7475 - Not Like Cain - 1 John 3:12


Audio transcript

Friend, it’s such a joy to have you join us.

Today we continue our study in the book of 1 John. Let’s focus on chapter 3, verse 12, which reads:

“Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.”

Let’s put this verse in perspective to the greater passage. In this passage John has talked briefly about the two kingdoms which vie for acceptance and dominance in the life of every person on earth.

He has talked about that group of people who have been born of God, and are therefore children of God. They are members of His family. The Kingdom of God is very real although it is of the spiritual realm. It exists upon this planet under the authority and direction of the Triune God. He is a living presence within every member of His kingdom. 2 Peter (1:3) tells us that “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness...” That means that our Lord supplies everything we need to live life on a daily basis in the manner that He requires of us, and in a lifestyle that is one of godliness.

God gives us peace and joy as we fellowship together and as we trust and depend upon His direction and power for daily life. This life is the lifestyle which God intended when He created mankind. He would live in us and fulfill what is termed a spiritual life. When we leave this earth we will go to be with Him for eternity.

The good news is that God invites anyone living to become a member of His kingdom. Required admission is an active faith in Jesus Christ, the Savior and Lord. You can’t buy admission. Power and prestige will not get you in. The door opens only to those who have faith in Jesus.

The second kingdom to which John has referred in this passage is the kingdom of this world, which is ruled over by the evil one called the devil or Satan. John has just been talking about the people who are members in this kingdom. He called them “the children of the devil.” Their lifestyle mirrors the character of their father, the devil. He is evil, the father of lies, a murderer, deceptive, a thief; and he brings confusion and fear into the lives of people. As a ruler he is harsh and destructive. There is no such thing as love in his character.

Cain, the one of whom this passage speaks, was a member of the kingdom of the world.

The record of Cain’s evil is found in Genesis 4. Cain and his younger brother Abel were children of the original Adam and Eve. In the course of their lives they each brought a gift offering to God. The Lord accepted Abel’s offering, but did not look upon Cain’s offering with favor. This made Cain angry. As the Lord observed Cain’s anger He challenged Cain, and told him that “if what you do is right, will you not be accepted?” You can easily see that the important thing before God was not the gift but the character of the heart.

The sad thing is that Cain’s anger turned upon his brother. He invited Abel into the fields and there he murdered him.

When God asked Cain about Abel, Cain lied to God, and so the Lord placed a curse upon Cain’s life. God never blesses evil, but rather curses it. From this record you can see that as a child of the devil, Cain acted true to his character and brought suffering and pain into his own life and to those around him.

These two brothers, Cain and Abel, clearly were in opposite kingdoms. Cain was a child of the devil - a member of the kingdom of the world. Abel was one who sought to be a pleasing citizen of the Kingdom of God.

God’s message to His Church, through John, in this passage is just as timely today as when written. God is saying that His children are not to be like Cain. We must guard our hearts against evil, and we must trust and depend upon the Lord to live his divine life in and through us.