The Nature of Faith: Notes From Genesis To Revelation (1)

The following is taken from John MacArthur’s sermon Abel: A Primitive Faith:

“Now the testimony of Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 4 is that Abel is a model of faith. He is a model of faith. And now we’re coming to where that obedient act of faith occurred. He comes to worship God and he worships appropriately, demonstrating faith. That is what Hebrews 11:4 says, he by faith offered a better sacrifice.

So, there is a place and there is a time and there is a way. There is a way to worship. Abel understood the way and obeyed it. On his part in verse 4, he brought the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions and the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering. On the other hand, but for Cain who, according to verse 3, had brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground, he felt no regard. So there is a place and there is a time which God has identified as the time of atonement. And there is a way to worship. God is to be approached only by sacrifice.CA

These two sons of Adam and Even had been definitely instructed that there was a place and there was a time and there was a way. How would Abel have known to bring an animal sacrifice if it had not been revealed? And why was Cain rejected when he brought other than that if it was not an act of self-will and disobedience? Neither Cain nor Abel could have known anything about sacrifice unless God had revealed that to them. And when Hebrews 11:4 says, “By faith Abel offered an acceptable sacrifice,” faith in what? Faith in the revelation of God. Faith comes by hearing, does it not? You believe what God has said.

This is not some kind of nebulous faith. This is the faith that says, “I have heard God speak and I believe it is true and I will obey.” It was not a whim. It was not a self-styled sacrifice. He had been told by God that God required a sacrifice. He believed that and he evidenced his faith by obeying God’s revealed will. And that is why he is a model of faith. He heard the truth, he believed the truth, he obeyed the truth. He worshiped the way God had ordained worship to be done.

Now this is not to say that God rejects all fruit offerings, grain offerings, vegetable offerings. You have in the book of Leviticus a number of them. In fact, Leviticus 19:24 says, “In the fourth year, all the fruit thereof shall be holy with which to praise the Lord.” There were times when fruit and grain was to be brought to the Lord. There were grain offerings, as you well know, in Leviticus, bloodless offerings. But the first and primary offering and the only one which could atone for sin was the blood sacrifice.

So we see that Abel did what God required. That’s the first thing about his act of faith, he brought the right sacrifice that was required by God. This is an act of obedient faith. By faith then he brought a more excellent sacrifice than Cain. It was better because it was blood and it was better because it was required as a sacrifice for sin.”


Application:
~ Make a list of the things you can offer to God. What can we offer to God? What are the things that we have to do or what are the projects coming our way that we can offer to God? Will we offer vegetables or animals?

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