Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Unashamed of my Faith - Abel what are you bringing to Worship?

In the 2016 resource program I used this idea from www.wordsoflife.co.uk/biblestudies to deal with this theme.

In Hebrews 11 we find a comprehensive list of heroes of the faith.  This list does not highlight perfect people instead it teaches us about the possibilities of our faith and how we can daily live it.
The people mentioned in this chapter were ordinary, sinful men and women who believed in God. God does not require perfection He looks for faith and belief. There are many people in the world doing great acts of kindness and humanitarian tasks but God finds pleasure in people who perform tasks in His name and believing in Him.

In Hebrews 11:1-4 we read that Abel's offering found acceptance with God because of his attitude of worship towards God.  Worship is the highest function of the human soul and only as we are able to worship God can we effectively walk with him and work for God. In the account of Cain and Abel and their offerings in Genesis 4:1-8 we see how our attitude is important in making our sacrifice of worship  acceptable and unacceptable to God.

  • Abel exercised faith by discounting human schemes, methods and reasoning and by obeying God. 
      Romans 5:12 tells us we are all sinners.  Abel's offering is symbolic of Christs death on the  cross. There is only one way in which a sinner can approach a Holy God and that is through the shedding of the blood of a Lamb. By recognizing this fact we are exercising faith in God even though it is contrary what our human knowledge tell us.

  • Abel exercised faith by acknowledging his sin and his need of God's forgiveness.
Cain and Abel are the Old Testament equivalent of New Testament parable of Pharisees and the tax collector found in Luke 18:10-14.  One person was proud and he was rejected, the other person was humble and he was accepted, one was blind in his sin, and full of self-righteousness, the other acknowledged his need of God's forgiveness.

  • Abel exercised Faith by recognizing that no work or effort of his own could gain his acceptance before God.
It is important to realize that I cannot earn my salvation only God can give me that gift.

  • Abel exercised Faith by providing an offering that foreshadowed the great offering for sin.
Abel was effectively saying to God "  I am a sinner, I have broken your law, I deserve to die for my sins.  You promised redemption despite these facts and I come know in a attitude of expectation and acceptance of your gift. "

  • Abel exercised faith by accepting God's Testimony that he was righteous.
Abel believed that through his offering God had accepted him and had justified him. Through his faith he was given the assurance of salvation. While the blood of Abel was prophetic and pointed forward to that which was to be, the blood of Jesus declares the whole work of salvation is  finished. 

In Hebrews 11:4 we read that Abel still speaks even though He is dead. He highlights that fact that there is only one way for a guilty sinner to be saved and that is through faith in the blood of Christ.

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