Contend Earnestly: An Exposition of Cain and Abel: Part I

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

An Exposition of Cain and Abel: Part I

As we come to this passage, many have heard of Cain murdering his brother Abel, yet many do not really understand the significance of the passage. Yes, it was the first murder in the Bible, but more so it gives us great insight to what the Lord truly wants from all of us: heart worship.

When we understand what God is crying out to us for, we can better understand that it is not our works that we are saved but by Christ’s work. I have heard many uses of this chapter. Some speak about how murder is wrong and some speak about anger, but we are going to look from a Christological showing.

We are not going to focus on the act of the actual murder but we will look at the sin of Cain and then the blood of Abel and the blood of Christ. We are going to look at the calling of God’s love of the heart, the ignorant sin of man, punishment for sin and lastly the perfect calling of Christ’s blood. Look at our text:

Genesis 4:1-16

God’s Calling for Heart Worship

Boast no more so very proudly,
Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth;
For the LORD is a God of knowledge,
And with Him actions are weighed.
1 Samuel 2:3

If there is one thing that I want to accomplish with these posts, and further posts, is to beat the religion out of you. Think of things that religious people do. What are some things that those who are seen as religious do? Reading their Bibles, memorizing Scripture, praying, helping others, going to church, etc.

What are some things that real, blood bought Christians do? Reading their Bibles, memorizing Scripture, praying, helping others, going to church, etc.

Notice a theme? They both do the same thing. So what is the difference between a religious person and a genuine blood bought Christian?

A religious person believes that those works makes God happy and appeases Him, a Christian does those works because he understands what Christ did for him on the cross. One is works the other is of a loving faith relationship with the Saviour.

Here we have two brothers, Cain and Abel. Notice that Cain is the start of what Eve probably thought was the promise declared in the curses of Satan when God said, “the woman’s seed will crush your head…” What we of course know, is that this not the case with Cain, but would have been the case with Abel, but in God’s perfect plan He allowed Cain to murder him and the promised seed ended up coming through the third son, Seth.

But, notice these two brothers. Cain was a tiller of the ground. Who was now a tiller of the ground? His father, Adam. Cain is representing here the curse of Adam. What was Abel? A keeper of flocks. What is our Christ called? The Great Shepherd

Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord,
Hebrews 13:20

So we can see through this, that even though Cain was born first he was not going to be the one loved by God. We also see this with some other firstborns as well. Ishmael was born first, but Isaac was the son of promise. Esau was born first, but Jacob was the one whom God loved. So much that it is said in Romans 9:13 and Malachi 1:2 that before the boys did any right or wrong that it was Jacob whom God loved and Esau whom God hated; showing us the understanding of election and the Christian. That God places His love on a certain people before they are even born.

So, Cain and Abel we see are both keepers of something and Cain brings God a sacrifice. Some say that his sacrifice was just a plain sacrifice and others say that it was in equal value to Abel’s. It really doesn’t say, but what it does say is that God showed regard, or looked favorably to Abel’s and not Cain’s. Back to our thoughts on religion vs Chirstianity.

What is the difference between a religious person giving $100 and a Christian giving $100? What is the difference between a religious person feeding the homeless and a Christian feeding the homeless?

Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7

Notice that it is said of God that He loves a cheerful giver. This word “love” is the Greek term “agape” which is the same term when Christ is said to love His sheep, same as when God says that He loves His Son. So, in my estimation this is speaking of a genuine Christian, because they are the only ones who can truly give cheerfully to God. We asked what the difference in a religious $100 and a Christian’s? This verse clears it up. A religious person does it for gain, because they are under compulsion to do so, because if they don’t God will hate them or they won’t get what they want from God. The Christian gives cheerfully because the Christian’s joy is found in God, not in money. So, if they can do anything to promote the Gospel and God’s people they cheerfully and lovingly do so.

By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.
Hebrews 11:4

So, when we look at these two brothers offering their sacrifices to God, we can see what the difference was to God. Since God looks at the heart, one was doing so out of obligation, the other was doing so out of love for his God, by faith.

Was it God’s fault that Cain didn’t offer out of love? No, it was Cain’s sin.

So when you spread out your hands in prayer,
I will hide My eyes from you;
Yes, even though you multiply prayers,
I will not listen.
Your hands are covered with blood.
Isaiah 1:15

God tells Israel that He will not listen to their unrepentant hearts. He says earlier that He wishes that they wouldn’t even bother sacrificing to Him and then ends with this verse. He basically is telling them that all you are doing is standing their speaking to no one, cause God isn’t listening, and you aren’t even sacrificing, but you are just standing there with blood on your hands, meaning it hasn’t accomplished anything.

Same with us. God desires nothing from us, besides our hearts. I have heard one preacher put it, don’t make church a hobby for yourself. I will tell you the same thing. Don’t make church your hobby, it is the stupidest hobby you could have, go play video games or snow board, do something fun with your life, but don’t go to church acting as though you desire to be one of God’s own, when all you do is lip service. If you are doing all these things because God says so, or because you are “supposed to”, such as: reading your Bible, memorizing Scripture, praying, helping others, going to church, etc., you are just doing what the Israelites did…you are just standing there with blood on your hands, speaking to the walls, cause God isn’t listening to you.

You don’t care, and guess what, neither does God.

This is what Cain was. He was just a dude doing what God told him to do. No love or devotion in his heart towards his maker, but a religious man with no knowledge of what God truly desired from him. Therefore, God didn’t regard his sacrifice, but we will get into that in our next post.


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