Summary: A sermon examining our responsibility to the fallen Brethren.
The Ministry Of Restoration
(Companion sermon: "The Ministry Of Reconciliation" 2 Corinthians 5:18-21)
James Merritt says in his sermon (Help, I've Fallen And I Can't Get Up) that "you can sum up the function of the church in two words: reconciliation and restoration." 1) Reconciliation is our ministry to fallen sinners. 2) Restoration is our ministry to fallen saints.Fanny Crosby wrote a great old hymn called "Rescue the Perishing." You can see both ministries recorded in this song: a. "Rescue the perishing, care for the dying".(this is the ministry of reconciliation)b. "Weep o'er the erring one, lift up the fallen". (this is the ministry of restoration) - (Source http://www.sermonsearch.com/sermon-outlines/20651/i-have-fallen-and-cant-get-up/)
It is Satan's desire to trap Christians in sin. He wants to convince you that you are no longer useful for the Heavenly Father.Inevitably, when sin is present in the life of a child of God, discouragement will set in. Many of you may be in that rut as we speak. When the process of restoration is carried out this will stop the Devil's evil scheme!
I would like to look at the process that is laid out in verses 1-5 and preach on the subject "The Ministry Of Restoration"
Over the past few weeks we have been examining the battle between the flesh and the Spirit. In Galatians chapter 5 Paul reveals the "works of the flesh" and the "fruits of the Spirit". The GENUINE fruits of the Spirit will only be seen in the life of a believer. But unfortunately, "the works of the flesh"... that old sinful nature will not only be seen in the lives of a lost man. There are times when we fail to "walk in the Spirit" as we are directed to in verses 16 & 25 and our old nature will make his presence known! Again I draw your attention back to Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Last week we examined the fact that we must "crucify the flesh" daily! We must take those desires of our old sinful nature and NAIL THEM TO THE CROSS! This concept speaks of our personal responsibility. Now as we make the transition to Galatians chapter 6, we will see that we have a responsibility concerning others as well. According to verse 1 somebody has been overtaken in a sin. That sin has been revealed to others... it is no longer hidden! You may hide your sins from others, but you can't hide them from God. And in many cases that sin will eventually come to light for the world to see.
Many sins were described in Chapter 5. Let's consider some of them for a moment. Suppose you see that brother or sister in Christ has fallen into sin.
- Maybe he was caught with a woman other than his wife.
- Maybe she was caught cheating on her taxes.
- Maybe they got in a fight and the police were called to their house.
- Maybe he was arrested for a DUI
- On and on I could go with issues that may be seen in those who profess to know Christ.
- What will you do?
- Will you run and tell others what you have heard?
- Will you laugh at them?
- Will you run them in the ground?
- Will you judge and condemn them?
- Will you look at them and think about how much of a better Christian that you are?
- Or, will you just ignore the situation all together?
None of these are the proper responses! The Word says that we are to RESTORE THEM! It is our Christian responsibility to "restore" them! Notice:
I. The Responsibility Of Restoration v1
Obviously the ultimate restoration is done by Christ Himself. But just as we have the blessed privilege to a part of leading people to Christ (Ministry of Reconciliation) we have a blessed privilege to be apart of leading people back to Him! (The ministry of Restoration) Consider:
A. The Observation - "Brethren if a man be overtaken "
Implied here is the fact that the offender's sin had been brought to light. The idea here is not that you are judge , jury, and executioner watching every move of those around you. Rather it is being invested in the lives of your brothers and sisters in Christ. When you truly care for someone and they are in trouble, you notice it! And you desire to do something about it!
This is especially true in the local church... we are a faith family and we have responsibilities as a result. In his sermon that I referenced earlier James Merritt identifies 4 specific ministries of the Church.