Summary: A Sermon for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
"Am I my Brother’s Keeper?
In the 4th chapter of Genesis Cain asks God, verse 10, "Am I my brother’s keeper?" as God asked Cain where Abel was.
God’s answer to that specific question was answered loud and clear through Jesus with a resounding Yes.
I am my brother’s keeper or guardian or protector. We are to be concerned about others because God was concerned about us through Christ and loved us so much that his Son died on a cross.
Through Christ, God looks at us with love. Through Christ God looks past our sins and sees you and I as His creation, his people, his children. He loves us with an over powering love. A love that never ends. A love which keeps on loving just as a mother’s love keeps on loving her children no matter what.
An example of this kind of love is seen in the following. God’s love is like this for us and in turn out love should be like this for our neighbor.
"A poor sharecropping family in Georgia had a little money left over after the harvest so they got of an old Sears catalog and tried to pick out something everyone in the family would like and enjoy. After much discussion, they decided to get a mirror.
The mirror arrived and each took a turn looking in it. The father frowned, mother smile, and he baby giggled.
Young Willie was the last to look in the mirror. As he looked he was taken back by what he saw. It was the first time he had really seen himself. He didn’t know whether to frown or cry. Willie had been kicked by a mule when he was a tiny baby; his face was distorted, scarred and deformed. "Mom", Willie finally asked in a shaky voice," did you know all the time that I looked like this?"
The mother answered, "Yes Willie I knew."
"And you still loved me?" he replied.
"I still loved you," his mother said, "The face didn’t make no difference. I love you because you’re mine."
God’s love is the same; he loves us because we are his no matter how we are. In the same way we are to love our neighbor as a brother or sister in Christ. Through God we are all related. All of us are brothers and sisters in Christ. The bond of love which holds us to God as His children should also hold us to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. But in reality it doesn’t. We have a very difficult time answering yes to Cain’ s question "Am I my brothers, keeper, guardian and protector? Do I reach out in love to others? These are the questions we are going to wrestle with this morning.
I would like you to think of your neighbor this morning as all those who are sitting either in your pew or directly behind you or in front of you.
Have I reached out in love to those people? Do I consider those people brothers and sisters in Christ? Do I uphold them with the kind of love which God through Christ has for me?
To answer these questions, I think we must begin with ourselves. Paul in the letter to the Galatians, which is our second lesson this morning,speaks about how a person in Christ should conduct himself or he herself. He ways we are to look to yourself. Let each one test his own work then boast in himself and not in his neighbor. Use Christ as the standard for your conduct, not your neighbor. Paul is saying that you and I are responsible for our own actions and conduct. If we are doing well, feel good in yourself and don’t lord it over your neighbor. Your conduct is not the judge of your neighbor’s conduct. Christ is the only guide, the only standard. How do you measure up to Christ should be the question we ask ourselves. Christ is the measuring stick we use when judging our conduct. In Christ’s actions we see the kind of lives he has called us to live.