Summary: The evils of envy that lead to self-destructive habits
Lesson 6 – The First Child’s Sin – Genesis 4:1-26
For The Teacher’s Preparation
1. Aim: To lead the people to know the difference between hypocritical and acceptable gifts to God so they can give with a wholesome attitude.
2. Explanation of the Aim: One’s motives are very important when people bring their gifts to place in the offering every Sunday morning. In our lesson today we are given an example of Cain’s hypocritical offering and Abel’s pleasing gift to God. Cain presented his sacrifice with a careless, grudging and reluctant attitude. However, Abel gave his gift to the Lord out of faith, love and reverential obedience. Consequently, God rejected Cain’s offering but accepted that of his brother’s Abel. Let us learn to avoid any hypocritical attitudes in our service toward God. Trust the Lord to help you to always give to God out of heart of love, thankfulness and reverence.
3. Bible Story: Some people mistakenly believe that the quantity of their giving will determine their future reward in heaven. However, we know that God looks on the heart of each person who gives of their service, their money or their time. We will all be rewarded on the basis of our motives for service. Cain’s offering was rejected by God because of it was presented with a poor attitude, motivation and a lack of devotion. Cain’s gift was a reflection of his selfish lifestyle. A person’s true character eventually is manifested in the way they serve God, either grudgingly or out of love for the Lord. Abel, in contrast, offered his sacrifice to the Lord out of loving devotion, faith and humble thankfulness. God is not nearly as interested in what we present to Him as why we give.
4. Prepare to Teach: The INTRODUCTION helps the people learn the problems involved with hypocritical gifts. Ask the people to describe the motivations and actions of a hypocrite as seen in the Pharisees who gave to impress people. Then ask the people to describe how the Lord Jesus was so pleased with the offering of the widow and her two mites because she gave all that she had. (Luke 21:2-12) The BIBLE STORY focuses on the contrasts between Cain’s unacceptable offering and the acceptable sacrifice presented by his brother Abel. In order to express his anger, Cain killed his brother Abel. God teaches us that our motives are even more important than our gifts of services. The MEANING FOR OUR LIFE should be a time when the people can suggest acceptable motives in contrast to those which are selfish.
Class Time (Begin With Prayer)
Read Luke 21:2-12 so the people can see the way the Lord Jesus commends a person’s motives more than their gift. Tell the story of the rich man who gave many gold coins in the offering to impress people in the temple. Ask the people how this is a demonstration of a Cain like hypocritical offering. Discuss how some people may also be guilty of doing the same kind of thing in their giving, their service or in their attitudes toward helping people. Ask the people to compare how the poor widow gave an acceptable offering in the same way that Abel did. Discuss how both the widow and Abel’s gifts pleased the Lord. How can we be sure that our motives are pleasing to the Lord? How can we avoid having any trace of hypocrisy in our motivations toward serving God? What are some of the ways that people in the church disappoint God with their people pleasing attitudes?
Bible Story – Genesis 4:1-26
1. God became angry toward Cain’s sacrifice because it was given with an attitude of irreverence, unbelief and begrudging service. In contrast the Lord was pleased with Abel’s sacrifice because it was given out of faith, love and obedience. When we give to the Lord out of our time, resources or service, let us follow the fine example of Abel who pleased God. Abel gave in the will of God with an attitude of reverencing the Lord with the best of what he had. Cain, on the other hand, gave out of a sheer sense of necessity so that he would not be publicly shamed for his stinginess. When we give to God we should acknowledge that everything we have belongs to Him. Our gifts are an expression of the fact that God is our Ruler who owns everything we have.
2. When Cain noticed that God was not pleased with his sacrifice he became unjustly angry. People who are not willing to deal with their own sinful attitude express this either through anger or fear to cover up their guilty conscience. The Bible says that Cain’s countenance witnessed against him. Resentful people have a hard time masking their hidden feelings of irritation, bitterness and displeasure that they do not get their way. Cain should have confessed his wrong motivations. Instead, Cain expresses his anger toward God for not accepting his sacrifice. Cain tries to hint that God is somehow partial and unfair in his dealings. These unconfessed feelings of resentment led Cain to commit the murder of his brother Abel. People who are not willing to confess and forsake their sins will get into all kinds of trouble. Jealous and envious people often take out their frustrations on godly people. Righteous people need to take comfort in the fact that the Lord fights the battles for those who will cast all of their cares on Him.