Summary: Examines what acceptable worship looks like through the offerings presented by Cain and Abel.
THE WORSHIP GOD ACCEPTS
> Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain [did]. By this he was approved as a righteous man, because God approved his gifts, and even though he is dead, he still speaks through this.
The story is told about a man who lay on his death bed with his family and friends gathered around him. As he lay there he asked a friend to check and see if there was anything in his pockets. The friend checked and found the man had a dime in one pocket. The dying man asked him to place it in his mouth. He swallowed the dime and said, I came into the world with nothing and I don’t want to leave anything behind.
Foolish man. We all leave things behind. According to this verse, Abel leaves behind, even though he is dead many centuries now, a testimony. I believe it is a tesstimony of what true worship looks like.
Abel still speaks to us today. He still gives testimony. He still tells us about the worship God accepts.
In this passage we have an account of 2 men. Let’s think for a moment about the things they had in common.
I. SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE MEN
1. They had the same parents. Their upbringing was the same. They had the same experiences as children.
* Picnics to the Gate to the Garden of Eden where they saw the seraphim with its flaming sword.
* Pets – Puppies in the back yard.
* Chores - A bit of ground to tend. Some chores.
2. They had the same work ethic. – They both had jobs. Picture
Cain working hard. Coming home at the end of the day, telling his
parents about the events of the day.
Abel worked hard. He would come home with a healthy
glow and pungent aroma at the end of the day as well. …
3. They had the same God – Both of them knew there was a God.
Both of them knew God. Neither of them were atheists. Their
parents had told them about their time in the Garden. They had told
them about the mistakes they had made. I’m sure Adam told his
boys about the time their mother ate them out of house and home.
When God spoke to Cain and told him He was not pleased, Cain
didn’t at all surprised by God’s visit, His voice, nor the conversation.
Evidently this had happened before.
They had the same God.
4. They both offered sacrifices - - vvs. 4-5
They didn’t know God just from a distance. They knew Him
and closely. They both came and offered sacrifices. They both
offered something that cost them. It cost them the work of the sweat
of their brow to bring the offerings they brought to God. As a matter
of fact, if the order of the account is any indication, it appears that Cain, perhaps, took the lead in bringing a sacrifice.
They were similar in a number of different ways, but they and their offerings were received by God differently.
- vvs 4-5
II. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ACCEPTABLE AND UNACCEPTABLE WORSHIP
1. Unacceptable worship approaches God on the wrong path
- Hebrews 11:4 – By faith, Abel offered a better sacrifice.
> Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
We don’t know when or how, but at some time in the past,
God had made known to Cain and Abel what was acceptable in the way of sacrifices, in the way of offerings. There was nothing wrong with bringing an offering of the produce Cain had grown, to God. We often see that in the Old Testament. Men often brought gifts of oil, and meal, and grain, and fruit to God as first-fruit offerings and thanksgiving offerings. Nothing wrong with that. But, they came after blood sacrifices.
> 1 John 1:7 … the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
> Exodus 12:13 The blood on the houses where you are staying will be a distinguishing mark for you; when I see the blood, I will pass over you.
> Acts 4:12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.”
Folks try many different things to get to God. They try many different paths. Some try sacrifice. Some try hard work. Some try the way of the hermit or the monk. Some try good works, trying to earn their way to heaven.
Professor Monier Williams once said: In the discharge of my duties as Professor of Sanskrit, I have devoted as much time as any man living to the study of the Sacred books of the East and I have found one key, … of all these books-whether it be the Vedas of the Brahmans, the Pinanas of Siva Vishnu, the Koran of the Mohammedans, the Zend-avesta of the Parsees, the Tripitaka of the Buddhists- the one refrain through all is salvation by works. They all say that salvation must be purchased, must be bought with a price, and that the sole price, the sole purchase money, must be our own work and deservings (Quoted by John Phillips, in Exploring Genesis, Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1992, p.66).