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ABOUT THE GENERAL OVERSEER
THE UNFORGETABLE AND HEROS MASSAGE

Am I My Brother's Keeper?

Scripture: Genesis 4:1-9


Sermon preached At: Great Achievers International Ministries -Aba.
By Apostle Dr Prince Nnams Nmecha Kalu


Introduction: God created man as a social being (Genesis 2:18). He instituted the family as the basic social unit (Genesis 1:28). The members of the family were to love each other, complement and enjoy each other's love and help.

However, when sin entered, self-centeredness also entered and earth's first family suffered a terrible tragedy when their eldest son killed his brother because of envy. If Adam's family was wrecked by sinful selfishness, we who live in this Age of Individual Rights must expect even greater challenges to family unity.

While this generation emphasizes their individual rights of how they should be treated, the Bible emphasizes our duties to God and men. It hardly ever mentions our rights because rebellious sinners deserve no rights except the right to be punished. Our success as a family, church or nation depends largely on whether the law of self-centeredness of the law of love prevails. Only in places where the Christian law of love has prevailed can we find true freedom and happiness.

Adam must have taught his children of the need to offer an animal sacrifice for their sins (Genesis 3:21). However, disobedient Cain decided to offer a bloodless sacrifice (Genesis 4:3) to God. He represents the majority of worshippers - those who willingly worship God so long as they can do it in their own way.

 Abel obediently offered a bloody animal sacrifice and God was pleased with him and his sacrifice (Genesis 4:4) and probably showed His acceptance of his offering by fire from heaven (Leviticus 9:24, 1 Kings 18:38). Cain envied Abel because he had God's favour and probably also their parents' favour, and schemed to murder him (Genesis 4:8).

Where is thy brother? Though God knew what had happened, He asked this question to give Cain the opportunity to confess his sin. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). Instead Cain replies "I know not…" If indeed he did not know where Abel was, why did he not find out? Was he not concerned for his brother? Did he have so many brothers that he could not keep track of them? However, Cain knew what had happened but pretended not to know.

Today, God our Father is asking us the same question: "Where is thy brother?" Many who only attend church on Sundays will not be able to answer this question. If we do not attend prayer meetings, we are unlikely to know how our brethren (here or abroad) are doing. Others may be aware that a brother is struggling, but will pretend like Cain, that they are unaware so that they will not be expected to offer any help.

It seems strange that Cain expected to bluff God. However, his conscience had been hardened by his sin and he lied with a straight face and expected to escape detection. We should not be surprised to see a person who has just committed a terrible crime appear absolutely calm and innocent. Sin hardens the conscience and makes us think and behave in a way that is totally different from our usual behaviour. Cain had actually slain himself - his conscience and his relationship with God and men, when he murdered his brother.

Am I my brother's keeper? Cain not only lies to God but actually challenges Him by asking "Am I my brother's keeper?" i.e. "Why can't he take care of himself? Why should I bother with him?" Surely, he had been taught by his father to care for his younger brother. Instinctively, his natural affection would make him concerned for him. Furthermore, he had seen the need of human interdependence (e.g. advice from his father, help and meat from Abel).

As Christians, we have an even greater reason to be our brother's keeper because we have tasted God's unconditional love for us. "Freely ye have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8). Furthermore, we are commanded to prove our love to God by our love to His children (1 John 4:20). As Christians we also realize that "whosoever shall give a cup of water…shall not lose his reward" (Mark 9:41). "Insomuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matthew 25:40). Indeed the chance to help needy brethren is our opportunity to serve God.

A "brother" is anyone who has some relationship to us, e.g. family member, fellow citizen, spiritual brother. The closer the relationship is, the greater the responsibility to help. A common way to avoid responsibility is to label needy brethren as "hopeless cases."

We all have different abilities to help (e.g. prayer, encouragement, help, advice, influence, financial) but none are totally unable to help. While we may not be able to do great things for our brothers, we must do what we can do. It is our God-commanded duty. We must not excuse ourselves from doing something just because we cannot do everything.

Conclusion: If we call God our Father, then we must remember to be our Christian brothers' keepers.


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