[Note – I opened this message by telling some of the best knock-knock jokes I could find – which isn’t saying much]
I titled my message this – because I think sometimes titles help us to remember messages. And my message today is one that I hope we remember for a long time. You see – the Bible tells us that there is something at the door, and it is of utmost importance that we recognize it… As a matter of fact – it will be the difference between life and death – between heaven and hell. Please turn with me to Gen 4.
And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. Gen 4:6-7 (KJV)
This scripture is one of those scriptures that requires a much closer look. “ and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.”
What, really, do these phrases mean?
- if you don’t do well
- sin lies at the door
- unto you shall be his desire
- you shall rule over him
And really – what is the message we are to hear when we put them together? I’m especially interested in that last statement – “you shall rule over him”. Somewhere in God’s words to Cain, he was telling him how achieve victory. In the face of what waited for him at the door – he could come out a winner.
I’m interested, because like Cain – I need to get the mastery over some things. I want to experience a victorious life. I want to be a winner!
I believe the key to understanding this verse is to understand what is at the door. Something is knocking at our door today – and I want to spend a little time this morning saying “Who’s there?”
The key is in the Hebrew word:
חַטָּאת – chatta-ah (phonetic khat-aw-aw)
It is a very unique word, which has a complex meaning. We find several different English words used in translation – English words that we would almost consider opposites. Let’s analyze this verse based on the various meanings:
Sin is waiting just outside the door (word is translated sin 182 times)
“Unto you shall be his desire” The Hebrew word literally means “stretching”. Sin is stretching to reach you. I wish I could say we are impervious – that there was little chance of sin’s success. But:
…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us… Heb 12:1 (NKJV)
Unfortunately, all you have to do to fall into sin is nothing. You don’t have to go to it – it is reaching for you.
Think about the words – “If thou doest not well…” Sin preys on the weak
- alone (you’re greatest vulnerability is not in a crowd)
- tired (when energy is drained, we are much more vulnerable)
Regarding being “tired”… It doesn’t matter why you’re tired. I have found that my most vulnerable times are AFTER a big church weekend or event. Why? I’m tired.
- ignorant (don’t know enough to avoid)
So – how do we protect ourselves from sin? Be alone and tired less! Learn more..
- That is why fellowship is so important.
- That is why a Sabbath was commanded.
- That is why a teaching is critical.
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)
Sin is self–perpetuating ( as in “if you sin, more sin is waiting…”) In Cain’s case – lack of faith triggered jealousy which triggered murder which triggered a posterity of warfare
חַטָּאת – chatta-ah The word may also be translated the punishment, or consequences of sin
Punishment is waiting just outside the door (word is translated punishment 1 times)
- natural consequence… after Cain’s sin, there were many natural (or social) consequences. First – he lost a relationship. The ground was cursed. He was rejected by society.
- spiritual consequence… You might not always feel this – but the wages of sin is still death. With every sin, our heart becomes more calloused against God. There is a spiritual disconnect from God, which must be intentionally restored (which we’ll talk about later).
- emotional consequence… This may be one of the harshest punishments of all… The guilt – the shame.
חַטָּאת – chatta-ah The word may also be translated the offering or atonement for sin!
A sin offering is waiting just outside the door (word is translated sin offering 116 times)
To give you an example – the word chattaah is used 3 times in this one verse:
And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the Lord for his sin which he hath sinned, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin. Lev 5:6 (KJV)
Now, let’s read Young’s Literal Translation of Gen 4:7:
Is there not, if thou dost well, acceptance? and if thou dost not well, at the opening a sin-offering is crouching, and unto thee its desire, and thou rulest over it.’ Gen 4:7 (YLT)
This is not a stretch at all – you see, an offering for sin is sin being punished by proxy. The wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23)
And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. Heb 9:22 (NKJV)
And so, from the very first sin of Adam and Eve, God made a provision for atonement, or covering (they tried to cover their sin with leaves, he killed an animal and covered them with the animal’s skin). And we find men capitalizing on this provision throughout the Old Testament – bringing sacrifices to the temple. And so – the meaning of this word is very significant to understanding our text. The Lord is telling Cain, “Sin is at the door. With sin comes consequence. But also waiting is the opportunity to allow something else to bear that consequence while you come into my presence”
Of course – it was animal sacrifices in the Old Testament. But we know that in the New Testament, Jesus became our sacrifice. Jesus became our chatta-ah.
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Cor 5:21 (NKJV)
Notice what Paul says to the Corinthians? We understand that Christ became our sin offering. But what Paul says here is that Christ became sin for us. In Christ – we find this same ideal as is embodied in the word chatta-ah in Gen 4. In him we see both our sin, and our sacrifice for sin. But it’s only in Christ.
The Lord was telling Cain, “If you’re having trouble, Cain – I’ve provided a way for you to come out on top. But it only works if you believe me. You can come into my presence – and I will receive you – if you will only approach what is outside your door in faith”
And so – I want to ask you – what do you recognize outside your door? You might be like Cain, in frustration, recognizing the sin and its consequences. But you’re having difficulty getting to the last line. That line about victory. About ruling over it.
The key is in recognizing what God is trying so desperately to point your attention to. It’s Christ. If you’ll just look – he’s reaching – stretching toward you.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. Rev 3:20 (NKJV)
I hope that someone here will hear what the Lord is trying to say. You see – the more you look at Christ – you realize that He is the only thing outside the door. The sin, the consequences, the atonement – are all in Him. He’s reaching for you. He is yours for the taking. You can be a winner!
And when you come before God, your sacrifice will be accepted.
Some of you have been struggling with sin. With its consequences… But God wants to expand your revelation today.
[opportunity to pray]