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THE LONELINESS OF CAIN

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, July 27, 2014

“And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden” (Genesis 4:16).


James Dean (1931-1955) only starred in three movies. They were all made in about a year-and-a-half. He was killed in a car wreck at the age of 24. Yet you can’t walk down Hollywood Blvd. without seeing his picture several times! Those three movies were all filmed in 1954. They made him a screen legend, like Marilyn Monroe or John Wayne.

Wikipedia says that James Dean was “a cultural icon of teenage disillusionment, as expressed in his most celebrated film, ‘Rebel Without a Cause,’ in which he starred as a troubled teenager.” I did not see that film when it came out in 1955. I saw it for the first time on television about 25 years later. It shocked me because it had the exact, perfect feeling of the 1950’s. No other film even comes close. If you want to know what it felt like to be a teenager when I was in high school, see a video of “Rebel Without a Cause.” I know I will be criticized for mentioning this old movie. Most of it will come from older people. So be it! I can’t help it! I have to talk to young people in a way they can understand!

Here’s this teenager, his family moving from place to place. He’s always the “new kid” at school. He can’t fit in. He’s always alone. That old movie grabs me in the stomach. That’s exactly the way I felt when I was your age. And it’s not very different today. It’s pretty frightening to be a young person in Barack Obama’s America! How can I make it in life? How can I find the right girl or boy to marry? How can I get a job that pays for everything? How can I make it in life? HOW CAN I DO IT ALL ALONE?

James Dean’s second movie was based on Steinbeck’s novel “East of Eden.” I do not recommend this one at all, because it has some dirt in it that no one needs to see. But Steinbeck’s “East of Eden” is about two brothers. It is based on the story of Cain and Abel in the Bible. Again, James Dean is a lonely teenager. Steinbeck’s novel is still read widely by college students taking classes in modern literature. It has great appeal today because it expressed the aching loneliness and alienation that Cain experienced. Lonely college students often tell us they are depressed, afraid, and misunderstood by their parents. Don’t you feel like that sometimes? Your parents are too busy to listen. Your friends come and go. You know you can’t really depend on them. Don’t you sometimes feel the pain and loneliness?

I read in the newspaper about two college-age boys who went to a wild party about ten blocks from our church, here in the civic center of Los Angeles. The place was packed with young people – body-to-body. Everybody was drinking. Many were high on a drug called “Ecstasy” – that they call “E.” Somebody grabbed a gun and started shooting. The two college students were hit with a spray of bullets. They were both pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

Just ten blocks away, the young people in our church were attending a Saturday night service – at the very moment the tragedy happened! I couldn’t help but think how much better it would have been for those young men if they had been in church with us! That’s the reason we say, “Why Be Lonely? Come Home – to Church! Why Be Lost? – Come Home to Jesus Christ, the Son of God!”

But the Bible tells us Cain made the wrong choice. He wasn’t like his brother Abel. Instead of coming home to God, he did one thing after the other that made his loneliness and alienation worse and worse. And I think we can learn some important lessons from the wrong choices made by Cain.

I. First, Cain chose the wrong religion.

And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden” (Genesis 4:16).

“Cain went out from the presence of the Lord.” That means Cain chose the wrong religion. Instead of seeking salvation, “Cain went out from the presence of the Lord.” I have seen many young people do that. One young man said, “Don’t preach at me.” Soon he left the church meeting and went out “from the presence of the Lord.” I never heard of him again. Don’t let that happen to you! Choose the right religion. Choose the religion God approves in the Bible.

Make no mistake about this. What you think about religion is very important. If you have the wrong view of God, it will affect everything else in your life. The Bible says,

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).

Cain was a fool. He despised wisdom and instruction. He knew he should bring a blood sacrifice to God. But instead he brought vegetables. When God did not respect his offering Cain became angry. God was willing to pardon him, but he went on in rebellion.

Dr. John R. Rice said, “He did not believe in blood atonement” (Genesis: In the Beginning, Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1975, p. 154). Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, “There is no greater sinner in the universe than the man who has never seen his need for the blood of Christ” (Assurance, Romans 5, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1971, p. 291).

Cain rejected the religion of blood. That means he rejected Christ. You see, Christ died on the Cross and shed His Blood to atone for our sins. The Bible says,

“Without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22).

Cain rejected the offering of blood, that pointed to Christ on the Cross. Many people are like that today. And the Bible says,

“Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain”
       (Jude 11).

You cannot save yourself. You can only find true salvation in Jesus Christ, who

“loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood”
       (Revelation 1:5).

The only way to come to God is through the shed Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. You must be washed clean from your sins

“with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (I Peter 1:19).

We say, “Why be lonely? Come home – to church.” But we also say, “Why be lost? Come home – to Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” We say that because Jesus Christ is the only one who has “precious blood” to wash away your sins. The Bible says,

“The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin”
       (I John 1:7).

As the old song put it,

What can wash away my sin?
   Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
   Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh! precious is the flow,
   That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
   Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
(“Nothing But the Blood” by Robert Lowry, 1826-1899).

Some “Bible teachers” are now telling us there is no Blood. After much study, I fail to see how this is any different from the rank liberalism of the earlier modernists like Harry Emerson Fosdick. The Bible says,

“Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain”
       (Jude 11).

Without the Blood of Jesus Christ, there was no salvation for Cain, and there will be no salvation for you either!

“Without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22).

I believe that young people need to hear old-time preaching on salvation through the Blood of Jesus Christ. I think you need to hear that message. I think you need to be saved by fully trusting Jesus Christ, and being washed clean by His Blood.

II. Second, Cain had the wrong attitude.

When God disapproved of his religion, Cain refused to repent. He stiffened his neck and went on his way. And the Devil got ahold of him, and he murdered his own “Christian” brother.

The Bible warns us not to be like Cain when it says,

“Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous” (I John 3:12).

The Devil got ahold of Cain and drove him to sin. I believe in the Devil. I believe that he wants to destroy you, the way he destroyed Cain. Cain would not listen to God. Cain had the wrong attitude. He refused to acknowledge his sin and receive forgiveness through the Blood. Listen to Genesis 4:16 again.

“And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden” (Genesis 4:16).

Cain went out from God’s presence “and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden” (Genesis 4:16). Dr. M. R. DeHaan said,

The land of Nod means literally the land of wandering…It suggests a restlessness, uneasiness…wandering from place to place (M. R. DeHaan, M.D., The Days of Noah, Zondervan, 1971, p. 33).

Restless. Uneasy. Wandering from one place to the other. That isn’t just a picture of Cain. It is also a picture of many young people today who do not really know Jesus Christ. The Bible describes this condition when it tells us,

“There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked” (Isaiah 57:21).

You can try to forget your sins. You can drown yourself in alcohol. You can take Ecstasy until your mind is blown. You can run out and party all night. You can run away from church. But you cannot find inner peace, nor can you find peace with God, unless you come to Jesus Christ.

“There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked” (Isaiah 57:21).

“And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden” (Genesis 4:16).

Cain had no peace. He was cut off from God, wandering alone through the streets of a city named “Enoch” (Genesis 4:17).

What a terrible thing, to be all alone, out in the dark streets of the city. Even when you’re in a crowd you feel alone – restless and wandering, and lonely – like Cain. Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless until they find rest in Him,” in Christ. That’s why we urge you to come home to church! That’s why we plead with you to come home to Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Christ told the story of the Prodigal Son. He went and spent all the money his father had given him. He went into deep sin. He was ruined and ready to die. But the Bible says,

“He came to himself” (Luke 15:17).

He woke up – and came home to his father, who was waiting for him with open arms. And that’s the way God is today. God is waiting for you to come home through His Son. He is waiting for you with open arms! An old hymn says,

O come to the Father Through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, Great things He hath done.
   (“To God Be the Glory” by Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915).

There’s no need to stay outside in the cold darkness of this world. Come on home! Come home to church. Come home to Christ. Come home and be saved like the Prodigal Son! Another old song says it all.

I’ve wandered far away from God, Now I’m coming home;
The paths of sin too long I’ve trod, Lord, I’m coming home.
Coming home, coming home, Never more to roam,
Open wide Thine arms of love, Lord, I’m coming home.
   (“Lord, I’m Coming Home” by William J. Kirkpatrick, 1838-1921).

Sing the chorus with me.

Coming home, coming home, Never more to roam,
Open wide Thine arms of love, Lord, I’m coming home.

Come home to Jesus, the Son of God! And, why be lonely? Come home to church! Come back and have dinner with us at 6:15 tonight! Now sing the last song on the song sheet!

Come home to Jesus, the table is spread;
Come home to dinner and let us break bread.
Jesus is with us, so let it be said,
Come home to dinner and let us break bread!
Come home to the church and eat,
Gather for fellowship sweet;
It’ll be quite a treat
When we sit down to eat!

The fellowship’s sweet and your friends will be here;
We’ll sit at the table, our hearts filled with cheer.
Jesus is with us, so let it be said,
Come home to dinner and let us break bread!
Come home to the church and eat,
Gather for fellowship sweet;
It’ll be quite a treat
When we sit down to eat!

The big city people just don’t seem to care;
They’ve little to offer and no love to spare.
But come home to Jesus and you’ll be aware,
There’s food on the table and friendship to share!
Come home to the church and eat,
Gather for fellowship sweet;
It’ll be quite a treat
When we sit down to eat!
   (“Come Home to Dinner” by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr., 1941- ,
      to the tune of “On the Wings of a Dove”).

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Genesis 4:1-16.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Come Home to Dinner” (by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr., 1941-).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE LONELINESS OF CAIN

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden” (Genesis 4:16).

I.   First, Cain chose the wrong religion, Proverbs 1:7; Hebrews 9:22;
Jude 11; Revelation 1:5; I Peter 1:19; I John 1:7.

II.  Second, Cain had the wrong attitude, I John 3:12; Isaiah 57:21;
Genesis 4:17; Luke 15:17.