I Am My Brother's Keeper
Posted on 10/16/2005 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
This is the day that Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! No matter what's going on in the world around us or in our own lives and in our own hearts and minds, the fact remains This is the day the Lord has made, and we have the choice to put our trust completely in his loving, all-powerful hands, and simply rejoice and be glad.
This message is being recorded so those who come in late or need to relog, or who come in later this week, won't miss anything, except for the time of fellowship afterwards. If you're listening from another location and it's between 11am and 12:30pm Second Life time, come join us in Vine after the message! Just do a search for CyberChurch. If you're listening later today or this week, please join us next Sunday at 11am Second Life time.
Please left-click on the pulpit in front of to receive a notecard with the outline of this morning's message. You'll be able to take notes, and write any questions you'd like to discuss after the message. Please hold all your questions and comments until our time of fellowship and discussion after the message.
One quick announcement, my wife, Mariposa Psaltery, has started a group for those who have suffered abuse. She herself has been abused as a child and teen, and knows God is using those horrible experiences for good and to be able to understand and minister to others who have been abused as well.
Statistically, there are several others in this room who have been abused, many of you sexually, or in some other way. It's easy to feel as though you're alone and those around you had perfect childhoods, or marriages, and couldn't possibly understand. But there are others all around you who understand your hurt, and know exactly what you've gone through, because they've gone through it too. You don't have to suffer alone any longer. You're not alone.
If you are one of the very large number who have been abused in some way, physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually, send her an instant message saying you'd like to join the Healing Wings group. If you're listening later or from another location, instant message Mariposa Psaltery, locate a communication sign, or go to healingwingsministries.org.
Last week we talked about the fact that every one of us has a place in the Body of Christ, God's family, and that YOU are vitally important.
This morning, let's talk for a few minutes about one very important place we all have in God's family.
Most of us know the story of Cain and Abel, how Cain killed his brother Able because of jealously, and how when God asked Cain where his brother was (of course God already knew), Cain replied by asking, "Am I my brother's keeper?"
You see, Cain was angry because God accepted Abel's sacrifice but rejected his. So instead of learning what Abel did to please God and then helping Abel worship in the way God desired, he killed him.
This morning I wish to submit to you that perhaps we don't always please God with the way we live. Perhaps something we do even for the Lord is done out of motives that are not pleasing to God. OF COURSE this happens, and it happens to us all, simply because we still have that twisted, fallen human nature inside of us which we inherited from our father Adam, while God is perfect, holy, and pure. So all of us could identify with Cain.
I would also like to suggest to you that, if we choose to respond differently to our brothers and sisters in Christ and to God than Cain did, we will have a happy ending, unlike Cain who lived under a curse for the rest of his life.
I will offer to you this morning a phrase we should embrace and live by, five words that we should engrave upon our hearts:
"I Am My Brother's Keeper."
Heavenly Father, thank you for being our father, for taking us in, adopting us as your own sons and daughters, for washing away our past and our sins and for giving us a brand new start. Thank you for giving us one another so we can help our brothers and sisters along the way as they help us too.
Come and speak your Word this morning. May I speak only what you would say to us this morning, nothing more, nothing less. And give us ears that hear and a heart that understands the message you have for us this morning.
It's in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
I would like to ask you a question, and you don't have to raise your hand if this applies to you, simply because most of us in this room CAN'T raise our hands... Just suppose, for those of you who work outside the home, just imagine things changed where you work. Picture this: from now on, you're the only one who will ever know when or if you go into the office; you will get paid the same as you're getting now, since it will be assumed you're doing the same work... Your production won't be metered, nobody will be watching you.
Honestly, how many of you will work 40 hours this week? See, none of you are raising your hands! The fact is, most of us wouldn't raise our hands even if we could. When we aren't accountable to anyone, we often times don't do what we should, and DO do what we shouldn't.
And that is point number one of my message this morning: "When no one knows what we're doing, we are tempted to do the wrong thing."
I'll take that one step further, speaking from my own experience, in some areas, when no one knows what we're doing, we will definitely do the wrong thing, or not the the right thing, at least once.
How many men, even ministers, are addicted to pornography? The statistics are very high. But tell me, how many preachers have you see reading a Penthouse while standing behind the pulpit? How many have you seen watching a porn flick on the overhead before a service? It is in their time of privacy, when no one knows (except God), and when they believe no one will ever find out. Then the temptation, caused by a stronghold the enemy has in their hearts and minds, overtakes them.
What about you? What do you do in secret, whether it's in the privacy of your home, or someone else's home, or whether it's in the privacy of your own mind... What is your weakness? What trips you up?
We know that sin forms a wall between us and God, which is why Jesus hung and died on the cross for us, so that we could be forgiven for our sins, and have the freedom to walk in a way that pleases God.
One way he provides this freedom is by his example, and another way he offers us this liberty is by his Word.
We read in James 5:16, "Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed."
Before everyone runs out of the church, let me assure you we're not going to have a closet cleaning here this morning. If you're struggling with something, please don't tell the whole church.
I will, however say this, and this is my second and final point:
"When someone who loves us knows what we're doing, it's easier to do the right thing."
Isn't that so true? If I think no one will know or ever find out I stay at home and get drunk every night, I'm likely to justify my actions and keep on drinking my life away. However, if a dear friend, who is also a believer, is willing to help me overcome this bondage, won't I have a power I didn't have before?
And suppose I knew this dear friend, this brother in Christ, was going to ask me, "Did you drink tonight?" Perhaps it would be a bit easier to do something else instead.
There are more than enough believers in Second Life that we could all have at least one accountability partner who could ask us very important questions, such as:
"Have you looked at any pornography today?"
"Did you yell at your husband and kids today?"
"Did you read your Bible and spend time with God this morning?"
...Or whatever your weakness might be.
I would like to quickly point out four very important things to keep in mind when choosing an accountability partner:
1. They should be the same sex.
Don't partner up with the opposite sex, unless it's your wife. If you do, you're just asking for trouble, and those who ask receive.
2. They should be a firm believer.
Don't become a partner with someone who isn't walking the walk. If someone is straying from his or her walk with God and from God's Word, you will do yourself more harm than you can imagine by becoming their partner.
3. They should not be courting what you're seeking to overcome.
If you're having a problem overcoming alcohol, don't partner up with a person who cannot quit drinking, or who spends their free time at the local bar. If you're having a problem overcoming lust, don't partner up with a person who can't seem to stop cheating on his or her spouse, or who spends their evenings at the porn shop. The idea is to find someone who ideally has overcome what you're struggling with, or who at least is purposefully and dilligently walking in the right direction and can help you do the same.
4. They must be dependable.
If you don't know if you'll be able to talk to your partner, or when you'll be able to talk, then being accountable will lose at least some of its power. Choose someone who will be dependable and will be there when they say they will. And if they prove to be unreliable, find someone else.
And 5. Parnership is a two-way road.
You're not looking for someone who hears what do you right or wrong and who themselves are not accountable to anyone. As partners, you will agree to be held accountable to eachother.
One tip for being the one to whom another is accountable: Just listen and don't judge. If the person accountable to you is afraid of being judged by you, the chances they will tell you the truth are less. Listen, understand, encourage, pray for one another, and voice the firm belief that, "You can do this! No matter how many times you fall down, you will learn how to walk! And then you will learn how to fly!"
A baby doesn't learn how to walk being made to feel as though every time he or she falls, it's the most horrible thing on earth... Rather, they are encouraged to get back up and try again. And as time goes on, they fall less and less often until they walk and then run with ease. It become second nature to them.
So it is with us, as we learn to walk the road that has been set before us. And as we help one another stand and move forward, we will all become strong, mature, and effective men and women of God.
We're going to head over to the fellowship room in a few moments, and we'll have the opportunity to discuss this further and form partnerships to help us overcome those things that are holding us back from reaching the awesome potential God has put inside of each one of us.
Do you have any idea what kind of person you would be, and how effective you would be, if you only overcame those things with which you struggle?
Scripture instructs us to "Lay aside the sin which so easily trips you up." And accountability helps us do that. We are also told, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity." Being held accountable makes this an easier goal to reach.
If you are listening at another time and cannot join in the discussion, please visit our website at livingsounds.org and visit the forum, where we have created a category especially for discussing the issue of accountability and for finding an accountability partner or joining an accountability group.
Speaking of accountability groups, this is another form of accountability which is very powerful, and which we will discuss in a few minutes. If you are listening outside of Second Life and cannot join, you can still be part of an accountability group by visiting the livingsounds.org forum. If you're listening at another time inside of Second Life, instant message Benjamin Psaltery to see how you can join with us, holding yourself accountable and drawing upon the strength of the corporate Body of Christ to become the person God has created you to be.
In closing, Hebrews 10:25 tells us, "Do not neglect meeting together, as some are in the habbit of doing, but encourage one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near."
The day of Christ's return is drawing near. We need one another now more than ever.
If you have strayed away from Jesus, now is the time to come back home. No matter how far away you've gone from him, as long as you're alive you are never out of the reach of the Good Shepherd, who is waiting for you with open arms.
If you have never known Jesus, today is the day for you to meet him and start your own personal relationship with him. He says in the book of Revelation, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone will hear my voice, and will open the door to me, I will come in to him, and feast with him, and together we will rejoice."
Jesus is knocking at your heart's door today. Hear his voice and let him in, and he will take your life and make something beautiful and brand new out of it, something that will bring you satisfaction, peace, and a joy so great, you cannot even imagine.
Whether you've strayed from Jesus or have not yet met him, pray this prayer with me, and mean it from your heart, and Jesus will take you in his arms and heal your heart.
"Jesus, I need you. I am empty without you. I can't make it on my own. Come into my heart. Be the Lord of my life. I give my life to you. Make me what you want me to be. Forgive me for my sins, and wash me clean. Make me a brand new creation. Fill me up, with your Holy Spirit. Thank you Jesus! Amen."
If you have prayed that prayer for the first time, or if you have rededicated your life to Jesus, please talk to me or one of the ministry team.
Now let's make our way over to the fellowship room next door, where we'll discuss accountability partnerships and groups.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you all. Amen.