In Genesis 4, Cain and Abel both bring a sacrifice to God. God accepts Abel’s sacrifice but He rejects Cain’s. What was wrong with Cain's offering that made God reject it? We learn two things about Cain from the New Testament. First, we learn that he lacked faith. In Hebrews 11:4 we see that by faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain. Cain lacked faith. He was going through the religious rituals because that's what Dad said they were supposed to do. Abel had true, genuine faith. As a result of Abel's faith Scripture says he obtained the testimony that he was righteous. Now that would tell me that Cain was not righteous. The problem of Cain wasn't the gift he offered. The problem with Cain was his heart. He lacked faith. Not only that, John tells us in 1 John that Cain's deeds were evil. So what was the problem with Cain's sacrifice? It wasn't the gift that was the problem. According to the New Testament, the problem was Cain's heart. You see, my friend, listen. If your heart is tainted so is your gift. Whatever you're giving to the Lord, you finances, your time, your talents, your singing, if it comes from a heart that's not right with God, then your gift is unacceptable to God.
You cannot separate the gift of the worshipper from the heart of the worshipper. Today we tend to evaluate worship based on the external. You might leave church saying, “Worship was good today!” If I were to ask you why you thought that, you would give me a lot of external answers - the band was good, the lighting was good, I liked the songs. In the same way you might leave church going, “I didn't like worship today,” and you would again give me a bunch of external reasons as to why because we tend to evaluate worship based on the external. We can look and see someone with their hands in the air, an expression on their face that looks like they're in excruciating pain, and tears streaming down their cheeks, and go, “They're really be worshipping.” Maybe, maybe not. In the same way we might look at someone with their hands in their pockets and their lips barely moving and think, “They really need to learn how to worship.” Maybe, maybe not. The problem is that when we evaluate someone else's worship we end up judging their heart. Folks, we can't do that. We don’t know their heart. We should evaluate worship but there’s only one person's worship that we can evaluate effectively and that is our own.
After Adam and Eve sin in the garden, they experience guilt and shame, realizing that they were naked. They tried to cover their physical nakedness by sewing fig leaves together. Adam and Eve attempted to cover their physical nakedness on their own and it was woefully inadequate. This is an incredible picture today of man’s attempt to cover their own spiritual nakedness on their own. In the same way that Adam and Eve’s attempt to cover their own physical nakedness was insufficient, any attempt you and I make to cover our spiritual nakedness is just as insufficient. God kills an animal to make Adam and Eve clothing. That's also what God did for you and I spiritually. His Son became the blood sacrifice when He dies on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. When I put my faith totally in what Jesus already did for me, God covered my spiritual nakedness with the righteousness of Christ. So when God looks at me, He now sees me through the righteousness of His Son. That's why God could declare me righteous. Not because I did anything, but because the righteousness of Jesus was put on my account.
In Genesis 3:15, God makes the first prophecy that he would send a Messiah who would deal Satan a fatal blow. This begins an all-out assault by Satan to keep this prophecy from happening. He has Cain, the unrighteous son, kill Abel, the righteous son, but it doesn't work because God raises up Seth and the bloodline of the Messiah continues through Seth and ultimately passes on to Jacob. Esau desires to kill Jacob. That's Satan trying to keep the Messiah from coming but it doesn't work. The bloodline moves all the way to David. So Satan has King Saul try to kill David. Satan then raises up Haman with a plan that would exterminate every Jew on planet earth in one day. But God raises up Esther and foils the plan of Satan. After Jesus’ birth, Satan tries to kill the Messiah by having King Herod kill all the babies in Bethlehem, This too does not work. We see a time in Jesus' life in Nazareth when an angry crowd takes Him to the brow of a hill to throw Him to His death. This too was yet another attempt by Satan to stop this prophecy from happening. But it doesn’t work. The prophecy first predicted in Genesis 3:15 comes to fulfillment at Calvary because the cross settled it forever.
Even as God dishes out the consequences to Adam and Eve’s sin, He unveils His redemptive plan. In Genesis 3:15 God says to Satan, “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed.” The word seed can be singular or plural. Here it is singular because He now describes the seed with a masculine, singular pronoun. He is not speaking of a group of people. He is speaking of one individual person when He says, “He shall bruise you on the head, Satan, and you shall bruise Him on the heel.” Bruising the heel is a temporary wound. Bruising the head is a fatal wound. This is God predicting that the Messiah would come. And though Satan would temporarily wound the Messiah, He would deal Satan a fatal blow. You can take that prediction and draw a straight line right to the cross because that's when Genesis 3:15 was fulfilled. When Jesus the Messiah came to the earth, Satan bruised His heel. He was crucified. But that wasn't a fatal wound. It was only temporary. Three days later He came out of the grave. But in that wound, Jesus, through the cross, dealt Satan a deathblow when He died to pay the penalty in full for every sin that would ever be committed by every person.
After Adam and Eve sin in the garden, not only do they first respond by trying to hide from God, their second response is to shift the blame for their actions unto others. When God asks Adam if he had eaten from the forbidden tree, Adam points his finger at Eve – she gave it to me. But he doesn’t just blame Eve. He blames God saying, “The woman whom You gave me, God, she gave me from the tree and I ate.” Eve does the same thing by blaming the serpent. The New Testament teaches that we should take personal responsibility for our sin. James 1:13 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, I am being tempted by God. For God cannot be tempted by evil and He Himself does not tempt anyone.” When you choose to sin you can't blame Satan. You can't blame the world's culture. When you choose to sin you have only one person that you can blame. Look at the end of the verse. “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.” Every time you sin, and reap the consequences to that action, you really only have one person that you can blame and that's yourself because at the end of the day you chose to sin.
After Adam and Eve sin in the garden their first response is to try to hide themselves from God among the trees of the garden. Can you imagine playing hide and seek with God and thinking you can win? Let's be honest. We do the same thing. Many Christians have a secret sin. And the reason you keep committing that sin over and over again is because you have somehow convinced yourself that nobody knows about your sin except for you. But if you think you have hid your sin from God, you are as foolish as Adam and Eve playing hide and seek with God among the trees of the garden.
So what are we to do? We are to confess our sins. 1 John 1:9 says that if we confess our sin -- In other words, if we will agree with God about our sin, God is faithful and just to forgive us. Just means will He forgive every single sin you commit. Faithful means will He forgive you every single time you commit it. You don't need to hide from God. When there's sin in your life You can come to Him and confess your sin. He will forgive every sin you commit and He will forgive it every single time. Let’s quit playing “hide and seek” with God
Raising kids, especially teens, can be difficult seen in the case of a mother of a teenage son who was just pulling her hair out over her teen’s disrespect and rebellion. Fearing a nervous breakdown, her husband whisked her away on a surprise trip to Greece, just the two of them. A few days after their departure, the teenage son received a post card from his parents who were overseas. It read, “Son, we are standing high atop a cliff where ancient Spartan women use to hurl their defective children onto the rocks below. Wish you were here! Love, Mom and Dad.”
Allow me to offer 10 very practical and wise helps from Scripture when it comes to raising kids of all ages. First, spend time with your children (Ephesians 5:16). Second, let your kids know often that you love them just as they are (Romans 15:7). Third, discipline your children as they need it (Proverbs 13:24; 22:15). Fourth, pray for your children regularly (2 Thessalonians 1:11). Fifth, always be honest with your children (Proverbs 12:17). Sixth, love your children’s mother (Ephesians 5:25). Seven, take time to listen to your children (Proverbs 1:5), Eight, encourage your children often (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Nine, celebrate your children’s achievements (Romans 12:145). And number ten, be flexible with your children (Ephesians 4:2)
We all have experienced loneliness as did individuals in Scripture. With each of their stories we learn a lesson to help us deal with our own loneliness. Elijah found himself alone in cave in 1 Kings 19. The cause of his loneliness was self-pity. The lesson we learn is that in times of loneliness we need to lead a full life. Joseph found himself alone in a pit in Genes 37. The cause of his loneliness was betrayal. The lesson we learn is that in times of loneliness we need to believe that God has a purpose. Hannah found herself alone at a banquet in 1 Samuel 1. The cause of his loneliness was infertility. The lesson we learn from her life is that we need to pour our hearts out to God. Ruth found herself alone in a land in Ruth 1. The cause of her loneliness was grief. The lesson we learn is that in times of loneliness we need to lean on a support system of friends. Paul found himself alone in a jail in 2 Timothy 4. The cause of his loneliness was death. The lesson we learn is that in times of loneliness we need to deal with our circumstances head on. Loneliness can become our best friend if we allow it to draw us closer to God.
Jesus was tempted to provide for us an example in how to deal with temptation. He recites scripture all three times. Think about it. Jesus is the Son of God, right? So here's my question. Did He need to quote scripture to avoid sinning? No. He was God. He could have just turned Satan into a toad. That's what I would have done. But instead, all three times He does the same thing. Why? Because He was giving us an example. There is no better defense you have when it comes to resisting temptation than the Bible. The more you read the Bible, the more equipped you'll be to resist temptation. The more you learn the truths of the Bible, the better equipped you will be to resist temptation. And the more you memorize it, the better equipped you will be to resist temptation. We have done something in the church today that is foolish. We have relegated scripture memory to the children's ministry. I know what's going through your mind. “I can't do that. I'm too old.” May I right now declare this a no-excuse zone when it comes to memorizing scripture? And don't tell me you are serious about resisting temptation if you won't. It is not just for children! It is the very example of Jesus for every believer.