June 10, 2018 – Will You Not Be Accepted?
Preacher: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: Genesis 1-4
Genesis 4:1-8 (ESV)
1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” 2 And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”
8 Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.
We have trouble facing failure and shortcomings, so we will consider three questions to move us towards making changes in our lives.
I) Why are you angry?
- vv4-5 “…Cain was very angry, and his face fell”, v6 “why?”
- why do you hold onto anger? is it helping you avoid change?
II) Who is in charge?
- v7 “… sin is crouching at the door… you must rule over it”
- when one has shame, accusation effectively prevents change
III) How will you be accepted?
- v7 “if you do well, will you not be accepted?”
- the gospel is a redemptive story for you root your life and identity, where grace leads to change
Questions for Reflection
- How do you relate to challenges? Do you like being challenged? Why or why not?
- How do you experience failure? Do you consider yourself resilient? What are some typical though you have whenever you get a sense you could have done something better? Are you ok being less than perfect (or the things you do)?
- Are you concerned about failure? How does the potential to fail influence your thinking, decisions, actions?
- Where do you see anger in your life? Is it present regularly? What circumstances cause anger? If you don’t feel anger, can any of the negative feelings you have be traced in any way to anger?
- Are you able to let go of anger? What are reasons you hold on to anger? Think of a particular situation: if you could actually dismiss your feelings of anger, what would be the next things you would or should do?
- What forms of weakness leave you most prone to temptation? When are you most vulnerable to compromising your values or to acting in ways you regret?
- Who (actual people, or categories) is it most important for you to be accepted by? Why?
- Do you trust that because of what Jesus did, you are accepted by God? What do you still have trouble believing, or accepting?
- Having been accepted by God, you are set free to act. What keeps you from wanting to act in new ways? What incentives are there to hold onto an old identity, and the lifestyle that goes with it?