16 Feb Why are Families so Painful? Genesis 4
– So if you’ve got a Bible go to Genesis chapter four, and the Bible is the most honest book ever written, it shows us the truth about life on Earth and the best and worst days in human history. And so far to catch you up Genesis one and two that’s when God did all of His work, He made the world, He made our first parents, Adam and Eve, He made marriage. Everything was good. Genesis three shows what we have done, and that is broken and ruined everything that God made. And what we see in Genesis three is that after the wedding comes, the war, Satan shows up and has a demonic attack on our first parents in the first marriage. The question then is, well, what ensues afterward? What is the fate of human history? When we turn to chapter four, we’re actually turning to the next generation. We’re looking at the implications and complications of sin that have come to and through a husband and a wife, and then passed on to the children. And so this is for us, the beginning of what is a 2000 year case study in the book of Genesis on marriage, family, and generational dynamics. And the point is this, the decisions that were made before you were born affect the life that you live, the decisions that you make during your life will affect generations to come. And the big idea is this, that God has a plan to bless your family and Satan has a plan to curse your family. So you’ve gotta decide which plan you’re going to choose for yourself and your family. And so this is gonna be a bit of a sober word, and I preach it with my own children here. So I just apologize to the kids in advance for my failures and sins. And as parents, when we get to Genesis four, we realize that that we have caused some problems for our own children. And just to warn the children, you will grow up and do the same. So that’s where we find ourselves in Genesis chapter four. So the key to really enjoying, appreciating and fully capturing the story is this, to emotionally enter into it, to insert yourself into the story, to ask who do I identify with? What actions, what thoughts, what behaviors, what heart conditions and motives resonate with me and remind me of me and then enter into the story emotionally so that you participate. Well, last week we looked at the fall of humanity and this week we’re going to look at the fall of the family. And we’re asking the question, why are families so painful? How many of you have a family? And how many of you your family has caused you pain? Here’s the big idea. Oftentimes sin and the fall in the curse is most painfully acutely felt in our family relationships. And we would wish that our family was healthier and closer, but often it is unhealthy and painful. So we look at the beginning of the fall of the family in Genesis four. Now Adam knew Eve. So they were intimate together and she conceives. So they have the first child in the history of the world. This is the beginning of born human beings. Previous to this Adam and Eve were created, now they will bring forth sons, and bore cain saying, “I’ve got a man with a help of the Lord.” There’s a couple of different ways to potentially interpret that. We’ll look at that in a moment. And again, she bore his brother Abel. So now there’s two kids, two sons. cain is the big brother, Abel is the little brother. Abel was a keeper of the sheep. So he’s a rancher, cain a worker of the ground. He’s a farmer in the course of time. Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground. So this is the beginning of church. Two people come into God’s presence to worship Him and also a brought of the firstborn of his flock and their fat portion. So they’re bringing their offerings from their jobs and the Lord had regard for Abel in His offering, but for Cain in his offering, He had no regard. So God accepts one rejects the other, we’ll answer why in a moment. So Cain was very angry. Here’s the beginning of anger and his face fell. You could see his counts. The Lord said to Cain, why are you angry? And why is your face falling? Why do you look so upset? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Son you’re in a bad place. You’ve got a big decision. Sin is coming for you. You’re going to need to resist it. Its desire is contrary to you. If you do what you feel like doing, it’s going to be the wrong thing, but you must rule over it. Exercise dominion over this temptation. Cain spoke to his brother Abel and when they were in the field, so he gets him away from the presence of God, Cain rose up against his brother, Abel and why, and killed him. We had two kids, now we’re down to one. We just lost 50% of the born population on planet Earth. Then the Lord said to Cain, where is Abel your brother? He said, I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper? Am I his babysitter? Am I his designated driver? It’s not my job. “And the Lord said, what have you done? “The voice of your brother’s blood “is crying out to me from the ground. “And now you are curd from the ground, “which has opened its mouth “to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. “When you work the ground, “it shall no longer yield to you its strength, “you shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” So let’s unpack the story. It begins with Eve. And she says with the help of the Lord I have conceived and born a son. Now there are a few ways to interpret what Eve is saying. The same will be true of what Cain is gonna say here in Genesis four 13, coming up. The big idea is this, oftentimes in Genesis, it tells us what happened, but it doesn’t give us the commentary to fully explain all of the details. And this is the same in our life. Oftentimes things happen in our life and we’re trying to interpret what that meant, you had a very bad day, like, okay, was God disciplining me, was Satan attacking me, was God warning me? Is this the result of the curse? Like what happened today? What’s going on? There are some days that are confusing and complicated and you’re unsure how to interpret the experiences that you’re having. Sometimes Genesis will give us commentary and explain it other times, it just tells us what happened and we have to come to the conclusion of what is happening. And so what I like to say is, as we get into Genesis, there are things that are closed handed, the discussions we need to agree on. There are things that are open handed, that different Christians will come to different conclusions. So here murder is bad. Amen. Can we all agree on that? Murder’s bad. And then the question here is, well, Eve, what does she mean by what she says? One potential option is that she’s just shocked that she can make people, right? She was made by God. She’s never been pregnant. She got pregnant. She didn’t know what that was. She’s like I’m gaining weight. I feel bloated, it’s awkward. And well there’s another person. Oh, I mean, it could be that she was a little shocked saying with the help of the Lord, I make people. I mean, she’s like, I mean, I’ll be honest, I’ve seen my wife, grace, birth five children. It’s the thing. I mean, she makes people, I can’t even make a sandwich and she can make a people, like that’s unbelievable. So that may be one interpretive option. The other other is that E Eva’s potentially being arrogant, ’cause in Genesis 3:15, when Adam and Eve sinned, God came to Eve, and what he told her was through the line of the woman will come a male son who will be the savior of sinners. And the promise was Jesus is coming. And so she may hear be saying, I did create a problem, but now I’m bringing forth the solution. I’ve made a mess, but now I’ve made a Messiah. I brought sin, but now I’m bringing the savior. She may be thinking that she’s giving birth to Jesus. Did she give birth to Jesus? No, she had one bad kid, one good kid. The bad kid is still alive. The good kid is dead and didn’t rise, you did not birth Jesus. The point is this, she is the problem and ultimately God is going to need to provide the solution. And so what we see here is that their children have a sin nature. Adam and Eve had no sin nature, as soon as they sin, the nature is passed on from generation to generation. Paul says this in Romans 5:12-3-21, because of one man’s sin, the whole race fell, that sin is imputed to us through our father, Adam, what that means is none of us is born naturally good or morally neutral. And this will be very offensive to us. We’re like, I’m a good person. Actually, you’re not. Well, I have a good heart. Actually, no you don’t. You can try again, but it’ll be wrong too. You you’re not a good person. You don’t have a good heart. You’re a bad person with a bad heart. That’s why God needs to make you a new person and give you a new heart.
– [Cong legations] Amen.
– See God, doesn’t just improve who we are, He transforms who we are. And so ultimately here we see that they are born with a sin nature. They are sinners, not just by choice, but by nature. Sin is not just something that we do, it’s someone that we are. And so God needs to change who we are and then that allows us to see a change in what we do. And so what we see here is Cain and Abel, so it moves from Adam and Eve to Cain and Abel, so then they come to basically church. They come together in the presence of God, same thing we’ve done here. People coming into the presence of the Lord. It’s the beginning of church. And they come to worship Him and they come to worship Him with things in their hands. This is a sacrifice or an offering. Now the law is not yet given, now the rest of the Old Testament has not yet been written. So they don’t know about, the rules and regulations for the worship of God. They don’t know about a 10th or a tithe in giving the first fruits and 10% of all of your wealth to the Lord. And they don’t know about the Sabbath Day. All of that hasn’t been taught and written down yet. At this point, there’s just four people. That’s it? There’s the mom and the dad and the two sons, that’s it. But somehow the law is written on their hearts and they know that we need to be in God’s presence, and when we come, we need to come giving an offering or a sacrifice. No one in the Bible who comes to worship comes empty handed. The point is this, worship includes a sacrifice to the Lord. And so they both come with something in their hands and both have something good in their hands. So Abel and Cain their jobs are good jobs, rancher and farmer. So they bring an offering from their vocation and employment. The difference is that one is accepted and one is rejected. And this leads to the question. Well, it’s brothers who bring an offering at the same time into the presence of the same Lord. Why is one accepted? Why is one rejected? And what oftentimes happens is that people will look at what is in their hands and they try and figure out, well, what was wrong with what was in their hands? And some will say, well, it says of one that they brought the first fruits or the first invest, the other, it just says an offering. Maybe they didn’t bring the first fruits. They get into speculative technical details and arguing. I would just say what they have in their hands is both good. The difference is what’s in their hearts, and you need to know this when we come together and worship, God, not only examines and sees what’s in our hands, but also what’s in our hearts. Now the problem for us is we look at Cain and Abel and we say, well, I can’t see any difference. It’s because the Bible says, the man looks at the outward and God sees the heart. This is where two people can come to church and one person in here is filled with greed and pride and jealousy and anger and bitterness and lost and another person is filled with love for God out in others. And you can’t tell, you can’t tell by looking at people, but God can because God sees the heart. And that’s where worship is not just what we do out here, it’s also who we are in here. So when it comes to their hearts, there is a big difference between Cain and Abel, and three scriptures in the New Testament, speak to the difference in their heart. Hebrews 11:4 says by faith Abel offered a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain through which he was commended as righteous God commending him by accepting his gifts through his faith. The context of Hebrews 11, it’s the great new Testament chapter on those who had extra faith. And what it says is Abel had faith, Cain did not. And it wasn’t what they had in their hands, but it was that Abel had faith in his heart or as Cain did not. The point is this, when we come to worship, we need to examine our heart.
– I would ask you right now, examine am in your heart. A pastor friend of mine, one of my pastors, in fact, he has a great analogy, he says before the Bible is binoculars for them, it must be a mirror for us. And oftentimes what we do, we read the Bible and we say, well, what the heck was wrong with Cain? Then we need to look in the mirror and ask him what the heck is wrong with me. Well, Cain, I can’t believe he came to church with a bad heart. And the question is, you’ve never done that. Have you done that right now? Did you argue with your spouse on the way? Are you thinking about someone or something that you’re jealous of, angry toward, bitter regarding frustrated by? Ultimately you and I need to search our own heart. We need to quote the scripture, say, Lord, search me and see if there be any unclean way within me. What it says is Abel had faith, he did know and loved the Lord, Cain did not. Cain did not. In addition, it tells us this in 1st John 3:12-13, we should not be like Cain. And he gives a comparison and a contrast between these two brothers Cain and Abel, who was of the evil one. Here, it tells us that the same Satan being that came for Adam and Eve in their marriage came for Cain and their legacy. It tells us here that what is going on behind the scenes is actually demonic and spiritual warfare. Anytime you see someone take the innocent human life of another person, you need to know that it is demonic at its roots, evil is being done and the evil one is behind it. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? That is precisely our question because his own deeds were evil and his brothers were righteous. And then he has this incredible line. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. What it says to Christians in the church is, if you come to worship the Lord, don’t be surprised if when you are acting like Abel, that the world acts like Cain toward you. How many of you, this explains a lot of your life, family have disowned or rejected you because you’re loving and serving Jesus. Friends have mocked you or have malaligned you because you are loving and serving Jesus. Sometimes we get in trouble not for are doing the wrong thing, but for doing the right thing. And ultimately what it says is if you’re going to live for God, expect the world to be against you. And it says that the world is in the position of Cain. In addition, it says this in Jude chapter 1:10-11, “These people blast them all that they do not understand, “like on reasoning, animals go to them “for they walk the way of Cain.” What it says is that Cain has spiritual descendants who follow in his pathway and plan. They cause problems, pains, and perils, and the God’s people should follow in the footsteps of Abel. Worship and serve the Lord wholeheartedly dealing with what is in us, regardless of what is happening around us. Now at the end of the day, the question is this right now, is your heart more like Cain or Abel? What started for them as coming to worship ended up in murder. This shows you that sin is pervasive that you and I and our worst moments are capable of anything. And what happens is this, when they come to worship, who is Abel thinking about? God. Who is Cain thinking about? Abel. This is how you know, there is something profoundly wrong in your heart. If you come to worship God and you’re thinking about anyone or anything other than God. And so Cain is looking at Abel like, oh good worship the Lord, get your hands up so I could stab you in the side. We can even come to church and instead of thinking about the Lord, we start thinking about, well, should they have worn those clothes, and they weren’t very nice to us and they didn’t greet us appropriately. And we are very frustrated by them and they could do a better job up with their children, and all of a sudden we’re looking at one another, rather than looking up to the one who can heal all. And this is Cain’s problem. He’s so consumed with Abel that he’s ignorant of the Lord. Well, how does God respond? Let me say this as well. Sometimes when someone is very unhealthy and broken, they are repulsed by health. So as Cain comes into God’s presence and Abel’s presence, it triggers him. He’s angry. He’s very upset. He’s very emotional. He doesn’t feel comfortable here. He doesn’t like it here. This doesn’t feel right to him. And he’s the problem, but he’s religious and what religious people do, they fake it and they pretend, but there is great sickness in their soul. That’s the story of Cain. And he fakes it and he hides it, you can’t see it on his face until the Lord rebukes him. These are the religious people who are very unhealthy, they’re very broken, they’re very controlling, they’re very bitter, sometimes they’ve been traumatized, they’ve been through hardship, they are unwell. Now we don’t know that is the story we of Cain, with Cain, there’s no one to blame, right? It is a sinful world, but it’s not like he’s lived through generations of trauma, there’s only four people. So he’s 25% of human life on the earth. Nonetheless, he comes into the presence of God and he comes into the presence of Abel and it escalates and agitates him. Now, if he was healthy, being in the presence of the Lord and his brother worshiping the Lord would calm and heal him. The have an old line, it says that the same son that melts the ice hardens the clay. The point is this, when you come into the presence of the Lord, if your heart is soft, it melts, that’s Abel, if your heart is hard, it bakes like the clay of the Arizona desert, that’s Cain. So two people will come into the presence of God and have very different reactions and responses. And sometimes people who are unhealthy, they feel uncomfortable around people who are healthy. People who are sincerely in love with the Lord can be a very uncomfortable, discomforting place for those who are religious and faking their relationship with the Lord. So if you were to ask Cain, how are you doing each? He’ll say, I’m doing great. Praise the Lord. I’m here to worship the Lord and bring my offering. You look at Cain, you’re like, oh, looks great. He he’s Judas of the Old Testament. Judas was the guy. If you looked at him in the ministry of Jesus, he’d be like, well, he’s doing great. Literally he’s in the presence of the Lord. Literally he’s in the presence of the Lord Jesus. And look at him. Well, he’s singing, he’s taking notes, he’s raising his hands, he’s helping collect the offering, he’s doing great. And all of a sudden you’re like, well, he’s taking the offering and he’s using it to pay of the betrayal and murder of the Lord. See the whole time that Judas was in the presence of the Lord, he was plotting the murder of the Lord. You and I need to be very sober and just to examine our own hearts, we gotta ask ourselves as I come to the presence of the Lord today is my heart more like Cain or more like Abel? Well, here’s what we know about God. He seasons those all. What’s interesting is this is premeditated murder because king doesn’t just get angry and slaughter his brother, he gets him away from the Lord. He gets him out into the field, like let’s get away from God’s presence so that God doesn’t see and know, and we do this all the time. We’ll do things in the dark that we won’t do when the lights are on. We’ll do things when no one is looking that we would never do when someone is looking. And the point is this, we think that we’re hiding. He’s doing the same things that his first parents did and that is trying to hide his sin from the Lord. But the point is this God sees and knows, oh, you can’t hide anything from an all-knowing Lord. So then what God does, God kindly pursues him. This is going to be the beginning of a succession of falls. We saw in Genesis three with Adam and Eve the fall, but there are going to be other mini falls, a succession of falls. This is another fall. God gives him a command, he disobeys it. Death comes as God promised, God pursues him because God is a good loving God. And you need to see this, Cain is not looking for God, God is looking for Cain. God is not lost, Cain is, and God calls out to him, which is an act of grace, God owes Cain nothing. And He asks him a question as he did his father, with his father, the question was, where are you? And here, the question is, where is your brother? The point is this friends, God has been pursuing you. Now let me say this. You are not just a victim of the sin of others, you too are a sinner. And you have hidden from the Lord. Genesis is telling us not just what happened, but what always happens. And God has been pursuing you and He has been calling out to you and He’s been inviting you to be honest about who you are and where you are so that he can change who you are and he can change where you are. This is grace upon grace to Cain and those of us who follow in the footsteps of Cain. And he asks the question, where’s your brother? In doing this, there’s a good parenting lesson. Sometimes when a child is hardhearted, they are rebellious, self righteous, stubborn, or angry. If you just tell them what to do, they’re going to do the complete opposite. Any of you raise those kids. Yep. Okay. So sometimes the good thing is to ask them questions, leading introspective questions, and then leaving the awkward silence, requiring them to come to reality. So God asks, where’s your brother. And then what Cain does, he mocks God. And we do this all the time. We will sin against the Lord and then the Holy Spirit will come and call out to us and convict us and then we mock the Lord. We’ll make fun of Him, we’ll make sport of Him, we’ll make light of Him. And that’s exactly what happens. Well, here’s the big idea with Cain. He is not thinking about the decision for his legacy, in the same way that his parents had not seriously considered their decision for their legacy. His parents sinned, now he has a sin nature and he has a brother and he is not thinking about the decisions that he is making and how it will affect generations. His brother, Abel will not marry. He will not father children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The commandment to fill the earth is supposed to fall on these two brothers and one kills the other. In addition, he is not thinking about the pain that he’s going to cause his mother and father, yes, I killed your only other child. As he is to marry and have children, he’s not considering they will never know their uncle. They will have never met him. He’s not thinking about the generational implications. And here’s the big idea. We tend to be very painfully aware of the bad decisions that were made by prior generations and we tend to be very ignorant of the decisions that we are making that will cause pain for future generations. This is because in our culture, you are seriously encouraged to be a victim, but not to be a responsible moral agent. Well, everything that happened before me led to my terrible painful life. Well, what are you doing to hand the Baton off to the next generation with a better opportunity? See, we are very aware that we are sinned against. We are very unaware of our sin against others and Genesis here begins again, this 2000 year family case study in blessing and cursing. And that is that one generation’s decisions will either bless or curse the next generation. And here we see things getting very bad very quickly. Now, as we read this, some of you will ask, is this actually historically true? And Jesus says that it is in Matthew 23:35. He says all the righteous blood shed on earth from the blood of the righteous Abel. So Abel is the first death, it’s the first murder and he’s the first murder. He doesn’t die of old age, he dies a premeditated murder. Now what happens is this, we read the story of Cain and Abel and something in us thinks that is just sickening that a family member would take the life of another family member. And before we take the moral high ground, we too need to come to reality. See God was pro-life, He created did life, and Cain is the beginning of pro-choice and he will choose whether a family member lives or dies. And he determines that his family member will die, today, we call this abortion. The most dangerous place to be is your mother’s womb. One in five pregnancies are terminated intentionally medically surgically, and it’s murder, it’s the taking of an innocent human life. If you look at Abel and you say that poor man, he was completely innocent. Well, he’s not nearly is innocent as an unborn child. The child hasn’t even gotten out of the womb and been given an opportunity to make any decision. Instead, the only decision that is made is not made by the child, but is made for the child and that is that the child will never get to make any decision or take any breath. Now, some of you will hear this and you say, pastor Mark, you shouldn’t get into politics, I don’t, but I believe when the word of God confronts a cultural issue, the word of God plows forward, and the culture needs to adjust and change.
– [Congregation] Amen.
– That’s what I believe. It’s a sick world when one family member gets to determine whether another family member lives or dies. The of Cain lives on, lives on in political slogans and ideologies, we found a way not to just tolerate this, but to virtualize this, it’s just sickening and horrifying. The leading cause of death last year was not COVID, it was abortion, leading cause of death the year before was not COVID, it was abortion. At the end of the day, when you see people choosing to kill family members and end their life and legacy, you know that the serpent is still at work. Now he’s good at PR and marketing, we learn in Genesis three that he’s crafting. See he does great with slogans and social media and marketing and political campaigns and things like choice. Well, for God’s people, there should only be one choice and that is to obey the Lord. Now, for those of you who hear this, and you say, pastor Mark I’m pro-abortion or I’m pro-choice let me say, we pretty much generally start there as human beings because we start as sinners and we start as wrong. Don’t trust what you think instead go to the scriptures and be transformed by the renewing of your mind so you’re no longer conform to the pattern of this world. So for me, I was completely pro-abortion and I was a pro-choice and I argued for it in high school, I argued for it in college, I was good at debating, I know that’s shocking, I can argue. And then I met my now wife, Grace at the age of 17, she was a pastor’s daughter, staunchly pro-life. And we would argue, and I would win. She was right, but I would win, because sometimes the person who argues better wins even if their case is wrong. This happens all the time in politics and on university campuses and social media platforms. And so ultimately God saved me at the age of 19 in college. And it was shortly after I did a presentation in a large class at university on my position for eugenics, forced population controls. I went back to Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, who took her ideology from Nazi Germany and went from concentration camps to clinics, actually agreed with it and argued for it. And then God saved me. And I start reading the Bible and I realized that God is the living God. And that there was no death until there was sin. And God said to be fruitful and fill the earth, increase in numbers, sub do it and exercise dominion. I realized that that all who love the Lord love life and all who hate the Lord love death. So it says in Proverbs, all who hate me, love death. If you love the Lord, you love life, if you hate the Lord, you love death. And I went to Grace and I repented, I said, I was wrong. She said, I know, that’s how you know who your wife’s gonna be. And so I had a change of heart in mind. And if you start where I started, I would tell you that it is time to change your mind. Sitting here today are my children that I would’ve killed and they are my blessing. And why would I take the life of my blessing? And my sons are sitting to the right, I’m sorry, sons, you always gotta be an illustration, but you know, they’re going to carry forth the family legacy for generations with their own families. And the thought that I would be against that would mean that I had been completely deceived by the deceiver. That’s the legacy of Cain. Now, let me say this as it comes to the story of Cain and Abel. Sometimes you’re Abel, sometimes you didn’t say you’re do anything, sometimes just an innocent victim. I’m sorry about that. It’s not like Cain and Abel could go meet with a counselor or a therapist or a mediator, and that person look at Abel and say, okay, well, just apologize and repent for all the things you do to upset your brother, answer. He’s just an angry, upset, unwell guy. I mean, what makes him mad is that I’m not mad. What makes him sick? Is that I’m healthy. What makes him want to kill me is that I wanna live for God. The problem is in him, not me. Abel is a picture of a true victim. It says nothing of what he did to instigate or cause this kind of murderous spirit to rise up on his brother. Let me say this friends. There are times someone is attacking, you didn’t deserve it. Someone is against you and you didn’t instigate it. Someone is trying to hurt you and it’s not because you hurt them. But let me say this. If you only and always look at your life and come to the conclusion that you’re Abel, you’re deceived, you can’t look at every, oh yep, conflict with my parents, their fault, conflict with my siblings, their fault, conflict with my spouse, their fault, conflict with my kids, their fault, conflict with my grandkids, their fault, conflict with my friends, their fault, conflict with my coworkers, their fault. I’m evil. No, you’re crazy, right? Because in all of those relationships, there’s only one consistent variable. You, it may be you. And what we tend to do, we tend to take the few times that we’re Abel, and we tend to translate that into all the times. So if you’re going to be Abel, you need to be willing to accept the fact that sometimes you’re Cain. Sometimes you’re the unwell person, not the well person, you’re the angry person, not the forgiving person, you’re the bitter jaded, skeptical person, not the loving, forgiving, blessing person, that sometimes you are not thinking about the Lord, you’re thinking about yourself. That sometimes it’s not their fault, there’s something profoundly, deeply broken and wrong in you. Now here’s what we learn. Both Cain and Abel come into God’s presence, but only Abel has God present in his life. Here’s a big idea. It’s great to be in God’s presence, but it is of no good to you unless God’s presence is in you. So the same thing that happens here happened previously. It tells us in revelation 12, that God created the angels before he created the people. And one of those divine beings, Satan rose up in the presence of God and declared war on God. He was angry and upset and it wasn’t because God sinned against him or God triggered him, or God provoked him, he was just sick and evil, and so he was repulsed by that, which was healthy and godly. So Satan declares war on God in the presence of God. The point of here is he then comes to Cain as he has cast down to the earth, and as Cain comes into the presence of the Lord, Cain responds in the same way that Satan responded when he was in the presence of the Lord. The point is this friends, I’m glad that you’re here and we want God’s presence to be rich in this life. And we want you to enjoy God’s presence, but for that to happen, God’s presence must be in you. That’s where the holy spirit and his ministry needs to change us from the inside out so that he takes out our old heart and he gives us a new heart. And then we can worship him in spirit and truth out of that new heart. But the trouble with Cain is this, he’s religious and he’s covert. Religious, meaning he’s doing religious stuff like, oh, he is going to the Lord, he’s offering his sacrifice, he’s doing the stuff he supposed. He’s bringing his offering, I should say, and he is covert. In his heart, does he love the Lord? Not at all. Does he love his brother? No. Jesus is gonna come along later, summarize the whole Old Testament says, if you want tweet it down, love God, love your brother. He’s like, well, I hate God and I’m gonna murder my brother. And you can’t tell on his face till God rebukes him. This is where covert people are very difficult. Again, this was Judas Iscariot. He would’ve seen Judas through the life that he lived in the presence of the Lord Jesus, you’d say, looks good to me, very covert. For years, he is plotting the murder of Jesus and stealing money from Jesus to pay for and fund his own murder, ultimate betrayal. But he’s religious. Let me say this, religious people are the most deceptive and sometimes most wicked people hide in church because no one would think to look for them there. Sometimes the most evil people hide in leadership because ultimately no one would look there. People would think, well, all the bad people are in the world and all the good people are in the church, and Satan says, I’ll send a few of those people into the church and they’ll be religious. You won’t know who they’ll are until the last minute. And then they’re gonna cause murder. They’re gonna break damage, harm and attack people and things that are built for the Lord. So we read this and then I want you to see that the Lord Jesus takes it a step further. In the next book of the Bibles, similarly written by Moses, the 10 commandments are given. One of them is thou shall not murder. It’s not just killing, murder is the taking of an innocent life through war or the state or the police sometimes, life needs to be taken to preserve life. Jesus takes it a step further for murder of the hands to murder of the heart. He says this in Matthew 5:21-22, “You’ve heard that it was said you shall not murder. “But I say to you that everyone “who is angry with his brother “will be liable to judgment.” What Jesus says is there’s two kinds of murder. There’s murder of the hands and there’s murder of the heart. And God sees both, okay? We were studying it in state Bible study this week, and one of the gals said, I can’t believe he murdered his brother. I was like, well, then you’ve never had a brother, right? Like if you’ve had a brother, like one day, you’re like, I’d like to kill him, okay? That’s the way it is. The people who drive you the most crazy are the people who are the most close tends to be your family. That’s why you moved to Arizona, right? Welcome. It’s a nervous chuckle, but yeah, it’s true. So that being said, how is your heart? Think about it. There was no law, no one had died yet. So there was no investigative task force for murder. There’s no witnesses, there’s no police, there’s no cops, there’s no jails. There’s no one to get you and find you guilty. How many of you, if you could guaranteed 100% get away with it and nobody would know there’s at least one person you would kill? I would say it’s a nervous chuckle. And I won’t tell you that, that are doing this. But at the end of the day, if there is anyone that you would take the life of, the only thing that is restricting you is that you would suffer as well and you’re selfish. The only thing that oftentimes keeps us from causing them the most pain is that it will cause us pain. If it would cause them pain, but not cause us pain, then it wouldn’t trouble us. The question is, where’s your heart. And there are different ways that we murder people. We murder their reputation, we murder their business, we murder their family. We put curses over them instead of blessing, we have bitterness toward them rather than forgiveness. When people speak of them, we speak ill of them. That ultimately, if there is murder in our heart, eventually it’ll come out with our words and sometimes it even comes out with our hands. I use this analogy a lot. It comes from Amy Carmichael, she was a missionary. And it says she has this analogy in her book, and I think it’s just insightful. So what’s in the bottle water?
– So when I bump it, what comes out? Whatever’s in it. If there’s anger in your heart, if there’s murder your heart, if there’s bitterness in your heart, if there’s jealousy in your heart, if there’s religion in your heart, if there’s pride in your heart, if there’s deception in your heart, it’s gonna come out. Sometimes it’ll come out in your words and sometimes it’ll come out in your deeds. And so we just need to look at the story and say, okay, sometimes I am Abel, but sometimes I’m Cain and who do I need to apologize to or repent to or ask forgiveness for? Well, then we see what happens and here is life East of Eden, and that’s where we live. As the rest of Genesis ensues, they go East of Eden and that is further away from the presence of the Lord. Genesis 4:13-26, “Cain said to the Lord, “‘my punishment is greater than I can bear.'” Again, there are two interpretive options there, and will come back to those. “Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground “and from your face, I shall be hidden. “I shall be a fugitive and a wander on the earth “and whoever finds me will kill me.” Well, you already killed somebody. What you’re saying is, oh no, what if they do what I do? What if I meet some people like me, then the Lord said to him, not so, if anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be on him sevenfold. And there’s a hardcore band I think named after that line of avenge sevenfold, and the Lord put a mark on Cain. We’re not sure what it was. Gahar VA Rodd, a great Bible scholar says that it might be a tattoo. If so, it’s the beginning of tattoos. And the moral story is the bad guys always got a tattoo. You like that? Good, okay? Lest any who found him should attack him. Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden, Cain knew his wife. She conceived in bore Enoch. Now we’re into the third generation, Adam and Eve’s grandkids. When he built a city, first city, he called the name of the city after his son, Enoch, to Enoch was born Irad. Now we’re looking at generations. Let me say this friends, when you make decisions, it’s for people who aren’t born yet. Though Enoch was born Irad, Irad fathered this other guy, this other guy fathered this other guy and this other guy fathered Lamech. The key in the old Testamen, when you get the names, you can either read them fast and confident or just tell the truth and you don’t know how to say them. And Lamech took how many wives?
– [Congregation] Two.
– That’s at least one too many. Right ladies?
– How many of you ladies are like, what’s the other girl in the white dress to in here? It’s an awkward day. Who cuts the cake? I want the knife, okay? The name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. So this guy’s got women covered literally from A to Z. Adah bore Jabal, he was the father of those who dwell intense. All you guys who liked to camp, there’s your daddy, and have livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal from which we get Jubilee. He was the father of all those who play the liar in the pipe. So we get the beginning of music and culture and entertainment. Zillan also bore Tubal-cain, he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tuba-cain was Naamah and Lamech said to his wives, he sounds like a real piece of work. Aah and Zillan hear my voice. You wives of Lamech, wives of Lamech. Listen to what I say, I have killed a man for wounding me. Gimme a paper cut and I buried him. A man for striking me. If Cains revenge is sevenfold, then Lamech’s it’s seventy-sevenfold. Here’s a big idea, it’s getting worse. See, we live in this mythical time when everybody’s like, look at the evolution, okay? Here’s what we see here. Cultural evolution and moral devolution that people are great and wicked and so when we do wickedness, we do it greatly. Adam knew his wife again. So they’re gonna be intimate. She bore a son called him Seth. Otherwise the only line for humanity would be Cain. And she said, God is appointed from me another offspring instead of Abel for Cain killed him. I can’t think of anything worse than the funeral of your own child. To Seth also a son was born and he called his name Enosh. So what we see here is the fulfillment of what was prophesy in Genesis 1:28. That is something called the cultural mandate. God said, be fruitful, multiply, fill the Earth, increase in number sub do it. The point is this that we were supposed to populate the earth and we were supposed to take the resources they’re in and harvest them for business, for urbanization, for technology, for creativity, for progress. The goal is not just to leave the planet in its undeveloped state, but develop it. And ultimately we see that manifesting itself here. Now, again, humanity at this point, we were made great. It says we were made the image likes of God in Genesis one, we are made great. And now we’re sinful. So we do great evil. And what happens is the evolutionists look at all of the culture, technological progress, say, look at all the progress we’ve made. But then if you look at the morality, you’d say, look at the mess that we’ve made, that maybe we are able to create new technology, but we use it to take human life and to damage people. So though what we create might be evolving, who we are most certainly is not. And so what we see here is progress and we see it very quickly. Notice there’s no cave man in here. There’s no guy with a slouch forehead, sort of dragging his knuckles on the ground. That guy’s not here. That’s a myth. And it’s something that CS Lewis calls chronological snobbery. Oh, they were so stupid and primitive, not like us. Have you met us? Imagine you just dropped a bunch of people out in the wilderness. See, that’s amazing. They built the city, urbanization, culture. They created instruments and technology. No, they die. If Costco’s close, you’re gonna die. Okay. That’s it. Cause you and I we’re not that entrepreneurial, we’re not that capable. I mean, you remember the great toilet paper scare of 2020. I mean, people are like, oh, we gonna die, I can’t get toilet paper! Imagine you got dropped in the middle of the wilderness and you had to start from nothing. And so what we see here is very quick human progress because God made us in His image and likeness and gave us the cultural mandate. And what we see here is the beginning of urbanization, technology and also entertainment. And so these instruments are mentioned later in the book of Psalms used in the worship of God. What we also see is the decline of obedience to God’s word affecting marriage and family. So Lamech introduces into human history, polygamy, one man, two wives. And let me say that God told us that marriage was for one man and one woman. Our culture has already got rid of the man and the woman. And I’m telling you, what’s coming next. It’ll get rid of the one and the one. It’s going to happen in our life time. All right, we’ve pulled the emergency break on anything that would look like restraint on human sexuality. So the question then is, well, what about polygamy? And you’re gonna see polygamy in the rest of Genesis. And I would say that it’s just wrong and a bad idea. First of all, it starts here with Lamech. Lamech, good guy or bad guy?
– Bad guy.
– Bad guy. And ultimately he says, I do vengeance seventy times seven. Well, Jesus is gonna come along later and refute Lamech. And actually we do forgiveness 70 times seven. So Lamech, you’re the opposite of what Jesus teaches you. If you’re the opposite of what Jesus teaches, we probably shouldn’t model our marriage and family after you.
– In addition, God told us and Genesis 1:2, that marriage was one man and one woman, that was it. And he made it very obvious ’cause he made one man and one woman, it’s not like, Adam’s like, I wanna do polygamy. He’s like you got one girl, I’m gonna make this real simple for you son. You can’t mess this up. In addition, in the New Testament, it says that church leaders should be quote the husband of one wife. So the model for leadership in the church and the point is, leaders, aren’t perfect, but we are supposed to try and live in obedience to God and set an example for the other marriages and families. And you can’t be a leader and be polygamous in the New Testament. Furthermore, Jesus Christ has one bride, the church, Jesus doesn’t marry Christianity and Islam and Buddhism and Hinduism. He’s not polygamous with other religions. He’s faithfully devoted exclusively to his bride, the church. And then lastly, this would be the greatest arguments against polygamy, it doesn’t work. If you’re gonna read the rest of Genesis, when they practice polygamy, it never goes well. Like you’re gonna see one guy’s sleep with two women, those sons become nations, those nations become the Jews in the Arabs. Our entire middle Eastern conflict for a few thousand years, goes back to a family feud because one guy slept with two girls, and sometimes Americans come out like why can’t they just, kiss a makeup, maybe two drink decaf for me with a counselor in the Middle East. This is an old family view. It goes all the way back to the I’m the first born son with a right. No, I’m the first born son with a right. Well, let’s fight about it until Jesus comes back and settles the score. And the point is this, you can sleep with someone and just set generations of your family on fire and all of a sudden it’s a moment of pleasure that leads to generations of pain. And that’s the story of Genesis. So then we come to the point that Cain got married, had kids. Here’s the big question everybody has. Who’s Cains wife. You’re like, where’s the, okay, Adam Eve. Where’s the girl? So it’s probably,
– his sister.
– His sister. I’ll give you a minute to throw open your mouth, okay? Just throw open your mouth. Unless you’re from Kentucky. You’re like, huh? What? Don’t worry, they don’t have the internet there, they don’t even know what I’m talking about. They don’t even know. So this mixed response. So then God comes to Cain and he speaks to him and then Cain speaks to the Lord. And then in chapter 4:13, there are two ways to interpret what Cain says. I’ll give you both. And the point is this, I want you to study the Bible for yourself, learn for yourself, and when the scholars disagree, I wanna kind of give you the prevalent options. One is the Lord comes to him and then he says, my sin is too great to bear or literally in the Hebrew or the original language, he says my iniquity. So is it the consequence of his sin or is it his sin? ‘Cause here’s the thing, some people hate the consequence of their sin, but they don’t hate their sin. You’re like, I don’t like all the trouble it cause, but it was fun. Is he whining or repenting? Those are the two options. If he’s whining, God says you’re gonna wander, the ground is gonna curse you, life is gonna be hard, there’s gonna be a price to be paid. And then here Cain is whining. He’s like that’s too much, I can’t bear that, that’s too harsh, you’re being mean. He’s whining. Those who would take that position would say that his line is the godless line and that the rest of the Bible has nothing good to say about Cain. The other option would be that he is repentant, that he has realized that he has sinned against the Lord in the murder of his brother. And that he here is owning and apologized and repenting to the Lord. We would say that this is where he gets saved. And that what he’s saying is not my punishment is too great, but my sin is too great. Meaning I don’t just hate what I have to endure, but I hate what I have done. Now, that would be the minority position. And again, you can disagree on this. Grace and I do, Grace and I disagree on the interpretive options on Eve and on Cain. So pray for her. So no we disagree. And the point is this, you can love the Lord and study the Bible and I want you to enjoy it, and we don’t have to agree on everything. And some things are fun to discuss, but if Cain did in fact repent, then it would explain why he was told that he would wander for his whole life, and he didn’t, he got a city. In addition, did God bless Cain? Absolutely, he lived a long life, he didn’t get murdered, which would be justice. He got to marry, start a city, live a law life, meet his kids and his grandkids and have a family and truly an overall blessed life, particularly for a guilty murderer. Now, if he did hear in 4:13 repent and convert, then he would be the Apostle Paul of the Old Testament. The Apostle Paul is like Cain. He’s very religious, everything outwardly is done very right. He’s got anger and bitterness and vengeance and murder in his heart. And the Apostle Paul literally puts to death, a Jewish brother named Steven murders him. And then God comes to him as he came to Cain and God spoke to him as he spoke to Cain and then Paul repented and converted. And then he became the preacher of forgiveness and a revival breaks out that we call Christianity. And if that’s the case, then it would explain spoiler or alert, we’ll get to it in a moment. Why in the next verse it says that in that day people began calling on the name of the Lord? Well, whether he was unrepentant or repentant, here’s what we know about God. Number one, God marked him, said, you’re mine. God does that for the believer today with the holy spirit, the holy spirit is the mark of God’s people. In addition, he was blessed and God does bless. And throughout Genesis, the themes of blessing and cursing are continuous, but ours is a God who likes to bless. And then a revival does break out. I’ll show it to you here. At that time, people began to call upon the of the Lord. They’re inviting God into their marriage, they’re inviting God into their family, they’re inviting God into their business, they’re inviting God into their life. I verbal processed it last night, but I felt it was from the spirit. So I’ll share it with you today. The story of sibling rivalry, especially brotherly rivalry, it continues throughout Genesis, all the way up until the last story is a sibling rivalry between Joseph and his brothers. And Joseph loves the Lord and his brothers are jealous and bitter and jaded and angry and they have murder in their heart and they take him away from their father as king took Abel away from the presence of the Lord and they left him as good as dead, threw him in a hole, sold him into slavery, told his father that he was dead. And then Joseph is taken and he is taken as a slave and then he’s falsely accused of rape and he spends time in prison. So he goes from a pit to a prison, but eventually he ends up in a palace and he’s ruling and reigning as the right hand to the king in Egypt, the king ruled as a God. And he was sitting in the seat of Jesus at the right end of the king, Joseph is, and it says repeatedly that the reason that he was chosen is because, “The spirit of God is in him” that even the ungodly Pharaoh could see that he was marked his God’s possession. And that ultimately some years, many years later, a famine hits and he is ruling and reigning over the most prosperous and powerful nation on the earth, Joseph is, and all of a sudden his brothers arrive back into his life after a long time away. And they do not recognize him, but the key is that he has already forgiven them because when he sees them, his response is tears and not anger. What’s in his heart is compassion and love and grace and mercy, not anger and vengeance and bitterness, but he doesn’t immediately reunite with them because forgiveness is free, but trust is earned, and he needs to see if he can trust them, if they have changed or if they are the same. And eventually it comes to the culmination in the last chapter of Genesis, this brotherly sibling rivalry continues for 2000 years up until Joseph and his brothers. And in chapter 50, they have this face to face. And in chapter of 50:19, the brothers look at Joe and he looks at them and they’re afraid. They think he is going to seek vengeance. He’s gonna go Cain on us and we deserve it. And he asks them, am I in the place of God? And what he’s saying is vengeance is the Lords. See, Leix says, vengeance is mine. The New Testament says, vengeance is the Lords. Joseph has the spirit of God in the heart of God. And what he says is though I am in the position of God, I could kill you, I’m not, God will deal with you. Then he says, in Genesis 50:20, he says, “What you intended for evil God used for good “and the saving of many lives.” And in that day, many began calling on the name of the Lord. Some years ago, I was sitting on the couch at a theologians house, RT Kendall, he wrote a book, “Total Forgiveness,” and preached on that for me here a while back. And he said something that changed my life. He said, “The story of Joseph tells us, teaches us, “reveals to us this great fact, “the deeper, the forgiveness, the greater the anointing.” The reason that Joseph could rule in reign in Egypt is because he had forgiven his brothers and family so deeply God could anoint him so greatly. Here’s what I’m telling you is this, generations do not change without forgiveness and repentance that ultimately his brothers did repent and he did forgive them, but families are not healed unless there is repentance and forgiveness that the holy spirit works through forgiveness and Satan works through unforgiveness, that the holy spirit works through repentance and Satan works through unrepentance. The story is this. If you want to be blessed, you need to repent and forgive. If you want your family to be blessed, you need to repent and forgive. If you want the generations who follow in your wake to be blessed, you need to repent of your sin and forgive their sin, starting with your family, starting with your family. So here’s why we’re here friends. We’re here to examine our hearts. Okay, God, where I’m at today? Am I Cain or Abel? And is there any Cain in me? Then we wanna meet with the Lord and call on the name of the Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ, and say, created me a clean and of pure heart and renew a right spirit within me. We wanna call on the name of the Lord to forgive the sins that we have committed and to forgive others who have sinned against us. We wanna call on the name of the Lord in worship and in prayer. And for those of you who are not yet Christians, this is where you repent of your sin. I was wrong and you receive Jesus only you can make it right. Well, let me close with this. The Bible is ultimately all about Jesus, until Jesus is the center and the hero and the theme of scripture, it is not well understood. And here’s the big idea. Jesus is Abel, we are Cain. Hebrews 12:22-24. “You have come to Jesus, “the mediator of a new covenant and to the sprinkled blood “that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” Jesus is the better Abel and we are the worst Cain. So just let me summarize all of this for you as we prepare to worship and call on the name of the Lord. Adam and Eve were kicked out of Eden into the wilderness. Jesus left Eden in to enter in to the wilderness. God came as our big brother, Jesus Christ. Jesus was innocent and we killed Him like Cain. Cain was the first born in all creation, and Jesus is the first born over all creation. Cain and Abel were sons of Adam, Jesus is the son of God. Cain and Abel were in God’s presence because of Jesus God’s presence is now in us. Cain was the unrighteous brother of the righteous Abel, we are the unrighteous brother of the righteous Jesus. Cain and Abel gave their sacrifices to God. Jesus is God sacrificing himself for us. Cain killed the innocent Abel, we killed the innocent Jesus. Abel’s death was the first human death, Jesus resurrection was the first human defeat of death. Abel’s blood cried out from the ground for justice, Jesus rose from the bloody ground to bring justice. Sin conquered Cain, Jesus conquered sin. Cain was marked by God as his possession. Jesus sent the holy spirit to mark us as God’s possession. In the days of Cain, people started calling on the name of the Lord. Today, we know that the name of that Lord is the Lord Jesus Christ, and Cain built the first city named Enoch and Jesus is building the last city, named the new Jewish one. Father, thank you for an opportunity to teach your word and God we confess that we are Cain and we thank you that Jesus is the better Abel and Lord Jesus we thank you that this is a picture of our life and of our story and of our family and our legacy and our history. And so Lord, we invite you to rewrite the story of our life, to take out our heart of stone, to give us a heart of flesh for have us just not be in your presence but your presence to be in us. As we come to call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and whose name we pray. Amen.