Summary: What does it feel like to be the one who needs to be forgiven, receive mercy and be restored?

“Chocolate Cake From Ear To Ear”

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” Galatians 6:1

Intro: There he stood, cake in his hands, a trail of crumbs across the floor. Icing and chocolate smeared from ear to ear. There was no doubt. There was no blaming someone else. He had been caught in the act. Johnny was old enough to know better. He had been told not to touch the cake because it was for dinner.

The next few minutes would stay with Johnny for the rest of his life. What do you think will happen next? Would he be yelled at? Would he be sent to time out? Would he be told to go to bed without supper? Or worst yet would he “have to wait until his father got home?”

For the purpose of this sermon try to put yourself in Johnny’s shoes. Try to be little Johnny.

Today we are going to talk about when someone is caught with “Chocolate Cake From Ear to Ear.”

For the sake of argument some of you may prefer other flavors much better. Statistically about four percent of people don’t like Chocolate. But when something is placed in front of you and you are told not to touch it, bells start going off. Whistles start blowing. Lights start flashing. Taste buds start salivating. A little demon pops up on one shoulder and an angel pops up on the other shoulder and you find yourself right in the middle of a battle between good and evil.

Just a few verses back in Galatians 5:17 “The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other.” NLT

Temptations are not a once in a while thing. We have to deal with them day in and day out. We live in a constant fight opposing natures.

The Good News is that God will help you resist a temptation. You can learn to recognize people and situations that are more likely to lead you into temptations. One of the best ways to overcome a temptation is to run from it. Don’t walk into a situation that you know may be full of temptations. Rather, pray for God’s guidance and help with it. Seek Christian support and encouragement from Godly friends and people in the church.

So Brothers and Sisters in the church when little Johnny is standing right in front of you with “Chocolate Cake From Ear to Ear” you have to know what to do to help restore that person gently. To humbly help that person back onto the right path.

As Christians we can learn how to take action, how to react, when someone is caught red handed. How to respond to things in life by the Holy Spirit. What does the bible teach the church to do when someone is caught in a sin?

I. When You are Caught in a Sin

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” Galatians 6:1

Four ladies of influence in the community met for a friendly lunch.

During the conversation one lady said, "We need to pour out our hearts, admit certain sins and needs.

Confession is good for the soul."

So the first lady confessed that she liked to read racy romance novels.

The second lady confessed that when she balanced the check book she always hid a few dollars and then would tell her husband that she was going to visit her cousin. But instead she would sneak off to indulge in a day frivolous shopping and an extravagant night on the town.

The third lady confessed that she had a terrible addiction to gambling. She had recently lost so much money that she had taken a part-time job to pay it back without her husband knowing it.

When it came for the fourth lady, she wouldn't confess. The others pressed her. The others insisted saying, "Come on now, we confessed our sin. We admitted our faults. What is your secret?"

Finally the fourth lady answered, "My biggest weakness is gossiping and I can’t wait to get out of here.”

To many people don’t come to church because they have made mistakes. And they know…, that you know.

Have you ever said, “I went to school with that person.” “I use to work with her.” “He is my cousin once removed.” In a close nit church, in a tight community, you know everything there is to know about one another. Am I right? Amen?

The temptation is to make misery out of mistakes. But God wants to make fruit out of faults.

Brother and Sisters we have to “hold in sacred trust” the things that we have heard about one another.

And know about them.

The last thing little Johnny wants to hear when he walks into church on Sunday morning is someone whisper

There is little Johnny he got caught this week with “Chocolate Cake from Ear to Ear.”

One of the worst mistakes a Christian can make is to be complacent and self-righteous and start thinking that it is o.k. to whisper and judge, and condemn others around you. No Christian should ever think they are above the temptation of Chocolate Cake.

We have all made mistakes. But no mistake is too much for the mercy of God. God still has a great plan for your life. But to get your life back to get your strength back you have to be forgiven. Come clean. Be restored. Get out of the negative, condemned, hypocritical mindset, self pity, victim mentality. All that kind of thinking does is to keep you from the new things God wants to do. It is so important to learn to receive God’s forgiveness and learn how to be restored by God’s mercy.

The second verse in Galatians 6 says,

II. Fulfill the Law of Christ

2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Church we have a duty to help each other.

You don’t bring everyone into one room and then start pointing fingers and condemning them in front of the crowd. That’s not right and it destroys the person who is getting condemned. The body of Christ, the church, functions when the members work together.

What is the law of Christ? Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, thy mind and thy strength. And love thy neighbor as thyself. This way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

There you stand, little Johnny, “Chocolate Cake From Ear to Ear.” What do you need to hear? What do you need to happen next?

Well, I am convinced the first thing Jesus would say is “Johnny I love you, but put the cake down.”

Jesus would say, “Johnny I don’t condemn you but before we can get you cleaned up you have to put the cake down.”

Jesus stands ready to forgive. But forgiveness for any sin begins with confession and repentance.

That starts with a change of heart. With God’s help you can accept Christ’s forgiveness but first you have to be willing to stop doing wrong.

Then you need to hear someone say, “Let me help you carry this plate over to the counter and put it down.” Johnny needs to know that somebody cares. Johnny needs to hear someone say, “Let’s talk about it.”

There comes a time when yelling, and time out, and sending a child to bed without supper and

“wait until your father gets home” doesn’t work. All of those actions are punishments.

I am thankful that our Heavenly Father is a God of “free will” and allows us to make choices. Don’t get me wrong. Unrepented sin can not go on unpunished forever without Jesus. But God allows us to make choices.

God allows us to make mistakes. But God also has provided the cross. And it is on the cross that Jesus, God’s only Son, takes our place. He takes the punishment. He takes the sin. So that instead of getting the punishment and condemnation we deserve, you and I can have grace and mercy and go free. "There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1 (NLT)

The phrase caught “red handed” literally means: guilty of having blood on your hands. Under the cross we have all been caught “red handed.”

So many people struggle with the feelings of guilt from condemnation. But just like you learned the feelings of guilt from sin you can learn the feelings of freedom thru forgiveness.

Don’t just ask for forgiveness. Take it one step further and say God I’m asking for your healing, I’m asking for your restoration. What you are saying Is God I believe not only you have forgiven me. But that you are also restoring me. With confession and repentance and forgiveness, I believe God begins to restore to us everything that the devil has taken away from us.

"Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double."

Zechariah 9:12 (NRSV)

That’s what God has promised us when He begins the process to restore us. He doesn’t just send us back to our old life. But God does even better. When God restores us he makes us stronger, more powerful, more resilient, better, improved upon than even in our original condition.

III. Test Your Own Actions ( I want to look at this with a little different twist)

3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else,

Test yourself:

1. Would you ask for help?

2. Would you be too proud to repent?

3. Would I see my own faults?

I am a fault finder---not in others but in me---not in the obsessive destructive way but in the perfecting improving way.

How many people do you know who believe the lies of the devil? They go through life with no enthusiasm. No excitement. No hope. Broken. God is looking for people who are willing to be restored, who want to be forgiven.

When those old thoughts come up that say you don’t deserve forgiveness, You say that is right, but that is what mercy is all about. Don’t be so focused on mistakes that you can not see the solution right in front of you.

People in the bible made many mistakes: Moses killed a man. Sarah laughed at God. David had an affair with Bathsheba. Peter denied Christ three times. God never gives up on us. God always gives us another opportunity.

Test your own actions. What would you want? How would you want to be treated? Would you give yourself another chance? I blew it. I ruined it. I had my chance and failed. I had my opportunity and missed. We have all started things and didn’t finish what we set out to do. We can’t do anything about the past but we can do something about the present and the future.

Two thousand years ago when Jesus died on the cross he died for the mistakes you made last week, last month, last year. Jesus knew that you would see the cake, know it was wrong, but that you would be tempted to eat the Chocolate Cake anyway.

As a Christian, as a child of God, when we need help and ask for it God answers.

Hebrews 4:16 “come boldly to the throne of Grace”

How many times does God clean up the mess for you? You made a mess. You made a poor choice. But when we ask, God comes along and causes things to work out. We may never know that God worked behind the scenes in our life to make something work out for good. Caused the right person to come along in our life to offer us that new focus on life and a positive future. What would have been a bigger mess turned out good because of God’s mercy. God cleaned, restored and caused it to work out.

How much has God forgiven you of? Who has wronged you that you need to forgive? What does it feel like to be the one who needs to be restored?

Closing: Today you can leave here a clean person, forgiven and restored. Changed at the way you look at others because you have changed the way you understand how God looks at you. Today will you so live your life by the Holy Spirit as to restore people like Johnny who are covered in “Chocolate Cake From Ear to Ear?

Will you help restore and forgive them gently. Putting yourself in their situation. Walking a mile in their shoes. Not condemning, but sharing and carrying the burdens of one another in a Christ like way.