Week 3 - May 26th, 2019

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Week 3 - May 26th, 2019

Hebrews 11:4-6: “By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.” 

Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Faith That Endures For Kids

Day 1: 

Hebrews 11:4-6: “By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.” 

Abel’s sacrifice of worship to God was accepted. Abel knew he had sinned and offered to God according to what He required. We don’t know what he knew about what his actions symbolized, or what he knew about the Messiah coming to pay for sins, but we do know he had faith in God’s promises and obeyed, trusting that his sins would be forgiven and that God would keep His promises. Romans 10:17 says that “faith comes from hearing.” Cain and Abel both knew and understood what God wanted from them. They were not playing a guessing game with God.

How often do we claim to be seeking God, but are actually ignoring the truth He has already given us? When we say we are “seeking His will,” are we already actively doing the things we are directly commanded to? Are we being obedient? He, through “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” (1 Peter 1:3). As Elizabeth Elliot said, often all we need is to “Do the next right thing.” From a heart of meekness with repentance and praise, do the next right thing in faith that God is present and that our faith in Him and His promises is pleasing to Him.

Lord, help us to be spiritual sons of Abel, loving You, trusting Your promises, and humbly seeking to do what You have commanded us, with pure hearts eager to see Your face. Help us to worship Your Holy name in spirit and in truth, in word and in deed.

In Your Son’s name we pray, Amen.

Day 2: 

Hebrews 11:4-6: “By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.” 

While Abel humbly sacrificed to God according to His design, Cain attempted to do so by His own merit, in his own way. He was religious; he believed in God. He was the first person in the Bible who tried to use false religion to come to God in a way other than that which God prescribed for men to come. By trying to please God through all the hard work he had done, he was saying that his own good, his own effort, was enough. He ignored God’s command, and in his pride tried to come to God on his own terms. There was no humility, no sense of faith in God’s promise to forgive sins.

What one of us can say we have never had this attitude towards God? Every one of us that has tried and tried again to be good enough has failed utterly. In doing so, we are just like Cain. We struggle to submit ourselves to God, and to see ourselves the way He does. We so desperately want to be enough on our own that we would forsake His free gift of grace and adoption. We bring our baskets of hard-earned fruits, ignoring the precedent that He has set for our obedience. At the end of the day, it was not about the lamb. It was about their hearts: Abel’s was soft, humble, and full of faith in God to do what He had promised, while Cain’s was hard, prideful, and full of anger and jealousy.

Lord Jesus, help us to release the lie we tell ourselves that says we can ever measure up or come to You on our own terms. We are desperate for you. Desperate for Your grace, mercy, and never-ending kindness towards us. Help us to humble ourselves before you and to lift our empty hands in praise to You. Thank you that through faith you offer us Your own righteousness in the place of our filthy rags.

In Your Name and by Your merit we pray, Amen.

Day 3: 

Hebrews 11:4-6: “By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.” 

Every person who has ever lived is either a son of Abel, or a son of Cain. We either come to God in faith trusting His provision for salvation, or we struggle to find our own way to make ourselves acceptable to God. Deeply ingrained in us is the desire to be independent and self-sufficient. We so desperately don’t want to admit that we need help, that we’ll do almost anything to prove our own worth and ability. The amount of time we spend trying to gain the respect and approval of the people around us is a reflection of how we seek to interact with God. We put up layers of walls trying to seem as if we have it all together, but all of these walls are just fig leaves we fail to hide behind. God knows your heart. He knows your every thought. And He loves you in spite of it all.

 Our efforts are not the offering that God requires. Our prideful insistence that we can be good enough to please Him on our own are an insult to His omnipotent sovereignty, righteousness, and justice. God calls for a blood sacrifice, one that has already been offered by His Son, Jesus Christ. Our only requirement is to submit ourselves, trust in Jesus’ offering, and enter into relationship with this God. Your efforts are only an acceptable offering of praise once you have already found approval and favor with God through Jesus. Lay down your hard-earned fruits today, and trust Jesus as the only way to pardon and acceptance.

Lord Jesus, thank you for being the ultimate sacrifice, for nothing we can bring is enough to fulfill what is required. Help us to lay our efforts at your feet and cling to You as the only way. Help us to humble ourselves, admit our need, and trust Your free gift, Your complete offering, as the payment for the war we have made. Change our hearts to see the beauty of your grace and love toward us. Thank you for loving us so unconditionally and thoroughly.

In Christ’s Name and by His gift we pray, Amen.

Faith that Endures for Kids

Adam and Eve were the first people God made. After Adam and Eve sinned, they had to leave the garden of Eden. God is always fair and since they disobeyed, they couldn’t be with God anymore.

After all of that happened, Adam and Eve had two children. Their oldest son’s name was Cain and their younger son’s name was Abel. Cain was a farmer, he liked to grow fruits and vegetables for them all to eat. Abel was a shepherd and took care of their sheep.

A sacrifice is when you give an offering to God to pay for your sins. Cain and Abel knew that they were sinners; they had done things that God said not to, and so they brought a sacrifice to God to say sorry.

Cain brought fruits and vegetables that he had grown, and Abel brought a lamb. When Adam and Eve, their parents, had first sinned, God had shown them that to pay for their sins there had to be a sacrifice of a lamb. Cain brought fruits and vegetables because that’s what he had worked hard on, and he wanted to show God that he could make up for his sins on his own. Abel saw that he could never be perfect on his own, and so he brought an offering to God that was what God had asked for. He was obedient.

God accepted Abel’s sacrifice, because it was what He had asked for, but He did not take Cain’s sacrifice because Cain’s heart wasn’t right before God. This made Cain very angry, because he wanted to show God that he was good enough on his own. God asked Cain why he was angry, because if he would just do what God asked, it would be accepted, but that if he didn’t, he was sinning.

One day when Cain and Abel were both out in the fields, Cain killed his little brother. Why do you think he did this? Jealousy is when you want something that someone else has. Cain was jealous of Abel because God accepted Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s. 

God came to Cain and asked him where Abel was. God knew, but he wanted Cain to tell him. Cain told God that he didn’t know where his brother was; this is was a lie. God told Cain that because of what he had done to his brother, fruits and vegetables wouldn’t grow for him anymore, and that he couldn’t stay and live with his family.

This is such a sad story. Not just for Abel, who died, but for Cain. Cain wouldn’t listen to God; he didn’t do what God asked. Instead, he tried to earn acceptance from God on His own. No one has ever been able to be close to God except Jesus, because we’re all sinners. Jesus is the only person to ever live on earth that didn’t ever sin. Not one time! He could be close to God because he didn’t sin. Without Jesus, none of us can be with God.

Jesus brought God an offering, or sacrifice, for all of us, like Cain and Abel tried to do. But instead of fruits, or vegetables, or lambs, He gave Himself. Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins so that we could be with God. He did this for everybody, and because His sacrifice was perfect, because He had never sinned, it was powerful enough to pay for every person in the whole world’s sins! Because of Jesus, we don’t have to try to give God the right sacrifice, we just have to believe that Jesus’ sacrifice was enough to pay for all the bad things we’ve done. When we do this, we can be close to God and love Him and we’ll get to be with Him forever.