The Results and Harm of Cain’s Decision
As we follow the history of the Bible throughout the world, we can see Cain’s reaction played over and over again. How did Cain respond to Abel and to God? In anger, rejection and with murder. Cain got so angry with GOD, he killed Abel.
We can see this pattern played out through the entire Old Testament, New Testament and in the history of man. Philistine went to war with Israel over their gods. Israel killed the prophets of God and persecuted them. When Jesus had to deal with the religious order of his day, how did they react? In the same way as Cain. With anger, rejection and finally putting Jesus to death on the cross. It has never changed, religion hates the truth! That is why so many people get so angry over this message when I preach it. Religion rises up within them.
The Pharisees who killed Jesus thought they were doing the work of God, they thought they were the children of Moses and Abraham. Even when we get to the book of Acts, we find that the first Christian ever martyred, Steven was killed by the religious orders for the same reasons. Also in the book of Acts, you can study Paul, a religious leader who killed and imprisoned every Christian he could find. But when he had an encounter with Jesus, he changed from a religious person to a person who had a relationship with Jesus Christ. (A personal study of Paul’s life in the book of Acts, is a perfect example of this study.) Every apostle was martyred by religious people who hated Jesus. And today it is no different. Christians are being persecuted all over the world, by other religious groups.
In the name of religion, we have seen war after war. We have had the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisitions and even today, we see Muslims and Hindus killing Christians all over this world. Even in Ireland, we had so called “Christian groups” killing each other in the name of God and the name of Jesus Christ. Get this straight, Jesus had nothing to do with these wars. Jesus would never have Christians killing Christians, or even worse, trying to force Christianity down peoples throat or imposing it as a law of the land. Salvation is a free gift and it can only be accepted freely, God did not make or force Cain to do what was right. It was his choice and so it is yours.
In the world we live in today we can see people in the name of Allah blowing themselves up with bombs, beheading people and flying planes into buildings, all in the name of religion. Here in America, we have Christian leaders trying to legislate Christian values in Washington.
Why is it so important to have the 10 commandments written on the wall of some court house, our momuments, and on our money, when we as Christians have failed to write these same 10 commandments on the hearts of our lost countrymen. Jesus can never be legislated, He can only be received in our hearts with love.
The Real Damage of Religion in Christianity
Let’s bring this closer to home. Today there are true Christians and religious Christians. Both groups believe in Jesus, go to church, and even say the same creeds and believe basically in the same things, that is, except for the very subtle injection of religion. Remember religion is based on works and what you do. But here is the real damage, Sunday after Sunday, religious Christians go to church and then live moral lives. I know this for a fact, I grew up in a religious home, I was an altar boy and I never missed church. I did all the sacraments, my mother was the same way, she raised us this way. So what’s the problem? We were trying to earn our way to heaven. Our lives were based on doing the best we could, so that God would accept us, but the harder we tried the more we recognized and felt our failures. (Religion does this, it only brings guilt and condemnation, followed by a stronger resolve to work even harder. It’s an endless cycle that leads you into the pit of hell, while you believe all along that you are doing the will of God.)
So many good people are going to church, living this type of life and going straight to hell. They may know and have the head knowledge and the theology of what Jesus did at Calvary, but that is all it is: theology and history. They never take it from their head and put it in their heart in order to put their full trust in Christ. In this religiosity, Jesus is in the churches, in statues, in creeds, in vain prayers and in traditions, and only in print form in the BIBLE. Again, Christianity as a religion has Jesus as not being real, not in their hearts, nor in their minds, he is far off in some distant heaven. But in truth, in true Christianity, Jesus desires to be closer than a brother and more intimate as a wife or husband.
Today, Jesus is as real to me as any other member of my family. He speaks to me, He guides me, He jokes with me, and He fellowships with me as much any physical human being can. People have asked, why do I believe in the Bible? I always tell them, I personally know the author, he is a personal friend of mine. He has been my Savior, my king and my friend who has been guiding me for over 25 years. Like I said before, even though I can’t see Jesus with my eyes, He is as real and personal to me as my wife Maria. My question to you? Is your Jesus only in your church, somewhere off in a distant heaven, only on the pages of your Bible, or is Jesus a real active person and family member in your life?
I’m not sure, is there a way I can know if I’m a real Christian?
There are many ways to find out through the Word of God. But for this message, I want to make it very simple.
I want you to shut your eyes and imagine you are standing in front of the throne of God. God now asks you this question; Why should I allow you into the kingdom of heaven? What is your answer and be honest, after all you were standing before God. What is your first answer, your first reaction? Is your answer, I was raised as a Christian, I was baptized, and my whole family is Christian, or would you say, I was a good person, I help the poor and I did good deeds and works. Maybe you would answer like the Rich ruler in the Bible and say I have kept the whole law since I was a child and I have never wandered from it. Perhaps you might say, I’m a Catholic, I’m a Baptist, or Mormon etc. Unfortunately, these answers no matter how good they sound, will earn you a one way ticket to hell.
The only good answer is just like Abel’s. God will accept and in fact can only accept that I put my whole trust on what Jesus did at Calvary. Jesus died, shed his blood and paid for all my sins on the cross at Calvary.
Remember it is no different today. Just as in the story of Cain and Abel, God will not and cannot accept any other offering than the shed blood of Jesus Christ. God will not negotiate on this. There is only one way to the kingdom of heaven, it’s not my works but faith in Jesus Christ.
So like the words that God gave to Cain, if you do what is right you will be accepted.
How can I have a real relationship with Jesus?
Personally I know I’m a sinner, I know I can never keep the law, I know I’ve never lived a perfect day. So knowing this, I never put my trust in myself or in anything that I do. Why? Because I know Jesus came and paid my entire debt that I owe to God. He paid it in full. There’s nothing I can do to add to it or make it better. Jesus did it perfectly. I am accepted by God with all my sins paid for. My past sins, my present sins, and my future sins – all that I will ever fail at is covered under the blood of Jesus Christ. So instead of focusing on performance like I was working on a job and trying to get promotions, my focus has been on what Jesus came for, a personal relationship between Jesus and myself. Christianity is based on intimacy, fellowship and family. Being a Christian is having a personal relationship with God. So if you want this relationship with Jesus say a prayer and asked him. Say something like this:
Jesus, I realize I am a sinner, I can not make it right and no matter how hard I try, I have failed. So, I now stop all my works, all my religious activities and except your finished work on the cross. I believed you suffered, died and rose again to pay for all my sins and failures. I now believe all my sin debt has been paid by your blood and will not every be used against me. I now truly put all my faith and trust in you. I now asked and believe you hear me when I asked to be a part of your family and adopted in to the kingdom of God. IN JESUS NAME Amen.
Written by Dennis Stauffer
Edited by Gary Green (Omega House)
DENNIS STAUFFER INTERNATIONAL MINISTRIES IS AVAILABLE TO TEACH OR PREACH AT YOUR CHURCH OR BIBLE STUDY FROM ANY TEACHING FROM OUR BLOGS. EMAIL ME OR FEEL FREE TO CALL @719-373-2427 firstname.lastname@example.org