Summary: What makes the "Better Sacrifice?"
The two brothers walked slowly across the field, each one lost in his own thoughts and each one asking the same question, Why? The question keep coming back to both of them. What made the difference. Why was one acceptable and one not? Was one better then the other? And the more they thought about it the deeper their emotions ran. For one it was emotions of joy of knowing that he had pleased God. For the other brother, it was jealousy and anger that swirled across his mind, until finally it erupted in a murderous rage.
Do you know the story? It’s found in Genesis 4:1-8 Adam and Eve had a son. Then Eve said, "I’ll name him Cain because I got him with the help of the Lord." 2 Later she had another son and named him Abel. Abel became a sheep farmer, but Cain farmed the land. 3 One day, Cain gave part of his harvest to the Lord, 4 and Abel also gave an offering to the Lord. He killed the first-born lamb from one of his sheep and gave the Lord the best parts of it. The Lord was pleased with Abel and his offering, 5 but not with Cain and his offering. This made Cain so angry that he could not hide his feelings. 6 The Lord said to Cain: What’s wrong with you? Why do you have such an angry look on your face? 7 If you had done the right thing, you would be smiling. But you did the wrong thing, and now sin is waiting to attack you like a lion. Sin wants to destroy you, but don’t let it! 8 Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let’s go for a walk." And when they were out in a field, Cain killed him.
Have you ever wonder why Abel’s sacrifice pleased God? Was it because God preferred meat to vegies? Or maybe it was summed up in verses 3 & 4, listen to them again. 3 One day, Cain gave part of his harvest to the Lord, 4 and Abel also gave an offering to the Lord. He killed the first-born lamb from one of his sheep and gave the Lord the best parts of it. Did you catch it? Cain gave part, Abel gave the best parts.
The author of the book of Hebrews had a different theory in the scripture that Raya read this morning he wrote Hebrews 11:4 Because Abel had faith, he offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did.
You ever wonder about sacrifice, what is it, how does it happen, who does it apply to?
It must be somewhat important, the Bible speaks about it in one form or another over 800 times in the Old and New Testaments. But sacrifice isn’t a big word in the nineties is it? Sacrifice isn’t a real popular concept today, is it?
American Heritage Dictionary 1. a. The act of offering something to a deity in propitiation or homage, especially the ritual slaughter of an animal or a person. b. A victim offered in this way. 2. a. Forfeiture of something highly valued for the sake of one considered to have a greater value or claim. b. Something so forfeited.
How much do we offer up to our deity, you know our God. On the other hand, how much has he given up for you? And what does he expect of you?
1) God made a sacrifice John 3:16 God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. The king James Translation of this is probably one of the best known and most memorized verse in the Bible, in all traditions. I’m sure you remember it, John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Listen to what it says: God loved the people of the world so much that he did something for them. What did he do? He gave. What did he give? His only son. Who did he give his son for? The people of the world. Well to be a little more specific he gave his son for you. That is the ultimate practical definition of sacrifice isn’t it. Giving up something that’s important to you for somebody else. And it’s gotta mean something to you to be a sacrifice. I mean giving up brussel sprouts may very well be a sacrifice for you but I can assure you that it wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice for me.
But why did God do that, what prompted or motivated him to make such a sacrifice? And why did he have to make it?