Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Levi Lusko » Levi Lusko - God's Love Language

Levi Lusko - God's Love Language

Levi Lusko - God's Love Language
TOPICS: Pioneer Series, God's Love

We're going to be in Hebrews chapter 11. That's where we're going to be. You can just turn there every single week because that's where we're focused on in this Pioneer series. We begin with a photo. This is Johannes Gutenberg, one of, no doubt, the most significant figures in human history. Johannes Gutenberg changed the world in ways that few people ever have or will. He invented the movable type printing press, 1455. Before that point, books were all made by hand. You had to literally get a scribe and copy. Every copy was one of one. It's a unique thing. So no two copies were identical because there was no easy way to make them. And so a book, if it was made at all, was made by hand. And so that made them extremely expensive, difficult to get your hands on. And most people in that day were poor and illiterate anyway.

And so only the wealthy could even have a book. And Gutenberg really sought to bring books to people, to unleash the ability to scale the production of books. And so that's exactly what he did. But that also paved the way for what we know of as modern media. We, today, can read the news. Not only can we go buy newspapers or have them delivered to us and find out what is happening in the city we live in and in the country we live in, in the world we live in. But we also now, of course, have how the internet at our disposal to hear breaking news. But it wasn't always the case. People relied on those who would town criers, who would tell the news. You'd have to hear someone actually tell, physically, the news of what was happening in the world. But because of Gutenberg's printing press, you could not only use that same technology to make a whole book, but you could also produce what was called a single sheet, or a flyer.

In German, the translation of how they referred to these was literally breaking news. He made it possible to quickly disseminate information, one sheet of paper made, the plates made. And now you could batch out. And they could distribute these flyers, these handbills, with all the news going on at that time. And that changed the game in incredible ways, right? It was the ChatGPT of its time. And out of all the things that he chose, when he finally got it right, 1455, and made this movable type printing press, you know the first book ever printed was the book that we've come to study, the Bible.

The first book ever made on his printing press was 180 copies of the scriptures, the Gutenberg Bible, printed in Latin, the language that the Bible was kept in at that point. He made the first few copies of his Bible on animal skin. And then someone in China had invented paper. And someone in Italy began distributing this new paper. And so he got himself some of that. And the final editions were made in paper. And there are still today, Smithsonian and elsewhere, copies of and pages from the Gutenberg Bible. And the world truly has never been the same. Because of the ability, though, to have these single sheets distributed, right around that time, another instance of lightning striking took place, as another pioneer saw the potential in Gutenberg's printing press. And that man's name was Martin Luther.

Of course, we know of him as the Father of the Protestant Reformation. And he, in more ways, lived a life of lightning striking, both because he almost died in a thunderstorm, and he was so scared as thunderbolts were hitting all around him that he vowed to God, if you save me, if I don't die in this, I promise I will abandon my career being a lawyer, which I was going to, and I will instead become a pastor. I'll become a priest. And so true to his promise, after he got through that alive, he kept his promise and enrolled at a monastery to become a priest. But as he began to study, he learned in Latin, was able to read the scriptures. He was able to actually see what God's word said. And he was so confused because the teachings of the church, the Catholic church that he grew up in, were so different than what he read in scripture.

When it came to matters of faith, matters of how to rightly relate to God, his understanding of all of these things, it was like a Pinterest fail, the Oscar the Grouch cookie. It's like, wait, this isn't, or Cookie Monster cookies. This is not what I'm reading in scripture. Because the church's official position on matters, where you could pay to sin, you could pay to play. Literally, indulgences were being sold. You could actually purchase in advance sins you hadn't gotten around to yet. And he's like, that's, like, super gnarly. And he was collecting these issues that were not right. The church had gotten out of sync with what Jesus had taught. The worst part, though, no one could do anything about it because no one in the churches knew because no one could speak Latin. They spoke German. They spoke English. They couldn't speak. And the Bible was only in Latin.

And so there was a disconnect. And what we call the Reformation, or his breaking off from the Catholic church, was a seeking to get back to what the church was when Jesus ascended to heaven. He wasn't trying to do a new thing. He was trying to do an old thing. And this 95 Theses that has gotten so much attention was an example of an instance of Gutenberg's technology being harnessed for his one-page leaflet with 95 things that are corrupt in the church that need to get back on track, nailed to the Wittenburg door, was distributed by the hundreds of thousands. And everyone everywhere could read this thing. And by the way, there's this, we don't have to be scared of new technology. There is such a massive great tradition from the Bible being first thing printed by Gutenberg, to Billy Graham breaking through and using radio to broadcast his crusades.

We started our church, Fresh Life Church, in 2007, the same year that the world got an iPhone and Twitter broke loose and Facebook got opened up to anybody with an email address. And you know what? We have watched God use these technologies for his glory. And we believe that he will continue to. In fact, I wrote this whole talk using AI. No, I'm joking. I did not. I didn't. I didn't. But lightning struck, as people all around the world had their eyes opened to faith and approaching God, accessing his grace, as Martin Luther, like Gutenberg, was a pioneer.

Well, today we've come in our series to the life of a man who pioneered worship. He pioneered worship. And the title of my message is God's Love Language. Hebrews 11, verse 4, his name is Abel, and this is his story. "By faith, Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts. And through it, he, being dead, still speaks". The year was 1992. I was 10 years old. And you have the release of a book by a pioneer counselor turned author. And the book was called The five Love Languages. And Gary Chapman, who released this book, had been a counselor, had been counseling marriages, and had kept notes on some of the things that caused great friction and great problems for his entire practice when he would talk to a husband and when he would talk to a wife.

And he sort of realized there was a disconnect because you had all of these spouses going like, I'm trying to love my husband. I'm trying to. And then him going, well, what do you do? Well, I do this. I do this. I do this. I do this. I do this. I do this. And then him talking to the other spouses, they go, they never do anything for me. They never do anything for me. Well, they said they did this and this and this. Yeah, but they never talk to me. But I buy this. And I buy this, and he started to realize it's like if you were talking in Latin, but someone only spoke German, that love, it seems, has languages. And of course, you've seen them, come across them. If you haven't, you should. Here are the five love languages as told by Gary Chapman, acts of service, physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, and receiving gifts.

So it's no use if you're fluent in one, but your spouse speaks another one. It might seem to them that you do nothing to love them if you're not speaking the language that they are fluent in. We had a little reminder of this a while back because we were on our podcast. My wife and I were talking to someone. And I sort of just said, Jennie doesn't like flowers because they were talking about getting flowers from their spouse. I go, Jennie doesn't even like getting flowers. And she stopped me and goes, actually, I do. And I was like, what? And we've been married 19 years as of a couple of weeks ago. And this was a revelation, right? I swear to you, I had not been... I thought she didn't like them. I don't know why I didn't think she liked them. I swear she changed her mind somewhere along the way.

I remember distinctly you saying you didn't like them. And so I had it like, look for an opportunity to buy her flowers. I've got to look for opportunity. So we were in Orlando. And I was speaking at this thing. And someone said, hey, do you want to go to Disney while you're there for the day? So we spent the whole day. But I had schemed. I had schemed for on our anniversary her to be swept off her feet with a cheesy, ridiculous, unnecessary, extravagant gesture. And here's what happened. Aw. Oh! That is so sweet! Babe! That's amazing! Nailed it! Never done anything like that before. I was trying to speak her love language. And it's important that we figure that all out. But here's the question I want to ask today, what is God's love language? How do we give God a gift when he's already got everything? What to get a God who's got everything? Well, Abel tells us how to shop for God.

Now, of course, Abel is number four of all humans, right? Abel and his brother came here number three and number four of all human beings that have ever lived. Their story comes to us in Genesis chapter 4. And I realize a lot of us are really familiar with the beats of this story, the first sibling rivalry to ever take place in scripture. But let's read it again just to refamiliarize ourselves with how this all went down because Hebrews is just sort of a retelling and a commentary on it and gives us some needed insight. But let's just, once again, read it. Now, Adam knew his wife, Eve. He knew her. That means sex. He knew her. And she conceived and bore Cain, and I love this, and said, I have acquired a man from the Lord. It's a boy, right? Then she bore again. This time his brother, Abel.

Now, Abel was a keeper of the sheep. But Cain was a tiller of the ground, a farmer. "And in the process of time, it came to pass", that's the key phrase. We'll come back to that, "that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the first born of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel in his offering, but he did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry. And his countenance fell". Now, throughout the years of our ministry, I've preached extensively on Cain. I see so much in Cain that's to me a warning sign for me to regulate my emotions. Cain's an example of how little things can stack up. Cain ends up doing this huge, enormous thing that leads to regret and heartache for forever, for time immemorial. How did it happen? Slowly.

In fact, there's a talk you can listen to I preached called, what was it called, Candy Bars, Squirrels, and Homicide, all about the life of Cain. So that's on YouTube if you want to hear more about Cain. But I felt God leading me today to preach more about what Abel did right than what Cain did wrong. Now, there are a lot of firsts in this chapter. Of course, the entire book of Genesis is a book of beginnings. We find the beginning and the origin story of everything in the book of Genesis. So you have the first child being born. That's why Eve was so startled. I've received a man from the Lord. Like, she didn't even know. Like, that's a thing? Like, you can just, there's a baby growing inside of me? This is very confusing. Adam's confused because he's being told to get the pickles, get the watermelon, and get the ice cream. He's like, what in the world is going on here, right?

And so you have the first child being born. But then you have the first time a first born, who was the baby, is knocked off the pedestal of being the baby, as now there's another baby, who's the new baby of the family. So of course, now all the sibling dynamics, anybody who's not an only child, you understand. Just even just from the group chats, you know how you're like in all these group chats with your family. But then someone's drama, so a new group chat starts without them. And the group, am I the only one, right? And the group chats just keeps getting smaller. There was a lot of people. Then you start to wonder, wait a minute, I wonder what group chats I'm not in, where they're talking about me. And it's just, and then you say something to the wrong chat, and it's just a thing. There's also in this chapter, we just read about it, the first church service ever in history, as both Cain and Abel are described as bringing an offering to the Lord for him to either accept it or reject it.

Now, I know that's not how you think about church because in America, we're consumer minded. And we think about coming to church to receive something. We came to get a blessing. We came to sort of hope the worship team practiced hard this week, right? And you come in with a latte, roll in third song, a little irritated someone's in our normal seat. And we're bummed the band's not playing "Oceans". It's like, hmm, well. Then you say to your friend, Pastor Levi's normally funnier. I apologized. He must have had an off week. And we kind of mistakenly think all this is for us. We're here to receive. Here we are now. Entertain us. And God would have you know the staff, the impact team is there to serve you. So you can worship him. And that what happens here, though it's to bless you, to be sure, is for him. We're here to encourage you, to coax you, to goad you, perhaps, to praise him.

But make no mistake. What happens here is for an audience of one. You are not the audience. He is. And I'm to serve you. I'm like a physical trainer, like trying to get your hamstrings stretched out so you can stretch yourself out in faith, give God that sacrifice of praise. And make no mistake. He either likes it, or he doesn't. But he's got a love language. Unless we go heavy on the Hallmark with the chocolates and the roses, when he's really a quality-of-time God, we better learn from this example because it's pretty clear he didn't like the way Cain worshipped. He didn't like what Cain had to bring. But he did like Abel. It lit him up. So much so, that he included it in his hall of faith, Hebrews 11, where he's like, you know what faith looks like? I'm going to give you a list of them. Take note of it because this, if you want to run a life of faith, and if faith is a race, then you got to... who you run with changes everything. You run with someone who's slow. You run with someone who doesn't like running. You're not running well. But you run with someone who's going to push you and urge you on, who knows what they're doing, that changes things.

So we want to run with Abel. So what did Abel know that Cain didn't or wouldn't do? He knew God's love language was faith. Faith, three different times in the New Testament, one time in the Old Testament, "the just shall live", Habakkuk 2:4, "by faith". This statement is given and requoted in some of the most significant places, Romans, Hebrews, Galatians. Dude, bro, guy, if that is your real name, that's massive, "by faith". So now we have the key to understanding why God rejected it and gave, why he turned into Simon Cowell, that's a dated joke, when Cain did his thing on Israeli Idol, right? God wasn't into it because Cain's gift lacked faith. And Abel's gift was full of it. You can see Abel's faithful in the quality of his gift and in the contents of his heart, our two points for consideration today. Both in the quality of his gift and in the contents of his heart, you see the gift and the heart. They're dripping with faith.

Let's start at the beginning, the quality of his gift. His gift was just better. To use God's words, Abel gave a more excellent sacrifice. We told you last week the key word to understanding the book of Hebrews is the word better. It's all about better. Jesus is better. Jesus is better. Jesus is better. And so the same sentiment is applied to Abel's gift. So Abel's gift was of the better way, not of the worst way, not of the law way, not of the religious way, not of the human way, not of walking by sight way. He gave, Abel gave, the more excellent way, the better way. Abel's gift had faith. It was quality. Why was it quality? Jot this down. His gift was costly, and giving it to him was a priority. That's how a gift is certified full faith, costly and full of priority.

The Genesis account says that he picked out of all of his flocks the first born of his sheep to give to God. This is how Abel chose to honor God in worship. He chose to pick the first born of every flock, and that was the one that he was going to give. And then when he was picking offerings, it would seem, he chose the fattest. Now, a tithe, scripturally speaking, and even from Abel we have this principle, is when you give God the first. And of an offering, which is above and beyond your tithing, he chooses to give God the best and not what was left. This principle would later be nailed down by Solomon, who wrote in Proverbs 3, "honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first fruits of all your increase". That's your part. God's part? Verse 10, "your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine".

Paul would later tell the Philippians, God's able to make all grace abound towards you. So you have an abundance for every good word, for every situation. But your part is to give God your first and to give God your best. Why? Because the goal is faith. Now, think about it. Tomorrow's May 1. If we choose to begin a month with a tithe, if we choose to get paid at the beginning, we choose to give God first. So like Jennie and I, for us, our priorities before paying mortgage, before paying for anything else, we're saying, God, you made our souls. We're going to stand before you when we die. We're not paying you last. We're paying you first.

If you choose to say, hold on, hold on, hold on. We're going to pay at the end to make sure everything else gets covered. If we have everything left, then God gets paid. Guess what? It takes no faith. It takes no faith to put him last. It takes no faith to say, let's wait till the end of the year and see where everything settles down and what tax position we're in and what the economy does and whether in Congress there's really this stalemate that causes everything to be tripped into a complete dysfunction. Let's see how all the things sort out with stocks and crypto. Guess what? At the end of that journey, if you can give and it makes sense in the human, you are not using faith, are you? It takes faith to put God first. And for Abel, he said, the first born is going to God. He's not like that old farmer.

My pastor growing up used always tell this cheesy story, the farmer that had a cow that was pregnant. And he was up with it, trying to make sure it was OK. And the wife was in the house. She kept making coffee. He would come in. And, no, it hasn't given birth yet. So he finally he came in, and he was all excited. He said, oh, my gosh, it's twins! Twins! Two little calves! I can't believe it! And she goes, you should give one of them to God. You should raise one of them and sell it, and all the proceeds go to God. How good is God that he did that? You should give one of them. He said, thanks, honey. It's not what he wanted to hear. So he drank his coffee. And he's like, oh, yeah, one of them God's. Great. Thanks a lot, right? And so he goes, takes care of them.

Well, the story goes on. He never picked which of the two was going to be God's and which was going to be his until randomly the cows got sick. And through the night, he again had his wife making coffee. He's out nursing them, thinking one of them's going to die. And finally he comes in sad. His wife can tell. She could read the room. She says, what happened? He said, God's cow died. He never picked until one was better than the other. And then it was, of course, God's cow that died. That's human. That makes sense. That's giving by sight instead of by faith. And it doesn't exactly flatter God. It doesn't exactly appeal to God's love language, which is faith.

In fact, he told the nation of Israel through the Prophet Malachi, look at this, Malachi 1:8. When you offer worthless animals, when it's God's cow always conveniently that died for sacrifices in worship, when you cut your giving because of how things are going, let me ask you this. You give me the blind, the sick, the crippled animals. Isn't that defiling? Try a trick like that with your banker or with your senator. How far do you think it will get you? Ouch, of course, which is how Cain gave. He gave in the process of time. It was just sort of him not a priority. He waited to see how everything stacked up. And then God got the last slice of pie, if there was any left at all. But hear me carefully. Takeaway truth number one, worship that costs little accomplishes little. Yeah. Yeah, right, I'll say it again because your response indicated deep conviction or pretending that you didn't hear me. Worship that costs little accomplishes little.

David knew that. That's why when David wanted to build God a temple, he went looking for land. He had a realtor showing him around. And he found the perfect spot to build God's temple. And he got out, and he met the guy. And he said, I want to buy your land. The guy said, what for? He said, for a temple. He goes, well, I'm not going to let you buy it. That'd be bad luck. You can just have it. What did David say? David said, 1 chronicles 21, "I will not take what is yours for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing". I won't give God something that doesn't cost me. So you can tell me, or I can figure the MOS out. But I am buying this thing. And I'm buying it fair market value. You are not depriving me of the chance to have faith. You are not depriving me of the chance to give sacrificially because God always takes notice of that when he watches us give.

Didn't Jesus stand in the temple treasury watching people as they gave? And I submit to you, every time we give, he does the exact same thing. Revelations says, in the gathering of his bride, he walks among the lamb stands. And what was he looking for? Well, the disciples were looking for who gave the biggest in size, who gave the biggest in portion, who was going to get a plaque with their name on it on the new wing when they opened it up. And when they saw people give like that, Peter and James and John, they were like, wow, look at that big gift. Look at that guy. He got out of that "Camel-ac" Escalade. And he gave that big gift. And all the priests came out to hobnob and shake the hand. And wow, thank you. We're so glad you would worship here. And they were all excited to go to the rich person's house and have prime rib later.

And, oh, man, they were just tripping over themselves. Jesus didn't seem much interested in all that. But then he saw a little old widow come in. And Jesus... watch, watch, watch. Watch this. She gave these tiny two little coins, ding, ding. And ding, ding, ding. And Jesus said, go out and watch that. And they were not entirely sure why Jesus cared so much about such a small gift. What is possibly going to be done with such a small gift? And Jesus said words that should hit us hard, verse 21 Luke 3, "I tell you the truth". Amen. "This poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave gifts out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in all she had to live on".

God never looks at the portion of an offering. He always looks intently at the proportion of which it represents the piece. He's looking whether it's going to cost us anything, whether it's going to mean anything to our bottom line. And if your gift doesn't cost you very much, it accomplishes even less. But this widow gave in a way that was sacrificial, and thus took faith. So that is the quality of Abel's gift. Secondly, let's look at the contents of his heart. We can see faith in his righteousness he received because of the way that he participated in God's plan for salvation. Stay with me here. The text doesn't tell us explicitly, but it's implied automatically that God had ordained for them to come with an offering. Otherwise how would they have known to do so? Scripture says, faith is always a response to God's word. We said last week, it is taking God at his word, fundamentally.

So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. So God clearly laid out, hey, this is how you're going to approach me. God was always really good at spelling out his love language. Here's how you're going to come before me. And they even had a precedent from how their parents approached God. And the answer of how sinful man was going to interact with the Holy God was blood. It was always going to be through blood. So Adam and Eve sinned. And they're separated from God by their sins, just like me and just like you, unless you've never sinned, in which case what are you doing here? Go walk on water and talk to us after a service ends. This is for the messed-up people here who really need this, right?

So Adam and Eve sinned. And what was their reaction? The same as Cain. They took from what grew out of the ground to cover themselves up. They fashioned for themselves clothes from the ground, leaves. They could cover themselves. And they were walking in their new garments. And God said, not going to fly. Not going to work. So what did God do? God first made a promise. And then God made provision. The promise was Genesis 3:15. This is what theologians refer to as the first instance of the gospel in scripture. "I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He", capital He, "shall bruise your head, Satan, snake. And you shall bruise his heel".

That is the promise of Jesus having a wound that looks like it's serious until he comes back from that wound to do something far more serious. What's a heel wound compared to a head wound? Satan, you're going to mess with Jesus's foot. It's going to look bad, as he hangs on that cross. But I got news for you. On the third day, he's going to rise from the dead and deliver a decisive, well, I grew up on Mortal Kombat 2. Your soul is mine is what's going to happen, right? It is going to be a fatality to the devil at the last. That's Genesis 3. So you think the Gospel shows up, John 3:16, fool? It's in Genesis 3:15. From the jump, God said, here's how it's going to go down. But between now and then, until Jesus shows up, until the cross, here's what you're going to do. You're going to approach me based on the blood of a sinless substitute who dies in your place.

So God said, take off those itchy fig leaves. In verse 21 of Genesis 3, "for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin," leather pants in the Bible sanctioned. You're welcome. "And clothed them". So what was he saying? He's saying, none of that vegan stuff, bro. It's going to take something dying. It's the principle of substitution. That animal doesn't deserve death, but you do. So it's going to die so you can be covered. Thank you, Jesus, for being our righteousness. Thank you, Jesus, that we're not naked. We're not lost. We're not left to ourselves to cover ourselves up with plants, that Jesus, the sinless son of God, died in our place, as though he were us, that God made him who knew no sin to be sin for you and me. So we could in him become the righteousness of God, the great exchange.

Hebrews 9 says, "without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin". There is no way to be whole. Here's the big takeaway truth from the second point of this message. When God lays out a way to be saved, there is no other way. That's why Jesus said, I am the way. I am the truth. I am the life. No one comes to the Father except by me. But in the scripture, you will find a phrase used, and it's the way of Cain. They've gone the way of Cain. What's the way of Cain? The way of Cain is approaching God with no blood. It's wanting the perks of Christianity without the cross. It's wanting the blessings of a good God upstairs without the blood. But there is no way to God except the way God has ordained.

And the way God is ordained is offensive because it drips with blood. And it is a wound to our ego because to sit there like Abel with the blood of a lamb on your hands is to say. I'm so messed up. This is the only way I can be saved. That's not exactly a compliment. That's a lot different than, I do good things because no one walks like Gaston. No one talks like Gaston. That's Cain. The way of Cain is to stand there with your veggie platter, thinking God should be pleased to have me on his team and to be angry that you don't get enough blessing from him. Wow. But to sit there and to say nothing in my hand I bring, simply to thy cross I cling is the way of Abel. And God said, righteous. God said, right about that guy. God indeed testified of him that he was righteous by blood. Cain had a big sacrifice he brought that he thought God would be pleased with.

But as Samuel the prophet, said, "behold", 1 Samuel 15 "to obey is better than sacrifice and to heed than the fat of rams". Cain dishonored God. He got him ice cream cake for his birthday, and he's lactose intolerant like Meredith. That's basically the deal here. And Cain's ignoring and defying God's love language. All he ever wanted was faith. And so what did he get? Well, God promised, here's how it works. I honor those who honor me. 1 Samuel 2:30, you need to know this about God, he honors those who honor him. "But those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed". You will not win favors with God ignoring his love language. So Cain gets disrespected. And he's mad about it. God respected Abel. God liked Abel's offering. And God liked what Abel did. God did not like Cain. God did not like how he approached him. God did not like that.

And then here's the best part of all. Cain gets mad at God for not giving him what he would have had he done what God said to do. In fact, the living Bible gives, carves, jumped to life. It says, "this made Cain both dejected and very angry. His face grew dark with fury. 'Why are you angry?' the Lord asked him. 'Why is your face so dark with rage?'" Here we go. "It can be bright with joy if you would do what you should". If you would approach me the way I said to be approached, by faith, I could give you the same thing that you're jealous that Abel's getting that you're not. I suspect, though, that Cain was unwilling to humble himself because to do so would mean having to go to his younger brother to ask if he could buy a sheep from him. For Cain dealt with the earth, and Abel raised the flocks. So he would have had to go to a younger brother.

And you know what? Cain was raised, I believe even if they didn't tell him, with great expectation from Adam and Eve. That's why she said, I have received a man from the Lord, so startled. She (many commentaries believe, and it's certainly not outside the realm of possibility) thought that maybe Cain was the promised Messiah. God said, I'm going to bring someone out of you. It's going to jack Satan in the face. So Cain gets born. They're like, yay, little champion! Yay, little LeBron. You're going to the NBA! No matter that you're 5' 3". It's like every mom thinks their child, right? It's like, oh, no, no, my child's really special. Oh, yeah.

And so what does that do to Cain kind of being like treated like he's God's gift to planet Earth? He lived like he was God's gift to planet Earth. And he refused to humble himself and go to his little brother to get what he needed. And so he chose pride and then was mad when he didn't get what God wanted him to have. You know what it reminds me of? Ananias and Sapphira Acts chapter 5. For anybody who's here and all of us going, bro, this is awfully Old Testament for us, all right. Example from the age of grace with the Holy Spirit. Barnabas is so excited about the gospel going out, this man, that he sells a field. He's a wealthy guy, sells a field. Takes the profits and says to the apostles, can you use this money to further expand the kingdom of God in the world? And a lot of people are impressed. Hey, way to go. Great gift. That's a huge gift. Praise God.

Ananias and Sapphira were there the day that he brought it. They heard about this. And they heard, man, he's getting celebrated. We can do this. We've got a bunch of fields. Let's go sell one. And so they did. And because of disclosure laws, no one knew how much the sale had closed for. And so they were talking to themselves on the way. They said, look, no one's going to know if we keep back some. But they're going to assume that we did the same thing Barnabas did, who gave it all. And so they did that. And they died. Not because their gift was too small, but because they lied to the Holy Spirit and acted pridefully as though they had done more than they did. Why? They wanted what they would have had, had they did what they were unwilling to do. They went the way of Cain. And when God appoints away, that way is always life. And when we choose the way that seems right to a man, the end of that is always the way of Cain, the way of death.

And his story, just like Ananias and Sapphira's story, ended up in death. Spoiler alert, Cain kills Abel. He murders him. Why? Because he hated the way Abel got shine, and that shine made Cain's life look dark. So he thought that if I could just snuff out that pioneer, discredit that pioneer, get rid of him, I'll look better, failing to realize you never rise when you cut someone else down to size. It only ever makes you look what you are, small. And all Cain ever wanted to be was tall. So he kills, here's the best part. You ready? Kills Abel, thinking he will silence him and quiet him. But in the end, Abel's life got louder than ever. Isn't God so funny?

Genesis 4 verse 10, "the voice of your brother's blood is calling to me from the ground". Hebrews 11 verse 4, "God now testifies of Abel's gifts. And through it, he, being dead", what does he do? Still speaks. Cain said, I'll shut that miserable little mouth up, who was like, hey, I'll sell you a land if you want. He's like, ugh, right? And he thought he could turn the volume down in Abel's life. But the life of Abel just got louder. Why, friends? Because pain is a microphone. And the more it hurts, the louder you can become. If by faith, you live a sacrificial life, you live a life of faith before God of following the way of truth, the way of Abel, not the way of Cain, guess what's going to happen? Your life's going to become more complex. Tell me one person God ever bragged about whose life got easier afterwards? Job ring a bell?

I've asked God to please never brag about me. And he said, not a problem. Just thought I would say it. It's like, Abel lived by faith. He died by faith. And Abel's life still speaks today. As Jesus told Mary one time, who gave an extravagant offering by faith, and Judas tried to criticize her. He followed the way of Cain, doing what seemed right to a man. What did Jesus say? Wherever the gospel is preached, what she has done will be a memorial unto her. So what is generosity by faith, sacrificial living, not looking at things for the human understanding but looking at things supernaturally? What does it do? It gives you the ability to speak from beyond the grave. Friends, Abel is telling you, if you honor God's love language, though you're dead, you will still speak. You will be part of something eternal that goes on in the world. And you will get to be a part of it.

We learn all of this from Abel, the first person to ever be martyred for his faith, the first in a long line, though, for he was certainly not the last. And as we close, I cannot help but think about another. We started with Gutenberg making the printing press. We then turned to Martin Luther, who used that to make these one sheets, getting the agitating Reformation started, the lightning bolt of, hey, there's a better way. Let's get back to scripture. Let's get back to faith. Let's get back to grace. I want to end by talking to you about a personal hero of mine, the pioneer named William Tyndale. William Tyndale has been appropriately named the Father of the English Bible. And I thought, how special to have in our hands the English Bible as we think about how his contribution has paved the way for you and I today.

If you're holding the Bible in English, could you just hold it up in the air? It could be your phone. It could be your iPad. If you have a Bible written in English, you're holding, whether you ever realized it or not, something that man made possible. Born in the year 1494 in England, he went to Oxford and then studied at Cambridge. And he learned to speak eight different languages. He was a master linguist. And he, like Luther, became a Catholic priest. Catholicism was the rule of England. It was the official state religion of England. And all of the Bibles were still in Latin. From 15th century all the way through to the first quarter of the 16th century, if you were to teach your children to say the Lord's Prayer in English, you would be burned at the stake. I want you to think about that. It was a crime to translate God's holy, lofty word into the vulgar tongue of the common person.

So only the priests knew what God's word said. And so they could teach, quite frankly, anything they wanted to because the people couldn't fact check it. They couldn't Google under the table like you and I do when someone says something stupid at a party. Well, actually... So if you get told, hey, you know your uncle who's died? If you want him to go to heaven not hell, you better give some money because we need to build a new building in Rome. People did it. It's corrupt. And the closer Tyndale got to the church and understanding what the scripture actually said, the more he realized, this is, Luther's right. And the stirrings of the Reformation, which was really something that broke out throughout colleges and universities, it was a beautiful thing. God continues to stir in the hearts of young people today on our college campuses today, raising up a generation who will follow God's word only, not the teachings of people. So he has a conviction that people need to know this.

Now, he's a tutor. That's what he does for work. He's a tutor for a wealthy family to help teach their kids to learn to read and write. Only the wealthy could afford such a thing. So he's obviously not a man of tremendous means himself. But one night over dinner, there's a priest in. And he says to the guy, like, hey, do you ever, like, he's trying to tease how honest do I be here, did you ever notice the Bible and what we're teaching are two different things, right? And the priest says, what do we need God's word for? We have the word of the pope. Something stiffened inside Tyndale. And he said, if God will allow me, I will give my life so that the common, simple farm boy in England will know more of God's word than the priests of Rome. And that is exactly what he did. And it took him 12 years, the next 12 years of his life. He had to flee England because he was a man on the run.

As soon as people began to realize what he was doing, which was deeply illegal and considered an act of treason and heresy for him as a priest to be translating the Bible into English, can you believe it? He had to end up in Europe and Germany. He was constantly moving. Spies would alert the priests and the archbishop where he was. They would break into printing shops where he was using these presses that had broken loose all around Europe after Gutenberg to make copies of Matthew or Mark or whatever. And so he would scramble to grab as many as he could, running out the back door, fleeing for his life. How did he do so? He was a tutor. He didn't have money. There was a group of wealthy business people in England who believed in what he was doing. One of them was named Monmouth, and there were others. They had a network.

And so they would supply the money. And then when he finished the New Testament for the first time, 1524, he sent some 8,000 copies back. It was their network of ships and trade routes that they used to smuggle these illicit bibles into England. And the church, as many as they could get their hands on, they would burn them. Think about that. In front of St. Paul's they would have burnings of the Bible. Finally, at the end of this, he was successfully arrested. Monmouth was as well. Monmouth was put into the Tower of London, the one who was the business banking of this all. And he was arrested in Brussels, put into prison where Tyndale was for 18 months. And he continued to work on finishing the Old Testament from inside prison. In fact, the last letter we have from William Tyndale says, may I ask for more warm clothes to be sent to my cell? And could you please bring to me my Hebrew dictionary? And from his prison he finished nearly the entirety of the Old Testament.

The reason he... by the way, got arrested was someone who went the way of Cain. A Briton named John Phillips... or Henry Phillips, rather, his father had entrusted him with a large estate to go invest in London. He had squandered that money in harlots and all the normal things and then realized, oh shoot, dad's going to be furious. So he brokered a deal with the Church of England, where if he could go to Europe pretending to be a benefactor to support Tyndale, but then betray him, they would pay off the debt that he owed back to his dad. So he went and wormed his way into Tyndale's inner circle. A lot of Tyndale's friends were warning him. Like, this guy seems super shady. Don't trust him. But he did. And so he led him into a narrow alleyway. And there he was arrested, taken to his cell.

On the final day of his life, in October of 1536, Tyndale was brought out. And he was given one last chance to recant, and he would not. And he was strangled with a chain, before his body was lit on fire. And then his corpse, they attached bags of gunpowder and to just desecrated his corpse. They blew it into smithereens. His last words before he died were these, God, please open the eyes of the King of England. And not two years later, for his own issues and reasons, King Henry VIII divorced England from the Catholic church because they wouldn't let him get a divorce from his wife. And in the process of all of that, he decided, I'm the church. I am the church. But one of his rules, based on one of his advisors, was to send an English Bible to every single church in England. And when that Bible was chained to the pulpit, they called it the Great Bible, every single word of it nearly came from the translation work of William Tyndale.

The eyes of the King of England had been open. The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord. We can trust what God is doing. But his reach goes on. Because in 1611, when the King James version was translated, what we know of, the King James Bible, the authorized translation of the Bible, almost 90% of the words in the King James Bible were done based on the translation work of William Tyndale. But even beyond that, his work established what didn't exist yet, a standardized way to spell many of the English words. There was no dictionary yet. So he sort of basically standardized the English language that we know today. He brought phrases into our parlance that didn't exist before because remember he was dealing with the Greek and the Hebrew manuscripts and finding a way to bring them in English.

So it was him who found those unique little phrases, "let there be light" from the Hebrew words and in the exact cadence of them, my brother's keeper, notice that one, seek and ye shall find, salt of the earth, signs of the times, fight the good fight, the powers that be, live, move, and have our being seek. Even Jesus on the cross saying, he gave up the ghost, that unique turn of a phrase was this master linguist at work here. He spoke eight languages, knew how to turn a phrase. It has been theorized that William Tyndale has had a greater impact on the English language than William Shakespeare. In fact, BBC did a study of the 100 most influential Britons of all time back in 2002. And they placed William Tyndale at number 26.

What's the point? The point is every subsequent translation, the ESV, the NIV, the NASB, every subsequent translation that we have in English stands on the shoulders of the work of William Tyndale, who lived by faith, who died by faith. And every single time we open up our Bible in English, though being dead, he still speaks today. And I pray there would be a greater sense of humility and much less a sense of flippancy with which we would pop open YouVersion, open up our Bible, that we would remember we've been given this treasure on a river of blood. But you know what's amazing to end our time with? Even better than the fact that Abel's blood speaks, Hebrews says there's better blood.

Hebrews 12 says, "the blood of Jesus speaks of better things", Hebrews 12:24, "better things than that of Abel". Of course his blood is better. Jesus is better than everything. Abel's blood spoke out of the guilt of Cain. This is almost too much. Jesus' blood speaks of his love for Cain. And that's why even after Cain had murdered Abel, even after he had ignored the way, the truth, and life and brought vegetables instead of blood, even then, when God came to him, he did not slam down a lightning bolt on his head. What did he say? Cain, where's your brother? Where's your brother?

Reminds me of Adam and Eve when they had sinned. He said, Adam and Eve, where are you? Where are you? God never asks questions because he doesn't know the answer. He didn't ask because he didn't know where Abel was or where Adam and Eve were. He asked because they didn't know where they were. They had lost themselves. And today, no matter what you've done, no matter where you are, God's question to you, where are you, is because he loves you. And there's a better way perhaps than the way of Cain, a better way than maybe the way that you're going. He extends to you his nail-pierced hands saying, there's a better way. Let's find it together.

So Father, we are hushed in reverence and awe of such a great love. A picture of Abel on his knees, the blood of a lamb slain, that is what we're left with. There's a better son than Abel, your son, Jesus.

If as we're speaking, if there's just a renewed sense of love and appreciation for God's word, for God's son, for faith, for just what we're a part of, you working through Gutenberg all the way to Google, here we sit, God, aware of working in the world. Can I just ask for a show, a response of faith for anybody in the church today online at every location today? Would you say, I want to just go all in again on what God's doing, on his work. I'm inspired by Tyndale. I'm inspired by Abel. I'm inspired by Luther. And I want my short time on this Earth to have the net effect of people coming to know Christ. I want to be like Barnabas, not Ananias. God used me. That's your response here.

God bless those who are responding in faith. Help them, like Humphrey Monmouth, to use their business acumen, their ability in medicine, their ability to scale their company, all the things they've been called to do are a part of your kingdom, their practice, their insurance business, their life as a teacher. God, use us. Send us, Lord, because people still need to know.

You can put your hands down. I want to now invite anybody who's not yet made the decision to trust Jesus. This is a call to set down your veggie plate and pick up that lamb slain, the way of faith in Christ, to say, I can't do it on my own. I can't save myself. But I need to be saved. I'm going to humble myself before God. I bet to you I'm describing, maybe you feel like your heart's beating out of your chest. You're saying, I feel like you're speaking straight to me. I'm telling you, that's the Holy Spirit. He's speaking straight to you because he loves you, and he's calling out to you not to condemn, but to give you an opportunity to be saved. Trust in him. Give your soul to him. Give your life to him. Give everything to him. He gave everything to save you. In fact to you, I'm describing. Say this, pray it out loud. I'm going to give you language for your faith. Language matters. The Bible says we express that faith through our lips, and God hears. Church, pray with us.

Dear God, I know that I'm a sinner. I can't fix myself. But I believe you can. And I ask you to in Jesus' name, who died for me, who rose from the dead. Thank you for new life. I give you mine.

Are you Human?:*