Defying Gravity (part 1): Insidious

TO START

This week we’ll be talking about sin, our arch enemy. 

Make a list of superhero/villain or good guy/bad guy pairings. For each one, list both the villain’s most powerful weapon and the method the good guy (girl) uses to defeat it. Look for pointers in your battle against sin.

 

TO DISCUSS

Sin is your worst enemy. Justin said in this week’s sermon, “We need to see sin the way God sees it--as a hated oppositional force, an arch enemy.” Perhaps you haven’t always thought of it like that. 

  • Who or what might you have considered an enemy in the past? 
  • Have you ever thought of sin as a friend? What kind of friend did sin turn out to be? 
  • What could we do to help ourselves remember that sin is our enemy and not our friend? Think of some practical suggestions for re-aligning yourself.

Do you take sin seriously? Or are there sins you don’t see as dangerous and choose to keep close/undeterred? 

Do you struggle to buy into this idea of “sin”? Share with the group why you think that might be. What might be preventing you from seeing sin as serious?

Sin is bigger than you making an isolated bad choice. Sin is a force that’s courting you and seeking control over you. Does that affect the way we should react to it or prevent it? If so, how?

Does seeing sin as immensely powerful change the way you understand personal guilt, temptation, or even salvation? Discuss.

On Sunday we said sin bullies, consumes, kills and condemns. 

  • Give an example of sin bullying you. What does that look like in real life?
  • Have you ever seen sin consume a life? How did that play out? 
  • In the end, the wages of sin are death. Think through this physically AND spiritually. How might sin lead to death?
  • Finally, we said sin condemns us to Christ’s judgment. Next week we’ll consider how Christ has made escape from that judgment possible. But for now, have you ever had to bear the weight of that condemnation? What does it feel like?

 

TO READ

If your group is up for it, take a look at these passages, all summaries of the reigns of Israel’s kings after Jeroboam, son of Nebat. What’s going on here? 

  • Is sin something we inherit? 
  • In what way is sin bigger than decisions in a moment? 
  • How might your sin affect the people who come after you? 
  • How might you be affected by the sin of the people who came before you?

I Kings 15:1-3

“In the eighteenth year of the reign of Jeroboam son of Nebat, Abijah became king of Judah, and he reigned in Jerusalem three years. His mother’s name was Maakah daughter of Abishalom. He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been."

1 Kings 16:26 

“He followed completely the ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat, committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit, so that they aroused the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, by their worthless idols.”

1 Kings 16:31 

“He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him.”

1 Kings 22:52 

“He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, because he followed the ways of his father and mother and of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin.”

2 Kings 3:3 

“Nevertheless he clung to the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit; he did not turn away from them.”

2 Kings 10:29 

“However, he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit—the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan.”

2 Kings 13:2 

“He did evil in the eyes of the Lord by following the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit, and he did not turn away from them.”

2 Kings 13:11 

“He did evil in the eyes of the Lord and did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit; he continued in them.”

2 Kings 14:24 

“He did evil in the eyes of the Lord and did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit.”

2 Kings 15:9 

“He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as his predecessors had done. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit.”

2 Kings 15:18 

“He did evil in the eyes of the Lord. During his entire reign he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit.”

2 Kings 15:24 

“Pekahiah did evil in the eyes of the Lord. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit.”

2 Kings 15:28 

“He did evil in the eyes of the Lord. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit.”

 

TO PRAY

In some Baptist churches, those who’ve been separated from God by sin pray a prayer they call “The Sinner’s Prayer.” While we don’t see this moment in prayer as the place at which sins are washed away, we do believe in acknowledging our sins and asking God to lift them. Consider praying this portion of the sinner’s prayer (lines that are always applicable to our lives here on earth) together as a group: 

“Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer.”

 

TO DO

Homework: Look for the sin in your life. Where do you think the forces of sin and death might have taken territory in your heart? Make a list of your own, identifying places you’re most likely to give in to temptation, AND consider asking a friend or two to cast light on the sins you might be coddling or overlooking. You may decide to share one or two of these sins with your small group next week and have them pray for your freedom.