Key Scriptures: 1 Kings 18:16-45, James 4:17, Acts 2:38, Romans 6:23, Romans 3:23, 1 John 1:8-10, 1 Corinthians 10:13, 1 John 3:4, Galatians 5:19-21, James 1:14-15, John 8:34, Ephesians 2:1-3, James 5:16, John 14:15, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Mark 7:20-23, Romans 1:28-32, 2 Corinthians 12:20-21, Proverbs 6:16-19, Matthew 5:16, Ephesians 2:10, James 2:14-17, Colossians 3:23-24, Hebrews 13:16, Galatians 6:9, Titus 3:1, James 1:27, James 2:8, 2 Corinthians 5:10, 1 Timothy 5:8, 1 Timothy 2:1-15, Luke 10;27, Proverbs 3:27-28, Titus 3:14, 1 Timothy 6:17-19, Matthew 7:21-23, Romans 2:6-10
Guiding Question: What does God consider sin?
Optional Introductory Activity: Bring in news articles from various sources, focusing particularly on articles about crime and corruption. Ask students to identify some of the sins the various people in the article committed. What consequences did each sin have? What might have gone differently had the person decided to not sin instead?
Lesson: (Questions to students are in bold italics.) Read 1 Kings 18:1-15. Why had there been a drought on the land? Why was God particularly upset with Ahab and Jezebel? What had Obadiah done to keep Jezebel’s sins from having their full impact on God’s prophets? Why was Obadiah afraid to deliver Elijah’s message to Ahab? Although Israel had previously been ruled by several evil kings, it seems as if Ahab and Jezebel took this to another level. Jezebel in particular was not only pushing the people to reject God and worship idols, she had tried to kill God’s prophets. For some reason though, Ahab had spared Obadiah. Obadiah had in turn used the knowledge he learned from his position to intervene and protect a hundred of God’s prophets from Jezebel’s sinful desire to murder them. How much courage do you think it took for Obadiah to hide the prophets from Jezebel? Why do you think he was afraid to then carry Elijah’s message to Ahab? Sometimes, it feels easier to sneak and do something good, like Obadiah hiding the prophets, than to stand up for what is right to the face of someone involved in sinning. Ahab and Obadiah knew why there had been a drought. They also knew that only God, through Elijah, could end the drought. Telling Ahab Elijah was coming to speak with him, could cause any sort of reaction in Ahab. This was especially true since Ahab had been looking unsuccessfully for Elijah for some time. Obadiah knew there was no sin Ahab and Jezebel would avoid, including murdering him and that frightened him.
Read 1 Kings 18:16-46. Elijah, on the other hand, had no problem confronting Ahab’s sin of worshipping idols. In fact, he faced the sin with a challenge. Why do you think Elijah chose such a dramatic and public way of confronting Ahab’s, Jezebel’s and the peoples’ sins against God? What message did the challenge convey to everyone who witnessed or heard about it? Why would that message be important? If you were worshipping idols, would what happen make you rethink your choice? Why or why not?
When thinking about sin, there are three important questions to consider. What is sin? What are the consequences of sin? Is there any way to avoid the consequences of sin? You may think the answers to these questions are obvious, but they may be more complicated than you realize. How would you define sin? The Bible gives us some basic as well as some specific information about sin. For now, we are going to focus on some more general things the Bible teaches us about sin. After reading each passage, share what you think we learn about sin from it.
- Romans 6:23. Wages of sin is death
- Romans 3:23. All have sinned
- Isaiah 59:2. Our sins put a separation between us and God
- 1 John 1:8-10. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, if we confess our sins he will forgive
- 1 John 3:4. Sin is lawlessness
- James 1:44-45. Desires lead to sin which leads to death
- John 8:34. Commit sin, become slave to sin
- Ephesians 2:1-3. Description of life ruled by passions and desires
- John 14:15. Love me, keep my commands
- James 4:17. knows right thing to do and fails to do it is sin
- 1 Corinthians 10:13. God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bare, but will provide and escape
- James 5:16. Confess our sins and pray for one another
- Acts 2:38. Repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins
- Romans 6:1. We shouldn’t continue sinning so we can get more grace
- Hebrews 10:26-31. What happens if we deliberately sin after understanding sin
Notice that everyone, except Jesus, has sinned. Which means our sin has put a separation between us and God. Our sins have the price of death…an eternity spent away from God in Hell. However, and this is a huge however, God sent Jesus to die on the Cross as the perfect sacrifice or atonement for our sins. When we repent of our sins and are baptized, our sins are forgiven. Not only that, but from that point forward, whenever we sin, we can pray for forgiveness and it will be granted.
It’s important to note though, that just because we can be forgiven of our sins, we are not given free license to sin as much as we would like. We are to transform our lives, our hearts, our thoughts, our words and our actions in an attempt to be more like God and Jesus. We will still sin, but our lives should not continue to be enmeshed in sin.
In our skills activity, we are going to look at some very specific information about sin in the Bible. It’s important to understand the things God considers sin…which we have already learned is not just avoiding doing “bad” things. If we fail to do the good things God wants us to do, then we are also sinning. We also have to understand that some sins are determined by the principles in the Bible. For example, God knew the internet would be invented and that there are sinful ways we can use that tool. However, if He had told the writers of the Bible about sins people in the future could commit on the internet, everyone would have been confused for centuries until it was invented. What God did do was give us general principles of sinful attitudes, words and behaviors that He knew would apply to the ways they sinned then and the slightly different, yet ultimately the same, ways we may sin now.
Skills Activity: Review the basic principles from the lesson. How you approach this section will depend in part upon the knowledge your students have of scripture. Those with little knowledge will need more time spent on carefully defining and giving examples of basic sins like lying. For example, half truths, omitted truths, little white lies, etc. are all lies in the eyes of God. More advanced students may need to spend more time discussing how to decide which principle of sin might fit a more “modern” sin, like internet porn. They may also benefit from spending time discussing more deeply the concept behind neglecting to do the good things you know you should be doing, and what some of those things might be.
The scriptures below will give you a place to start. It’s probably best to create two charts everyone can see. One “sins of commission” and the other “sins of omission”. You may want to start by asking students to name everything they think they already know belongs on each list. Then read the scriptures and see if they need to add or change anything. Be prepared to discuss sins that culture (and sadly many Christians) no longer view as sinful, even though the Bible clearly states they are wrong. You may also want to do some research to be prepared to explain effectively, why these are indeed sins and not some rogue misinterpretation of scripture. Also be prepared to discuss any sins that are not named specifically (like internet porn), but demonstrate how Christians have concluded they are sinful behaviors by looking at the principles behind many sins.
Sins of Commission Scriptures: (Note: This list of scriptures is not all inclusive. You may wish to add additional scriptures.) Galatians 5:19-21, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Mark 7:20-23, Romans 1:28-32, 2 Corinthians 12:20-21, Proverbs 6:16-19.
Sins of Omission Scriptures: Matthew 5:16, Ephesians 2:10, James 2:14-17, Colossians 3:23-24, Hebrews 13:16, Galatians 6:9, Titus 3:1, James 1:27, James 2:8, 2 Corinthians 5:10, 1 Timothy 5:8, 1 Timothy 2:1-15, Luke 10:27, 1 Timothy 6:17-19, Romans 2:6-10, Proverbs 3:27-28, Titus 3:14
Application Challenge: Review the main points of the lesson. Where there sins you learned about that you hadn’t realized were sins before? Had you thought about the importance of doing the good things you know you need to do as well as avoiding doing “bad” things? With which sins do you struggle? What can you do to avoid committing those sins again in the future? Try memorizing a few scriptures to help you whenever you are tempted to sin.