"For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God." — 2 Cor. 4:15

March 5, 2017

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken,
let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,
for our “God is a consuming fire.”
HEBREWS 12:28

This coming Sunday, Kenny Clark will preach from Genesis 4, as we see the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin play out in a very personal way. And one important takeaway is that there is a way to worship God acceptably.

Consider these thoughts from Ray Ortlund distinguishing between the worship of Cain and of his brother Abel.

Both Cain and Abel worshipped the Lord. Both brought Him offerings. But the Lord rejected Cain’s worship and accepted Abel’s. Why?

Not because Abel’s was blood-offering while Cain’s was “of the fruit of the ground.” The law authorized grain offerings.

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.
HEBREWS 11:4

Hebrews 11:4 tells us that Abel’s worship was acceptable to God because it was “by faith.” And “whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” HEBREWS 11:6

Acceptable worship throbs with a heart-conviction that God is real and rewarding.

Cain did not worship God with the psychology of faith. His gift was safe. “Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground.” GENESIS 4:3 He worshipped God out of the income from past labors.

Abel worshipped God with the psychology of faith. His gift was risky: “Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions.” GENESIS 4  He gave to the Lord from his breeding stock and from their best parts. He worshipped God out of his chances for the future, out of his capital.

When God rejected Cain’s worship, he took his anger out on his brother. Murder in the cathedral (T. S. Eliot). The beginning of the divide between the true and false people of God who otherwise mingle together.

It is good to run from safe, no-risk worship. It is good to worship God with a practical demonstration that He alone is the future our hearts will be happy with.

Let us offer to God acceptable worship.

Ask this very real and rewarding God to meet us powerfully through acceptable worship this coming Sunday. May your heart be prepared to enter into the throne of grace by faith during that time, and that as a result, personal transformation will take place.

Categories: Sermon Prep (LM)

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