Parental Guidance (Sermon Two)

Genesis 4:1-10 (NLT):
Adam made love to his wife Eve,and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock.The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If 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 rule over it.”
Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.

When I think of the church and who we are and what we really are about, we really are our “brother’s keepers.”  In fact, the phrase “one another” or “each other” is used more than 50 times in the New Testament. We are actually commanded to:

Love each other Pray for each other
Encourage each other Serve each other
Admonish each other Greet each other
Teach each other Accept each other
Honor each other Submit to each other
Forgive each other
Bear each other’s burdens
Be devoted to each other
And many other “each other” stuff we are to do.

Can you only imagine a church like that?
It may seem easier to be holy when no one else is around. It may seem easier to live for the Lord without all the church stuff. But that is false. That is untested holiness. Isolation breeds deceitfulness. It is so easy to fool ourselves into thinking we are mature if there is no one to challenge us.

Real spiritual maturity shows up in relationships. We grow faster and stronger by learning from each other and being accountable to each other. When others share what God is teaching them, we grow too.

We aren’t perfect, but we are trying to get it together and do better. We look to one another. We lean on one another. We help each other. We pray for one another. We encourage one another. We pull for each other. We believe in each other. We really are our “brother’s keeper.”

You don’t have to do this alone.
· You don’t have to go through life alone – we have each other.
· You don’t have to parent alone – we have each other.

I promise you, none of these are for perfect people. Perfect people – they meet up in heaven somewhere. They don’t congregate here anywhere! Down here – all of God’s children have issues!

For too long I think we, the church, have kind of come across like we have it all together. When really, broken, hurting, struggling, disappointed, disillusioned, disgusted, angry, stressed out, people need to hear the church say, not so much, “You should,” but “Me too!”

· You yelled at your kids this week? “Me too.”
· You got frustrated this week with that bunch you work with? “Me too.”
· You mean, you read your Bible and sometimes struggle with what you read and sometimes what you read doesn’t make sense to you? “Me too!”
· You mean you tried to pray this week and fell asleep? “Me too!”
· You make mistakes. “Me too!”
Do you understand? We are in this thing together and I’m praying our church will be a “me too” church.
And if you are new here today, we’d love you to bring your baggage and your stuff and your hurts and pains and walk with us.

God died to help us.
· We don’t have to do this alone. God will help us.
· Jesus…what I love so much about Him is He left the glories of heaven and He came down here and where I am tempted, He was tempted. Where you are tempted, He was tempted. Where I have struggled, He struggled. Where you are struggling, He’s been there. Where we hurt, he hurt.

Hebrews 4:14-16 NLT
So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

He is not some distant God untouched. He suffered so He might empathize with us. Please give Him a chance, and give us a chance.