A youth group discussion starter helping your group to understand the way sin operates in our lives and God’s solution.
THE S WORD
Ask the young people to call out the first word that they think of when the word sin is mentioned. Write the answers on a whiteboard. Usually they will come up with a list of actions: stealing, adultery, murder etc. Make the point that these are just some of the results of sin, but the Bible reminds us that the cause of these actions lies deep within the nature of everyone (Mark 7: 21-23).
THE GRAVITY GAME
Stand a volunteer on a chair, holding one end of a broom or pole. Another volunteer stands on the ground, behind a line drawn a metre in front of the chair, holding the other end of the pole.
Explain to the volunteers that they must not let go of the stick, but by pulling and twisting, the first volunteer is to try and pull the second over the line. At the same time the second volunteer has to try and pull the first off the chair. Try this couple of times with different volunteers of similar height and weight.
The person on the chair will usually lose. This is because the volunteer on the floor has the extra benefit of gravity, a powerful force pulling downwards. The Bible also describes sin as a powerful force, pulling us down, and separating us from a relationship with God.
THE FORCE IS IN YOU!
What does the Bible say about this powerful force of sin in our lives? Divide the young people into small groups of 4. Ask them to read Romans 7: 15-25 together and then discuss the following questions. If necessary give a brief background to the book of Romans i.e. Who was it for? Who wrote it? Why?
- How does Paul describe the influence of sin on his life?
- What do you think he would have said to someone who claimed, ‘I do my best to try and live a good life.’
- Can you imagine what it would feel like to be someone’s slave? How do you think your life would be different? Why do you think Paul uses this idea to describe sin?
- If a friend at school, who knew you came to the church youth group, asked you about sin, what would you say? In your small group discuss what you might say to them. Try to answer these questions, Where does sin come from? Who does it affect? What does it do? What is the result? What can we do about it? What did God do about it?
After a period of time, ask each small group to feed back their thoughts and write the key points on a whiteboard.
You may need to give additional references to help each group consider and complete their explanation for their friend. Suggested references from Romans could include, 3: 23, 5: 8-9, 5: 12, 5: 18-19, 6: 23, 10: 8-10.
What has God done about our problem with sin? Ask four of your young people to read out loud (and in order) the references from Romans. Use a modern translation of the Bible.
- Romans 3: 22-26
- Romans 5: 6-11
- Romans 10: 9-10
- Romans 8: 38-39
But what about the things I still do wrong? How does God see them and what does he do about them? Read 1 John 1: 8-9. If we have put our trust in Christ, we have been completely forgiven. God has promised that he will not remember our sin.
But every day we need to let the Holy Spirit remind us where we have failed to live as God wants. Then if we confess, repent (say sorry, turn away, be willing to change), God will keep his promise and we are forgiven and made clean.
Give everyone a piece of paper and a pen. Ask them to think back over the past week and mark a tick on the paper for each time they can remember doing something wrong or not living as God wants. Make it clear that they won't have to show this to anyone else!
Then fold up the papers and collect them in a pile on a fire resistant dish. Remind the group that when Jesus died he broke the powerful force of sin and made it possible for people to be free and receive God's forgiveness. If we trust in Jesus then God will not condemn us for our sins, and we are no longer slaves to sin because God's power working in us can give us the strength to overcome temptation.
Then slowly and quietly, set light to the pile of papers. As they burn, pray together, thanking Jesus for dying in the cross, our freedom from the powerful force of sin, and the forgiveness and new life we have from God.
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