Summary: First sermon in the series dealing with God's children straying and being restored.

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God’s Second Chance Ministry: God’s Ministry to the Stray

James 5:19-20

I. The Reality of Straying Christians

“55 At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, "Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me.56But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled." Then all the disciples left him and fled.” – Matthew 26:55-56

Examples of New Testament Strays

- Peter denies Christ

“25Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, "You also are not one of his disciples, are you?" He denied it and said, "I am not." 26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, "Did I not see you in the garden with him?" 27 Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.” – John 18:25-27

- James and John strayed in their pride

35And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." 36 And he said to them, "What do you want me to do for you?"37 And they said to him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory." 38 Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?"39 And they said to him, "We are able." And Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized,40but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared."41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. – Mark 10:35-41

A. The reality is that each of us will stray some point in our walk

B. The reality is that we all will struggle with the flesh

C. The reality is that straying can occur even in the best of believers

II. Our Responsibilty to Straying Believers (James 5:19)

1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." 3 So he told them this parable: 4"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?5And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.6And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.'7Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance – Luke 15:1-7

A. We are to pray for them

B. We are to confidentially & compassionately talk to them (Beware of “sharing prayer requests”)

C. We are to treat them with gentleness

D. We are to speak truth

1. Use God’s word as our gudie in counseling

2. Never agree with accomadate sin by denying biblical truth

E. Do not condone their sin, but do not condemn them

F. Do not give up on them

1. Trust the Lord to restore

2. Exemplify a spirit of encouragement

III. The Restoration of the Straying Christian (James 5:20)

When God Restores Us…..

He covers our sin

“1Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man against whom the LORDcounts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. 3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah 5 I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD," and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah” – Psalm 32:1-5

- He removes our sin completely

“12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” – Psalm 103:12

- He casts our sin behind His back

17Behold, it was for my welfare that I had great bitterness; but in love you have delivered my life from the pit of destruction, for you have cast all my sins behind your back. – Isaiah 38:17

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