SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2018
Everyone pull out your debit card, credit card or if you believe cash is king then pull out some cash. By it we move and spend and live. I just want you to hold on to it during this service.
Ever since Genesis 3, we’ve been fighting a losing battle, striving for that which ever eludes us. It always seems to be just outside our reach.
Sin created a void, an empty space that longs to be filled. Before sin, God filled our deepest longings. We asked Him to leave and give us the option of filling the emptiness. We try to find our peace and happiness in lesser pleasures. We have come to expect disappointment and dissatisfaction; and we’ve made peace with the absence of peace. We stay busy with life as it is, we make lemonade out of lemons, and feel good that one day we will go to heaven and all we be made right.
In Chapter 3 we have the first sin and the consequences of sin and the demonstration of God’s mercy. First it was “My Way.” Then my way led to independence not God dependence, self trust/God doubt, acquisition/ ownership not stewardship.
In Genesis chapter 4 we begin life as we know it with imputed sin. We don’t get but three people in to planet earth before we seek fulfillment and joy through possession and greed, which led to anger and murder.
Add a sin nature to hard labor and successful productivity, and you start to get a grip on things instead of grip on Him. We are to watch it, work it, rule over it, but it’s never ours. It’s important to notice this in the beginning because you will see this theme ruling in the hearts of Gods people from Genesis to Revelation, which means it will be one of our greatest struggles.
Let’s read in Genesis 4:1 Adam was intimate with his wife Eve,and she conceived and gave birth to Cain. She said, “I have had a male child with the LORD’s help.”
I have acquired a man with God. I have made a man with the LORD’s help. No doubt this was Adam and Eve’s most prized possession. Keep in mind, this is the first human to be born. Adam and Eve had seen the animals procreate. But the reproduction of human life was at this time unprecedented. This is the first human baby. Have you ever seen a
baby? Take our large appendages and extremities and see them in mini. Adorable. Have you ever seen a cute couple and thought, “I bet they make a good looking baby.” The first two unblemished human masterpieces. And they make a baby. If there ever was a cute newborn, this would have been it.
Eve named her first son an acquisition from the Lord. It could have beena heart of gratitude. I don’t know. Cain quite probably in Adam and Eve’s mind was the son of promise. This could be the one, who would inflict the death blow on the enemy. Remember the promise to Satan: Genesis 3:15 I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel, but Cain was not the one. When we possess our kids that can only lead to harm.
Subtle but devastating. As we move forward Genesis 4 is when we begin to think of ourselves as owners. But we’ve never been owners. He put us on earth to work it, watch it, and rule over it.
You understand that we don’t own anything right?
The land is not to be permanently sold because it is Mine, and you are only foreigners and temporary residents on My land (Lev 25:23)
It’s like we don’t technically own our house, the bank does. But even if you have paid your house oﬀ, you still don’t technically own it, because you built it on someone else’s land. If you don’t pay the taxes, you are giving the house to the owner of the land, the government. God is the only Owner.
In The Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer writes about Abraham’s oﬀering of Isaac,
“…I think the words “my” and “mine” never had again the same meaning for Abraham. The sense of possession which they connote was gone from his heart. Things had been cast out forever. They had now become external to the man. His inner heart was free from them. The world said, ‘Abraham is rich,’ but the aged patriarch only smiled. He could not explain it to them, but he knew that he owned nothing, that his real treasures were inward and eternal.”
Tozer goes on,”There can be no doubt that this possessive clinging to things is one of the most harmful habits in the life. Because it is so natural it is rarely recognized for the evil that it is; but its outworkings are tragic.”
The outline this morning is:
- The owner heart
- The remedy for the ownerheart
- The results of the ownerheart Let’s continue with the
Genesis 4:2 Then she also gave birth to his brother Abel (breath;seems to be a prophetic understanding of the brevity of life, particularly his). Now Abel became a shepherd of flocks, but Cain worked the ground.
We all know the story of Cain and Abel. Does the problem start here with their choice of occupation? No we’ve been called to watch it and work it. We actually see here the beginning of a God ordained economy of exchange. Both boys fruitful, productive, multiplying, accomplishing God designed tasks.
Cain is called of God to watch and work the ground. Abel was called to watch and work sheep.
The law of God written on our hearts tells Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel that giving back to the Creator what is rightfully His is normal and right.
So…Genesis 4:3 In the course of time Cain presented some of the land’s produce as an oﬀering to the LORD. 4 And Abel also presented an oﬀering—some of the firstborn of his flock and their fat portions.
The LORD had regard for Abel and his oﬀering, 5 but He did not have regard for Cain and his oﬀering. Cain was furious, and he looked despondent.
Cain was livid and it was written all over his face.
Genesis 4:6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you furious? And why do you look despondent? 7 If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted?
There was indeed a problem with the gift. What was the problem?Was it “in the course of time”? I don’t think so. Abel’s gift was also in the course of time.
Was it in the fruit of the ground versus the fruit of the flock? I don’t think so. Both are acceptable sacrifices throughout the Scriptures.
I believe the problem is in the “some of.” Both gave “some.” God accepted Abel’s some and thus accepted Abel. God turned His face, His blessing and favor away from Cain’s some and consequently Cain.
So, we look at Abel’s gift to understand the remedy for the owner heart.
I want you to take this phrase home today, “Faith is in the first; Friendship is in the Fat.” Say that with me.
Faith is demonstrated when we give the first. Abel gave some of the firstborn.
Give Me the firstborn of your sons. Do the same with your cattle and your flock (Ex 22:29-30). God wants the first.
The first. Our giving should require faith. Giving the first requires faith. Hebrews 11:6 Now without faith it is impossible to please God…
Watch this…If you have a mommy sheep and a daddy sheep and they produce a baby sheep, what is available to consume or exchange? You can’t exchange or consume Daddy or Mommy or else that will be it. If you give the firstborn what do you have left? Daddy and Mommy. How costly was that gift? What if Daddy and Mommy can’t make any more babies?
How costly was that gift? If you give God the first and then daddy and mommy do not produce, you have nothing else to exchange.
Abel’s oﬀering was the firstfruit, the first of the flock. When you give the first, you have no idea if you have given 10%, 30%, 50% or 100%.
Our gifts should require faith. I just want to bother you a little so you will take it home and think about it. We had the oﬀering this morning.
Whether you put it in the oﬀering basket or gave it online, did you feel a pinch of pain?
At any point in the giving process, did you think or pray, “Okay,God, You are going to have to show up and stretch the remainder because therest is not enough”?
Abel gave the first, which required faith that God would provide more.And God imputed righteousness to his account.
Faith is in the first; friendship is in the fat.
Abel also gave “some” of the fat portions. The fat represents the best part. He gave the best right oﬀ the top. My mom’s family were dairy farmers up north Wisconsin so I spent some time on the farm. Cows were milked and before processing and pasteurization the raw milk was collected in a huge refrigerated tank. The thickest, richest, fattiest portion would rise to the top. Back in the day, you could open the tank and skim the thick cream right oﬀ the top and drink it straight from the tank. My sister loved it. We live in a soy skim vegan world and some of you are cringing it at the thought of the fat. But that fatty cream was the best part.
Or think about this…when you eat a juicy sizzling steak, isn’t the slimy fatty part, if you can get over the texture, rich with flavor. And again, I’m sure some of you are about to gag right now, but…
God loves fat. When you give Him the fat, it’s a demonstration of great love and intimacy, trust and friendship.
Faith is in the first, friendship is in the fat. All the fat belongs to the LORD (Lev 3:16b)
You have honored your sons more than Me, by making yourselves fat with the best part of all of the oﬀerings of My people Israel (1 Sam 2:29b) Eli, Hophni and Phinehas were literally getting fat oﬀ the fat.
Bring the best of your firstfruits of your land to the house of the LORD your God (Ex 23:19)
God is not counting calories; He’s not on a diet. And He is not trying to save the animals. They’re His. Fat has always represented His favorite part.
Do you want God to take pleasure in your giving? Give Him the fat. Abel gave the best.
Heb 11:4 By faith Abel oﬀered to God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was approved as a righteous man, because God approved his gifts, and even though he is dead, he still speaks through hisfaith.
Listen, Abel is talking this morning. We are to give the first and the fat. We must give by Faith that God is our provider. And our love for Him is demonstrated when we give Him the best.
Abel demonstrated for us and is still teaching us the remedy for the owner heart. Several thousand years later God would give His first and His best. For God loved the world in this way, He gave His one and only Son (100%) that whosoever believeth in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
God gave not so that we could have a life of pleasure and ease but so that we could have life abundantly found in giving of ourselves for the glory of God.
RC Sproul: Vainly do we assume our devotion is acceptable if it is done without faith. As Abel’s example proves, true worshipers will give the first and best of their time, money, and possessions to God.
Let me challenge you to figure out what it looks like to give by faith and friendship. I challenge you to give until it’s uncomfortable. Give even after the numbers say you can’t aﬀord to. Give even if it means you might outlive your savings. I can’t promise you anything except God is faithful to provide. He loves a cheerful giver that loves to give the best by faith. And give the best portion, not after you can’t figure out what else to buy, but rather give in such a way that you may not be able to buy it because you gave it.
Understand God doesn’t need it, but He has hardwired us so that our gifts reflect our faith and our friendship; our gifts release our grip on what is already His and our gifts protect us from the tragedies of the owner heart.
Are you giving some? What some are you giving? Are you giving after careful calculation of what you can aﬀord. Or are you giving by faith beyond your ability because He owns it all and giving protects from the owner heart?
Let me speak to the results of the owner heart as reflected in Cain.
Cain has given some, not the first and not the best, but simply to gain God’s favor and hopefully continue successful multiplication. He did not do right. His gift was not accepted; therefore, God did not look with favor on Cain.
God sees Cain festering, fuming, boiling in anger and says something that needs to ring in our ears and echo throughout our week.
Genesis 4:7 If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”
The sin crouching at this door was the owner heart, which led to idolatry, greed, envy, coveteousness,anger, malice, hatred, violence, and murder.
Cain has the heart for profit above all else; that’s the Balaam heart.
Jude 1:11 Woe to them! For they have traveled in the way of Cain, have abandoned themselves to the error of Balaam for profit, and have perished in Korah’s rebellion…16 These people are discontented grumblers, walking according to their desires…(the result of an owner heart)
He became a part of the creative process. He played a primary role in multiplication, growth, fruitfulness and consequently passed down to us the sin of discontent and walking according to the desires of our heart. A heart to have more. A heart for God’s favor only for increase. It’s the heart of the Pharisees.
Matt 23:25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self- indulgence!…33 “Snakes! Brood of vipers! How can you escape being condemned to hell? 34 This is why I am sending you prophets, sages, and scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will flog in your synagogues and hound from town to town. 35 So all the righteous blood shed on the earth will be charged to you, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.
The Pharisee heart is the owner heart thinking we independently gained our own wealth.
This heart is devastating. We must rule over it. Sin and Satan are like a roaring lion seeking to devour and destroy.
1 Peter 5:8 Be serious! Be alert!
The lion is crouching. It is hidden from our sight. The more unaware of it’s presence the more likely it is to destroy us.
Sin is crouching at ourdoor just waiting for us to get lazy and apathetic toward spiritual wickedness, waiting for the flesh to get the better of us, waiting for us to be self confident and not Spirit confident, waiting for us to be arrogant thinking it’s okay. It’s not okay. And it is going to eat our lunch.
All of us know the pain of sin that has wreaked havoc on our homes, our marriages, our kids, our relationships, our personal battles, our society. So much devastation has resulted from a heart that says, “It’s mine.”
We must rule over it.
Timothy Keller says, “First, you do sin, and then sin does you.”
Num 32:23b “…be sure your sin will catch up with you.” Sin destroyed Cain and was catastrophic for the first family.
There is a direct correlation between the emptiness that we feel and how we treat God’s stuﬀ. Jesus said that the worries of this life and the desire for other things choke the Word of God from being eﬀective to change us.
Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? But I thank God through Jesus Christ my Lord.
Put your money away and in a moment we are going to hold the elements to remind us of the victory we have through our Lord Jesus Christ and the price He paid so that we could live.
Pray with me with your eyes open
“Father, I want to know Thee, but my coward heart fears to give up its toys. I cannot part with them without inward bleeding, and I do not try to hide from Thee the terror of the parting. I come trembling, but I do come. Please root from my heart all those things which I have cherished so long and which have become a very part of my living self, so that Thou mayest enter and dwell there without a rival. Then shalt Thou make the place of Thy feet glorious. Then shall my heart have no need of the sun to shine in it, for Thyself wilt be the light of it, and there shall be no night there. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.” (AW Tozer, the Pursuit of God)