Hebrews 11:4 (NKJV)
4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.
This morning we study the story of Cain and Abel. Paul informs us in Hebrews 11 what distinguished the two brothers. Though related by blood, though possibly twins, the two brothers were as different as different can be. For Abel lived by faith: he trusted God, worshiped God, loved God, cherished God. Cain did not.
And it was this that distinguished the sacrifices of Cain and Abel. It was not necessarily that one was an animal and the other fruit; nor that one was most excellent and the other humdrum. It was that one offering was offered in faith and the other in disbelief. Cain did not love God, did not believe God’s promise, did not cherish God’s ways. The problem was Cain's person, Cain's character, not his offering.
And so God testified of Abel by receiving his offering. God testified that without faith it is impossible to please him, for he who comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. This is what Abel knew and it is what he continues to tell us even now though he is dead: if you would please God, you must come to him in faith – believing that he is and that he rewards those who diligently seek him.
But not only does Abel teach us, Cain’s story warns us: Don’t come here offering your prayers and songs and tithes if those things are not offered in faith, not offered from a heart that loves and trusts the Living God. God does not need you; God does not need you; you need him. And if you worship in unbelief, you will find that God is no more pleased with your offerings than with Cain’s. Solomon tells us, The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But the prayer of the upright is His delight (Prov. 15:8). God had regard to Abel and his offering, but to Cain and his offering he did not. So what of you? Whom shall you follow?
Reminded this morning that we must come to God in faith like Abel, let us seek his forgiveness trusting in Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. Let us kneel as we confess our sin to the Lord.