Questions for Littles: Who offered to God a sacrifice by faith (v4)? Whose sacrifice was it more excellent than? What else did he obtain through the faith displayed in the sacrifice? Who testified about his offerings? What does Abel still do, even though he is dead? By what was Enoch taken away (v5)? What didn’t Enoch see? What witness did Enoch have about himself? Without faith, what can’t we do to God (v6)? What two things must we believe about God? Of whom is He a rewarder? Of what had Noah been warned (v7)? What did he move with, by faith? What did he prepare? For whose saving did he prepare it? Whom did this condemn? Of what did he become an heir instead?In the second half of this week’s sermon text, we began to hear about the people of old and their faith.
The first example is Abel. By faith, he offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain? We know from other Scriptures what his believing offering looked like. He gave of his first and best. And he offered the same kind of sacrifice that God had done, in order to clothe them with animal skins.
All of that to say is that: (a) he treated God as real and rewarder (cf. v6), and (b) he treated God Himself as his greatest reward. As v4 points out, we can be certain that Abel was counted righteous through this faith, because God Himself witnesses and testifies to it.
The next example is Enoch, from Genesis 5. This verse gives us the Holy Spirit’s own authoritative interpretation of what Gen 5:22-23 mean when they tell us that Enoch “walked with God.” That is to say: he pleased God, because he knew that God is real and that God is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Finally, Noah believed that God is real. Real enough and angry enough that if He says to build an ark to save his family, Noah’s going to spend a century doing it! When it says that he “condemned the world,” it doesn’t just mean that “he made the world look bad.” We can tell this, because v7 follows that phrase up by saying that Noah “became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” In other words, Noah valued something as being even better than the whole cosmos.
What did Noah look for to become his inheritance? The same thing (One!) of whom Enoch’s entire life was a walking with Him. The same thing (One!) who was so valuable to Abel that he gladly did away with the first and best of his flock for him.
I hope you have seen where this is going, dear reader. The faith that is being described in this chapter—the faith in which we persist, unto salvation—is faith that takes God at His Word, that believes that He is real, and that believes that He rewards those who give themselves to seeking Him. This faith counts God Himself as His own greatest reward.
Is He that to you?
If God Himself is His own greatest reward for you, how does that change how you spend your time? Your money? What you want out of life?Suggested Songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly I Am with You” or HB126 “In Sweet Communion”