Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – October 11, 2015
Theme: Heroes of Faith
Topic: The Acceptable Offering
Main Texts: Genesis 4:1-16; Leviticus 2:1-11
Key Verse: 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.” (NIV)
Last Sunday we commenced our studies on the theme Heroes of Faith with the topic Faith on Trial. We noted the following foundational principles of faith:
Faith must start with acceptance of the Bible’s account of the creation, which has come under severe challenge by man’s desire to rationalise all we are told
Just as man creates machines whose capabilities are limited by the designer’s choices, God has created man to have limited understanding of His (God’s) works
Man can and should pursue knowledge, but accept that God has not revealed all there is to man, and an attempt to propound theories that challenge God’s position on this amounts to seeking to live without faith.
This Sunday we will be studying the first Bible characters mentioned in the roll call of the “Heroes of Faith” – Cain and Abel, under the topic “The Acceptable Offering”. We are all familiar with the story, but the reason God accepted Abel’s offering and rejected Cain’s is hardly discussed. We will examine this story again and learn something about giving acceptable offerings to God. Key learning points to share with the group include the following:
An offering to God is supposed to be an expression of our implicit faith in Him and complete submission to Him
We offer various offerings to Him – money, materials, time and praise and worship. It is possible to offer any of these to God unacceptably.
Offering of our first fruits to God has a special place in His heart and brings His special blessings
What is in an offering? In many cultures, it is expected that when you visit one to whom you pledge allegiance, you take with you a decent gift. We do this for our parents too, when we visit them. Such gifts are not necessarily to meet some need of the recipient; indeed, quite often, the recipient either already has something like we are giving him, or he could easily have afforded it if he needed it. We give the gifts anyway because they symbolise something of far greater worth than the gifts themselves. It is the same when we bring our offering to God – we are making statements.
a) What statements are we making when we bring our offerings to God?
The Bible tells us that God was pleased with Abel’s offering but was not pleased with Cain’s. The reason for His displeasure with Cain’s offering is not stated. Some have suggested that it was because God only accepted animal offerings. This is however not Scriptural because God later instructed that the first fruits of the Israelites’ agricultural produce be brought to Him – see Numbers 18:12. The issue, it would seem, is that what Cain brought as his offering was not the best. We are told: “Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD”, and that “Abel also brought an offering – fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock”.
We may not know why God places so much value on first fruits, but it is fair to say that every human being feels something special when he receives the first fruits of his labour – the first salary from a new employment, the first crop harvest from the farm, the first sale of a trader’s merchandise, etc. For one to give away to God what had been so eagerly awaited is certainly an expression of faith and submission to Him.
b) Why might each of the following we offer to God be unacceptable to Him?
1. Money (See Matthew 23:23)
4. Praise/worship (See Mark 7:7, Luke 6:46)
Read the story of the poor widow in Mark 12:41-44. A Christian man whose wife was hospitalised, awaiting an expensive surgical procedure, was trying to raise 100,000 Nigerian Naira for the procedure. He had only 10,000 Naira and so had a long way to go. Lying next to his wife’s bed in the hospital was another lady whose condition was not as grave as his wife’s and only needed 10,000 Naira. The Christian man, moved by the Holy Spirit, gave the 10,000 Naira he had to this other woman.
c) What are the key elements of an offering that God would accept and commend?
Father, I desire to always give an offering that you accept and commend. Show me whatever issues you have with my offerings, and help me give in a way that delights you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.