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Summary: Last time we learned that the purpose of faith was to make the invisible things of God real and to produce confidence in God's promises. Today we'll learn that real faith in God produces three very important things in a believer's life.

Hebrews 11:4 & Genesis 4:3-14

Purpose: To learn how faith saves and what it does after salvation.

Aim: I want the listener to be sure they are submitting by faith to God for forgiveness.

INTRODUCTION: Abel lived long ago, very far away, in a very different culture, but he has something to say to us today that is more relevant than the 11 o'clock news. Last time we learned that the purpose of faith was to make the invisible things of God real and to produce confidence in God's promises. Today we'll learn that real faith in God produces three very important things in a believer's life.

Part of having faith in God means believing that God is the One who has the right to say what faith is. We cannot define faith the way we want and then declare that we have faith in God. It's like the story of the farm boy who had a reputation for being an excellent marksman with his 22 caliber rifle. All of his friends were impressed when he showed them the back of his barn where he had dozens of circles drawn with bullet holes directly in the middle. What they didn't know was that he drew the circles after he shot the bullets.

This is what James was referring to in James 2:14, 17, 19-22 14 What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, {being} by itself. 19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; (NAS).

If we can't make up our own definitions of faith then how can we recognize what real faith looks like?

Vs.4a I. Faith Produces Obedience to God

Our text is referring back to Genesis 4:3-5 3 So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. 4 And Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; 5 but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. (NAS)

Gen.4:3a A. God reveals a time for worship "in the course of time"

The Hebrew word IN THE COURSE OF TIME has the idea of a definite time. The NAS marginal reading is "at the end of days" which seems to imply at a certain time, perhaps when the harvest was over.

"The probability is, that it was an extraordinary occasion of this kind, a stated periodical season, when the sons of Adam, now advanced in life, and at the head of families of their own, appeared as the representatives and priests of their respective families, as was the practice in patriarchal times (cf. ) to present their oblations at the appointed place of worship. The very circumstance of their repairing to that primitive sanctuary together, and for the express purpose of worship, creates an impression that the time was divinely appointed a sacred season, well-known and recognized by both; otherwise it is difficult to account for a man of such dispositions and principles as Cain choosing to unite with the godly Abel in a simultaneous act of worship." [1]

God has always wanted His followers to gather together at specific times. In the Old Testament God commanded the Jews to get together at very specific times for worship. This same principle holds true for us today. Hebrews 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (NAU)

We are supposed to have a commitment to regular group worship.

Gen 4:3b B. God reveals a place for worship "brought an offering"

This seems to imply that there was a specific place where the altar was located. Cain and Able came together in one place, not just to any old rock. You can worship God anywhere, but there is something special about having a specific place where you met God in prayer. We have special places we set aside to eat and to pay our bills, why not set aside a special place where you always pray?

Gen 4:4 C. God reveals the way to worship "LORD had regard...for his offering"

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