Summary: The sermon contemplates how the church should react to the failures of its people
Restoring a Brother Who has Sinned
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.
How are we to respond ⇒ when we find out a fellow believer has fallen into sin???
Maybe they are a close personal friend…
an active member of the congregation.
Maybe they are in leadership, long admired as a model of the Christian life, but that respected image was shattered through a lapse in judgment.
What are we supposed to do?
Sadly, by not knowing what to do we often wind up making matters WORSE. As someone accurately observed, Christians have the uncanny ability of ‘killing their own wounded.’
We hear of a failure, and it almost seems like we’d rather gossip about it than restore them. And because of our reaction to the weaknesses of others, not only do we bring greater injury to the already broken, we foster a spirit of hypocrisy in our people by convincing them it is better to hide their sins than come clean.
No matter how long we have been in this thing or how many stories we have heard, it is difficult to know WHAT to do. Any interactions are AT BEST - awkward - and AT WORST avoided altogether. When compelled to pray we don’t know enough about the circumstances to pray intelligently. We just hope that time will either bring healing, or help us forget.
While we KNOW we shouldn’t be the first ones to bury them, we also don’t want to send the unintended message that we condone their behavior.
So, what ARE we supposed to do?
Paul offers insight in our text. There are three valuable lessons in this passage:
1. First, Paul shows us How Christians can STUMBLE. Though we are victorious in many ways, we still struggle with temptation and sin. Believing in Jesus does not insulate us from poor judgment or shield us from being deceived. Christians CAN stumble.
Notice verse 1, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”
If you have ever wondered, “Am I the only one who struggles with sin?!?” let me put that question to rest… ALL of us struggle with temptation and sin. I know we like to project an image that “We are above making mistakes,” but trust me when I say this ⇒ it is a struggle for ALL of us.
Paul makes an interesting point when he says, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression....” The key word is “caught.” It is the idea of being surprised or caught off guard, being ensnared. Kind of like a hungry animal being lured into a baited trap. It’s not that the Christian has made it his habit to sin OR went LOOKING for it… but in a moment of unpreparedness sin ensnared him.
There will be times in all of our lives when we are lured into sin regardless how strong we think we are. In our pride we foolishly act as if we are above such actions. But Satan is very patient… he will set you up for a long time… like luring a bird into a trap with breadcrumbs…
He will tell us that ‘things will be different for us.’
He will tell us that “we deserve a little happiness” and that happiness is BETTER THAN holiness
He will tell us we can control or minimize the damage if we do this thing or that we can keep it hidden.
And before we know it, ⇒ we are trapped.
It’s - a - reality. That’s why Paul says...
“You who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” We might not LIKE getting involved in another’s mess… we MIGHT be DISAPPOINTED that they would throw their testimony away over something, so, so temporary. But the responsibility of restoration rests squarely on the shoulders of those who ‘are spiritual.’
It’s not your job to be a private investigator, prying into the private lives of others to see if you can dig up some hidden scandal.
It's not your job to be their prosecutor or judge either. NO, when a fellow soldier falls on the battlefield, those who are spiritual REFUSE to leave them behind.
The word “restore” was a medical term describing how doctors would reset a broken bone. When someone has a broken bone, a doctor must put it back in place so the injury can heal. That bone will never be exactly the same as before, but the only chance it has of regaining ANY usefulness is for it to be “restored.”