Summary: Our responsibility—to make every effort possible to restore (Matt. 18:15-17)


A. Christians fall away for various reasons. Some past restoring (Heb. 6:4-6)

2. Our responsibility—to make every effort possible to restore (Matt. 18:15-17)

B. Not a lesson on corrective church discipline

1. Last step in trying to restore (2 Thess. 3:14)

2. Hopefully, can prevent having to take this step

C. Lesson on our actions toward the erring while trying to restore

I. Define Terms

A. “Restore”

1. Webster:

a. to bring back into existence, use, or the like;

b. to bring back to a former, more desirable condition;

c. to bring back to a state of health, soundness, or vigor;

d. to put back; return, as to a former place, position, or rank

2. Thayer: to render sound, complete

a. to mend (what has been broken or rent), to repair

b. to fit out, equip, put in order, arrange, adjust

c. ethically: to strengthen, perfect, complete, make one what he ought to be

B. “Erring”

1. Webster:

a. to go astray in thought or belief; be mistaken or incorrect

b. to go astray morally; sin

c. to deviate from the true course or purpose

2. Thayer

a. to be led into error

b. to be led aside from the path of virtue, to go astray, sin

c. to sever or fall away from the truth

d. to be led away into error and sin

C. Examples:

1. Restore an old car

2. Restore an old house

a. Neglect or abuse can cause such to need restoring

b. Tools used depend upon the condition of the object in need of restoring

(1) sledge hammer to remove some things in order to replace

(2) screw driver to remove, refinish, repair, and put back in use

II. Establish That Sin Has Been Committed (Josh. 7:22-23)

A. Same Word that convicts a sinner of sin, convicts the erring (Jn.16:8)

B. Witnesses used to verify that sin has been committed (Matt. 18:15-17)

1. One cannot repent of something he/she does not think is wrong

2. Going through outward motions is not repentance

3. Repentance is a change of mind and will not take place unless feel there has been an offense committed

III. Why Should We Try To Restore?

A. Save a soul from death (Jas. 5:19-20)

B. He is in a wretched condition (2 Pet. 2:20-22; Acts 8:21-23)

1. What condition could be worse than being separated from God? (Isa.59:1-2)

2. We seek to restore a body eaten up with cancer that will eventually rot anyway--a soul is far valuable, because it will endure forever (Lk. 12:1-5).

IV. When Should We Act?

A. ASAP (Matt. 5:23-25; 1 Cor. 5:6)

1. keeping a house or car in good shape is easier than letting it go

2. repair leak as soon as notice it--saves much damage later

B. Longer they remain in sin, the more entrenched they may become (Eph.4:19)

1. one sin frequently leads to another (1 Sam. 11; Lk. 22:54-62)

C. How long did Peter wait? (Acts 8:20-23)

D. How long did Paul wait? (Gal. 2:14) "But when I saw...I said..."

V. Who Should We Seek To Restore?

A. Anyone who strays from the truth

1. Apollos was in need of correction (Acts 18:24-26)

2. Peter, an apostle, was not above rebuke (Gal. 2:11-14)

3. Simon (Acts 8:20-24), fornicators (1 Cor. 5)

B. Danger that we may not feel qualified to speak to some

1. Aquilla and Priscilla recognized Apollos’ need

2. All are responsible parties in Lord’s church

3. Lord no respecter of persons (Rom. 2:11)

4. Must learn not to think of men above what is written (1 Cor. 4:6)

VI. How Should We Behave Toward The Erring?

A. As we would deal with children (1 Thess. 2:1-12)

B. Gently (Gal. 6:1; Eph. 4:2)

C. As we would want someone to treat us (Matt. 7:12)

D. Never rude or condescending (2 Tim. 2:24-26)

E. Make sure our life is what it ought to be (Matt. 7:1-5)

F. Various classes require different approaches (Jude 22-23)

"And on some have mercy, who are in doubt; and some save, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." (Jude 22-23, ASV).

1. Some will be honest doubters - deal with tenderly, patiently

2. Others will be more advanced in error - snatch, but carefully lest we become stained with their sin

G. Examples:

1. family tenderly working with family member (1 Tim. 3:15)

2. body parts working to help ailing body part heal (1 Cor. 12:25-26)

VII. Be Prepared For Their Attitude

A. Can be positive (Acts 2:38-41; 8:24)

B. Can be negative (Gal. 4:15-16; Acts 7:59; 14:19)

C. No matter, we can always maintain proper attitude

VIII. Our Attitude And Behavior Should They Repent

A. Forgiving (Lk. 17:1-4)

B. Accepting (2 Cor. 2:3-11)

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