Where is it that so many go wrong? Most men boast in themselves and stack up their own credentials in order to try to earn favor with God, yet the truth is they are sinners and need Christ.
This is where so many go wrong, and some in this Church as well. You get discouraged, you get upset, you get frustrated; Why? Because your looking at yourself. That is not what faith is about. Faith is about saying, “What is God”? What has He promised? He’s a rewarder. He’s given promises of reward if we will come to Him. But oh how many Cain’s are in this world. That even when they know God bids them, come without price, and I’ll accept you. But men, men would rather go to Hell than come broken to God.
They would rather go to Hell than coming needy.
They would rather go to Hell than admit they’re wicked, sinful, vile…
Doesn’t the Proverb say, “Everybody is quick to proclaim their own righteousness.” You go out in these streets and you evangelize, and what do you find door after door?
I can remember going to one place in Stockdale, Texas; [I’m talking to a man] about the Lord, and he says, “I’m a Deacon”. What does that matter?
I can remember talking to somebody, and they said,”Well, I sing on the choir.” I mean, what are you doing, your stacking up your credentials. Your a sinner. You need Christ! That’s faith. Faith to believe not that somehow I’ve repented enough or believed enough. Faith isn’t about me. It’s about who God is. And as soon as we get involved in looking at how well we’re believing, it’s not about Him anymore. It’s about “me,” and how well I am doing something. How well I am making this offering like Cain sought to make the offering.
You have to recognize that Cain believed there was a God. He talked with Him. He brought a sacrifice to Him. Cain believed there was a God. Cain brought a sacrifice to God. Cain went to Hell. That sound like something in Scripture? Like Matthew 7:23 maybe? That’s critical because the same thing can happen right here. You come to Church. You own a Bible. You sing a song. You put money in the offering box. And you go to Hell. That’s what Matthew 7:23 is showing us.
You think about prayer. We pray. You know you can get down on your knees, the posture looks great, you can speak the words. Can you think of anybody in Scripture that was praying but Christ said, it wasn’t accepted? How about a Pharisee there in Luke 18. See you can go through all the actions and in the end; “I prayed.” And you can look at it, “I prayed” I mean, Lord, “I prayed”. And you can feel like, “I prayed” Lord. Versus coming and looking to the God who promised to answer prayer. You see, I’m not depending on the prayer, I’m depending on the One who answers prayer.
Here’s the Tax Collector, he won’t even look up. Our prayers don’t have to be good, they don’t have to be eloquent, because again; faith is all about God is, and that He is a rewarder. It’s about God being real and a rewarder. It’s about who God is. It’s about the excellence of who God is.
You see what happens when I come in prayer, it’s like, “Lord I don’t know how to pray,” all you do is groan, your just letting these sighs out; there’s no eloquence, there’s no anything. Your not in a perfect posture, your laying out on your bed, and you just feel worn and weary, and you don’t feel like anything, and you feel like a failure. And all you can do is groan before God. But your hope is that God who said “I answer prayer,” “Pray in my Son’s name and it will be done.” And your just praying Lord, “You said that You would answer, You said!” You see? Now it’s different. It’s not about my offering. It’s about the God behind that It’s the God that I want to plug into.
It’s just like repentance; people are saying, “I’m trying to repent, and God won’t save me”. Yeah, but you see, your repentance is too much about yourself. You will never truly repent, just like you will never truly pray, just like you will never truly live in a way that pleases the Lord, until it is all about who God is.
You see when Job sees who God is, he repents in dust and ashes. He suddenly becomes aware of God. That’s what pleases the Lord. and that’s obviously what Cain did not have but what Able did have. And that’s why it was accepted. It was accepted because Abel needed God. Abel was trusting the Lord. Abel was looking for God to provide something, and to be kind to him, and accept him though a sinner he was.
Cain was coming in a very self righteous attitude which is shown by his anger. Shown by the fact that he did not want to bend even [to] God’s appeal to now come back, and try again, and do it well. No, i’d rather kill my brother, and leave the presence of the Lord than heed even this invitation to try to do it all over again and do it right. I want to do it my way. I think the way I did it was just fine enough.
This is the whole thrust of this chapter that’s coming up before us. It’s a confidence of that which is unseen. It’s that which you and I have not beheld. There’s a city out there not made with hands, there’s a prize out there, the Christ Himself. We haven’t seen Him, we love an unseen Christ.