Summary: This sermon deals with choosing to have the attitude of Jesus Christ as we face the challenges the New Year Will certainly bring.

Coming At You With An Attitude

Genesis 4:1-16 Acts 16:11-16 Text Philippians 2:1-11

Tell the person next to you, “in 2003, I will be coming at you with an attitude.” We can be assured that 2003 is going to bring a host of situations in our lives. There are going to be some incredible blessings to enter our lives and into the life of New Life Fellowship Church, and there will also be some incredible losses. Some of us will find the man or woman of our dreams, while others will see a relationships that will come to an end.

Some of us will be blessed with great jobs, while others will head to the unemployment line. Some of us will have babies born to us, and others of us will have our families visited by death. Some of us will rejoice at graduations, and others will be disappointed at failing grades. Some of us will be miraculously healed by the touch of God, and some will discover diseases silently spreading in our bodies.

Some of us will be tempted to sin but will say no, and others will yield to sin and bring a lot of pain into their lives and the lives of those who love them. Some of us are going to be set on fire in our relationship to God, and others will be distracted by the things of this world and begin to grow cold.

Which ever one or combination of these things that happens to us, it is going to cause us to come at one another with an attitude. One thing nobody can give us, and nobody can take away from us is our attitude. We are the ones who choose it, and we are the ones who change it.

In Philippians chapter 2 verse 5 in the NIV , it states “ Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” In the King James it says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” In the New American Standard it says, “have this attitude in yourselves, that was also in Christ Jesus.”

What’s going to be your attitude when God sends opportunities for service or ministry your way this year? Will you see them as a burdens, something that’s interrupted your schedule, or something you hope somebody else will do? Or will you see them as an opportunity to further the cause of Christ in your life and in the lives of others?

One day a lady by the name of Lydia had walked outside the city gates of Philippi in order to attend a woman to woman prayer meeting. The women’s meeting was interrupted by two traveling preachers. They shared with the women the gospel of Jesus Christ, and how he was the very Messiah they had been discussing and looking forward to coming into the world.

As they were speaking, God opened Lydia’s heart as she listened to the men speak. She had never met or seen the men before. She gave her life to Christ and was baptized along with several members of her household. She then invited the men, Paul and Silas to come to her house so that she could put them up for they time they were there in the city of Philippi.

Paul and Silas, said, “thank you, but no thank you.” Now most of us would have graciously accepted their no response and said, “well God, at least I was willing to offer to help and you saw my heart.” But inside we’re really thinking, “thank God I don’t have to do that extra cooking and cleaning.”

What separates Lydia from many of us today is that Lydia then came at them with an attitude. It was not the attitude of rejection, but the determination to have the mind of Jesus Christ which she just heard them preach about. She asked them again, “Come on and let me be a servant to you. Surely you must be tired and need a place to stay.” Again they said “Thanks but no thanks. We’ll be alright”.

She came back at them with an attitude one more time. She said, “now look here, I heard you preach that when Jesus comes into a person’s life there is a change. I heard you say that we are brothers and sisters in Christ. Now look, if you consider me a believer in the Lord, then come and stay at my house.” Paul and Silas, knew they had run into a person with an attitude problem for the cause of Jesus Christ. They gave up and went home with her to eat the chicken, the collard greens, and the sweet potatoes. People have been inviting preachers to dinner ever since Lydia.

Lydia did not know when she went to that woman to woman meeting, that her life was going to be forever changed. God is not going to put a big sign for us to see in 2003 that will alert us to the fact that this one little decision we make today, will alter the destiny of our lives. You do not know what a lifesharing class, a pioneer class, a woman to woman meeting, a marriage sensation class, a single’s meeting or a church service might do for you and your family.

Lydia did not go to the meeting with plans on her and her household being baptized. But it happened. She also did not intend to be used by God in providing for the needs of two of the great apostles in the church, but it happened. It happened because of the attitude she possessed. She did not mind God interrupting her schedule in order to do His will. Pray this year that the Lord will interrupt our plans to see the opportunities he brings into our lives on a daily basis.

In our Old Testament reading, we found another person coming at somebody with an attitude. We make a big deal about the first baby being born each year. But imagine being the first baby ever born. It’s just you, your mom, dad and God. That was the situation when Cain was born to Adam and Eve. Cain was the first baby to need a diaper changed. He was the first to take baby steps. His name meant “possession” or “gift”. Adam and Eve saw this little child as a precious gift from God.

Cain eventually had to share his parents with a brother by the name of Abel and many other sisters and brothers. Whereas Cain’s name had such a wonderful meaning attached to it, Abel’s name meant vanity or nothingness. Now based on their names, you would have thought that Cain would grow up to be somebody special and that Abel would not amount to much of anything.

Can you imagine each time you showed up, somebody saying, “oh here comes nothingness. Or hey nothing, where you going today.” Some of us here like Abel, have been called nobodies and nothing. Somebody has told you, you never will amount to anything. You’re just like you no good daddy or your no good mother. People call you “nothing” when you’re on the team just because you’re on the bench. They forget, they never even made the team, so how can they talk about you sitting on the bench, when they never even made the effort to try out. People will try to make you feel like nothing because of envy or jealousy.

When these things happen to you in 2003, you need to be prepared to come back at them with an attitude. Abel did not let some name calling get him down. He chose to get an attitude. The attitude he started with was an attitude toward God. When it came time to give an offering to the Lord, Abel was not content to give God just whatever he might have on hand in order to get by.

Abel’s attitude in his life centered on being thankful to God. People could call him what they liked, but he knew as long as everything was alright between him and God, he was more blessed than they ever could be.

Abel went and got some of the fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock and brought it to the Lord. In other words, he sacrificed the best of the best that he had to demonstrate his love for the Lord. The Scriptures tells us that the Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering. Abel had come to the Lord with an attitude of nothing but the best from my life is worthy to be offered to you. Abel did not have the favor of the people, but he did have the favor of the Lord.

Cain likewise came to the Lord with an attitude. If you look closely at the text you will discover that nothing special is stated about Cain’s offering to the Lord in Genesis verse 4:3. Cain just sort of offered whatever happened to be on hand to the Lord. He did just enough to try to stay on speaking terms with the Lord. There was no real sacrifice on Cain’s part. He knew it and the Lord knew it. His attitude was not what it should have been. It certainly did not resemble the attitude which would later be revealed in Christ Jesus.

God then came to the sacrifices with an attitude. God looked with great favor upon Abel and his offering. God’s attitude toward Cain and his offering was not very positive. Cain immediately got angry and started looking depressed. How could God accept his brother’s offering, his brother the “nothing” and not accept his offering when he was the first one to be born? God just is not fair. Cain was willing to blame everybody but himself.

God saw what was happening in Cain, and told him how to fix the problem. “Look, all you need to do is what you know is the right thing to do. Change your attitude and do the right the right thing. You will be accepted. However let me warn you, if you follow the course you are on, you will regret it. Sin is crouching at you door and it desires to take control of your life, but you must master it.”

Every time we need an attitude adjustment, sin or Satan is right there cheering us on to hold on to our attitude . You’ve got a right to be angry. If I were you, I’d get them back before the sun goes down. How dare they overlook you like that. You are just as good as all the rest of them if not better. You really ought to give them a piece of your mind.

All of us are going to face temptation in 2003 to give in to a bad attitude. The quicker we change and allow Jesus to have his way in us, the better our lives are going to be. Cain just would not let it go. He became jealous of his brother’s relationship to God.

“How dare God choose him, over me.” He came to his brother with an insincere attitude. I can imagine him telling Abel, “Look the other day when I was working in my fields, I found the perfect place for you to allow your animals to graze. Follow me out to the fields so that I can show you exactly where it is.”

Abel follows his brother into the fields. Abel can stand for the proposition that not everybody who comes to us with a joyful attitude is looking out for us. He had no inclination that his brother had an ulterior motive. This is why we sometimes need an outside opinion regarding other people. Others may be able to see some things we cannot. At least be willing to consider when others tell us, that person is not on your side.

Cain and Abel went as brothers into the field. But when we allow ourselves to be ruled by our own desires, all kind of things can happen. It does not matter that we are related by blood or by marriage. A person determined to get even or to get what they want, will lie, will rape, will abuse and will kill even another family member.

Sometimes we ask the question, “how could they do such a thing.” Just remember it happened again and again in their mind, before it became reality. That’s why we are told, have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus.

Maybe they stopped to rest and while Abel had his back to him, Cain may have sneaked up on him and smashed his head with a rock. Maybe they were walking with Abel in front, and Cain took a club and smashed his brother splitting his skull. The very sin that God had told Cain he must master had indeed won out in the battle for Cain’s soul. If we examined ourselves this morning. What would God point to in our lives and say, “look if you do not master that temptation, it will destroy you in 2003.”

God knew that Cain had struck his brother Abel, but God asked Cain all the same, “Where is your brother Abel.” Cain immediately came at God with an attitude. “I mean you’re the one who thought he was so great. So what are you saying, “I’m supposed to be watching over him. It’s not my job to follow everywhere he goes.” There is no sense of shame or remorse on Cain’s part. He figures if he can hide this thing from God, he can hide it from anybody. How many of you know that God sees, everything?

God came back with an attitude to match Cain’s God. God says, “what have you done, your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. You are under a curse. The ground that swallowed your brother’s blood will no longer produce crops for you, and you will never have peace as you travel from place to place across the earth.”

Now God had tried to warn Cain that he was headed down the wrong path. But Cain was happy with his attitude just like it was. It would have been whole lot better if Cain had of been the one who died for the miserable attitude he possessed. But often times, it is others who suffer for the negative and hateful attitudes that we allow to take root in our lives.

Can you imagine the grief that Adam and Eve must have felt. One of their children has murdered the other one. Now the son remaining is banned from ever coming back to live with them by God Himself. What type of comfort were they to offer Cain? Should they have comforted him? Should they have been angry with him? This child who had entered the world with such promise and hope, who had brought them so much joy and encouragement has now brought them such anguish.

Abel is the first recorded human being not only to die, but also to be murdered. As Adam and Eve look upon their dead son, it finally hits home what God said about if they ever ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would die. I wonder if the serpent’s hollow promise could be heard echoing in their ears, “oh you will not surely die, God’s just trying to keep you from being a god like He is.” Not only would they die, but their son was living proof that all others after them would die.

Adam and Eve thought that Cain was going to be their descendant that would destroy the head of Satan. Yet here he was being a tool in the hand of Satan just like they had been all because he chose to keep his bad attitude. But God was true to his promise to them to send a Savior from one of their descendants to crush the head of Satan. That descendant, which is traced all the way back to Adam in the gospel of Luke is Jesus Christ.

Jesus came into the world with an attitude. He did not come with the jealousy and arrogance of Cain. He came in the humility of Abel, knowing what it was like to be rejected and thought of as nothing by others. This same Jesus, emptied himself of all that He was entitled to as God, to become a human being so that we could be brought back into a right relationship with God.

It says when others spit on him, he did not spit back. When others laughed at him and punched him in the face. He kept silent. When others challenged him to come down from the cross and save Himself, he loved them enough to remain in pain in obedience to the will of the Father. It was this spirit of humility and obedience that determined the attitude he possessed.

Do you really want to be obedient to this one verse in 2003, “ your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” You can’t pray and ask God to make you have this attitude. The word should in the verse means that God is always going to give us a choice to display his glory in us.”

One of the hard things about making verse 5 in Philippians chapter 2 a reality is first living out verses three and four. It says Philip. 2:3-4 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Does God really intend for us to consider others better than ourselves? God obviously does not know the kind of people we run into? Oh really. Someday we need to look in God’s mirror to see what we really look like. It’s a lot more revealing than what we think we are. Jesus did not die for any good people. He died for you, for me, and for the world.

God wants us to come to people everyday with an attitude. But it’s not the attitude we are all too eager to give, but rather the attitude in Christ which led him to go to the cross. Christ never is shown in our lives as long as we are the ones calling the shots. Never forget its Jesus on the inside working on the outside, oh what a change in my life. Let the year 2003, bring out the Christ-like attitude God desires to develop in us all regardless of how much hardship or how much blessing we experience in our lives.

K. A Family Is Thrown Into Turmoil & Pain

1. The Wrong Person Died For The Attitude

2. Adam & Eve In Turmoil & Pain

3. Cain Had Such Promise But Still

4. Abel Brings Back The Sound Of Satan’s Empty

Promise “Surely You Will Not Die”

L. God Remained True To His Promise

1. A Descendant Would Crush Satan’s Head

2. The Descendant Jesus Christ Traced In Luke

M. Jesus Came Into The World With An Attitude

1. Not Like Cain, But More Like Able

2. Chose Not To Strike Back, To Be Silent

3. Chose To Suffer & Endure

4. Humility And Obedience

Philip. 2:5 (NIV) Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

5. Are We Willing To Live This Verse In 2003

Philip. 2:3-4 (NIV) Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

6. How Willing Are We To Look Out

7. Jesus Did Not Die For Any Good People

8. God Wants To Send Us Out With An Attitude

9. Jesus On The Inside

10. Let God Have His Way With Our Attitudes In 2003

Sermon Outline Pastor Rick NLF 1-5-2003

Coming At You With An Attitude

Genesis 4:1-16 Acts 16:11-16 Philippians 2:1-11

A. I Will Be Coming With An Attitude In 2003

1. Many Blessings But Some Losses

2. Marriage, Jobs, Lives, Graduations, Healings

3. Terminations, Deaths, Diseases

4. Moved By Sin, Set On Fire By God

5.We Control, Own, Regulate Our Attitudes

Philip. 2:5 (NIV) Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Philip. 2:5 (KJV)

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Philip. 2:5 (NASB)

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

B. What’s Will Be Your Attitude Toward Opportunities

1. Burdens Or Opportunities For Growth

2. Lydia Attends “Woman To Woman” Meeting

3. The Strangers & The Gospel

4. God Touches Lydia’s Heart

5. A Family Saved & Baptized

6. Invitation Given & Refused

7. Should You Keep On Trying

8. Lydia Gets An Attitude With The Apostles

9. The Apostles Respond To The Attitude Problem

C. We Never Know When God Is Going To Move

1. No Signs Will Be Posted in 2003

2. Be Present For The Meeting Or For Worship

3. Lydia Had No Plans, But God Had His Way

4. Be Interrupted For The Cause Of Christ

5. May The Lord Send Us Some Interruptions

D. An Attitude From The Old Testament

1. First Baby Of The Year Vs First Baby Ever

2. Adam, Eve, Cain And God

3. First Diaper Change, First To Take Baby Steps

4. Cain—“Possession” “Gift”

E. More Children Arise On The Scene

1. Abel Arrives On The Scene

2. Abel – “Nothingness” “Vanity”

3. Here Comes Nothing

4. Many Are Labeled As Abels

5. Just Like Your No Good______

6. Nothing On The Bench

F. Abel Gets An Attitude

1. An Attitude Toward God

2. Thankful & Nothing But The Will Do

3. Sacrificed The Best Of The Best To Show Love

4. The Lord Looks With Favor On Abel And Gift

Genesis 4:3-5 (NIV) In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

G. Cain Gets An Attitude

1. Nothing Special About His Offering

2. No Sacrifice, No Love Gained

3. Just Whatever

H. God Comes With An Attitude

1. Pleased With Abel & Offering

2. Not Pleased With Cain & Offering

3. Cain Gets Angry—God Is Showing Favoritism

4. Cain Blames Everybody But Cain

5. God Offers A Remedy—Do The Right Thing

I. God Grants A Warning –Attitude Adjustment

1. Sin Is Crouching At The Door Ready To Leap

2. Fight For Your Attitude

Genesis 4:6-7 (NIV) Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."

3. Sin And Satan Is Cheering For Our Attitude

4. Be Angry, Get Even, Nurse The Hurt, Get It Out

5. Cain Listens, Plots, & Lies

6. Not Every Smiling Face Is On Your Side

7. Consider The Opinions Of Those Who Love You

J. The First Murder Takes Place

1. Beware Of Letting Our Own Desires Controls Us

2. Consequences Leads To All Kinds Of Things

3. Have The Mind Of Christ Jesus

4. Cain Rises Up And Murders His Brother

5. What Needs Mastering In 2003

6. God Confronts Cain

7. Cain Responds With An Attitude

8. God Responds With An Attitude Of Justice