Am I My Brothers Keeper
AM I MY BROTHER'S KEEPER?
TEXT: Genesis 4:9
INTRODUCTION: Perhaps one of the more thought-provoking questions in the Bible is that one asked by Cain: Cain had killed his brother because God had accepted Abel's offering, but not his own - Gen 4:3-8 When the Lord inquired concerning Abel, Cain's response was: "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Gen 4:9) This is a question we would do well to ask ourselves today... Are we our brother's keeper? Do we have a responsibility to watch out for and care for one another?
I. OUR RESPONSIBILITIES TO ONE ANOTHER
A. We Are to "Love One Another"...
1. As commanded by Jesus - John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
2. As taught by Paul Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 1 Thessalonians 4:9 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
3. As instructed by Peter - 1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
4. As stressed by John - 1 John 3:11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
B. How We Show Our Love for One Another...
1. We are to "receive one another" - Romans 15:7
2. We are to "edify another" - Romans 14:19
3. We are to "serve one another" - Galatians 5:13
4. We are to "bear one another's burdens" - Galatians 6:1-2
5. We are to be "forgiving one another" - Ephesians 4:32
6. We are to be "submitting to one another" - Ephesians 5:21
7. We are to "exhort one another" - Hebrews 3:12-13
8. We are to "consider one another" - Hebrews 10:24-25
9. We are to be "hospitable to one another" - 1 Peter 4:8-10
C. In Light of Such "One Another" Passages, Is There Any Doubt That We Are to Be Our Brother's Keeper?
1. But how well are we doing?
2. To stimulate our thinking and help us re-examine how well we are fulfilling our obligations to one another, consider the following questions...
II. EVALUATING OUR ROLE AS OUR BROTHER'S KEEPER
A. When One Becomes a Brother...
1. Do we receive them into the family of God, or ignore them? - Romans 15:7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
a) Are they properly assimilated in the family life of the congregation?
b) Do they remain on the fringe?
(1) If we do not even know their names, we can be sure that we are failing as our brother's keeper!
2. Do we edify them, or put stumbling blocks in their way? - Romans 14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
a) As individuals, are we "body-builders", encouraging the members of the body?
b) Or are we like a cancer, weakening the members of the body of Christ?
(1) By our own example
(2) By our words, attitudes, etc.
(3) It was said of Philemon that he refreshed the hearts of the brethren; do people say the same of us?
3. Do we submit to them, or arrogantly rule over them? - Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
4. Do we serve them in love, or expect them to serve us? - Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
5. Do we demonstrate hospitality to them? - 1 Peter 4:8-10 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
a) By visiting them in their need?
b) By inviting them into your home (or accepting invitations to their home)?
B. When a Brother Is Overtaken in a Fault...
1. Do we even consider them? - Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
a) Are we even aware of who they are?
b) Are we ignorant of their problems? If so, why?
(1) Maybe it is because we don't assemble enough ourselves
(2) We may "wonder about them", but that is not sufficient!
c) Do they drift away, with no one making an effort to reach them?
2. Do we exhort them, lest they become hardened by sin? - Hebrews 3:12-14 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
3. Or are we afraid to confront them, for fear of running them away?
a) If we truly love them and approach them with humility, they are not likely to run away
b) If they do, they are running away from God, not you!
c) Remember, such exhortation is to be daily! Perhaps we wait too long...
4. Are we willing to bear their burdens? - Galatians 6:1-2 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
a) Or do we rather not be bothered?
5. Are we quick to forgive them when they repent? - Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
a) Fear of not being forgiven and accepted back into the family may keep some from repenting and returning to the fold
b) Do we communicate a willingness to accept with open arms and offer complete forgiveness?
1. How we answer such questions may reveal how well or poorly we are...
a. Fulfilling our responsibility to be our brother's keeper
b. Living up to the one responsibility we have that includes all
others: to love one another as Christ loved us - Jn 13:34-35
2. If we have failed to be our brother's keeper, we need to...
a. Repent of our lack of concern, our inactivity, or whatever has
b. Confess our shortcomings in this area to God
c. Resolve to apply with zeal these "one another" passages!
Are you your brother's keeper? Are you even identified with a congregation whereby you can be a working member who both cares for those in the family, and be cared for by them?