Bible Study: July 17, 2016
NASHVILLE (BP) -- This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week's Bible study is adapted from the YOU curriculum.
Bible Passages: Romans 1:18-19, 26-32; 3:23-24.
Discussion Questions: What's the big deal about sexual morality? What are practical steps people can take to make a habit of fleeing sexual temptation? How about renewing our minds?
Food for Thought:
Addiction is often associated with drugs and alcohol, but we can fill the empty place in our hearts with anything. Our "drug of choice" might be sex, pornography, artificial romance, shopping or spending, technology, unhealthy relationships, just about anything. Sexual sin is unique. It is as chemically and emotionally addictive as drugs. Sex strikes at the heart of what it means to be human. The Bible never identifies sexual sin as the worst or most serious of sins, but its relation to our bodies and souls is unequalled. The big deal about sexual sins is that they hurt us and the people we love more deeply than any other sins.
We live in a time when people are struggling to hold fast to sexual morality. How can we stand strong and fight against the onslaught of hypersexual messages and temptations? God gave us the answer in His Son, Jesus. Jesus healed and changed people because of their faith. One of Paul's key points in Romans 1 is that when people lack faith and choose to reject God's way, they inevitably engage in all kinds of sins, including sexual sins, and then must face the consequences.
Based on today's lesson, here are three facts we should hold close to our hearts:
Fact 1: God sees sin as sin.
Let's be honest: sin is sin. If we're trying to jump across the Grand Canyon, it really doesn't matter if we fall right off the cliff or make it halfway across the chasm. Either way we're going to plummet to our deaths. Our Holy God cannot tolerate any of our sin or rebellion.
"The righteous will live by faith" (Romans 1:17) is the theme of Romans. Romans 1:18-19 focuses on the problem of sin in the lives of Gentiles and by extension, the problem of sin in our lives too. The passage depicts God continually pouring out His wrath on people who refuse to believe. Refusing God leads to all forms of godlessness and unrighteousness (v. 18) including our most intimate relationships getting twisted.
Fact 2: God is grieved by our sexual revolution.
After giving a lengthy list of the sins of those who refuse to acknowledge God, Paul wrote the final verdict in Romans 1:26-32. The extended list of specific sins resulting from humanity's rejection of God begins with degrading passions. Passions are morally neutral, but here the word obviously was intended to indicate dishonorable passions. Sexual sins grieve God's heart because they enslave and devastate people.
Fact 3: God brings the solution for our sin.
No one is without sin; we all have sinned. And as sinners, we always and continually fall short of God's standard for us. The downward cycle into sexual sin begins when we refuse to acknowledge God's supremacy and His claim on our lives. But we can be justified through faith in Christ. Our only hope was for God to mercifully offer us a way of salvation in Jesus Christ, His Son. Our salvation indeed came at a price, but God Himself would pay the price to redeem us from sin.
The problem of all problems is sinful humanity under the wrath of God. Sin seems harmless in the beginning, but slowly it infects the mind and spirit. The depravity of humankind without God knows no limits. The more people deny the Creator, the more debased we become. Therefore, we must always guard against our sins of immorality and pursue holiness. Finding a way back into the light of God's presence and staying there begins with submission of our wills and a total "refresh" of our mind-sets. Replace negative behaviors with positive ones -- new beliefs and attitudes, restored relationships, and strong connections with God.
Intentionally focused on urban multicultural believers, YOU is biblically based with culturally relevant and affirming lessons to help people connect, grow, serve, and ultimately be engaged in impacting the world for Christ. This flexible, non-dated all-in-one quarterly resource offers weekly Bible study for leaders and learners, devotionals and teaching plans, as well as articles on hot topics and missions. For additional online teaching resources, visit LifeWay.com/YOU.
Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.