Genesis 4:1-24 “The Spread of Sin”
Genesis 4:1-24 “The Spread of Sin” 4 July 99pm
I. The Growth of Sin in Cain
II. The Growth of Sin in Culture
III. The Growth of Grace
Introduction: Why does it seem that things that start out small seem to snowball and grow all out of proportion? What is Murphy’s Law? What can go wrong will go wrong! When we look at the world around us we see much beauty and loveliness, but also much that is terribly wrong and evil. A lot of evil starts out small, just one little tiny compromise, but it eventually grows up into a raging torrent, a huge flood that brings a lot of damage and death.
In this evening’s sermon we will study the growth and spread of sin in the life of Cain and in culture at large; we will apply it to ourselves and see how deadly sin is to each of us. Then we will look at our only hope, God’s grace and see how grace can grow in our lives and root out sin.
I. The Growth of Sin in Cain.
1. First of all Cain failed to worship God in the proper manner. We have already discussed this in a prior sermon, but briefly this is a lack of faith on Cain’s part, the sin of unbelief. At first this may have been seen only by inattention, a lack of excitement about worship, a lack of enthusiasm for the things of God, apathy towards his Creator, lukewarmness in his soul, spiritual slothfullness. Cain’s lukewarmness led to improper worship, his unbelief led to an unwillingness to offer a proper sacrifice. Note that he was still religious; he attended to worship, but in his manner, not God’s.
2. Cain was angry that the God he had disrespected refused his offering which reveals pride in his soul. Unbelief and pride go hand in hand. Unbelief means that something else besides God is #1 in your life. The embarrassment of having your offering rejected also played a part in his anger.
3. God talked with Cain, he did not leave him in a stew, and God sought out Cain and counseled him. But Cain did not listen, another symptom of pride, resentment, bitterness and anger. He was unteachable his; heart was already hard.
4. Cain was jealous and envious of his brother, as seen by his taking out his frustrations on Abel. He could not strike God so he struck down his brother.
5. Hate is the fruit of pride, anger, envy all of which stem from unbelief. Cain now hates Abel and plots to kill him.
6. Cain uses a lie and deceit to lure Abel out to the field to murder him.
7. Murder is committed; Cain brutally bludgeons his brother again and again until the bloody lifeless body of Abel lies at his feet. No mercy existed in Cain’s soul for his brother.
8. Cain is confronted by God, and probably by Adam-where is your brother? Cain tells a lie and shirks his responsibility “Am I my brother’s keeper?” From this moment on man has shirked his responsibility from being his brother’s keeper. Jesus addressed this issue with the parable of the Good Samaritan. When we sin we usually try to hide it, this was the first cover-up! We want to deny responsibility, pass the buck. Many criminals lie to themselves so thoroughly that they eventually believe their own lies and no longer are even aware that they have committed the crime.
9. When God pronounces punishment upon Cain, again he passes up an opportunity to repent, to seek God. Instead, he complains about his sentence being to hard to bear, (see Lev.24:17) showing his pride and hard heart again. He rejects God’s justice and mercy. He is still not the least concerned at what he has done, he is self absorbed, worried about what others will do to him. The criminal mind is ultimately very selfish.
II. The Growth of Sin in Culture.
1. Cain the wanderer builds a city in the land of Nod, a city for the restless masses of wandering souls separated from God. We spoke on the city of Cain this morning, but tonight let us look at the sins of society. First of all we notice that the foundation of the city of Enoch as it is called is the man Cain, it is a city of man not of God. Man becomes his own god, his own foundation. We will see this again later in Genesis with the Tower of Babel.
2. Look now at Cain’s great-grandson Lamech and we see that here is the first bigamist, sexual sin is now noted. An emphasis on sensuality is apparent even with the names of Lamech’s wives: Adah means pleasure, ornament, beauty and Zillah refers to shade or luxuriant covering, possibly referring to her hair, and Lamech’s daughter’s name is Naamah, or loveliness.
Society from Cain’s city on has placed an emphasis on physical attractiveness and sensuality that is woefully out of balance and sinful. We live in a sensual and promiscuous society that rejects chastity, purity and the God-given wholesomeness of sex.
3. In the description of Cain’s society we see a division of labor, which by itself is not wrong. However, in our experience we see many problems with labor and class divisions. Wealth and power go together and have been used through the centuries to harm others, to enslave the masses whether it was ancient tribal slavery, racial slavery in American history, or the slavery of the more brutal forms of capitalism as depicted in Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle or Steinbeck’s famous novel The Grapes of Wrath, or the slavery of Communism.
4. Next we see Lamech killing a young man for some slight offense. Here we see power to the strong, the law of the jungle, and survival of the fittest. Here is the unjust legal system and politics that is so rampant in history. Most people for most of history have lived under extremely unjust systems of government. Laws unevenly enforced, unjust laws, brutal punishment for small offenses by the poor while the rich and powerful get away with murder. We see this institutionalized in such horrible examples as the conflict in Yugoslavia where genocide and rape are policy. The older generation saw it in Hitler’s Nazi Germany and his extermination of the Jews in the Holocaust.
5. We see Lamech’s pride as he boldly proclaims that if Cain was to be avenged 7 times, then Lamech 77 times. Sin starts with pride, failure to put God where he belongs in your life, and sin throughout society comes back to pride. Society exalts itself against God, worshipping the state over God, Caesar instead of Christ.
III. The Growth of Grace.
When we are born again, we receive a new nature with new desires; we receive a new heart that longs for God. This is not to say that we are delivered from all fleshly desires immediately, we are still clothed in this weak flesh, and we still live in the world and share many of the concerns of the world. But we do receive the Spirit of Christ who dwells inside us. The old man is dead and the power of sin is broken as we have died with Christ and are now alive to God.
In this new life we feel a conviction against sin. Sin loses some of its attractiveness to us, the fun of sin fades because the Christian knows better now, and has a holy nature that is repulsed by sin. Thus a struggle ensues in the heart of a Believer that will not end until we are saved from the very presence of sin and receive our glorified bodies that will not have the weaknesses of this present corruptible flesh.
How do we grow in grace? Do we stay spiritual infants? No! God forbid! We are called to grow in many ways.
2. The Word: hear, read, study, memorize, meditate
3. Prayer: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication
4. Obedience: disciple ship, holiness, lordship, discipline
5. Ministry: fellowship, service, giving, spiritual gifts
6. Evangelism: know the faith and be prepared to give an answer to those who ask (1Pet3:15), be a witness of the truth, make disciples (Matt 28:19-20)
7. Stand for the truth as Salt and Light (Matt5:13ff)
What about transforming culture? As the church grows strong through sound doctrine, pure worship, discipleship and effective evangelism we will change the culture one soul at a time. As the church is pure and ministering in the world, the church gains credibility and will be able to influence the city of man with the truths of God’s word. Just laws will be enacted and public policy will reflect God’s truth. That is what happened in Europe as a result of the reformation, which is why America is the greatest nation on the earth.
This is an old sermon from 1999 but thought it would be good to supplement my current Genesis lessons.