Summary: To show what the religion of Cain is and to show that there are great multitudes who have this same religion today and to show that the religion of Able brought him into a relationship with God.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 4:1-16 "And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto unto the LORD. 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: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 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. 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. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him. And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden."
PROPOSITION: to use this text and others to show what the religion of Cain is and to show that there are great multitudes who have this same religion today. to show that the religion of Able brought him into a relationship with God. And to show that all of us sinners can have the same relationship with God that Able had through "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."
1.) What was the religion of Cain?
A. It was a religion of self effort,
"Cain was a tiller of the ground." There is nothing wrong with being a farmer, this is an honorable occupation. and you can imagine Cain giving his strength "in seed time and harvest" and God had told Adam "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread" and Cain was more than likely a hard worker. "And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD".
The problem with giving our works righteousness to God as a means of salvation is that God will not accept it. Anything by way of righteousness that has touched a man is dirty. Isaiah 64:6 "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags". God had cursed the ground and Cain brought to God that which he had cursed, which is a perfect picture of us offering our soiled righteousness to God in an attempt to counterbalance the egregiousness of our sin.
Genesis 3:17 "cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;"
B. It was a religion that was rejected, the scripture declares that "unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect". fruit of the ground is a beautiful thing and often we see it displayed around thanksgiving. Fruit is attractive and religion can be very beautiful with large decorative sanctuaries, and the religious costumes that make sinners apear very blameless. " they enlarge the borders of their garments" costumes make an impression upon the mind of any onlookers that the religionist is deeply spiritual and above reproach.
1 Samuel 16:7 "for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart".
C. His religion was peaceless, Cain was filled with malice and bitter envy, anger filled his heart. "Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell" when the scripture says "his countenance fell" it has the idea that he pouted like a little child who didn't get his way. Isaiah 57:20-21 "But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked."