Summary: This sermon deals with sin and the family and the generational affect
My Brother’s Keeper?
How many of you have a perfect family? Not a one huh? Then this message is for you and me. In our Scripture today, we see the first family, I mean, the very first family. Adam and Eve gave birth to their first son Cain and not long after, a second son, Abel. Cain became a farmer. Abel became a shepherd. Both came time to present an offering to God. Cain presented some fruits of the soil. Abel brought the first born, and thus the best, of his flock. God looked over these offerings, and rejected Cain’s and accepted Abel’s. Most scholars believe that Cain gave just some of his crop, but Abel gave the very best of his flock to God. And God knew the difference. As a result of this rejection, Cain got angry. Why? Because in the Hebrew world, when you accepted a gift from someone, you accepted the person. When you refused a gift, you refused the giver. Cain’s becomes angry and the Lord saw it and said, “Why is it your face is downcast and why are you angry? If you would do what is right, your offering would be accepted.” Filled with anger and jealousy, Cain invites Abel to meet him and murders him.
What do we learn today from the first family? First, all families have dysfunction and sin, and that’s usually passed down the generations. In this case, the sin of the Adam and Eve in the Garden falls to their children, Cain murders his brother. Cain and Abel grew up together, played together, learned together, fought together, as all brothers do, and became young men and then adults together. And what we see is that the very sin that seeped into the lives of Adam and Eve was passed on to Cain. We see it today in sins abuse, alcoholism, and drug use passed on from one generation to the next and it affects who the child becomes. The question isn’t whether there is dysfunction and sin in your family, but of how much and what impact it has?
We’ve seen sins of the family in River Ridge, a father abuses his wife, destroys her relationship to their son and then later kills his 16 year old son and himself. In Slidell, a woman gets mad at her elderly father so she kills him and then cuts up his body and puts it in a cooler and in a cousin who kidnaps and stabs to death Ahlitta North in Harvey. The very sin of Adam and Eve is impacting families all around us.
Why? The first is the Doctrine of Original Sin. Starting with Adam and Eve, sin entered the world and has been passed on from one generation to another, causing a continual battle in us between the spirit and the flesh. Second is the Doctrine of Free Will which says, God has given us the freedom to choose to say yes or no to God and to choose His will or ours.
Second, sin is lurching in our lives. James 1:13 says, “You are dragged away by your own evil desires and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full grown, it gives birth to death." Sin is always around us and the struggle with it is always in us. The first step towards sin is Enticement which in the Greek is a fishing word meaning bait or lure. And there’s different bait for different fish, different sins which entice different people. When something entices you and you begin to contemplate the bait, that’s when sin begins to get its hold on us. The most important thing you can do is recognize the bait, be proactive and end the threat right then and there by refusing to contemplate the bait. From the moment of his anger and jealousy, Cain began to be enticed with the idea of getting even. As he considered it, sin took hold of his life. God tells Cain: “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But 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.” You have to make the choice to not dwell or be enticed and it will have no power over you.
Third, take ownership over your part. When God confronted Adam and Eve about eating of the tree, Adam responded, “ “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” In other words, she made me do it. God then looked at Eve and said, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Each passed the buck rather than taking ownership of the sin in their lives. After the rejection of his offering, Cain became very angry, and blamed his brother for the rejection of Cain’s offering. He didn’t take ownership of his own sin which was holding back the best from God. He passed the buck. While there is dysfunction and sin in all of our families, we have to take ownership of our role in it, whether we are the perpetrator or sinner or we are sinned against.