Sermon Series: The Faces of Sin
Sin as Predator by Tim Keller
Genesis 4:1-16, Cain and Abel
What's wrong with us, the human race? The evil we are capable of is terrifying.
'Terminator' -- Characters keep underestimating the predatory power of the Terminator.
1. 'Sin is crouching at your door.'
Sin is what's wrong with us.
Sin hides itself.
'crouching', like leopards and tigers (in the Hebrew)
crouches in a kind of hiding, taking on a smaller profile
Our sin looks smaller than it is. We rationalize it. There's a monster in the middle of our ordinary lives.
both Cain and Abel bring offering ('minha' in Hebrew, used of dedications (v. commonly taught need for blood)).
like an engagement ring. expensive token of whole being
'i give you this ring and with all that i am and all that i have i honor you'
unless we back up worship with our whole life, it's not love, it's bribery
1 Jn 3:12: Abel's deeds were holy and Cain's were not
Cain is like the average churchgoer
doesn't give God everything. ordinary, half-hearted religion
Cornelius Plantinga's Not the Way It's Supposed to Be
Sin is treating yourself as first cause and God is accessory.
ordinary half-heartedness and absolutely infernal
'i deserve a better life than this!'
in this envy is hidden murder.
Eichmann and Nuremberg trials: terrifying because evil is ordinary. we wish it was only in monsters, but it's not. 'banality of evil'
FDR didn't believe reports coming out of Europe. was recommended Dorothy Sayers and Kierkegaard on original sin.
your biggest sins looks smaller to you than anyone else.
every grudge is murder in a little ball. it wants to be murder.
every lust is adultery in a little ball. it wants to be adultery.
every instance of envy wants to be robbery
sin says 'i'll just stay in the corner. i wont hurt you.'
we tolerate it.
'have quit with sin,' said the old Puritans
sin is coiled in a little ball
you think you can handle it, but it will not stay in a corner
2. Sin is powerful
'It's desire is to have you.'
Sin is not done with you after you are done with it.
Sin takes on a being and life of its own that will chew and devour you.
when you lie, you're not done with lying. you have to lie again. and you will be lied to.
sin has an addictive power. not all addictions are sins, but all sins are addictions.
it's easier to do it the next time.
at first the Nazis killed the Jews because they hated them, then they hated them because they killed them.
you have to keep hating to justify your murder
East of Eden
sin is not just wrong, it's self-damaging, which means it's stupid.
God is not mocked.
liars are lied to. cowards are deserted. haters are hated. gossipers are gossiped about.
The Terminator is after you.
3. There is hope for the defeat of sin.
'you must master it'
God appeals to Cain. he asks him. and not for information. God already knows. He's giving a chance for repentance.
to Adam and Eve: where are you?
to Jonah: do you do well to be angry?
to Cain: where is your brother?
your real enemy is not Able. your real problem is not what he or I [God] have done to you. your real problem is your sin
you're not miserable because of what has happened to you, you're miserable because of what's in you. you're not a victim. there's hope if you can take responsibility.
God says to us: why are you cast down and angry? yes, some bad things might have happened. but you're miserable b/c of your response to what's been done to you. self-pity, anger, bitterness, refusal to forgive, pride, hurt feelings, insistence that certain things (idols) will save you.
repentance is the only hopeful answer
God gives Cain one more chance to repent.
Cain says 'am i Abel's babysitter?'
'Abel's blood cries out to Me from the ground.'
every human life is valuable. our blood cries out to God and He cannot let it pass b/c that would be unjust.
what if Cain had repented?
what if we repent? 'my main problem in life is my sin.'
God takes us, also, to a pool of blood, but it's not Abel's
Abel was the first of pure people who show up the half-hearted
and Jesus was the ultimate Abel because he was perfect
Hebrews 12.24: Jesus cries out: Sin must be paid. I have paid.
'i'm religious, but not fanatical.' watch out, Cain.
when we repent, God takes us to Jesus' blood
the mark of Cain preserves us from getting what we deserve until we die so we have a chance to repent.