Sun, Aug 05, 2007
GOD'S WARNING, MAN'S RESPONSE GENESIS 4:6-8
Genesis 4:6-8 by Joe Guglielmo
Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
Series: Sunday Service
GOD’S WARNING, MAN’S RESPONSE
GENESIS 4:6-8
 

            Please turn in your Bibles this morning to Genesis chapter 4 as we look at the story of Cain and his response to God’s warning to him. Look at our society today, and the many warning labels that are out there, printed on the things we buy.  Yes, they are there many times to protect the manufacturer from being sued, but they are also there to warn us of the danger of using that product in the wrong way.  Let me explain:

            Americans are getting warned to death. Manufactures are growing increasingly wary of being sued when their products are misused, so they are attaching warning labels to hundreds of items.

            For example, a Batman outfit bears this caveat: “Parents, please exercise caution – FOR PLAY ONLY.  Mask and cape are not protective; cape does not enable user to fly.

- Our Daily Bread, March 20, 1998

            I wish I knew that before!  Anyway, there are also safety systems that are in operation to help protect a dangerous malfunction of a system. The thing is this.  We can ignore the warning labels, we can ignore the safety systems and we are then setting ourselves up for disaster! Let me show you what I mean with this powerful and deadly example.

            Back on April 26, 1986 the worst accident in the history of commercial nuclear power generation occurred. There were two explosions that occurred in rapid succession, which blew off the 1000 tone concrete sealing cap of the Chernobyl – 4 nuclear reactor. This caused molten core fragments to shower down upon the immediate area and fission products were released into the atmosphere contaminating vast areas of land around the Ukraine and killing many people!

            How did this happen?  Were there warnings?  What about the safeguards they must have had, didn’t they work?  Here is a brief account of what took place.

            . . . The operating crew planned to test whether the turbines could produce sufficient energy to keep the coolant pumps running in the event of a loss of power until the emergency diesel generator was activated.

            In order to prevent the test run of the reactor being interrupted, the safety systems were deliberately switched off.  For the test, the reactor had to be powered down to 25 per cent of its capacity.  This procedure did not go according to plan: for unknown reasons, the reactor power level fell to less than 1 per cent. The power therefore had to be slowly increased. But 30 seconds after the start of the test, there was a sudden and unexpected power surge. The reactor’s emergency shutdown (which should have halted the chain reaction) failed. . . .

 - Chernobyl.info

            Also, there were warnings that should have caused them to shut the test down, but they ignored them and continued on. There was protocol to follow, which they ignored in order to complete the test. And in the end a major disaster occurred because they did not heed the warnings, they did not follow protocol, and they turned off the safety system.

            Now, before we are too hard on them, we should look at our own lives and see if we do the same. What I mean is this. God has given us warnings, what we should stay away from. He has spoken to us in His Word on what is right, what is wrong, how to get right when we have gone astray and how to stay right. He has built inside of us a warning system called a consciousness that tells us what is right and what is wrong. Thus, we have a choice to make. Do we listen to God and enjoy the blessing or do we tune out God and face the disaster. My prayer this morning is that you would heed God’s Words, His warnings and listen and obey His voice. But, you do have a choice to make; God won’t force you to do anything!

            Here in Genesis chapter 4 Eve has two sons; Cain and Abel.  Cain was a tiller of the ground and Abel was a keeper of the sheep. They both worked hard and yet they took the time to worship God. Abel brought the Lord a sheep, the firstborn from his flock and sacrificed it to the Lord. Cain brought a grain offering and sacrificed it to the Lord.

            But there was this little problem. God accepted Abel’s sacrifice by consuming it with fire most likely. God was pleased with the sacrifice of Abel.  On the other end of the spectrum was Cain, and God rejected Cain’s sacrifice, God did not consume it in the fire, it just sat there! Why did God accept Abel’s sacrifice and not Cain’s? They both brought an offering to the Lord.

            Paul, in Hebrews 11:4 tells us, By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. You see, Abel offered his sacrifice by faith, his heart was right before the Lord. But Cain’s was not right before the Lord; he did it out of duty, out of obligation, and not out of love!  You see, God looks at the heart!

            Remember the story of King Saul, the first king of Israel and through the prophet Samuel he was instructed to wipe out the Amalekites. But Saul didn’t obey the Lord, he did not wipe out the Amalekites, he did not destroy their livestock and he had all kinds of excuses why he didn’t obey the Lord.

            As Samuel confronts King Saul on his disobedience, we are told in I Samuel 15:22-23, So Samuel said: ‘Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.’”  You see, the Lord is saying that He is not interested in your sacrifice if your heart is not right with Him.  He is not interested in your sacrifice if you are disobedient to Him, living in rebellion against Him. And I truly believe this is the issue with Cain and Abel.  One was offering his sacrifice out of duty and the other out of faith. One was in disobedience and the other in obedience.

            So with that as our background, let’s begin reading in Genesis chapter 4, starting in verse 6 and see what the Lord has for us, the lessons He is trying to teach us, the things we can glean as we study God’s Word.  And keep in mind that the Lord is not done with Cain, His love for Cain is going to shine brightly to draw Cain back, but as you will see, it is his choice just like it is our choice!

GENESIS 4:6-8

            In these verses I see three points I would like to bring out. First, we are going to look at SIN’S INNER TURMOIL, how it affects us. Secondly, we are going to look at how GOD SPEAKS TO US, the warnings to avoid sin from a loving Father.  And lastly, the third point, we are going to look at SIN’S OUTWARD ACTIONS, or how sin is then manifested in our lives. These are some powerful verses because they will show us that we all have choices to make and with those choices there are consequences. Some of these consequences are good if we obey the Lord, and some of these consequences are bad if we disobey the council of God. So with that said, let’s look at these three points and see what the Lord has for us.

1.  SIN’S INNER TURMOIL – GENESIS 4:6

            What Cain missed God reveals to him here.  You see, his sin, his rebellion against God was eating him up inside and he was ignoring it.  Thus, God is trying to get Cain to evaluate his mood you might say, how he was feeling.  Cain was very angry and he was very depressed. Many probably don’t look at anger and depression as being the result of sin, of disobedience before God, but it is!

            Let’s look at anger because we all have dealt with this or are dealing with this right now. Is all anger wrong, is it bad?  No it is not but let me also say this, for the most part our anger is wrong, it is not justified. First let me give you a few examples of righteous anger. In Mark chapter 3 Jesus is in the synagogue and there is a man there whose hand is withered. The religious leaders probably brought this man in because they knew the compassion of Jesus towards people and that He would heal this man.  Now they were not interested in this man being healed, but to catch Jesus breaking the Law, for healing a man on the Sabbath. You see, according to the Law, at least in their minds, not in God’s, this was very unlawful to do. Thus, they watched to see what Jesus would do, ready to accuse Him if He did heal this poor man!

            And in Mark 3:4-6 we are told, Then He said to them, ‘Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?’ But they kept silent. And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.  Why was Jesus angry? Because their hearts were so hard that they were unwilling to help a man in need because it was the Sabbath! I have to admit, when I hear of the atrocities that are done to children and helpless people, it makes me angry.

            Also, in John chapter 2 at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and Matthew chapter 26, at the end of Jesus’ ministry, He cleanses the temple, turning over tables, driving out the moneychangers. He was angry to say the least. But why?  Because these religious leaders had turned the house of God into a money maker, keeping people away or making it a burden to come and worship the Lord. God’s house was to be a place of prayer, of fellowship with God, not to make a profit. Here we see this righteous indignation, this anger because they were dishonoring the Father.  And I guess the bottom line is this. If our anger is the result of what others have done to us, that is wrong.  The anger the Bible speaks of as being righteous is seen because of what is happening to others, what others are saying about the Lord!

            Now, in Ephesians 4:26-27 Paul tells us, “‘Be angry, and do not sin’: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.  The Living Bible puts these verses like this, If you are angry, don't sin by nursing your grudge. Don't let the sun go down with you still angry-get over it quickly; for when you are angry, you give a mighty foothold to the devil.” In other words, don’t let your anger grow inside of you, deal with it quickly and let it go or it will cause you to sin! Now, you might be saying, “I would never do that!”  Really, listen to what Paul goes on to say, Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.  Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.  Ephesians 4:28-29.

            You see, as we let anger build up inside of us it is then manifested in the things we do and the things we say. We don’t care for people, our words are harsh, judgmental, we are only concerned for ourselves. Anger is ugly folks.

            And let me say this, if you are angry, chances are you are wrong and you are not walking in the Spirit, this is just a work of the flesh. Paul, in Galatians 5:19-21 tells us, Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  Please, don’t justify the works of the flesh, CRUCIFY IT!

            I am sorry if I have offended any of you, but that is just the way it is. For the most part, anger is not good, and if you still doubt that, listen to what Paul said in Ephesians 4:30-32, And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. If we allow anger to grow in us, we are grieving the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He wants us to be kind to one another, tenderhearted! “But you don’t know what they did to me or said to me!” Sorry, Paul says you need to forgive just as the Lord has forgiven you. If you can’t forgive, if you are angry, you are wrong and you need to repent because you are grieving the Holy Spirit just as Cain was doing. And think about it, God has forgiven you of every sin and if you think someone has wronged you more, would you like to see your sins played on a movie screen for all to see? Of course not, thus, forgive as the Lord has forgiven you!

            We also see that Cain’s countenance had fallen or he was depressed. His rebellion against God affected him emotionally! Why do we see so much depression in this country?  Think about it, we have so much and yet many are so depressed. Maybe the reason is as simple as this. People are depressed because they are not doing what they were created for, to bring pleasure to God and thus, they try to fill their lives with all kinds of things, which doesn’t work. Thus, in the end they want medication to make them happy, to lift their spirits! But even that doesn’t work, it really doesn’t help.

            Even Christians can get depressed because of their rebellion against God, taking their eyes off of God.  Remember the story of Elijah after he defeated the false prophets on Mount Carmel and he had these prophets killed. And in I Kings 19:1-3 we are told, And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, ‘So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.’ And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.

            Elijah came against the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, who ate at the table of Queen Jezebel and yet, one woman comes against him and he runs away! In fact, he finds a place to hide and wants to die! From there he flees to a cave and has this little pity party by himself. While in this cave the Lord asks him, What are you doing here, Elijah?  And he responded, “ . . . ‘I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.’ I Kings 19:10.

            That is not what the Lord asked him.  He was asking him what he was doing all depressed in this cave of self-pity when he needed to be out among the people. You see, he ran away, he was in rebellion against God, and he was not only depressed, he was angry!  I like what Proverbs 15:13 tells us, A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. Walk in the ways of the Lord and your spirit will be lifted up!

            In fact, David said in Psalm 42:11, Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God. Focus upon the Lord, walk in His ways and He will lift you up! If you are struggling, listen to what Jeremiah tells us in Lamentations 3:40-41, Let us search out and examine our ways, And turn back to the LORD; Let us lift our hearts and hands To God in heaven.  In other words, examine your heart if you are down and turn back to the Lord, praising Him and your countenance will be lifted up!  Your situation may not change, but your focus will!

            So we have seen that anger, depression is that inner turmoil that comes from our rebellion against God, but God does not leave us in that condition. He provides a way out and that is our second point.

2.  GOD SPEAKS TO US – GENESIS 4:7

            Our God loves us so much that He warns us of the dangers that are out there and not to go down that path. He also tells us there are blessings on following after Him, by being obedient to what He has told us.  And I believe that God speaks to us in three different ways. He speaks to usTHROUGH HIS WORD. He speaks TO OUR HEARTS.  And He speaks to us BY OUR COUNCIOUSNESS. Let’s look at these.

            A.  GOD SPEAKS TOUS THROUGH HIS WORD

            This is very obvious, throughout the Bible God tells us what is right and what is wrong. He tells us how to get right when we have gone astray and He tells us how to stay right like I have said already.  Remember when God told Joshua as he was about to lead the children of Israel into the Promise Land and in Joshua 1:8 the Lord said to him, This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. In other words, follow what God has said because God has what is best for our lives!

            David, in Psalm 119:9-11 said, How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.  With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You. You see, God’s Word does speak to us and we need to listen, obey His Word!

            B.  GOD SPEAKS TO OUR HEARTS

            I also believe God speaks to our hearts in that still small voice, in the circumstances He brings across our path, the people who come to us. There are many sounds out there competing for our attention, many things around us that try to drown out the voice God speaking to us. We need to be able to take that time and listen to Him and we can tune into God through the Holy Spirit.  In I Corinthians 2:10-13 Paul makes this point as he tells us, But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.  And Paul put it this way in II Corinthians 4:6, For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

            But many times we don’t listen to what God is saying to us and it can have devastating consequences as this story illustrates for us.  We are told:

            In 1969, in Pass Christian, Mississippi, a group of people were preparing to have a “hurricane party” in the face of a storm named Camille. Were they ignorant of the dangers?  Could they have been overconfident? Did they let their egos and pride influence their decision? We will never know.

            What we do know is that the wind was howling outside the posh Richelieu Apartments when Police Chief Jerry Peralta pulled up sometime after dark. Facing the Beach less than 250 feet from the surf, the apartments were directly in the line of danger. A man with a drink in his hand came out to the second-floor balcony and waved. Peralta yelled up, “You all need to clear out of here as quickly as you can. The storm’s getting worse.”  But as others joined the man on the balcony, they just laughed at Peralta’s order to leave. “This is my land,” one of them yelled back. “If you want me off, you’ll have to arrest me,.”

            Peralta didn’t arrest anyone, but he wasn’t able to persuade them to leave either. He wrote down the names of the next of kin of the twenty or so people who gathered there to party through the storm. They laughed as he took down their names. They had been warned, but they had no intention of leaving.

            It was 10:15 p.m. when the front wall of the storm came ashore. Scientists clocked Camille’s wind speed at more than 205 miles-per-hour, the strongest on the record. Raindrops hit with the force of bullets, and waves off the Gulf Coast crested between twenty-two and twenty-eight feet high.

            News reports later showed that the worst damage came at the little settlement of motels, go-go bars, and gambling houses known as Pass Christian Mississippi, where some twenty people were killed at a hurricane party in the Richelieu Apartments. Nothing was left of that three-story structure but the foundation; the only survivor was a five-year-old boy found clinging to a mattress the following day.

- Christian Values Qs Quarterly, Spring/Summer 1994 Page 10

            God does speak to our hearts and we not only need to listen but we need to obey, for there are consequences that will come upon your lives.

            C.  GOD SPEAKS TO US BY OUR CONCIOUSNESS

           God has built into each of us what is right and what is wrong, it is called our consciousness. Think about children and how honest they are, they just say it like it is but over time they learn to lie, to fudge the truth. What happened?  They were taught to short-circuit the system that God has built into them and us and we can reach the point where we have no feelings, it does not bother us anymore. Paul, in I Timothy 4:2 tells us, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.”  The Living Bible puts it this way, These teachers will tell lies with straight faces and do it so often that their consciences won't even bother them.  And The Amplified Bible says, Through the hypocrisy and pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared (cauterized).

            What happens if you burn your finger over and over again, or get calluses on your finger your nerve endings are deadened and you lose feeling.  Paul is saying that we can harden our hearts to God so much that our consciousness becomes dead; we don’t have the feeling of what is right and what is wrong anymore. We have pulled the plug on our consciousness, you might say. That is why some people can go and do the most heinous crimes and it does not bother them at all.  They can kill someone and then go and have a Big-Mac and not even think about it or they just boast about it. It is like the following story illustrates for us. We are told:

            During the 1982 war in the Falkland Islands between England and Argentina, the Royal Navy’s 3,500-ton destroyer HMS Sheffield was sunk by a single missile fired from an Argentine fighter jet. It caused some people to wonder if modern surface warships were obsolete, sitting ducks for today’s sophisticated missiles. But a later check revealed that the Sheffield’s defenses did pick up the incoming missile, and the ship’s computer correctly identified it as a French-made Exocet. But the computer was programmed to ignore Exocets as “friendly.” The Sheffield was sunk by a missile it saw coming and could have evaded.

- Today in the Word, May 12, 1992

            So we have seen that God speaks to us through His Word, He speaks to our hearts, and He speaks to us by our consciousness. But again, we need to listen and obey, the Lord warned Cain and us that if we chose not to obey then sin lies at the door of our heart and its desire is to rule your life!

The Hebrew word for lies pictures an animal crouching down to pounce upon its prey! I find it interesting because Peter tells us in I Peter 5:8, Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  You see, we need to be watchful because the Devil is like a lion, ready to devour our lives and he does this with sin that he places at the door of our hearts. The question we must ask ourselves is this. “Will you open the door or leave it closed?” And please understand, by opening it just a little, just a crack is enough for his poison to affect your life; sin will rule your life!

Just ask any alcoholic. When they took that first drink, for example, they never dreamed it would control their life, they were in control.  In fact, many alcoholics believe they are still in control but they are not. They opened the door and now sin is ruling their lives, controlling them and destroying them.  For Cain, and many today, by allowing envy, strife, anger to grow in you, you are opening the door for sin to be manifested in your outward actions. You see, when sin has taken place in your heart it will eventually overflow into your actions.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. You see, God says that Cain should rule over this, but how?  By not opening the door and the same goes for us!  Peter goes on to say in I Peter 5:9, Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.  You see, keep your eyes upon Jesus, be obedient to Him, keep the faith and you will not open the door to sin, sin will not rule your life, Jesus will!

This is portrayed for us very clearly in John 8:31-36, where we are told, Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, “You will be made free”?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.  And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.’  We need to heed the warnings as this story illustrates for us. We are told:

Argentinean race driver Juan Mannuel Fangio discovered that after the opening lap of the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix. As he approached a dangerous bend for the second time, Fangio noticed that something was wrong. The faces of the spectators, which he usually saw as a whitish blur as he drove by, were all turned away from him.

“If they are not looking at me,” Fangio thought, “they must be looking at something more interesting around the corner.” So he braked hard and carefully rounded the bend, where he saw that his split second assessment had been accurate. The road was blocked by a massive pileup.

- Today in the Word, February 9, 1993

            You see, heed the warnings, and don’t go down that path! And, as I have said, if we open this door, if we let anger, strife, envy, bitterness, unforgiveness grow in us, it will eventually manifest itself in our lives, in our actions.  The sin that is in our heart will now be seen in what we do and what we say, which is our last point!

3.  SIN’S OUTWARD ACTIONS – GENESIS 4:8

            Here we see premeditated murder as Cain murdered his brother Abel. God warned Cain, he just refused to listen and he plans out this murder and then goes through with it. Keep in mind this is the first generation after Adam and we see the sin of murder introduced. Yes, Satan murdered Adam and Eve by getting them to sin, but this is the first human murder upon another human!

            I know, you would not murder anyone, and I am personally glad about that. But folks, this goes far beyond the act of physical murder. Jesus said in Matthew 5:21-24, You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

            In other words, by our actions and our words we can slander a person, abuse them, and Jesus is saying that it is as bad as the act of physical murder!  We would never think that way but Jesus did and He is warning us! We must be reconciled to each other, at least do your part, do your best to be reconciled, before you can serve the Lord. If you are warring with people, have anger and bitterness in your heart, which is causing you to put others down by your words and actions, you need to repent and get right with God and that person! Jesus tells us that this is truly a heart issue that is manifesting itself. In Matthew 15:19 He said, For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.

            Paul nails it in Colossians 4:6 when he says, Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. Now we might not like what he is saying or we can try to justify our actions, our words, but you are wrong!  How often is our speech to be seasoned with grace?  ALWAYS!

            As I begin to close this morning, let me say this.  There is an inner turmoil that sin brings into our lives as we become angry, depressed. But we don’t have to remain in that condition because God speaks to us through His Word, to our hearts and by our consciousness. Sin wants to rule our life, but we don’t have to open that door and let it in, we can thus rule over sin by keeping that door closed! If we don’t, then sin’s outward actions are death to those around us as we murder them with our words and actions. May we learn these lessons and not fall prey to the schemes of the Devil who wants to destroy our lives, but listen and obey the voice of God who wants to give us life and life more abundantly!