Sunday Gathering – Genesis – Sin is crouching at your door – Andy Hollingum
January 28, 2024

Sunday Gathering – Genesis – Sin is crouching at your door – Andy Hollingum

Passage: Genesis 4:6-12


Andy Holligum's sermon, titled "Sin is Crouching at Your Door," delivered on January 28th, 2024, delves into Genesis chapter 4 and explores the far-reaching consequences of sin. He begins by recapping the previous sermons in the Genesis series, highlighting key points such as creation, mankind being made in God's image, and the fall of Adam and Eve.

Holligum emphasizes the insidious nature of sin and its pervasive impact on humanity, using the story of Cain and Abel as a focal point. He unpacks the dynamics of Cain's jealousy and anger towards Abel, culminating in the murder of his brother. Through this narrative, Holligum illustrates the destructive power of sin and its tendency to lead to further sin and judgment.

Throughout the sermon, Holligum references various Bible passages to support his points, including Hebrews 11, Matthew 5 (Sermon on the Mount), Romans 3, and 1 Corinthians. He underscores the importance of recognizing sin for what it truly is, taking responsibility for one's actions, and dealing with sin by turning to God for forgiveness and freedom.

Holligum concludes by extending an invitation for congregants to respond to the message by kneeling before the cross and doing business with God. He emphasizes the grace and forgiveness available through Jesus Christ, urging listeners to open the door of their hearts to Him.

Bible passages used in the sermon:

  1. Hebrews 11
  2. Genesis 4:6-12
  3. Matthew 5 (Sermon on the Mount)
  4. Romans 3
  5. 1 Corinthians

This sermon serves as a call to recognize the dangers of sin, take responsibility, and seek forgiveness and freedom through Christ.


I just love the diversity of church on a Sunday morning.
The different things, but I should also say we're grateful to Steve as he
sat here because he's overseeing it all and he's dealing with the hustle of the
insurers and trying to get the whole thing sorted out so that we get a full
roof across the back put on again. So many thanks to Steve and those late
nights, those late night meetings we had on the roof.
Right then, so back to Genesis. So we are in week four of our series going through
Genesis. So that means we're at chapter. That's good. We're all with it so far.
Alright, so and if you remember, so Nick kicked it off, we looked at the story of
creation and how the Holy Spirit, how God was hovering or brooding over what
was chaos and what was mass and how God spoke words of life into that chaos and
created things. He simply spoke and stuff was created and God saw that that was
good and we learned how God still does that today. He broods, he hovers over the
chaos and the mess of our lives and our society's mess and chaos and he's waiting
to speak words of creation that will bring life and bring change. And then we
saw in the second week how Erica reminded us that mankind, that's all of us,
were God's crowning masterpiece in his creation. But not only that, but we are
the only thing in the whole of creation that has been made in the image of God.
And what an amazing thing that is, what value that places on you and me as far as
God is concerned. But we are the only thing that he has made in his image. And
then last week Roland brought us forward into what we call the fall at a
when the devil came and tempted Adam and Eve and seduced them and enticed them
with those words that says you can be like God and enticed them that being
made in the image of God was not enough. They wanted to be like God. And so we get
that scenario of blame culture that comes in, of adlacking, not taking
responsibility that comes in and all those things that happen where sin so
frequently is involved. And so we had God blamed Adam, Adam blamed Eve and Eve
blamed the serpent and the serpent didn't have a leg to stand on.
Sorry, I've been inside all week, I just had to get it out. I'm sorry, okay, okay.
So now we reach chapter four and we begin to see the far-reaching
consequences of what's happened in chapter three. We begin to see the
implications and the consequences of sin and the consequences of man's desire to
centre their lives around themselves rather than around God. And the
implications of how it's like creation was a mill pond and then what happened in
chapter three is a pebble dropped in the middle and those ripples start to come
out, those ripples start to reach out and we begin to see the insidious nature of
sin as it affects people's lives and as it affects all our lives. And so at the
beginning of chapter four we read here that Adam and Eve had two sons at the
start of the chapter. Cain is the firstborn and we read that he works the land
and the able is the second one and he keeps flocks of sheep and then we read
that they both bring an offering to God and then there's some difficult
verses that were to read at the first sight because it reads like God prefers
Abel's offering and doesn't prefer Cain's offering and that's how it kind of
reads when we look at it and it's strange to our eyes but if we look at
there's a reference to it in Hebrews chapter 11 where we can read the
Abel's offering was one made out of faith and if we read the verses following
when we see what Cain is like as a person and his character then what we
can sort of deduce and most commentators agree that really what's going on it's
not about their offering it's about their heart and we know as Christians
that actually that is repeated time and again through the New Testament it's not
about standing in church and putting our arms in the air and praying out loud or
whatever it's about how we are day by day week by week with the people around us
that is what matters and that is what God looks at. Man looks on the outside but
God looks at the heart isn't it and so so there's this stuff so I'm just going
to read a few verses from verse 6 to verse 12 in chapter 4 so after this has
happened with these offerings and and it looks like the Lord looks with favor
on Abel we read this in verse 6 and 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 master it now Cain said to his brother Abel let's go out
to the field and while they were in the field Cain attacked his brother Abel
and killed him and the Lord said to Cain where is your brother Abel I don't know
he replied so big clue God actually knows where he is we had the same
conversation I think in chapter 3 God knows where he is he's saying that
question for Cain's benefit where is your brother Abel I don't know you
replied am I my brother's keeper the Lord said what have you done what have
you done listen your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground now you
are under a curse and driven from the ground which opened its mouth to receive
your brother's blood from your hand when you work the ground it will no longer
yield its crops for you you will be a restless wanderer on the earth and then
the rest of chapter 4 there's just some weird stuff and then and then there's
a bit of ancestry right I'm a very deep theological person and then there's a
bit of ancestry about that Adam and Eve and their children and descendants we're
getting to talking away stuff wait till we get to chapter 6 looking forward to
Jonathan speaking about that in a couple of weeks anyway so but we have here in
these verses that I've read this cycle that is going to be repeated through the
rest of the book of Genesis through the rest of the Old Testament through the
New Testament down through history to today and affects every single one of us
sat in this room this morning and affects every single person out there in the
big wide world that's ever born or ever will be born and what it is it's the
enticing nature of sin that if it is not dealt with it takes over and causes
something bad to happen that in turn leads to judgment and other repercussions
always always always without exception and this in turn affects every single
human being ever born from the cutest baby that you could ever look at to the
sweetest old lady you may ever help across the road everyone is affected by
this issue and how they deal it so you and you might say oh bit ever already
Andy hang on a minute you know aren't we all about grace are we doesn't God love
everybody do we have to talk about this hasn't Jesus dealt with all this hasn't
he made away doesn't God forgive everybody now so it's okay well no actually
the grace of God that comes through Jesus is forgiveness for our sins and
freedom from the effects of sin in our lives for sure once we surrender to him
once we say come into my life Jesus once we say I choose you and we'll say a bit
more about that at the end more importantly there is no grace from God
if there is no such thing as sin and that's why looking at this sort of stuff
is important so we need to look at this and stare it in the face and
understand how and why does this happen how pervasive is it what are the
consequences and what can we do about it more importantly so I want to home in
on verse 7 where God speaks to Cain and he says this is 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 so if you continue my depth of theology I've got a question
for you which is better die hard one or die hard to okay at least I'm getting
an idea of some people might have an idea of what I'm talking about okay so so
die hard I want to talk about die hard to for a minute and hopefully you'll
understand why so in die hard die hard to write if you don't know it is a film
with with with the good guy who was a cop played by Bruce Willis and the bad
guys that have taken over an airport in Washington and they've taken over
running the whole airport and making airplanes land and all that kind of
stuff but the pilots in the airplanes in the air don't realize that so they think
they're talking to the normal air traffic control people and in one part of the
film Bruce Willis because he's trying to be the hero he upsets the bad guys
right and so to show teach Bruce Willis a lesson what they do is they're going
to land one of the airplanes but they recalibrate the technology that the
planes use to detect where land is and they set the land level to be a hundred
meters below what it actually is and then they talk this airplane down so the
pilot thinks he's talking to the normal air traffic control people but he's
really talking to the bad guys who have recalibrated where land is if you got a
problem with flying I apologize for this and they taught the pilot down and
and as he talks the pilot down he says we have you we have you kind of in flying
to the pilot that everything's okay and of course the plane comes in hits the
ground and explodes and the guy ends up saying we have you and that is the
perfect analogy of what God is saying to Cain in this verse that is what sin
does we think it's okay we think we're deceived into thinking that this is
all right but actually the desire of sin always is to have you to have you to
have you and let us not convince ourselves it's anything else there is a
reality about the nature of sin about the goal of sin and the effect of it in
our lives that the writer here is drawing our attention to and it's a
reality that we so easy forget or lose sight of see God God warns Cain he says
this is what it's like this is what's gonna happen even in Genesis chapter 4
we see the grace of God at work don't think that the grace of God is just
something that pops up in the New Testament it's there from the word go it's
there from Genesis 1 but here we see the grace of God at work that that Cain's
parents would rebelled against God he's part of humankind that has rebelled
against God and yet God comes to him and says warns him if you don't handle this
it's gonna have you sin is crouching at your door at the door of your life like
an animal waiting to pounce and as for Cain so the same for you and for me we
kid ourselves don't we that what we do what we think our attitudes our
behaviors are all justified and okay but just as in our passage today the truth
sometimes is that they are driven from a root of sin and of rebellion against God
and don't think you know that this is just Old Testament stuff so it's a lot
harsher than it is in the New Testament in our story here as I've read Cain
murders his brother Abel if you flip forward to listen to what Jesus has to
say in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 he says you've heard that it
that if you murder someone you will be judged I tell you if you get angry with
someone you will face the same judgment wow he just really drives that home you
know this and it's squirmy isn't it whatever oh this is this is hard so what
we have here is God very clearly warning Cain of the true nature of sin of its
subtlety and of its desire to take over just like the serpent had done with his
parents with his mum and dad and we need to hear this because verses and
passages like this cut through the deception that we all often succumb to
but sin tries to put around us in our lives you know we convince ourselves
that actually I'm okay doing this because well it's not as bad as what
they're doing when we say things like that don't we if we're honest I don't
think it's me right and we tell ourselves other excuses that means we
tolerated well they did it first my parents sinned first why are you blaming
me Cain good as that they did it first well it doesn't harm anyone it's just
something I'm doing well how about it's my life I can do what I want
that we all say that at times don't we and and so we build this scaffolding
around us that where sin is starting to deceive us and we think it's okay to
live with it we don't think of the consequences you might have been like
David when he sees Bathsheba and goes to her and sleeps with her and then kills
her husband he doesn't he's not thinking straight he's not thinking of the
consequences he's just thinking of the here and now moment and how often the
sin causes to think like that just over here and now moment of self
gratification that we want rather than thinking through flip what's going to be
the consequences six months twelve months two years down the line and it
deceives us like that and we forget about God and his amazing love for us but he
chose to send Jesus to down across for us we forget about the psalmist who
says there is nowhere we can hide from God and we kid ourselves and we think
we can live like this or do this and God isn't watching because just like we
read in the passage and he says where's your brother Abel God knows he's God sees
there is nowhere where we can hide and so we make excuses and I guess like
Jeremiah says in chapter 17 the heart is deceitful above all things
and we need to ouch you know because we convince ourselves this is okay the
culture and the society in which we live also influences us and tries to redefine
the boundaries of sin and try to say what the Bible calls sin the society in
which we live says no it isn't and we're caught in this conflict in which way are
we going to go and because it's very difficult on all of that conspires to
build a sense of this is okay I'm all right to flirt with a bit of sin now and
then I can go to church I can do this I know I've got the thing going on in my
life but it's okay doesn't matter yes it does that's what God is saying here
because in his heart his desire is for freedom for you and I from the grip of
that sin in the first place it's not that he's a killjoy it's just that he has
something far better for you and for me in our lives and the we need he wants
us to get a hold of that and not be tied up to the things that traps us as Cain
discovered here sin only has one goal to have you only one outcome and if you
open the door then it will have you and behind all of this behind all the sin
ultimately is rebellion against God it's rebellion that says I don't need you I
can do this my way I don't care I made in your image I don't care I'm the
crowning glory of your creation so what I want to be in control of my life and
yet just as for Cain there are repercussions and there is judgment and
that can't be avoided and so it sounds bad news actually doesn't sound bad
news it is bad news how can this be stopped is there something that can be
done yes we've got to understand the bad news if we really want to get a grip on
the good news it's so important and you know that's why it's important to look
at passages like this so even here in Genesis 4 as I say we see the grace of
God at work that here is a God not willing to any should perish but that we
should be free from the effects of sin and so in his conversation with Cain I
think there's three things I just want to pull out that God's given us to help
us address the issue of sin in our own lives and the fact that it is crouching
at our door how do we handle that well number one is we need to recognize it
right we need to recognize it sin is crouching at your door he says wake up
wake up recognize it for what it truly is call it by its proper name not some
fuzzy name that sounds okay and acceptable but call it by its proper name
for what it truly is if you are if you're ill or poorly and you show symptoms
of what that is you get you go to the doctors and they look at you and then
identify what it is and they give it a name and that enables them to treat it
and address it right if you go to Zambia and you get bitten by a mosquito and then
you come back to the UK and you start to feel a bit feverish we don't know
what that is I'll take some pyroceitimal and I feel a bit better even though
other people are telling you it doesn't look right you feel a bit better because
you think you can manage it right this is the nature of sin but bear with
the analogy so you take some part and you feel a bit better but guess what the
fever returns and you feel rough again so what do you do oh I'll take some more
pyroceitimal it's only when you go to the hospital and you meet a consultant
who says you have got malaria and this is how we are going to treat it and if
we haven't done this in time the consequences would have been pretty bad
that is the nature of sin so we need to name it for what it is in our lives and
call it out but we may stand before Jesus and he may deal with it and we'll say
a little bit more about that in a minute what must I say it's actually
absolutely cut we need to cut through the smooth talk and the self-justification
that we surround ourselves with and understand this is sin call it by what
it is recognize its ultimate goal is to have you to have me and be wary of
surrounding ourselves with people that tell us it's okay they're like the
pyroceitimal analogy so one final question in terms of
recognizing sin ask yourself does this action I'm doing does this attitude that
I've got does this behavior that I'm doing does that align with being made in
the image of God so even if we only had the first four chapters of Genesis
our Bible there is enough here to bring salvation and rescue and freedom so
first thing is to recognize it's the same thing we need to do with things we
need to own it we need to take responsibility this was Cain's issue
right nobody else's it was his he can't blame Abel he can't blame God he can't
blame his mum and dad although he quite probably tried to ultimately it was his
issue because it was his action his choice and therefore it is his
responsibility he is the one who has to own up and take responsibility for it
and there are times guys and girls and we need to stop blaming everyone else we
need to stop blaming the circumstances that have happened we need to stop
saying it's only x y and z hadn't happened in my life then I wouldn't be
succumbing to this particular sin or whatever owning it is often the first
step to finding freedom if you look in it that's why many of the alcoholics
anonymous clubs around the world begin with people turning up and saying hello
my name is and I'm an alcoholic because they're owning the issue that is the
first step not pretending it isn't really there but staring it in the face and
owning it and so is he says to Cain has to own it we have to own it stop
ducking and diving and say yeah actually you know what this is an issue for me
this is my issue so God says to Cain you must do what is right you must rule
over and the third thing that we can get out of this passage in dealing with
addressing sin is number three is to deal with it right you must rule over it
God says to Cain no one is saying that is that is easy but it is possible saying
help you know it starts with a simple prayer that I often use it goes like
this oh God oh God oh God help right I think we can all manage that right but
that is the starting place that is where we need to start in dealing with
the rest of the Old Testament is the story of how God's people tried to deal
with sin in their lives and how they ended up writing loads and loads and loads of
rules in order to try and stop sending in the first place but guess what it
didn't work they still carried on and it's about God providing them with loads
and loads of ways of asking forgiveness but guess what they still sinned it
didn't work it didn't set them free and when we get to the New Testament and we
see that God in his great love for us sent his own son Jesus to die on a cross
to take the punishment to take that judgment that your sin and my sin
created that we could be free hallelujah that's why Paul writes to the church in
Rome in we all have fallen short of the glory of God we are all screwed up by
sin we're all messed up with it everyone there is no exception whatever your
religion whatever your country you're from whatever tribe you're part of whatever
your language whatever place in society you have everyone falls short of the
glory of God because everyone is screwed up and messed over by this issue of sin
but Paul goes on in those things verses and says yes we all fall short of the
glory of God and are justified freely by the grace that comes through the
redemption of Christ Jesus hallelujah see Jesus has bought the price for you and
for me to find that freedom but that he has won for us and so Jesus has taken the
ultimate repercussion for your sin and for my sin if we come to him if we come
to him and that if is a big word because it's so important that we gloss over
it and we just think it's okay no we need to come to Jesus we need to figure
that out we need to kneel before and we need to say come in law to my life God
I need your help all of that stuff and that's why John writes in one of his
letters towards the end of the New Testament if we confess our sins God is
faithful and just to forgive us and purifies from all unrighteous this is
the good news this is the good if we confess our sins if you confess before
God the sins that you've got in your life then the promise is he will not only
forgive you but he will provide the place to find freedom from the effects of
that sin on and on and on and set us free from that purifying a small and
righteousness is the language that John uses in the NIV but it means that in
us free if if we confess our sins and Paul writes elsewhere to the church at
Corinth he says no temptation has overtaken you except what is common to
man and God is faithful with the temptation will provide a way out for
you to stand up under it hallelujah I can't tell you the number of times I've
read that verse to myself down through 45 years of trying to follow Jesus right
it is such a key verse because we think how can I cope with this well let's
come back to God's word what does he say he says nothing's overtaken me but
actually is unique just to me that's one of the problems isn't it and often the
shame that we feel associated with sin isolates us and makes us feel this is
just a problem I've got when the reality is most of us in the room have got
something similar going on we're just better at hiding it right and so but
these verses are there to help us free and to walk in what Jesus won on the
cross for you and for I want to conclude with two images of doors from the
Bible right the first one is the one we've got in our passage in this passage as
we've seen sin is crouching at the door to your life it's ready to pounce it's
ready to have you it's ready to take over our lives give it an inch and it will
take a mile and barge in but in the second image of the door to your life
Jesus is standing at that same door he's knocking he's just knocking he's
standing outside the door and he's just knocking but what's on offer is here
taking the ultimate punishment for your sin and for my sin so that we don't
have to and what's on offer is him bringing us freedom so that we can stand
up against it so our lives can be free from the entanglements he's just stood
outside that door knocking maybe even for you he's knocking this morning and you
know it and the question is are we going to open that door he's waiting for us
to open the door he doesn't barge in and take over he's waiting for you and I
to open that door and invite him in we're gonna worship a little bit more now
but I just want to create an opportunity for you and I to do business with God
this morning there is an opportunity here as we worship as you've listened you
know the stuff in your life that desires to have you that you identify with some
of the things that we've read in the scriptures here and that it is a
battle for you and you feel sometimes you're willing and then you feel
sometimes you're not winning and and it's hard no one is denying that and but
you have this sense that it is trying to take over and you don't want it to I
want to invite you this morning as we carry on worship now just to come and
kneel but the cross hear the front the space at the front and kneel and do
business with God yourself more importantly as you do that to open the
door to Jesus knocking in your life and to invite him in and just to say a simple
prayer you know Lord I can't do this I confess whatever it is to you please
forgive me and come into my life to help me maybe you'll do that for the
first time maybe you've been a Christian for donkeys years and now the problem
is I can't keep doing that surely all the answer is yes God is waiting and loves
us and wants us to come to him it cost him his son on a cross that's the
extent of it and we can never outdo the cost to him of Jesus coming on that
cross so as we sing and worship now if that's okay I want to just invite you if
you want to come to the front and just kneel on the cross before the cross and
do business with God Amen

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