Summary: A lesson designed to encourage discipleship responsibity.
AM I MY BROTHER’S KEEPER?
INTRODUCTION: Without a doubt, the event of Genesis 4 must have been the most difficult, the most heart-wrenching experience God would face with His creation. At the beginning God created the world in perfection, brought man into an innocent existence and placed them in a Nirvana, a Paradise He called Eden. Adam and Eve lacked nothing as God supplied all their needs in His perfect world. Yet in spite of that they would break the only rule He gave them and eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Undoubtedly this must have stuck God hard, as man’s disobedience always does, but in some ways I think He was prepared for it. After all He did give them a choice; they just made the wrong one. Yet when Cain rose up and killed his brother Able, God must have been torn apart. You see it is one thing to inflict harm upon yourself by your disobedience, by your sin, it is an entirely different thing to inflict harm on another with your disobedience and your sin. And as if this first murder was not bad enough, Cain’s response to God questioning added insult to injury. When God asked Cain about the welfare and whereabouts of his brother, his only brother mind you, he said, "Am I my brother’s keeper?" Hear the insolence, the defiance, the blatant disregard for the life of his own flesh and blood. This must have boiled God’s blood just as it does ours. Yet in spite of our abhorrence of such an ungodly attitude, don’t we at times find ourselves walking in Cain’s shoes after a fashion? We may not be murders in the physical sense, but the lack of interest, the disregard for the life of our fellow man, or fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, is no less sinful. We too find ourselves asking Cain’s question, "Am I my brother’s keeper?" Paul provides us an answer in Galatians 6. READ TEXT This entire passage concerns itself with the personal involvement of Christians in each other’s lives. It screams "You are your brother’s keeper!" And within this passage there are at least three distinct lessons.
I. RESTORE THE FALLEN
A. Satan and sin are active agents for evil in our world. They are partners in the age old plan to lead one of God’s children off track, and in reality folks that is all it takes, just to get off track.
1. Their goal is not to make devil worshippers out of the saved, but to break their bond with God.
2. Satan does not care if we surrender our lives to him or not, just so long as we take our lives out of the hands of God.
B. That is the nature of those whom Paul describes as having been "overtaken in a trespass." They are the fallen, the wayward, the unfaithful, the ones who have stumbled under the influence of sin and Satan and cannot regain their spiritual direction.
1. CEV renders this as being "Trapped in sin." These people are helpless, powerless, and in dire straits. They are on the verge of losing their soul; having their hopes of eternal life snuffed out.
2. This is why the Spirit had Paul write that we who are spiritual, faithful, should reach out to them and guide them back to a right relationship with God. The Greek word for restore carries the connotation of mending or repairing an injury like a surgeon would do.
3. There is a sense of urgency here! This is truly life and death! And we must rise up to meet this spiritual emergency with a spirit of gentleness and fear, humility and awareness, knowing that someone’s soul hangs in the balance and that we too may and can find ourselves in the same situation.
b. James 5:19,20
II. BEAR EACH OTHER’S BURDENS
A. Every life has its share of problems. In fact Scripture addresses this by telling us that no temptation comes upon any of us that is unique, rather it is common to all people in one form or another.
1. It doesn’t matter whether we are rich or poor, young or old, healthy or unhealthy. Satan is not a respecter of persons; he is an equal opportunity persecutor. (Folks, life’s burdens affect us all.)
2. Job said, "Man’s day are short and filled with trouble." I have no doubt that he is correct, but I also know that when we are carrying a burden of trouble in our lives, minutes stretch into an eternity.
B. This is why Paul is moved to write the words of verse 2: "Bear one another’s burdens." It wasn’t enough for him to say that we need to restore the fallen. He had to reinforce this plea by saying that we must help shoulder the troubles that other people are dealing with.