Summary: The Bible is full of stories about spiritual superstars who fell into sin and disgrace. So what should be our response when this happens today?
This just in…recently released secret documents indicate that spiritual terrorists have infiltrated the church. These secret agents have joined our churches to disrupt our fellowship. But don’t worry, these agents have been identified and photographed. See if you recognize any of them. First, there’s an agent called Ima Bin Sleepin’, I think I’ve seen him here several times. Then there’s Ima Bin Angry; and his younger brother Ima Bin Arguin’. They have some female agents as well including Ima Bin complain’. There’s also Ima Bin fightin’ and the double agent, Ima Bin gossipin.’ One of the most dangerous couples is Mr. and Mrs. Ima Bin Missin’. These agents all work for their mastermind, Lucifer Ima Bin Workin’. And Satan is at work all the time. Now, if you see any of these enemy agents, please report them immediately to the H.S., that’s not Homeland Security, that’s the Holy Spirit.
This sinister team wants disrupt the church, but never fear, because we have some special forces deployed to resist them. They belong to the special group called We Bin Prayin’. The Bible says we’ve been “sealed” by the Holy Spirit, so these are our frontline sealed teams. Praying in the Spirit is a mighty weapon against the enemy. Of course, I’m kidding about the terrorists, but I’m not kidding about the fact that Lucifer is doing everything he can to divide and destroy churches. But remember, “Satan trembles when he sees; the weakest saint upon his knees.” We need more of you to join the platoon of prayer warriors. The devil is powerful, but the Holy Spirit lives in us, and the Bible says in 1 John 4:4, “Greater is he that is in you; than he that is in the world.”
This summer we’ve been talking about what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit of Jesus is controlling your life, then these nine flavors of the Fruit of the Spirit will be seen. As we move into the sixth and final chapter of Galatians we’ll see practical ways in which the Holy Spirit changes us.
Our topic today is: How should you treat a Christian who has fallen into sin and been publicly disgraced? This isn’t a theoretical question, because all of us have known fellow believers who have slipped up and their sin became public. Many of these have dropped out of church because they found themselves the target of anger and animosity from fellow church members. Someone said the Christian army is the only army that shoots its wounded. But as we’re going to learn today, a Spirit-filled Christian shows grace for the disgraced.
Galatians 5:25-6:1. “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.”
If you’ve been watching the news this week, you saw country music star Randy Travis arrested after he was found drunk and naked in the middle of the road. I’m not a huge fan of Randy Travis, but he has publicly confessed his faith in Jesus. He has recorded a gospel album with a great song called “The Wooden Crosses.” I understand he’s a member of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio. So how should the Body of Christ respond to this brother who has been publicly disgraced? Some of you are probably thinking, “He’s just a sorry drunk, there’s no way I would want him sitting next to me in church.” When some of his fans heard about his arrest, they took some clothes to the jail for him to wear. That’s the first time I can recall someone literally fulfilling the words of Jesus in Matthew 25 when He said, “I was naked and you clothed me.”
If Randy were a member of this church, it would be up to us to confront him and attempt to lovingly restore him. We wouldn’t just excuse his sin, we would consider it to be a serious problem, but this process is all about hating the sin, but loving the sinner. Let’s learn three facets of this process of restoration.
I. THE SAD REALITY: Even deeply committed people stumble into sin and disgrace
Our passage talks about someone who is “caught” in a sin. It doesn’t mean if someone catches them red-handed. It carries the idea of someone being caught in trap. A trap springs suddenly; it doesn’t happen in slow motion. This verse describes a believer who has been suddenly overcome by temptation, and stumbling into the trap of sin.
The Bible is full of stories about committed people who stumbled into sin and disgrace. After the flood, Noah got drunk and was found naked—sounds like Randy Travis, huh? Abraham lied about his wife. Jacob deceived his father and stole the inheritance meant for his brother. Moses lost his temper and whacked a rock too many times. King David, a man after God’s own heart, committed adultery and plotted a murder against Bathsheba’s husband.