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Summary: Why Cain's sacrifice was not accepted then, and is still being rejected today.

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ABEL’S LAMB

Genesis 4:1-8

Gen. 4:1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. (2) And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. (3 ) And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. (4) And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: (5) But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. (6) And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? (7) If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. (8) And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

I. Intro.

A. the doctrine of the blood atonement is found everywhere in the Bible

B. we need to be careful to not minimize the importance of the blood in God’s redemption plan

C. principles for understanding the sacrificial system

1. the life is in the blood - Lev. 17:11

a. therefore, blood is forbidden as food - Lev. 17:10, Acts 15:29

b. therefore, the shedding of man’s blood by murder is forbidden - Gen. 9:6

c. the blood on the alter makes an atonement for the soul - Lev. 17:11

2. in order for man to approach God, the blood must come between man’s sins and a holy God

3. the atonement includes both propitiation and expiation

a. propitiation means that the demand for justice is satisfied

b. expiation means that the guilt of sin is removed

II. the two offerings

A. Cain’s offering - Gen. 4:3

1. Cain was not an atheist

a. he was not even religiously indifferent

b. he believed in God just like many people today believe in God

2. Cain wanted to bring an offering to God, and he did

a. religious people of every age want to bring an offering to God

b. like Cain, they want to bring the works of their own hands

c. they want to display their own worth

3. Cain’s offering reflected his true nature - I John 3:10-12

a. Cain was "of" the wicked one

b. he had the wicked one as the source of his evil

c. he was a child of the devil

d. a corrupt nature produced a corrupt offering

B. Abel’s offering - Gen. 4:4

1. nothing but the very best could be an offering for the Lord

2. Abel’s offering reflected his confession of sin

a. he recognized that he was unworthy to come into the presence of the Holy God

b. his offering confessed that sin and guilt can only be covered through the blood of an innocent victim

III. the two results - Gen. 4:4-5

A. those making the offering

1. the Lord had respect unto Abel and his offering

a. his offering was done by "faith" - Hebrews 11:4

b. God testified that Abel was a righteous man

2. Cain was a religious man, and he also brought an offering

a. his offering did not confess his unworthiness and humility

b. Cain’s offering was not grounded on "faith", but on human reasoning

3. Cain’s idea of the atonement was a man’s works

a. he did not believe that God’s demand for justice had to be satisfied

b. he did not believe that sin separated man and God

c. Cain would have thought that the death of Christ only served as an example of God’s love

d. Cain believed that every man redeems himself by his good works

B. the offering

1. the attitude of the heart is important, but God places the emphasis on the sacrifice itself

a. "and the Lord had respect unto Abel and his offering" - Gen. 4:4

b. "by faith Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain" - Hebrews 11:4

2. some would say that Cain’s offering was rejected because he had a wrong attitude

a. they believe that the worth of worship lies in the spirit of the worshipper

b. they believe the acceptance of Abel’s sacrifice had nothing to do with the nature of his offering

c. it is true that Cain’s heart was not right with God, but that was only part of it

3. God had prescribed the proper kind of sacrifice in the garden - Gen. 3:21 [coats of skin]

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