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Introduction-Cain And Able
Are you a Cain or an Able?
The story of Cain and Able, is a classic.
We heard it in Sunday School.
The lesson is usually, Cain kills Able, don’t be a Cain.
Just for fun I typed “Cain and Able coloring sheet” in the google-and I had a million responses.
The pictures usually show Cain as shifty eyed, and sinister.
In the one on the top right, he is hoarding his offering, while looking side-eyed at his brother.
The colored one shows Able looking up to heaven, while Cain is glaring at him.
The bottom right photo is not Cain and Able but instead two little boys, presumably brothers, and the caption says, “Share and be a friend, I am my brother’s keeper!”.
That must be the application step-Share.
So the common Sunday School lesson is clear-Don’t be a Cain, be an Able.
Before my inbox blows up with e-mails, I’m not knocking Sunday School.
Please don’t misunderstand me.I do believe that kids need to be taught the stories of the Old Testament, in a way that is helpful to them.
At a young age, kids aren’t going to understand all that is going on in the story, nor should we try and teach them too much either.
However, what happens is.
As adults we still have that idea of the story in our heads-Don’t be a Cain, be an Able.
It is about murder- don’t murder.
Then with that stuck in our heads, we file it away, and move on, never to return we got it.
Be an Able not a Cain.
I’ll be honest with you, as I looked at the next event in Genesis, I was like-ugh-Cain and Able- Don’t be a Cain, be an Able.
However, as we engage with God’s word a little, and look closer not through Sunday School eyes, it becomes a little more challenging.
Are you a Cain or an Able?
Look with me at what Jesus says, in the book of Matthew.
But I tell you, Jesus says, that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister-angry.
Ever been angry with a brother or sister?
Jesus says, that person Will be subject to judgement.
In case we don’t get it Jesus says, again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ which is an Aramaic word for contempt-is answerable to the court.
And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.--Will
be in danger of the fire of Hell.—
This is serious stuff.
Jesus is saying that you don’t have to actually murder someone, just hating them is enough.
Your sin of hatred toward your brother can get you thrown into hell.
Then Jesus goes on,
Even if you are to church, and you are ready to give your check or cash, stop right there.
Go and reconcile first with your brother.
In the Old Testament God said, “I desire mercy not sacrifice,’” meaning that the most important thing to give God, is not our stuff, the most important thing to give to God is not our time, the most important thing to Give to God is our obedience.
The stuff doesn't mean anything, if your heart is not in the right place.
And that was what was going on with Cain and Able.
Are you a Cain, or an Able?
The LORD looked with favor on Abel-but not on Cain.
We know very little about why God looked with favor on Able’s offering and not on Cain’s.
The only difference seems to be that Able offers an animal while Cain offers gains.
However, God does allow for grain offerings, they were common in the Old testament, so that can’t be it.
Other than that, the text doesn’t say.
Perhaps, God does not give us a lot of detail because on the outside there is not much difference.
On the outside each offering appears to be satisfactory.
The difference must be on the inside.
It must be something that only God can see.
It must be that God can see Cain’s heart.
God knows what is going on with Cain, just like he knew what was going on with Adam and Eve, just like he knows what is in our heart, even when we don’t.
God makes Cain aware of what is going on in his heart.
God Calls Cain-Not Condemns
The Lord speaks to Cain, notice the Lord is not condemning, or angry, he is just asking.
He is probing Cain’s heart, with gentleness tenderness.
For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through him.
God is calling Cain to see his own heart.
Asking, probing.
What is going on Cain?
What has you down and angry.
Bring it to me Cain, bring it to the Lord in prayer.
We don’t have a record of Cain’s answer.
So, even if Cain can’t identify his problem.
Maybe he can’t vocalize why he is angry, it doesn’t matter, God will help him.
If you get your heart right Cain it will all be good.
Let go of that anger, let go of that jealousy, let go of the pride.
It’s just between you and me Cain.
Here is a way out, here is a chance to turn, away from the hatred, and be free of the sin that is right there.
You are playing with it, it is at your door, take the way out.
God still offers us a way out.
He will also provide a way out.
Here is Cain’s way out.
God is calling Cain.
God sought out Cain, God is calling Cain back.
God is not condemning Cain but providing a way out, warning Him to not be angry, not to toy with sin.
But Cain did not listen to God’s call to put off sin, He did not take the way out, instead Cain’s anger gave birth to sin.
When we are tempted, God provides a way out, a conviction of the heart.
A verse, a phone call, a brother or sister, God calls us.
If don’t take the way out God provides, when we do not listen to God’s word, when we do not respond to the Holy Spirit convicting our heart, when we ignore the word from our brother or sister, it gives birth to sin.
We have fallen to the temptation.
Are you a Cain or an Able?
Have you ever ignored the call of God through His word to be free of sin? Have you not listened to the Holy Spirit calling you away from sin, and instead continued on your own path?
Are you a Cain or an Able?
How to be an Able
See, I think we do this all the time.
Oh we still give our offerings, wether it is time talent or resources.
We still throw the $20 in the plate, we still volunteer to serve, but all the while we may be harboring anger in our heart for fellow image bearers.
The guy who cut us off.
The annoying neighbor, the guy with different political beliefs, the person who has a completely different viewpoint than we do at a church meeting.
Wait a minute here.
What if I am right.
What if if that other guy who cut me off was wrong, what if that person who disagrees with me is in the wrong.
I don’t have to love them too do I? Can’t I be angry at them
Well, what did Jesus say?
That’s tough!
That is not easy!
I get that.
If we are going to follow Jesus we need to find out how to overcome that temptation toward hate, we need to find out what the root cause of this problems is.
Why did Cain kill Able?
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