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Cain and Abel - Genesis Part 9

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
January 14, 2022 7:00 am

Cain and Abel - Genesis Part 9

So What? / Lon Solomon

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Now, as you know, we've been studying the book of Genesis, and in the first three chapters, God has given us a panoramic look at the earliest days of mankind.

God has told us, number one, about his creation of the universe ex nihilo, meaning out of nothing. He's told us, number two, about his direct creation of Adam and Eve, and how he created all biological life himself personally. Number three, God told us about how he put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. And then number four, how Satan tempted them and they fell.

And then number five, about the multi-faceted consequences of that fall. Number six, God told us about his promise of a Messiah, the seed of the woman who would come and crush Satan and redeem mankind. And finally, number seven, God told us about his expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. Just before God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden, Genesis 3 21 tells us that the Lord killed two animals and, quoting now, made coverings of skin for Adam and Eve and clothed them, symbolizing, of course, that he had covered their sin. And in doing this, what God was trying to do was teach Adam and Eve the basic underlying principle, the basic operating principle behind his plan of salvation for the human race. And that principle is the principle of substitutionary atonement, meaning that God will accept an innocent substitute dying in the sinner's place to atone for that person's sin before God. As 1 Peter 3 18 puts it, it's the just for the unjust, the innocent for the guilty, the substitute for the real offender, and God taught Adam and Eve that temporarily he would accept an innocent animal as the substitute.

But eventually it would have to be the innocent Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, who would solve the problem of sin permanently. Whew! God got a lot in those first three chapters, didn't He? And if you missed any of that, I urge you to pick up the CDs from the bookstore when we're done or to go online and download or podcast our messages.

They're always free online so you can do that and I urge you to catch up to us. Now today what we want to do is move on into Genesis chapter 4 where God begins to tell us about how things went in the post Garden of Eden world. And we begin, of course, with the story of Cain and Abel. We're going to go back and look at what happened and then we're going to bring all that forward and we're going to talk about, well, what difference does that make for you and me? So are we ready?

All right, let's do it. Genesis chapter 4 verse 1. Now the man, Adam, had relations with his wife Eve and she conceived and gave birth to Cain. And she said, I have gotten a man child with the help of the Lord. And again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. Many years passed now.

The boys grow up. In fact, as best we can tell, according to the biblical record, when the rest of this chapter happens, they are both about 100 years old, give or take. So here we go. Verse 3, so it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord from the fruit of the ground. Remember, what was Cain? He was a farmer.

Yeah, okay. But Abel for his part brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. In other words, Abel brought an animal sacrifice. He brought a blood offering to the Lord just the way the Lord had told Adam and Eve they had to do in order to approach God. Verse 4, and the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering, God had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.

He became disheartened. You say, wait a minute, wait a minute, stop, Lon, right there. Don't you think that Adam and Eve taught their boys about substitutionary atonement? Well, yeah, I certainly do. And you say, and don't you think that they taught their boys that the only way you could approach God was to come by way of a blood offering, to come by way of a blood sacrifice?

Of course I think they did. Well, you say, so then I don't get it. Why would Cain do this? Why would he rebel against God's clear instructions? Friends, I can answer that question with two words, sin nature. You see, the Bible teaches that as soon as Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, they immediately brought on themselves a sin nature that is inherent to their fleshly bodies. And that this sin nature is passed down to every member of their race. That we inherit it from birth and that this sin nature is what drives us to rebel against God. Isaiah 53 verse 6 tells us about this sin nature. It says, all of us like sheep have gone astray. Each of us has turned to, say the next three words, his own way. Welcome to the sin nature.

There it is. The sin nature says, I'm not doing it the way God wants to do it. I'm doing it the way I want to do it. And this is why we have murders and kidnappings and robberies and drug abuse and sex scandals and white collar crime. You know, psychologists and sociologists and anthropologists and criminologists can search wherever they want to find the answer for why there's so much crime in our world and why there's so much violence in our world. But friends, the Bible tells us the answer, pure and simple. The Bible says it's because the heart of man is diseased. Jeremiah 17 9, the Bible says the heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately sick because every human being has a sin nature which will never be cured till we get our new bodies as followers of Christ when the Lord comes back. But our point is that Cain had this sin nature and this is why he rebelled and this is why he tried to approach God.

Isaiah 53, his own way. Verse six. Then the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? And why is your countenance fallen? I told you how you have to come to me.

What's wrong with you? If you go do right, will not your countenance be lifted up? Cain, go get an animal, bring it to me as a blood sacrifice the way I taught you, and I'll have regard for your offering just like I had for Abel's offering. But if you do not do right, God said to him, sin is crouching at your door and its desire is for you, but you must master it. So suddenly here we have Cain faced with an enormous crossroads in his life, either on the one hand he can repent of his rebellion, he can surrender his will to God's will, and he can go get an animal and do it God's way, or he can keep on trying to do it his way and rebelling and do something stupid eventually.

What did he do? Verse eight. Then Cain said to his brother Abel, Let's go out to the field. And while they were there, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, Where's your brother Abel? And Cain said, I don't know. Am I my brother's keeper? And God said to Cain, What have you done?

Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground. Now cursed are you, and I will drive you from the ground that opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. May I point out to us that Cain is the very first person in the Bible God ever cursed. In the Garden of Eden, God cursed the snake and God cursed the devil, but he punished Adam and Eve, but he did not curse Adam and Eve. He cursed the ground, but not Adam and Eve.

This is the first person that God ever curses. Verse 12. When you work the ground, Cain, God says, it will no longer yield its crops to you. You shall be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth. And Cain said, My punishment is more than I can bear.

Behold, you've driven me away and hidden your face from me. And I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and it will come about that whoever finds me will kill me. But the Lord said to Cain, Not so, for if anyone kills you, he will suffer vengeance seven times over. Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.

So Cain went out from the Lord's presence and lived in the land of Nod to the east of Eden. Now, that's as far as we're going to go in our passage for right now because we're going to stop and ask our most important question. And it's Christmas, so this is a Christmas so what?

This is a December so what? All right, are we ready for this? And I have to tell you today, I mean it, the other services did really well.

They did. So you got some big shoes to fill. Here we go, all of you on the internet, everybody here at Tysons. One, two, three. You guys are amazing. Okay, you win. You win.

You say, Lon, so what? Say, you know, everybody knows the story of Cain and Abel. Am I my brother's keeper? What difference does any of this make to me?

I'm never even going to live to be a hundred. So what difference does any of this make to me? Well, let's see if we can help with that. Friends, we've said that the presenting problem here in Genesis 4 is that Cain tried to approach God his own way with the vegetables, if you will, of his own human effort instead of the substitutionary blood of an animal. But folks, may I point out to all of us, the problem was fixable. This was not an irreparable problem. God told him, God said, Cain, look, all you got to do, son, is repent and go get an animal and sacrifice it and bring the blood to me the way I told you to and I'll be happy to have regard for your offering. This was not unfixable. And yet Cain didn't do that.

You say, why not? Well, friends, because there was another problem going on in this chapter. It's not quite as obvious, but it's very real. And it was that other problem that compounded with his own sin nature caused Cain to do what he did. It was something else that caused him to refuse to go get that animal and bring it back. It's something else that caused him to kill his brother Abel.

Let me show you what it is. Ready? Okay, now let's remember, God did not allow mankind to eat meat until after the flood. Did you know that? Yeah, Genesis chapter 9, verse 3, God said to Noah, after the flood, He said, every moving creature alive shall, what's the next word? Now be food for you.

I give it to you as I gave you green plants before. Yeah, friends, Cain and Abel were vegetarians. Everybody else on the face of the earth up until the flood were vegetarians. As a matter of fact, they were probably vegans and ate no meat products of any kind, no animal products. So, does it strike you strange that the Bible would say that Abel was a keeper of flocks?

Does it strike you strange? I mean, why would anybody keep cattle? Why would anybody keep goats? Why would anybody keep sheep or lambs or flocks of anything if they were of no use for food whatsoever? I believe the answer is simple. The answer is if you wanted to make a blood sacrifice to the Lord, you had to go get that animal from someplace. And so, your options were to go out in the field and try to catch a wild animal or go to Abel and purchase one.

Make sense? Yeah, okay. So now, here we've got Cain, remember? We've got Cain. Cain is what? He's a farmer, right. He brings the best he's got to God, the best of his vegetables or whatever. God rejects him, says, no, this is not how you approach me.

You've got to go get an animal and do it by substitutionary blood. Where does Cain have to go to get an animal? Yeah, he's got to go to his brother, Abel.

He's got to humble himself and go see his brother. And this brings up the fact that the Bible tells us that between Cain and Abel, there was trouble in River City. There was jealousy, there was envy, there was resentment, there was hostility that Cain felt towards Abel. He was not going to do it. I'm sure he felt like, wait a minute, wait a minute, why are my vegetables as good as his animals?

I'm not doing it. He said, well, Lon, why would Cain be jealous against Abel? Friends, I don't know. Why is anybody jealous of anybody? Why does anybody resent anybody? There's usually no logical reason for it.

It's just the way it is. And so Cain said, I'm not doing it. And his jealousy boiled over and his resentment towards his brother boiled over and caused him to go out and do something really stupid. In fact, in Genesis 4-7, remember what God warned Cain? He said, sin is crouching like a lion at your door.

It wants to master you. What sin was God talking about? Was he talking about some, you know, sin of stealing money? No. Was he talking about some sexual sin?

No. He was talking about the sin of jealousy, resentment, hatred, envy, malice that was in his heart. He was talking about Cain's heart towards his brother. That's what God was talking about. Seething resentment, which Cain failed to master and which caused the disastrous result we see. Now, I want to stop talking about Cain and Abel for a moment. And I want to move all of this forward into the 21st century and talk about you and me. So I want to go from preaching to meddling.

Can I do that? Yeah. Folks, jealousy, resentment, hostility towards other people is certainly not a problem limited to Cain. Huh?

No, no. The Bible calls it an outworking of the flesh, an intrinsic part of our sinful human nature, of yours, of mine, of everybody's. Listen to Galatians 5-21.

It says, now the outworkings of the sinful flesh are these. Immorality, impurity, sensuality. Those are sexual sins. Idolatry, witchcraft. Those are spiritual sins. Now watch. Here comes six sins all related to this issue of jealousy. Here we go. Hostility, discord, jealousy, dissension, strife, and envy.

Six of them. And would you notice that God says these are outcroppings of our flesh. They are an inbred part of our sinful human nature. These are things that lurk in the deepest recesses of our soul and that we all secrete from deep within in our hearts. Shakespeare called it the green sickness.

If you ever wonder where the expression green with envy came from, it came from this expression in Shakespeare, the green sickness. And every one of us has got it. Just to make sure we're all on the same page, can we define it?

Just to make sure we all got it? Let's define it. What is the green sickness? Well, number one, it's that thing inside of us that first of all causes us to resent what other people have and what they are. It's that thing which causes us to flinch on the inside the minute their name is ever mentioned in conversation. It's that thing, number three, that causes us never to have a good word to say about them. Number four, to take pleasure in their every fault. Number five, to hope that they stumble and they fail.

And number six, to rejoice on the inside when they do. Now, usually, most commonly, we feel this towards members of our family, brothers, sisters, brother-in-laws, sister-in-laws. But we can feel this towards anybody, a coworker, a fellow student, a neighbor, a roommate, and it's ugly. It is ugly. It is so ugly that most of us, as sophisticated people, cultured people, civilized people, most of us are way too embarrassed to openly admit that we feel this way. That is, unless you're on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

They don't care. But if you're not on that show, most of us try to hide this. Most of us try to camouflage this, but we know it's there.

We know it's there. And you know the most serious part of all is not just that it's sin. It is. And not just that it's offensive to God.

It is. But what is serious about it is that if we don't deal with it before the Lord, in our hearts, sooner or later, listen to me, it will boil over, just as it did with Cain. And it will cause us to do something or to say something stupid and self-destructive, just like it did with Cain.

It is a cancer in our hearts. You say, all right, Lon. So let's say, and I'm not saying, but let's say you're right. And let's say, and I'm not saying, but let's say I really do have this inside of me. I have a friend I know who actually has this inside of them.

So come on, come on. Let's say I have this inside of me, Lon. You said I need to deal with it before the Lord. We all do. How do I deal with it before the Lord?

How do I do that? Well, that's a great question, and we're going to answer it. But if you don't have this problem, you really... Nobody came up on the screen when we used the words envy, resentment, strife, hostility. You're free to leave.

Nobody? Okay. Well, we haven't had anybody all morning leave.

And I can't leave either because I got the same problem you do. So shall we talk about how to deal with this in our hearts? Yes. I got a four-step process that we're given in the Bible to deal with this. Here we go. Number one.

Step number one is we must openly admit that we have the problem. David said, Psalm 32 verse 3, When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away. My strength was drained away as in the heat of the summer. This is what this sin will do to you. Verse 5, Then I admitted my sin to you, Lord, and I did not cover up my iniquity. Friends, as ugly as this sin is, and it is ugly, step number one is if we want to be free of it, we have to stop justifying it. We have to stop excusing it. We have to stop pretending it's not there. We have to stop saying that we're justified in feeling this way in light of what they've done or said. No, we must confess it openly before the Lord as sin. We must admit we have a disease in our heart that needs to be cured.

This is really the hardest part of the whole thing. And if we can't get past this step, there's no place else to go. Number two, we admit it. Fine.

Number two, then step number two is we must want to solve the problem. We must want to be set free. You say, Lon, what do you mean we must want to be set free?

Everybody wants to be set free from this. No, they don't. No, they don't. I meet people all the time who love chewing on other people in their heart, who love rooting for them to fail, who love just absolutely bashing them every day in their heart, and they don't want to give it up. They enjoy doing this to this person.

No. We've got to understand this is a cancer, as I said. We have to take seriously God's warning to Cain that the sin of jealousy, Genesis 4-7, is like a lion crouching at our door and that if we don't get on top of it sooner or later, it will plunge us into saying something or doing something that we will regret the rest of our life just like Cain regretted what he did the rest of his life. We've got to want to be free.

Well, let's say, Lon, I admit it, and I really want to be free. What comes next? Well, step number three is we've got to attack the problem correctly, spiritually.

Say, what does that mean? Well, remember what Galatians 5-17 said. It said that jealousy is not just a bad habit like sucking your thumb or biting your fingernails.

No, no. The Bible says it is an outworking of our sin nature. It is a spiritual problem, the Bible says, and folks, spiritual problems have to be dealt with spiritually. The flesh cannot fix the flesh. No amount of BF Skinner behavior modification is going to fix this.

Walking out of our house in the morning and saying as we go out the door, I will not hate them, I will not resent them, I will not be jealous of them. It's not going to make any difference because the flesh can't fix the flesh. The only way that this can be mortified inside of us is for the spiritual power of the Holy Spirit Himself to be applied to this. This is why David said, Psalm 51, 10, create in me a clean heart, O God, because only you can, God, because I can't clean my own heart out. This is why the apostle Paul said, walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.

If we really want to be set free, my friends, day by day, moment by moment, in prayer, we must be asking the Holy Spirit to mortify this evil in our heart and we must depend on His power alone to do it. He said, well, Lon, how's He going to do it? Friends, I don't know.

How does God change our hearts? I don't know. You know what? I don't really care.

What difference does it make as long as He does it? And you know what? If you and I really want this cleaned out, if you and I really want this mortified in our hearts, I promise you, God will do it, which means we have to walk out of our house every morning. And instead we need to say, now, Lord Jesus, you know, I do resent that person. I am jealous of that person.

I don't like that person. I do hope they fail today. That's my sinful heart. But God today, by the power of the Holy Spirit, kill that inside of me today.

Mortify that inside of me today. Help me rise up above that and help that be crushed inside of me today. Not tomorrow. Tomorrow is tomorrow.

This is today. That's how we deal with it. You say, all right, Lon, I understand that. I can deal with that. But you say, let's say I get free. Let's say that God frees me of my feelings towards my brother or my sister or my brother-in-law or whoever. How do I make sure, Lon, I don't get sucked into this thing again? I mean, going forward, fine, He frees me now. But my heart is so evil, I'll be back to resenting somebody in a week if something doesn't happen. How do I keep myself from falling back into it?

Is there anything preventative that I can do? Oh, yes. And that's step number four. And finally, and that is number four, we must learn to see life through the lens of God's sovereignty. You say, I'm not sure what that means either.

Okay. Jeremiah 29, 11. For I know the plans I have for, say it, you, not anybody else, you. Psalm 139 verse 16, David said, all the days ordained for me, not somebody else, were written in your book, God, when as yet there was not one of them. See, friends, what God's sovereignty means is that God has a plan for you. And God has your life all written down in the book before you were ever born, every detail of it.

And He does for mine too. And friends, not any single person in this world can change it. And whatever any person does in this world can't stop it. God is sovereign.

He's going to get us right where He needs to get us, right when we need to be there for His perfect plan in our life. And we don't have to put down anybody else in order to go up. And we don't have to take anybody else down in order to stay up. Friends, their going down doesn't take us up.

And for us to go up, we don't have to pull them down. Do you understand what I'm saying to you? We need to take our eyes off people. That's what makes us jealous, resentful, hateful, spiteful, what they do to us, how they scheme against us, how they plot against us.

No, no, no, no. We need to take our eyes up a level and look at the sovereignty of God and say, you know what, God's got a plan for me. My days were written in His book and everything these people do doesn't make a bit of difference. God laughs at them. He laughs at them and He says, come on, you really think anything you're going to do is going to stop my plan?

Come on. And friends, we need to have the same attitude. We need to look at that person that's plotting against us and we need to smile at them and say, you know what, you are so inconsequential in terms of what's going to happen in my life. Inconsequential.

Now I don't know that I would say it out loud, but that's what we need to say on the inside, inconsequential. You make no difference. You can plot all you want, you can scheme all you want, you can do whatever you want, connive all you want. God's got a plan for me that has nothing to do with what you do. In fact, by your conniving and scheming, you're actually going to help me somehow get where I'm going. So this is going to turn around.

This is going to be hysterical when we're all done here. Friends, when we see the world through the lens of the sovereignty of God, nothing to be jealous about. There's nothing to be resentful about. These people are inconsequential to the plan of God in our life.

So let's summarize. Every one of us, if we're honest, have to admit we struggle with jealousy and envy and resentment towards others. Hey, but the good news is that God's given us a way in the Bible to get free and to stay free. Number one, we have to openly admit we've got the problem. Then number two, we've got to really want to be set free. Number three, we've got to attack the problem spiritually by the power of the Holy Spirit. And then number four, we keep from feeling that way again about people by seeing life through the lens of God's sovereignty. Let me say in closing that I've learned in my life the worst kind of bondage is bondage to hating and resenting and envying and being jealous and being jaundiced towards other people. Now that is a prison.

That is a cancer. And I've also learned the greatest freedom in the world is to be able to be where the apostle Paul said, Romans 12 18. He said, but as for you, as much as it lies with you, be at peace with all people. Friends, when we can get to the place that our eyes are so fixed on God's sovereignty that we're at peace with people, let them do what they want. As much as it lies with us, we're at peace. There is a freedom there that is indescribable. God wants to get this there.

If we use this four-part process, He can. Let's pray together. Lord Jesus, thanks for reminding us today that we have evil hearts. We know it, but it's good to be reminded. And Lord, one of the ways that manifests itself is in this area we've talked about today.

Jealousy, hostility, hatred, resentment, malice, jaundice towards others. Father, I pray that you would remind us that if the Son of Man makes you free, you shall be free indeed. That there is a way to be free of this, but we have to deal with it properly, biblically, as we've talked about today to get free.

The flesh cannot fix the flesh. And so, Lord Jesus, use what we've talked about today in a mighty way in our lives. Lord, help us make it our goal to be able to say every day, as much as it lies with me, I am at peace with every person today. Give us that freedom, Lord, and that liberty in our soul, because we sat under the teaching of the Word of God today. And we pray these things in Jesus' name. What did God's people say? Amen. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-11 20:12:00 / 2023-06-11 20:24:19 / 12

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