As the romanticism of sin continues to increase in our culture, it becomes even more imperative for teenagers to be equipped to battle temptation and sin. In this lesson, “Is Sin Bringing Me Down?” youth will learn that sin’s fleeting and deceptive nature causes severe harm to their walk with Christ. Furthermore, they will be equipped through numerous scriptures to battle specific sins and move forward with confidence as believers.
From Pastor Ken Gray’s sermon entitled, “The Downward Progression of Sin.” (January 10, 2016)
Transcribed for Sunday school with permission.
TARGET AGES: 12-18
OBJECTIVE: To educate the class on the seriousness of sin, how it negatively affects our lives, and how we can prepare against its destruction.
MAIN IDEA: Sin desires to hinder and destroy our relationships with Christ. We must battle sin every day and rely on God to help us make good, biblical decisions.
SCRIPTURE PASSAGES: Romans 1:21-23, 28-32
MATERIAL(S): Pitcher of water, red food coloring, drinking glass, white board or poster board, ten index cards
Introductory Activity (10 minutes)
OPENING PRAYER: “God, help us take our sin seriously. We know our sin puts us in opposition to you, so we pray that you will open our eyes and give us the desire to fight against the temptation to sin. Amen.”
OBJECT LESSON: “The Juice Scam”
Explain to the class that sin makes promises it can’t keep (such as having “fun,” gaining popularity, or getting something you want). Prepare a pitcher of water and use red food coloring to give it the appearance of fruit juice and pour some into a glass. Ask, “Who would like to try this glass of juice?” After the volunteer has taken a drink, have them describe the taste (e.g. “It just tastes like water”). Help the children understand that while this is a harmless example of sin’s deception, there is always damage involved with sin in real life. Ask the volunteer, “How do you feel about being deceived (angry, upset, embarrassed, etc)? If there had been something harmful in the water, instead of red food coloring, what could have happened (death, sickness, etc)?” Lastly, reiterate that this is how sin works – it appears to be something to desire yet leaves us feeling empty, cheated, and outsmarted!
Lesson (15 minutes)
- Ask the class to turn to Romans 1 in their bibles. Talk about a time in your life when personal sin had a very real consequence, such as receiving a speeding ticket or being grounded for being disrespectful to your parents. Say, “When we don’t learn from our mistakes, God’s word is very clear that our sinful actions will only get worse. Sin left unchecked results in denying God’s power over our lives.” Ask for a volunteer to read verses 21-23 and summarize the verses’ message. Ask, “What happened to those who ‘neither glorified God nor gave thanks to him (their thinking became useless and their hearts were darkened)’? What did these people ‘exchange [for] the glory of the immortal God (idols)’?” Emphasize that an idol is anything we love or give allegiance to over God, so idols are very cheap and imperfect substitutes. Comment, “These verses are all about pride, so let’s come up with ways to battle self-reliant thinking.” Make a list of actions on the board – such as prayer, studying God’s word, repentance, and serving others – that strengthen us to rely on the Lord and live as humble servants.
- Next, read Romans 1:28-32 to the class. Ask, “What will happen if we fail to ‘retain the knowledge of God’ (we will do what’s wrong, be filled with evil, have no love, etc)?” Point out the warning in verse 32 that approving of others’ sin is a sign of regressed progress in our relationship with the Lord. Use examples of culturally acceptable practices (such as homosexuality, gossip, disrespecting authority, and treating others poorly) that Satan uses to try and alter, or bring down, our relationship to Jesus Christ. Say, “God takes sin so seriously that he sent his perfect son, Jesus, to pay the price for sin. Because the price was so costly (Jesus’ life), we need to make daily efforts to deny sin in every form when it tries to present itself.” Outline the salvation message for anyone who may not be a believer. Encourage the class to speak to you or another believer if they have questions about becoming a Christian.
“Sin and Answer” Activity (15 minutes)
Prepare ten index cards, each with a sin listed on the front of the card and a bible verse to address the sin on the back of the card. You may use the following table as a guide:
|1||Gossip||Proverbs 16:28, James 3:9-10|
|2||Hate||John 7:7, 1 John 4:20|
|3||Jealousy||1 Corinthians 3:3, Philippians 4:12-13|
|4||Pride||Proverbs 11:2, Philippians 2:3|
|5||Rebellion||Daniel 9:9, Romans 13:1-2|
|6||Worship of idols||Ezekiel 23:49, Romans 1:22-23|
|7||Sexual||1 Thessalonians 4:3-8|
|8||Greed||Luke 12:15, Hebrews 13:5|
|9||Anger||Proverbs 15:1, Matthew 5:21-22|
|10||Insults||Matthew 5:11-12, James 4:11|
Allow each person to choose a card and look up the scripture(s). Then ask the class to take turns explaining what the verse(s) say about each sin. Have an open discussion concerning ways to prevent, battle, and eliminate the temptation to sin. Reiterate that no one is perfect, but we should increasingly desire to please God. Encourage the class by admitting that sin seems fun for a little while, but there are always consequences that hinder our relationships with Christ.
Conclusion (5 minutes)
RECAP: Sin’s only goal is to keep us from growing in our relationship with Christ. It leaves us feeling empty and cheated. However, when we rely on God’s word and earnestly seek him through prayer, we will be able to battle sin and its negative influence on our lives.
CLOSING PRAYER: “Lord, give us the strength to battle the sin in our lives. Surround us with other believers who can support and help us grow in our relationship to you. We desire to please you and ask you to forgive us for the many sins we have committed. Thank you for Jesus, who gives us the ultimate victory over sin. Amen.”