Chapter 22

WE ARE TO HELP RESTORE OUR BROTHER OR SISTER

(Galatians 6:1)

Before we begin our study let us pray,

Dear Heavenly Father,

Father, we come into Your presence in the Name of Your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Father, please open our ears, eyes and heart so we can understand and do the things that You have called us to do. Father, we understand that we have been created anew in Your Son, Jesus Christ, for good works. Please Lord cause us to walk in them.

Amen

As an introduction to this study let us read the Scripture from which we will take our instruction. It is written in,

Galatians 6:1

"[1] Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted."

In the above Scripture we find three major lessons:

      1. We are to help restore a person caught in sin.
      2. We are to do it gently.
      3. We are to be careful we are not tempted to sin.

Let us begin by exploring the instruction that,

WE ARE TO RESTORE A BROTHER OR SISTER CAUGHT IN SIN.

In other words, we are not to ignore the fact when we see our fellow man in sin. The Holy Spirit has instructed us that we, as born again believers, are to help them come out of it and be restored to Jesus Christ. One might ask as to how should this be done? To answer this question let us begin with the case of:

THE CHRISTIAN

We begin with,

THE INSTRUCTION

As we read the Scriptures we find there are two courses of action that may taken to restore a fellow believer caught in sin. The first is for the times when the sin of our fellow believer is not very serious. For this situation we are to pray for them.

1 John 5:16

"[16] If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that."

Notice that through prayer, God will restore a person who is in a minor sin, that is one that does not lead to death. Some examples of these types of sin might be: (1) foul language, (2) provocative dress, (3) not using one's spiritual gifts, etc.

However, if the sin is against us or if it is serious such as those in,

Galatians 5:19-21

"[19] The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; [20] idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions [21] and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."

we are then instructed to take the following steps identified in,

Matthew 18:15-20

""[15] If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. [16] But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' [17] If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. [18] "I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. [19] "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. [20] For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.""

Let us notice the following verses,

15 The first step to be taken is for the person who was wronged or is aware of the sin to confront the person who is sinning. In other words, with the hope of resolving the problem, the issue to be kept between the two individuals.

16 However, if the person sinning will not listen or repent, then, with the hope of restoring the person who is sinning, they are to be confronted with two or three witnesses.

17 If the person who is sinning still will not repent then that person is to be brought before the church. This means they are to be placed before all members of that portion of the body of Christ. To see this let us read the instruction Paul gave Timothy with respect to this issue.

1 Timothy 5:20

"[20] Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning."

However, if the person still refuses to stop their sinning then they have broken fellowship with the body of Christ and are to be treated as a non believer.

Let us now return to the Gospel according to Matthew, verses,

18-20 When the body of Christ takes an action in accordance with the above steps it is as if Jesus Christ Himself was there.

AN EXAMPLE

To be sure we have correctly interpreted the above teaching of Jesus, let us read what happened in the church in Corinth and how the Apostle Paul handled the situation. We begin with,

The Sin

The sin that was being committed is described in,

1 Corinthians 5:1-2

"[1] It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife. [2] And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?"

Let us notice the following verse,

2 Instead of mourning or dealing with the horrible sin that was being committed in the church , they were proud of all the "spiritual" activities that were present in their congregation. ( NOTE: The church in Corinth was a very blessed and spiritually gifted body. However, they went astray in many areas. Thus, Paul wrote 1st and 2nd Corinthians to provide them with correction and instruction for the proper operation of the church.)

The Action Taken

In the next set of verses we read about the action Paul took to deal with the sinful situation.

1 Corinthians 5:3-5

"[3] Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. [4] When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, [5] hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord."

Let us notice the following verses,

4 Remember, in our reading from the Gospel according to Matthew we found that Jesus said, "when two or three born again believers agree to a disciplinary action it is as if He Himself was present".

5 The reason for the breaking fellowship with the sinning person was for their benefit. The hope was that by the loss of fellowship their sinful nature would be destroyed and their spirit would be saved.

The Instruction or General Principle

This is provided in the next set of verses in,

1 Corinthians 5:6-13

"[6] Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? [7] Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast--as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. [8] Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth. [9] I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people-- [10] not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. [11] But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. [12] What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? [13] God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you.""

Let us notice the following verses,

6-7 The body of Christ is to keep itself pure and holy. If it does not do this then, as the Scripture says, "a little yeast, that is a few sinful activities, works through the whole batch of dough, that is the entire church. We must not lose sight of the fact that Jesus came to save us from our sin. He did not come to encourage or ignore it.

8-12 Thus far all we have learned only pertains to those who profess to be born again believers. As we will see later in our study, the situation for the non believer is to be handled differently.

13 In this case, the body of Christ in Corinth was to stay away from those who were sinning and refused to repent.

THE RESTORATION

As we noted in the above discussion, the whole purpose for dealing with a fellow brother or sister in sin is to bring them to their senses. In other words, the whole objective is to restore them into fellowship with Jesus Christ and His body. Hence, when the person or persons who were caught in a sin confess their sin and seek forgiveness, the body of Christ is to forgive them and welcome them back into fellowship. To see this let us read the interchange between Peter and Jesus with respect to this matter.

Matthew 18:21-22

"[21] Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" [22] Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times."

With this in mind, let us return to the situation in the Corinthian church and read what happened after the church broke fellowship with the sinning party. This is recorded for us in Paul's second letter to the church in,

2 Corinthians 2:6-8

"[6] The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. [7] Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. [8] I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him."

Although the Scripture does not explicitly tell us, I believe we can assume that the sinning party forsook their sin and sought forgiveness from the church. Hence, the Apostle Paul instructed the church to forgive, comfort and reaffirm their love for them.

We must remember, that even if our fellow believer is in sin, they are not to be considered as an enemy. They are to be considered as a brother or sister in need of help. This is taught us in,

2 Thessalonians 3:15

"[15] Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother."

Let us now move on to the situation of,

THE NON BELIEVER

With respect to the sinning of the non believer, we must remember that it is God's desire for all people to be saved. Consider what the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy in,

1 Timothy2: 3-4

"[3] God our Savior, [4] who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."

Thus, we must remember that unless a non believer comes to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and is born again of the Holy Spirit they will not see the kingdom of God. Hence, for the case of a non believer, their particular sin or sin area is not the primary concern. The primary concern is the eternal state of their soul.

Consequently, it is the responsibility of the born again believer to try and lead the non believer to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. To see this let us Jesus Christ's great commission to His church as recorded in,

Matthew 28:16-20

"[16] Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. [17] When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. [18] Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. [19] Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, [20] and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.""

As we try to lead a fellow believer to repentance or as we present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the unbeliever, we must never forget that,

ALL MUST BE DONE IN A SPIRIT OF GENTLENESS

To see this let us note the second portion of,

Galatians 6:1

"[1] Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently..."

In other words, we are instructed by the Holy Spirit to never speak or act out of judgement or condemnation to anyone. The reason for this is apparent when we bring to mind that Jesus did not come to judge the world but to save it.

John 3:16-17

""[16] For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. [17] For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

Finally, as we try to restore a person from sin when must,

BE ON GUARD THAT IN THE PROCESS WE ARE NOT LED INTO TEMPTATION

This warning is given to us in last portion of,

Galatians 6:1

"[1] Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted."

In reflecting upon the above concern, one is left with the question of how? How can we guard ourselves? The answer to these questions lies in the fact that, if our actions are motivated by and are under the control of the Holy Spirit, we will not gratify the desires of our sinful nature. To see this let us read from,

Galatians 5:16

"[16] So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature."

In other words, as we try to restore a brother or sister we must determine whether or not the fruits of the Holy Spirit are present. If they are, we are in God's will and He will protect us. However, if the fruits of the Holy Spirit are not present, then we must prayerfully examine our motives.

To assist in determining whether or not we are in God's will, let us read what some of the fruits of the Holy Spirit are. We find them in,

Galatians 5:22-23

"[22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness and self-control..."

And,

James 3:17

"[17] But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere."

Before we close our study let us read the following,

CONCLUDING THOUGHT

It is recorded for us in,

James 5:19-20

"[19] My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, [20] remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins."

Amen and Amen

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