Published in the weekly bulletin of the church of Christ at Elkins on May 25
The BIBLE says that God accepted Abel’s offering of worship but rejected Cain’s offering (Gen. 4:4-5). Cain got angry and God said to him, “If thou doest well, shall thou not be accepted?” (v. 7) This question impresses upon us the fact that God holds the right to accept or reject our worship unto Him. This principle shows us as long as we follow God’s instructions and we are obedient unto Him, He will accept our worship. This question also teaches that what pleases man may not necessarily please God!
Many people in religion labor under the false assumption that God’s feelings are geared to their feelings, and this was Cain’s mistake. The way that man feels is no proof that God feels that same way at all! (Isa. 55:8) (I Cor. 1:25) This question proves that God’s acceptance of man’s worship unto Him depends solely upon him doing God’s will! (Eccl. 12:13)
It pleases many in the Lord’s church today to extend fellowship perimeters in order to grow! Shall we extend the right hand of fellowship to those outside the body of Christ (denominational groups)? Paul answered that question: “Have no fellowship with unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph. 5:11).
It pleases many in the Lord’s church today to enhance worship by clapping hands, praise teams, women participation in services, dividing the church into groups and worship at home, entertainment in worship services and the starting of satellite churches. There is not one grain of biblical authorization for all these activities.
Today those who are worshipping God according to His will are doing so in conformity to the New Testament pattern which includes: (1) Praying (John 16:23) (2) Preaching and teaching God’s word (Acts 20:7) (3) Lord’s Supper (acts 20:7) (4) Giving (I Cor. 16:2) (5) Singing without mechanical instruments (Eph. 5:19) (6) Being faithful (Heb. 10:25).
God’s question to Cain strikes at the very heart of false worship -- that which pleases man may not please Him! What does it require to have acceptable worship? The BIBLE says “do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with thy God” (Micah 6:8). Walking with God is walking in His will (Luke 1:6). God’s acceptance of Abel’s worship and rejection of Cain’s worship was not due to favoritism but was a result of Abel’s obedience! (Heb. 11:4)
Acceptable worship is according to right attitude, done in right way, and according to truth (John 4:24). God never said, worship me any way you please. If our worship is not done according to God’s standard, it will not be accepted!