Abel and Cain: Classic Jealousy
2 For by it (faith) the elders obtained a good testimony. 4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.
Gen 4:4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 So the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 "If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it."
I. What We Do Can Please or Displease God (even our religious works)
A. God expects us to find out what pleases Him Col 1:10; Eph 5:10,17 (See outline on Pleasing God)
B. God is worthy of our best and is pleased when me make sacrifices that show His worth (cf Davidic Covenant 2Sam 7)
C. A righteous person (rightly related to God ) will do what is pleasing to God by offering their best (Rm 12:1-2 see Sacrifice outline)
D. Acceptable sacrifices will cost us a part if not all of our daily life (every day, every way) Failure to offer God our best is evil and not accepted by Him. It is good to do poorly, with wrong motives and without conviction, than not do, but better to do rightly Mal 1:8-10
II. We Can Chose to be Accepted by either God or Others (Jn 5:44; 12:43; Mt 6:2 not both)
A. If we want to be accepted by God, we must do what’s right. (Gen 4:7; 1Pt 2:5)
1. God’s acceptance is not unconditional (Mt 25:30, Js 1:12)
2. We must not have a higher nor lower standard than God (Rom 15:7; 2Cor 10:18)
3. Pouting (anger) reveals our pride: we want to please ourselves, not our Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, and Friend
B. Every day is a choice to master or be mastered by sin. If we don’t master it, it will rule over us. (See Deadly Desires outline) Js 4:1-2
C. No one can make us feel badly about ourselves without our permission, which we give them when we feel guilty. We punish ourselves rather than repent, then blame others for our pain. Somebody else is never our problem; we are. (Lk 10:16)
D. When we look to others for approval or acceptance (to meet our needs) we cut ourselves off from God’s approval failing both short and long term
E. God sees not only our actions but also our hearts, which are revealed when we reject warnings and complain about consequences Jer 17:10
III. We Are Our Brother’s Keeper (Rom 12:5; Eph 4:25)
A. How we act towards our brothers/sisters in Christ is a better reflection of our righteousness than religious behavior 1Jn 3:17
B. Sometimes God lets those who please Him most sacrifice the most (Faithfulness is the issue) 1Pt 2:20
C. Our actions have far-reaching consequences for ourselves, others and God
Questions for Reflection/Discussion/Response:
1. With what in your life is God well pleased? Is there any way He would be more pleased? How do you shift from duty to delight?
2. What are some of the clues that a person is looking to someone or something other than God for significance, security, acceptance?
3. What’s the relationship between self-worth and acceptance by God? How do we help or sabotage our worth and value?
4. How does our reaction to God not giving us what we want indicate the focus of our hearts? What’s the corrective?
5. Are you sacrificing to God your best, or are you making Him Lord of the Leftovers (See Malachi)? What can you offer Him?
Heb 12:28 we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear