Summary: Demonstrates the Community of the Body of Christ. That we must take responsibility for others; but we must also be responsible for ourselves--we can’t burden others.
Am I My Brother’s Keeper?
Introduction: The ancient question from the time of Cain & Abel.
Galatians 6:1-5 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, 5 for each one should carry his own load.
I. We have a responsibility to care for one another.
A. In matters of righteousness.
We have a responsibility to look out for one another. Not in a judgmental sense, but for restoration.
We can’t just look the other way when we someone who is being beaten and robbed by the enemy. (Like the Good Samaritan, we must be involved.)
B. In general matters.
Romans 12:15,16 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
This includes not just spiritual matters. Rejoicing/mourning are emotional support. And specifically emotional support based on the circumstances of life.
As a family, we should be concerned about everything that affects our brothers and sisters. In Christianity, we cannot be an island unto ourselves. Individualism vs. Community.
Philippians 2:4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Matthew 5:42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
II. Potential dangers of being concerned with others.
A. We may call ourselves concerned, when in fact, we are just nosy—gossip. But as 12:16 says, the goal is to live in harmony.
Motives: Why am I doing what I am doing? To help the person. Or to make myself feel better. Or just for the pleasure of talking about it.
Remember the command is to restore “gently.”
B. We ourselves could fall by becoming prideful. “If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”
We have a tendency to justify our actions based on other peoples’ actions.
“At least I’m not as bad as them.”
All have sinned and fall short of God’s glorious standard. (Rom. 3:23,NLT)
Vs. 4 indicates that we can only “take pride” that is be satisfied with ourselves, when we consider ourselves based on our own selves—measured against God’s standards—not taking other people’s shortcomings into play.
The ever decreasing standard of morality—just staying above the world.
III. Each of us also has a responsibility for our own selves.
This may seem like a conflict, but it is a matter of perspective.
I have the responsibility to help you, but you don’t have the right to be helped by me.
Example: Right of way. The right of way is something given never taken. Right of way tells you when you should wait for someone else to go; it should not be used to exert your right to go.
A. In matters of righteousness.
We are told to “watch yourself” so that we will not fall in temptation.
Even though we as a body are responsible to help each other to maintain righteousness, in the end it is your own responsibility to
Phil. 2:12b, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
B. For our own actions.
In terms of judgment: Everyone is judged as an individual—based on his or her own actions [or by Jesus Christ].
Ezekiel 33 speaks of our responsibility as watchmen.
1. If I warn you and you believe, you’re saved.
2. If I warn you, and you don’t believer, you’re destroyed.
3. If I don’t warn you, and therefore you don’t believe, yes, I have responsibility, but you’re still destroyed.
You can’t use anyone else as an excuse for your actions.
“The devil made me do it.”
In our day, we’re so quick to blame everyone else for our actions.
Criminals are a product of their environment.
But there are responsibilities and consequences for our actions.
2 Samuel 12:13-14 Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." Nathan replied, "The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die."
There was still consequence for David’s actions.
Hezekiah showed his treasure:
Isaiah 39:4-6 The prophet asked, "What did they see in your palace?" "They saw everything in my palace," Hezekiah said. "There is nothing among my treasures that I did not show them." 5 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, "Hear the word of the LORD Almighty: 6 The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your fathers have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the LORD.