Heartprints

Pesky Problem of Sin

All Have Sinned, Except For Me!

Now, how to deal with that pesky sin problem? From the beginning of time, we have tried to hide, hoping that God wouldn’t notice that little departure from the straight and narrow path called obedience. 

All Have Sinned, Except For Me!

Now, how to deal with that pesky sin problem? From the beginning of time, we have tried to hide, hoping that God wouldn’t notice that little departure from the straight and narrow path called obedience. 

 
When one tries to help young children understand the concept of sin by asking, “Have you ever sinned?” at certain developmental stages, they quickly resound, “Oh, no, not me!”
 
However, if you ask them if they know of anyone else who has sinned, they can give you a point-by-point description. They are, of course, describing their own litany of digressions, they just don’t realize it yet. 

Children Are Concrete Learners
Children are concrete learners, and so a teacher needs to teach the concept of sin in a very concrete way. This can be a real challenge at times, especially with an important concept like the blood of Jesus.
 
This is one of my lessons for younger children. I define sin with such words as, “Sin is when we disobey God with our words, our thoughts, and our actions. The Bible says, ‘For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.’” (Romans 3:23)  However, this can still be too abstract for young children. They need more.
 
Concrete object time: I have some teddy bears for them to hold. “Do you like to snuggle with a teddy bear? How does it make you feel? But what about a real baby bear? Would you like to snuggle a tiny baby bear? Yes, it would be fun…for a while. But what would happen to that bear? Yes, it would grow up to be big, and bite us, and hurt us very badly. That is what sin is like. It starts really small and doesn’t really feel very bad. In fact, it feels kind of good, like this soft, snuggly teddy bear. Perhaps your Mommy asked you to clean up your toys. You said, “Yes, Mommy.” See, that’s pretty good, isn’t it? But inside you were mad, just a little bit. You might be thinking, “Why does Mommy ask me to pick up my toys right when I am having so much fun. I don’t think that is fair.” Your grumbling is just the tiniest part of sin starting to grow in you. And just like that baby bear, your sin will grow up and bite you if you don’t get that baby sin under control and it will grow to get bigger and bigger. Perhaps one day, you might yell back at Mommy and stomp your feet and say, “No, I won’t. Now we have a real big sin, don’t we?”
 
“So, what can we do about this problem of sin? Remember, the Bible says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Last week we talked about heaven. We talked about everything that is in heaven. But what is not in heaven? Sin. God cannot have sin. So, what can we do? Do you suppose God has a plan? He sure does! I wonder what it is.”

A Fantastic Solution to the Sin Problem?
Now is when I really start to have fun with the children. I bring out a bottle of “Fantastic”.
 
“Shall I spray those sins away with Fantastic? Do you suppose that is God’s plan? How about this bar of soap? Can I wash them away?” Of course, the children laugh. There may, however, may be one or two children that may nod to the affirmative. 
 
Slowly, we work our way to the biblical teaching of the blood of Jesus. Since that is such an abstract concept, you have to take your time, depending upon the age and spiritual maturity of your class. If they have a concept of Old Testament teaching with the Jewish people providing a blood sacrifice for their sins, talk about it briefly. Then go to the New Testament to show how Jesus became the sacrifice for all by shedding His blood on the cross. This is a concept, but it does depend upon the age and maturity of the children as to what level of depth you can provide. (Hebrews 9:22)
 
(A word to the wise: whenever a child starts asking questions about the blood of Jesus, I have found that the child is getting close to being saved. I always alert the parents. Often, within a month or so, the child does make a confession of faith. It is my opinion that since the blood of Jesus can only be spiritually discerned, it gives evidence to the power of the Holy Spirit in the child’s life.)
 
A B C  Time
Now begin to walk the children through what an obedient heart looks like. The ABC’s. We ADMIT our sin. We BELIEVE Jesus died on the cross for our sins. We CONFESS our sins, and tell God we are sorry. Again, don’t rush it. Spend as much time as you need to make sure the children understand this concept. Then ask, “Where do our sins go? The Bible says in Isaiah 43:25 that God remembers our sins no more.”
 
After taking time to practice the three steps of Admit, Believe, and Confess, I show them my ‘magic’ glove.
 
Gospel Glove
 
(Please note: the glove on the left is the traditional “Gospel Glove” that you can purchase in most stores. It is the one on the far right that I find to be the most helpful. It changes from gold (Heaven), to dark (sin), to red (blood), to white (saved), to green (grow) while in the hand of the child. Only one color will show at a time. If you want more information on how to get one, please feel free to contact me. )
 
“When we are talking about the ‘sin’ problem, our glove is dark. (Don’t say, “black”, please say, “Dark”). It is like our hand is dirty. When we sin, it is like we are dirty on the inside. We need to be cleansed.”
 
“The Bible says, ‘God shows His love for us. While we were still sinners, Jesus Christ died for us. We have been saved from the punishment of sin by the blood of Christ.’ (Romans 5:8-9) It is only through the blood of Jesus that we can be clean from our sins. But first we have to be sorry. Remember, the ABC’s? What are they? I ADMIT I have sinned, I BELIEVE that the blood of Jesus can take it away, and I CONFESS that I am sorry.”
 
“Now look! Your hand is red. The gospel glove has changed your sin from dark to red because the blood of Jesus has covered over all your sin. Watch carefully. Now what is happening? The glove is turning from red to white. The blood of Jesus covered over the darkness of our sin, and now it is white! It looks clean, just like how we feel when our sins are forgiven!”
 
“But we need to grow. How do we grow in Jesus?” We brainstorm ways. If a child answers, “Read the Bible”, I give them a Bible to hold. If a child says, “Say our memory verses”, they receive a sword to represent the Word of God that we want to hide in our heart. For prayer, I have a set of praying hands. “This is how we grow in Jesus!”

“Magic” Time!
Ahead of time, I would’ve given a few children a warning of what is about to happen, but for the rest of the class it is a complete surprise. We review each step of the lesson, and I say, “Thank you, children, for helping us to understand about sin and how only through the blood of Jesus can our sins be washed away and gone forever.” Then… I spray a bottle of ‘magic’ ink on them as they stand up front holding the Bible, sword, praying hands, and glove.
 
Of course, the class is shocked! This illustrates that when we admit our sins to Jesus, believe He can take them away, and confess how sorry we are, our sins disappear. The cool thing is that by the time I finish explaining that, the ink is gone.  (It is magic disappearing ink from a Magic Store that sells costumes.) This really brings the point home for the children.
 
Teaching to Make an Eternal Difference
If you choose to use this lesson, adapt it for the age, maturity, and denomination of your church. Always be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. I have never taught it the same way twice. I am giving you some general guidelines. The point is this: you are taking a profound, yet abstract concept – the blood of Jesus – and trying to make it as concrete and memorable as possible. It is not about the gimmick of the disappearing ink, it is about getting their attention and helping the children realize that once they truly confess their sins, they are forgiven and forgotten by our loving, heavenly Father.
 
“For as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).

 

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