Sunday, February 3, 2013

Abel’s Last Sermon

Temple Baptist Church - 2-3-2013
Hebrews 11:4

Introduction: Hebrews 11 is often called “The Hall of Fame of Faith.”

A. Faith is Defined – vs. 1 It is not a “blind faith” but a compelling faith that has substance and gives hope. Faith is the evidence of things not seen. Faith has been the agent of salvation from Genesis 3 until the present.

B. Faith is Declared – vs. 2-40 I want to look at the faith of Abel found in verse 4: "he being dead YET speaketh!" the legacy of the first man to ever descend into the grave. What legacy will you and I leave behind? The first man to enter into eternity died in faith, thus fulfilling God's will for all mankind: and is now eternally with The Lord.

C. I want to go back to Genesis chapters 2-4 and look at this man named Abel and the faith that brought him salvation and immortality in Hebrews 11’s “Hall of Faith.” After faith is defined, the first mention of such faith exercised is found concerning man's salvation. You cannot please God in any way until you come to Him by faith for salvation!

D. Genesis means beginnings and is called the "SEEDBED OF THE BIBLE." Genesis chapters 2-3 makes no mention of faith, saving or otherwise, but God set forth several principles in Genesis 2-3 that need to be mentioned.

1. The principle of obedience. (2:16-17) God commanded Adam to abstain from eating from one certain tree: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God gave Adam and Eve the “run of the garden” concerning what they could do which speaks of the liberty that we have in this world. There is so much to be enjoyed without tasting the “forbidden fruit” of our world. God is good to us in so many ways. God commands obedience for our good.

2. The principle of disobedience and its consequences. (2:17) God plainly warned Adam and Eve through Adam that the consequence of disobedience was death. That death was two-fold: spiritual death, which was immediate, and eventually physical death. The wages of sin were set forth in these chapters and have never changed.

3. The principle of man’s inability to cover his sinfulness. (3:7) Immediately after sin, something changed. Was it a covering of the glorious light of God or was it as simple as innocence lost? They KNEW that they were naked and were ashamed. They immediately tried ti cover their shame with handmade garments. The aprons of fig leaves may have looked good to them but, when God came on the scene, they hid because their nakedness was still apparent. Nothing can be done, humanly speaking, to cover the sinfulness of man.

4. The principle of initiation in salvation by God. (3:8-9) Man hid from God but God came to him! A seeking Savior had compassion on a willfully disobedience people. He let Adam know where Adam was with a simple question. "Where art thou?" Man will never be saved until he or she recognizes where they are spiritually with God.

5. The principle of sacrifice. (3:21) God slew an animal and, in doing so, did two things:

a) The blood of innocence was shed. That which knew no sin became sin for them: a beautiful type of Christ dying for sinners and bringing forth righteousness.

b) God made coats (not aprons) to cover the nakedness of man. They, like the people of our day, tried to cover the "necessities" but remained naked! This coat was a complete covering or atonement.

6. The principle of the coming of Messiah. (3:15) Though Adam and Eve did not know the word “Messiah,” they understood the principle of the Seed of woman. The serpent would bruise the heel (to wound) and the Seed would bruise the head (a death blow).

7. The principle of punishment. (3:14-19, 23-24)

a) Satan: To eat the dust of the earth. The only curse not removed in the Millennium.

b) Eve: The pain of child bearing and submission to the authority of Adam. Eve had “side stepped” the authority of Adam when beguiled by the serpent.

c) Adam: The curse of man’s hard labor, earning his bread by the sweat of his brow.

d) Mankind: The removal from the utopia that God had provided for Adam and Eve to live in along with the pain and sorrow of life along with an eventual “trip to the cemetery.”

E. Hebrews 11:4 says, “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: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.”

1. Abel’s Sacrifice – “more excellent sacrifice than Cain”

2. Abel’s Salvation – “he was righteous”

3. Abel’s Suffering – “he being dead”

4. Abel’s Sermon – “yet speaketh” (A man once said, "It is so that every great man speaks to men. Being dead, they live; buried, they rise again; and they speak with more power after death than during life.")

F. Let us look back to the First Mention of “Offering” found in the Bible. Genesis 4:1-13 In chapter 4 of Genesis, we find the birth of two sons: Cain, the firstborn who was a “tiller of the ground” or farmer, and Abel, the second born who was a “keeper of the sheep” or a herdsman. In verse begins with “And in the process of time.” Not the “passing of time” but the “process of time.” Passing of time simply means that time is moving on, but “process” gives a different meaning. Not just the advancement of time but a development within the advancement of a time period. We often use the phrase “a work in progress” or a “process.”

1. At this point, we need to be able to read between the lines or should I say between the chapters. God slew an animal in Genesis 3 but gave no such command to Adam and Eve. God pronounces judgment and drives them from the Garden of Eden. Chapter 4 begins with “and” which speaks of continuation.

2. Now, we need to make a natural assumption that is based upon biblical fact: between the last verse of chapter 3 and chapter 4:3, God had to teach Adam and Even about sacrifice, salvation, and worship.

a) The animal killed in the Garden of Eden provided coats for their natural nakedness, not their spiritual nakedness. It is certainly a type complete righteousness but, according to the New Testament, only blood was sufficient for atonement for and remission of sin. In chapter 4, when Abel offered his sacrifice, there was neither mention nor need for coats of skin.

b) God certainly did not leave them to their own “devices” in the matter of atonement and salvation and there was no one else to teach them. Since chapter 3 made no mention of such sacrifices being made by Adam and Eve and chapter 4 showing the sacrifice, we understand that God had given to them a command to offer and worship along with the promise of the seed of the woman.

c) We must also make the assumption that Adam and Eve taught their children how to be saved and biblically worship. Other than the initial sin of eating the forbidden fruit, I find no flaws in the first couple or their childrearing.

d) We must also assume that they taught their children both the right way. Unlike today, there was only ONE way of salvation: faith in the coming of Messiah through the atonement of sacrifice. They looked forward to Calvary by faith as we look back to Calvary by faith.

3. Cain and Abel are now grown men, not children.

a) They had spent their childhood years in the home of Adam and Eve and under their instruction and care. I have no doubt that Adam and Eve were good parents because we find in the two sons were taught to work for a living.

b) Both farming and herding were hard, time consuming jobs. Because of their offering to God or worship, I have no doubt that Adam and Eve taught these two sons spiritual truth with Abel worshipping in a right manner and Cain in a wrong manner.

4. Somewhere in this “process of time,” Cain—as he became a man—began to change his spiritual or theological thinking. Jude 11 speaks of the way of Cain and pronounces a woe upon those who follow it.

a) In these verses, we find two kinds of worship in the sons: worship in truth and worship in error, or will worship. To the child of God, worship has a two-fold end: to glorify God and to enjoy God. Religion is much different in that it exalts man while soothing the conscience.

b) Romans 10 says, “For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Cain Worship is self-righeousness.

5. These two kinds of worship set up two very different genealogies:

a) The lineage of Cain, found in the end of chapter 4, established “Cain Worship” and is the ungodly line found in Genesis 6.

b) The line of Seth, which followed Adam and Eve, established the Messianic Line from which Christ cane. This godly lineage is found in chapter 5 and defined as the “sons of God” in chapter 6.

c) In these chapters, we find the setting aside of the firstborn who, in a normal sense, would become the patriarch of the family who was to lead spiritually as well as in everyday matters of living. We find this in the lives of Jacob and Esau, Ephraim and Manasseh, etc. Spirituality and salvation has nothing to do with birth order; it has to do with faith exercised.

d) In chapter 6 and following, we find the judgment of God upon a world of sin.

G. What was the message of Abel’s sacrifice that “yet speaketh?”

1. It Was A Message of Salvation – vs. 1-4 (Salvation never changes throughout the Bible.)

a. Abel Was Not Saved Through His Heritage (Both Cain and Abel had the same parents)

b. Abel Was Not Saved Through His Occupation (Both Cain and Abel had commendable occupations)

c. Abel Was Not Saved Through Religious Rite (Both Cain and Abel brought a sacrifice)

d. Abel Was Saved Through His Offering (Cain brought the fruit of his works – Abel the blood required by God)

1) God had respect unto the blood - Exodus 12:13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.

2) God had not respect unto the works - Ephesians 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

2. It Was A Message of Sacrifice – vs. 4 (Abel was a “keeper of sheep” and those little lambs were precious in his sight.)

a. He Brought The Firstling of His Lambs.

1) Shows His Affection For God. He loved God more than his sheep.

1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

2) Shows His Adoration For God. He offered to God the very best that he had.

Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

b. He Brought The Finest of His Lambs.

1) The Lamb Was Pure - Exodus 12:5-6 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

2) The Lamb Was Precious - 1 Peter 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

1 Peter 2:6-7 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

3. It Was A Message of Sin – vs. 5-7 (Cain’s offering of works was willful and rejected.)

a. Cain Was Wroth With God – vs. 5 My mind goes to Revelation during the Tribulation Period.

Revelation 16:9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.

Revelation 16:11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.

Revelation 16:21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.

b. Cain Was Wooed By God – vs. 6

Romans 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

b. Cain Was Willful Toward God – vs. 7

Romans 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

2 Peter 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

4. It Was A Message of Suffering – vs. 8 (God’s people are hated by the world just as our Lord was hated.)

a. Cain Deceived Abel – “Cain talked with Abel his brother”

1 John 3:7, 10 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous…In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

b. Cain Despised Abel – “rose up against Abel his brother”

Matthew 10:36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

Luke 6:22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.

John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

1 John 3:13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.

c. Cain Destroyed Abel – “slew him”

Acts 23:12 And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.

Romans 8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

1 Thessalonians 2:15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:

5. It Was A Message of Sentencing – vs. 9-13 (The reality of rejecting God’s salvation is an eternal one.)

a. The Punishment Was Unerring – vs 9-11

Proverbs 16:11a A just weight and balance are the LORD’S:

Romans 7:12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

2 Thessalonians 1:6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;

Hebrews 10:30a For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord.

Revelation 15:3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

b. The Punishment Was Unbearable – vs. 12-13

Matthew 13:42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Revelation 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

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