Genesis 4:1-16 – Understanding the Depravity of Humanity

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I’m going to invite you to Genesis chapter four. Genesis chapter four is where we’re going to be. And the topic of today is a is a wonderful dinner conversation topic. We’re going to be talking about your depravity. All right. This is the if you’re new, I’m glad you’re here for this. Welcome to my Bible Church. We want to talk about your depravity today in Genesis, chapter four. And it is actually an important theme related to Genesis chapter four one, because it’s the subject matter, but two, it helps keep the cohesion of all of scripture. I find when people get into Genesis, Genesis or Revelation, really they do weird things with it. We talked about this in the beginning of Genesis that in the first three chapters we deal with creation and our purpose and identity in the Lord. Because the Book of Genesis is written to a group of slaves that have been slaves for generations and and they’ve endured certain hardships and they’ve been treated like tools their whole lives. And now God is helping them understand their value, not in what they do, but in who they are created intrinsically worth. In the Lord’s eyes, they’re given intrinsic worth because they’re created for a purpose in him. And we only find that purpose as we’re connected to him. And the reason for that is because you didn’t make you, but you were made for something beyond you. And it’s only found in the Lord.

We’re made as worship beings and which means we’re made to find our purpose in something. And when we don’t find that in God, we’ll look for anything else to give us worth, value and meaning. And what we find temporarily is we might be satisfied, but ultimately our souls end up in bankrupt. And so the Lord is helping shape these Hebrew slaves and their true identity and who He is very important to understand. But when you get to Genesis chapter, when you look at the first three chapters, let me say this first. People tend to look at the first three chapters of Genesis and treat it like it’s a science book, the first three chapters of Genesis. It’s not intended to be a science book. It’s a theology book related to your identity based on who God is. And so the while science, you could extrapolate some things from science in the first three chapters, that’s not the primary intentions of Genesis. And I don’t like to read those first three chapters and pretend like I am a scientist. I’m a pastor, right? I’ve got my degrees in theology, and that’s where Genesis is written for us. And then when you get to Genesis chapter four, the same thing happens. People tend to do the same thing with Genesis chapter four. They forget the theme of what Genesis is about, and they start to read these unique verses in Genesis and ask some interesting questions about this book, of which it doesn’t provide the answers for you.

Let me just give you a few. Some people will read the first four chapters of Genesis, get to chapter four and they’ll ask something like this. In verse 14, Cain gets worried that people are going to attack him. And the question is, where did the people come from? Right? I mean, all you’ve learned about so far is Adam and Eve, and now Eve has Cain. There’s three people. And in verse 14, Cain is worried about getting attacked. Like, where do the people come from? And then in verse 15, Cain is given a mark, right? He sends and he has a mark on him from the sin. And people ask the question, What is that? And if someone tells you and they know what it is, I want to tell you they’re making it up. No one knows what that mark is. But but people ask that question, get fixated on verse 17, Cain lay with his wife. Where did his wife come from? That’s an important question. When there’s only three people and then he has we learn Eve has Abel. Like now there’s four people. Where does his wife come from? And or they’ll ask the question in this text in verse 17, Cain goes and builds a city, right? An entire city. How do you where do the people come from? And how in the world do you make a city? And did they have the same idea for city in mind? When we talk about city today versus what they’re talking about in the Book of Genesis, we’ll actually talk about that question next week.

But people fixate on that as if that’s that’s the primary goal of Genesis. And the Bible honestly doesn’t tell you because that’s not the point of Genesis, chapter four. In fact, when you when you look at Genesis chapter four, I think the theme of Genesis, chapter four is to help us begin to understand the what you read in the first three chapters of Genesis, and especially in Genesis. Chapter three is not unique to human nature. If you remember in Genesis chapter three, God gave Adam and Eve one rule, one rule. And what does Adam and Eve do? They decide God is withholding his best from them, that it would be wise for them to disobey the Lord and listen to Satan, which, by the way, if any of you are wondering which of the two you should listen to in your life, it is not Satan, okay? It is. It is the Lord. And they bought into the lie that they could become like God and they ate of the tree, of knowledge, of good and evil, which is to say to God they’re going to tell God what is right and wrong rather than listen to what the Lord says. And when Adam and Eve partake of the fruit, when they sin against the Lord, we see the destruction of what sin brings.

Now, the tendency is, is, is to look at that story and be like, well, that was for for them and those guys, what a mess up they were. Right. We’re obviously not going to make that kind of mistake again. Right. And I can’t believe those guys would do that. God told them one thing. How? How could it be they disobeyed God? Or if you think in terms of Genesis being written to these these Hebrew slaves leaving slavery and and Pharaoh keeping the Hebrew slaves in captivity and and treating. These people less than human being. And and they can look at where they’ve come from and being like, you know, tie that to to Pharaoh and say, look how depraved Pharaoh was. He’s just like them. But obviously we’re not going to be like that because, well, God’s given us his word and we know how to follow follow God’s word because, well, God told us. But what you find in the book of Genesis is that when you get to Chapter four, it gets to the next generation. And it’s something interesting when you go from one generation to the next. I don’t know why it is, but in human history, it seems that every new generation thinks that they’ve got it more figured out than the previous generation. It’s like you come along and, well, we’re a step above you now because we’re we’re the next generation.

So obviously we’re not going to stoop to the level that you’ve been because we’re more wise now and we’ve learned, you know, we’re going to cancel what you did and we’re going to create these new things that make us a better people. And, you know, we could just argue today, are we really better off than where we were a generation or two generations ago? We might have more conveniences in life through technology. But as far as the human condition, I would say we are we are not improving this thing, this walk of life And Genesis four is is really pointing that out to us to help us realize that the depravity within Adam and Eve isn’t exclusive to to Adam and Eve, but rather it’s affecting the next generation. And to be quite honest, in the first 12 chapters of Genesis, it’s just trying to fast track you to the story of Abraham because because through Abraham comes the seed of the promise of the Messiah. And so the first 12 chapters of Genesis, it’s not to go through all of human history, it’s just giving us these quick snippets, these pictures of of really Adam and Eve messed up, but things didn’t get better from there. In fact, they got worse and humanity just kept going down this slippery slope of of further depravity and further depravity. But within it all comes this promise of Christ. But the Bible wants us to recognize just how important it is that we don’t look to ourselves and trusting in ourselves, but rather in the grace that God wants to supply and our identity in Him and the beauty of Genesis.

Is that It does it in narrative. I love reading narrative and scripture, learning lessons through through narratives because it really takes the pressure off of you. You know, you turn to maybe an epistle in the Bible and you can read it and it’s very direct, right? You’re doing this. Don’t do this. This is this is you’re being foolish, and here’s why. When you read a narrative, you just you kind of watch the story play out in someone else’s life. And then it gives you the opportunity to be reflective and examine where your heart is in the midst of the story. And and here in Genesis four, you see this this story play out, this narrative play out between Cain and Abel. And really what you discover is we have a little bit of Cain and Abel in all of us. And we want to lean more into the behavior of Abel and what allowed him to honor God and not the behavior of. King or excuse me. Cain And if you read this book, there’s there’s a spoiler alert in chapter four, King kills Abel if you didn’t know. All right. All right. That’s how it ends. So if I’ve ruined it for you, I’m sorry, but.

But this. This story of Cain and Abel is helping us see in this narrative how the depravity of our human nature plays out and the way we can pursue God in the midst of it. And so in Genesis chapter four, this is how the story starts for us now, Adam and New Eve, his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain saying, I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord. Now, to be honest, I don’t know this because I can’t fully read Eve’s Heart doesn’t tell us in the text, but I’m just going to speculate on the way. Genesis four one is written that most likely Eve probably believes she’s giving birth to the Messiah. And the reason I say that is, is a couple one In Genesis chapter three, verse 15, God had just told her before the serpent that through the woman will come the seed. There will be a seed born from the woman who will crush the head of the serpent and he will be a male. And then lo and behold, when Eve gives birth, the first child she she births is a male. And she’s recognizing that this has come from the Lord. Right. It’s almost like she’s saying, this is the deliverer. This is the one that’s going to crush the serpent’s head. She couldn’t be further from the truth in this. This he does the exact opposite in that. But she might she might think that God’s promise was was immediate here, but rather what we see is the need for God’s promise to be fulfilled.

We further see the depravity of who who we are as people. And in verse two and again, she bore his son, Abel. Now, Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain, a worker of the ground. And the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground. And Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering. But for Cain and his offering, he had no regard. So Cain was very angry and his face fell. That’s kind of weird, isn’t it? The Lord said to Cain, We’ll talk about that in a minute. The Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it. It’s funny, I just turned 42 yesterday and sticking out to me more that the idea of the the face fell because as I look in the mirror these days, it seems more and more the the face is gathering some wrinkles and falling. But the point of what what he’s saying in this passage, in verse, verse seven, he wants Cain to recognize and through this narrative, for all of us to recognize, the destruction of sin is not just on on Adam and Eve.

And it’s not just some archaic word used in the Bible. It affects us every day. And maybe I should say it infects all of us in our lives and our standing before the Lord. And so God gives this warning. And really, this is the focal point of everything that happens in the life of Cain. And it says to us here that sin is crouching. Sin is crouching. And and so this morning, we want to talk about really four questions related to this sin. One is where is this sin crouching? Two, how does sin crouch? Three, how can we be protected from sin? And four, what are the what are the results of sin? But question number one, where is sin crouching? And I realize I didn’t give you a bullet points to kind of fill in the blank, which I typically do. But today is more a free response for you if you want to whatever you want to fill in in these answers as we work through this text. But the question is, where is sin crouching? God’s given this warning to Cain and where is it taking place? And you really you couldn’t it’s not real easy to pick up. It’s kind of subtle in the first four verses, but you really find it in verse three and four, and it’s juxtaposing the behavior of Cain to that of Abel to help us pick it out a little bit better in this context.

But it starts to help us see where this sin is an embryo. And at first glance, not real obvious because what you see in the life of Cain and Abel Abel is this religious response to the Lord. This on the outside, sort of this this ritualistic observance to God. But what we fail to maybe see just by at first glance of this is, is what’s building this response between Cain and Abel. You might read this and think, well, you know, they’re both giving to God, right? It’s a good thing they’re both coming to the Lord and worship and they’re coming to God and they’re giving to God. And it looks good on the outside. What’s wrong with with how they’re giving? And the answer to that is it’s not that what they’re giving, but it’s the way in which they’re giving it. It’s not the hands of the giver, but rather the heart of the giver. That’s the struggle in this passage. In fact, I would say that that’s true for all of us. And I would even go a little further and say that’s really the danger of religion. Is in the performance of religion. It gives the external appearance of something that looks nice. But it can completely mask the heart of the individual. I mean, that was the struggle.

Remember, in the beginning with with Adam and Eve. We saw in Genesis chapter three, they put on the fig leaves as if to put a barrier between them and God. And they they depend on themselves to to remove sin from their lives. And God who comes in and rips off those fig leaves and tells them God is not a God of putting on masks, that God’s not interested in your performance. What God is interested in is your heart. Because if God can get your heart, God will change your life. You can do good all day long, but good doesn’t necessitate that you have a relationship with God. And so this is really what what God is revealing in the heart of of Cain and Abel and the way that they are giving. I have found our response to God. And giving is a type of response to God. But our response to God tends to be motivated by three things two of them not healthy and one of them is healthy. We tend to to respond to God or give to God one out of obligation. Two out of manipulation or three out of adoration. Let me repeat it again. When we give to God the tendency of our heart in doing it tends to be one of three things. Obligation, manipulation or adoration? And what do we mean by that? Is, is obligation is when we give to God, it just feels like a burden.

It’s something that we just have to do. I don’t want God to be mad at me. I guess I should do this and that’ll make God happy and it’ll keep him off my back for a while. So. So you give out of obligation. The other is just simply manipulation. You think by giving to God that you’re doing something great and therefore God owes you? You sort of create God like he’s he’s your puppet that needs to be manipulated. And so he’s up in heaven thinking, Oh, people don’t love me enough, please make me feel important, right? And so we give to him in the hopes that or the expectation that since I gave to God, God now owes me. And so it’s this, this game of of manipulation. But what we see in the story is most likely Cain’s attitude is one of those two things. But Abel’s attitude is different. Abel’s attitude is one of adoration. Which is another word of saying worship. Kane is not giving because he just feels guilty. And he doesn’t he doesn’t want God to be mad at him or or he’s not giving because he wants to, to make God do something more for him. But rather Cain gives out of a place of joy because or excuse me, Abel gives out of a place of joy because Abel recognizes what he has in Christ. Adam and Eve sinned against the Lord. And God is completely justified at any moment to judge sin.

God doesn’t owe us anything. But rather than just judge sin, rather than give up on us, rather than kick us to the curb, God opened the door for grace and forgiveness. Genesis 315. He promises from the seed of the woman will come one a conqueror over sin, Satan and death. And he will bring life to us, not based on what we do, but based on who he is. And in Christ, not only did God create him for purpose, but now is the promise that God recreates him in the Lord. And to Abel. This is beautiful. And this is incredible that a God would love him this way. So he doesn’t walk before the Lord carrying this guilt because, well, Jesus took it. The Lord takes it. And he doesn’t come before the Lord trying to manipulate to get more of God because he understands what he has been given. And God in this new position is all that he needs. And so in Genesis chapter four, the way it refers to to Abel sacrifices the indication here of what’s happening in the heart of Cain and the heart of Abel. See some some say that in this text. If you read some commentaries on on Cain’s gift or Abel’s gift, that most likely with Cain’s gift, he simply just grabbed some some produce off the ground, maybe something that was going bad. He didn’t really put a whole lot of thought to it for him.

It didn’t matter. He just wanted to toss it at God as if he would. He were tipping God, you know, like I’m obligated, or here it is. God, I’m manipulating you. But when Abel gave. Apple gave It tells us of the first born. In the Bible. There are a couple of words that are unique in in the way that offerings were made to God. One is this word firstborn when it came to livestock and the other was first fruit when it came to from the garden. I’m Keynes giving from the ground that he tilled and Abel’s giving from the livestock to God. Both were acceptable. It’s not about the gift. It’s the heart of the giver in the gift and what the gift represents towards their relationship with the Lord And Abel. Here he gives of the firstborn, which is another way of saying from the first fruits. And it’s this way of recognizing how God has supplied for your life and you find a joy in that. And not only that, that God is going to continue to supply for for your life. Know, I think in an agricultural society when you didn’t necessarily have the grocery store to go to, to pick up your food for the day or a refrigerator to keep things cold in and you were dependent upon that day to provide for you. And and when the Hebrew people, when they would give an offering to the Lord of their first fruits or their firstborn, I mean, they’re really trusting in God.

They come to a harvest and the first fruits of the harvest, rather than take from themselves, they take on the front end of what they’ve received and they offer that to God. And I think when you’re thinking about feeding your family, providing your family, and that is complete dependence on the Lord to be your provision in life and saying, God, you have been good to me up to this point and God, I’m trusting you that you’re going to to provide for me as I continue to move forward and to show that confidence in the joy that I’ve received and the fullness that I have in you, and to show that I’m going to continue to trust in you. I’m not waiting till the end of the month to give you what I have left over. That’s what Cain does. Rather God, I want to give you the best that I have in the morning. The first thoughts that I think the way that I serve, what I give. I mean, all of this is dealing with your response to the Lord. Your response to God is a barometer for your spiritual condition, your relationship to him. Why do you do the things you do for God? And why are you here today? Are you here because you feel obligated. Are you here because you want to make God manipulated? Are you here With a heart full of adoration.

Now, I know most people here, and I’m going to give you the sea. Okay, You get sea. All right, but. But. But it’s an important question because it helps us examine the condition of our heart and what is driving what we’re doing. And if it’s anything other than sea, then there’s something happening in our life that we need to examine and determine why. Why am I not appreciative of where I am and what Christ has done for me? Why can I just stop and examine the goodness of which I’ve received in Jesus? And why can my heart not be content in that and respond with joy and in that joy, give other people the opportunity to to know the Lord through this and rejoice in the Lord through this. Our response to God is a is a barometer for our spiritual condition. And giving just happens to be a component of where we get to examine. That’s why when you read the New Testament, Jesus talks about giving frequently because he knows it easily becomes an idol in our life and we make it about the object. Rather than the one who gave it to us to begin with. The point becomes the idol. Rather than the giver of good things. And this is where this sin is crouching for for Cain. He’s he’s wrestling with the motivation of his heart and what’s driving him to do it.

This this idea of firstborn and first fruits, which, you know, similar to that, the idea of fasting out of everywhere I’ve lived in the world, I can tell you I’ve had more conversations of fasting in Utah. We love fasting in Utah, even even the idea of fasting in Scripture is this picture of helping your soul recognize dependency upon God. It’s not about obligation. It’s not about manipulation. But fasting is a is a type of worship. And let me just help us understand this. When in the first three chapters of Genesis, when Adam and Eve were created, God tells them, eat of anything, right, eat of anything. Before the fall existed, mankind was eating. When you’re in eternity with God, there’s going to be food there. It’s going to be great food. Right? You will continue to eat. Thank the Lord. You’re going to continue to enjoy food in eternity. And the reason I say that is because when we were created in Genesis that eating was a part of life, but eating was this way of helping us recognize that we were always created to be dependent upon God. In the garden. Adam and Eve had to trust God to provide. And the idea of fasting in Scripture is not to manipulate God to get something that you want. Certainly God wants to hear from you in your needs. But the idea of fasting and Scripture was to remind ourselves to bring ourselves to this place, to realize I have always been created, to trust in God, to provide for me.

And so we go back to this place of fasting that our soul gets tuned back to the to the basic of who we are, the provision of the Lord to fill my life with the goodness of who he is. And this is where Cain is struggling. So question number two then, is, is how does sin crouch? What does it look like for sin to crouch? That’s a weird question. How does how does sin crouch? And in verse seven, you see that mentioned to Cain, right? He’s coming with this offering. He doesn’t have the right heart in it. And God’s telling him because he’s lacking that right heart. Sin is crouching in your life. So. So how does it crouch one one? I would say this. We tend to underestimate the power of sin. So the idea of crouching is saying to us, sin wants to look smaller than it really is. But truth be told, it’s more powerful than it looks. It destroys you. It destroys your walk with God. It destroys relationships with others. It strike is deadly. But when it comes to sin, we like to downplay it. We like to you know, we might know it’s there, but we don’t recognize the power of it. And what we tend to do is we underestimate it by justifying our actions.

We tend to say things well, like, well, it’s okay if I do this because, well, do you know what they did right? If they did this, then I can act like that because my behavior is justified in this or. Or. Well, my intentions. You know, God says not to do this, but my intentions are, you know, to to be noble. And so, you know, if God just kind of judges, we justify the idea of of sin and we sort of downplay it. We like to even say things like, well, you know, this is the 21st century. That’s that’s the Bible word. We don’t want to talk about the destruction of sin. So we we tend to to downplay the an underestimate what sin is in our lives. And I would say for you, if you don’t realize the the magnitude of what sin can do and the destruction to your life, just stop. Right? Just try that today. If you don’t think sin gets a grip of your life, you don’t think sin can destroy your life. Prove me wrong. And for the rest of today alone, just see if you can go the day without sinning. It just demonstrates how much of our heart is gripped by it affected and infected in it. The depravity of our own soul. This is not exclusive to Adam and Eve. He’s showing in the book of Genesis. It goes from one generation to the next generation, and it continues to get worse.

So we’re going to find next week come back. It gets worse. All right. This, this, this, this, this this trajectory of our lives, apart from God, as we move further from him, we don’t get better off as people. And we tend. We tend to underestimate the power of sin. First we do sin. But then we discover that it’s truly sin that owns us. It’s underestimated. And too, sometimes it’s just undetected. I mean, that’s the idea of the picture here is an animal crouching and it wants to look, you know, innocent in the corner. But also the hope is whatever it’s going to leap on doesn’t even realize it’s there. It doesn’t see the need. And that’s that’s that’s the danger of religion with Cain and Abel. Jesus. This is why Jesus was so specific against religious people. It’s strange when you see Jesus’s life, right? He’s referred to as the friend of sinners. But to the religious people, he was he was more blunt to them in the way that he spoke. And the reason was, is because sinners, the one thing that sinners have that sometimes religious people just lack is that sinners know that they’re sinners. They know they’re messing up. Right. They know that their their heart is depraved and they know they’re walking a path that’s contrary to the Lord. And it’s it’s in recognizing that then you begin to see your need for God’s forgiveness in your life.

But religious people, you have to get them lost before you can get them found. They have to see, you know, you’re not better off than anyone else. Jesus died for a reason, as why he came to say he came. He came to save the sick. Right? To. To rescue us. Because he was giving this declaration to to religious people. Like if you don’t even know that, you don’t need God, like we’ve got to get you lost before you can be found. And so we tend to send tends to go undetected and its result is is destructive. Do you guys remember the TV show Addams Family? Da da da da. There you go. That’s good. Adam. There’s this. This statement I’ve heard. I’ve heard Tim Keller use this once as an illustration, talking about the destruction of sin. He referenced this this scene in The Addams Family where Wednesday shows up to a costume party and she’s not wearing a costume. And people bring that to her attention. And she’s like, oh, no, I actually am wearing a costume. And she says it like this. This is my costume. I’m a homicidal maniac. They look just like everyone else. Right? And and this like this morning, no matter where you are, no matter how great your mama may have told you you were before the Lord, our hearts are all sinful. And when we’re not honest with that, we just let the destruction of sin go undetected.

And we just thank our performance out of obligation or manipulation to God is enough. We discover is what God is interested in is not your performance. But your heart. Can I tell you Cain’s biggest problem? Kane has drawn out his idols for us in verse 5 to 7. Where Cain’s battle is, is is Kane has put his identity not in the Lord. But rather Cain is finding his his identity identity from his brother rather than God. And because Kane is finding his identity through his brother, he sees his brother as an enemy. Rather than his own heart as needing examined. See Cain. Cain is measuring himself not on his relationship to the Lord. But rather in his brother. And his brother, in his eyes is not making him look good. And so because of that, Cain is getting angry. And you see in verse 5 to 7, even the Lord graciously trying to help Cain understand this. But for Cain and his offering, he had no regard. So Cain was very angry and his face fell. And the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry and why has your face fallen? This is a way of saying he’s depressed, he’s depressed, and he’s kind of self-pity, jealous. I mean, self pity, self loathing. That’s kind of the the embryo of where sin’s breeding. You know, you’re looking at other people, you’re frustrated because you don’t have what what they have and you want it because to you that’s most important what you want because your Lord of your life and this is this is where Cain is.

He’s he’s he’s manipulated his identity from the Lord. And he’s looking to other people to to discover his worth and value. And he sees his brother has something and he values his brother as more important to him in this. And rather than look at his own heart, he looks at his brother and he gets depressed and he gets angry. And the Lord is saying to him, why are why are you angry and why is your face falling? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at your door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it. Sin’s desire is to destroy you. And he’s saying you need to do well. He’s not saying, Look, go perform. He’s saying, Look, there’s something wrong in your heart. And rather than blame others, what you need to do is is to challenge yourself in this because your brother is not the enemy. Rather than think the Lord God, thank you for giving me a brother that that honors you and loves you and challenges my own life. To examine myself, to see how I can be stronger and my relationship with you and pursue you with joy rather than out of obligation or manipulation. Rather than do that, he makes an enemy out of him.

In fact, James, chapter four talks about this. It says, What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you. For Cain, he would say, It’s Abel. Abel stinks, Right. But but what James four says is, is it not this? That your passions are at war within you. We like to blame other people for where we are. We like to blame other people for what we do. But what James is saying is. No, no, no, no. What you do actually rests within you. If I had a glass of water this morning and someone were to bump into me, do you know what would come out of that glass of water or out of that glass? More water, Right. Or if you had a fuel truck go by on State Street and someone knocks it over, what comes out of the fuel truck? Fuel. When someone bumps into you, do you know what comes out of you? Whatever’s on the inside. And this is what we’re seeing with Cain. He gets disrupted and what comes out. Rather than look to himself, he looks to someone else and blames them. And James is saying, No, it’s what’s resting in you. You desire and do not have. So what do you do? You murder. You covet and cannot obtain. So you fight and quarrel. You know what’s interesting about the book of James is this is written to Christians. James is not writing actually to a group of murderers.

James is writing, writing to a body of believers. But what James is saying is, when your heart goes to that place, when you start to get angry and you think it’s other people, what you end up actually doing is destroying you. Kill that relationship. Because you didn’t start by examining your own heart. The problem never rested there. It’s always rested within you covet and cannot obtain. So you quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people. Do you not know the friendship with the Lord is enmity with God? He’s saying, Look, you’re doing this to manipulate. You’re asking and you can come and ask God anything. But when you ask God also consider the motivation of why you’re doing it. Is it really for for the joy of knowing God and living for His glory? Or is it about making yourself God and just simply using the Lord? Cain God saying, examine your heart because sin is crouching. And its desire for your life is to destroy you. At first you think you’re doing it, but it in the end owns you. So the question is, how do we protect ourselves? How do we protect ourselves? And this is peppered throughout the passage for us that you see in this story. It’s just a matter of willing, your heart being willing to tune in to what God is saying.

How do we protect ourselves? I think for us, the answer is really twofold. It’s to remain approachable by God and his people. To remain approachable by by God and his people. Let God’s Word speak into your heart. Because God’s Word is life, and God’s Word tells us where we find forgiveness in Christ. God’s Word gives us our new identity in him and purpose for living. It’s letting God’s Word enrich our soul to find freedom and forgiveness and life in Christ. Let your life be approachable by God. And and this is what we find in verse five and seven is throughout all of these 16 verses in Genesis, God continues to show up in the life of Cain. And you see Cain continuing to just swat it away to the point in verse 16 that Cain completely leaves God. So So Cain’s heart is callous. Rather than turning to the things of God, he turns from the things of God and God as God over and over shows up for him. The Bible warns us in a couple of places they talking about people outside of the Lord are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to their hardness of heart. An important passage for us this morning. To just say, Where is your heart before the Lord? I mean, you get warning over and over in scripture.

Do not harden your heart. Do not harden your heart. It’s dangerous to harden your heart. And from the truths of God, letting the richness of who he is speak into your life. Don’t walk a path of where you know sin is crouching, but rather let your life align with the Lord. Don’t harden your heart, but rather keep your heart diligent. Proverbs 423. Keep your heart with all vigilance for from it flows the wellspring of life, the sacredness of your heart before the Lord. That we in ourselves are depraved, but rather turning it over to God to let God speak into our lives. And not only that, the Christian friends around us. Allowing them to be close enough in our lives to know when things aren’t right and to care enough about us to say things to us, that we find freedom in the Lord, that we’re not distracted from the things of God. And and one of the ways that you can tell if your heart is given over to that is in how you respond. When people share with you, speak into your life. Do you get defensive? Do you get angry? And one of the things I like to encourage you in is to have some friends in your life to answer this question. If you were me, what would you do differently? That’s a scary question to think about, to ask people sometimes. What are they going to say? And I encourage you, don’t don’t ask anybody that question, but rather people whose hearts, you know, are really given over to Jesus that want to follow Jesus and ask that question in the spirit of and so do you.

So what in your life, what in your life do you need to have give them the opportunity to speak into? I love the way Charles Spurgeon said. I think this is my favorite quote by Charles Spurgeon. He says, If any man thinks ill of you, do not be angry with him, for you are worse than he thinks you to be. Like this is saying, Look, you think something’s wrong with my life. Big deal. I’m not here to impress you. Right. But. But I do want to. I do want to align my heart with Christ. And if you think you only see one thing wrong with my life, talk to my wife. She’ll give you a dozen more. Okay? Like, that’s just. I’m not. I’m not here because I want you to think great of me. I’m here because I want you to think great of Jesus. To see the graciousness of who God is. And in fact, Cain’s life becomes the the opposite of that. Seeing the result of sin. And I don’t have time to pore through all this, but I just want you to see in verse eight, Cain kills his brother. Right? There it is. There’s the Cain kills his brother, sin, sin, an embryo birthed and Cain becomes angry.

And just the outflow of that the sins already in his heart but the outflow of that as he kills his brother. But before he ever physically killed his brother, he had already killed him in his heart and in his life. So the Bible tells us he has had anger in his heart. In Matthew, five has already committed murder. It’s the seed of wanting to destroy. I think Cain was more apt to act on it during this time. Well, because there’s only a few people and there’s no there’s no trouble to get in because there’s no police to arrest you. And that’s he’s angry and he just does what he wants. And so he kills his brother. So that relationship destroyed. Not only that, you see the hardness of his heart. Verse nine, the Lord said to Cain, Where is Abel, your brother? And he said, I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper? Just calloused. And the Lord said, What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed in the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will. It shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth. When? When God asks Cain, where is your brother? God’s not asking this question because he doesn’t know.

God already knows. He’s asking this question because he wants Cain to examine his own heart. And Kane’s response just shows how callous he is to the circumstance. He’s justified. His actions by blaming someone else rather than look within him. And then verse 13, Cain said to the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. 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 wanderer on the earth. And whoever finds me will kill me. And the Lord God said to him, Not so. If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord put a mark on Cain, 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. Any time you travel east in the Bible, it’s never good. Anytime you read the word east, you’re like, how these people are about to mess up. And anytime that word comes up, it’s never worked out. But but here’s a couple of things. One, when when Cain finally realizes the consequence of his sin, here’s the tragedy. He doesn’t he doesn’t repent. He doesn’t say I’m walking down a stupid path and turn back to God and say, Lord, I want to live the life you’ve called me to live, but rather his his concern more with how people are going to see him.

And that’s called worldly sorrow, not repentance. Repentance is seeing the heart of God, realizing you’re not walking with that heart and turning your life and making your life about that. I want to make my life about this. That’s not Cain. Cain is more concerned with the way people see him, which says Cain’s heart remained the same. Cain’s heart’s always been about Cain and people to him because of that become competition. Not something to celebrate, but something to destroy because he wants to get ahead. And in the end of that, not only does not only does Cain destroy his relationship to his brother, Cain destroys his relationship to his entire family. But Cain’s heart becomes calloused and Cain walks away from his relationship to the Lord in verse 16. Now, all of that is awful, right? And I don’t want to end on an awful note. So so let me let me encourage us here, because the point of this story is to help reflect on our own heart and then respond in a healthy way, respond in a healthy way. And when you look at these first 16 verses of this narrative, what’s important to put your focus upon is not so much Cain as it is the heart of God towards Cain throughout this entire time. When God knew sin was crouching in in Cain’s corner. What does God do? He doesn’t show up and beat him up.

He doesn’t come to Cain and say, What’s wrong with you? You’re awful. He just asks a question. Kane. What’s going on in your heart? He wanted Kane in verse 5 to 7 to examine what was happening in his life. And then. And then after he kills his brother, what does. What does God do? He shows up to Kane again, and he asks questions because he wants Kane in that moment to to finally become introspective and stop blaming other people. And even when you get to the point where where Kane walks away from God, it’s important to realize it’s God continuing to extend his hand to Kane in order to find grace and forgiveness. One of my favorite missionaries, Adoniram Judson. Adoniram Judson was born in the late 1700s into I think he died in 1850. His father was a pastor. One of the things that’s interesting about Adoniram is when he became an older teenager, went on to his college years. He forsook his faith, became an atheist, and decided to live a wild life. And while he was going through college, he had a friend named Jacob Eames. And Jacob also was was an atheist and decided to live the same lifestyle. And so together they supported one another in their pursuits of life. And and when Adoniram Judson graduated school, he decided, you know what? I’m going to travel the world. I’m going to travel America, travel the world.

And I just want to live life to the fullest, all for me, indulging whatever I want. And one night it led him to New York City and he went and got a room at an inn. And when he went to check in, he checked in late at night and it was the last room available. And the the man that managed the hotel or the inn, he told him, well, this is the last room available. Just be warned. There was a man in the room beside you that’s critically ill and he’s kind of loud and Adoniram said, No problem, I’ll take the room. He goes and takes the room and he tries to fall asleep. And he slept very little that night because he could hear the agony of the man in the room beside of him. He gets up the next morning after having terrible sleep and he asks the man in charge of the inn what happened to the gentleman in the room beside me? And the man said all he passed away. And Adoniram said, Well, what’s the big deal? For me? It’s just life. That’s just where I happen to be. You know, he’s atheist and doesn’t think there’s a point to it. It’s just a matter of what happens. It’s the natural progression. And then he asks, what was the what was the man’s name? And he tells him it was Jacob Eames. And then add an Ironman, recognize the person that died in agony beside him that kept him up all night, was his best friend in college.

And in that moment it awakened Adoniram to really consider again the importance of what life is about and the meaning of life. And in so doing, he he turns his life back to Christ and he ends up becoming a missionary serving in Myanmar, which during the time was Burma. And he endured incredible hardship there, but he just fully gave his life to Christ and found the grace of God overflowing in him. And Adoniram went on to say this He said, The future for all of us is as bright as the promises of God. So if you get to the end of this story and all you focus is on is the depravity of Cain, you miss the hope of the story. The hope of the story is in a God who, despite our depravity, does not give up on us, that he shows up over and over again in the life of Cain because he understands the purpose for which he created Cain and because of what he’s done on the cross extends to us. His grace has the same thing is true for you and for me. It’s the same God. The narrative of Cain is the narrative of our life, that God would give us a place to know him and worship not with the heart of Cain, but with the heart of Abel, appreciating the goodness of which we received in Christ. Because in Jesus, what we have is more than enough.