Am I My Brother’s Keeper?
Cain and Abel / Genesis 4
Fifth in a Series of 9 Sermons
• Golden Calf rising up out of impatience and desire to have fun / Second Commandment/ God revealing Name to Moses
Third Commandment / Balance between rest and work
Fourth Commandment / Eli failing to restrain sons
• Move into Fifth Commandment / which is aimed at how we deal with our neighbors, especially our enemies who do us harm – Shall we get revenge or let it go? On Last Day, when I was hungry? Etc
• What does it mean to be my brother’s keeper?
• Story of Curtis protecting me from Bill Heitkemp on first day of jr. high football
• Verses 1-5 – God blesses Cain with life and with vocation / Parents must have taught sons to be thankful and to return thanks. First mistake was to bring an offering with a wrong attitude / perhaps a left over instead of firstfruit / perhaps he thought that God could be influenced to answer his prayer with an offering / In any case, devil’s agenda was to get him on the road to murder.
• Verses 6-8 – asks a question and warns him about sin crouching at the door and his need to fight the good fight of faith. We learn here the need to resist temptation early and often. Mistake #2 was to let anger have its way instead of resisting temptation. Lost temper instead of crying out for help to control his temper.
Stories on internet of Chinese man being unhappy with judge’s divorce ruling and smashing his own car outside of courthouse / another wife unhappy that husband wouldn’t take her to lake as promised and so she went on rampage / dairy farmer walking into church with cast on his hand / neighbors who yell and fight and cops are called / husband and wife moving into silent treatment as a way of punishing.
• Verse 9 – Third mistake was to make excuses instead of confessing what he had just done / Adam making excuses as well / Classic case of man drinking because his wife is so crabby and ornery and wife being crabby and ornery because her husband drinks so much. Notice God’s desire to have mercy.
• Verses 10-16 – Mistake #4 was to complain about his punishment rather than crying out for a second chance / or standing up like a man and learning from his lessons. God disciplines, but puts a mark on him / gives him a sign to protect and go with him. God still cares for him with a mark, even as he cared for Adam and Eve by making them clothes to cover their nakedness. Our sign of the cross put on us in waters of Baptism, Invocation, Absolution, Lord’s Supper, Benediction / Conversation with Isaiah and Brianne today – no complaining, rather tears, listening to Scripture, praying that the will of God be done.
• Verses 17-24 – Cain’s family story went from bad to worse / focus on building a city/ fine arts apart from God / revenge / polygamy.
• Verses 25-26 – Story goes back to promise / Seth appointed to take Cain’s place / God’s desire to have mercy never wavered / 4000 years later Savior is born / NT explanation of 5th commandment / all that leads up to murder is to be resisted early and often / our vocation to neighbors is to help and befriend them in every bodily need as a remedy for hurting and harming them in revenge.
• 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good[b] is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
• Am I My brother’s keeper? Yes, my sister Gail still looks after me / concerned about my health etc / actually nothing noble about that – even pagans do that. Do you know anybody with a drinking problem? Losing his temper problem? Spending money problem? Laziness problem? Drifting away from church problem? Poverty problems? Financial disarray problem? Have you thought about the best way to help them? Have you listened? Walked alongside as one sinner to another sinner?
• The kingdom of God is like a small band of believers who belonged to a large church in a small town. One summer evening they decided to spend the next week looking for people who needed help and to help them. Not as a way of earning God’s favor, but because God had already favored them. They did so not so much out of a sense of duty, but for the privilege of serving their Savior. The more they thought of Jesus forgiving the very enemies who were nailing him to the cross, the stronger their desire grew to love those not so easy to love. They are learning again that they are in fact their brother’s keeper, especially the ones who have fallen and are having a hard time getting up again. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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