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Cain and Abel (Genesis 4)

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Main Point: We must do everything God’s way.

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Abel had faith. So he offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain did. Because of his faith Abel was praised as a godly man. God said good things about his offerings. - Hebrews 11:4a

Props: a stuffed animal sheep, a basket of fruits and vegetables

Review

Say: Last week, we talked about the first two people that God created. Adam and Eve lived in a special garden in Eden. Everything was wonderful there. They had everything they needed, and they even spent precious time with God in the garden. God had one really important rule for them. Ask: Does anyone remember the rule? They couldn’t eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Say: With all the wonderful things God had blessed them with, there was only one thing that was forbidden. God wanted to protect Adam and Eve. The devil came to Eve in the form of a crafty serpent. He tempted Eve to doubt God’s character. The devil wanted Eve to disobey God and eat the fruit. The devil lied to Eve. Sadly, Eve chose to believe the serpent instead of God. She and Adam both ate the forbidden fruit. This was man’s first sin. Immediately they felt guilt and shame, and they hid from God. Because they sinned, they were sent away from the garden, away from the tree of life. From that moment on, their lives would have many hardships, and they would not live forever. Sin brought death. God announced that one day one of the offspring of Eve would crush the devil.

Cain And Abel (Genesis 4:1 - 4:7)

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Ask: Has anyone ever heard that everyone on earth is related? Listen for answers. Say: This is actually true. This is because ALL people who have ever be born came from Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were the first people. They were married and they had children, and those children had children, so on. There was no other source from which people could have come. Their family line has carried on to this day (Genesis 5). So, in essence, we are all very distant cousins. Our ancestors, Adam and Eve, chose to sin. The Bible tells us that once sin had entered the world through Adam, sin would be passed down to all people (Romans 5:12). Sin became part of Adam and Eve and it was passed along to their children and grandchildren. It has been passed on and on - even down to each of us sitting in this room. With that in mind, let’s look at Adam and Eve’s first children.

Adam and Eve had a baby boy. Eve named him Cain. Eve said, “With the help of the Lord, I have had a baby boy.” (Genesis 1:1) Later, they had another son who they named Abel. The boys grew up. Abel took care of sheep, and Cain farmed the land.

After some time, Cain gathered some of the things he had grown. He brought them as an offering to the Lord. Show the kids your fruits and vegetables. But Abel brought the fattest parts of some of the lambs from his flock. They were the male animals that were born first to their mothers. Show your lamb. The Lord was pleased with Abel and his offering. But he wasn’t pleased with Cain and his offering. - Genesis 4:3-5a

Note to Teacher: While we are not told what God told Adam and his sons about atoning sacrifices, we know that God never changes. Because Scripture reveals later that only blood meets God’s requirement for atonement, we know that it has always been God’s requirement. In fact, as early as Genesis 3:15, God alludes to His plan of redemption which comes with the shedding of Christ’s perfect blood (1 John 3:8). Moses wrote the book of Genesis to inform and instruct the Israelites. All of the Israelites knew God’s commands about offerings and sacrifices very well.  Further, Hebrews 11:4 uses the word thysia, which means “sacrifice, victim” for the sacrifices offered by both Cain and Abel.

Say: The Bible does not tell us the account of God instructing Cain and Abel to bring Him an offering. So, we must look to other parts of the Bible for information about the offerings that God required. There were several types of sacrifices that God accepted. There were grain offerings, burnt offerings, peace offerings, and animal offerings. Different things were offered for different reasons. For example, some offerings were offered to thank God and some were offered to make a vow to God (Leviticus 7:12, 16). God gave specific instructions about the offerings of His people. For the covering of sins, God’s law required the shedding of blood from an animal sacrifice (Hebrews 9:7). None of us likes to talk about killing an animal. This seems very strange and harsh to us, but God is very serious about sin. Last week we saw that sin brings death (Romans 6:23). Listen to what the Bible says about blood:

The life of each creature is in its blood. So I have given you the blood of animals to pay for your sin on the altar. Blood is life. That is why blood pays for your sin. - Leviticus 17:11

The Bible says that life is in the blood of an animal. This is a fact that has been well known by doctors for years and years. You may have seen a similar slogan on bumper stickers or t-shirts. It says “Give blood, Give life.” People donate blood to help save the lives of others. Once again, modern science confirms what the Bible told us thousands of years ago.

The life that is in the blood of an animal sacrifice covers the death that comes from man’s sin. The Bible says, “Without the spilling of blood, no one can be forgiven.” (Hebrews 9:22b)

Because Abel had faith in God, he offered what God required. Abel offered an animal, and Scripture tells us that Abel was declared righteous when God spoke well of his offerings (Hebrews 11:4). But God was not pleased with Cain or his offering. Cain became very angry.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why are you looking so sad? Do what is right. Then you will be accepted. If you don’t do what is right, sin is waiting at your door to grab you. It longs to have you. But you must rule over it.” - Genesis 4:6-7

Clearly, Cain knew what the right thing to do was. He simply chose to do otherwise. He wanted to give God an offering that seemed good to him. He did not meet God’s requirement. Today we see another wonderful attribute of God. We see that God is kind. He was kind to come to Cain and urge him to change his ways. He was kind to warn Cain that sin was about to overtake him. God did NOT compare Cain to his brother Abel. God told Cain that he did not meet God’s standard. But Cain would not submit to God’s gentle urging; he refused to heed God’s warning.

Cain Murders Abel (Genesis 4:8-26)

Even though God did not compare Cain to Abel, Cain compared himself to his brother. He was very angry that God accepted Abel’s offering, but did not accept his. Here, we see the sin of pride again. Cain thought his offering was as good as Abel’s. Cain thought he deserved as much praise as Abel. Just as God had warned, Cain’s pride, jealousy, and bitterness overtook him. Cain invited his brother to go out to a field. There Cain attacked Abel and killed him. This was a terrible thing! With only four people on the entire planet, we see the earth’s first murder (Mark 7:21). Then, just as God did with Adam, God came to Cain to ask him about his sin. God gave Cain the opportunity to confess what he had done.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”

“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I supposed to look after my brother?” - Genesis 4:9

Not only did Cain lie to God, but he had a sarcastic and disrespectful attitude! Of course God already knew what had happened to Abel. God told Cain that Abel’s blood was crying out to Him from the ground. God announced Cain’s punishment:

“So I am putting a curse on you. I am driving you away from the ground...When you work the ground, it will not produce its crops for you anymore. You will be a restless person who wanders around on the earth.”

Cain said to the Lord, “You are punishing me more than I can take. Today you are driving me away from the land. I will be hidden from You. I’ll be a restless person who wanders around on the earth. Anyone who finds me will kill me.”

But the Lord said to him, “No. Anyone who kills you will be paid back seven times.” The Lord put a mark on Cain. Then anyone who found him wouldn’t kill him.

So Cain went away from the Lord. He lived in the land of Nod. It was east of Eden. - Genesis 4:11-16

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Ask: Who remembers what Cain’s job was? He was a farmer. Say: God put a curse on Cain so that no matter how hard he worked, he could no longer produce a good crop of food. Cain would have to find another way to survive.

But the worst part of his punishment was being sent out of God’s presence. Sin always separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2).

Even when he was confronted by God Almighty, Cain did not repent from his sin. He did not agree with God that it was wrong, or offer a heart-felt apology. Cain cried out that his punishment was too much for him. This is similar to a child shouting. “That’s not fair!” Actually, it was more than fair. Cain killed Abel, yet God allowed Cain to live. And, when Cain whined that someone might want to kill him (just like he killed his brother) God gave him protection from being killed.

Eventually Cain was married and had children. Cain’s sin, violence and disrespect for God carried on to his descendents (Genesis 4:19, 23-24). Adam and Eve had another son and they named him Seth. Eve said, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.” (Genesis 4:25b)

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Application: First of all, the Bible tells us that respect for the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). All of us should be able to look at the world God created just by speaking and know that God is AWESOME and worthy of our complete respect (Revelation 4:11). Cain did not respect God. He did not follow God’s plan of offering an animal. Cain tried to gain acceptance from God his own way.

People still try to gain acceptance from God their own way. Some people think that if they do good things, like go to church or help other people, God will accept them. Let’s see what God Almighty thinks about the good things that we do:

All of the good things we do are like polluted rags to You. - Isaiah 64:6b

God is perfect and holy. Because we are sinners, everything within us is polluted.

Some people think that they are not as bad as others, so God must think they are okay. Let’s see what the Bible says about comparing ourselves to others:

Everyone has sinned. No one measures up to God’s glory. - Romans 3:23

Just like with Cain and Abel, God does not compare one person to another. We are each measured according to God’s perfect standard, and no one measures up.

So, each of us inherited a sin nature from Adam and Eve. Each of us has chosen to sin, and our sin separates us from God. The AWESOME news is that God has provided a way for us to be right with Him. God wants each one of us to come to Him, His way (2 Peter 3:9). God provided a perfect blood sacrifice when He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for us. All we must do is believe in Him, and place our trust in Him. There is NO OTHER WAY for our sins to be forgiven, and to be made right with God (John 14:6). We will learn more about God’s provision in the weeks to come.

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Main Point: We must do everything God’s way.

Main Point: God’s blessings are greater than anything else we could want.

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