Out of the Heart, the Sacrifice Speaks (Genesis 4:1-15)

Sermon:

Praise the Lord, everybody! Pastor D.M. Richardson here, back with a word from the Lord (see the audio message above) on Genesis 4 regarding Cain and Abel. It’s a tale of two brothers, one whose heart and sacrifice is acceptable to God, while the other’s is not. The Lord warns Cain about his heart, that if he “does well,” if he offers a right sacrifice with a right heart, the Lord would accept him. This goes counter to Calvinism where the doctrine claims that the Lord chooses some and damns others. God told Cain in no uncertain terms that his offering would be accepted if he would offer it rightly with a right spirit. If Cain brought back the best of what he had to the Lord, the Lord would accept him in the same way that he accepted Abel and his offering. Cain was angry, and that anger came out of the state of his heart: “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he,” Jesus says. Out of Cain’s heart his sacrifice spoke volumes (or rather, to a lack thereof) to the Lord because he offered a bad sacrifice to reflect the state of his heart. He wasn’t right with the Lord, and his sacrifice reflected that.

What we see here, though, is that, while the Lord respects Abel and his offering, He was willing to respect Cain and his offering, too – if he’d offer both himself and his sacrifice rightly. We cannot come to God and give an offering without offering our hearts as the first offering.

And yet, Cain was so jealous of Abel that he believed murder was the solution. He talked with his brother, and while talking with him out in the field, killed him. When confronted about it, he shrugged it off as though he didn’t have a responsibility to love his brother — his neighbor — as himself. We can’t love God and hate our neighbor; we must love the Lord, and that is reflected in how we love our neighbor. The Lord tells us to “love your neighbor as yourself,” and Cain didn’t live that out because his heart wasn’t with the Lord.

The Lord’s conversation with Cain is interesting, in light of the fallenness of the world. Sin had entered the world in Genesis 3, but if Calvinism is right, God wouldn’t have wasted his time on Cain. Contrary to Calvinism, the Lord speaks to Cain and tells Cain that if he does what is right, his offering will be accepted.

In the end, Cain mentions that he is afraid of being killed by those who find him, since he is punished as a fugitive on the earth. His fear over being killed comes about as a result of the implied law against human murder that becomes evident in his response. So if he is so afraid for his life being taken, why would he dare take the life of another?

Genesis 3 teaches us how God accepts our sacrifice when our hearts are right, and that we can’t love God without loving our neighbor.

Finally, we’re inviting you to come be a part of our Bible Study that meets from 7PM-9PM on Mondays and Thursdays. We want to grow in the Word with you and have you grow in the Word with us. If you’re interested, please feel free to email me at essentialpastor@gmail.com.

I pray you’ll be blessed by this message, and I pray the Lord’s blessings upon you as you come and go.

God Bless,

Pastor D.M. Richardson

The Essential Church

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