Summary: A series on "Dealing With Stress." This sermon BRIEFLY explores two sources we have to assist us in stress - the Church and our Friends.
For the past three weeks we have been Dealing with Stress. Two weeks ago we started to Discover and attempt to use our resources. We learned that God is our primary resource for dealing with stress. To be anxious and stressed is a choice that we make because it is the opposite of trusting in the Lord as our rock, as our protector, as our shield, and comforter. Last week we learned specifically how the Holy Spirit, just like the pace care does for the drivers of the Indy 500, shows us the right path on which to go through life. He also keeps us on pace, not wanting us to fall behind and be left to wonder around life aimlessly on our own, and therefore He keeps us in position, too.
“Brothers, if a man is overtaken in trespasses (or sin), you who are spiritual restore such a one in a good spirit of gentleness…
“If a man is overtaken in sin” (rhetorical question) How many of you have sinned before and felt stress and been anxious because of it? To sin a choice we make, although it usually is not thought through very well, but regardless, our sin is a result of a decision we made. God is just. He cannot allow sin in His presence. Where there is sin, therefore, there is not the peace of God within the hearts of the person. You see, when we choose to be anxious we are choosing to trust ourselves rather than God. We think our ways are better than His. Therefore, we are overtaken in sin as Paul writes here in Galatians 6:1.
Brothers...you who are spiritual Paul is talking about the Church. As Christians we are supposed to be spiritual. Remember last week we talked about living and walking in the Spirit in Galatians 5:25? What is our responsibility to a sinning fellow Christians? We are to restore them. The word restore is the original language is a medical word for “replace or reset.” Replace not in the context of throwing out the old and giving as new, but rather think of it as a broken bone. Do you remember Kevin Ware’s injury during March Madness earlier this year? He landed awkwardly on his leg and ended up with a compound fracture? Part of his shin had separated from his knee and broke through his skin. The doctors are Methodist Hospital did not cut out the bone and replace it with someone else’s, but rather surgically repaired and reconnected, reset the bone. Let’s pretend you riding your bicycle home from church today. Of course you are wearing your helmet for safety! But let’s pretend you lost your balance and fell to the right, as you are falling you place your right arm out to catch your fall, but in the process you break your forearm. Did you know that when your arm is healed, the location of the fracture will grow back stronger than it was before it broke? That is the idea here behind the word “restore.” Bring them back into the faith, back into peace and joy with the Lord, help them knowing God’s grace and mercy experiencealy.
Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens.” This is clearly an act of obedience just as much as it is an act of love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Do you remember is Matthew 27 when Jesus is carrying His cross but is no longer physically able to do so? The Roman soldiers grabbed a man from the crown named Simon and gave him the task of carrying the cross for Jesus. That is what we as the church are to do with one of us is sin help them carry their load. There is no need to go through life struggling on your own when you have those of us in the church to help.
One of the greatest aspects in growing in our faith is that of accountability. We are to be helping one another through accountability. For example, if you know your friend struggles with lying, yet you do nothing about it, but allow him or her to continue in their lying ways, you are not helping bear their burdens, but rather increasing it. If someone is grieving the loss of their loved one, listen to them, pray with them, and offer support through the excruciatingly lard time. If we are left alone to carry the burdens ourselves we often stumble and fall hard.
Proverbs 27:10 This verse speaks of the importance of friends. Initially some people are inclined to think this verse is about rejecting family or saying that they are not important, but that understanding is flawed. The implication is that family is SUPER important, that is why people go to their brothers who are far away. But the Bible is teaching us that friends, who genuinely love us, are just as valuable as our own flesh and blood. When you’re stressed who is more likely to listen, your best friend or your sibling? Based on this passage they are equally willing. Solomon, who was the wisest to ever live, is teaching us that our friends are as valuable as our family when we are struggling. Our friends are a resource and our church is a resource.
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