If we have sin in our lives, it’s unmistakable…even if we try to hide it.
Black Light Extravaganza (OPTIONAL)
If time permits, you may want to play a few games that involve black lights, because the discussion starter for this lesson uses one. If you’re strapped for time, just skip it; they are NOT necessary. But if you’ve got the time, here are a few ideas for Black Light Extravaganza:
After the games are done, bring everyone together, and focus their attention up front.
Black Light Fashion Show
(Supplies Needed: A black light or two, 4-5 black T shirts, and 4-5 glow sticks)
Ahead of time, break open a glow stick for each of your four or five dark T shirts and write the name of a sin on the back of it (drug abuse, disrespecting authority, stealing, swearing, lying, lust, gossip, etc). If your group is dealing with a particular sin, now might be the time to publically address it.
Pre-select some student leaders and bring them up front to don the new "black light" wear. Have it so their backs are facing away from the audience and the audience doesn't see what's written on the back of the shirts. (You’ll probably just want to have on the regular stage lights for this part of the opener.)
Say something like, "We just brought these models in from Norway to show you their fashionable new T shirt line. The modeling agency says that these models are good people. I had to take their word for it. I mean, it's not like we know what’s going on inside people, right?"
Then have the students "model" the shirts on a mock runway or stage, or just through the center of the room. Have the "models" stop and strike a pose when back on the stage, with their backs (and the writing) facing the audience. You'll have the black lights on now and everyone will see their "sin." Finally, just have the models exit the stage so they can change out of their shirts and return for the small group discussion time.
This only works if you have the black lights hung and rigged pretty well and all lighting can be controlled from the back. You don't want someone following the kids around with a black light – it just sends a totally different message – like we're trying to expose their sins.
I don't know about you, but there have been some times in my life that I'm glad my sin wasn't written on my shirt for all to see. Wow! That's pretty embarrassing. But let's be honest, no matter how private we think our sin is, there's someone who always sees it. Let's break up into small groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
Small Group Questions:
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and the strangest article of clothing we have in our wardrobe.
- ASK A FEW: How did you feel throughout the “fashion show” we just had?
- ASK A FEW: What would you do if your clothes revealed the wrongdoing in your life?
- ASK A FEW: What is your definition of sin?
- ASK A FEW: What are some of the most dominant sins in young people’s lives today?
- ASK A FEW: Do you think we can hide our sin? Why or why not?
Read the following passage:
ASK SOMEONE: Does it sound like King David was trying to hide his sin at first? Why or why not?
ASK SOMEONE: What did King David say happened when he “kept silent” (in verse 3)?
ASK SOMEONE: What happened when King David “acknowledged his sin” (in verse 5)?
ASK A FEW: It’s almost as if King David is calling people “mules” – a dumb animal – who try to hide their sins. Why is that?
ASK A FEW: Do you think God sees all our sin all the time? Why or why not?
ASK A FEW: Do you think others see our sins even if we try to hide them? Why or why not?
ASK A FEW: So why do you think that people try to hide their sins from God or pretend that He doesn't see them?
AROUND THE CIRCLE: All of us have sins that creep into our lives and seek to dominate us. What are you going to do about that fact in the coming week? In other words, how are you going to deal with your sin?
AROUND THE CIRCLE: What do you think happens if you do nothing about your sin?
Listen: If you’re parents ask you what you did at youth tonight, please don’t just say, “We had a fashion show!” That might get me fired!
Psalm 32 (NIV)
Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Selah
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”— and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah
Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him. Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!
Tell em we had a fashion show with a point. And that point was simple: no matter how much we try to hide our sin, it becomes obvious in our lives. That’s a sad and sobering reality, isn’t it? But, there was some good news, if I recall.
We read King David’s instructions to us. He basically said, “Look, I tried to cover my sin. It didn’t work out too well for me. But when I confessed my sins, God restored my life.”
Now, maybe you’re thinking, “Yeah, but that was King David. God loved him more than me. I’m just me.”
Well, to those of you who think that, let me read 1 John 1:8-9 to you. It says, “If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.”
Did you catch all that? Those who say they have no sins are only lying to themselves. All of us have sin! All of us! How we handle that sin is what separates us. For those who try to hide it, their lives are separated from God. For those who freely confess it, they have their lives restored!
I’m going to close in prayer in a moment, but first, let me make it clear that, at this very moment, you can have your sins forgiven by God and begin a relationship with him. (Take a moment and retell the Gospel: we are sinners, God loves us in spite of that reality, He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross in payment of those sins, and we must put our trust in Him to receive salvation.)
If you have further questions about all this, GREAT! We’d love to chat with you about this. Just grab one of our adult leaders before you leave. There’s nothing more we’d rather do that talk with you, because there’s nothing more important in life than this.
Close in Prayer
Idea by Brandon Swonger
David R. Smith