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.