The Way of Cain

A. In past lessons we noted:
1. The need for spiritual patriots
2. The need for watchfulness and vigilance against false teachers
3. The importance of remembering
4. Some of the characteristics of false teachers

B. During times of war, retreating forces will often swap road signs indicating the names of streets or the direction of particular cities
1. The aim is to confuse the enemy and slow his advance
2. With a good map and compass, it is easy to sort things out and identify the correct route
3. Careless travelers, however, can be led astray by their inattention

1. Satan delights in leading unsuspecting souls down avenues leading away from God
a. This is why Jude alerts his readers to beware of the tactics of the Devil
b. Christians must choose carefully which road they travel in life
c. To help them, and us, to be alert to this fact, Jude begins this thought with the word “woe”

2. “Woe” is an arresting, heart-stopping word.
a. Jesus used this word to arrest attention in Matthew 11:21-24
1) These were blessed with His presence but refused to repent
2) They had neglected a unique opportunity
b. “Woe” envisions the future outpouring of God’s wrath on those who live unrighteously
1) It is a reproach and a warning all rolled into one word
2) Jude applies this word to those who were teaching false doctrine and were troubling the church

3. The reason for this strong language was that these false teachers were traveling the same crooked path of three notorious false teachers of day gone by: Cain, Balaam, and Korah
a. Jude used this trio as an example of what not to be and exhorted his readers to choose a higher road in life
b. In this lesson we will discuss “the way of Cain”
1) Cain chose the wrong path and paid a dear prince for his error
2) Jude is marking Cain’s path with warning signs so no one wander it by mistake

1. The “way of Cain” first came to light when he and his brother were making offerings to God (Gen. 4:1-5)
a. Abel sacrificed the best of his flock, and the Lord received his gift with favor
b. Cain brought some of the produce he had grown, but God would not accept it
c. The difference between the two offerings is seen in Hebrews 11:4

2. The excellence of Abel’s sacrifice is seen in that it was offered by faith
a. Romans 10:17
b. Thus, Abel was pleasing to God because He obeyed God’s commands
c. Evidently, God wanted a blood sacrifice

3. Cain may have felt that his produce was as good as or better than the blood sacrifice offered by Abel
a. Was he trying to improve on the command of God?! – Regardless of his intent it was an act of disobedience
b. “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Sam. 15:22).
c. Whenever man substitutes his own will for that of God’s, he is following the way of Cain

4. There is little doubt that Cain’s sin commenced with an improper disposition, but the result was a disobedient act
a. 1 John 3:7
b. By failing to do what God commanded, Cain showed himself to be unrighteous

1. Cain was upset that God rejected his offering, and his downcast face revealed his bitterness
a. Paul offered excellent council for a person with Cain’s state of mind… Ephesians 4:26
b. Christians must learn to manage their emotions to constructive ends
c. Those who live at the mercy of their emotions are traveling the way of Cain

2. The Lord attempted to reason with Cain but to no avail
a. God said, “Why are you angry?” (Gen. 4:6)
b. If he was upset with anyone he should be upset with himself
c. Those who blame others for their problems are traveling the way of Cain

3. God encouraged Cain to change his course while there was still time
a. If he started doing what was right he would be accepted
b. If not, sin was ready to punch on him like a hungry lion stalking his prey
c. There is always a way of escaping temptation… 1 Corinthians 10:13
d. This means that those who follow the way of Cain do so by choice

4. Instead of listening to God’s advice, Cain clung to his anger until it lead to murder
a. Whenever a person fills his heart with evil eventually it will reveal express itself
b. Evil hearts are a walking time bomb waiting to go off:
1) In inward difficulties – ulcers, heart attacks, etc., or
2) Hurtful speech or physical violence
c. In either case, anger harms the one in whom it dwells more than the one to whom it is directed

1. Cain lured his brother to a secluded field and killed him.
a. At that moment he took his life as well
b. Whenever a person hates his fellowman, he abides in spiritual death…1 John 3:14
c. John used this sad story to exhort Christians to choose a different course in their personal relationships…1 John 3:11-12

2. It is intriguing to observe the connection between Cain’s attitude toward God and his actions toward Abel
a. The two are inseparably linked
b. If he would substitute his will for God in worship, he would not hesitate to elevate his will over that of his brother
c. Cain’s way is a way if selfishness, and those who are closest to one who is traveling this road should beware
d. Friendships, marriages and relationships of every description have been callously destroyed as a result of consuming self-interest

3. Although fully aware of what has transpired, the Lord confronted Cain with the question: “Where is Able you brother?” (Gen. 4:9)
a. Cain coldly responded, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen. 4:9)
b. Where love is lacking, trouble is soon to follow
c. The golden rule had been replaced with the law of the jungle

4. When Christians come to a fork in the road of any relationship, Paul urged them to choose the more excellent way… 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:7
a. The most loving path is always the one that follows Christ’s teaching
b. Romans 13:8-10

1. It was also Cain’s way to lie about sin.
a. Rather than face his guilt, he attempted to cover it up the same way he must have hidden his brother
b. For a fleeting moment, he thought he might not be discovered, but that was not the case
c. God told Cain that Abel’s blood cried out from the ground demanding justice
d. As a result of his sin, he could no longer pursue the occupation he loved.
e. Rather than living a settled life of a farmer, he would spend his days as a wandering fugitive

2. God still remembered mercy, however, and placed a mark upon Cain as a warning not to kill him
a. Yet, the consequences of Cain’s sin were almost unbearable.
b. He had to live with having murdered his brother, broken his parent’s heart, and inflicted terrible burden on his family.
c. The tentacles of sin touched the lives of all who loved him

3. Jude declared that false teachers are going the way of Cain
a. False teachers are descendants of Cain because they prefer their own way to that of God
b. They are selfish and quick to vent their anger on anyone who opposes them.
c. The defy God while constantly denying any wrong doing
d. In the end, those who choose to walk in the way of Cain must also share in his punishment

1. Every person must choose a path to travel in life.
a. Jesus narrowed the path to two choices… Matthew 7:13-14
b. The broad way leading to destruction or the narrow way leading to eternal life

2. When standing at the crossroads, the natural choice seems to be the wide road
a. It seems to be the easier route
b. But it is a route that leads to misery

3. The prophets have always encouraged people to make a wise choice of the road they will travel in life
a. 1 Samuel 12:23

b. Jeremiah 6:16

c. The right way has been lit by God… Psalm119:104-105

d. John 14:6

e. He has opened a “new and living way” (Heb. 10:20)

1. Is it the way of Cain?
A way paved with selfishness, hatred, lies, and wrath; or

2. The way of Christ?
A way paved with humility, love, obedience, honesty, and grace

3. If you do not like the direction you are travelling it’s not too late to change

Tom Moore
Park Heights church of Christ
P. O. Box 107
Hamilton, Texas 76531

About from the Preachers PC

Gospel Preacher for the Park Heights church of Christ in Hamilton, TX. I stand for and defend the truth of God's word. All other degrees and diplomas mean very little in comparison.
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