6th January 2023
Read Genesis 4:1-9 and Hebrews 11:4
Message Alan Burke
Abel's life was taken from him unjustly by his brother Cain, he began the first in a long line of martyrs who would die for their faith in Christ but there are two ways in which he still speaks. Firstly the wonderful way he still speaks is that the testimony of Abel still continues to go out the world around. To all all who read and know what is written in about Abel know his part in the church and his voice is part of the church that rest in heavenly glory. Millions of people have been impacted by the faith of this man who became the first martyr in church history. He was not a perfect man, today the message that is conveyed by Abel is not "be like Abel" No. Instead it is as all of Scripture has been pointing to, to look to Jesus, to have faith in him, for He is the author and the object of our faith.
The other way in which Abel still speaks is given to us in Genesis, which Revelation also conveys. For when God confronted Cain about the murder of Abel, 10 The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground” (Gen 4:10). The blood of Abel appealed to God for vindication, his blood cried out for justice. In Revelation 6:9-111 we are told of the Martyrs of the faith who before the coming Judgment cry out with a loud voice asking How long will the Lord refrain form judging and avenging our blood on those who live on the earth (Rev 6:10). But remember that Christ’s blood speaks better than the blood of Abel, crying out to the Father for forgiveness (Heb 12:24).
Abel like all of us one day will die, we may not be martyred for faith in Christ, I sincerely hope that Northern Ireland doesn’t degenerate that quickly but my hope may be unfounded, none of us ever thought we would see half the stuff we see in our lifetimes. But although Abel’s body lies in the ground he like the souls of all believers are at their death made perfect in holiness, (Heb. 12:23) and do immediately pass into glory; (2 Cor. 5:1,6,8, Phil. 1:23, Luke 23:43) and their bodies, being still united to Christ, (1 Thess. 4:14) do rest in their graves, (Isa. 57:2) till the resurrection. (Job 19:26–27). (WSC37). By faith the one who trusts in Christ will find that doing so has not been misguided.
For Jesus Christ is the saviour and friend of sinners and although we do not see Him, we believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. My dear brother or sister, rejoice today at the precious faith that the Spirit has worked in your soul. By that faith you will receive your commendation. Many of us have a hard time accepting that what matters is faith but it is by faith that we are saved, but it is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. The faith Abel had was in Christ, they way that all those who were listed here were saved was by Christ, they only faith that saves is in Christ! For every believer it is by faith alone in Christ alone that we are saved. We often fall into the trap of thinking that it is about us, that it is reliant on how well we are doing, like the more I read my bible the more God loves me, the more I do the right things the more that God will love me, the more that I do this, don’t do that, the more I try the more I believe the right stuff, the more, the more, then the more God will accept me. The only way that we are accepted before God is through faith.
How are any of us commended before the Lord, For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Rom 1:17). Abel was a justified sinner, a man made right by his faith, only through faith could he offer sacrifices God that were acceptable. Don’t miss the issue with Cain, he was the first man who was relying on religion, on his works, he was a man who outwardly may have had all the appearances but the issue was his heart.
Q43 What is the preface to the ten commandments?
The preface to the ten commandments is in these words, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. (Exod. 20:2)