Summary: We can make mistakes that will rupture our relationships with those around us
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.
Not to have a teachable attitude when worshipping God can and will lead us into some relationship ruptures that we don’t foresee. Because how one worships God affects how they relate to others around them.
When worship is ignored then relationships can and will be ruptured, but I can also see here that when divine counsel is rejected, those same relationships can be ruptured just as well.
When we look at the Word, we can see that Cain disobeyed God’s counsel. When God rejected Cain’s offering, Cain became very jealous that God accepted Abel’s offering, and he acted in bitter resentment toward God.
Instead of going to God and making things right, Cain chose to strike out, he chose to ignore the counsel of the Creator he had started out to worship. Cain was led down a path of resentment and jealousy. He had a chance to go to God, but he chose to go his own path.
When we need to get along with others, we must 1st listen to God. One of the greatest difficulties I have as a pastor and fellow Christian is to see people struggle in life because they refuse to listen to God’s counsel in their life.
This failure to heed God’s counsel leads to numerous hostilities among God’s people and among those of the world. Those who fail to listen to and hold onto the Word of God allow jealousy and hatred to build up in their lives and it can go unchecked doing much damage to that person.
When we ignore worship and when we refuse Godly counsel we run an almost inevitable risk in rupturing the relationships we are in. Finally, I can see that relationships are ruptured when brotherly love is ignored.