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My Brother's Keeper
Miles McPherson - March 14, 2004

Message Recap

Continuing our study of Genesis, the book of beginnings, this week we looked at the first recorded murder in the Bible, in the story of Cain and Abel. Miles covered six specific actions we can take to check our relationship with God and to make sure we're being our brother's keeper.

6 Keys to being your Brother's Keeper

  1. Offer the right sacrifice.

    You can't give God anything you want. God doesn't want leftovers. God made clear that bloodshed is necessary for the forgiveness of sin.

    Remember how Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves with fig leaves. God had to kill an animal to make their coverings. The penalty for sin is death. This is also the reason Jesus died on the cross, to pay the penalty for our sins.

    Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Hebrews 9:22
  2. Recognize the spiritual battle within relationships.

    Know that there is a constant spiritual battle going on. The devil would like nothing more than to completely destroy your relationship with God. One way he does this is by causing confusion and dissension between people, especially Christians.

    For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

    Miles mentioned something Rick Warren said recently, "We need to love real people, not ideal people". Nobody's perfect. Don't expect them to be. Love them the way Jesus loves them, and in the same way that He loves you.

    Something else Miles noted is that the only reason people ever get mad is because they don't get their way. Let God dictate your life. When you're walking with God, the most important thing is what He thinks.
  3. Resist temptation.

    1 Peter 5:8 encourages us to be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

    Sin is constantly knocking on our door, always ready to destroy us. Remember Miles' story about his brother and football teammate Keith Jackson. As soon as they got saved and returned to their hotel room, Satan sent up girls who wanted to sleep with them.

    There are absolute truths in the world. The Bible is full of them. God is a loving and forgiving God and He accepts you as you are, if you surrender yourself to Him. Because though He accepts you, He doesn't accept your sin. God is not tolerant in this respect.
  4. Realize that justice is the Lord's.

    "He (Jesus) told people that their sins were forgiven, and never waited to consult all the other people whom their sins had undoubtedly injured. He unhesitatingly behaved as if He was the chief party concerned, the person chiefly offended in all offences. This makes sense only if He really was the God whose laws are broken and whose love is wounded in every sin." CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

    Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. Romans 12:19
  5. Accept the possible ramifications of sin.

    1. Your livelihood could be cut off. (vs. 12)
      Past sin tends to follow us. Even though God forgives us if we ask him, we live in a physical world, and there are physical and emotional consequences to sin.
    2. God will never give you more than you can bear. (vs. 13)
      Jesus says in Matthew 11:30, my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

      God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
    3. A feeling of being driven from God's presence could result. (v.14)
      Though God hasn't really abandoned you, because of the guilt and shame that follows sin, we try to hide ourselves from Him. Remember Adam and Eve hiding in the garden.
    4. A feeling of being killable could result. (v.14) Satan is a continual liar. Before we sin, he tells us how good it is and how good we're going to feel. And then afterwards he tells us how horrible we are and that there's no way God can love or forgive us.
  6. Respond to God's grace. (v.15)

    Grace is getting what we don't deserve. In the same way God offered forgiveness to Cain, by placing a mark on him, He offers forgiveness to us through Jesus Christ. It's a free gift, but we must decide to accept it.

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