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Developing a Biblical Worldview

“The Way of Cain” Genesis 4:1-16

Date:July 25, 2021
Author: Wayne J. Edwards


In the epistle of Jude, believers are given this warning: “Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain!” The way of Cain describes any religious system that attempts to earn God’s favor by works and rituals rather than one’s reliance upon God’s grace.

In this sermon, we will trace the way of Cain from his casual indifference toward God, to his violent disobedience to God, to his willful disregard for God’s call to repentance, and finally his eternal disconnect from God.

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Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 53:1-10 – New Testament Reading: 1 Peter 1:18-25

Developing a Biblical Worldview
“The Way of Cain”
Genesis 4:1-16

Wayne J. Edwards, Pastor

Just as Genesis 1-2 explains the origin of the physical world, including mankind, who was made in the image of God, Genesis 3-4 explains the origin of the spiritual world, including Satan, who chose to be in rebellion against God.

  • In Genesis 4:1-16, we have the account of the birth and life of Cain, the first son to be physically born on earth, and the first son to refuse to be “born again.”
  • Cain is the first human example of an unbeliever, who, when confronted with his sin by God Himself and was given ample time to repent, refused to do so, and became the first reprobate.
  • Cain’s legacy of life is forever linked with those who corrupt the worship of God with their own ideas and therefore mark the road to reprobation.

The Hebrew word “Kayin” means: “I have gotten/made a man-child with the help of the Lord!” (Genesis 4:1)

  • Eve may have thought her son was the “Seed” God had promised – the One who would eventually crush the head of Satan, who had deceived her.
  • Cain was born with every possible advantage of life:
  • He was the first-born Son of Adam and Eve and the first son to be born physically.
  • He was the child of believing parents, and a believing brother, who lived out their faith for Cain to see.
  • He was raised in sight of the Garden of Eden, in the knowledge of the One True God, and in the awareness of his parent’s experience with God in the Garden.
  • He lived in the absence of evil and in the presence of good – i.e., there was no temptation for him to sin.
  • He was spoken to directly by God at least twice, and yet he turned his back upon God’s grace and forfeited God’s eternal blessings: He became a reprobate.

A reprobate is a person who is so morally depraved they are rejected by God as having no hope of eternal salvation.
(Romans 1:18-32)

There are seven steps along the “road to reprobation”! The sign over the entrance reads: “THE WAY OF CAIN!”

1. Cain’s Arrogance against God – Genesis 4:3-5 – “Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord!”

When it comes to our worship of God there are only two possibilities:  

  • We worship the true and living God in our way, which is unacceptable to God, and damning to those who do it.
  • We worship the true and living God in His way, which is acceptable unto God, and a blessing to those who do it!
  • For the goal of God’s plan of redemption is to call out a people who will worship Him and Him alone – in Spirit and in truth.
  • The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. (Westminster Shorter Catechism)

Cain and Abel brought their respective offerings before the Lord as they had been taught by God and their parents.

  • God had respect for Abel’s desire to worship Him, as evidenced by his offering of an animal sacrifice.
  • God had no respect for Cain’s desire to worship Him, as evidences by his offering of the fruits of the ground.
  • God saw Abel coming before Him as a penitent sinner in need of a Savior, thanking God for accepting the animal sacrifice as a substitute for his own life.
  • God saw Cain coming before Him as an arrogant sinner who thought he was good enough to stand before a Holy God, because he had not committed a sin worthy of death.
  • Cain’s heart was not right with God; therefore, his offering was not acceptable to God, and therefore neither was his worship of God.

2. Cain’s Criticism of God’s Demands – Genesis 4:5 – “Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.”

Cain “burned with anger” against God for rejecting his offering and he was jealous of Abel, because God accepted his offering.

  • Those who are unrighteous or self-righteous are critical of those who are truly righteous because those who are truly righteous in Christ bring condemnation upon those who are unrighteous or self-righteous.
  • They think they are “good enough” to be acceptable unto God as long as their “good works” balance with their “evil deeds,” and they will release their anger upon those who dare to judge their behavior.

3. Cain’s Rejection of God’s Warning – Genesis 4:7 – If thou doest well, shall thou not be accepted, and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door, and unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shall rule over him.”

   God, Himself was the first preacher, pastor, or evangelist, who asked Cain to examine his own life according to God’s Word and to view the end result of his life choices.

  • God, Himself, called Cain to confession and to repentance.
  • If Cain would repent of his sin, God would remove that anger and bitterness from his heart and fill him with His joy!
  • If Cain would not repent, his anger would conceive and bring forth sin against his brother, and he would live the rest of his life in a constant battle with the power of sin.

4. Cain’s Anger against Abel – Genesis 4:8 – “Cain talked with Abel, his brother: and when they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.”

  • In the Hebrew, verse 8 is “emphatic” – Cain rose up against his own brother – his own blood kin.
  • Cain decided he did not need God, or God’s forgiveness, or God’s righteousness – he loved himself, his sin, and his way of life, and he would protect it, even if he had to kill his brother.

5. Cain’s Refusal to Repent – Genesis 4:9 – “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

  • When God confronted Cain with the murder of his brother, rather than admit it, confess it, and repent of it, he lied to God to cover for his sins.
  • Cain’s heart was so saturated in rebellion that God sealed him in “reprobation” – excluded from the “elect,” and left in their fallen nature to be eternally damned.

6. Cain’s Removal from God’s Presence – Genesis 4:11-12 – “A fugitive and a vagabond shall thou be in the earth.”

  • Verse 12 – God cursed the ground in which Cain had labored to produce a crop – it was “dead” to him.
  • Verse 12 – Cain would never settle down or even move about with a tent and family – he was to be a vagrant to all men with no place to call home – he was to be a “lost” person.

7. Cain’s Defiance against God – Genesis 4:16 – “Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.”

  • Cain lived out the days of his life in the land of Nod.
  • However, men with the same rebellious nature against God will infiltrate the church in the last days.
  • “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jude 1:4