6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10, "These things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did." There is much we can learn from bad examples in the Bible.


A. Growing up it seemed to me that there were two ways to learn something

1. On rare occasions –someone of exemplary character pointed out –more like him?

2. But more often than not –my parents would observe a friend of mine doing-wrong

3. Point, “You better never let me catch you doing something like that”

4. Which one did I learn from better?

B. As we get older I think we tend to look for positive examples –role models

1. People whose stories we want to pattern our own after – look up to

2. But we can’t miss that we learn a lot from – well – cautionary tales

3. And the Bible is full of cautionary tales – people who are – bad examples

4. But bad examples we can learn from.

C. In fact, Apostle Paul says as much. In 1 Corinthians 10 –bad examples from OT

1. Read – 1 Corinthians 10:6-13

2. We read verse 13 to comfort ourselves –difficult times –but God is faithful

3. But that verse is tied to warning – verse 12

4. Something for us to learn from some very bad examples.

D. I can think of no better place to begin than with the original bad seed – Cain


2. Let’s be real honest for a moment –you know how –look at a kid –rotten? C’mon

3. Eve had no idea what a rotten kid looked like. To her, her son was perfect.

4. In fact –she put all her hopes on her son. Remember curse? Promise –Genesis 3:15

5. Read the first verse of chapter 4 –thought this was her promise – her savior


E. These things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.

1. They were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.

2. What is there for us to learn from Cain’s mistake?

3. I think this story leads us to ask three questions of ourselves


A. Someone asked me a few weeks ago – what was the big deal? Wrong with Cain’s offering

1. Text tells us –Abel kept sheep – Cain worked the ground

2. And so it seems natural –time came to present an offering –Abel brought sheep…

3. Cain brought “fruit of the ground” – logical – each man brought what he had

4. But verses 4b-5 – what was the difference?

B. Hebrews 11:4 –First thing see – Abel’s offering took faith- firstborn of flocks – what if all?

1. Given in faith – given in trust – knowing God asks for my best –I’m giving my best

2. Wasn’t given as an obligation, given just to appease God –to buy his favor

3. Also -Cain’s response in 5 –Angry- with God for rejection. With brother -acceptance

4. Should cause us to ask –are we giving God our best?

C. Every now and then you hear one of those stories about churches –just make you cringe

1. Years ago –story from a missionary –supported by local churches-contributions/supplies

2. One day-wife gets a big padded envelope from church in America –used tea bags

3. The ladies at some church in States –had a tea party –rather than throw tea bags out…

4. Dried them –mailed them to use at their ladies’ Bible study – “share cup of tea with you”

D. Let me ask you –does this sound like a good idea to anyone?

1. What if instead –bought box of tea bags –mailed half to missionaries –better idea?

2. Would you offer Jesus a used tea bag? Here you go, Jesus –good when I used it

3. But the story also causes me to ask myself a question

4. Have I ever given my leftovers to Jesus? Given him anything less than my best?

E. Every come to him half-hearted on Sunday am –wasted energy in an argument w/ wife?

1. Ever withheld my time from God –something I wanted to do?

2. Have I ever approached offering time –thrown in whatever was left over?

3. Like Cain-not just a matter of the offering itself –I have to look at my heart

4. Am I giving myself, my resources out of my faith –because I trust God?

5. Because I believe he knows what’s best for my time, my energy, my money?

Trans: I think another lesson from Cain’s example that calls our faith to be even deeper, is the question:


A. The reality is – if I have faith that I am giving God what he wants – might mean…

1. That I am going to give God more than I can do on my own –with what I alone have

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