Genesis 4:17-26

 |  March 20, 2018

Genesis 4:17-26

  1. Locate the passage

This passage chronicles the progress of life, the consequences of sin, and the extension of God’s grace.  The passage follows Cain’s punishment and its impact on mankind.

  1. Genre

The passage is narrative, with a poem highlighting the sin of Lamech.  The conversation of Lamech with his wives demonstrates the impact of Cain’s sin on mankind

  1. Determine the structure of the passage

4:17-22 – Cain’s lineage

4:23-24 – Sin’s corruption

4:25-26 – God’s restoration

  1. Exegete the passage

Exp.  The word “name” occurs seven times in this passage

4:17 – Cain knew his wife

4:18-19 – Lamech

4:20-22 – Mankind’s cultural advancements

4:23 – Lamech’s poem is a remorse-less, callous, and arrogant rant of a man who    seemingly understood the consequences of sin, but did it anyway.

4:25 – Adam knew his wife again … Seth

4:25 – Another seed

4:25 – “Named him Seth”

4:26 – Then men began to call on the name of the Lord

  1. Let the structure of the text drive the sermon

Exp.  This passage is a comparison of two individuals and their families

Exp.  The advancements of Cain’s offspring could not overshadow the sin that plagued their family

Exp.  This passage reveals that sin bring consequences, but righteousness yields rewards.

Divine Appointment outweighs Human Accomplishment

Exp.  Cain’s family boasted many accomplishments, but Seth was appointed by the Lord

What God can do FOR you is far greater than you can do for yourself

Ill.  Compare the first city in the Bible built by Cain with the last city in the Bible built by Jesus (Rev. 21:10-27).

Exp.  Worldly prosperity is not a sign of Divine favor

Exp.  Advancements in civilization are impressive and not in and of themselves bad.  Indeed, the Bible teaches that God gives mankind the ability to make wealth (Deut. 8:18).  But, those must never be seen as a replacement for our faith and should not be the only thing for which we are remembered.

App.  What are you going to be remembered for?

When we are away from the presence of the Lord, sin plagues a family

Exp.  Lamech continued and added to the sin of his forefather, Cain

Exp.  Lamech is the first violator of God’s law related to the family, and duplicated    the sin of Cain by killing a man

Exp.  Thus, Lamech violated God’s law twice

He violated God’s law related to the family – by committing polygamy

He violated God’s law related to life – by committing murder

App.  Lamech’s sin is compounded by the fact that there is no hint of remorse with Lamech (4:23-24)

Sin hardens us to its sinfulness

Exp.  Lamech’s sin:

Lamech sinned in his marriages

Lamech sinned by killing a man

Lamech sinned by boasting of his sin

Lamech sinned by his arrogant refusal to repent

App.  Cf. 4:14 – Cain believed that his punishment would send him away from “the    face” of the Lord.  Outside of God’s presence, sin infected his family.

Seeking God’s Name is better than seeking our Own

Exp.  Two things are implied in 4:26

They sought the Lord

Exp.  Here the picture of a people who called on the name of the Lord

Exp.  Cf. 1 Chron. 16:8 (Ps. 105:1); 2 Chron. 7:14

Exp.  They sought the Lord in prayer

Exp.  This verse gives a glimpse of revival

They honored God’s Name

Exp.  Their pursuit of God’s name was more important than their pursuit of their own.

Exp.  Note the legacy of these two families

One family was marked by and proud of its sin; continuing the heritage of sin without remorse

One family was marked for its worship.

Exp.  See Luke 3:38.  It is significant that it was through Seth’s line that the Messiah was born

App.  What kind of legacy are you passing on to your children?

Ill.  Luke 3:38 – Luke takes the line of Jesus all the way back through Seth.

App.  This reveals the long-term implications of our lives of faith today!


  1. The devastating consequences of sin
  2. The advances of culture bring convenience, but a spiritual imprint leaves a legacy
  3. What kind of legacy is your family leaving behind?
    1. Eve could not have known the Messianic implications of her proclamation of the child whom God had “appointed (4:25).”

Category: Sermon Structure
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