A few years ago, a friend asked me if I would consider hosting a five day club in my backyard. I had several young children who loved the idea of a club. So, I said, “Sure.” I had heard about Backyard Bible Clubs when I was a kid. I knew a little about Child Evangelism Fellowship. I remembered knowing people that hosted clubs when I was a kid, myself. So, it sounded like a fun idea. I filled out the required paperwork and got my host packet. All I needed to do was go around the neighborhood and invite kids to come and enjoy an hour of stories and songs in my backyard. Then after the club was over provide a snack. Simple enough. I could do that.
Well, the kids were excited and we went out twice through the neighborhood talking to neighbors. We met new people, and invited a lot of people. But when the first day of club came, only my kids and two of the neighbor friends came. I was a little disappointed, but the volunteers, two teen girls, excitedly shared stories and songs and truth with the children. That first day as they taught I realized I knew the lessons they were teaching, the stories, the songs, and almost every word.
I had been taught these lessons, these stories and songs. When I was a young girl my parents were missionaries at a boarding school in Arizona. Each week on Wednesday nights there was a worship service, and all the missionary children went to their own chapel service. In those services every week I was taught the Good News lessons prepared by CEF. I loved those songs and stories. I still to this day remember them and the lessons.
One lesson that jumped out at me as the teenagers taught club in my backyard was the lesson of Sin. As soon as I heard the girls explain and teach the lesson, I remembered I had heard that truth over and over as a young girl. This is the lesson.
In every lesson that CEF teaches this is taught. Sin is breaking God’s Law. As I heard this over and over each day and watched as my children repeated the motions and words …
Sin is anything you think (point to head), say (point to mouth), or do (hands out palms up) that breaks (hands in a breaking stick motion) God’s laws.
I couldn’t help but wonder what are God’s laws. Now, just to make sure you understand how CEF works they don’t just teach kids to repeat phrases, they also teach them were in the Bible they get their ideas. They have the kids memorize verses too. So, here is the verse that supports this sin quote. 1 John 3:4 “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. 1 John 3:4
So, I have grown up in the church, and I had a pretty good idea of what sin was/is, but for some reason this “Sin is breaking God’s Law thing” kept me up at night. You see my children had begun asking me questions about the Word of God. Questions I wasn’t sure I had the answers to. One of the questions they had was when we memorized the ten commandments. They wanted to know and understand what the Sabbath day was? I gave them the answer I had from my years of attending church. My kids are smart and they ask smart and hard questions. So, I realized I needed to start studying so I could answer their questions.
The Law, breaking the law. Sin is breaking God’s law. What is God’s law? These were the questions in my mind. Are they the ten commandments? Are they somewhere in the New Testament? Did Jesus have a list of laws? Does it really matter anymore? Didn’t Jesus die for my sin, my lawlessness?
But, every time I asked a question it seemed that unknown to these CEF teenage missionaries they had a verse that answered the question. Yes, Jesus did die for me they said so, as they taught the familiar verse of John 3:16 and others to go with it. Yes, He paid for my sin, so I am free. So did it matter if I knew what the law of God was? Again, there is a verse that answered my question. Acts 3:19 “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;” Repent.
Repent. Do you know what this word means? The teenage girl teaching the lesson said to repent is to admit what you are doing is wrong and to stop doing it. Stop sinning.
Oh my goodness, now I am back to needing to know what God’s law is? IF sinning is breaking God’s law, and I need to repent of my sin, then I need to repent of breaking God’s law. I would like to tell you that in that one week of doing a five day club I figured out what God’s law is. But, the truth is it took me a couple years with the help of the Holy Spirit, my Bible, some really good sermons from various pastors who had no idea that God was using them, as well as, some friends for me to understand what God’s law is.
You see there is a word in the Hebrew language that means law (instructions, teachings). That word is Torah. That word is also the name of the first five books of the Bible. Because those five books are the word of God given to Moses for God’s people to live by, they are his instructions for Holy living. They are His Law for His people. These five books are filled with his rules, instructions, teachings of how we should live a set apart life for His glory and our benefit. They are loving instructions to us from our creator because He made us and knows what is best for us.
Because God never changes, He remains Holy always, His law never changes. So, that means sin never changes either. It is really that simple.
Sin is lawlessness.
A lesson I learned at a five day club in my backyard.