This object lesson teaches that we should not try to cover up our sin but instead recognize that it has been covered by the blood of Jesus.
- Psalm 32:1-5; 103:12
- 1 John 1:7
- Foot air pump (like you use to pump up a bicycle tire)
- Two large balloons (the same color)
- Permanent marker with a wide tip
- Piece of red felt or other fabric (at least 12”x12”)
- Piece of dark blue felt or other fabric (at least 12”x12”)
- Tape (duct tape is preferable)
- Straight pin or push pin
- Set up the table at the front of the teaching area. Try to elevate it so that it will be above the eye level of your participants.
- Place the tablecloth over the table so that it hangs down to the floor and prevents participants from seeing what is happening behind it.
- Write the word, “SIN,” on one of the balloons (while deflated) in bold letters so that participants will be able to read it when you hold it up.
- Put the other balloon on the nozzle of the air pump. You may want to tape it on to make sure that it doesn’t fly off when it gets some air in it.
- Hide the air pump on the floor behind the table so that it cannot be seen.
- Tuck the balloon that is attached to the nozzle underneath the tablecloth. If you can get it to stay in the middle of the table, that’s great. If not, you may need to tape the hose to the table. Make sure that participants won’t be able to see the bulge caused by the air pump nozzle and balloon.
- Lay the pieces of fabric and the 2nd balloon close by for use during the lesson.
- Practice the lesson so that you are sure the participants won’t be able to see what you are doing behind the table. (NOTE: if your air pump makes noise when you pump it, you might need to pump more slowly or oil the parts.)
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “All of us sin sometimes, right?” (Look for agreement. If you don’t get agreement, you can have a volunteer read Romans 3:23.)
- “God is not surprised when we sin. He wants us to quickly admit it and start obeying Him again.”
- “Unfortunately, what a lot of us do is we hide our sin from the people we love and even from God sometimes.”
- “King David in the Old Testament was very close to God most of his life, but even he tried to hide his sin sometimes.” (Ask volunteer to read Psalm 32:1-5.)
- “David had done something very bad. He had stolen something from a friend and then had his friend killed to hide what he had done.”
- “For a long time after he did this terrible thing, he tried to hide it.”
- “But then, a good friend of David’s – the prophet Nathan – came to David and told him that he knew AND GOD KNEW what David had done.”
- “When David heard this from his good friend, He confessed his sin and asked for forgiveness. Then he wrote this Psalm.”
- “Notice that he says, ‘When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night, your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.’”
- “David was saying that he was miserable the entire time he tried to hide his sin.”
- “He was being eaten up on the inside even though he tried to pretend that everything was okay on the outside.”
- “You see, many times when we sin, we are so afraid of what will happen if people find out that we try to hide it.”
- “Sometimes we say that we hide the bad things we do and that it is like trying to ‘sweep them under a rug.’”
- “Have you heard this expression before?” (Look for responses. If they haven’t heard it, explain that sweeping sins under the rug means that we try to hide them where people can’t see them – like sweeping dirt under a rug instead of really cleaning it up.)
- “Let’s say that this balloon (show the balloon that isn’t attached to the foot pump) represents our sin.”
- “When we are afraid of the punishment or consequences of our sin, we might try to ‘sweep them under the rug’ so that no one will be able to see our dirt, our filth.” (Lay the balloon on the table at about the same spot where the hidden balloon is. Then cover it with your ‘rug,’ which will be your dark blue piece of fabric.)
- “But you know what happens when we try to hide our sins, to sweep them under the rug?” (Listen for responses.)
- “They GROW!” (As you say this, begin to secretly pump air into the hidden balloon, letting it get bigger and bigger.)
- “Sins are like mushrooms. They grow best in the dark.”
- “When we hide our sins, Satan will tempt us to sin more.”
- “He will try to get us to lie about our sins and to do even bigger sins to hide what we’ve already done – like when David killed his friend just so that he wouldn’t have to admit that he stole something from him.” (Keep pumping until the balloon is an impressive size under the dark fabric.)
- “In darkness, our sins get bigger and bigger until they are impossible to hide.”
- “Then, they start to show even though we’ve done our best to cover them up.” (Pump balloon a few more times, until it lifts the cover so high that the balloon is clearly visible to everyone in the room.)
- “But you know what? God doesn’t want us to hide our sins. He wants us to confess them.”
- “In our Bibles, God tells us that he doesn’t want our sins covered up – He wants them covered!”
- “You see, Adam and Eve tried to cover up their sin by wearing fig leaves, and the ancient Hebrews tried to cover up their sin by sprinkling animal blood over the box (the Arc of the Covenant) that held God’s law.”
- “But neither of these were good ways to cover sin.”
- “Fig leaves are itchy, and animal blood only covered up the Hebrews’ sin for a short time.”
- “So, God provided a better way to cover our sins. He sent His son Jesus.”
- “When Jesus died on the cross, His perfect blood (perfect because Jesus never sinned) covered our sins for ever!” (Cover the dark blue fabric with the red fabric.)
- “In fact, the blood of Jesus does more than just cover our sins; it cleans them.” (Have volunteer read 1 John 1:7.)
- “So, it’s much better than just covering our sins.” (Have volunteer read Psalm 103:12.)
- “How far do you think the east is from the west?” (Listen to responses.)
- “It’s pretty far, since the east and the west will never meet.”
- “The blood of Jesus first covers our sins, and then Jesus removes them completely.” (Use the pin to pop the balloon through the fabric.)
- “Now we can understand what David says in his psalm.” (Have a volunteer read Psalm 32:1-2.)
- “We are blessed when our sins are covered by the blood of Christ.”
- “So don’t try to cover up your sins; if you believe that Jesus is your Savior, then He has already covered them with His blood, removed them as far as the east is from the west and forgiven them so that they won’t count against you.”