Summary: A sermon based on the idea that it is possible to raise a pagan in a Christian home.
Series: For Better or For Worse Pt. 6
Genesis 4:1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.
INTRODUCTION: In today's message we see the birth of the first two human beings on earth through the procreative process designed by God. We do not know how Adam felt about the birth of these two boys but Eve seems to have been very pleased in spite of the pains of child birth that she experienced because of the fall. As we read this narrative about these first children born into the world it is difficult to comprehend how they could grow up to be so different yet it is there recorded for us in God's Word. We are told that the first boy was named Cain which means "acquisition, fabrication or possessed" (Lockyer) and the second was named Abel which means "breathe or vapor" which is prophetic since his life was as short as a breath! We have nothing from their early years that might give us a clue as to why they both turned out the way that they did but it is certain the Adam and Eve had a profound influence of these brothers growing up. All recent studies point to the fact that the most influential people in the lives of children are their parents not their peers! I know that's hard for some of us to grasp but it is true nonetheless. Children are by and large the product of the example that they see. These examples can be very powerful and therefore influential. I heard the following story about the power of an example:
ILL - President Calvin Coolidge once invited friends from his hometown to dine with him at the White House. Unsure of their table manners, the guests decided to imitate the president. They watched closely to see which utensils he used, what foods he ate and when. Their strategy seemed to succeed until coffee was served. Coolidge poured some coffee into his saucer. They did the same. He added sugar and cream. His guests did, too. Then the president bent over and put his saucer on the floor for the cat! Be careful whose example you follow. Amen?
When I'm working on a sermon the Lord brings me into contact with thoughts and truths that He wants me to share. Just recently I recently read an article entitled "How To Raise a Pagan in a Christian Home" and I want to tell you that it stunned me! The very idea is almost beyond my comprehension. Can you guess who I thought of as I read this article? You guessed it, I thought of Cain, Cain the first child born into the human family who would grow up to become the first murderer. How could this happen? Just think about how many times we have seen episodes of murder and mayhem perpetrated by young people today? Just yesterday there was another school shooting in Colorado almost on the anniversary of the slaughter of the innocents at Sandy Hook Elementary. The answer is yes it can and it is happening today. I want to share two things that are fairly obvious about how Cain became the person that he was. First:
I. CAIN LEARNED HOW TO MAKE A LIVING BUT NOT HOW TO LIVE
a. Parents and a child's vocation
There is every reason to believe from the language of Genesis 3-4 that Adam spent his days involved in agriculture. He tilled the ground and tended sheep. (he had been placed in the Garden to "...to dress it and to keep it...") with dominion over all the "cattle" and that Cain chose the former vocation while Abel chose the latter. In chapter 4:2 we are told that Adam's first born was a "...tiller of the ground..." Abel on the other hand was "...a keeper of sheep..." (He was a shepherd) Now let me say from the outset that I don't think that there was any big difference between what these men did for a living, the difference lay in why they did it. Farming has been and continues to be an honorable occupation. I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said, "Don't complain about farmers with your mouth full!"
Did Adam and Eve teach their two sons how to make a living or did they teach them how to live? To start with every parent must see their children as gifts from the Lord. This was Eve's attitude and she plainly states as much. Genesis 4:1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. (Jehovah) Since children are a gift from God are you willing to give them to the Lord for Him to use any way He sees fit. How would you feel if your child announced that God had called them into the mission field or called them to preach? What would be your reaction?