Abel’s Worship

Monday Morning Moment / Key Takewaway:
True worship must be about the Giver and not the gifts. (see Romans 1:25)
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Sermon Handout

  • 1 John 3:11-12
  • Genesis 4:2
  • Hebrews 12:24
  • jude 1:11
  • Matthew 23:35
Sermon Series:
Will Robinson

Who was Abel?

  • Abel was the second son of Adam and Eve (Genesis 4:2). The meaning of his name is uncertain; some believe that Abel means “breath” or “vanity,” and others believe it is a form of the word for

“shepherd.” Abel was a righteous man who pleased God.

Matthew 23:35 (NASB)

35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel….

Hebrews 12:24 (NASB)

24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.

Abel’s death somewhat foreshadowed Jesus death

Abel was righteous, but his death only demonstrated the sinfulness of humanity and highlighted the effects of the Fall. Abel was murdered and Cain punished. Abel’s blood cried out for God to make it right. Jesus was righteous—completely so—and His murder led to the possibility of life. Jesus’ death highlighted human sinfulness, but He conquered sin and death in His resurrection. The blood of Jesus is crucial to our salvation. His blood speaks a good word—one of atonement and hope.

Why is worship important?

  • Adam and Eve had learned to worship God during those wonderful days in the Garden before sin had brought its curse to their lives and to the ground. Certainly they taught their children about the Lord and the importance of worshiping Him. Workers need to be worshipers or they may become idolaters, focusing on the gifts and not the Giver, and forgetting that
  • When God clothed Adam and Eve with the skins of animals (Gen. 3:21), perhaps He taught them about sacrifices and the shedding of blood; and they would have passed this truth along to their children.

Why was Cain’s worship by God rejected?

  • Cain wasn’t rejected because of his offering, but his offering was rejected because of Cain: his heart wasn’t right with God. It was “by faith” that Abel offered a more acceptable sacrifice than

Cain (Heb. 11:4), which means that he had faith in God and was right with God.

  • the Law of Moses prescribed offerings of grain and fruit (Lev. 2; Deut. 26:1-11), so we have reason to believe that such sacrifices were acceptable from the beginning. But even had Cain brought animal sacrifices and shed their blood, they wouldn’t have been accepted by God because of the state of Cain’s heart.

  • “The way of Cain” (Jude 11) is the way of self-will and unbelief. When God rejected his offering,

Cain became very angry. (The Hebrew word implies that he was “burning with anger.”) God spoke to him personally and tried to lead him back to the way of faith, but Cain resisted. It’s just like the Lord to give us another opportunity to obey Him, and it’s just like stubborn sinners to refuse His gracious help.

1 John 3:11 – 12 (NASB)

11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;

12 not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.

Jude 1:11 (NASB)

11 Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.

Why was Abel’s worship accepted by God?

  • God accepted Abel and his sacrifice, and perhaps indicated this by sending fire from heaven to consume the animals (Lev. 9:24; 1 Kings 18:38; 1 Chron. 21:26);
  • Abel brought the best that he had and truly sought to please God; but Cain didn’t have that attitude of faith. “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams” (1

Sam. 15:22; and see Isa. 1:11-13; Hosea 6:6; Micah 6:6-8; Mark 12:28-34).

Hebrews 11:4 (NASB)

4By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.

What are the lessons for us today?

  • God gives the power to work and gain wealth (Deut. 8:10-20).
  • True worship is following God’s rules about approaching Him and pleasing Him in worship.
  • The fact that people attend and participate in church services is no proof that they’re true believers. It’s possible to have “a form of godliness” but never experience its saving power (2 Tim. 3:5). “These people come near to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me” (Isa. 29:13; Matt. 15:8).
  • We can learn several things from Abel. Abel demonstrated true worship by his faith and through his actions. We know that we cannot please God apart from faith (Hebrews 11:6). We are called to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Abel was persecuted for his faith; we will be as well (John 15:20; 2 Timothy 3:12).

Monday Morning Moment: “True worship must be about the Giver and not the gifts.” Rom.1:25