Summary: Authentic church community helps us when our problems become too heavy to carry on our own.
Series: Connect the Dots Text: Galatians 6:1-5 Topic: Carrying Burdens
Last week we began a series titled “Connect the Dots”, where we are discovering the beauty of authentic community. Today, I want to talk specifically about how authentic church community helps us when our problems become too heavy to carry on our own.
Now before you even begin to think that you don’t have problems or more specifically that this church doesn’t haven’t problems, have you ever tried to imagine the perfect church? The fact is, a lot of people move from church to church, looking for that perfect church. They only stick around long enough to see a problem, and then they’re off to the next place on their never-ending journey while the rest of us smile a sad but understanding smile because we know that there’s no such thing.
If you really wanted to be sarcastic about it, you could those people that if they ever do find the perfect church, they better leave quickly because their presence would certainly contaminate it. Now I know some of you may think that’s mean, but it’s the truth. There’s no such thing as a perfect church and there’s no such thing as perfect people.
When someone thinks of the perfect church, they might picture a nice, clean building full of pleasant people who have it all together. They come on Sunday morning in their stylish dresses and pressed suits to sit in softly cushioned pews and listen to softly cushioned sermons.
But I got news for you, that wasn’t the kind of church that Jesus envisioned! He didn’t leave His throne in Heaven for those who had it all together. He came to help the down and out. He came to help those who were contaminated with the pollution of sin and not afraid to admit it.
The RESTORATION carrying burdens brings (Gal. 6:1)
Paul starts us off by suggesting a hypothetical situation…one that’s introduced with a conditional clause - “IF”, which indicates that Paul doesn’t have a specific type of trespass in mind.
He’s been encouraging his readers to walk in the Spirit so that they might bear the fruit of the Spirit. That’s the standard for the Christian life. But if for some reason this doesn’t take place, then there’s something else that SHOULD take place - restoration.
1. The Need for Restoration: “if a man is overtaken in any trespass” (6:1).
Paul never says that it’s a normal fact of life for Christians to sin. We’re held to a higher standard. We’ve been called to walk in the Spirit and abstain from our former works of the flesh. And yet, it’s a normal fact of life that Christians do indeed sin.
I once read about a man who had convinced himself that this wasn’t the case. He believed that it was possible to arrive at a point as a Christian where you no longer sin. In fact, he himself claimed that he didn’t sin for 20 years. When asked how he did it he said that he never stepped foot outside his own home.
Now you and I know that this man’s claim is false. Not because we are judging, but because we are inspecting fruit. Sin is defined as "any want or transgression against the law of God," So because this man cut himself off from regular fellowship in the church, which is a direct transgression of God’s command not to forsake the assembling together of the saints, he was a sinner.
And so the passage we’re looking at this morning describes someone who is caught in a sinful situation. In other words, it’s talking about someone who’s demonstrated the fruit of the Spirit in the past, but who has now been overcome by temptation.
2. The People of Restoration: “you who are spiritual, restore such a one” (6:1).
The qualification for having a ministry of restoration is that you first be spiritual. What does it mean to be spiritual? The context of the previous chapter has already told us what it means. In means that you...
Are walking by the Spirit (5:16).
Are not practicing the works of the flesh (5:19-21).
Are demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit (5:22-23).
Here’s the point. You can’t restore someone to a Spiritual walk if you yourself are not walking by that same Spirit. You can’t give what you don’t have. And if you try, it will be like the blind leading the blind. You’re both going to end up taking a nasty fall. If your spirituality isn’t working in your own life, don't try to dump it’s ineffectiveness on someone else.
3. The Spirit of Restoration: “restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness” (6:1).
If we’re harsh when we’re attempting to restore someone, we’re going to drive them away instead of bringing them back to Jesus. We need to follow the example of Jesus. Yes, Jesus called sinners to repent, but He didn’t beat them over the head with their sin. He loved them.