Term 1 – Week 4
Big Idea – Cain killed Abel because he was overcome by sin
- Understand how bad the problem of sin is that we have
- Belief – We are all like Cain in many ways and need to be saved from our sin
- Behaviour – Run away from sin and follow what is right trusting in Jesus’ saving grace
Last week we looked at the tragic fall of the human race. We saw how Adam and Eve rebelled and disobeyed God’s one and only ‘don’t’. Of all of the good and wonderful things they could do in the Garden of Eden, there was only one tree they mustn’t eat from. However, these first humans were convinced by the lies of the snake that convinced that God’s commands aren’t good, and that God’s warnings aren’t true.
While last week we saw sin at a conceptual level (a piece of fruit showing the rebellion of the humans), here we see sin in its most ugly and bloody form. Last week we might have been mistaken for thinking ‘sin doesn’t seem too bad if its just over a piece of fruit.’ Today we see how sin totally wrecks our relationships with each other and with God. As we dig into this terrible story, we will understand why sin is the cause of all the human hurt in the world. We will also be convinced that this ugly sin also lives inside of each of us. This is a sin that needs dealing with.
The first glimpse of sin we see is in the offering between the two brothers. Cain is described as giving ‘some’ of the fruits of the soil. Abel meanwhile gives the ‘firstborn’ of his flock, the very best. Sin means we think we deserve to keep what God has given us. Sin makes us selfish. Next we see the reaction to God’s favour being given to Abel and not to Cain. God is not angry with Cain, but chooses to give favour to Abel. God Is able to do what he pleases. Cain is ‘very angry’ and ‘downcast.’ Sin makes us think that God should act according to our expectations, and that we deserve his favour. Sin makes us proud.
Verses 6-7 are central to this passage. The Lord gives us our earliest warning about Sin since the Fall. He offers hope to Cain in his anger, that by right actions he might soon have God’s favour. Hope remains. But he offers this stark warning: ‘if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.’ God gives us this visual image of sin, like a raging beast wanting to rule over our lives. Sin wants to rule our lives. How do we fight it – doing what is right. But doing what is right we keep that door closed and hold at bay the sin in us that will consume us. We can all bring to mind people for whom sin has consumed their desires and actions. We will know this feeling within ourselves.
Cain was the first be overcome by sin. He drew his brother into the field, attacks and kills him. It is only here that we realise Cain was not just angry with God – he was angry with Abel. He was jealous of his success and blamed Abel for his failure. Instead of fighting off the sin in him he fought the exposing good of his brother. Sin means we want to come on top and cannot cope with others receiving glory. Sin makes us jealous. 4:9 strikes as similar to 3:9. God calls out a question of which he knows the answer. Yet that question demonstrates what has gone wrong. In 3:9 the question brought out the shame that Adam and Eve felt in their new sinful nature. In 4:9 the question brings out the depth of Cain’s rebellion. He lies to the God who knows all things. Sin ruins our relationship with God. Cain had ignored God’s warning and now the sin that consumes him is on sharp display.
Finally, we learn that sin must be punished. The horror of what Cain did to Abel was so awful it ‘cries out from the ground.’ God hates sin, and the injustice and evil humans do to each other cries out to the Lord for justice. That justice will come. To Cain this meant at first a curses life of fruitless labour and restless wandering. We might wonder why this is more than Cain can bear – yet in this ancient human society God has removed from Cain the two goals of life – to settle and to have a crop to sell and live off. But God does not let Cain die and protects him from harm – an undeserved kindness.
As we teach this lesson we want to look right at the ugly face of sin. We see it in the life of Cain, but each of the sin lessons we also find in ourselves. As Christians then we see this and we shout want to say sorry and run away from the sin in our hearts. We run to Jesus who saves us from all our ugly sins. Jesus who did say no to sin and gave God his very best, his blood was spilled on the ground so that we can be free. God puts his spirit in our hearts so that we can choose what is right and run from sin.
‘…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God‘
This has been put together using purchased external material and therefore this resource may only be used by Dundonald Church. For more information please contact email@example.com