Genesis 4:1-16 I did it my way

The song by Frank Sinatra may be a great song but it does show the plight of mankind as each person wants to be god of their own life. The reality is we do not want someone telling us how to live and so we want to come to God on our own terms or our way. Today we will see how Cain wanted to do it his own way.

1)   People that do it their way approach God on their terms.

Cain wanted to do a religious activity and have it count but God does not count religious activities because He looks at the heart. Matthew 15:9 Jesus points out the religious leaders who worshiped in vain. They did all the religious activities better than anyone else but they did not do them for God’s Glory but only for their own glory. They wanted to make sure that they were the best at praying, tithing and being faithful to the temple.

Some believe it was because Cain offered a harvest offering instead of a blood offering that God refused Cain’s offering. Some believe that the Harvest offering would have been fine if it was a gift to God but not for the forgiveness of sins. (Deuteronomy 26) Some believe that Cain did not bring his best to God and some believe it was because he lacked faith.

I believe God revealed to Adam and Eve how things were to be done but Cain wanted to do it his own way. Sin is ugly to God and the sacrifice of an animal is a very ugly and messy process. Cain’s lack of faith could have been not trusting Gods ways and Gods word. We have a tendency to do the same thing when we reason with ourselves about how it should be done instead of accepting Gods revealed word to us and following it.

Many believe that the first animal sacrifice was made by God to show Adam and Eve the penalty of their sin. The first sacrifice also was pointing the way to Jesus coming and dying for our sins. We know that forgiveness can only happen with the shedding of blood

Hebrews 9:22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

Exodus 12:13 The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt. (See also 1 Peter 1:18-19 and Revelation 12:11)

This is something people do not fully understand about Christianity and it sounds morbid that it is through the shedding of blood that we receive forgiveness. People have a hard time that Jesus took our place and paid our penalty. It clearly goes against how we think of justice because we believe each person should pay for their own sins.  But God has established, since Adam and Eve sinned, that it was going to be through the sacrifice of Himself and His blood that we would be saved. (Ephesians 1:4; Revelation 13:8)


Cain created his own religion because he wanted to do it his way and not God’s way. Every religion is an attempt to earn Gods favor by man’s efforts but Christianity is Jesus earning our right back into a relationship with God through His sacrifice on the Cross.

Cain tried to  justify his actions and thought that God should accept him on his terms. This is exactly what the Religious leaders in Jesus day did.

Luke 18:10-14 Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed[a] thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Abel went humbly before God and did it God’s way  and Cain went arrogantly toward God and did it his own way. Christianity is humbling because it has nothing to do with how good you are or what you do. If you are trying to earn your own way toward God then you are going the way of Cain.  You have to look in the mirror and know that you have nothing to offer God to put yourself  back in a right relationship with Him.

When we come before God we have to be careful that we remember He owes us nothing and we come seeking His grace and mercy because we are sinners.

2)   People that do it their way do not think they have a problem.

Why are you angry and why has your face fallen?

God begins with a question to Cain to see if He can get him to see where he is. The same thing He did with Adam and Eve to see if they would admit to the sin they had fallen in. The way to repentance is seeing that you are wrong and humbly coming before God for forgiveness.

Cain sees nothing wrong with his sacrifice but instead hated his brother for doing things the right way. One of the things people do when they are going the way of Cain is separate themselves from people who are humbly seeking after God. They will not go to church because of their own guilt yet make statements against the people of God. Although they are not physically killing them like Cain killed Abel, they do kill them with words. They do all they can to justify themselves as to why other Christians and the Church are wrong and full of hypocrites.

God pleads with Cain that  if he does what he is supposed to do it will be accepted. God is pleading with Cain to change his ways before his sin leads him to destruction. God always seems to give warnings along the way but He will let you continue down the path you stubbornly choose.

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth

Three times in Romans chapter 1 it says “God gave them up” to the sin they were choosing to do. God will allow you to go your way and allow you to live with the consequences that those decisions bring. There is forgiveness of your sins and grace that will cover them to make you right with God, but that does not mean God will remove the consequences of your decisions.  He is God and can remove your consequences but many times He will leave those consequences to keep you from going down that path of sin again and also a warning to others about making the same sin choices.

Many people will do all they can to not admit they are wrong. They make excuses for their behavior and even say they are born this way or it was because how they were raised.  The Bible does not give an excuse for sin, only that you should rid yourself of it. You will never rid yourself of it until you admit to God that you are so blinded by sin that you do not see it in your life anymore.

Sin is crouching at your door but you must master it

Sin is ready to come into your life and destroy you. The reason you lock the doors to your house or car is that you do not want to give anyone an opportunity to steal your things. The same is true with our spiritual life and Jesus told us that Satan wants to come and Steal, kill and destroy you. (John 10:10)

Ephesians 4:26-27 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.

Some versions say foothold which means an opportunity to gain more ground in your life. When you sin you give the devil better footing for him to continue to work his way into your life.

All of us have to face the fact that sin is always going to be trying to get in our lives until we leave this planet. Sin is like a bad tenant who comes into your life who makes it seems like everything is going to be great and when it is too late, you realize that sin destroyed your life.

For Cain his anger at not being able to do it his way led to anger toward his brother. It is common to have those who are arrogant toward God to hate those who are humbled in front of Him. (Luke 11:52)  Sin grows progressively worse it never stays the same. Just like a vine on a tree it will slowly take over day by day until it chokes the life out of the tree.

You must master  your sin because sin that is allowed to continue will soon be the master of you. Think of drugs and alcohol in so many people’s lives. The drugs or alcohol took over and they are no longer in control of their own lives.

James 1:14-15 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Now that anger is in his heart, murder is next arriving at the door. (Sin brings friends) For Cain because he did not master his anger he now is going to be controlled by another sin called murder.

The good news for us is there is another knock at the door as well.

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

With Christ in your life sin cannot rule. You can master sin by the power of the Holy Spirit who is promised to anyone who accepts the free gift of Jesus Christ. (Acts 1:8)

1 John 3:6-9 says that a Christian will not keep on sinning if they are truly redeemed. Although I know we all still sin we should begin to see how Christ in us is changing us to overcome sins in our lives. I do not want it to sound as if you will grow perfect and never sin and then become discouraged, we just need to realize that if we have the power of Christ living in us we do not have to sin.

Churches used to talk about the disciplines of the Christian life. They would focus on reading and memorizing Gods word. Spending time in prayer and sharing your faith. We are so feeling based as churches that we no longer focus on the disciplines that can keep us from doing things that destroy our marriages, our jobs our families and our own lives. Many are not even disciplined in being with other Christians whether at church or in a small group even though the Bible commands it. (Hebrews 10:24-25) It is the disciplines of the Christian life that will keep us from sinning and from sin ever becoming our master.

3)   People that do it their way only care for themselves

Am I my brother’s Keeper?

Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Yes we are to take care of our brothers and sisters in Christ. I wonder how we would answer if God came down and asked us about certain people that have not been around the Church or in small groups. This notion of you live your life and I will live mine is not from God.

Just like his parents Cain thought that he could cover his sin and no one would ever know.  The younger brother he should have been protecting he killed. The one who would not go to his younger brother for a lamb or goat to sacrifice had no problem killing his own brother.  People that are in sin will get to a point that they no longer see what they do as a sin.  Cain’s reasoning had betrayed him. When we think about why certain people do things they will always say that it made sense in their mind to do it that way. People can talk themselves into doing the most horrendous things imaginable all because of reasoning. This is why you must stay grounded in Gods word and around Gods people who can help you when you start thinking things that are not true.

Just because you believe it to be true does not mean that it is true. Just because you believe that your decision is justified does not mean your decision is justified. Just because you believe you can leave your spouse (outside of the Biblical reasons to do so) does not mean you can leave your spouse because you thought it through and it is a decision you are making.

Your brother’s blood cries from the ground

Hebrews 12:24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

Abel’s blood screamed for justice and Jesus blood screams for mercy God does not ignore the blood of those who are murdered and He does not ignore the sins we commit. We can either accept the blood of Jesus to cover our sins or we will face the full wrath of God who will show us we cannot come to Him on our own terms.

My sin is greater than I can bear

Cain did not admit his sin even after God punished him because he was so selfish in his thinking. Cain was more concerned that he was being punished unfairly than he was by the fact that he killed his own brother. People that are blinded by their own sin have grown so selfish in their thinking that they never see the wrong they have done. Contrast Cain with David who when confronted with his sin said he has sinned against the Lord (2 Samuel 12:13)

Even in this treatment God is still his protector and promises him that whatever happens to him God will take care of 7 times over. Gods love for the sinner continues even in the midst of a rebellious person not turning to God.


There is your way and Gods way. You can sing your song like Frank Sinatra and brag about how you did it your way or you can humbly come before God and accept His way.

Acts 4:11-12 This Jesus[a] is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.[b] 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men[c] by which we must be saved.”

Any other way you try to come to God besides through Jesus Christ is a made up religion. He has made it clear just like He made it clear to Cain how He is supposed to be approached.

If you have already accepted Christ in your life are you allowing areas of sin in?

What sin do you think you have control over in your life that you think is no big deal?

How do you approach God ? Humbly or arrogantly?

Do you think that your sin does not matter to God?

Do you only think of yourself and your needs or are you concerned for others?

You may be walking in the way of Cain and if so you are in serious trouble of destroying not only your life but the lives of others around you.

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