THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

PROGRAM AIR DATE – 2-15-15

LESSON TITLE: “ABLE!”

WELCOME

TODAY WE ARE BLESSED WITH A WONDERFUL GIFT FROM GOD, THE BIBLE. THIS BOOK IS GOD'S LIVING WORD. IN ITS PAGES WE ARE TOLD “FOR THE WORD OF GOD IS LIVING AND POWERFUL AND SHARPER THAN ANY TWO-EDGED SWORD.” IT IS IN THIS BOOK OF BOOKS THAT WE FIND THE ANSWERS TO ALL OF MAN'S QUESTIONS AND NEEDS. THIS MORNING YOUR AREA CHURCHES OF CHRIST WELCOME YOU TO A PROGRAM COMMITTED TO THAT PERFECT LAW OF LIBERTY. AS WE PRESENT THE LIVING WORD. NOW HERE IS YOUR HOST RAY SULLINS.

WHAT A WONDERFUL LORD’S DAY IT IS, AS WE AGAIN GATHER TOGETHER BEFORE THE THRONE OF GOD TO WORSHIP OUR MAKER! WE ARE SO HAPPY THAT YOU HAVE CHOSEN TO BE WITH US TODAY AND TO GIVE THIS TIME TO THE LORD. IN FACT, IT IS OUR PRIVILEGE TO BE WITH YOU EVERY SUNDAY MORNING, AS WE CONSIDER TOGETHER, GOD’S LIVING WORD.

IT IS MY HOPE AND PRAYER TODAY THAT WE ARE ALL UPLIFTED IN OUR FELLOWSHIP TOGETHER. FURTHERMORE, I PRAY THAT WE WILL GLORIFY AND PRAISE OUR CREATOR IN THESE ACTS OF WORSHIP WHICH WE PARTICIPATE IN COLLECTIVELY AS THOSE WHO LOVE GOD. AS WE BEGIN OUR HOMAGE TO GOD ON THIS DAY, WILL YOU BOW WITH ME IN PRAYER!

PRAYER: OUR GOD AND FATHER IN HEAVEN, WE THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JESUS CHRIST, YOUR SON AND FOR THE GREAT GIFT THAT HE GAVE ON THE CROSS. HOW HE SHED HIS BLOOD AND WAS PLACED IN THE GRAVE, BUT ULTIMATELY HOW HE OVERCAME DEATH AND WAS RESURRECTED ON THE THIRD DAY. FATHER, WE KNOW THAT ALL BLESSINGS - BOTH SPIRITUAL AND PHYSICAL - HAVE BEEN GIVEN TO US THROUGH THIS GIFT. AND ULTIMATELY FATHER, WE KNOW THAT WE HAVE ALL THINGS BECAUSE YOU LOVE US. THEREFORE FATHER, MAY WE LIVE EACH AND EVERY DAY TO YOUR GLORY, TO YOUR PRAISE, THAT THE WORLD MIGHT KNOW YOU THROUGH US AND HAVE THE CHANCE AND OPPORTUNITY OF SALVATION AS WELL. HELP US AT THIS TIME TO WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH AS WE DO THOSE THINGS WHICH YOU HAVE ASKED OF US. IN JESUS NAME WE PRAY, AMEN.

WELL, I HOPE EVERYONE IS READY TO WORSHIP GOD IN SONG AT THIS TIME! WE WANT TO BEGIN WITH A CHALLENGING SONG WHICH REMINDS US OF OUR NEED TO STAND ON THE THINGS OF GOD AND TO FIND STRENGTH TO DO SO IN HIS WONDROUS PROMISES. SO, WON’T YOU JOIN IN WITH THE CONGREGATION AT THIS TIME AS WE SING TOGETHER, “STANDING ON THE PROMISES.”

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

ISN’T IT HARD TO BE SATISFIED WITH WHAT WE HAVE IN THIS LIFE? WE ALL HAVE CERTAINLY BEEN BLESSED BEYOND OUR UNDERSTANDING, HOWEVER, WE ALL ARE STILL GUILTY OF HAVING A HARD TIME BEING CONTENT.

HAVE YOU EVER NOTICE THAT IT SEEMS LIKE EVERY TIME WE GET SOMETHING NEW, WE SEE SOMETHING BETTER OR A NEW MODEL COMES OUT THE NEXT DAY. ALL OF THESE TYPES OF THINGS MAKE IT VERY DIFFICULT FOR US TO BE SATISFIED IN THIS LIFE AND THEREFORE WE FAIL TO BE CONTENT AS GOD WANTS.

REMEMBER WHAT PAUL SAID IN PHILIPPIANS 4:11, “…FOR I HAVE LEARNED IN WHATEVER STATE I AM, TO BE CONTENT:” WOW, THAT’S A TOUGH ONE ISN’T IT. THE REALITY IS THAT IF WE COULD EVEN LEARN TO COMPLETELY BELIEVE IN GOD AND FULLY TRUST IN HIM - GOD WILL ALWAYS PROVIDE OUR NEEDS. IN FACT, THAT IS WHY PAUL PREFACED HIS STATEMENT ABOVE BY SAYING, “NOT THAT I SPEAK IN REGARD TO NEED,”

BRETHREN AND FRIENDS, THERE WILL ALWAYS BE THOUSANDS OF THINGS WE WANT AND DESIRE IN THIS LIFE. BUT AS CHRISTIANS WE HAVE TO LEARN TO LOOK MORE TO GOD, TO BE THANKFUL FOR WHAT HE HAS BLESSED US WITH, AND TO SPEND OUR TIME AND ENERGIES ON THOSE THINGS WHICH PERTAIN TO ETERNAL LIFE. INSTEAD OF FOCUSING ON THINGS IN THIS LIFE WHICH ARE SIMPLY PERISHING. SO, JUST HOW CONTENT IN THIS LIFE ARE YOU WITH THE THINGS GOD HAS PROVIDED?

AS FAR AS OUR STUDY, WE WILL BE STARTING A NEW SERIES OF STUDY ENTITLED, “SO GREAT A CLOUD OF WITNESSES.” THE SPECIFIC LESSON OF THE DAY WILL DEAL WITH, “ABLE!” SO STAY WITH US AND AFTER OUR NEXT SONG TOGETHER, I WILL BE LEADING US IN THE MAIN THOUGHTS OF THE DAY. BUT FOR NOW LET’S JOIN TOGETHER IN OUR SECOND SONG OF THE MORNING. THE NAME OF THIS HYMN, “SWEET HOUR OF PRAYER.”

LESSON

BY RAY SULLINS

IF I WERE TO ASK YOU TODAY WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE BIBLE CHARACTER, WHAT NAME FIRST COMES TO YOUR MIND? WELL, THEY'RE ALL KINDS OF NAMES THAT COME TO MY MIND FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT. SO MANY BEAUTIFUL STORIES OF GREAT MEN LIKE NOAH, PERHAPS ABRAHAM, AND INDIVIDUALS LIKE JOSEPH WHO DID GREAT THINGS IN THE NAME OF GOD AND WHO STOOD STRONG ON HIS PRECEPTS AND PROMISES. WE THINK OF GREAT KINGS LIKE DAVID, AS WELL WE THINK OF GREAT PROPHETS. AND SO THERE MIGHT BE ANY NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS THAT YOU THINK OF AND I ALWAYS FIND IT FASCINATING THAT EVEN SOME INDIVIDUALS BEAR THE NAMES OF THESE VERY PROPHETS OR KINGS OR INDIVIDUALS FOUND IN THE BIBLE. WHY? BECAUSE PEOPLE LOVE THOSE BIBLE STORIES. AND AS WE MOVE TO THE NEW TESTAMENT WE FIND EQUALLY THOSE NAMES THAT WOULD STAND OUT. MANY THINK OF JOHN THE IMMERSER. OTHERS THINK OF PERHAPS ONE OF THE APOSTLES. IN FACT, MAYBE THINKING ABOUT THE APOSTLE PAUL OR THE APOSTLE PETER. IF I WERE TO ASK YOU WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE APOSTLE? THERE AGAIN WOULD BE MANY OPINIONS ON THOSE APOSTLES THAT WOULD STAND OUT BECAUSE OF THEIR FAITH OR THEIR WILLINGNESS TO REPENT OR BECAUSE THEY WERE CALLED THE ONE WHOM JESUS LOVED.

YOU SEE, THERE ARE ALL TYPES OF GLORIOUS AND BEAUTIFUL AND WONDROUS EXAMPLES OF THOSE WHO LOVED GOD ENOUGH TO DO HIS WILL THROUGHOUT THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS. AND THAT'S WHY WHEN WE COME TO OUR NEW SERIES TODAY WE BEGIN IN HEBREWS CHAPTER 12. AND WE LEARN SOMETHING FROM THE WRITER HERE ABOUT THOSE WHOM HE HAS BEEN TALKING ABOUT THROUGHOUT CHAPTER 11 THAT CERTAINLY SHOWS JUST HOW SPECIAL AND PRECIOUS THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE ARE. AS WELL, WHICH INDICATE TO US WHAT PAUL IN ROMANS AND IN OTHER PLACES HAVE SAID, THE SIGNIFICANCE AND THE IMPORTANCE OF THE LIVES OF THOSE WHO HAVE LIVED BEFORE US FAITHFULLY BEFORE GOD THAT WE MIGHT LOOK AT THOSE LIVES AND LEARN POSITIVE THINGS. AS WELL AS THAT WE MIGHT LOOK AT THOSE LIVES AND LEARN WHAT WE SHOULD NOT DO BECAUSE GOD MIGHT BE DISPLEASED WITH US AS WELL.

IF YOU'LL NOTICE WITH ME THEN IN CHAPTER 12 OF HEBREWS IN VERSE 1, HEAR THE WORDS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, “THEREFORE WE ALSO, SINCE WE ARE SURROUNDED BY SO GREAT A CLOUD OF WITNESSES, LET US LAY ASIDE EVERY WEIGHT, AND THE SIN WHICH SO EASILY ENSNARES US, AND LET US RUN WITH ENDURANCE THE RACE THAT IS SET BEFORE US.” THE SERIES THAT WE WANT TO LOOK AT TOGETHER WILL REALLY BE FOCUSED ON THE IDEA THAT IS FOUND HERE, “SO GREAT A CLOUD OF WITNESSES.” OH, WHAT AGAIN A BEAUTIFUL THOUGHT. ALL OF THOSE WONDERFUL FAITHFUL WITNESSES OF OLD THROUGHOUT ALL THE 66 BOOKS OF THE BIBLE THAT CHALLENGE US TO BE BETTER PEOPLE TO KNOW GOD BETTER AND TO BE BETTER SERVANTS. AND HOW PRECIOUS THEY ARE FOR THEY HELP US AS WELL, AS VERSE ONE SAYS, TO LAY ASIDE THE WEIGHTS AND THE SINS OF THIS WORLD AND THE FLESH IN ORDER THAT WE MIGHT BE ONE WHO IS FOCUSED ON THE RACE, WHO PREPARES HIS OR HERSELF. WHO MAKE SURE THAT THEY HAVE ACQUIRED AND GOT ALL THE NEEDED THINGS TOGETHER, WHO ALSO BUILD THEIR ENDURANCE, AND ALSO PREPARE IN THE SENSE OF MAKING SURE THAT THEY ARE READY FOR THAT RACE TO BEGIN.

BUT THEN AS THE RACE BEGINS THEY ARE OFF OF THE FINISH LINE AND THEY'RE HEADED TO THE END WHERE THAT BANNER AWAITS. THE FINISH LINE ITSELF TO CROSS IT FIRST THAT THEY MIGHT BE VICTORIOUS AND THAT THEY MIGHT RECEIVE THE GREAT CROWN. THE GREAT REWARD THAT IS PROMISED -THE PRIZE FOR THE ONE WHO HAS PROVEN HIMSELF TO BE WILLING TO ACCOMPLISH THE GOAL OR THE RACE THAT HAS BEEN SET. WELL, WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT TODAY IS THE CLOUD OF WITNESSES WHO ARE RUNNING THE RACE TOWARD THE CROSS OF JESUS CHRIST. THE RACE TOWARD SALVATION UNTO ETERNAL LIFE IN HEAVEN. THE RACE OF THOSE WHO HAVE PREPARED THEMSELVES AND READIED THEMSELVES AND BEGUN, TO NOT ONLY WALK, BUT TO RUN AND ACCOMPLISH THE TASK THAT GOD HAS LAID IN THE HAND OF THE FAITHFUL, THAT THEY MIGHT BE FOUND IN THE END AS THOSE WHO ARE DISCIPLINED ENOUGH TO BE RECIPIENTS OF THAT REWARD.

AND THAT'S WHY WHEN WE THINK ABOUT THE GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESSES, WE CONSIDER THEN WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT FROM HEBREWS CHAPTER 11. WITHIN THAT CHAPTER WE HAVE MANY, MANY EXAMPLES OF INDIVIDUALS OF GREAT FAITH. NO WONDER THIS CHAPTER IS OFTEN CALLED THE GREAT FAITH CHAPTER BECAUSE IT REALLY BEGINS IN THE BOOK OF GENESIS AND IT GOES THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE BIBLE. REMINDING US OF GREAT CHARACTERS OF FAITH FROM THE TIME THAT THE WORLD WAS CREATED UNTIL THE VERY TIME THAT JESUS CHRIST CAME TO THE EARTH.

WITH THAT IN MIND THEN I WOULD LIKE US TO BACKUP TO HEBREWS CHAPTER 11 AND WHAT WE WILL BEGIN TO DO TODAY IS NOT ONLY TO CONTINUE TO INTRODUCE THIS CHAPTER ITSELF BUT THEN WE WANT TO LOOK AT VERSE FOUR SPECIFICALLY. AND THEN IN THE FOLLOWING WEEKS WE WILL ACTUALLY BE LOOKING AT SPECIFIC CHARACTERS OF GREAT FAITH; WHAT MADE THEM FAITHFUL? FURTHERMORE, WHAT DID THEY DO WHICH CAUSED GOD TO SAY THAT THEY WERE WORTHY OF SUCH HONOR TO BE IN THIS CHAPTER AND HE NOTED AS HAVING BEEN OBEDIENT IN ALL THINGS TO HIS WILL. BECAUSE WE KNOW NO ONE IS PERFECT EXCEPT JESUS WHO LIVED ON THIS EARTH. AND WE KNOW THAT SIN HAS PLAGUED ALL OF GOD'S CREATION AND CONTINUES TO PLAGUE US, EVEN THOUGH WE LOVE HIM, YET WE HAVE THE BLOOD THAT WE MIGHT BE FORGIVEN OF IT. BUT HERE WE SEE INDIVIDUALS, DESPITE THOSE TRUTHS, WHO ARE ABLE TO STILL BE FOUND AS FAITHFUL AND PLEASING IN THE SIGHT OF GOD.

WHAT IS FAITH? IT'S MORE THAN JUST BELIEVING - FOR WE LEARN IN VERSE 1 THAT FAITH IS THE SUBSTANCE OF THINGS HOPED FOR BUT THE EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN. YOU AND I'VE NEVER SEEN THE FATHER HIMSELF. YOU AND I'VE NEVER SEEN JESUS CHRIST IN THE FLESH BUT YET WE BELIEVE, WE HAVE HOPE IN THOSE THINGS THAT WE HAVE NOT SEEN. AND WE FULLY BELIEVE THEM AS IF WE HAVE NEVER SEEN THEM. YOU MIGHT SAY WELL, WELL FAITH DOESN'T MAKE A LOT OF SENSE TO ME. MIGHT I SUGGEST THAT EVERY DAY YOU HAVE FAITH IN THINGS THAT YOU ARE NOT AWARE OF - HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE EVER BEEN TO AFRICA? WELL, SOME OF YOU MIGHT SAY I HAVE BEEN. HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE EVER BEEN TO BOTSWANA? WELL, THAT'S GOING TO NARROW THE GAP EVEN MORE ISN'T IT? I USED TO LIVE IN BOTSWANA. AND THEN LET ME ASK YOU - HOW MANY HAVE ACTUALLY BEEN TO A TOWN CALLED MAHALAPI BOTSWANA? WELL, THAT EVEN NARROWS IT EVEN MORE DOESN'T IT? WELL I CAN TELL YOU I'VE BEEN THERE AND IT EXISTS. YOU CAN BELIEVE IT. YOU CAN HAVE FAITH THAT IT EXISTS. AND YOU CAN EVEN ACT ON THAT BELIEF AND TELL OTHERS THAT IT'S THERE BECAUSE I'M AN EYEWITNESS AND I TELL YOU THAT CITY - THAT TOWN - EXISTS IN BOTSWANA, WHICH IS A COUNTRY FOUND IN SOUTHERN AFRICA.

WELL, YOU SEE HERE FAITH, THE SUBSTANCE, THE BELIEF OF THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN PROMISED THAT ARE HOPED FOR AND THE EVIDENCE OF THOSE THINGS. ALTHOUGH WE'VE NOT SEEN THEM BUT WE KNOW BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT THEY ARE REAL. FOR GOD HAS SAID AND EYEWITNESSES HAVE SAID AND THE POWER OF GOD HAS PROVED IT TIME AND TIME AGAIN THROUGHOUT ALL AGES AS WELL AS HAVE BEEN RECORDED THROUGH HIS WORD. IT IS THAT VERY KIND OF FAITH, IN WHICH IT SAYS HERE, THE ELDERS (VERSE 2) HAVE OBTAINED A GOOD TESTIMONY. THEREFORE, IF I WANT A GOOD TESTIMONY WHAT DO I NEED? I NEED FAITH. I NEED FAITH BECAUSE VERSE SIX OF THIS TEXT SAYS, WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD. YOU SEE, FAITH IS A REQUIREMENT. AND FAITH IS, AGAIN, MORE THAN JUST A BELIEF.

LAST WEEK WE MENTIONED THE VERSE FOUND IN JAMES CHAPTER 2 WHERE IT SAYS EVEN THE DEVILS BELIEVE - EVEN THEY TREMBLE AT THE THOUGHT OF GOD FOR THEY KNOW HE'S REAL. THEY BELIEVE THERE IS A GOD BUT THEY DON'T HAVE FAITH. THEY DON'T ACT ON THAT BELIEVE. THAT'S WHY JAMES SAID, YOU SHOW ME YOUR FAITH WITHOUT WORKS AND I'LL SHOW YOU MY FAITH BY MY WORKS. THAT'S WHY JAMES IN THE SAME CHAPTER - JAMES 2 - SAYS FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD. NOT BECAUSE WORKS WILL SAVE US. NOT BECAUSE WE CAN SAVE OURSELVES BY WORKS. BUT BECAUSE GOD'S PART IS GRACE AND HE DOES SAVE US. BUT OUR PART IS TO PROVE BY FAITH AND WORKS - THUS PROVING OUR FAITH. THUS PROVING OUR OBEDIENCE THAT WE LOVE GOD ENOUGH TO DO WHAT HE SAYS. WHAT GOOD ARE WE TO GOD AFTER ALL IF WE DON'T DO WHAT HE SAYS? IF WE ARE CHILDREN WHO ARE NOT OBEDIENT? YOU SEE, WE'RE NOT GOOD AT ALL. THEREFORE, WE HAVE TO DO WHAT GOD SAYS. AND MY FRIENDS, THAT'S WHERE FAITH COMES IN. IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD WITHOUT FAITH.

WE FURTHER KNOW THAT TO BE TRUE BECAUSE EVERY EXAMPLE IN HEBREWS CHAPTER 11 IF YOU'LL NOTICE BEGINS BY SAYING BY FAITH SO-AND-SO DID THIS. EVERY EXAMPLE - NOT A ONE OF THE NAMES THAT IS MENTIONED EVER SAYS BY FAITH THEY SIMPLY BELIEVED IN GOD AND IT WAS ACCOUNTED OF THEM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS. EVERY EXAMPLE SAYS BY FAITH NOAH BUILT THE ARK. BY FAITH ABRAHAM WENT TO A COUNTRY THAT HE DID NOT KNOW. YOU SEE - ACTION. THAT'S WHAT PROVED THEIR FAITH. THEY BELIEVED IN GOD BUT THEY WERE SET APART FROM MOST OF THE REST OF THE WORLD FOR THEY ACTED UPON THAT BELIEF AND THEY DID WHAT GOD COMMANDED. ISN'T THAT BEAUTIFUL TO KNOW THAT WE ARE THOSE OF FAITH? AND FAITH IS A PART OF WHAT WE MUST HAVE TO PLEASE GOD AND IT IS THAT VERY FAITH AND OBEDIENCE TO THE WILL OF GOD THAT WILL, THEREFORE, SAVE US BY AND THROUGH THE GRACE, MERCY, AND LOVE OF OUR CREATOR.

YOU SEE, IT'S THAT VERY FAITH THAT ALLOWS YOU AND I THEN, IN VERSE THREE OF HEBREWS 11, TO GO BACK TO GENESIS CHAPTER 1 AND TO READ THE CREATION. AND AS WE READ THE CREATION VERSE 3 OF HEBREWS SAYS, “BY FAITH WE,” YOU AND I, “UNDERSTAND THAT THE WORLDS WERE FRAMED BY THE WORD OF GOD, SO THAT THE THINGS WHICH ARE SEEN WERE NOT MADE OF THINGS WHICH ARE VISIBLE.” THAT GOD, BY THE WORD OF HIS MOUTH, MADE EVERYTHING THAT WAS CREATED; THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE BY SPEAKING THE WORD, AND IF YOU'LL NOTICE IN VERSE 3 IT SAYS FROM NOTHING. THERE WAS NOTHING VISIBLE, NOTHING THAT EXISTED, AND GOD CREATED ALL THINGS BY FAITH. WE BELIEVE THAT TRUTH.

BUT THEN AS WE LOOK THEN TO VERSE 4 WE HAVE OUR FIRST EXAMPLE. AND THIS IS ABLE. AND YOU MIGHT RECALL WITH ME THE STORY OF CAIN AND ABEL. THEY WERE SONS, IF WE GO BACK TO THE BOOK OF GENESIS BEGINNING THERE IN CHAPTER 4, OF ADAM AND EVE. IN FACT, THE FIRST CHILDREN OF THE FIRST CREATED COUPLE, ADAM AND EVE, THAT GOD HAD MADE AND PLACED WITHIN THE GARDEN. YOU MIGHT ALSO REMEMBER WITH ME THAT THERE WAS A PROBLEM IN CHAPTER 4 BECAUSE THERE WAS SOME JEALOUSIES. THEY BOTH HAD COME BEFORE GOD TO OFFER SACRIFICES BUT GENESIS CHAPTER 4 TELLS US THAT ABEL'S SACRIFICE WAS MORE EXCELLENT OR MORE ACCEPTABLE THAN THE SACRIFICE OF CAIN. AND YOU AND I KNOW HOW THAT EVENTUALLY CAIN KILLS HIS BROTHER BECAUSE OF JEALOUSY DESPITE THE FACT THAT GOD WARNS HIM NOT TO COMMIT THAT SIN. BUT THEN I WANT YOU TO NOTICE WITH ME WHAT IT WAS THAT MADE THE SACRIFICE BETTER. HERE'S WHAT THE HEBREW WRITER SAYS IN CHAPTER 11:4, “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.” WHAT IS IT THAT THE TEXT SAYS HERE WAS BETTER ABOUT THE SACRIFICE OF HIS OFFERING THAN THE SACRIFICE OF CAIN? TWO THINGS - FIRST OF ALL IT SAYS HE OBTAINED A RIGHTEOUS WITNESS. AND THEN SECONDLY IT SAYS THERE THAT GOD TESTIFIED OF HIS GIFTS. THERE WAS SOMETHING ABOUT HIS OFFERING THAT WAS BETTER, SOMETHING ABOUT THE GIFT THAT WAS MORE ACCEPTABLE, SOMETHING THAT WILL WAS MORE ACCEPTABLE IN THE SENSE THAT HIS WITNESS WAS SEEN TO BE RIGHTEOUS.

NOW, YOU AND I KNOW THAT WHEN WE OFFER SACRIFICES TO GOD THERE ARE BASICALLY TWO PARTS. JOHN 4:24 - WE MUST WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH. THAT MEANS NOT ONLY MUST WE BRING THE RIGHT SACRIFICE BUT WE MUST BRING IT WITH THE RIGHT ATTITUDE. WHAT DOES THAT TELL US ABOUT THE SACRIFICE OF CAIN? THERE WAS SOMETHING WRONG EITHER WITH HIS OFFERING IN AND OF ITSELF OR HIS ATTITUDE. IN OTHER WORDS, HE WASN'T WILLING TO GIVE OR WAS NOT WILLING TO GIVE THE BEST. OR PERHAPS, AS HE WAS GIVING OF HIS FIRST FRUITS, MAYBE HE DID NOT GIVE THE BEST OF HIS CROP. BY THE WAY, I'VE HEARD MANY SAY BEFORE THAT IT HAD TO HAVE BEEN THAT HE DIDN'T OFFER A MEAT OFFERING. WELL GO BACK AND READ, NOT ONLY THE PATRIARCHAL PERIOD, BUT THE LAW OF MOSES. AND THERE WAS EVEN AN OFFERING OF THE FIRST FRUITS. THE FIRST HARVEST THAT WAS BROUGHT TO GOD AND SACRIFICED.SO NOT ONLY WAS THERE MEAT OFFERINGS, THERE ALSO WERE OFFERINGS OF VEGETABLES AND FIRST FRUITS OF THE LAND. AND SO I'M NOT SO SURE THAT'S SPECIFICALLY WHAT IT WAS SAYING BUT THERE WAS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THAT OFFERING, WHETHER IT BE THE OFFERING ITSELF THAT HE PREPARED THAT WAS UNACCEPTABLE OR THE ATTITUDE BY WHICH HE OFFERED IT. AND BECAUSE OF THIS IT SAYS THAT ABEL'S OFFERING WAS MORE ACCEPTABLE, AND ABEL THEREFORE WAS SEEN AS RIGHTEOUS. THAT MEANS THAT CAIN WAS SEEN AS UNRIGHTEOUS.

NOW WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE CLOUD OF WITNESS HERE IN RELATIONSHIP TO ABEL? ABEL WAS A MAN OF FAITH WHO OFFERED THE PROPER OFFERING - THE RIGHT OFFERING IN ALL REGARDS TO WHAT GOD HAD REQUIRED - WHETHER IT WAS THE FIRST OR THE YOUNGEST BULL HE OFFERED THE RIGHT OFFERING AND HE HAD THE RIGHT ATTITUDE. AND THEREFORE, HIS OFFERING WAS FULLY ACCEPTED BY GOD AND HE WAS SEEN AS RIGHTEOUS. WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM WITH CAIN'S OFFERING? THERE WAS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE OFFERING ITSELF OR HIS ATTITUDE AND THEREFORE, HE WAS SEEN AS BEING RIGHTEOUS. I MIGHT ASK THE QUESTION, COULD THEY NOT HAVE BOTH HAD AN ACCEPTABLE OFFERING? THE ANSWER IS YES - BUT CAIN, FOR WHATEVER REASON, CHOSE TO OFFER AN OFFERING THAT WAS NOT ACCORDING TO WHAT HE HAD BEEN COMMANDED.

MAY WE RATHER BE LIKE ABEL, THOSE WHO KNOW WHAT GOD ASKS OF US, AND WHAT GOD COMMANDS OF US IN HIS WORD. AND THEREFORE, WE OFFER THE RIGHT OFFERINGS IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH KNOWING THAT WHEN WE DO SUCH, WE ARE RIGHTEOUS. AND THE RIGHTEOUS WILL NOT ONLY BE REWARDED IN THIS LIFE BUT ALSO REWARDED IN THE LIFE TO COME.

CLOSING COMMENTS

THANK YOU AGAIN FOR CHOOSING TO BE WITH US TODAY, IN GIVING THIS TIME TO GOD. I HOPE OUR TIME TOGETHER HAS BEEN AN ENCOURAGEMENT AND BLESSING TO ALL OF US. WE INVITE YOU BACK EVERY LORD’S DAY MORNING AT 7:30, AS WE COMMIT OURSELVES TO THIS OFFERING FOR GOD!

BUT FOR NOW, LET ME ASK IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS ABOUT TODAY’S LESSON? MAYBE, YOU WOULD LIKE A FREE TRANSCRIPT OR A CASSETTE TAPE OF THIS PROGRAM? POSSIBLY, WE COULD ASSIST YOU WITH FREE BIBLE MATERIALS OR CORRESPONDENCE COURSES? NO MATTER WHAT YOUR NEED IS, PLEASE CONTACT US AT THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS:

The Living Word 2540 N. Kansas Expressway Springfield, Mo. 65803

Many of these materials are also available on our website: That address is: www.thelivingwordprogram.com

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HOW WONDROUS IT IS TO HAVE SUCH GREAT EXAMPLES OF TRUE FAITH IN GOD’S WORD. MAY WE ALWAYS BE STUDENTS OF THE BIBLE THAT WE MIGHT KNOW WHAT TYPE OF FAITH GOD WANTS AND THAT WE MIGHT STRIVE TO BE FAITHFUL ACCORDING TO HIS WILL.