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The “way of Cain” and the Way of the Kingdom

Updated: Jan 8, 2022

(These notes are the gist of what I preached this morning at our church (inside). Here's the link to watch/listen to it -

Introduction – The apostle Jude – in his effort to help true disciples of Jesus remain true to Jesus – spoke extensively in his short one chapter letter or epistle about the danger of divisive rebellious men in the church. He describes such men in great detail, and I want you to listen to what he says in vs. 11, “Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, …”

As we finish up chapter four and jump into chapter five of our new preaching series in the book of Genesis today, we’re going to take a close look at this destructive “way of Cain”, and then try to end with a focus on the way of the kingdom when it comes to our families and our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc.

We humans have a strong tendency to minimize the damaging effects or consequences of our arrogance and self will on our lives and on our families and our descendants. We believers also have a strong tendency to minimize the fruit and grace and favor and spiritual advantage that can and will blossom in the lives of our children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren when we walk in humble dependence upon God and sow as a way of life to the Spirit instead of to the flesh.

Last Sunday Joshua spoke to us about the tragedy of the cold blooded murder of Abel by his older brother Cain and how God tried to reason with him, but to no avail. Cain grew very angry as he observed the favor God showed to his younger brother. That anger drove him to kill his brother. And it caused him to harden his heart toward God as God sought to bring him to his senses and to a heart of repentance.

The apostle John in trying to help the disciples he was writing to love one another warned them of Cain’s bad example, “ not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother's were righteous. I John 3:12

Obviously Cain’s anger and jealousy towards and murder of his brother was evil. But John says his “deeds” plural were evil. What were those other evil deeds? And what did they result in? I’m going to suggest one more as we pick up the story in vs. 16 of chapter four. The evil deed we are going to see in these next two verses is that of living in independence from God or living in self sufficiency, which is the delusion that I don’t need God or can get along fine without God. vs. 16 - “Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.”

Once Cain got assurance from God that God would protect him as seen in vs. 15, he never looked back in God’s direction again. Even though God had mercifully reasoned with him when he was stewing in anger and plotting his brother’s murder as seen in vs. 6,7; even though God explained to him what his punishment would look like but did not reject him as seen in vs. 9-12; and even though God promised to protect him from those who might try to murder him as seen in vs. 15; Cain wanted nothing to do with God. Even after God allowed him to find a wife and bear a son, he wanted nothing to do with God. Look at vs. 17, “Cain had relations with his wife and she conceived and gave birth to Enoch; and he (that is Cain) built a city, and called the name of the city Enoch, after the name of his son.” Cain was a self worshipper, not a God worshipper. Perhaps that is one reason God rejected or was not pleased with his offering as seen in the early part of ch. 4. Cain’s passion was to build his own kingdom; not God’s.

What God said to the rebellious people of Israel through his prophet Jeremiah, He easily could have said to Cain, “Your own wickedness will correct you, And your apostasies will reprove you; Know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter For you to forsake the Lord your God…” Jeremiah 2:19

As horrible as murder of one’s own sibling is, Cain could have owned up to his sin, repented of his sin, asked God to forgive him and restore him to fellowship and relationship; and God would have gladly responded. But Cain’s way was sadly the way of so many today. The heart of secularism, which is the popular religion of the masses today is that of self sufficiency, self righteousness and self obsession. And Cain is really the father of this godless and destructive religion.

So what are the results of such a life? Well that’s what the Holy Spirit who inspired the writing of the book of Genesis seems to want us to see in the next 7 verses. Let’s read vs. 18, “Now to Enoch was born Irad, and Irad became the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael became the father of Methushael, and Methushael became the father of Lamech.” Cain’s son, grandson, great grandson, and great great grandson are mentioned by name, but not a word is said about them, which most likely means there is nothing about their lives that is worth mentioning. But then we are told of Cain’s great, great, great grandson, and the Holy Spirit does want us to know about him because his sad life is the first example of the principle repeated often in scripture, first seen in Exodus 20:5, where God commands and warns,“You shall not worship them or serve them (“them” being any other gods including themselves); for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands,.. Throughout scripture God wants us all to know that our sin does not just affect us. It can and will affect our descendants on down the line, especially when we are haters of God as Cain was, and as we will see his great, great, great grandson was.

Vs. 19 “Lamech took to himself two wives; the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other, Zillah.” The pattern God sought to establish with Adam and Eve is when He saw a man or a woman needed a spouse, He would bring them one. And that spouse was to be their only spouse, and they were to pursue intimacy and oneness with that spouse to the end of their days through the grace and power that comes from a daily dependence upon God. This principle that both Jesus and the apostle Paul quoted is found in Genesis 2:24. But Lamech didn’t know or acknowledge God and wanted nothing to do with Him. Wives were an acquisition to him similar to that of buying an ox or a piece of property. Even with such arrogance and godlessness, God in His goodness and mercy allowed him to have children and allowed them and their children to carve out livelihoods for themselves, and to develop necessary skills to survive. At least until they died and then had to give an account of their lives to their Maker.

Vs. 20-22 “Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. As for Zillah, she also gave birth to Tubal-cain, the forger of all implements of bronze and iron; and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.”

Their great, great great grandfather Cain probably passed down to them some of the skills he developed in building the city of Enoch. But sadly he also passed down his arrogance and violent tendencies. And the reality with generational sin patterns is often they grow worse and even more corrupt if repentance does not stop the downward trajectory. Nowhere is this more clearly seen than in what we see in vs. 23, 24 re: Lamech. “Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, Listen to my voice, You wives of Lamech, Give heed to my speech, For I have killed a man for wounding me; And a boy for striking me; If Cain is avenged sevenfold, Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.”

Interesting isn’t it, that Lamech evidently knew of his great, great, great, great grandfather’s murder of his brother and God’s promise to him that if someone killed him vengeance would be taken on that person sevenfold. Lamech’s hardness of heart, arrogance and refusal to repent is far worse than even Cain’s was. And it was the fruit of Cain’s refusal to repent, and to worship and obey His Creator.

Well that’s a little about the way of Cain……. There is a far better way. And it is the way of the kingdom. It is a way of brokenness, contrition and dependence upon God. And in some of the darkest times of human history, this way can still be seen in some families and their descendants, as we will see was the case with Seth.

Look with me at vs. 25, 26, “Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, “God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel, for Cain killed him.” To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.”

First I want to say a word about Abel. Abel had a tender heart toward God that he very likely got from his mother Eve, possibly from Adam. Abel knew he needed forgiveness; he somehow knew only the blood of a lamb was acceptable worship before a holy God; and He knew God was worthy of the best. The writer of Hebrews put it this way: “By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. Heb. 11:4

While Abel never had the chance to marry and have children and hopefully see his children and grandchildren worship God as He was worthy to be worshipped; his testimony and example continue to speak. For his heart and practice (as short as it was) was the antithesis of Cain’s, and it was pleasing to God.

Second, Note Eve’s God focus in vs. 25 “ God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel,” and in vs. 1 of ch. 4, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord.”

I believe Eve was a woman of prayer; she most likely knew God alone opens and closes the womb of a woman; and she looked to Him to do so for her. And she gave Him the glory when He answered. The name Eve gave her son Seth means “appointed” to be a reminder to all that this child came from God.

Say what you want about her and Adam but she never divorced her husband and he never sought another wife. And it was never said of them that they “went out from the presence of the Lord.”

Now let’s take a look at this emphasis on Seth having a child in vs.26a “To Seth, to him also a son was born”. Cain’s life and lineage was disastrous all the way to the fourth and fifth generation. But now a new lineage has begun with Seth and his child, who was named Enosh. This lineage would be a great contrast from Cain’s.

And the first hint we get at that is the last line of chapter 4, “Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.” Now in my Bible that word “men” is italicized which means that italicized word is not in the original language but is inserted by the translators to make the reading smoother and more understandable. The problem is it might make you think this praying was being done only by the male species. And that is not what is communicated at all in the Hebrew. Men in this verse is generic and thus includes women. The second thing I would say about this statement is it is not a general statement about all the men and women in that region of the earth. Rather I believe it is a statement about Seth’s mother, Seth’s family and extended family and the people surrounding and connected to them. They were a people given to or inclined to pray to God. They knew they needed Him. They knew they were created for Him.

Now I’m going to read chapter 5 to you and I want you to notice a handful of things while I’m reading it: First, when the Holy Spirit wants us to know of Adam’s lineage – please note who of his sons is included and who is left out; Second, please note how much coverage Seth’s lineage (5:6-32) gets compared to Cain’s in 4:17-24; Third, three very notable people came from Seth’s lineage. Two are mentioned in this chapter. The most notable is not, but is mentioned in Luke 3:36-38, which I’ll read after I read the chapter. Fourth, please note that the Enoch and Lamech in ch. 5 are not the same as the Enoch and Lamech mentioned in ch. 4. Fifth, one thing all these men listed in Adam’s and Seth’s lineage had in common is they all died, but one. Why this man did not die is a very important question to ponder.

Vs. 1 of ch. 5 - “This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God.2 He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them [a]Man in the day when they were created.

3 When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he [b]became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth. 4 Then the days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years, and he had other sons and daughters. 5 So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.

6 Seth lived one hundred and five years, and became the father of Enosh. 7 Then Seth lived eight hundred and seven years after he became the father of Enosh, and he had other sons and daughters. 8 So all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years, and he died.

9 Enosh lived ninety years and became the father of Kenan.10 Then Enosh lived eight hundred and fifteen years after he became the father of Kenan, and he had other sons and daughters. 11 So all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years, and he died.

12 Kenan lived seventy years, and became the father of Mahalalel. 13 Then Kenan lived eight hundred and forty years after he became the father of Mahalalel, and he had other sons and daughters. 14 So all the days of Kenan were nine hundred and ten years, and he died.

15 Mahalalel lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Jared. 16 Then Mahalalel lived eight hundred and thirty years after he became the father of Jared, and he had other sons and daughters. 17 So all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred and ninety-five years, and he died.

18 Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and became the father of Enoch. 19 Then Jared lived eight hundred years after he became the father of Enoch, and he had other sons and daughters. 20 So all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years, and he died.

21 Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah. 22 Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. 23 So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24 Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

25 Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and became the father of Lamech. 26 Then Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years after he became the father of Lamech, and he had other sons and daughters. 27 So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years, and he died.

28 Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and became the father of a son. 29 Now he called his name Noah, saying, “This one will [c]give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the Lord has cursed.” 30 Then Lamech lived five hundred and ninety-five years after he became the father of Noah, and he had other sons and daughters. 31 So all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years, and he died.

32 Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.”

Interesting that when Luke lists Jesus’s Genealogy in Luke 3:23-38 it ends with these words, “the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.”

Cain’s legacy was one of arrogance, bitterness, anger, murder and godlessness.

Seth’s was one of intimacy with God as seen in Enoch’s life; favor with God as seen in Noah’s life, not to mention his faith, obedience and perseverance that saved mankind from extinction; and Jesus the Savior that brought us hope and power to overcome sin, be rightly related to God and have a new fresh start on life.

Yes Adam and Eve sinned and by thus doing opened a wide door to sin and all of its misery upon the earth. But I believe they continued to walk with God; and at least two of their sons did as well. And while we don’t know the stories behind most of the people mentioned in chapter five, my guess is when Seth died and entered into the presence of the Lord and he learned that Enoch and Noah and Jesus the Savior came from his lineage, whatever suffering and affliction and difficulties and persecution he endured for pursuing righteousness was deemed well worth it.

Yes you and I are born in sin; and many of us in this room did not have godly parents who daily walked with God. And yes some of our parents, uncles and aunts, grandparents, and great grandparents lived lives marred by sin. It’s very possible that there might be a person or two in this building or watching on youtube – and as far as you know you are the only one truly trying to know and follow Jesus in your clan.

There might be some here or watching on youtube who have adult children that are not pursuing Christ; and seem to be in the clutches of the evil one.

There are probably lots of people here today and watching on youtube who are sober about the challenges to walk out marriage and family as God has always intended.

I want to warn you today that Satan knows the power and potential of a family that walks with God and he is hell bent on keeping that from happening. And he has used the stresses of the last two years of Covid particularly to wear us down.

So what can I do to see the power and potential of a righteous family realized?

First get saved! If you have never asked Jesus Christ – the risen Son of God to come into your life, save you from your sins, and bring you into a forever relationship with the living God – do not put this off for another second!! You need new eyes to see, and new ears to hear, and you need to be cleansed from all the corruption from years of living your own life - - only Jesus can do that for you.

Second, ask God to heal your unbelief and discouragement. Yesterday after my nap I meditated for a bit in Ephesians chapter one, and the Holy Spirit drew my attention to Paul’s first recorded prayer in vs. 17, 18. “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of his calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” The believers in Ephesus were first generation Christians who had lived all their lives in a horribly corrupt culture; many of their families were a train wreck; when they read the longest passage in the New Testament on marriage in chapter five of the letter to their church in Ephesus and saw the high standard for marriage, they probably felt like why try!

They desperately needed to know as do you the hope of their calling, etc.

Third practice Sowing/Investing – Gal. 6:7-9 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.”

Never doubt or downplay the power of sowing seeds. Every prayer for yourself and for others, every meditation of scripture, every participation in a gathering of believers, every page read of a solid Christian book, every sin confessed, every text, email, facebook message, phone call or handwritten note to a family member assuring them of your love and prayers and perhaps some truth of scripture, all of these are seeds that in time will bear fruit if you don’t give up.

Time of intercession for listeners.

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