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Faith - a better way, a better walk, a better witness

Hebrews   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Faith - a better way, a better walk, a better witness

John 1:12 ESV
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
Heb
Hebrews 11:4–7 ESV
By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
Introduction:
When I was growing up, unexpected visitors/friends were always welcome. For the most part we knew each other’s work load and schedules and respected that. No distinction was made between long term and new friends and neighbours. No one ever came near to a meal time without being warmly/strongly extended. TLC needs were always graciously addressed and accepted.
Informal reciprocal relationships were the norm. Neighbours helped each other without keeping a record and expecting something in return. The exception would be requested help that was contracted.
SOMETIMES - by invitation only - adults only - eventually accepted and respected - most special events Sunday dress up clothes
TODAY - dress codes very with the area and those involved - in most cases more relaxed
Understood sense that in every case we do our best being careful not to abuse kindness or hospitality
SO AS NOT TO ABUSE OR INTERFERE, we subconsciously and sometimes very deliberately teach our children and guests some guideliness
Shoes off when we come into the house - getta bacco - Japan - guest slippers - special slippers for bath room
Pedestrians - guidelines sometimes differ according to area - crosswalks, assumed right of way, hoodies, texting, games on cell phones
In the spiritual realm, we also need to live, to remind each other and to teach our children teach our children how faith is translated into life.
HOW WELL WE DO THAT WILL DETERMINE HOW WE WILL BE REMEMBERED - AS THOSE WHO DID IT OUR WAY OR PLAYED BY THE RULES - GOD’S RULES.
THIS IS NOT ABOUT LEGALISM MAN MADE LAWS BUT LOVINGLY EMBODYING GRACE AND TRUTH.
Living as we do in a day when increasingly significant segments of our society/world including even religious teachers and denominations suggest and teach that God is always more gracious and accepting as long as we do our best and are sincere, the writer of Hebrews’ gentle explanation of a better way continues to be very timely.
Faith in God embraces/affirms:
Abel - by faith a better way to God - a more excellent sacrifice - 11:4 -
James Moffatt wrote,
Hebrews: The MacArthur New Testament Commentary Chapter 26: Abel: Worshiping in Faith (11:4)

“Death is never the last word in the life of a righteous man. When a man leaves this world, be he righteous or unrighteous, he leaves something in the world. He may leave something that will grow and spread like a cancer or a poison, or he may leave something like the fragrance of perfume or a blossom of beauty that permeates the atmosphere with blessing.”

Dead man do tell tales. Although he lived 1,000’s of years ago Abel still speaks 21 century people. Living as he did in the 2nd generation of mankind, Abel still has something vital to say to those who probably consider themselves modern, sophisticated and technological.
Although Abel lived in a much different world - culture, less light and revelation from God BUT believed what Adam and Eve would told him - second hand but believed.
Adam and Eve had walked and talked with God . Their had to live by faith not by sight. But once there is embracing by faith there is in essence a seeing. Every generation, every individual must by faith affirm the better way to God.
Abel, because of his faith, is noted for 3 interconnected life/eternity realities:
Because he believed, he offered a better sacrifice. Because he offered a better sacrifice, he obtained righteousness. And because he obtained righteousness by faith, for all of the ages he is a living voice that righteousness is by faith.
Adam & Eve because of their sin were forced by God to leave the Garden. But though God in His judgment had to send them out, God in His grace provided a way back to forgiveness, restored righteousness & fellowship with God.
Genesis 3:15 ESV
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
Within the context of the curse a restorer/redeemer was promised.
Eve understood that - gotten a man with the help of the Lord - Cain - first born, Abel second born
Cain - a worker of the ground - farmer
Abel - keeper or the sheep
In the ci
Genesis 4:1 ESV
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.”
Offered a more excellent sacrifice - faith
In the course of time - time of worship/offerings - Cain and Abe brought offerings:
Cain - fruit of the ground - nothing wrong with grain - later part of offering pattern - sin offering must be first.
Abel - first of born of the flock and fat portions
ALL in the context of God having communicated what was expected/acceptable
Genesis 4:4–7 ESV
and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”
Adam & Eve had probably been told and told their children
Romans 10:17 ESV
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
God accepted his gifts - commended him
God commended Abel

The only thing that obtained righteousness for Abel was that, in faith, He did what God told him to do. That is the only thing that changes a man’s relationship to God. It is not how good we are, but whether or not we trust in Him, that counts with God. That trust is evidenced in obedience to His Word.

Cain could have brought the expected sacrifice but decided not to.

Cain believed in God, else he would not have brought Him a sacrifice. He acknowledged a supreme being and even that he owed Him some sort of worship. He recognized God, but he did not obey God. He believed in God, but he did not believe God. He thought he could approach God in whatever way he wanted, and expected Him to be impressed and satisfied. In so doing, Cain became the father of all false religion.

Not only did Cain reject the expected better way, He was angry, angry with God and his brother Abel.
Killed Abel.
Did not admit to God what had done - am I my brother’s keeper.
AT THE HEART OF THE ABEL/CAIN ACCOUNT IS THE WAY THAT WE COME TO GOD. IT IS FOUNDATIONAL TO LIFE AND OTHER RELATIONSHIPS.
Our terms or God’s terms/terms of others
For there to be order and amicable relationships, there must be some kind of stated agreed to relationship parameters/boundaries.
Gifts on special occasions
When we approach and enter someone else’s private space we need to remember to respect that person’s private space
God commended Abel and told Cain what was needed.
Jn 14:
The idea of one limited way that is guaranteed and explained seems to be accepted in every area of life except morality and religion.
If we go our MD with what we learn is a serious potentially life/death condition and we are referred to a specialist who confirms diagnosis - do we want options and a choice or are we willing to accept his recommendation that barring no other complications will work - i.e. heart bypass surgery
Though he died, he still speaks
Jude 11 ESV
Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion.
Romans 10:2–3 ESV
For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
Rom
Though he died, he still speaks
To God - God hears the cries of own who suffer injustice
Genesis 4:10 ESV
And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.
Gen
To his brother - via God and His word - Cain refusal to listen did not negate Abel speaking.
Genesis 4:11–12 ESV
And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.”
Gen 4:
To us
Man comes to God by faith not works.
God accepts and commends those who come to Him by faith.
Genesis 4:10 ESV
And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.
Sin is severely punished - by God.
Enoch - by faith a better walk - with God - 11:5 -
Whereas Abel exemplified a faith way/worship to God, Enoch exemplified walking with God.
The order of faith examples is purposeful. God never intended that works or even a witness that did have faith roots. From God’s perspective as it is repeatedly explained in the Scriptures, works is the product of salvation not the means of salvation
Genesis 5:21–24 ESV
When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.
One well known commentator suggested, I believe incorrectly suggested that Abel did not really know what it was to walk with God until He came to God by faith. That completely discards that Adam & Eve knew what it was to walk with God and would have explained to the next generations what happened in the garden when God walked with them and they with Hi.
Walked with God - by faith
Was not - did not see death - God took him
WITHOUT faith:
Impossible to please God
By faith whoever would draw near to God:
MUST believe that He is
MUST believe that He rewards those who seek Him
Noah - by faith a better witness - reverent fear/righteousness by faith - 11:7 -
Warned by God of events not seen - 11:1, 7
In reverent fear constructed an ark - for the saving of his household
By this condemned the world
By this - faith - heir of righteousness
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