There are a lot of lessons that can be learned from the story of Cain and Abel. Among the most important of those lessons is that God is concerned with our worship. Worship is to be done by the assurance that what we are offering to the Lord is something that he would be pleased with (Heb 11:1, 4). God has revealed to us what type of worship pleases him in the New Testament (Rom 10:17, John 4:24).
Genesis 4:3 says that Cain’s worship was “to the Lord”. However, his worship was not accepted. This shows us that God does not accept just anything we bring to him. Cain and Abel's worship was different from each other, but to the same God. We should be concerned as we look around the religious landscape and see different types of worship. If it was not ok to have two types of worship then, why would it be ok to have 10,000 different types of worship today? To ask it is to answer it.
God approved of Abel’s worship. There is true worship and there is vain worship (John 4:24, Matt 15:9). Abel’s worship was accepted because it was by faith (Heb 11:4). While we are not privy to the specific standard that they were to worship God according to, it was revealed to them (Rom 10:17). They had access to the worship instructions of God. Abel’s worship was accepted because he worshipped according to God’s standard. Cain’s was rejected because it was not according to the standard. What about the standard for our worship in the New Testament? Do we study it and follow it?
In Genesis chapters 1-3 we can see an emphasis on God’s word. We can see its power in creation. We can see the absolute authority it has as Adam and Eve disobey it. We can see the great promises contained in it (Gen 3:15). All of this emphasis on the word of God, and then the very next lesson that is emphasized in the Bible is worship. Acceptable worship is based on the word of God.
What about you and me? Does God accept my worship? Does He accept yours? Are we more like Cain or more like Abel in our worship?