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Cain and Abel: Worship Outside of Eden

June 11, 2017 Speaker: Matt Boswell Series: Genesis: Out of Eden

Passage: Genesis 4:1–4:26



Let me invite you to open your Bibles to Genesis, chapter 4. As we begin a new series today, looking at life Out of Eden. Over the summer we'll go all the way to Genesis chapter 11, primarily looking at the story of Noah, and seeing what God has to say to us about life outside the garden.

So before we move forward, let's look backward a moment and re-orient our thinking and our hearts about what we learned when we studied Genesis, chapters 1 through 3. Let's do a brief flyover.

First, we saw God. The uncreated God, who is eternal, who is one God in three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, creating all things out of nothing. Creating all things out of nothing, for His glory. It was His purpose.

So then, out of all created things, He makes man and woman in the image of God, as the crown of all creation. And He enters into a special relationship with man and woman, that we would know Him; that we would walk with Him, that we could love Him and enjoy fellowship with Him. And in that relationship, He gives us stuff to do. We call this the Cultural Mandate -- to have dominion over the world, to subdue it. To bear fruit and to multiply in all the earth. 

And in this relationship, God creates a system of rules. There's one rule, one command specifically that He gives to us: Don't eat from THAT tree. 

So it wasn't enough for us to have relationship with God. We wanted something we were not supposed to have. And so the serpent enters into the garden and deceives Eve. She shares with Adam this forbidden fruit. And there we have the birth of the Fall of all mankind. 

So God issues a punishment to Adam and Eve in this garden, that they would now experience death; that life would be very hard for them. The ground is now cursed, and work will be troublesome. There will be pain in childbirth. But in Genesis chapter 3, verse 15, there is a whisper of this hope that one day the offspring of this woman would crush the head of this serpent. So we ended our time with this whisper, with this prophecy of a hope that would one day come to pass.

So now what we will see is life outside the garden -- mankind in full-hearted rebellion against their Maker. Now man's not born in fellowship with God, but man is born in sin. And he can't help but sin. We wouldn't be made worshipers of God, but we would be born worshipers of ourselves. We would try to be our own God. We would run from the light of God's fellowship, and run to the darkness.

And let me just say that this chapter we're looking at today, Genesis 4, is very dark. If you spent time reading it beforehand, it's the story of Cain and Abel. Maybe you're familiar with it already. It's a very dark account. And I want us to feel the gravity of the story, but I want also to encourage us. Even my points through this will be very instructive to us, not just focusing on what goes wrong here, but how we as the people of God can live in light of what we will find. Because this chapter is not just about murder and rebellion. This chapter, at its core, is about the worship of God. The right and the wrong worship of God. 

Cain's life is a textbook study of a life lived for self, rather than lived for God. Does your life reveal that you are a worshiper of God? Just sit with that for a minute. Does your life reveal that you are a worshiper of God? 

So here's how we will evaluate both the worship of Cain and our own worship this morning. First, for better or worse, worship begins in our heart. Second, worship is seen in our lives. And finally, worship is passed down to the next generation.

Genesis chapter 4. We'll read the first couple of verses by means of introduction:

1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” 2 And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. 

So the first thing we see happening outside of the Garden of Eden is God giving to Adam and Eve two sons, Cain and Abel. Notice how Eve credits God -- she receives these children as gifts from Him. She calls Cain her "man." Some older renditions of this say "man-child." I just think of Cannon, our 4th-born. He's like a big hoss of a kid. We call him the man-child. That's what she means here.

As we're introduced to Cain, I want you to remember that God has this promise that He stated in Genesis chapter 3, of a Redeemer that would come, of a hope that would come; a seed that would one day crush the head of the serpent. I just imagine Eve holding this little baby, this man-child, and thinking, "Maybe this is the one -- the one who will crush the head of the serpent, and make things right between us and God."

She wouldn't have had this all figured out, for sure. But maybe this is the one.

The next verse, we see that God gives them another child. They now have two boys in the same household. So you can imagine what that looks like.

Now we don't know anything from their early life, other than Cain grows up to do what his dad did. He grew up to be a farmer. And Abel grows up to be a shepherd. And this is all the back story we have from here.

So the writer of Genesis is Moses. And Moses is telling us a beautiful story in a very intentional way. From here, what he does is move us to this opening scene of worship. And what I want us to see in this opening scene is that Worship begins in the heart. Worship begins in the heart. 

So Moses is telling his story, using this literary term, "inclusio." So what I mean by "worship begins in the heart" is, this chapter starts and ends with the mention of the worship of God.

So in all this framework of sin and rebellion against God, Genesis 4 begins and ends with worship. So because of that, I want us to look at Cain and Abel with a focus on how pivotal our heart is in the practice of worship. 

In one case we'll find a worshiper of God, filled with faith. In the other, we'll see a heart that refuses to worship God. Let's read verses 3-5:

3 In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard.

What we see is, the sacrifice of Abel is accepted by God; the sacrifice of Cain rejected. And the Bible doesn't tell us in Genesis 4 specifically why that's the case. But when we study the Bible, we want to be sure we practice this form of interpretation called Scripture interpreting Scripture. If you're taking notes, write that down. Scripture interprets Scripture. That means, if we want to know what one difficult passage says about man, or about God, we want to look at what the whole Bible says about this so we can better understand it. 

So while here this isn't the case, in Hebrews chapter 11 verse 4, we find out WHY. Why would God receive Abel's sacrifice, but reject Cain's? Hebrews 11:4 says, By Faith. "By Faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended (he was received) as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts." 

So why is Abel's sacrifice received? Because it was given by faith. So back to our text. How's Moses describing this? I want you to notice how Moses adorns Abel's sacrifice with more information. First he says, it's the firstfruits from his flock, and then also there's fat involved. Right? This is like if you like marbled steak. So there's firstfruits, and there's fat involved. One commentator said that this is like Abel bringing the fattiest of the firstlings of his flock (I just like that alliteration; I think it's helpful for us). He's bringing the best of his best to God.

Why? Because he LOVES Him. He wants his worship to be extravagant. He wants to walk in obedience, but he wants to worship by Faith. 

Whereas, what's left by the non-mention of Cain's offering, we can conclude that Cain just kind of gathered up some stuff, and by duty, worshiped God. 

So here we see the root issue of two hearts: One filled with faith, and the other lacking. One form of worship is acceptable; the other is not. 

And so we have two kinds of worship being offered: God-worship and self-worship. You could say that this is "promiscuous worship." Let me explain:

So the early Baptists would not sing together in their gatherings, because they did not want promiscuous singing to happen. That sounds dangerous, doesn't it? Here's what that meant: They didn't want Christians and non-Christians worshiping God together, because they so cared about the worship of God being pure. And so they thought, if a non-Christian sang to God, that would be impure. So let's avoid the subject and and just not sing at all together.

The early Baptists wanted to make sure that faith was a part of the worship of God. So we don't worship just in the act itself, but our acts of worship, from tithes and offerings, to laying down your life for your spouse, or loving your neighbor, must be accompanied by faith. It's not the act alone that is worship.

So the Catholics have this doctrine called "ex opere operato." What they mean by that is, by the work worked, this is acceptable to God. And that is not true. It's not just these outward forms of worship that are acceptable to God; it is the faith that is implanted in the heart.

And that's what Moses is showing us between the worship of these two people.

Let's continue to read, in verses 5-7:

Remember, Cain has worshiped, and God rejects this sacrifice. Moses continues:

So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”

So God rejects Cain's offering, and he gets furious. He cannot believe that God is doing this to him. He's so mad he cannot hide it. It's like when you’re debating someone, or you’re arguing with your spouse, and their face starts getting splotchy and red because they're angry? 

This is what's happening. Cain's face is revealing just how angry he is. His heart is blistering with jealousy, for covetousness toward Abel, his younger brother. And mad also at God, that God hasn't received his sacrifice. 

It just amazes me to see God's patience with Cain here. I mean, He could have just taken him out right there. He does that in other parts of the Bible. These two brothers, Nadab and Abihu -- they offer these strange fires as worship to God, that He didn't command. You know what God does? He wipes them out, for worshiping in an inappropriate way. All that's left are their clothes. The fire consumes their bodies and all that's left is clothes.

But here, it just amazes me, God's patience with this man. He says, "Cain, if you do what's right, you'll be accepted." And here we're at a critical juncture. God's telling Cain that he can live one of two ways. You can live as a worshiper of God, or you can live in rebellion. But, Cain, there is a war in your heart. Our hearts are a battleground for worship. We're choosing who we will worship: God or self.

And Cain's heart is in danger. God says, Cain, sin is like a crouching tiger at your door; it wants to have dominion over you. It wants to rule over you. But you must have dominion over it. Cultivate it. You must have dominion over it.

John Owen, the great Puritan, would say the same thing when he says this: "Always be killing sin, or it will be killing you."

So friends, that's what we're in the business of: Slaying our sin, like we just sang -- by grace and grace alone. Our hearts as worshipers of Jesus are critical. Everything begins in the heart. Are you cultivating the heart of a worshiper? Are you cultivating the heart of a worshiper?

That's an intentional word. It's a pregnant word. Cultivating your heart. What I'm doing there is pushing back to the cultural mandate that God gives to Adam and Eve. He says that you’re to have dominion over it. That means to protect and to care, to work in it. Are you working in your heart; taking care of your heart? Keeping your heart low before the Lord. Humble, moldable?

Worship begins in the heart, but it does not stay there. The second thing we see in this text is that Worship is seen in our lives. Verses 8-16, we see worship, for better or worse, is seen in our lives. So if our hearts are filled with sin, our hearts will spill over into our lives. But if our lives are marked by joy and life, it's because that's what our hearts have experienced in Jesus. And this is where we see Cain's heart on display through the unraveling of his life. 

So in the ocean floor of Cain's heart, a fracture has happened; an earthquake has happened. And the swell has begun, and it's moving toward the sea, and it's become this entire tsunami that is about to devastate the life of this man. Let's read what happens in verses 8 through 16.

8 Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?” 10 And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground. 11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.”13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” 15 Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him.16 Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

I want us to just trace the effect of sin in the life of Cain. In eight verses, he goes from becoming an outward worshiper of God to forever removed from His presence. This is severe -- how quick this little seed of sin planted in his heart bears devastating fruit in his life. Let's walk through; there are six steps that happen here:

Number 1: Cain deceives his brother. He tricks him into getting away from the family, out where no one could hear his scream. He tricks him into being removed to this far field, which escalates so quickly.

The second step that Cain walks through is Murder. He murders his brother. The anger, the hatred in the heart of Cain bears its full expression when he lifts his hand to slay his brother. This is the first murder that we see in the Bible. God had told Adam and Eve that you would die as a result of your sin. He did not say it would come by the hand of another human. We see the darkness of the human heart, one chapter removed from the Garden of Eden. 

The next effect we see is Cain's lying. It's the third thing we see in Cain's unraveling is his lying. God asks him, "Where's your brother?" And he says, "I don't know."

You think God didn't know where Abel was? When God asks something in the Bible, it's not because he wants your information. He's trying to move Cain to see that He knows. And just to come clean, to repent. This is why even every Sunday we spend this time in confession of sin. The rhythm of Christian worship is regular repentance. Confession of sin. Keeping our hearts humble before God. 

The fourth thing we see in Cain's life is not humility, but pride. Hey kids, listen to this: What Cain says here is how I imagine a 13-year-old would say this. He says, "Am I my brother's keeper?" If that happens in our house, that's followed by this phrase: "Go to your room." Am I right? Yes. Everybody's nodding Yes except my own son. Yeah! That's what happens. Cain says, "Am I my brother's keeper?" 

Listen to what's really going on here. Remember Abel's profession? What is he? A shepherd. So what Cain's saying is, "Am I the shepherd's shepherd?" Isn't that Your job, God, to know where Your person is? Oh, the pride of Cain! 

And it doesn't stop there. I want you to see the next step, the 5th, is self-preservation. His dedication to his own self-preservation. As God is issuing these curses on Cain, of what his life will now look like, Cain clearly articulates every nuance of what God says, but then he adds this: Someone's going to kill me. 

So does Cain care about breaking God's law? Does Cain care about being a worshiper of God? No! Cain cares about Cain. And God is giving him a severe punishment. And so God says, okay, I'm going to put a mark on you, so that no one will kill you. Now what that mark is, I've read some fascinating things in Jewish history this week. If you're looking for some late-night entertainment tonight, just go on Google and search through Jewish history of this. 

Some people think that maybe God gave Cain a horn on his head, to frighten off attackers. Others think that maybe He gave him this crazy mole, that would be kind of offensive to people. Others think that He gave him this crazy dog, like an oversize dog that would always go with Cain to protect him. At the end, God doesn't tell us how He marked Cain. But God out of His kindness still marks Cain so that he would not be murdered. And if he was, the revenge there would be substantial. 

Self-preservation. And the final unraveling in the life of Cain is this: He is removed from the presence of God. THAT is the most severe element of his punishment. It wouldn't be that he'd lose his job. Remember, Cain is a farmer, so now the ground's not going to work for him any more. It's not that he's being kicked out of his home so that he's going to be a wanderer forever. No, the most severe element of the punishment of Cain is that he is going to be removed from the presence of God. What Cain worships in his heart is seen in his life.

So how could Cain have avoided all of this? What warning can we hear from God's word today? 

First, we saw that we must cultivate, keep a heart of worship.

Second, we must guard our lives. We must guard our lives. 

So let me just show you. What starts as this tiny seed of sin, this little lust for sometimes that's not ours, this little rebellion against God that we think is okay because God is gracious, can lead to the complete unraveling of a life. Do you see that? 

So in a church culture like ours, it's like, Hey brother, I'm wrestling with materialism, it's like, Ha ha, we all are; God's grace is sufficient for that. And you know what, that's true. But maybe sometimes in these conversations with people you know well, you could say, Hey, did you know that materialism can destroy you? 

Or maybe you have someone in your community group that says, This week I struggled with pornography. And you say, Well, brother, God's grace is sufficient. That's true. But could you also say to them, Did you know that maybe six months or a year from now, you could allow this sin to grow, and you could have an affair, and lose your entire family? You could be removed from church fellowship and wander the rest of your life apart from the people of God, apart from the life you've built? All because of this one little second look? THAT's the truth! 

And is God's mercy big enough for that? Is it true that our sins, they are many, His mercy is more? Yes! But, brothers and sisters, let's look at this text and be warned, and be pushed to the mercy of God. Not just to glance over this and, tongue in cheek, laugh about our sin. Or say, it's just a struggle. There's no such thing as just a struggle. Sin is an offense against a holy God. From the smallest of seed to the greatest of expression. 

So how do we guard our lives? By confessing sin. By gathering regularly together. By being known. One of the ways I do this in my own life, far from perfectly, is by the practice of worship. 

What I mean by this is, when I feel this pull to sin, when I feel this pull to rebel against God, I'm trying to just remember, How's my heart right now? And what's most precious to me? Is it Jesus, or is it this? Is it Jesus, or is it this? And when my eyes are adjusted to the goodness and the glory of God, and when my heart remembers the glory of God in the gospel, it's easy to choose. And it's in these moments that worshipers are refined.

Notice that mature Christians have a deep humility about them. It's because they realize that not a moment has passed in their following after Jesus, where His mercy has not carried them. I think this is what John Newton has in mind when he says, "Through many dangers, toils and snares." Maybe when we sing that we think of outward dangers, toils and snares. But I think of the inward danger, the inward toil, the inward snare. We've already come. It's His grace that has brought us safe thus far. 

Think of your life right now. Even in the midst of your sin, there are so many evidences of His grace at work in your life. See these, and let them be kindling for the fires of worship to God. Guard your life. 

I want to just take a moment right here. We've seen this devastating story of Cain. And for the Christian, we're warned. But if you’re here this morning, and you are not a Christian, I want you to see something. You might believe in God, but not have faith in God. Let me explain. So let's think about the life of Cain for a moment. The Bible I think is very clear that he's not a worshiper of God. But he understands that God is his Maker. He's talking with God. Do you see that? But he's not a worshiper of God. And so maybe you understand that God is real, but your heart's not been made new by faith in Him.

I have great news for you today: Today you can become a worshiper of God! You can be adopted into the people of God. You can be totally made new. There's such great news in the Bible. It says that God will take your heart of stone and take it out, and give you a heart of flesh. You can be made new by the love of God that was given in Christ Jesus. 

I want you to remember this phrase: You can Call upon the name of the Lord. We're going to get to this in a few moments. That's how you become a Christian -- you call upon Him: "God, I have no other hope but You." And you put all of your faith in the work of Jesus Christ, who perfectly obeyed all of God's laws, because we never could. That's how you become a worshiper of Jesus. 

So for the Christian: Guard your life. For the non-Christian, Call upon the name of the Lord. Today. Don't wait another day.

The third thing we see in this text is that worship is passed down to the next generation. Worship is passed down to the next generation. We see this in verses 17 through 24. So what begins in our hearts, is seen in our lives, then is passed down to the next generation.

So if you’re a parent, you know that you have marked your child. Right? Some of your kids look like you; I'm thankful that all of mine look like their mother. I did a wedding yesterday, and the mother of the bride is talking to me, and she's introducing herself. She says, "I'm the bride's mother." I said, I can tell; you look like twins. It's evident that she belongs to you. 

In the Boswell home, this is the frame of body that God has given me. It comes from my father. We walk weird, hold our bodies awkward. I'm doing the best I can. This is what my dad did to me.

Others of you grew up in households where dad was angry all the time when he would come home from work. So now, every day when you come home from work, you're angry. You don't wanna be, but you’re angry. You've inherited some of this from your dad, but a lot of it is your own sin. 

Or maybe you grew up in a household with a mom who was very materialistic. Even before Amazon. And now you've got all these great tools, and materialism is kind of what's passed down to you, and so that's what you do. 

Or maybe alcoholism. Maybe you grew up in a home where alcoholism was rampant, and had devastating effects, and you battle against that. Or other kinds of addictions.

We're always passing down things to the next generation, for better or for worse. The private sin of Cain's heart didn't stay there. It erupts onto Abel, and then it makes its way through their family. 

So watch how this self-worship of Cain works its way down into the next generation. Just lean in real quick, because there's a lot of difficult names here; there's a lot of moving parts. I just want to remind you that even these challenging parts of God's Word, are God's word. So next week, Afshin's gonna be taking us through the genealogy of Genesis chapter 5. Don't take the week off church next week, because you read ahead, and you’re like, "Genealogies; I think I got it." 

That's God's Word. This part is too. I'll read all the way through it, all the way to verse 24. And then I'll explain what's happening. 

17 Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad fathered Mehujael, and Mehujael fathered Methushael, and Methushael fathered Lamech. 19 And Lamech took two wives. The name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. 20 Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. 21 His brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. 22 Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.

23 Lamech said to his wives (this is a song. I'm not going to sing it to you, but I'll emphasize):
“Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;
    you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say:
I have killed a man for wounding me,
    a young man for striking me.
24 If Cain's revenge is sevenfold,
    then Lamech's is seventy-sevenfold.”

Okay, back to the beginning. First we see that Cain has a son named Enoch, and then he builds a city and names it "Enoch." He now can't cultivate the ground, but he can build a city. And the Psalms actually make reference to this, and called it idolatry, that he would name the city "Enoch" for his own glory. Remember the thing that Cain wants most? His glory and his preservation. And he's fighting for those things here. We see Enoch has a son, and that son has many. 

And here's what's going on with these boys. If you look closely, what you see here is technological advancement; the arts are established and flourishing; and innovation. Food chain supply, right? That's what's really going on here with these husbandrymen, these people who are living in tents and shepherding and taking food out to the suppliers.

Then you have the arts. You have Jubal (whom we get the word "Jubilee" from). Instruments are being created and music is being made. The arts are advancing in the city of Enoch. And not to be outdone, Tubal-Cain is the forger of all instruments and bronze and iron. That's technological advancement. So see how these crazy names in this obscure passage -- we might think, What relevance does this have to us today? 

Well, aren't we doing the same things? Isn't our culture doing the same thing? We parade ourselves with ideation, with innovation, with technological advancements. Notice in the city of Enoch the name of God is never mentioned. They're doing all these things out of this cultural mandate that was given to them by God's common grace. But they've forgotten God. They're growing a culture, and the culture is thriving, with the arts, and with technology. But God is not named. This is the fruit of the life of Cain. 

Let me just be very clear: God has given us work to do. God cares about your profession. Those 40 to 50 hours a week are not wasted because they're not spent in Bible study. They're redeemed because they're what's God given us to do in this life. Do you see that? That's what our work is. It's a gift from the Lord. These arenas of our life are meant to be cinemas where the glory of God is put on display. So cultivation is a godly ambition, but a terrible God. You see this? Cultivation is in us -- how do we make this better? How do we make it faster? How can we make sure this is obsolete in 18 months, so they'll buy a new one? That might be a little different, but you’re with me, right?

And then that's where we are. So Cain has a son, Enoch. He builds a city, he names it "Enoch," Enoch has a son, and then he has Lamech. Now we'll spend some time on Lamech, who is a terrible guy. We see this in two ways.

One: Notice that within one chapter of being out of Eden, you have polygamy introduced -- this perversion of what God had joined together, he is separating by perverting this good gift that God has given him. So you have polygamy, and you have murder. Not just one murder, but two murders. And notice how he's boasting in these murders. He's singing before his wives. I think of this like Gaston from "Beauty and the Beast" -- (singing:) "No one fights like Gaston . . ." That's how I imagine Lamech carries himself. That or Bill Belichek; I'm not sure which is worse.

I want you to notice this progression that we've seen. Adam and Eve sinned against God. They feel shame. They hide from Him. God makes a sacrifice and clothes them in animal skins. They feel shame. 

Cain sins. He doesn't feel shame; what he feels is this self-fortification, this "How can I still live even though I'm now separated from God?" And  by the time you get to Lamech, he's singing of his sin. How quickly this progression of sin has taken root in the lives of these people. What Cain has passed down to his kids is a grotesque form of idolatry. It's the opposite of everything that we're praying for for our kids. 

So, hey kids, if you’re under the age of 12, I want you to look up here real quick. So normally, this age group is back in elementary. Raise your hands if you're under 12. Listen to me: I am so glad you’re here today. Here's the thing: We want the next generation to worship Jesus. You came in this weird entrances to the building today because we want the next generation of people at Providence Church to worship Jesus. We're pushing everything in for this sake, that the next generation of people in Frisco, TX would worship Jesus.

On Friday night they had this all-nighter here. I came up for the very beginning of it. The stage was filled with adolescents; it smelled like the 8th grade and feet. And they're all up here eating whipped cream and gummy bear pies with no hands. It was disgusting.

And Cade comes home, I pick him up at 6:30. He's like, "Dad, I'm feeling great -- I'm not going to sleep all day today." Three minutes later he was asleep in front of the TV.

The reason we have Providence Students, Providence Kids -- the reason we encourage you to practice family worship in your homes, is not because we want age-graded, curriculum-based whatever, or because we want to create new law for you to practice worship in your home. It's because we care about the next generation knowing and loving Jesus. That's what we're after.

So coming on six years now, when I get here early in the mornings, I'm praying for you before the service begins, I'm praying for Providence Kids, what happens back there, praying that God would scatter our children to the four corners of the earth with the glories of the gospel to proclaim. I don't mean that they're all joining the International Mission Board and going to be full-time missionaries. I mean with Toyota. Being in a job that would still take them all around the world with the glory of the gospel. Being schoolteachers. Maybe that would take them somewhere else where Jesus is not known and named. That we would be intentional about praying that the gospel, from this place, would advance. 

That's what God was after in the blessing of His children. And instead, in one chapter, they turn it for selfish purposes.

Guys, we can redeem this. We can do this. We can leave a legacy where our kids are around the Christian community. So kids, I'm glad you’re here. I'm glad you’re worshiping with us today. I want you to know that.

The final note of this chapter is this: God always keeps His promises. 

I sat in my study one day this week just praying through this text, and this just hit me. At the very end of all this darkness, this beautiful advance of the worship of God. Let's read together verses 25-26:

25 And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” 26 To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. (And here it is:) At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.

People began to make sacrifices together. What's in view here is a gathering together of these people to worship God together. To worship by faith in the promises of God, together. Looking forward to the Redeemer who would one day come. The same way we gather together every Sunday. And we open up God's Word; and we sing Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; and we pray; and we bring tithes and offerings. All because of Jesus. HE is what we're gathered around, for His glory, His renown, His name. We're building a city within the city of Frisco, where Jesus is loved and worshiped. A city like in the days of Enosh. 

Remember, Enoch is just down the road here. It's not like they're in South America. There are places all around them where God is NOT called upon, NOT named. But in this line, God would be called upon.

So, Providence Church, let's be a people who call upon the name of the Lord. Let's be a people who cultivate our hearts; who do the inner work of heart maintenance; of gardening; of tearing up and re-planting and keeping our hearts soft before the Lord. Let's be a people who guard our lives. And let's be a people who pass on the worship of Jesus to the next generation. Only by God's grace is this possible. Let's call upon Him now.

Father, we are stunned. We're stunned because of the mercy You've shown us. We're a people who deserve nothing, but who have been given everything in Christ. Every spiritual blessing. Thank You that You've given us a common statement of faith. You've given us a common mission. And that the worship of Jesus happens in this community of people known as Providence Church. 

Let it be, more and more. Let us be a people who, with dependence, wrestle against the power of sin. Let it not have dominion over us. Let us be a people who guard our lives; who welcome others into our fight against sin; who take great measures to make sure that You are first in our lives -- in our working, in our creating, in our dominion. Oh, God, be glorified. This is not for our name's sake, but for Your name. 

And God, we pray for our children. We pray for the generation to come; for the people that You would raise. Though yet not created, they might be a people who call upon the name of the Lord. We pray for the renewal that the gospel brings in this city. That You would embolden us to share the Good News of Jesus with those who have not yet heard. That we might see the cold-hearted, the hard-hearted, the prideful, come and call upon the name of the Lord, and be transformed for the glory of God. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.


More in Genesis: Out of Eden

July 30, 2017

The Tower of Babel

July 23, 2017

Noah: The Saint/The Sinner

July 16, 2017

God's Covenant With Noah