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ABEL: THE COST OF FAITH

Genesis 4/1-12;  Hebrews 11/1-4

INTRODUCTION:

Some concepts are difficult  to exaplain but that task is made easier if it’s possible to illustrate the explanation using the experience of others. The writer of this letter does that very well – especially when it comes to the issue of faith. He calls a  number of well-known OT characters to the witness stand.

REMINDER: We will miss the whole  point of this book and these study sessions if we don’t constantly remind ourselvs that everything is writen to a group of believers who were finding the Christianm life tough going and who were about to walk away from their faith in God and return to the Old Testament law.    Our challenge is to find out how Abel’s example illustrated a faith principle.                                                                               

[1] THE NATURE OF FAITH

a. What is faith? What does it look like? How is it expressed? Do I have enough? Do I have any?!!

b. v.1 “….being sure of what we hope for and being certain of what we do not see…”

d. What is the difference between “faith” and “presumption”?

e. Faith is NOT a strong wish or determined stubborn belief against all odds

f. The early chapters of Hebrews have numerous examples of unbelief and disobedience. As a group, pause and find one example. [You will find at least one in  chapter 3]

[2] THE FUNCTION O FAITH  (v.3) 

a. “By faith we understand….” Faith informs us about spiritual realities that are unseen by the naked eye & misunderstood by the unaided mind.

b.  2Kings 6/15-17.  Elisha was certain of what his servant could not see – he was so relaxed!!

c. Growing faith within us will see it effecting what we believe and how we act/conduct ourselves.

[3]  THE FAITH OF ABEL -  V.4

a. “By faith Abel offered….” Each son brought an offering – Abel’s was accepted – Cain’s wasn’t

b. The illustration is pointless if faith isn’t obvious to these Hebrew readers as they ponder the story of Abel. How is Abel’s faith seen in his offering? Righteous  living cost Abel his life. Can you see the relevance now? The writer is letting them know that  there is a cost attachd to faith. In fact that is what the whole chapter is teaching.

c. Abel’s offering pleased God but angered Cain. Nothing has changed. The world hates rightousness and rigtheous people.   READ John 15/18-25.  What is happening to the readers is exactly what Jesus said would happen. Read Hebrews 10/32-34.

[4] THE COST OF FAITH.

a. It cost Abel his life. That’s the price some of these redaers have already paid.

b. Death cannot silence t he testimony of a righteous and faith-filled life.

EXERCISE:

“…he still speaks to us by his example of faith”.

What does he say?

 What does he say to you?

What are we meant to hear?

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