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4 1-26 Am I My Brother's Keeper

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                                                  liberty bible church          11/5/06 P.M.

By Tom Zobrist

“am i my brother’s keeper?”

Genesis 4:1-26


Illus. of “What Money Can’t Buy” A minister was speaking to the Sunday school about the things money can’t buy. “It can’t buy laughter and it can’t buy love” he told them. Driving his point home he said, “What would you do if I offered you $1,000 not to love your mother and father?” Stunned silence ensued. Finally a small voice queried, “How much would you give me not to love my big sister?”

Sibling rivalry is almost as old as the world itself. Its source is the rebellion of man against God and those that seek to please Him. It is played out in the home when one child does right and the other does wrong. The parents will approve of the righteous acts of one and disapprove of the unrighteous acts of others. Those whose behavior is seemingly rejected grow jealous of their siblings and thoughts of revenge or even murder can enter their thoughts. Watch two young brothers or sisters fight and you will see murder in their eyes. It’s a good thing they are small at that point. If they hurt one another, they will deny responsibility and will bristle when discipline comes. All of that can be seen in the birth of sibling rivalry we see in our passage tonight. What can we do to avoid sibling rivalry?  

OPEN to passage.                                       

Prop. In this passage, we see what leads to sibling rivalry.  

Open in PRAYER.

PREVIEW the passage. Adam and Even are now out of the Garden of Eden and are living out the curses placed upon them by God for their rebellion against Him in eating the forbidden fruit. They begin what appears to be a normal life. But like many families, even though they appear normal, they are a…

  i. dysfunctional family vs. 1-8

Illus. of what does this mean? Poem “Roses are red, Violets are blue, I’m schizophrenic and I am too.” Does dysfunctional mean that there is something bizarre? Dysfunctional, by our definition tonight, refers to a family functioning outside of God’s plan. By that definition, most families are dysfunctional today. As a matter of fact, the families that are functioning as God designed might be considered to be dysfunctional by the world. How does a family become dysfunctional to God?  

A.     they mean well

V 1      1. After Adam and Eve’s sin, they had been restored and were now living life under the curse of sin. But, that included the procreation of the human race and that begins here with the birth of Cain. He is the first person born with a sin nature. But, his mother was, for all appearances, in a right relationship with God with her recognition of this gift of a son.

V 2a     2. She has another and perhaps some other children that we are not told of. But we have now been introduced to the two main players in this drama of sibling rivalry.

V 2b    3. They both have respectable occupations, although Cain’s appears to be in line with the curse of man and Abel’s with man’s original purpose of having dominion over life. .

V 3-4a 4. They both appear to have a right relationship with God. However, Able appears to go out of the way to please God, whereas Cain appears to just do what was required. He fulfilled the letter of the law, but not the spirit. Abel had faith in God, Cain was religious.    5. For all intensive purposes, this family looks perfectly normal. They have nice children with good jobs and they all appear to have a right relationship with God. Soon, events begin to take a turn. That’s where we see many families go awry.

b. they let sin go unchecked

V 4b-5a    1. God knows the thoughts and intents of the heart. His reaction to their worship is a reflection of that. What about Cain’s reaction?

V 5b    2. His true spirit is revealed here. He fails in what God requires and yet grows angry with God and takes it out on those around him. Illus. of many people live lives in sin, they suffer for it, and then shake their fist at God. Cain originated that practice.

V 6      3. God gives him the opportunity to repent here. God speaks to him exactly what our conscience speaks to us when we sin. Why do we feel bad and why has our dealings with others changed? God is trying to talk him out of further sin. Eve had to be talked into sin. God tries to talk Cain out of sin.

V 7a     4. Obedience leads to acceptance by God. But if we fail, we will be rejected. God does not accept everyone. It’s His way or no way.

V 7b    5. If we continue to follow our own way, sin is “crouching” at the door. This pictures and animal crouching, ready to pounce on its prey.

V 7c     6. Sin desires Cain and us all! This is the same word that was used of wives desiring their husband in 3:16. The wife’s nature will drive her to usurp her husband’s authority causing him to sin. But, with the help of God, she can overcome that temptation. Cain can as well.

V 7d    7. Man is responsible to overcome sin by God’s plan. But, Cain fails.

V 8a     8. Cain acted as if nothing was wrong as he plotted his brother’s death. He was rejected, so rather than dealing with his own sin, he gets angry with the one that is accepted. Illus. of this is why Christians are hated in the world. It’s nothing personal. It’s all about the world’s rejection of God and their own sin.

V 8b    9. When the time was right and he thought he could get away with it, Cain murdered his brother.

Trans. Sin left unchecked makes for a DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY. Dysfunctional families are usually…


 ii. deceitful family vs. 9-16

Illus. of me asking mom if I was my brother’s keeper. I was and I am! This was a question to avoid accountability. Cain wants to avoid all accountability for his sin here.

A.     god’s judgment of cain

V 9      1. Does God not know the answer to these questions? The unsaved do not understand the attributes of God, particularly omniscience. They think they can sin and get away with it.

V 10    2. God’s judgments are righteous and all innocent blood must be accounted for, if not in the courts of man, by God personally.

V 11-   3. Cain is cursed as his father was. No longer would he be a successful farmer. He would now be a vagabond and

       12      a rejected by the world, who were all close relatives for him. God condemned him to a life of ceaseless wandering. Like his parents, he would be separated from God.

b. cain’s reaction

V 13-   1. Rather than one of repentance and gratefulness for God’s grace, he complains that God’s judgment is too

      14       harsh. It was unfair. He also now feared that some other relative of his and Abel’s would seek to avenge the death.

V 15    2. God guaranteed that this would not happen and pronounced severe judgment on any that would do it. Exactly what this mark is, we’re not sure. But, it was a guarantee that he would not die from vengeance killing. He was condemned to ceaseless wandering.

C. cain’s continued rebellion

V 16    1. Cain left the presence of the Lord and began to wander. “Nod” is literally wandering. It became a land of fugitives from God.

            2. Here Cain eventually would build a city in rebellion against God’s curse.

  Trans. Sin left unchecked makes for a DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY. If they do not deal with the sin, dysfunctional families are usually DECEITFUL FAMILIES. They may deceive others, but worst of all, they deceive themselves into thinking that God does not know about their sin. Finally, eventually, they will become…

iii. divided family vs. 17-26

Illus. of who was Cain’s wife. We are introduced to her here. No doubt she was a daughter of Adam. When families have dysfunction and deceit, division will follow. They will choose sides and division sometimes is permanent.   

a. cain’s family 

V 17    1. Cain has a son and builds a city. They were blessed in many earthly ways. God allows them to prosper in an

                 earthly way, but we are to never envy the wicked. Cf. Ps. 49, 73

V 18    2. Cain’s descendants produced music, weapons, agricultural devices, and cities… culture. In spite of their prospering, evil still advanced unabated. 

b. like fathers’ sins, like sons’ sins

V 19-   1.  Lamech was the seventh generation from Adam and he changed the definition of the family. They were gifted

        22            people.

V 23    2. Lamech killed a young man who had injured him in some way. We are not given the details, but he appears to brag about it. The word “slaughter” is used of killed. “I’ll show him.” 

V 24    3. He then demanded more leniency than Cain received, making the judgment himself.

            4. We see an affluent society who were seeking pleasure and self-indulgence and were rejecting God. Into that comes…

c. the children of god

V 25    1. In contrast to Cain’s wicked descendents are Abel’s replacement descendents.

V 26    2. These were those that “called on the name of the Lord.” They had faith in God and obeyed Him. “called on” is better translated “proclaim.” From these came Noah and Abraham and others. These do not go overboard in living the good life, but are concerned with spiritual things.


DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILIES are usually DECEITFUL FAMILIES and unless God intervenes, they will become DIVIDED FAMILIES. How do we avoid this?

1. We must be descendents of Seth, not Cain. GOSPEL

2. Pursue Godliness, not worldliness.

3. Become your brother’s keeper. All believers.

Illus. of “Family Reunion” At the annual family-reunion picnic, a young bride led her husband over to an old woman busily crocheting in a rocker. “Granny,” she said, touching the old woman’s hand affectionately, “this is my new husband.” The woman eyed him critically for a long moment, then asked abruptly, “Do you desire children?” Startled by her bluntness, the young man blushed and stammered, “Well-uh-yes, I do very much.” “Well,” she said, looking scornfully at the large tribe gathered around the six picnic tables, “try to control it!” - Colleen Pifer

Large families are a blessing if they are found in the way of Seth, not Cain. For believers, we make up the largest family of all…and indeed, we are our brothers’ keepers.


                                                  liberty bible church          11/5/06 P.M.

By Tom Zobrist

“am i my brother’s keeper?”

Genesis 4:1-26


Sibling rivalry is almost as old as the world itself. Its source is…

  i.                                                                                                          family vs. 1-8

A.     they mean well

b. they let sin _____________ _________________________________________


 ii.                                                                                                     family vs. 9-16

A.     god’s judgment of cain

b. cain’s reaction

B.     cain’s continued ______________________________________

iii.                                                                                                     family vs. 17-26

a. cain’s family


b. like fathers’ _______________, like sons’ _________________

c. the children of god


How do we avoid this?





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