Saturday, May 16, 2009

The First Reprint

Now I consider myself fairly articulate, but what a blessing when one can further articulate unto clarity, the principles and truth that the spirit has made known to me! I'm not one to reprint articles of other Christians/Believers. I have not found any worth reprinting. I'm sure you've noticed my Blog Roll is limited and has gotten smaller since I started blogging, which should speak volumes about what I'm about to do here... reprint, with permission of course, in whole, an article that EVERY CHRISTIAN WHO CLAIMS BELIEF IN JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH, THE SON OF THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, ISAAAC AND JACOB should read...

Cain and Abel - The Roots of Apostasy

by Steve Lumbley

Gen 4:3
And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
A while back I was flipping through the television channels and I happened upon Kenneth Copeland teaching from these verses on TBN. I usually don’t pay much attention to Copeland but sometimes the Lord has me watch to see what’s being taught.
Copeland began his teaching by saying that many people over the years have taught that God did not accept Cain’s offering because it was not a blood sacrifice. He then stated that this was a completely incorrect interpretation of these scriptures. He said God’s rejection of Cain’s sacrifice wasn’t about blood sacrifice at all but instead it was about a first fruits offering.
From that point Copeland proceeded to spin a tale of Cain’s refusal to bring forth the first fruits of his harvest. He wove a masterful story of how people back then harvested their fields even going so far as to claim that Cain harvested his field several times (I think it was four harvests) before finally deciding to bring something for God. In other words, instead of bringing forth the first fruits of the field, Cain took care of his own needs first and then gave God the leftovers.
As he spoke I grabbed my bible to follow along. Massive frustration followed as I could not find any corroborating scripture. Copeland spoke with great authority and confidence. If you failed to search the scriptures for yourself you would think he was providing a direct scriptural basis for his yarn. I passed it off as a typical Copeland tactic of adding to the word of God in order to prove his own traditions.
Two days later I was again flipping through the channels when I came across Benny Hinn on the same network. Hinn stepped to the podium and said “open your bibles to Genesis chapter 4. I thought, this sounds like it might be interesting.
Hinn began by stating that the reason Cain’s sacrifice was not accepted was because it was not a blood sacrifice. Sin could only be remitted, he said, by the shedding of blood. Then he dragged out several more scriptures referencing blood and sacrifice.
I sat there in my chair and marveled. Here were two supposed great men of God. Both are purported to have great anointings to teach. Both have massive legions of followers who support them and consider every word out of their mouths to be on par with holy writ. They each taught the same verses and yet one said it was this way and the other said it was that way. The teachings were diametrically opposed and could not both be true. We seemed to have quit a dilemma here! At this point it was obvious that God had caused me to see these two broadcasts for a reason. I opened my bible and began to study this passage of scripture seeking the Lord for the truth.
As I studied and sought God for answers it quickly became apparent that both of these alleged great men of God were wrong. Both had added to the word in order to prove a point. Neither had seen the real lesson in the scriptures.
From what is written here we do not know specifically what it was about Cain’s offering that caused God to reject it. The word does not say and therefore we must assume it is not important for us to know the specifics. But even though we don’t know specifically, there was someone who did know. That someone was Cain himself. He knew what he was supposed to do.
Gen 4:6-7
And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?........
Let’s begin with what we do know. Apparently God had instituted some type of sacrificial system of worship for Cain and Abel. It may have been based on the sacrifice that God himself made when he clothed Adam and Eve with animal skins before he drove them from the garden (Gen 3:21) or it may have been based on something else entirely. Remember, this was long before the law of Moses and the sacrificial system set up for the Jews. The only other reference to this event is in Hebrews 11 where the author tells us that “by faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,” Again, the term ‘more excellent sacrifice’ does not tell us specifically what it was about the sacrifice that made it more excellent.
All we really know is that Cain and Abel each brought an offering to the Lord. Anyone who teaches beyond that is adding to scripture. But like I said, even if we don’t know the specifics, Cain certainly did. Now let’s see what we can learn from what is actually written.
And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?........
What is God saying here? Isn’t he giving Cain an opportunity to make it right. Isn’t he saying ‘you know what to do and if you do it I’ll accept your offering’?
……..and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Aha! Here is the real problem. It’s not really about what was offered or when it was brought. It’s about Cain’s unwillingness to obey God. And the reason Cain was not willing to obey God was sin. God was telling Cain that sin was trying to rule over him but that he should rule over sin.
The issue here is sin and that sin was rooted in self will. All sin is based on self will. You see, Cain wanted to worship God as long as he could do it on his own terms. He wasn’t interested in coming to God on God’s terms. He wanted to do it his way. And that is sin. And that self will is still the basis for all sin in the world today.
Original sin is simply self will. When Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil she was supplanting God’s will with her own. She felt like she was able to decide some things for herself. In fact, the serpent deceived her to believe that once she ate she could certainly make decisions for herself. This is the basis for all sin and it is the basis for the eternal struggle within every man. Your will or God’s will?
Just like Cain rebelled against God’s instruction, men and women today seek to come to God on their own terms. Many desire a relationship with Jesus as long as they can do it their way. Many desire eternal life, healing, deliverance, prosperity, and all the other promises as long as it doesn’t cost them anything. There are few that are willing to come to God on His terms.
What are his terms?
Math 16:24-25
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it
Those are God’s terms. Lose your life, take up your cross. Follow Jesus. Your will must be put to death. His will must come first and foremost.
The sacrifice and offering God requires of us it to enter into the death burial and resurrection of the lord Jesus Christ. We must put to death the old man and allow Christ to be formed in us.
Gal 2:20
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
If we fail do this we have no life.
John 6:53
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
To eat of his flesh and drink his blood is to become one with his nature. That is the gospel. That is the cross. The old man must decrease that He might increase. Unfortunately there are few that are willing to do this.
John 6:60 & 66
Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?...........
From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him

There is a false gospel that has taken hold in the church today. It is a gospel that requires no sacrifice on our part. It is a gospel that caters to mans self will. It is a gospel that allows men to think they have life but allows them to keep their own will upon the throne. It is a powerless gospel that is really no gospel at all.
Churches today are full of people who have accepted Jesus as lord and savior yet they fail to come to Him on His terms. Apostate religious leaders tell them they can keep their life in this world and still have Christ. They are told that Jesus loves them just the way they are. They are told that since they have made the decision to ‘accept Jesus’, Jesus accepts them without reservation. But Jesus says something different.
Math 7:21
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

This false gospel is becoming so wide spread that to suggest God requires anything of us will produce conflict. Go ahead, try to tell one of these deceived sheep that unless they do the will of God they are not saved. Tell them that unless their deeds are righteous, they themselves are not righteous (1John 3:7). Do you know what will happen? You’ll soon have a war on your hands. You’ll be accused of preaching works. You’ll be accused of being unloving. You’ll make them mad.
This is exactly what happened between Cain and Abel.
Gen 4:8
And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him
Cain, the one who wanted to worship God on his own terms got mad and killed the one who worshipped God in truth. The self willed man slew the man who walked in God’s will and that battle still rages today. This is a type and shadow of what is to come. The church of self will is going to make war against those who walk in God’s will. And they’ll do it for the same reason that Cain did.
1John 3:12
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
The same thing happened to Jesus. The apostate religious leaders of the day walked in their own self will. They didn’t want God’s will.
Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.

They were afraid that if they allowed God’s will to rule they would lose their positions. In other words they wanted to save their own lives. So they murdered the one who walked in God’s will. Do you see it? This was self will attempting to supplant God’s will.
If this happened to Jesus, don’t be surprised when it happens to you.
John 15:20
Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
Jesus said it would happen.
John 16:12
They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
There are two churches in the earth. One is one the narrow path to life. That narrow path is God’s will. The other is on the broad path of self will. That path seems right to all who are on it. But the end of it is death. You are either in the apostate church of self will or you are in the true church of God’s will.
Self will wants to rule over God’s will in your life. It is sin lying at your door. You can rule over that sin by laying down your life, taking up your cross and following Jesus. Or you can allow that sin to rule over you. The choice is yours.
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Steve Lumbley 2005
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