Romans 1:16, 17, 22-32; 2:1-10, 17-23; 3:1, 2, 10-18, 23
Salvation comes by faith in Christ. To receive the gift of eternal life, we must admit our helpless condition.
Bibles, paper, pencils, songbooks
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
A. Describe a time when you were embarrassed. Was it something you said or something you did? Would the same situation embarrass you today?
B. Listen carefully to others as they share. Ask yourself, “What causes people to be embarrassed? What is going on inside that leads to embarrassment?”
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
A. Should you ever be embarrassed by your church? Yes? No? Why or why not?
B. Thought Questions
Invite someone to read Romans 1:16, 17 aloud. Paul was not ashamed of the gospel. How does that compare with some of the answers in Part A above?
- Paul was not ashamed of the gospel, but he was probably embarrassed by the conduct of the church members.
- Embarrassment seems to relate more to a feeling that a person has done something bad.
- Shame seems to relate more to a feeling that a person is bad.
- We should not be ashamed of our religion, but we should be embarrassed by our conduct if it is wrong.
- We should all be embarrassed by our sinful lives and unashamed to admit our need for Jesus.
In Romans 1:22-32, Paul describes the depths of sin people fell into. Does this describe people today? If so, how? Do you think today’s society is better or worse?
- “They exchanged the glory…of God for images made to look like…man, birds, animals and reptiles” (vs. 22, 23).
- “God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones” (v. 26).
- “They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice” (v. 29).
- “[They are] slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil...” (v. 30).
- “They not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them” (v. 32).
Before you start to think that you are not as bad as the people described in Romans 1, read Romans 2:1-10. Then ask yourself, “Do these things apply to my life?”
- Passing judgment on others for things you do yourself
- Thinking that you are better than others and will therefore escape God’s judgment
- Showing contempt for God’s kindness which is meant to lead you to repentance
- Ignoring truth and living a selfish life
- Believing that God shows favoritism
Paul’s message comes through clearly in Romans 3: No one is righteous. In verses 10-18, Paul quotes from the Old Testament to make his point. Read the passages in their original context and reflect on their meaning.
- Psalm 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Ecclesiastes 7:20
- Psalm 5:9
- Psalm 140:3
- Psalm 10:7
- Isaiah 59:7, 8; Psalm 36:1
Applying the Message of Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. After several minutes, report back to the larger group with your findings.
Option 1: Your teenager says to you, “Why do you pick on me? I’m not as bad as you were when you were my age!” Based on what you’ve learned from Romans in this lesson, how would you respond?
Option 2: Look through a songbook or hymnal and try to find songs that bring out the truth of Romans 1:17: “The righteous will live by faith.” Read some of the lyrics to the group.
Option 3: Create a short skit illustrating why we must admit our sinfulness to receive freedom in Christ through faith. Use the scenario of a prisoner who receives a visit from someone who talks with and then frees him or her.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
A. Repentance comes from recognizing the sinfulness in our hearts. Reflect quietly on your own life. Do you struggle to have a truly repentant heart?
B. Pair up with one other person and pray together that God will help you admit your sinfulness and give you the hope and freedom that comes from committing your life to God.
Next Week’s Scripture Focus