Greetings MOL Family! In today’s class, we will conclude lesson one of this country living series. To read the first part of this study, click here. We pray that you have been blessed with the information shared thus far, and that you will share this blessing with other families! Maranatha!
–A More Excellent Sacrifice–
Cain lost his soul right there by the gate of Eden; in country living, raising crops, my friends. He wasn’t playing the ponies or running to the night clubs. He was farming, and he lost his way. But there is something there for you and I to study. There was nothing wrong with either altars, and nothing wrong with the gifts of the fruit. God told them to bring the first fruits, but He also told them to bring the lamb.
Now turn to Hebrews 11:4, we’re going to read something wonderful. What are the first 2 words? – “By faith”. What’s the next word? – Able. We found him over in the 4th chapter of Genesis, now we find him in the 4th verse in Hebrews 11.
By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaks. – Hebrews 11:4
Oh, I love this verse, don’t you? By faith Abel offered a what, what kind of a sacrifice? – A more excellent. Why was it more excellent? — For at least 2 reason. First he did what God told him to do. He was obedient. Second, it was a lamb that died, and God accepted that offering because he said it was offered how? — By faith, thank the Lord!
Now, when Abel came with that offering he recognized that he was in what condition, what did he need? — He was a sinner and he needed a what? — Savior. Did he stay in that sinful condition? How do you know? What does this verse say? — He was righteous, was he? You mean a sinner can be made righteous by country living? – No, not by country living.
The opportunities are here, but the salvation is in the dying lamb my friends. What did Abel do before he killed that lamb? – He put his sin upon it as he laid his hands upon it. He said, “This lamb is for me, this lamb is my substitute. I lay my sins upon this lamb”. Did Abel recognize that the lamb in itself couldn’t take away his sins? That’s the reason his actions were by faith. He looked forward to the real Substitute, the Lamb of God.
And he was righteous when he got up and left that altar is that right? How did Abel know that he was? God said so. He sent the fire from heaven to testify that that offering was accepted. The same God that in the sanctuary at Sinai sent the fire from Heaven on the altar of burnt offering, as they began their work; gave the fire there in the garden of Eden’s gate as Able brought his offering. Did Cain like it?
What eventually happened to Abel because of this? — He lost his life. Was it worth it? Yes. I want to ask you something friends. Are we entering a time when some parts of the world where a man risks his life to lay hold of this message? There are people being martyrs today. Will there be more in the future? Who was it that killed Abel? — His brother. They went to the same church.
Oh, my friends, could it be possible that unless I go Abel’s road I’ll end up going Cain’s road? We’re living in the time when every plant is going to seed. It’s dangerous to cherish one bit of the spirit of Cain. It may make us to be murderers of the people of God. It’s dangerous to cherish hatred and malice. It’s dangerous before that to cherish doubt, criticism, and fault-finding. All this was in Cain. And back of that and before that, it’s dangerous to do things different from what God says. It’s dangerous to trust in our human works and make for ourselves a human substitution. Our only hope is in Jesus, dear ones.
I lay my sins on Jesus,
The spotless Lamb of God;
He bears them all and frees us
From the cursed moment;
I bring my guilt to Jesus
To wash the crimson stain;
White in His blood most precious,
Till not one spot remains.
Oh, my friends, remember: Cain and Abel’s testimony is clear. Their experience tells us plainly that it’s not enough. Growing crops won’t save us. Growing lambs won’t save us. It’s what we do with the crops and what we do with the lambs that make the difference. It’s what we do with these opportunities. Abel obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying to his gift. And by it he being dead yet what? — Speaks. You remember the echo of that in the voice in Revelation 14:13? There’s something written for martyrs today under the 3rd Angels’ message:
…Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. – Revelation 14:13
It is worth being a martyr if we die like Abel did? And not all the martyrs are hit with a sword or the club. Some are hit with the tongue. Do you know what killed Bro. James White? The prophet said he died of a broken heart because of the criticisms and fault-findings of his brethren broke his heart, and that’s what killed him. Oh, that God may tell us to take that sword of the tongue and put it in its sheath and never use it on one of God’s children. I repeat, friends, unless we’re willing to be martyrs with Abel we’ll end up being murderers with Cain. All the world is soon to get ready to try to kill the people of God all in one night, aren’t they? And you know who’ll be leading the pack in some of those? — Our former brethren.
When Jesus was telling His disciples about the sifting and the shaking that was just ahead of them there in that upper room; as he foretold the fact that one would betray Him, what did one after the other disciples say? – “Lord, is it I?” Is that a good question for us to ask? If there is in our hearts one bit of animosity, can Jesus get it out? If there’s one bit of criticism and fault-finding can Jesus can get it out? If we’ll come and bring our lamb, and who is the lamb? – Jesus; and place our sins on Him and tarry as we see Him die for us on the cross, we can receive what Abel received. We can experience what Abel experienced. We can be made righteous if we’ll just let Jesus change our hearts as we do what He tells us to do. In other words friends, when we do what He tells us to do; He’ll do what we ask Him to do. He’ll change our hearts.
Cain, the first murderer, he started as a farmer – that was good, but he ended up building the first city. Do you know why? He got a city mind before he built the city. People have a vision they have plans. The reason Cain built that city because he had the city mind. It’s possible to get it in the country. TV is helping millions to have a city mind even when they live out among the birds and flowers. Oh brothers and sisters, let’s ask God to keep us from that city mind.
We focus on the fact that while the book of Genesis makes clear that God’s beautiful plan for God’s children is to live in the country, that living in the country itself won’t save anybody. Cain learned to murder there in the country, not in the city. Where did he learn to disobey God? He learned it in the country, not in the city.
Being in any rural location won’t save a single boy or girl or man or woman. Let’s fly to the gate of the garden. Let’s kneel there by the Cherubim. Let’s come to God’s altar and place our lamb upon it, what do you say?
Our precious Lord, like Abel we come to the gate of the garden. Like Abel we see the Cherubim. Like Abel we build the altar. Like Abel we bring our lamb — Jesus the dear Son of God. Like Abel we lay our hand on that dear head and confess our sins. Like Abel we pity our own righteousness, and trust to our Substitute and surety.
Oh we thank Thee that for us as for Abel there is righteousness by faith. Righteousness by faith in the shed blood of Jesus whose substitution of the dying lamb is for us. Oh we’re glad Lord it’s worth so much, it’s worth being martyrs if we need to be.
And help us that not one shall go in the way of Cain. Take from our hearts every bit of malice, faultfinding, back-biting. Take from our hearts every bit of presumption, every bit of cherishing the Laodicean quality of being content with our own righteousness, which are filthy rags. Oh God, deliver us from the presumption of Cain.
May this glad joy of Abel make us recognize that Christ is our Leader, our Guide, our Commander, our Savior, our Redeemer, our Sacrifice, our Atonement. We thank Thee in His blessed name, Amen.
Next week, we will continue with our rotation of the Christian Home classes. Don’t forget to invite at least two other families to join us, as we will be studying the home sanctuary.
Until then – Maranatha!
Did you know that we have more online classes available (and posted daily)?
- Country Living
- Courtship & Marriage
- The Christian Home
- Child Guidance
- Army of Youth
- The School of Health
- Other Present Truth Studies
* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.