Genesis 4:26 “Calling On The Name Of The Lord”

Posted on October 22, 2008. Filed under: Genesis: Answers to Life's Crucial Questions |

Genesis 4:26   “Calling On The Name Of The Lord”

11 July 1999 AM





I. The Church

II. Worship

III. Prayer

IV. Proclamation

V. Called By the Name



Introduction: Today is the last sermon from Genesis for a while as this morning and tonight we conclude our look at ch.4. Next week we will start a study in Mark’s Gospel that will continue for a few months then we may alternate between Genesis and Mark. Genesis 4 is a good place to halt because chapters 5-10 will lead us through the Flood story and we will meet the man Noah, and then ch.11 tells of the Tower of Babel and will lead us up to Abram.

            But our study in Genesis has been focused on finding answers to basic life questions since Genesis is like a mini-theology, a good introduction to the Bible as a whole. I consider Genesis to be accurate historically, I take a literal view, there was a real Creation event by God, the earth did not evolve by any cosmic accident; there was a literal Garden of Eden, a real talking serpent, a real fall, original sin that has a devastating effect on all of us. Adam and Eve were our first parents, and we are their descendents, physically and spiritually.

            Today we look at the final 2 vss. of ch.4 and consider what it means to be calling on the name of the Lord. Here we see a type of the Church, that line of men who worship the Lord in spirit and truth. Today we ask what it means to call on the Name of the Lord. What is true worship? What is prayer? What is proclamation of the Word? What does it mean to be called by the name of the Lord? What does it mean to be a Christian?


I. The True Church.

            You can certainly make a case for Adam and Eve being the start of the Church in that God redeemed them as seen by the animal skins in which he clothed them. Look at Hebrews 11:1-4. We see here that Abel worshipped God truly by faith and was commended as a righteous man. In his death we have seen a type of Christ, a prefiguring of Christ’s sacrifice. We have seen how Cain represents the lost world, wandering apart from God, ultimately being cast out of God’s presence forever.

            Now we look at Seth and find a line of men who call on the Name of the Lord. Unlike Cain and his descendants who are merely religious here we see the True People of God, the Church, who worship God by faith. Here again is a separation taking place early in our history, a separation between the godly line of Seth and the line of Cain.

            Calvin refers to this line of Seth as “that family which worshipped God in purity, and which might truly be deemed the Church of God” Genesis, p.223 (1563).

            Here we see hope, for the days seemed dark, murder and polygamy were spreading, but now we see that in the midst of the tragedies of life, the complications of sin, God has a plan! God has a people! God is still in control! God has always had a people! The Church may come on hard times, heresies may be commonplace, sin may be rampant, but God’s people are still here worshipping God, calling on the Name of the Lord. As we will see in Genesis ch.5-9 it got to the point of one family left, the church was pretty small in Noah’s day! One man left, and his family, one of his son’s proved unfaithful, and Noah himself got drunk as soon as he could after the flood. In 1Kings 19 we see Elijah alone and dejected even after the miracle and revival at Mt.Carmel where God sent fire on the wet altar humiliating the prophets of Baal. Yet just a little while after that great revival Elijah complains to God, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too!”  But God responds “Yet I reserve 7000 in Israel – all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal…” God has a people who call on His Name!

            The church of God, the people of God, those who call upon His name, are the elect of God, chosen in Christ before the foundations of the earth were laid, according to Paul in Eph.1. Are you merely attending church? Or are you in the church? Have you called on the Name of God?


II. The Church Is a Worshipping People.

            What does it mean to Call on the Name of the Lord? It means to worship the God who Is. God’s people are a worshipping people; we are called to worship the true God in spirit and in truth. We have seen how God taught Adam and Eve to worship through animal sacrifice and how Abel worshipped God truly but Cain did not. Now we see real worship spread to Seth’s posterity. We see Noah build an altar and offer sacrifices in ch.8. We will see Abram called out of idolatry to worship God in Ch12:8 “There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the Name of the Lord.” In ch3 of Exodus God calls Moses and tells him that he will lead Israel out of Egypt back to this mountain to worship God (Ex.3:12).

            In John’s Gospel Jesus meets the woman at the well in Samaria and discusses worship with her. Jesus says “…the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks”. (Jn4:23)

            The Church is first and foremost a worshipping people, a people who are called to worship, praise, thank and serve the One True God. This worship is done in faith, in accordance with God’s desires, according to His Word. True worship is spiritual, that is, it is conducted in the power of God’s own Spirit, the very Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit. Worship is based on our receiving the Spirit, being born again, born from above, which is totally out of our hands and lies in God’s hands.

            The manner of worship God prescribed was sacrificial worship, a bloody worship. In Seth’s day it was animal sacrifice, looking forward to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus on the cross which we can look back at historically. Our worship is based upon the completed work of Christ on the Cross. The birth, life of obedience, death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Christ is the foundation of our worship      

            We are called to Christ so that we can worship forever and ever. We tend to focus on our benefits in salvation, but first and always we are saved so that God gets glory forever. We are saved to worship. That is our calling and privilege for all eternity. The first priority of the church should not be missions and evangelism, but worship. Missions are an outgrowth of our worship and discipleship.

            Worship must be done in truth, that is, we must worship the God who Is, not a god of our imaginations. If we know not God as He has revealed himself in His Word, in history, in the Son, then we will not worship Him in truth. Proper worship based upon knowing the God who Is must include sound doctrine, that is biblical knowledge properly understood and illumined by the Holy Spirit. There is intellectual effort involved in worship that is true worship.


III. The Church Is a Praying People.

            What does it mean to call upon the Name of the Lord? It means to cry out to God in prayer. Worship includes prayer, prayer is worship. Adam and Eve had sweet communion with God in the Garden of Eden. Upon their expulsion from the Garden they still had some sort of fellowship with God because of the episode we see with Cain and Abel; there is evidence of God being in close proximity. But with the spread of humanity we see the departure of God to an extent. Now the line of Seth calls out to God in worship and prayer.

            The essence of faith is calling out to a God you cannot see, hear, touch or feel physically. We pray to Him in faith, believing He hears, knows and answers. We trust that He has saved us, that his word is sure. Prayer is a certain element in our worship. Prayer is talking with God, listening to God. God’s people are a praying people.

            In prayer we exercise our Spirit given faith, we express our adoration of God-we praise Him for his great attributes and character such as His holiness, omnipotence, omnipresence, wisdom, love and grace. In prayer we confess our sinfulness, we recount our sins, admitting our failures and thus expressing our trust in God’s saving grace through Jesus. Through prayer we thank God for all His benefits: for his common grace and providence in the sunshine and rain, for the peace and prosperity he has granted our country; we thank him for the great salvation he has worked in our lives, we thank him for the special answers he grants us to our daily petitions. In prayer we beseech the Lord for innumerable special favors and requests and supplications. Have you called on the Name of the Lord for Him to save a loved one from their sins? Have you sought the Lord for guidance and wisdom in a heavy decision you must make? Have you sought the Lord in your sorrow and grief? Have you cried out to God in desperation as you were bewildered by life’s problems?

            Imagine the first men as they looked around them and knew the story of Adam. Oh what glory and peace was lost! And they cried out to God their Creator! They worshipped God in prayers and petitions. Even our Lord Jesus prayed daily to His heavenly Father, teaching us how to pray in faith too. God’s people have always been a praying people. Even our hymns that we sing are a type of praying, or at least they ought to be. Some of our hymns are directed at God, proclaiming his attributes “Holy, Holy, Holy” “Love Divine All Loves Excelling” “Amazing Grace” In our worship we pray these hymns to God as we sing.


IV. The Church Proclaims the Name of the Lord

            There is a very real sense of proclaiming the Lord’s Name when God’s people call on His Name. This is truly a part of our worship. Kenneth Matthews writes in the New American Commentary on Genesis, p.292, “Called can be taken as invoking the Lord in prayer and worship or as proclaiming in the sense of declaring the revelation of God.” Proclamation is an integral aspect of worship, we gather to praise God and part of praise is recounting the character of God and the acts of God in history. Proclamation includes preaching, teaching, witnessing, evangelizing and defending the faith.

            In proclamation we do not proclaim our own opinions or man-made doctrines; we are to proclaim the truths of God’s self revelation in Scripture. Wherever the church is, there is the Gospel, the good news that Jesus has died in our place as an atoning sacrifice for our sins to a holy God. Proclamation tells us how we are to live for the glory of God after we have accepted the good news. Preaching today is judged more by its practical content than by its faithfulness to the truths of God. Americans are after entertainment and want happiness above truth. We are an anti-intellectual people who do not want to think. We value comfort, ease, and tranquility over truth, and therefore much of God’s word is ignored because it is too rigorous. If we are to be a people who are known for calling on the name of the Lord then we must be immersed in God’s word, plumbing the deep riches of His truths.

            The church proclaims the Name of the Lord most effectively when it is proclaimed with the lives of faithful men and women of integrity who practice what they preach, know what they believe and why they believe it, and can articulate it in a winsome manner that is relevant to their culture while demonstrating compassion to their fellow man, meeting the practical needs of suffering humanity while verbalizing their faith.


V. The Church Is Called By the Name

            Just as the Church calls upon the name of the Lord, so we are called by his name, indeed, we cannot call on him until he calls us to himself and adopts us into his family, giving us his own name. Isaiah 43:7 “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” The very name Christian means Christ-man, a man of Christ, a Christ follower. We are called after our Lord; we bear the name of our Lord.

            Exodus 20:7 “You shall not misuse the Name of the Lord your God for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” This third commandment talks of more than using the name of God or Jesus as a cuss word. This commandment includes bearing his name in an unworthy manner, claiming to belong to Christ but not living up to the name. One of the greatest objections to the Gospel is the way Christians behave and live. Today we are just not that much different from the world around us. We take His name for granted, take it in vain when we live like the world at work but take up the Name on Sunday mornings.


Conclusion: Have you called on the name of the Lord? Are you calling on the name of the Lord? Romans 10:8-13.



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