Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. (Genesis 4)
In Name + of Jesus. Amen. The Fall into sin spreads into all kinds of evil. The sin of murder. Cain murders his brother Abel. With Cain and Abel we see two different religions.
God gave a warning to Cain about the sin and evil that was already at work inside of Cain. The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” (Gen. 4)
But Cain refused to listen to the warning—he closed his ears and heart to the Word of God. Sin and its effects are quite real and they hurt.
Cain’s religion was one of works. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of thesoil as an offering to the LORD. (Gen. 4) “Hey, lookat me, Lord!” type of worship. For Cain, religion was about doing for God and getting the Lord's attention. And when He learned that the Lord didn't look with favor on his sacrifice and that God was not impressed, he was so mad that he killed his brother. Man centered religions invent ways to come to God apart from Jesus. This is false worship.
The other religion is seen in Abel. Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering. (Gen. 4) Abel offered his sacrifice, as a reminder of what the Lord would do for Him, namely, take the life of a lamb instead of Abel's life. (The lamb as a substitute.) Abel’s worship looked ahead to Jesus. Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1) Abel trusted in God's promises. True worship has Jesus at the center of our life.
By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. (Hebrews 11)
The man made religion wants Jesus to die and go away. Caiaphas said, “You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” (John 11)
True religion—Jesus’ sacrifice is for you. Jesus goes to the Cross for you. Jesus dies your death, Je-sus pays for all your sins and Jesus rises from the grave to serve you with His gifts. True worship re-ceives from God, holds on to Jesus in faith. Jesus is the once for all sacrifice (Hebrews 10).
God’s promise given to you. Jesus in the water in Holy Baptism; Jesus in the Lord’s Supper, His Body and Blood for you; Jesus in His Holy Word ringing in your ears, receiving all the Lord has done for you. True worship has Jesus in the center. Divine Service—God’s gifts are to be received.
Let the man-made religions go away. You, the Baptized Children of God, cling to Jesus in faith, believing in Christ. Life and salvation follow to you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
420 Christ, the Life of All the Living
Christ, the life of all the living, Christ, the death of death, our foe,
Who, Thyself for me once giving To the darkest depths of woe:
Through Thy suff’rings, death, and merit I eternal life inherit.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be, Dearest Jesus, unto Thee