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Summer Hebrews Series 2012 – Study 2

12/08/2012

Heroes in Hebrews – Abel

Text: Hebrews 11:4  Genesis 4:1-15

Hebrews chapter 11 contains a list of OT heroes who had two great qualities:-

  • They were PILGRIMS AND STRANGERS in this world.
  • They had FAITH. God GIVES HIS ELECT FAITH TO BELIEVE, and God turns them from their sins in repentance, and they are his, for he has brought them from death to life!

Now, the first of these people, these strangers and pilgrims, these people who God had chosen to receive his gift of Faith is ABEL.  Notice:-

1. Abel OFFERED a SACRIFICE!

Now we have no mention here of the origin of this sacrifice.  Since the Lord always COMMANDS worship throughout the Bible, we must presume that God had given our first parents specific instructions on how He was to be worshipped.   There was to be a SACRIFICE and that sacrifice was to involve the shedding of blood.

  • The greatest sacrifice.  God gave His own Son, the Lord Jesus to be our Saviour, and to be the atoning sacrifice for us upon the Cross.  Since there is no other way to God, except through Christ, we cannot worship God outside this sacrifice!  Worship of God DEMANDS A SACRIFICE!  Philippians 2:6-8  Christ voluntarily emptied Himself of anything and everything that stood in the way of the glory and gain of His Father through Him.
  • The personal sacrifice!  There is always a personal sacrifice involved in worship.  We too must offer ourselves as a sacrifice, lay our lives upon the altar for God, as we worship Him.

When we consider the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, and we compare that with our efforts for Him, are we not truly humbled?  He gave us so much, what do we give Him? Now, notice something else from the Hebrews text…

 

2. Abel Offered a MORE EXCELLENT SACRIFICE!

Now why would Abel’s sacrifice be more excellent than that of Cain?

  • A PRESCRIBED Sacrifice!  We later learn from the Bible, that any worship that is offered to God will only please him and be accepted by him, if it is done in the way that he has specifically laid down.
    • God’s people are told to worship God in specific ways!  Deut. 12:32 Matthew 15:9  God will not own or bless what is called in the NT ‘will-worship’ – trying to worship God according to our own invention.  Col. 2:23.
    • There is a Distinct OT precedent!  It is the story of Josiah’s Reforms.  Josiah was the King of Judah who initiated a building programme in the Temple. 2 Chron. 34:30-33

Obviously then, in order to have been pleasing to God, and thus more excellent, Abel’s sacrifice of worship was presented to God in an appropriate manner.  He did it GOD’S WAY!  But notice also…

  • A PARDONING Sacrifice!  Abel’s sacrifice was more excellent, in that it was more fitting for a sinner!  A sinner requires a mediator, a way of access to God.  As guilty sinners, we must never forget that what we need is pardon and cleansing.

So in at least two ways, Abel’s sacrifice could be considered to be more excellent than that of Cain.  Now see something else here…

 

3. Abel Offered his Sacrifice IN FAITH! This God given saving faith would imply:-

a)       Abel was aware of his own UNWORTHINESS!  Mark 2:17.  Abel would realise he was a sinner, and he knew that he had offended the Lord, and broken the law, and punishment must be the result.

b)       Abel was aware that his own lamb was but a sign of a GREATER SACRIFICE TO COME!  The ancient sacrifices specifically designed to prefigure that great propitiation, THAT GREAT SACRIFICE which Jesus made.

c)       Abel placed his DEPENDENCE upon the Lord!  He offered the sacrifice for himself, he was personally involved.  He rested his hope upon the Lord and believed that God would accept him in Christ!

Finally, in Hebrews we learn…

 

4. God ACCEPTED Abel’s Sacrifice!

By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts:  God accepted Abel’s sacrifice, the fire consumed it, and God took it.  Leviticus 9:24He saw righteousness there!  And righteousness was not something that was natural, righteousness is imputed!  God put it there, and he saw, at that time of worship, that Abel was right before the Lord!  Finally,

 

5. Abel STILL SPEAKS TO US! he being dead yet speaketh

What does God say to modern man through the Bible account of Abel?

  • Sinful men and women can have access to God!  Can a man approach God and live?  Yes!  God is accessible to the sinner through Christ!
  • The only acceptable way of sacrifice is the way that God has ordained! Hebrews 9:22
  • Faith is essential to CONVERSION and ACCEPTANCE! Christ has laid the foundation, has paid the debt, has obtained pardon.  We simply take him, in childlike faith and trust.
  • True Christianity COSTS! It cost Abel his life!  How costly it is for us today.  To stand up for the Lord may cost us our popularity, and our wealth and our reputation with the world… Mark 8:35
  • God’s favour REPAYS US FOR ALL ITS COST!  Was it worth it?  When we meet Abel in heaven he will tell us that it was worth the cost!    Matthew 16:26

 

From → Hebrews 11

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