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Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

Am I my brother’s keeper?   Genesis 4:6-9

In the 4th chapter of Genesis Cain and his brother Abel were born. They grew into men and in time they both offered sacrifices to God.  Abel offered a sacrifice from the animals. He was a keeper of sheep. Cain offered a sacrifice from the field. Not only did Abel offer God a blood sacrifice but the sacrifice he offered was the firstborn. God was pleased with Abel’s sacrifice and he accepted it, but he was not pleased with Cain’s offering.

After God told Cain his offering was not acceptable he became wroth which means he was full of wrath. But God who is a loving and merciful God told him he should not be angry, that if he brought him a proper offering he would accept it. We cannot give God anything; we have to give him what he asks for. We have to give what he requires. Cain did not listen and one day while out in the field with Abel his brother, he killed him. God asked Cain, where is your brother? Cain replied; I know not; he is a grown man. I don’t keep up with his whereabouts. (My words) Am I my brother’s keeper? How often do we respond in this manner?

Why did Cain kill his brother? Because his deeds were evil, not because of something Abel had done but because he assumed Abel had done something to him. He assumed his brother was the cause of his “so-called” grief from the Lord. I John 3:12 “Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.” Oftentimes this is our response, we get angry at other people because God is blessing them and accepting them instead of looking at ourselves to see what might be the reason for God not accepting our sacrifices.

We must ask ourselves, am I my brother’s keeper? The scriptures tell us who our brothers and sisters are in the Lord. One day while Jesus was preaching to the people, his mother and his brothers came and wanted to see him but because the crowd was huge they were not able to get in. Some of the people told Jesus, your mother and brethren are at the door and want to see you. Jesus replied, who is my mother, who are my brothers but them who do the will of my Father; these people are my relatives, these people are my family. When we are born into this world we have a natural family and when we are born again of the water and Spirit, we take on the new birth according to St John 3: 5-7 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 

When we take on the new birth we then have a spiritual family and our family now consists of the people of God who become our brothers and sisters. So Jesus was saying now your family is a new family. You have been born again, you have been filled with the Holy Spirit and you are no longer who you used to be and now your family consists of the people who are called by my name. Cain said to God, “where is my brother? How am I supposed to know where my brother is? Am I supposed to keep up with him?” God replied the voice of your brother’s blood is crying out from the ground. You’ve killed your brother.  The scripture says if we do not love our brothers if we do not love our sisters how dwelleth the love of God in us. Anybody who says they love God and does not love their brothers and sisters they are a liar and the truth is not in them.  I John 4:20-21 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also

The scripture also says in Galatians 6:10, As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.  We are to do good unto all men, not just our brothers and sisters in the Lord. One day in St Luke 10:25-36 a lawyer came to Jesus and he asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus replied what does the scripture say? The lawyer said Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. Jesus said thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live and the lawyer said who is my neighbor? He asked Jesus this question because he was trying to justify himself.

Jesus did not answer the lawyer, instead, he told the lawyer a parable because he was trying to justify himself. Jesus said there was a certain man who went down to Jericho. He went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and he fell among thieves which stripped him of his raiment and wounded him and departed, leaving him for half-dead. This is what Satan does, he beats us up, he wounds us, he strips us of our raiment and then he leaves us for dead. When Satan leaves us for dead by stripping us of our raiment he strips us of our love, our joy, our peace, our happiness, but the most important thing he tries to strip us of is our faith, because the scripture says in Hebrews 11:6 that without faith it is impossible to please God and if we have faith as the grain of a mustard seed we can say unto the mountain to be moved and it shall be moved Matthew 17:20. It takes faith to move God. Satan tries to strip us of the fruit of the Spirit. He tries to take everything away from us that God has given us because he wants us to die, he wants to destroy us, the scripture says in St John 10:10, The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.

Hence this certain man was coming from Jerusalem and he was going to Jericho, a city where priests lived. The robbers had robbed this man and stripped him of his raiment and left him for half-dead. So by chance here comes this man, this man is a priest, he is going down the road and he sees something. He sees something up ahead, he is not sure what it is, he stops and looks and says to himself, I wonder what that is, it looks like it might be a person laying there but I am not sure. If it is a person they might be dead or hurt or wounded.  He says, well I am on my way to the temple, I am on my way to Jerusalem and I cannot stop to help this man.  If this person is dead or wounded and I stop to help then I cannot do what I need to do at the temple. I will be defiling myself and I will not be able to do what God has called me to do, I will not be able to perform my duties at the temple so I cannot stop, I am going to keep going. I have to get to the temple; I have to get where I am going. I have things to do for the Lord. I have a job to do, and he continues on his way. 

Next here comes someone else. This person comes and he also sees something. This person is a Levite. He is coming down the road and he says, what is that up ahead, let me go and see what it is. So he walks up and he sees the person laying there, he sees the person has been stripped of his raiment, he sees the person has been left for half-dead. He sees the person has lost his joy, the person has lost his peace, the person has lost his strength, he sees the person has lost his faith, he comes close; he is personal, he sees what is happening, but he says to himself, I see that you are in need. I see that you are going through, I see that you have problems, I see but I cannot help you. I am on my way to Jerusalem to the temple. I have work to do.

I have a job to do for the Lord. If I stop I will not be able to do what God has called me to do. I cannot help you, I see your situation, I see what you are going through, I know that you are having problems; I know that you are hurting. I know that you are weighed down but I cannot help you because the Lord needs me at the temple, so I have to go. I have to play the music today, I have to help with the food today, I have to usher today, and I cannot help you. I have to go and perform my duties for the Lord, and he continues on his way.  

The priest and the Levite were just like the Pharisees who challenged Jesus for healing on the Sabbath day. They have the letter of the law but no Spirit. People who think it is more important to help in the service than to help someone in need.

Next, here comes someone else, this person is a Samaritan, this person is someone who is considered to be least of all people, the Samaritan’s were considered dogs, they were considered to be people you did not want contact with, but here comes the Samaritan.  He is coming down the road, he stops and he sees something in the road, he says I wonder what that is in the road, so he goes up to the person, he sees there is a man laying there, he sees he has been robbed, beat up, stripped of his raiment and left for half-dead. He gets off his animal because he sees the man’s situation; he sees the man is in need of help.  He sees the man has lost his joy, he sees the man has lost his peace, he sees the man has lost his strength; he sees the man has lost his faith, patience, and temperance. He says I see your situation, I see what you are going through, I know you have been beaten up, I know the devil has whipped you, let me help you. 

He said I have somewhere to go, I have important business to take care of, but I see your situation and I will help you.  He goes to the man and he cleans and binds the man’s wounds, picks him up and puts the man on his own beast. He does not just keep going, he takes time out from his busy schedule, and he takes time out from his day and helps the man. He helps him to overcome, he helps the man regain his strength, he helps the man regain his love, and his faith and he takes him to an inn and takes care of him. He does not just take the man to the inn and drop him off; he stays there with the man.

The next day when he departed he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and he told the innkeeper, take care of him and if his care costs more than what I have given you, when I come back I will repay it. He told the innkeeper, I have somewhere to go, I have some business to take care of, but I want you to take care of this man and when I come back I will make up the difference. So this man, this Samaritan who was considered as nothing, he was considered as a dog, must have had a good character. He must have been a man of integrity because the innkeeper did not object.  He did not say, I am not of this, you might not come back, it might cost more than what you have given me and I might be stuck with taking care of this man. No, he consented.  The Samaritan must have been someone the innkeeper knew he could trust. That is what God expects from his people, he expects us to keep our word, he expects us to have integrity, he expects our character to be one in which if we say we are going to do something, we do it, because people are looking at us, people see our actions and if we say we are going to do something and we don’t then our word is not true. We must be someone people can trust.

Then Jesus said to the lawyer, which now of these three men was neighbor unto him that fell among thieves? Who was this man’s neighbor? This is what Cain said to God, am I my brother’s keeper? Jesus said yes, you are your brother’s keeper. You are required to help take care of your brother. The scriptures say, in Proverbs 3:27&28, Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee. Therefore if your neighbor is in need and you have it in your power to help don’t tell them to go and come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you then. If you do then the love of God is not dwelling in you, because the person is in need of your help right then and there.

The scripture also says in James 2:14-17, What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

It is not going to profit you anything. Jesus said in Matthew 25: 41-46 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. He is going to say depart from me. People are going to say Lord how can you say depart, when did we see you naked and hungry and in prison, Jesus said you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, therefore, you have done it unto me.

Therefore we are our brother’s keeper, we are neighbors to our brothers and sisters in Christ and we are required to look out for each other, we are required to help take care of those who are in need.  Amen, the scripture says, do good unto all men especially they of the household of faith.

Prophetess Nadine Richmond

 

 

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