(This object lesson is
taken from an idea submitted by Linda Demant and used with thanksgiving and with
considerable variation. This illustration is very effective and unforgettable. Can be used just
as well with adults!)
Begin by explaining God's attitude towards sin. What does God think of sin? Does He hate it? Does He want it in His presence? What does God think of sin in you? God sometimes uses the word "abomination" to describe His attitude toward sin (Leviticus 18:22,26,29). The word means "detestable, something extremely disgusting and sickening." It is this aspect that we will seek to illustrate.
How many of you like brownies? Let's mix up some brownies right now.
Have everything ready: a mixing bowl, a mixing spoon, a measured amount of water, a measured amount of oil, an egg, etc. Pour most of the brownie mix into the bowl but save about 1/5 of the package for later. The children can help by pouring in the water and oil and by taking turns mixing it together. Don't put the egg in yet.
Once it is mixed see if any of the children want to taste it. Have some plastic spoons and put just a little bit on the child's spoon. When we did this most of the children wanted to taste it, but not all. We did not put in the egg because eating raw eggs is not recommended. Ask them how they liked the raw brownies (most thought it tasted good). After this taste test, you can then add the egg and mix it in.
At this point I said, "So far we have followed the directions perfectly, but sometimes you can add other things. For example, some people like to add nuts or chocolate chips. I have four other things I would like to add."
Make sure you conceal these four other ingredients so that the children do not see them ahead of time.
Here are the four extra ingredients I added (and for some of these you could really hear the moans and groans of strong disapproval and disgust):
1) I took a can of cat food and added it to the mix.
2) I took a hair brush full of human hair and added many hairs into the mixing bowl.
3) I took a handheld vacuum which had sucked up a bunch of dust and other items and emptied the dust into the mixing bowl.
4) I had two stink bugs which we had found in our house and added them to the mixing bowl.
Note: You don't have to use these items. You could find other disgusting things such as earthworms, dead spiders, a little car oil, etc. Choose whatever would bring a strong reaction.
Mix all these things into the brownie mix.
Now, would any of you like to taste the brownie mix now? [I had no volunteers.] Why don't we improve this batter by adding the rest of the brownie package. (Add the rest in.) Did this make it any better? No, this polluted brownie mix is totally unacceptable to us. It's only good for the garbage bag.
There is something that is unacceptable to God, and that is SIN. Sometimes sin doesn’t bother us as much as it should, but sin does bother God. He hates it. Your attitude toward this disgusting brownie mix helps us to understand God's attitude toward sin. God hates sin so much. When all of our sins were put on Jesus Christ, God the Father had to turn away from His own beloved Son (Matt. 27:46) because sin is so terrible to God. God is holy and must be separate from sin (just like you wanted nothing to do with this polluted brownie mix).
Would someone like to help me and take out all of the bad things from this brownie mix? [The students will understand that it's impossible to do this because the bad things are all mixed in with the good ingredients and it is impossible to separate them.] In the same way, it's impossible for us to get all of our sins out of our life. Sin is so much a part of us that we cannot separate ourselves from our sins, no matter what we try to do. The good news is that God is able to remove our sins: "And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin (1 John 3:5). When we believe in Jesus and receive Him as our Savior, God forgives us of all our sins (Acts 10:43). Thank God that we have a Savior who can take away our sins, all of them!
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