“CPR for a Healthy Walk" Part 9 “Restore and bear burdens”
I. Cleave to Christ and continually cultivate a dynamic relationship with Him.
II. Persistently pursue, develop and maintain meaningful connection with the community of saints.
A. Fervently pray for one another
B. Preserve the unity of the body.
C. Continually build up the body in love
1. Encourage one another daily
2. Speak words of life
3. Stimulate one another to love and good deeds
4. Serve One another
5. Admonish one another
When we speak words that encourage let them be God’s words.
When we serve let us serve let it be by God’s supernatural strength.
Our mission in life can be summed up very simply. We live to speak the words and do the works of Jesus.
Jesus came to demonstrate His love for the father by complete obedience to His will.
We demonstrate our love by a life of sacrificial love and obedience.
Jesus came to love and serve people.
Our mission is to love and serve people.
Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.
Our mission is to renounce and resist the world the flesh and the devil.
Jesus came to seek and save the lost.
Our mission is to make disciples of Christ from every nation.
Jesus came to explain the father.
We are called to proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into light.
The church grows as we speak the words of Jesus. The church grows as we do the works of Jesus. He even said greater works than these shall you do. Doing our part as workman in God’s building project is not an option. God will evaluate each of us as to our faithfulness to the project as well as the materials we used. 1 Cor. 3:10-15
The materials that last, consist of encouraging words, helpful deeds, timely admonition, words of life, supportive presence. Prayer, preserving the unity, building the body, restoring the fallen, and supporting the weak.
What has God called you to do? Speak and serve! Speak words that give life. Serve needs that give life. If you build with words and works that discourage or destroy, you will suffer loss. If you build with words and works that encourage and build, you will realize reward.
Repent of inactivity
Repent of discouraging words.
Repent of checking out of the building project.
Repent of building with the wrong materials.
Resolve to be actively involved in kingdom building through a commitment to speak the words and do the works of Christ.
Resolve to be an encourager who speaks words of life.
Resolve to give of yourself as a slave of others.
In any building project, crisis events need to be addressed. The building of the church in midst of hostile territory is no different. There actually is much to learn from Nehemiah’s building project. The things he faced and how he dealt with difficulty and opposition are not much different than the things we face as workman assigned to the building of the temple of God in enemy territory.
We are called to persistently pray
We are called to diligently preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
We are called to continually build up one another in love.
But we are also called to gently restore the fallen and broken.
As well as support the weak and wounded.
D. Gently restore the fallen
Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted. Gal 6:1-5
If we were loving one another as Christ loved us this would be taking place and yet God sees fit to instruct us specifically regarding our responsibility to the weak and wounded. We have been instructed to pray for those struggling in their walk or sinning but we are also called to respond to the fallen in other ways. The word translated “caught” is an old verb “to take beforehand, to surprise, to detect.” Some think this is that they are caught committing sin. More likely, it is the idea of being tripped up and surprised by sin or temptation. This interpretation is also born out by the word used for “trespass” here.
Trespass = Literally, a falling aside, a slip or lapse rather than a willful sin. If we become aware of someone tripped up by a sin, we have a responsibility. Earlier we learned that if we come to realize someone sinning we are to pray. Here we have additional responsibilities. Prayer is the first line. Here God encourages a second level of action.
But first, we must identify who is responsible for this action. The recipient of the action is “the one tripped up by sin.” The one called upon to act is, “You who are spiritual.” Who are the spiritual? Does this refer to elders? Does this refer to those who have been Christians a long time? When are we “spiritual”? This word comes from the root word used for the Holy Spirit meaning breath or wind. Paul calls on the ones who have a spiritual focus, the ones walking by the spirit direction and energy of the Holy Spirit. Regardless of age, length of time a Christian, title, position, if you are in touch with the Holy Spirit and walking in His strength and not in the flesh, you have the necessary credentials to respond to anyone caught in a trespass. You have the wisdom and energy of Christ. What are the “spiritual” to do?
The Greeks used this word to describe what you do with broken nets, and broken bones, torn sails, to mend, equip, make fit and make ready for service.
Appearing here as a present tense command indicates something we are to continually strive to do for one another. We all trip up and are surprised by temptation and sin. If we are to become a healing community, those who maintain a spiritual focus and have learned what it means to be directed and energized by the Holy Spirit are instructed by God to restore, mend, equip the broken and wounded and return them to faithful service.
Paul adds two qualifying instructions concerning this restoration process.
1. In the spirit of gentleness
If we are walking in the Holy Spirit, this will be automatic because the core character of the Spirit is gentleness. Gentleness refers to one under the control of the spirit. It is power under control.
And the Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. 2 Tim. 2:24-26
Paul communicated his gentleness with the church in his letter to the Thessalonians.
For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed-- God is witness-- nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority. But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having thus a fond affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us. 1 Thes 2:5-8
How are we to restore those who fall into sin? We are to approach the restoration process with great gentleness.
We are also to…
2. Take heed to ourselves
The word used here means “to look carefully, look with a critical eye.” We must especially look to see that we are walking in the power of the spirit lest we trip over sin ourselves. The word here is “tempted, led astray, caught ourselves.” If we have not dealt with sin in our own life, our view of the situation will be obstructed and our response will not bear the fruit of restoration or righteous living.
Jesus advised his disciples to make sure to address any planks in their own eye before attempting to remove any splinters from a brother’s eye. Unaddressed sin in our life severely obstructs our vision. Most common are sensitivity to the sin and harshness to the sinner whereas we ought to be harsh on sin and sensitive to the sinner. In order to bring about genuine healing there must be a personal sensitivity to the gravity of sin. Genuine healing flows out of a proper understanding of God and sin as well as sensitivity to the sinner. Anything else is superficial like those God condemned in Jeremiah’s day
"For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for gain,
And from the prophet even to the priest everyone deals falsely.
"And they have healed the brokenness of My people superficially,
Saying, 'Peace, peace,' But there is no peace.
"Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; ' Jeremiah 6:13-16
The goal is restoration, healing, mending, equipping, and bone setting in order to restore back into kingdom service.
For it is the proper working of each part that causes growth.
So what have we learned so far? God calls those walking with a spiritual focus as His chosen instruments to bring healing and restoration to those trapped in a fleshly focus and walk. They are to respond with the wisdom and gentleness of the Holy Spirit continually watching their own walk. The writer of Hebrews calls for a similar focus.
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Hebrews 12:11-13
Through prayer, through words of encouragement, through admonition, through gentle correction, through instruction, we can be God’s restorative instruments.
And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men. 1 Thes. 5:14
We are to continually (present tense verbs) warn the unruly (those out of order), encourage the fainthearted (little souled), help (hold firmly) the weak (those without strength) demonstrate long-anger with ALL men.
Not all struggles are due to sin. Paul further instructs the Galatians concerning those struggling with any burden. No one is exempt from a burden that becomes unbearable. Too often, we suffer in silence and alone. We must become a healing community.
E. Readily support (bear burdens of) the weak and wounded
Bear one another's burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
The word used to “bear” means “to take up, remove, carry, endure.” It is a present tense command indicating something we are called to do continually. The word for burden here is a heavy weight difficult to carry. It may be the weight of sin or the burden of circumstance. The idea is that it is too heavy to carry by one’s self. God never intended us to carry all our burdens alone. To think that we can handle everything or even ought to is not only wrong, it is arrogant.
God designed the body to be mutually interdependent. Just as we cannot function effectively without God, neither can we function without other members of the body. Sometimes the way of escape offered by God is the support of another Christian.
Mutual dependence nurtures humility and cripples pride.
Mutual dependence encourages unity and deflects dissention.
Jesus modeled burden bearing.
in order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, "HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES, AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES." Matthew 8:17
and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. 1 Peter 2:24
God invites us to cast our burdens and cares upon Him.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7
The legalist of Jesus day not only refused to bear burdens but also made them more unbearable.
But He said, "Woe to you lawyers as well! For you weigh men down with burdens hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers. Luke 11:46
Paul addresses the legalist in this letter to the Galatians. These were those who would denied the plan of God regarding salvation and the critical role of the body in our walk with God. This very act of bearing one another’s burdens demonstrates the genuine love that fulfills the law of Christ. Yes God promises to bear our burdens but sometimes he does it through people. Paul told the Romans to bear burdens of those struggling.
Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. Romans 15:1-2
Paul instructed the Philippians to give attention to the needs of one another.
Since Christ has equipped every believer…
make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philip. 2:2-4
The same word used to give close attention to the sin in our life is used here in regard to the interests or needs of others.
God through Titus and those who encouraged Titus encouraged Paul.
For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within. But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus; and not only by his coming, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, as he reported to us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced even more. 2 Cor. 7:5-7
Paul also warns against a possible danger.
For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
The word deceive is to “lead one’s mind astray”. The possible deception is that we come to think we are either above the need for help or we are too important or too busy with more personally important things to be involved in helping others or perhaps we are too pure to associate with lowly sinners. Whatever the case, Paul extends this warning against such a deceptive tendency.
The remedy for such erroneous thinking is again, an honest self-examination.
But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one shall bear his own load. Gal 6
We are instructed to look at what we are doing. We are to honestly look at what is our responsibility before God. Only when we evaluate our life in relation to God’s standard and His call on our life will we have reason to feel confident in our walk. The truth is that each person must stand before God and give account to Him concerning the responsibility He placed on us. The two verses here in Galatians do not contradict. Paul employs two different words for “burden or load” here.
One refers to a heavy burden of great weight often too heavy for one person to carry.
The other refers to a personal weight or responsibility.
It was used of a soldier’s personal backpack. God does not instruct us to take on ourselves the responsibilities he gives each individual to bear.
• Someone else cannot do my praying.
• Someone else cannot do my Bible reading.
• Someone else cannot love my spouse or raise my family.
• Someone else cannot love the brethren for me.
We can encourage and admonish one another in these areas but we cannot do it for someone else. Paul calls us to help carry one another’s burdens.
Whether it be the burden of life and circumstances…
Whether it be a financial disaster…
Whether it be a physical need…
Whether it be a struggle with temptation or weakness…
Whether it be a spiritual wound…
Whether it be a weakness of faith…
Whether it be a wound by the enemy of our soul…
…we are called by God to support one another.
“But I don’t have the qualifications!” Does’ Christ live in you? Can you speak His words of life? Can you extend His touch of healing? We can do much more than we have been taught.
At one time or another, we experience both sides of this partnership.
We are sometimes in the business of care giving and care receiving. There are times we need support. There are times we need to support others in their need.
Let us not be like the false prophets and priests who provided only superficial healing.
Let us not be like the Pharisees who not only did nothing to bear burdens but also increased them.
Let us be like Jesus who gave his life for our healing.
Are we fervently praying fro one another?
Are we doing everything we can to diligently preserve the unity of this body?
Are we continually focusing on what builds up and encourages one another?
Are we seeking to gently restore the fallen and broken?
Are we willingly and readily bearing one another’s burdens in fulfillment of the law of Christ?
These are the elements of a healthy church.
These are the result walking in the Spirit.
These are the characteristics of genuine community.
Read back over the notes for this week and last week.
What is God saying to you?
What changes is He urging in your life?
Is there some tangible way you can begin to implement these instructions into your very way of thinking and living?
We are responsible to hear and DO the truth. In light of these truths, what is God asking me to do?
Remember that fruitful doing always follows a change in my being. When the heart is right the hands will follow.
Perhaps the place to start is the heart.
Share what God is doing with someone this week.
Do you need help? Call for help/
Is there someone you can help bear his or her burden? Call them.