This topic ” Be One Another’s Keeper Verse 9 of Genesis Chapter says “And the Lord said unto Cain, where is Abel thy brother? And he said I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? (Genesis 4:9).
From the book Genesis, the first and the foundational book of the Bible, through the book of Revelation, the mal, the capstone, and the climactic book of the Bible, runs a scarlet thread of redemption. The thread is scarlet because redemption can only be purchased by blood.
The scarlet is a thread because the progress of God’s eternal purpose is sometimes difficult to discern amidst the many details of history and the interplay of personalities found in the Bible. But from beginning to end the scarlet thread of redemption ties together God’s unfolding drama that has as its focal point the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”.
Alongside the scarlet thread of redemption, through that portion of the Bible that deals with man on earth before the end of the age, is what I have chosen to label the revelation of mutual responsibility. It is the obvious principle of mutual interdependence. It is the recognition that the Bible shows mankind to not only be a race created by God to be dependent upon God, but also the recognition that the Bible shows mankind to be a race created by God to be interdependent upon each other.
When Eve was deceived by the enticement of the serpent, she did not fulfill her responsibility toward her husband, Adam. In short, she was not dependable and so let him down.
When Adam ate the forbidden fruit that was given to him by Eve, he not only sinned against God and precipitated the fall that has led to mankind’s present misery, but he also betray eve and generations yet unborn. Adam let eve down by not being the leader God created him to be, and by so doing, ruined us all. When Abraham yielded to Sarah and fathered Ismael by Hagar, he failed in his duty toward both women, toward the son that was born from his sin, and toward later generations. He let us all down.
HOW ABOUT DAVID’S SIN WITH BETHSHEBA?
A terrible sin that led to another terrible sin. Not only did he give “great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme,” but also he let down so many people who had depended on him. But for lack of time. The essence of the point that I seek to make, the principle that I desire to focus your attention on, is that our God is a relations God, who created mankind to live in relationship and interdependence with one another. A clear demonstration of this fact is found in our text of consideration, Genesis4:9.
To provide the context to this point, Adam and Eve had sinned against God and has been expelled from the Garden of Eden.
Despite the great difficulties associated with living under the curse of sin God blessed the first couple with many children, with our attention here directed toward the first two, Cain and Abel.
After a conflict between the brothers results in Cain’s murdering of Abel, a potential that exists whenever two brothers become angry
with each other and resort to violence, the Bible records God’s confrontation of Cain. Cain’s answer forms the basis for our massage.
We have here a full account of the trial and condemnation of the first murderer. Civil courts of judicature not being yet erected for this purpose, as they were afterward (Gen. 9:6), God himself sits as Judge; for He is the God to whom vengeance belongs, and who will be sure to make inquisition for blood and suffering of his people, especially the innocent, weak, and helpless. At the arrangnment the Lord said unto Cain, where is Abel thy brother? Some think Cain was thus examined the next Sabbath after the murder was committed, when the sons of God came, as usual, to present themselves before the Lord, in a religious assembly, and Abel was missing, whose place did not use to be empty. The God of heven takes notice who is present at and who is absent from public ordinances.
Cain is asked, not only because there is just cause to suspect him, (he) having discovered he had a malice against Abel and was the last with him, but because God knew him to be guilty: yet he asked him, that He may draw from him a confession of his crime, for those who would be the justified before God must accuse themselves, and the penitent will do so.
Cain impudently charges God with folly and justice, in putting this question to him: Am I my brother’s keeper? He flies in the faces of God himself, as if He had asked him an impertinent question, to which he no way obliged to give answer.
Cain displayed a shameful tone of presumptuous impudence in his insulting reply to the Lord God. If it had not been on record in the page of Holy Scripture, we might almost have doubted whether a man could speak so impudently when actually conscious, that God Himself was addressing him. Men blaspheme often in a most terrible fashion, but it is usually because they forget God and ignore His presence; but Cain was conscious that God was speaking to him. He heard him say. “Where is your brother Abel?” and yet he dared with the coldest impertinence, to reply to God, “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” As much as to say “Do you think that I have keep watch over him as he watches over his sheep? Am I also a shepherd as he was, and am I to take as much care of him as he did of a crippled lamb?”
The unfriendly impudence of Cain is an indication of the state of his heart which led up to his murdering his brother; and it was also partly a result of his having committed that terrible crime. He would not have accomplished the brutal deed of bloodshed if he had not first cast off the fear of God and been ready to defy his creator. Having committed murder, the hardening influence of sin upon Cain’s mind must have been intense, and thus he was able to speak to God’s face what he felt within his heart, and say, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” this goes a long way to explain what puzzled many great people, I mean, the amazing calmness with which great criminals will appear in court, or some ungodly and fraudulent public servants faces the public after looting public fund and resources. Remember having heard it said of one who had undoubtedly committed a very violent murder that he looked like an innocent man. He stood up before his accusers as calmly and quietly, they said, as an innocent man could “do. I remember feeling at the time that an innocent man would probably have not been calm. The distress of mind felt by an innocent man for being under such a charge would have prevented his having the coldness, which was displayed by the guilty individual.
Instead of its being any evidence of innocence that a man wears a shameless front when charged with a great crime, it should by wise men be considered to be evidence against him. The guilty person may seem to be dispassionate and unmoved because he had already been so unfeeling as to dip his hand in blood or to have cause the agony of many.
People of God, it is an unfortunate truth that we live in a world where men have taken, in the words of Jude, “the way of Cain.” (Jude vs. 11).
We live in a word where hatred, hard heartedness, malice, selfishness, and other forms of ungodliness have been enthroned to rule.
The level of fraud and looting of public fund in our society, and the impudence with which these public servants respond when faced with the realities of their crime, explain how much our society has been successfully invaded by the spirit of Cain. When a man or woman who takes an oath, and is paid to protect the public, and to use the public recourses to provide basic needs of life for same public, fail to do this, it is enough display of ungodliness, but when such a man or woman goes behind the microphone of the media, or pages of newspapers to claim that all is well, even celebrates success that have not even been dreamt of, this is as sinful, ungodly, and shameless as the response of Cain to God. Such a man or woman is standing before God, and calling Him a God who is the ultimate Judge.
Other than the spirit of Cain, what else will lead young man to have the courage to rape a young woman simply because he finished
school and has no job, even when it is clear that his victim has no hands whatsoever in his predicament, and more so, even as he
cherishes the wellbeing of his own little sister and or mother at home? How can a young man accept to be paid to take someone else’s life and at the same time does whatever it takes to protect his own life? What happened to the communal celebration of the success of one member of the community? No one could classify me as an old man, but I can vividly remember the time when an entire of their sons or daughters into a higher institution. When a community send forth party is organized for a son or daughter who secures a visa to travel abroad. When an entire community will work together to fight the slighted trace of crimes within its shores. I mean the time when the spirit of Cain have not taken over our conscience, when we lived one for another, when we were our brothers keeper.
Every day continue to watch at the spirit of indecency rules and destroy our women. We
can remember the days when it was a taboo to hear the mentions of a woman’s private part from the mouth of young people. A time
when a woman will take offence of any attempt to touch of even speak openly about any of her private parts. But today, what do we see?
It is our very young woman who purposely direct the attention every man to those part of her body that ought to be respected and honored. This is the result of the cainish spirit.
It is the mark of disregard for the spiritual wellbeing of our men exhibited by our women. We have seen the result on this on our
society-rape, pre-marital sexual relationships, teen pregnancy, abortion, and breakdown in our family structure.
Tertullian, one of our great church fathers, is best known as an apologist for the Christian faith. In ‘’Women’s Dress,’’ however, he displayed another concern. He urged Christian women to differ from the world in straightforward: a lack of modesty is a sin
against God, against one’s husband, if married, and against one’s neighbor.
In his opinion, women who expose their bodies may be causing spiritual harm to their brothers.
Tertullian did not mince words; it took lust very seriously. Some of the language is contextual.
For example, he inveighed against make up, saying “Women sin who there skin with potion, stain their cheeks with black coloring”.
Contemporary women can appreciate Tertullian on modesty with out throwing away there makeup, because his overall point is sound; those men who want to love their male neighbors will remember that inciting them to lust is not just unhelpful its immoral.
But why should we be a danger to our neighbors? Why should we excite in him lustful desire by the way we dress? In amplifying his law, God makes no distinction of penalty between lust and fornication, and it will scarcely be that they escape punishment who have been to anther the cause of perdition. Let us remind our young Christian women that, as soon as that brother who has lusted after your exposure of your body, and in his mind committed the lustful acts, perishes; you have been made the sword of his destruction.
Remember the word of our Lord Jesus Christ concerning those who in any way may cause others to fall into sin. Are we to expose our bodies that our neighbors may perish? Where, then, is the command?. Thou shall love thy neighbor as thy self? No, you must think not only of your self but of your neighbor as well.
My brothers and sisters, we have lost the very essence of existence. We are too selfish, tribalistic, and nepotic. These negative approaches to life have brewed a high level of hatred and violence among us. Every day,we look at God straight in the eye and ask “Am 1 my brother’s keeper?”
*IN AN IMPORTANT SENSE WE ARE, EACH ONE OF US, OUR BROTHER’S KEEPER.
We ought to regard ourselves in that light, and it is a canish spirit, which prompts us to think otherwise and to wrap ourselves up in hardheartedness and say, “it is no concern of mine how other fare. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Let us be far from that spirit.
Christians are called to be our brother’s keeper by caring for the salvation of the ungodly. For, first, common feeling of humility should lead every Christian to feel an interest in the soul of every unsaved person. I say, (common humanity), for we use the word: humanity” to signify kindness. I trust among us the expression may be used that “common humanity” leads us to desire the salvations of others. I am sure, my dear friends, if you see a man dying of lack of bread that you will wish to share your crust with him. Will you let souls perish for lack of bread of life without pitying and helping them? If we see a poor unfortunate person shivering in a cool we will be ready to divide our clothing that we might clothe him.
Shall we see sinners without the rope of righteousness and not be anxious to speak to them of him who can clothe them in pure white linen?
When a person’s life is in jeopardy because of an accident, we rush them any where and use any means available that we may rescue them.
Yet this life is trivial compared with life eternal, and for us to be indifferent when men and women are perishing, indifferent, to the dreadful and anguish and torment which come upon unrepentant sinners through out eternity, is to act as if all brotherly compassions had fled from our hearts.
Christians, I advice you, even with so low emotive as this, because you are men and women, and unbelieving men and women are your brothers and sisters born of the same stock and living beneath the canopy of one eternal father, therefore care for the souls of others and be each one of us, our brother’s keeper.
Christians should be our brother’s keeper by being the mouth of the powerless and down trodden.
We should boldly confront the ills of our society, and not partner with fraudulent public servant to loot public resources.
A second argument is drawn from the fact that all of us, especially those of us who are Christians, have the to do good to other.
None of us have the same abilities, for none of us have the same gifts, or the same position, but like the little girl-a captive from Israel, that served Naaman’s wife, who had the opportunity to tell the prophet who could heal her master, therefore every Christians have the power to do good to others.
Converted children can speak the name of Jesus to their fathers and mothers and bless them.
We all have capacity for doing good. Now, take it as a truism that power to do good involves the duty of doing good. Were ever you are placed, if you can bless a person, you are obligated to do so. To have the power and not to use it is a sin. If you withhold your hand from that which you are able to do for the good of your fellowman then you have broken the law of love. You do not need a special call to take a little child and tell it of the savior’s love. You need no revelation by angles from heaven to tell you that what has benefited your fellow men. All you knowledge, all your experience, all that you possess, that grace of God has give you, demands a return in the form of service rendered to others. The Jews were God’s elect nation, elect to keep the revelations of God for all the nations; but they failed because they never cared about sharing those great truths with the Gentiles, but believed that they had received them for their own special benefits. The selfish spirit so grew on them that when God’s grace to the heathen was mentioned it made them angry with rage.
And, you saved ones; you owe much to God, but do not think that you are saved for your own special benefit alone. It is a great benefit to you, but grace is bestowed on you like light, that you may give it to others who are in darkness; bestowed on you as the bread that was given by our Lord to His disciples, that they might share it among the multitude, that all might eat and be filled.Think of this, that the power to do good involve the responsibility to do it wherever that power exists; and so, as far as you have any ability, you –are by that very fact constituted as your brother’s keeper.
Another argument is very plainly drawn from our Lord’s version of the moral law. What second and great commandment according
to him? “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Now since we have loved ourselves so much that through God’s grace we have sought and found forgiveness of our sin, should we not love our neighbor so much to desire for them to know their sin and to seek forgiveness too?
It was right of us to secure our height interest by laying hold of eternal life; but if we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, should we give ourselves any rest while multitudes are despising Christ and refusing salvation? No, my brother and sister, we have never come up to the standard yet; but in proportion as we do begin to love our neighbor as ourselves we shall certainly feel that God has us in a measure to be our brother’s keeper.
Yet again without looking to other men’s souls we cannot keep the first of the two great
commands in which our Lord has summarized the moral law.
It says this: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.”
But we can not possibly do this unless we have a love towards our brother’s soul, for rightly does the apostle ask “if a man does
not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” It is all very good to stand up and sing about your love to God and let the plate for missionary offering go by while your eyes are gazing into heaven, but if you do not care for the heathen’s souls, how, can you truly care for God?-it is all very pretty to be enamored with Christ and to have a sweet experience, or to think you have, and yet poor miserable unbelievers all around us are dying without the knowledge of the savoir, and you can them die and let them sink into hell without emotion.
May God Save us from such holiness? A loveless rejoin is good for nothing. He who does not his fellow man enough to desire their salvation, and aim at it with all his might, give no proof that he loves God at all.
Once more: to the Christian perhaps the most forcible reason will be that the whole example of Jesus Christ, whom we call master and lord, lies in the direction of our being the keeper of our brother; for what was Jesus life but one of complete unselfishness?
What was said of Jesus at his death but that “he saved others: but he could at all means that there was one who cared for others, and that our lord became here to rescue those who rebelled against his authority. If we are selfish if we make our own eternal life to be the one end of life we are not Christian we may call whom we please masters, but we are not following Jesus Christ. You shed tears do you? But do you weep over Jerusalem? Tears for yourselves are poor thing if there are never any for others. You pray and organize: but is your grief ever cause by bearing the burden of other persons souls? Oh, though we gave our bodies to be burned, yet if we have no love for mankind it would profit us nothing. We may go a long way, and apparently all the way, in the externals of the Christian religion, but if the heart is never warm with a desire to beneath mankind, we are still alien to the commonwealth of which jess is the great head.
I am sure it is so. I do not speak my own mind, but the mind of Christ. They were here
what would he say to anyone who called his hand or moved his tongue to snatch the firebrand from the flame or save the sinner
from the error of his ways? It must be so, then: as Christians, we must be our brother’s keepers.
Let us make no mistake about the importance of being your brother’s keeper my friend.
It is more important than you realize, because it is part of the fabric from which you were woven by God.
His plan for you and me and for everyone, includes being our brother’s keeper we are interdependent and in need of each other.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus asks “which now of these three, do you think, was neighbor unto him that among the thieves?
And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
In the Apostle Paul’s ministry, we find restatement of this principle
In Romans 1:14-15, Paul states this obligation in the context of gospel preaching: “1 am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the barbarians; both to the wise and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, i am ready to preach the gospel to you that are Rome also.
As well, Galatians 6.10 speaks to this principle: As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto
who are of the household of faith.”
Let the thought next rise in our minds that we are certainly ordained to the office of brother- keeper because we shall be called to account about it.
At this point, I think it is proper to remind us that every man’s action will be rewarded. For every opportunity and privilege, we have to protect, serve and or improve the life of those around us, or those we serve; we will be called to account for. Cain was called to account.
“Where is your brother Abel?” and so God will call each one of us to account for how we used the different opportunities and privileges we have here on earth to the service of others.
When Pastors see members of the churches as cows to be milked for personal gains, instead of souls to be made fit for the Kingdom of God, we need to remember that that day of reckoning is coming.
When public office holders see their election/appointment as an opportunity to enrich themselves, while the masses, with whose mandate they claim to be serving, languish everyday under man made, and preventable sufferings, they need to be reminded that Cain could not escape the judgment of God, and neither will they.
God has called us to be our brother’s keeper, and this we must endeavor to be or be prepared to face His wrath, who is the righteous judge.
The question that Cain asked God so long ago was, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” That
was in the days when there Were only brothers and sisters in a new world, but for his mother and father. His question could be paraphrased, “Am I responsible for the welfare of other people?” The answer remains even more so in our world today yes, you are your brother’s keeper. No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. We are interdependent and in need of each other. Whatever you do, everyday has a way of affecting the life of many positively or negatively.
Let us strive to build a society ruled by the spirit of the love of Christ our Lord. Let us listen to the voices of those we lead or serve.
Let our leaders in all aspects of our life be more responsive to the cries of the poor, Weak, down trodden, and marginalized.
Let us Be One Another’s Keeper, for this is the call of God on us.
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