Summary: What is sin? God calls us away from a life of sin and darkness but instead to live in the light, as He is in the light.
This week I wanted to start off briefly answering the question, why study the Bible? I know that my style of teaching is a little different than what some of you may be used to so I wanted to help you see where I am coming from. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”
Another translation of the Bible words this verse as, “all scripture is God-breathed.” Bottom line, I believe that the Bible, the book that is in our homes, on our shelves, usually collecting dust, is the actual words and guidance of God. A great way I have heard the Bible described is “Life for Dummies.” And that is not to imply that we or you are all dummies, but simply to state that the Bible, the Word of God, is what teaches us how to live a life that will make God proud AND make us most happy in the long run.
That last part is important. I think a lot of the people think of the Bible as a list of rules, or do’s and don’ts and that God is like a parent who is constantly trying to ruin all our fun. Instead, it is exactly the opposite. God asks us to do certain things or not do certain things because He created us and knows what we need the most. God’s desire is for us to be so full of joy and so happy and that is why He has given us the Bible, so that He could communicate exactly how to be most happy in life.
That being said, during our times together on Sunday nights, we are going to be exploring the Bible and using it to help one another live better and love better. Now, does that mean if you read the Bible it is going to make life easy? No, in fact, the Bible tells us that following God is something that most often will make life, by the world’s standards, more difficult. Does the Bible being God’s Word mean everything we look at is going to be easy to understand or agree with? Absolutely not, some things will be hard and will require a lot of thought and wrestling, but that is an okay thing.
This is also part of the reason I will be doing the weekly Bible Readings for you guys, because I believe that the Bible needs to be a bigger part of all of our lives so that we can learn more about ourselves, each other, and God. That being said, let’s keep that in mind and shift gears to our topic for tonight.
First, just to recap, if you were here last week, you should remember that we talked about verses 1-4 and that John was communicating in a very purposeful way that God is the one and only relationship in this life that we can fully depend on. Friends, family, teachers, girlfriends/boyfriends, money, jobs, material things, etc. can and will unfortunately fail us and let us down but God promises to never leave us and always do what is best for us. Even when it seems or feels to us like He has ditched us, He is there and in complete control.
This week as we continue in John’s letter, he is speaking against some very interesting claims by some of the people who had bought into the philosophy of the time. These claims by the Gnostic teachers centered on a topic that is not the must fun to talk about: sin. The three claims that John is writing against are 1) You can live any way you want even though you have a relationship with Christ, 2) it is possible to be sinless and, 3) there is no such thing as sin.
What I would like to start off doing is have you guys get into groups of 3 or 4 people and take 2-3 minutes to answer the following two questions to help our conversation. First, what is sin and second, I have a list of sins on the cards here and I want you to rank them from least to greatest, 1 being the least bad thing you can do, 7 being the greatest.
***Give the students 2-3 minutes then discuss their answers***
To help us continue to answer both of these questions, let’s open our Bibles to 1 John 1:5-10 and see how John responded.
***Read 1 John 1:5-10***
First, John starts off by helping us understand what sin is. To lay a foundation for answering the question, he starts off by making this comment saying that, “God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.” What do you guys think John means by this comment? Often times in the Bible, light and darkness are used for analogies to represent good and evil. I think that’s partly where we get the ideas in our culture about angels and heaven being all lit up and shiny and then demons, or the devil, and hell are dark and dreary. So what John is claiming here is that God is goodness and that there is no evil in him.