RAP SHEET 4/25/21
Sermon: Present Pain / Future Gain
Scripture: Genesis 4
ICE BREAKER: What is your favorite genre of movie and why? (superhero, drama, chick-flick, etc.)
In this Sunday's message, we began to look at the idea of Sacrifice. Old Testament Sacrifice has been misunderstood as barbaric and ignorant by most of today's intellectuals. So what is the point of Sacrifice and why does the Old Testament example show us an important truth about our own lives?
What is one of the hardest sacrifices you have made?
What was the outcome of that sacrifice?
In the story of Cain and Abel, we see God accepting the younger brother's sacrifice and rejecting the older brother's. Because of his rejection Cain is furious and murders his brother! What was the difference in this sacrifice?
The story gives us 2 clues.
The first is when it describes the actual sacrifices themselves. Cain brought SOME of his produce and Abel brought the FIRST of his flock. This demonstrates the INTENTION behind the offering.
The second is Abel's focus on God and Cain's focus on Abel. This demonstrates where their ATTENTION was focused.
Abel shows us that a proper sacrifice looks IN and looks UP! We look IN to evaluate our intentions. A proper sacrifice is giving up what is most valuable to us. Abel was willing to give up the best of his herd, trusting that God would secure a future blessing that was even better than what he could give. Then, Abel looked UP to God. He gave God his full attention. He was not comparing himself to the people around him, he was only focused on pleasing God.
In contrast, Cain looked Down and Out! He was playing the comparison game with his little brother. God did not have his full attention because he was focused on those around him. He also looked OUT instead of in to decide what offering to give. He did not evaluate his intentions behind his sacrifice, instead he gave what was expedient and safe.
We all have a hierarchy of values. The thing/things that we value the most we tend to organize our lives around. Often, we want to take the shortest route to the things that we value. We live in a culture of instant gratification!
We learned "How to Catch a Monkey" this week. Once the monkey reaches into the jar and grabs the treat it desires, it's fist can no longer escape the bottleneck of the jar. All the monkey has to do to get free is release the treat! However, it so desires instant gratification, that it will risk its life to get what it wants RIGHT NOW!
When we do not learn how to properly sacrifice, we become the monkey!
When our lives are not going well it is time to look IN and evaluate our values. What are we holding onto that is putting our futures at risk. What have we convinced ourself that we cannot live without? That is the thing that must be sacrificed!
HERE IS YOUR APPLICATION QUESTION FOR THE WEEK!
What is the ONE THING you need to let go of and sacrifice this week - and how will you practically do that?
Answering and following through with this question could improve your life DRAMATICALLY!
Ask God to make clear to you the things that need to be sacrificed. Spend time each day preparing your mind to fight to delay gratification. Make sure you are looking IN and looking UP and following God's plan for your life!