John Hagee - Am I My Brothers Keeper?
Today we turn to the question that's presented in Genesis 4 when Cain murdered his brother, Abel, in the Genesis of time. The Bible says, "Cain was a tiller of the ground. And Abel, his younger brother, was a keeper of sheep. Both brought their offerings to the Lord". And the Bible record is this: "God did not respect Cain". It's very important for you to understand that. God did not respect Cain and rejected his offering. Abel brought a lamb, and God respected Abel, and accepted his offering.
Cain became angry. He murdered his brother, Abel. God said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother"? Cain lied. He said, "I do not know". And then he asked the question, "Am I my brother's keeper"? At first glance, that's a simple question. But when you look at the tapestry of thread that runs from the book of Genesis through the Book of Revelation, when you understand the essence of that meaning in your own personal life, in the life of a nation, in the life of a family, we are all our brother's keeper. And the sooner you accept that responsibility, the better your world is going to be. Listen to this word today from God's Word. It is not my opinion: it's God's opinion. And that makes all the difference in the world.
Father, thank you for your word. It is a light. It is a lamp. It is the living word. It is a two-edged sword. It is the compass of the soul. And we read it, and we believe it, and we practice it today: that America, our churches, and our families, will be a better place. In the authority of your name, do we pray and say these things. And all of God's children said, praise the Lord.
You may be seated. Concerning America, am I my brother's keeper? I can remember an America where the neighbors knew each other. They were actually friends. They helped each other. When they were in need, they shared with each other. During World War II, it was not an exceptional thing for someone to come over and borrow a cup of sugar, because sugar was on ration. You couldn't get it just because you wanted it. People used their coffee grounds two or three times, because coffee was hard to get. And they borrowed a cup of coffee to have coffee. And you know how ungodly some people can act when they don't have their morning coffee.
Moving right along. But today we barely know our family. We celebrate around the television when we are not nursing our addiction to a cell phone. Ladies and gentlemen of America, we need to wake up to the thing that is really important in our lives, each other and our family. Right now, America's being ripped apart because we have forgotten the law of God: that we are our brother's keeper. Am I my brother's keeper? Jesus is our example. He is the founder of our faith. We're not to be like each other: we're to be like him.
Jesus asked his audience in Matthew 25:41 through 46, saying, "I was hungry and you didn't bring me food. I was thirsty and you gave me no drink. I was a stranger and you did not take me in. I was naked and you did not clothe me. I was sick or in prison and you did not visit me". Now listen to how important this is to Jesus, the Son of God, who is our example. Jesus said to his audience and to the members of Cornerstone Church, "And those who do not minister to the hungry, the thirsty, the poor, the sick, and those in prison, and those will go away into everlasting punishment. And I will say to them in the Day of Judgment, 'depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.'" signed Jesus.
What would Jesus do? There it is in black and white. It's very important that we become our brother's keeper. Wouldn't you say that's important to Jesus if he's prepared to put people in eternal damnation for not doing it? It has to be top priority. Why does Cornerstone Church feed the poor? I'm asked that on a regular basis. Because we are commanded by Jesus Christ to do so. It's that simple. We are to be thankful that we have bread to spare. And others have none. We have a Cornerstone Central Church that gives food and clothing to the poor every day because it's the top priority of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. And we're trying to do what he does.
There's a simple Bible principle that guarantees success. Find out what God wants done and do that. How hard is that? This is not above and beyond the call of duty. This is Christianity 101, and that's why we're doing it. And those of you who support this church, you're doing it, because we couldn't do it without you. You have to see that as an extension of who you are.
Question two: why are we building the sanctuary of hope? There's so many things we need. Most of you are blessed to have a mother and father, who loved you enough to give you life, to support you throughout life, who sent you to a good education to give you every opportunity to have unlimited success. On the other hand, our city is filled with children in the womb of their mother, who deserve the chance to live. I believe abortion is murder. I believe that. But I'm tired of preaching about abortion without offering a solution to young mothers, who are willing to give life to their child, but they do not have an honorable option. And believe me, planned parenthood is not an honorable option: it's a death sentence.
The sanctuary of hope is a life sentence. We are saying to the world, "We are saving the world one life at a time". In judaism, there's a saying, "He who saves one life saves the world," because that one life can reproduce, and that two will make four. That's before television, of course, and multiplication. "Be fruitful and multiply," the first command that God gave to a man and a woman. By the way, the Jewish interpretation of that is, "If you have only two children, you haven't multiplied: you've only replaced yourself. You've multiplied when you have the third one". Ooh. Moving right along for those of you who are reaching for an aspirin bottle. Jesus said, "Suffer the little children and bring them unto me. For of such is the kingdom of heaven".
So let us build the sanctuary of hope unto the Lord with joy and with excellence. For to see evil and not call it evil is evil. Not to act is to act. Not to speak is to speak. God will not hold us guiltless if we watch this thing called the murder of children happening without doing something the best of our ability to stop it. No, we can't stop it all. But we can stop some of it: therefore, we're going to do it. If you're watching this telecast and would like to know more about the sanctuary of hope, call the number on the bottom of the screen.
Question three: "Why do we do so much for Israel and the Jewish people"? I say this principally to the national audience, because the cornerstone membership knows this. We do so because Jesus Christ was a Jewish rabbi, who went to the cross and died for our redemption. He asked us to do so. Matthew 25:40, Jesus said, "Assuredly I say to you, 'inasmuch as you've done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.'" The phrase "My brethren" is referring to the Jewish people. Believe me: Jesus never referred to gentiles as his brethren before the cross. Before the cross, according to saint Paul, "We were outside the covenants of Israel, without God, without hope," of all men most miserable. We were not plugged in until Jesus said, "It is finished" on mount Calvary. Then we became heirs and joint-heirs in the Kingdom of God. And hallelujah for the cross!
Romans 15:27, saint Paul teaches us to do so, "For if the gentiles (that would be us) have been partakers of the Jewish spiritual things, it is their duty also to minister to the Jewish people in material things". Jesus said in John 4:22, "For salvation is of the Jews". What do you mean by that? He meant if you take away the Jewish contribution, there wouldn't be a Christianity. You just take Jesus away and there wouldn't be a Christianity. The Jewish people have given to Christianity the Word of God. This is all written, not by the Southern Baptist Convention. But by Jewish people thousands of years ago, who wrote it before we even knew it existed.
The eternal truth, the light to our pathway, this is the bread of life. This is a two-edged sword with which we fight the prince of darkness and win. This is the basis of our hope. This is the promise of redemption that we have through the blood of Jesus Christ. I know what they're teaching your children in school. Those people have lost their way. This is the way. This is the truth. This is the light. Walk in it and you'll have eternal life.
Are we our brother's keeper? Back to the story of Cain and Abel. The essence of the story is not outward: it's inward. It's not physical: it's spiritual. It's not of the body: it's of the soul. We know this by the description of God's response to the offerings of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4. The Bible says, "The Lord had respect unto Abel and his offering". First, the Lord has respect for Abel himself, and then he had respect for Abel's offering. That's very important for you to understand that.
You can give a great deal, but if you're not right with God, it doesn't count until you give yourself to him. God's not impressed with that. What he wants is you. He didn't come to seek and to save fort knox. He came to seek and to save you, and you, and you, and me. Shocking, isn't it: what this little verse has to say? And in the next verse, we're told, "But unto Cain and to his offerings, God had no respect". God refused Cain and then he refused his offering. The acceptance and the refusal of the Lord were based upon the spiritual attitude in the hearts of Cain and Abel. Like an exhibitor at the county fair, Cain brought a vegetable offering. Note to all vegetarians: this is not an attack on your lifestyle.
In simple language, Cain presented his offering full of pride. The Bible says, "Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall". Are you a proud and an arrogant person? The Bible says God hates pride. And he will take you down. Jesus paints the portrait of pride in Luke 18 with the pharisee who's in the temple, praying in a corner by himself. And he's looking out over the audience that's praying, and he says as he pounds his chest, "God I thank you". "God I thank you that I'm not like other people: thieves, adulterers, or like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and I give a tenth of all that I own".
This is arrogance. This is pride, which is the greatest sin in most cases. While it is difficult to recognize pride in our self, we have a gift for recognizing pride in other people. In the Old Testament, the Lord said to Ezekiel in 3:17 and 19, "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel: therefore, hear a word from my mouth and give them warning from me". God's speaking to Israel. I want you to tell Israel this, "When I say to the wicked, 'you shall surely die,' and you (the righteous) give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked of his wicked way to save his life, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity but his blood will I require at your hand". Listen to that. "Yet, if you warn the wicked and he does not turn from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your soul".
The fact is when God gives the righteous the opportunity to witness to the lost, and we do not do so, and that soul dies and goes to hell, God says, "I'm going to require it at your hand". You are your brother's keeper. When someone comes to you and tells you they have a problem, don't try to roll out your Sigmund Freud degree. Listen to their problem. Say, "I know someone who can solve that. Let's talk to the Lord about it". Take their hand and start praying. And you watch heaven come down and help you and help that person solve that problem. When God gives the righteous the opportunity, you are your brother's keeper. That's not my opinion: that's God's opinion given directly to the prophet Ezekiel for his generation and for ours.
You say, "Pastor, that's the Old Testament". Really the Old Testament is the first covenant. When you say, "Old Testament," it sounds like something outdated and no longer usable. The Word of God starts at Genesis 1:1. The first covenant was given, and Matthew picks up the second covenant. So let's pick it up at the second covenant where the responsibility for salvation of men is to all generations and to all people everywhere. Acts 20:26, Paul stands in the presence of the elders of Ephesus. Most of them are weeping because they know they're not going to see Paul again. And Paul says, "Wherefore, I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men".
Listen to that. Why is Paul free of blood guiltiness? Verse 27, "For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God". Paul had preached the Gospel fully. He had preached it fervently. He had preached it without apology. There is a Bible verse that every pastor in America needs to hear and hear it often about the preaching of the Word of God. "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation". Quit telling America how to feel good, and introduce them to the Son of God who can make them good.
Paul was saying, if men are not saved, you cannot lay it to my charge. Paul's statement clearly means that there is a heavy responsibility by which believers are chargeable before heaven of the spiritual warfare for all men. God will call us to accountability. "Where is Abel thy brother"? That's a call to accountability. Our hands are not free from blood until we have done our best to win that soul to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The instruments of salvation are men, not angels, not God himself. "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel". The commission is given to us. There is no doctrine in the Bible more clearer than that.
Proverbs 11:30, "He that winneth souls is wise". Say that with me, "He that winneth souls is wise". There's not another verse in the Bible that implies we have an ounce of sense other than that one. It's all the Gospel to all the world. And you, and you, and you, and those of you in the television audience who support this ministry, are making that happen. You are the ones who have the inheritance of this, because without you, this assignment could not be done. And the Bible continues. It says, "Teaching them to observe all things, whatever I have commanded: and lo I am with you even to the ends of the earth". James, the brother of Jesus, writes in James 5: "He, which converts the sinner from the error of his ways shall save a soul from death, and he shall hide a multitude of sins".
Point: we are to do our absolute best to introduce the person without Christ to the love of Christ, not angels, but you, not God himself. But we carry the message of salvation through the blood of Jesus. In acts 10, the story of Cornelius and his household were the first gentiles to be saved. Why was Cornelius chosen to be the first gentile to receive the Gospel? Acts 10:22 says that he was found of good report among the Jewish people. God looked down and said, there's a gentile that's got his act together. He sent a vision to Peter, who was sleeping on the roof of Simon the tanner, and sent Peter over to the house of Cornelius. And the house of Cornelius was saved and spirit filled.
Now the question is: why didn't the angel go to Cornelius and his house? Because it's the responsibility of the believer to carry the message of salvation. That's why. When saint Paul came to Christ, he was knocked down from his horse on the road to Damascus. And he said, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do"? And then the scripture quotes the Lord in acts 9:6. And it says, "And the Lord said unto him, 'arise and go to the city, and it shall be told you what to do.'" It goes on to say they're having a prayer meeting on the street called straight. You go in there, they've got good news for you. You're going to receive your sight.
Now the question is: why didn't Christ tell him what to do right there to be saved? He had already knocked him off his horse, so he had his attention. The reason: it's the responsibility of the believer to carry the message of redemption to the lost. We are saved to save others. We are called to win others. We are elected as the instruments of salvation for lost men everywhere. The responsibility of salvation lies upon us! Intellectuals like to argue about the heathen being lost. That was especially a treat in graduate school.
"Well, you're a Christian. How do you answer the heathen that never hear the Gospel"? I said, "Paul answered that in Romans 10:13 through 15". "For whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they (the heathen) call on him whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe unless they have heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher"? The word "Preacher" means "Messenger". You follow that? There again is the message. God did not send angels to do it: it's our responsibility to do it. It's our responsibility. Am I my brother's keeper? God help us to be true to his holy word. We are.
"Well pastor, I don't have the gift of soul winning". The gift of soul winning is not a gift: you're just commanded to be a witness. When is the last time that you personally shared Jesus Christ with someone? When someone shares their problem with you, whatever it is, Jesus is the answer to that problem. Just take their hand, and say, "Let's pray about it". Now we are through all the intellectual hoops of, "Well, I read this book by dr. Super duck, and he said you should do this". "Well I read this by agnostic so and so, and he says thus and so". "Well, I've read the book of living water and let me share some with you". Just take their hands and start praying. And I assure you, heaven will come down. And thoughts you never thought would come to your brain, and answers you didn't think you had in you, will pour out of your mouth.
But until you give God the chance to use you, he will not force you. But the moment you volunteer to stand up and step up, God will do things through you, you don't know is possible. That's God's desire for every person in this building. What would it be if every one of us here in the course of a year could turn someone to Christ? We'd have triple services here. But they don't have to come here. Jesus said, just get them to believe on me. Don't believe what you believe, but to believe on me. When we get to heaven, Jesus is going to be the answer. Can we give the Lord praise in the house. Can we stand? Pray this prayer with me, congregation, those of you watching.
Heavenly Father, make us messengers of your grace: that people may know you, to serve you, to enjoy the grace, the love and peace of God the Father found through Jesus Christ. Use me. I'm ready. Amen.