We are currently considering the key issues of life as they are presented to us in the book of origins – in Genesis. These key issues of life concern the existence of God, the matter of creation, the nature of man and his place in creation, the nature of marriage, and the nature and impact of the fall of man upon our life in this world.
The Judeo - Christian worldview on these matters has largely dominated the thought of the centuries in many parts of the world , but in the last 150 years these key issues of life have increasingly received alternative explanations. The existence of God, the origin of the universe, and of man, and the fundamental institution of marriage and the origin of evil have all been questioned and re-explained in recent history.
We now approach the fourth chapter of Genesis. There is a very close connection between Genesis 3 and 4.
· In Ch. 3 we find the explanation of the beginning of sin in the first man, and the consequences of that : guilt, shame, avoiding God, blame shifting, a hard life lived under the curse.
· In Ch. 4 we read of sin’s progress as it affects all mankind. Death had entered the world, just as God had previously warned Adam in Gen. 2:17.
Like a deadly virus, sin contaminates, spreads and issues in death. From Genesis 3 we learn that the sin problem is manifested primarily against God, but we see that it manifests itself also against our fellow-man.
We learn that the one who has no fear of God, has no genuine respect for his neighbour.
In Genesis 4 we also find the first fulfilment of the prophesied hostility in Genesis 3:15—the enmity between the two seeds among men —the wicked seed, the offspring of the serpent from the line of Cain, and the righteous seed of the woman, from the line of Abel. Chapter 4 begins a typical pattern shown to us in the Bible: The darkness (or evil) continually seeks to overcome the light, (i.e. wicked Cain kills righteous Abel) but it never manages to do so. The evil one, the prince of darkness perpetually tries to exterminate the godly seed (cf. John 1:4) and although it seems as if at times he has gained the upper hand, yet he always finds himself ultimately defeated and exposed by God. The cross of Christ is the greatest example and illustration of this fact. So also , even though in Abel the godly seed is seemingly exterminated, Eve, with God’s help is able to conceive and give birth to a godly offspring, called Seth (4:25)
TRUE AND FALSE WORSHIP
One of the primary issues following the fall becomes the matter of sacrificial offerings. Sacrifices became one of the central observances of OT religion, because God ordered them to be performed as a result of the guilt incurred by man in the fall. The sacrificial offerings were foreshadowing the substitutionary atonement (the taking away of sin) that Christ would provide in time. One thing is very clear from the outset. These sacrificial offerings were of no value without a corresponding obedience to God from the heart (cf. Isa.1:11).
It is precisely here that the difference in the two seeds begins to emerge. The difference is seen in the way in which they approach God. It is a fundamental difference of approach to worship. This is the revelation of true versus false worship. This thought may help us greatly as we are thinking about a special season of giving at Eastside in October.
From this text we learn that “by faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain”. God is to be worshipped by means of a sacrifice which is brought by faith (cf. Heb. 11:4). But what is the nature of this act of faith by which Abel’s offering was considered acceptable and Cain’s not?
The Lord’s Supper