Monday, October 12, 2015

Genesis 4 : True and False Worship

We are  currently  considering  the  key issues  of life as  they are presented to us in the book of origins – in Genesis.  These key issues of life   concern  the existence of God,   the  matter of creation, the nature of man and his place in creation, the  nature of marriage,  and the nature and impact of the fall of man   upon our life in this world.
The Judeo - Christian worldview on these matters  has largely dominated  the thought of the centuries in many parts of the world , but in the last 150 years these   key issues of life   have increasingly  received   alternative  explanations. The existence of  God,  the origin of the  universe, and of man,  and the fundamental   institution  of marriage   and the origin of evil  have all been questioned and re-explained in recent history.  

We now  approach   the fourth chapter of Genesis.  There is a very close connection between Genesis 3 and 4. 
·         In Ch. 3 we  find  the  explanation of  the beginning of sin in  the first man, and the consequences  of that : guilt, shame, avoiding God, blame shifting, a hard life lived under the curse.
·         In Ch. 4  we read of sin’s progress as it affects all mankind. Death had entered  the world, just  as God had previously  warned  Adam in  Gen. 2:17

Like  a deadly virus, sin contaminates, spreads and issues in death. From Genesis 3  we learn that  the sin problem is  manifested  primarily against God, but  we see  that  it manifests itself  also  against  our  fellow-man.  
We learn that the   one who has no fear of God, has no genuine respect for  his neighbour.
In Genesis 4 we  also find  the  first fulfilment of  the prophesied hostility  in Genesis 3:15—the enmity between the two seeds among men —the wicked seed, the offspring of the serpent  from the line  of   Cain,  and the righteous seed  of the woman, from the line of  Abel. Chapter 4  begins a typical pattern  shown to us in the Bible: The darkness (or evil) continually  seeks   to overcome the light, (i.e. wicked Cain kills righteous Abel) but it never manages  to do  so.  The evil one, the prince of darkness   perpetually  tries  to exterminate the godly seed  (cf. John 1:4)  and although it seems as if  at times  he  has  gained the upper hand, yet  he always finds himself  ultimately defeated and exposed  by  God.  The cross of Christ is  the greatest   example and illustration of this fact.  So also , even though  in Abel the godly seed is seemingly exterminated,  Eve, with God’s help is able to conceive  and give birth to a godly offspring, called Seth (4:25)

TRUE AND FALSE WORSHIP

One of the primary issues following  the fall  becomes  the matter  of sacrificial offerings. Sacrifices became one of the central observances of OT religion,  because  God ordered them to be performed as a  result of the guilt incurred by man in the fall. The sacrificial  offerings  were  foreshadowing  the substitutionary atonement (the taking away of sin)   that  Christ  would provide  in time. One thing is very clear from the outset.  These sacrificial offerings were  of no value without  a corresponding obedience to God  from the heart (cf.  Isa.1:11).
It is precisely here that the difference in the two seeds  begins to emerge. The difference is seen in the way in which they approach  God. It is a fundamental  difference  of approach  to  worship. This is the revelation of true  versus false worship. This  thought  may help us greatly as we are thinking about a special season of giving at Eastside  in October.  

From  this text  we  learn  that by faith Abel offered to God a more  acceptable sacrifice than  Cain”. God is to be worshipped by means of a sacrifice which is brought  by faith (cf. Heb. 11:4).  But what is  the nature  of this act of faith by which Abel’s offering was considered acceptable    and Cain’s not?


The  Lord’s Supper 

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