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Sunday, July 5, 2015

"Legacy of Faith" by Sergio Arguello

A Legacy of Faith

Hebrews 11:4
By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

·      We will all leave a legacy
·      Some a legacy of faith
·      Others a legacy that’s not of much faith, but worldly, or of fear or selfishness
·      Abel’s faith continued to speak on his behalf long after he was dead.  It continues to speak to this day.  He left behind a legacy of faith, of great faith.
·      I want to be the type of person who by faith still speaks long after I am gone.
·      I want to leave behind a legacy of faith for my children, which is far more valuable than anything we could leave as an inheritance for them.
·      I want us to be able to delve into the specifics of why Abel’s faith was so highly praised so that we could understand and apply the heart and the principles of his faith into our lives.

Let’s start with a word of prayer (for God’s word to move our hearts to greater faith and obedience)

Genesis 4:1-17
Cain and Abel
Adam[a] made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.[b] She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth[c] a man.” Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”[d] While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
10 The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”
13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. 14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”
15 But the Lord said to him, “Not so[e]; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. 16 So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod,[f] east of Eden.
17 Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch.

This is one of the first recorded instances of fallen men going in to worship God; and it was a wonder of mercy that man was not cut off from a relationship with God by the fall. (2.) After the fall, God ordained that He must be worshipped by sacrifices, a way of worship which carries in it a confession of sin, repentance from sin, and a profession of faith in a Redeemer, who was to be a ransom for the souls of men. (3.) Interestingly, from the beginning, there has been a remarkable difference between worshippers. Here were two persons, brothers, both of whom went in to worship God, and yet there was a vast difference. Cain was the elder brother, but Abel was favored by God. It is not seniority of birth, but grace, that makes men truly honorable. The difference is observable in their actions: Abel was an upright person, a righteous man, a true believer; Cain was given to reason and rational thinking, he did not have a clear grasp of grace and faith and how they work together. It is observable in their actions: Abel acted under the power of faith; Cain only from reason or habit—minimizing his sacrifice to benefit himself, I would say out of a worldly conscience (worldly generosity). There was also a very observable differences in their offerings: Abel brought a sacrifice of atonement, brought of the firstborn of the flock, acknowledging himself to be a sinner who deserved to die, and only hoping for mercy through the great sacrifice; Cain brought only a sacrifice of acknowledgment, a mere thank-offering, the fruit of the ground, which might, and perhaps must, have been offered in ignorance with not much thought; there was no confession of sin, no regard to the ransom; this was an essential defect in Cain’s offering. There will always be a difference between those who worship the true God; some will offer and come to Him with lies, others will be faithful; some, like the Pharisee, will lean to their own righteousness; others, like the tax collector, will confess their sin, and cast themselves upon the mercy of God in Christ.

1.   Bring Your First and Best to God

Genesis 4:3-5
In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

2.   Gaining Acceptance From God

·      True saving faith:  Jesus is Lord!!  What does it mean?
·      Doing what is right.  How can I know?

Romans 10:1-4
Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

Romans 10:8-13
But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,”[a] that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”[b] 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”[c]

Romans 10:16-21
16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?”[a] 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. 18 But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did:
“Their voice has gone out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.”[b]
19 Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says,
“I will make you envious by those who are not a nation;
    I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.”[c]
20 And Isaiah boldly says,
“I was found by those who did not seek me;
    I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.”[d]
21 But concerning Israel he says,
“All day long I have held out my hands
    to a disobedient and obstinate people.”[e]

3.   Ruling Over Sin

·      Controlling my sinful impulses
·      Living by the spirit

Galatians 5:13-26
Life by the Spirit
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

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