THE BIG IDEA:
We are born with a sin nature, and this sin separates us from God and makes it impossible to know him and live with him forever.
We have all sinned and are separated from God.
To understand the significance of our sin and the consequences it brings.
The first sin was Adam and Eve’s choice to eat the fruit that God told them not to eat. Since then everyone on Earth has made sinful choices. The apple represents the sinful choices that we make everyday as we choose to go our own way rather than God’s way.
- What I want the group to know and understand: What sin is and how it affects us.
- What I want the group to experience: The weight of their sin and its eternal consequences.
- How I want the group to respond: By acknowledging their sin, understanding it has consequences, and ultimately repenting of it.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOPIC:
The problem of sin, anything against the will of God, defines our relationship with God. We cannot know him and be in his presence because our sin creates a barrier between us and a holy God.
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If you have ever known a two-year-old child or been one yourself, you know they just do wrong things. No one has to teach them to be selfish, want their own way or do something they shouldn’t and then try to hide it. Doing the wrong thing just comes naturally. This situation didn’t start with two year olds. It began way back in the book of Genesis with Adam and Eve.
Leader, the students will need pens and pencils for this study.
One definition of sin is “anything against the will of God.” You may want to add to this definition or look up additional meanings.
1. Going back to the beginning of the Bible, what do Genesis 2:8-9, Genesis 2:15-17 and Genesis 3:1-6 say about how sin first took root on the earth?
Encourage discussion about the interaction between Eve and the serpent and her thought process which led to disobedience. She was tempted by the serpent (you may want to point out that the serpent was really Satan) into believing God was withholding something good from her, even though she and Adam had the entire garden to enjoy. Her decision to disobey God had consequences that are still being felt today.
2. What do these passages say about God?
Allow the group to discuss. God was in charge of the garden — he made the trees, he made Adam and Eve and he set the rules. He gave Adam and Eve freedom to enjoy and use everything in the garden with the exception of one tree. Since he made everything, God has the right to determine what is sin, what is not, and what the punishment for sin is.
3. Why did Adam and Eve eat the fruit?
Allow the group to discuss. Let them throw out any ideas that come to them. This question might bring out some of the reasons that our students sin, that they might assume were also motivations for Adam and Eve. That is good because we want them to connect with Adam and Eve here. After they have discussed, you can point out that Eve’s motivations are spelled out in Genesis 3:6.
4. Why is it so bad that they ate the fruit?
Allow the group to discuss. At first it seems like a very small thing that they would pick a piece of fruit and eat it. However, this was the first sin any human committed. Before this sin the human race was perfect, but after that sin Adam and Eve would pass on their sinful condition to all of their descendants (the entire human race). Murder, pride, jealousy, lust, and more would all plague human history because of this one choice. God had given them everything they could have wanted; he created them, so he got to set the rules. Their choice to sin was a rejection of God.
5. Another passage in the Bible that talks about the problem of sin is Romans 3:9-11. What does this passage say about you?
The passage states that no one is righteous, not even one person. Even if a person’s sin is not obvious or visible we know from this scripture they have sinned and will experience the consequences of eternal separation from God.
6. What are some of the consequences of sin?
Some consequences are RELATIONAL (people won’t trust you if you lie, people won’t want to be around you if you steal, etc.) some are PHYSICAL (having sex before marriage can cause STD’s or unwanted pregnancy, being a jerk can get you punched in the face), and some are SPIRITUAL (the penalty for all sin is Hell – eternal separation from God) The most serious consequence is the fact that everyone who sins (which is everyone in the world) deserves hell, according to Romans 6:23. It’s not nice to think about, but it is true.
7. Are you a “Pretty Good Person?” Many times we consider ourselves to be “a pretty good person” because we compare ourselves to the people around us rather to God’s perfect standard, but it is important for us each to realize just how far we fall from God’s standard. Let’s take just a few of the 10 commandments and see how you do…
Have everyone fill out their card quietly on their own. Leaders, be sure to fill one of these out for yourself too. Please be aware that question number 8 will help your students better define “Murderer” and “Adulterer” and they might need to adjust their report cards after that question. The hope is to have them fill the card out first and think they did pretty well, but after question 8, we hope that they will be even more aware of their sin.
NOTE : This could be perceived as an offensive activity to some, so be sensitive to that, and if you feel like your group will not go for this activity, just fill a card out for yourself and talk them through why you are checking the boxes that you are checking. As they realize that you don’t measure up to God’s perfection, they will recognize that they don’t either. The purpose of this exercise is not to shame them, but to help them feel the weight of their own sin. Their awareness of how sinful they are will help them better appreciate their need for God and his grace.
SIN REPORT CARD
Are you a “Pretty Good Person?”
Sometimes we feel like we’re pretty good compared to others, but the Bible says we are all sinful and need Christ’s forgiveness. What do you need forgiveness for? The list below represents 5 of the 10 Commandments from the Bible. Check the box by any sins that you have ever committed.
- Disobey your parents (Exodus 20:12)
- Murder (Exodus 20:13)
- Steal (Exodus 20:15)
- Commit Adultery (Exodus 20:14)
- Lie (Exodus 20:16)
This exercise is not intended to “shame” you, but to help us recognize why we need Jesus. You won’t be asked to turn this in, it’s just for you..
Before we move on, let’s look at a few more verses…
8. Look up a few more verses. What does 1 John 3:15 say about murder? So, are you a murderer? What does Matthew 5:28 say about adultery? So, are you an adulterer?
These two verses show that those who hate someone have committed murder in their hearts, and those who lust have committed adultery in their hearts. If they need to mark those boxes on their report card, have them do that now.
9. If you have marked all of these sins, then you are a disobedient child, a murderer, a thief, an adulterer, and a liar. Have you ever thought of yourself like that? With that description, do you sound like a “pretty good person”?
Allow the group to discuss. We want the students to feel the weight of their sin, but not to feel ashamed or beat up. Please remember to include yourself in this and remind them that we are all in the same boat. If you feel like this is an especially sensitive issue for some members of your group, keep the focus on you and ask them if they have ever thought of you that way. Remind them that the standard that they are being measured by is God’s perfection, not other people.
10. Do you feel like you deserve the consequences we talked about in question 5? Why or why not?
Allow the group to discuss. They do deserve these consequences, because they (like everyone) are sinful and fall far short of God’s standard of perfection.
11. God is a just God and because of that, everyone’s sin has to be paid for. However, God is also loving and, although he can’t just overlook our sin as if it wasn’t there, he has come up with a solution for our sin. Next week we will talk about that.
Pray and thank God that even though we have no hope on our own, he has come up with a solution for us.
What ideas do you have that could improve this study? Are there creative things you do to bring this topic home to your students? Please share with the community clicking the FEEDBACK button or leaving a comment below.