Summary: We can make mistakes that will rupture our relationships with those around us

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Date Written: September 2002

Date Preached: September 4, 2002

Church: BBC (PM) Sunday


Series: Learning from the Past

Title: Relationship Rupture

Text: Gen 4:8-9

ETS: Cain made mistakes that ruptured his relationship with his brother Abel

ESS: We can make mistakes that will rupture our relationships with those around us

Objective: I want those who hear this message to understand that we can look at the mistakes of Cain and learn from them and we can avoid the downfalls that he made.


John Steinbeck’s novel East of Eden resembles a modern day interpretation of the ancient story of Cain and Able. With the skills of a literary genius, Steinbeck searches into the cause and consequences of conflict between people who are supposed to be close to each other.

The story of Cain and Abel represents 2 people who had a ruptured relationship. They really should have been really close because they were brothers. However, according to the book of Genesis, sin separated man from God, but it also separated man from his fellow man.

Sin is not just a personal thing between you and God. Sin is interpersonal for it affects those around us, and interferes with the relationships we have here on this planet.

When we look at life we can see many tragic conflicts between people who should be close to one another. Tonight I want us to take a look at the life of Cain and I want us to discover some reasons as to why his relationship with Abel, his brother, was ruptured.

We are going to look at 3 basic reasons that relationships are ruptured. First, ruptured relationships result when worship is ignored. 2nd, ruptured relationships result when divine counsel is rejected, and finally ruptured relationships result when brotherly love is ignored.

Let’s look at the 1st reason tonight: Ruptured relationships are the result when worship is ignored.

Cain’s offering was rejected by God. Abel was a shepherd, and Cain was a farmer. In the course of their lives, each of them brought an offering to God. Cain brought the produce from the ground, and Abel brought sheep…the product of his flock.

What we know for sure is that Abel’s offering was acceptable and pleasing to God, but Cain’s offering was not pleasing and was rejected by God.

Many reasons have been proposed for WHY Cain’s offering was rejected. Many focus in on Abel’s offering and see the word ‘firstlings’ related to his, and do NOT see that same term applied to Cain’s offering. The term ‘firstlings’ listed here in the Hebrew actually means ‘something carefully chosen.’

Thus bringing us to the conclusion that Abel brought his best and Cain kept his best and gave God the leftovers.

Cain’s offering was rejected by God, but it is more than just what Cain brought to give as an offering to God. God sees the attitude of the one giving the offering. The attitude is the most important part of the offering to God, it is more important than the offering itself.

The prophets of the Old Testament taught that justice, kindness, and communion with God were more important that 1000’s of rams and rivers of oil that were sacrificed to God.

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