
is lost. The younger son asked for his inheritance and received it. He
went out and spent it in the vilest wickedness. When his substance was
gone, he was forced by physical suffering and degradation to repent. Had
his substance held out longer, he would have sinned that much more. It
is needless to repeat all the circumstances of this story. It is sufficient
to say that when he returned his father received him, but did not promise
to reinstate him in the fullness of the inheritance; this is apparent in
the answer made to the obedient son: 'Son, thou art ever with me, and all
that I have is thine'." (The Way to Perfection, p21)
The Ten Lepers
READ LUKE 17:11-19. The ten lepers.
HOW MANY OF THE TEN LEPERS RETURNED TO EXPRESS GRATITUDE?
WHY DO WE, LIKE THE NINE UNGRATEFUL LEPERS, NOT ALWAYS EXPRESS OUR GRATITUDE
FOR THE BLESSINGS WE RECEIVE?
Oftentimes we think that some of our blessings are a result of our own
We are so blessed, that they almost become commonplace and we forget
that they are indeed blessings. Consider this: Have you had the experience of
purchasing a beautiful painting or a picture to hang in your home? Or maybe
purchasing on CD a work of music that stirred your soul? What often happens
over time? At first the picture or the music is admired and loved. As time
marches on, it is almost as if the picture disappears or you don't hear
the music. Does this ever happen with our blessings?
Sometimes are we simply spiritually lazy?
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO EXPRESS GRATITUDE TO THE LORD?
"And ye must give thanks unto God in the Spirit for whatsoever
blessing ye are blessed with." (D&C 46:32)
"But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who
giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so
I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before
me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer
and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines
of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others
of devils." (D&C 46:7)
Brigham Young: "I do not know of any, excepting the unpardonable sin,
that is greater than the sin of ingratitude." (Discourses of Brigham
Joseph F. Smith: "We are almost daily put under obligations to one another,
especially to friends and acquaintances, and the sense of obligation creates
within us feelings of thankfulness and appreciation which we call gratitude.
The spirit of gratitude is always pleasant and satisfying because it carries
with it a sense of helpfulness to others; it begets love and friendship,
and engenders divine influence. Gratitude is said to be the memory of the
heart." (Gospel Doctrine, p262)
Although ten lepers were cleansed, only the man who returned was made whole.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING HEALED AND BEING MADE WHOLE?
Merill J. Bateman: "In becoming a whole person, the grateful leper was
healed inside as well as on the outside. That day nine lepers were healed
skin deep, but only one had the faith to be made whole." (Ensign, May
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
In reading these parables of Jesus, we learn of the great love the
Lord has for all of his children. He taught us that we can return to
him and be forgiven of our sins if we will humbly repent. He has also taught
us how important it is to search for and reach out to the lost sheep. Indeed,
this is the work of the Lord, to bring the lost sheep back to the fold.
Record your thoughts on the teachings of the Savior in this lesson. How
can you assist the Lord in searching for his lost sheep?
Resources Used In This Lesson
Conference Reports (CR).
Discourses of Brigham Young edited by John A. Widtsoe.
Gospel Doctrine by Joseph F. Smith.
Meek and Lowly by Neal A. Maxwell.
The Way To Perfection by Joseph Fielding Smith.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
22 March 2015