TEXT: Genesis 3:22-4:7
MESSAGE: “Relational Strain”
“Destructive to marriage is the self-fulfillment ethic that assumes marriage and the family are primarily institutions of personal fulfillment, necessary for us to become “whole” and happy. The assumption is that there is someone just right for us to marry and that if we look closely enough we will find the right person. This moral assumption overlooks a crucial aspect to marriage. It fails to appreciate the fact that we always marry the wrong person. We never know whom we marry; we just think we do. Or even if we first marry the right person, just give it a while and he or she will change. For marriage, being [the enormous thing it is] means we are not the same person after we have entered it. The primary challenge of marriage is learning how to love and care for the stranger to whom you find yourself married.”
— Stanley Hauerwas
What’s beneath the surface of all our relational/family strain?
It’s the reality of…(1. What we know 2. Where we focus 3. How we respond)
1. What we know (v. 22)
“And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”
“The social-justice warrior and the conservative Christian may be far apart in theology and politics, but they share the same impulse to be morally wakeful and alert…The emerging Millennial interest in “justice” creates a fascinating dynamic for close observers of American culture. Moral relativism, the deconstruction of all objective-truth claims, was sold as the inevitable future just a generation ago. Not only has relativism failed to conquer our cultural landscape. It has been routed by something close to its opposite: a rigid moral absolutism that launches business boycotts and Twitter shame storms as efficiently as any fundamentalism out there. Elite college campuses today bear more than a passing resemblance to the Evangelical colleges they hold in contempt. The main difference is that students enrolling in a religious school are told in advance what they’re getting.”
– Samuel James
2. Where we focus (v. 23; 4:1-2)
“…therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 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.
3. How we respond (v. 3-7)
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. 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.”
“the snake’s (question) was designed to lead man into sin, God’s were intended to provoke a change of heart.” — Gordon Wenham
“The reason self-pity does not look like pride is that it appears to be so needy. But the need arises from a wounded ego. It doesn’t come from a sense of unworthiness, but from a sense of unrecognized worthiness. It is the response of unapplauded pride.” — John Piper
TAKEAWAYS: Self Examination Questions
* What sins are crouching at your door?
* What sins are crouching at your family’s door?
* What is God able to do in your life and your family?
“…in Genesis 4…God looks at Cain, who is full of self-pity, and says to him, “Cain, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must master it.” What’s important to understand is that the principle of self in your life is crouching at your door! It wants to have you, it wants to pounce on you, it wants to devour you. And it’s up to you to do something about it. God asks that you deny yourself, that you lose yourself to find yourself. If you try to do this without the work of the Spirit, and without belief in all Christ has done for you, then simply giving up your rights and desires will be galling and hardening. But in Christ and with the Spirit, it will be liberating.”
― The Meaning of Marriage
John 10:10 — The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.