Forward in Faith #18
Abel: A Worshipping Faith
As we continue our journey in the Book of Hebrews, Last week we asked the question “What is Faith?”.
After examining Faith in Jesus we decided that faith is sensible, logical, intelligent and sane!
Faith is coming to the place of being SURE in the hope we profess
It is being CERTAIN of what we can’t see
It is discerning or understanding that the same one who created all things is WORTHY of being the OBJECT under which I place my faith.
The idea of faith is an idea of something that we place UNDER the foundation. So our faith is a belief that we place under something. And we understand that Jesus Christ SPOKE the World into existence. Jesus spoke NOTHING into SOMETHING. And so the same JESUS who Declared that NOTHING become SOMETHING can do the same with for me. Because of his sacrifice at the cross, when I receive Christ and his offer of sacrifice for me, he declares SOMETHING out of NOTHING. I had NO righteousness of my own but in Christ I have been declared righteous according to Romans 3:24.
And so I place my faith UNDER Jesus Christ. He is the foundation upon which I can and will build my life and future.
And this righteousness that comes by faith is not new to us.
Righteousness has always been by faith. We just see it more clearly in the Grace of Christ. There were those under the law of Moses that perhaps thought that by keeping the regulations they became righteous. But we know that was not true. Righteousness has always come by faith.
We are introduced to this concept from the early part of scripture Genesis chapter 4, we are introduced to Adam’s sons Cain and Abel.
READ Genesis 4:1-10
Read Hebrews 11:4
For the next couple of months we are going to be looking at this “Hall of Fame of Faith” that is presented here in chapter 11.
We have learned what Faith is and now we will see faith demonstrated …
Today we see in Abel … A Worshipping Faith …
Worship should be our faith lived out
Romans 12 says
I urge you considering the mercies of God to present yourselves as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God which is your reasonable act of worship
When we come to Church on Sunday, unfortunately we often approach this as a show we attend
A little boy was at the Sunday dinner table with Mom and Dad. Mom said “the band was a little too loud and that one singer was kinda off key.” Dad chimed in, “well the Pastor preached a little too long and I don’t know if I liked him getting a little too close to my business”. Little Johnny, having watched the whole service as well as I guess paying attention to Dad’s offering said “well Dad, I thought it was a pretty good show for $5.”
Well we kinda think this is a show some times. And if so, D. James Kennedy expounded on a old Philosophical view and said “if it’s a drama, then we tend to think of the Preacher and Worship Leaders as the Actors, God as prompter and the people as the critics. When actually, in worship the Congregation are the actors, the Preacher and worship leaders are the prompters and GOD is the Critic”
This is something we need to be aware of not just in this BUILDING but every day. We ARE worshippers. The question is just who or what do we worship.
If we are going to have a worshipping faith, then we live our lives out as a result of our faith placed under the bedrock of Christ our Rock and Foundation. And we let HIM be the object of our affection, the object of our worship. We care ONLY what he thinks of our performance and my job as your Pastor and fellow laborer is to do my best to INCITE you to worship
Worship should not be about the songs we choose, though they help us.
Worship should not be about the preacher that preaches though he helps us.
Worship is an expression of adoration to the object of our affection … the Lord Jesus Christ
So, your worship attendance on Sunday shouldn’t be based on whether I am in the pulpit because you are here to hear from GOD … not this messenger / mouth piece
Worship shouldn’t be about whether we choose the style today or songs you like because they are just vehicles by which we say “I love you Lord” or by which we confess our sin and need for him
If you don’t know or don’t like the songs, forget what we are singing and just say “Jesus I Love You”
“Jesus I Thank You”
“Jesus I worship you”
But let me not get too far
We are talking about Abel
Faith that worshipped
What does a worshipping faith do?
Worship is an ACTION verb
By Faith Abel
OFFERED – prosphero – to bring to; to bring before; to bring into the presence of one who can heal him, is ready to show him kindness, to a person who is to judge him
Abel WORSHIPPED … he brought his sacrifice to the One who can heal him, the one who can show him kindness, the one who alone can judge him
Able was living in a young world but a world that was already infected with Sin and God alone had the power to heal him of the sickness of sin
In the young world, God’s kindness is the only kindness with depth that could touch the loneliest place of his soul
In this young world, Able understood that the only opinion that matters was God who judges through eyes of Justice, honesty, yet with a Creators Knowledge of our weaknesses and a Grace and Mercy
Faith brings our lives before God who alone can heal us of sin’s disease, who is the one whose kindness has led us to repentance and though our judge is also our sacrifice, a better sacrifice
1 John 3:12 warns - 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 …
We read this short text in Genesis and it says in the COURSE OF TIME … or at the END of TIME or the Regularly Scheduled Time
It seems as we read that this was a preordained time of worship
I’m sure it was established by God given to Adam, passed on to their children
God told Cain that what he brought was not acceptable though Abel’s offering was accepted
Cain didn’t like that but God told him, “if you do what is right, will you not be accepted?”
It is obvious that God is Just and had given specific instruction or he would not have expected different
Adam and Eve were not judged for something they didn’t know about
And so Cain offered a false worship
Cain brought SOME of what he had
Able brought the BEST of his flock
John gave us insight into the problem with Cain … he belonged to the evil one
What? He came to the place where GOD is worshipped but he belonged to satan?
Yep … happens every week, every place where God is worshipped I would imagine there are those who knowingly or unknowingly do not belong to God
We can try to bring him SOME of what we have or even the best of what WE have and it will never be enough
But FAITH understands that I don’t have what’s good, so I need to Obey what God has instructed me to do
First he came from the wrong place of submission – he submitted to self and the ruler of this world – the evil one
Proverbs 15:8 – The Lord Detests the sacrifice of the wicked … but the prayer of the upright pleases him
Isaiah 1:13 stop bringing meaningless offerings!
What was meaningless was that Cain didn’t mean anything by his act of worship … God was not the object of his affection … so the seeming expression of Adoration meant nothing to God
Didn’t David teach us that “to OBEY is better / MORE than Sacrifice”
But we have also learned from Chapter 10 that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin
I have wondered if this regularly scheduled time of worship was on the anniversary of the sin in the garden. If so, then like the Day of Atonement, it was an annual reminder of their sin, sacrifice, and forgiveness from God
Abel followed the pattern and brought a blood sacrifice
But Cain brought fruits and vegetables … he brought his OWN cultivation, his own work … what was the job of man? To tend the garden
But our WORK will never be worthy worship by itself
Cain should have come to Abel and traded some of the work of his hand for an animal, clean and pure to sacrifice before the Lord
Obedience is a better sacrifice
God didn’t tell us to “be good” but to “be HIS through the Blood of Jesus Christ”
Abel brought the BEST he had and gave it to God
He didn’t bring what was leftover.
He lived with what was leftover and gave his best to God
Faith worships obediently with the best
The best place from which I can worship is the cross of Christ.
Faith in a better Sacrifice
And there was also worship of
Abel worshipped believing that the blood sacrifice would make him right with God
Abel worshipped by Faith …
Matthew Henry said “Abel offered with an eye to God’s will as a rule, and God’s glory as his end, and in dependence upon the promise of a Redeemer"
Faith understands that I am not righteous but can BE Righteous in the blood of Jesus
Abel had the same faith we do, just from different sides of the equation
When Abel’s parents sinned God promised in Genesis 3:15 that one day offspring of Eve would come along and CRUSH the head of the evil that had instigated their fall.
So when Abel offered his sacrifice he was worshipping and displaying his faith in a righteousness that was by faith from first to last a righteousness that was by Grace through faith.
Cain stood in God’s Presence but he didn’t love him nor belong to him
Abel stood in God’s presence loving God and belonging to God
Cain stood in God’s presence and said “look what I can do”
Able stood in God’s presence saying “Look what God has done for me”
Jesus was with his disciples one day in the Temple and there stood a Pharisee Loudly praying with his head and voice raised and declared “I thank you Lord that I am NOT like this tax collector” At the same time, the tax collector bowed his head, and cried out “have mercy on me a sinner”
That Pharisee was RIGHT he was NOT like the Tax Collector, because Jesus said the Tax Collector went away justified but not the Pharisee
The Pharisee had the same problem that Cain did, they both had faith built under themselves. THEY were their own HOPE. They thought they were good enough, able enough, righteousness
But their faith was laid under sinking sand
Yet that tax collector understood the same thing Able knew 4000 years before him …
Rom 3:22-24 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and falls short of the glory of God 24 and are justified freely (declared righteous) by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus
Abel understand, by faith, that he wasn’t righteous because of the Lamb or because of his worship, he was righteous because God said so
And so his faith for righteousness bubbled over into WORSHIP
Expression of Adoration to the Object of his Affection
The difference between Cain and Abel was where they were looking
Cain was looking at himself and saying “God what’s wrong with me? I am FINE, look at what I am, look at what I have”
And because God didn’t accept it, he got ANGRY with God, he got JEALOUS of his Brother
He was looking at his Brother and saying “he’s no better than I am”
Abel on the other hand was not looking at himself he was looking at GOD and he KNEW he wasn’t any better than Cain
But he knew GOD ALONE was Holy
He knew that he needed God’s healing, God’s Kindness, God’s Grace instead of Judgment
Cain should have been sad and angry about his sin instead of being sad about God’s response and Angry that it wasn’t acceptable
The word ANGRY is not just he was a little miffed … it is the Hebrew Word charah – to be hot, furious, burn
There was NO LOVE – so NO WORSHIP
Prov 19:3 a man’s folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord
How does God respond when we worship him in Faith?
Gen 4:5 says he LOOKED with FAVOR on Abel and his OFFERING (Worship)
The word in Hebrew is sha’ah – to look at, regard, gaze at, care, pay attention, accept
When we worship him as Jesus told the Samaritan woman, “In spirit and in truth”
We get the gaze, look, attention, acceptance, and care of the object of our affection
Abel understood his works wouldn’t work only his faith works … (how’s that for a tongue twister)
Romans 4:5-8 however, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness 6 david says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 ‘Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.’
I Worship you Almighty God
I worship you Almighty God
There is none like you
I Worship you O Prince of Peace
That is what I want to do
I give you praise
For you are my righteousness
I worship you Almighty God
There is none like you
Can you sing that with me?
Abel worshipped in faith in a better sacrifice
Abel worshipped because of his faith that provided righteousness
And the amazing thing about is that TRUE WORSHIP displays a
A life of worship speaks when we can’t
Abel has been dead for 4,000 years and his faith still speaks
Abel has been silent for 4,000 years but his worship still is displayed
He still lifts his hands in the sanctuary
Heb 11:4 says and by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead
YLT – renders it – he being dead, doth yet speak
Oh blessed saint … when you live a life of faith demonstrated in worship
When you live a life that loves Christ more than anything else … it won’t KILL your voice it will RAISE your voice
Oh some say “if you worship God it will kill your social life”
Others say “If you worship God through an obedient life, it will kill your future with the company”
Some say “if you worship God in your dating life your chances of finding a mate are dead in the water”
But though “dead to some” I’m here to tell you … YOUR FAITH STILL SPEAKS
There are people watching you at work and secretly pulling for you
They are watching and hoping that you have something that is real
Young people there is a boy or a girl out there, that is hoping that there is someone out there that will love them out of a heart that loves God first and they are waiting for you
There is someone in your social crowd that finds that their life is as empty as the bottom of the bottle, the end of the evening or the walk of shame in the morning
And your FAITH still speaks even though you might think you are dead
Faithful senior, don’t think that your testimony to your children and grandchildren will go unnoticed … remain faithful and your faith will continue to speak even when your influence is gone because you are gone, or your presence or influence is gone.
What did Genesis 4:10 say, God said Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground
Your faith will also still speak when you leave this world …
Because Revelation 14:13 says -you will rest from your labor for your deeds will follow you –
That’s right you won’t have to tell God you have worshipped him
You won’t have to tell God you have displayed faith
He will say “well done good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over a little take authority over much”
He will say “enter in to your rest”
He will reward you for your love and faithfulness with Crowns
Is he worthy of your worship?
Can you worship him believing in a better sacrifice and obediently come to Christ humbling yourself admitting your need for him
Cain’s worship was self-serving, arrogant, superficial, and insincere and God said “no thank you” … he judged it unacceptable
But Abel’s worship was Christ honoring, humble, authentic, and sincerely centered an adoration for God that lifts my life up to him
Able had a perspective that we, in our self sufficiency, have lost
WE NEED GOD … We Need him for EVERYTHING …
Elohim – a God of Power and Might
Adonai – Lord of All
Jehovah – a God of divine Salvation
Jehovah – Maccaddeshem = The Lord who sanctifies
Jehovah – Rohi = My shepherd
Jehovah – Shammah = My Present God
Jehovah – Rapha = My Healer
Jehovah – Tsidkenu = Our Righteousness
Jehovah – Jireh = my Provider
Jehovah – Nissi = Our Banner
Jehovah – Shalom = Our Peace
Jehovah – Sabbaoth = the Lord of Hosts
El- Elyon = Most High God
El-Roi = Strong One who Sees
El-Shaddai = God Almighty – God of the Mountains
El-Olam = Everlasting God
Cain thought he should make his own way in the world
Abel understood that EVERYTHING he had everything he needed was in God and he worshipped him