HEBREWS 11:1-6; GENESIS 4:1-11
WHAT FAITH LOOKS LIKE: ABEL
May 8, 2016
Hebrews 11:1-6 ESV:  Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  For by it the people of old received their commendation.  By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.  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.
Genesis 4:1-11 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.”  And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground.  In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground,  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.”  Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.  Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?”  And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground.  And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand.
The author of Hebrews gives us Abel as a picture of genuine faith. To help us understand more thoroughly what faith looks like, Moses, the author of Genesis actually illustrates what faithlessness looks like by describing Cain’s response to God’s rejection of his offering.
- Abel had faith.
- Cain did not. What faithlessness looks like.
Life Group Questions
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
1. How would you summarize 11:1-3?
2. What does the author say is the basis for his, and our concluding, that Abel had faith?
3. What does it mean, that Abel was “commended as righteous”?
4. How is that Abel, “still speaks”?
5. According to the author, Moses, in Genesis 4, why was Cain’s offering not acceptable to God?
6. What was Cain’s response to God rejecting his offering?
7. What sin was “crouching” at Cain’s door?
8. Why do you think the author focuses on Cain’s response?
9. Why do you think Cain killed Abel?
10. Cain responds to God’s question about the whereabouts of Abel with, “I do not know, am I my brother’s keeper?” What is being revealed about Cain’s heart?
11. We learn about Abel’s faith to a large extent, based upon what Cain’s faithlessness looks like. What do we learn about faith?
HOW DOES IT APPLY?
1. Have you ever wondered about whether or not God is accepting your offerings? Explain.
2. What do you think God’s expectations are for our offerings?
3. What are we to offer to God? Money? Time? Talents?
4. Do you ever measure your faith against others? How could this appraisal be helpful? How could this assessment be harmful?
5. What would help you have a greater confidence in God’s acceptance through your faith?