Restoring the Fallen

Bible Book: Galatians  6 : 1-5
Subject: Restoration; Loving One Another
Introduction

Christians can sin and we do! Our sin affects not only ourselves, but it also affects our families, our community, and our church. The witness for Christ is damaged. Lost people are watching to see how the church responds to those in their membership who have sinned. We are never to condone sin, but we are never to condemn the sinner. God is their judge just as He is ours. What kind of message do we send to the lost if we are unwilling to restore and forgive our own when they fall? We may do greater damage to our witness if we are viewed by the lost as being mean, judgmental, and condemning.

I. STUMBLING BROTHER

A. TRANSGRESSION OF THE BROTHER.

The word “fault” means trespass or a deviation from truth and uprightness. It carries the meaning to stumble, or fall beside. This is a picture of a person who steps out of the bounds that God has established. It is like a ball player who steps out of bounds and the referee calls him on it.

Paul did not state what the transgression was that the brother committed.  It is important to note that he did not say the sinning brother had lost his salvation. Paul did say he was a brother in the Lord who needed to be restored.

B. TEMPTATION FOR THE BROTHER.

Temptation is a common experience of every child of God. (1 Cor. 10:13) The word “overtaken” means to be surprised, caught or detected. This man was caught off guard and sinned. He had no plans to commit a wicked deed. In a moment of temptation, he chose to step over God’s boundaries and to sin. The word “overtaken” can also mean he was caught in committing the sin.

The church today is filled with those who fall prey to temptation and sin. The truth is that we all stumble at times. F.B. Meyer: “When we see a brother or sister in sin, there are two things we do not know: First, we do not know how hard he or she tried not to sin. And second, we do not know the power of the forces that assailed him or her. We also do not know what we would have done in the same circumstances.”

C. TEST FOR THE BROTHER.

The love and acceptance of a fallen brother or sister by the church should encourage and strengthen their resolve to live for the Lord. Facing temptation will test their faith, but they should have their church family to give them support. 

II. SPIRITUAL BROTHER

A. MATURITY OF THE SPIRITUAL BROTHER.

1. Walk of the spiritual brother.

The mature believer walks in the Spirit. He is under the Holy Spirit’s control. The believer’s maturity is evident by the fruit of the Spirit that is produced in his life. His conduct is Christ honoring. He is caring and compassionate to those around him who are in need.

2. Warnings to the spiritual brother.  

a. Danger of temptation.  (v. 1) “lest thou also be tempted”

b. Danger of self-deception. (v. 3)

3. Work of the spiritual brother. (v. 4-5)

In verse 5, Paul’s admonition is to every believer to “bear his own burden.”  The word burden in this verse is different from the word used in verse 2 which means a crushing load. Some loads of life we need help in order to carry them. The word in verse 5 means a load like a soldier’s backpack, something a person can carry alone.  

Every believer is responsible for the work God has given him to do in this life. Every believer will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ and be judged according to his works. This is a burden no one else can bear for another. We will stand alone before our Lord.

Every believer needs to examine his own self. He needs to give himself a spiritual test concerning his attitude, his words, and his life to determine if he is right with the Lord.

B. MINISTRY TO THE STUMBLING BROTHER.

1. Meaning of restoring.

The spiritual brother is instructed to restore his fallen brother. The word “restore” means to mend or to repair. The idea in restoring is expressed in setting a broken bone. The sinning brother is to be restored in his relationship with God and to his church family.

2. Manner of restoring.

a) Gentleness in the restoring. (v. 1)“spirit of meekness”

A.W. Tozer once wrote, “The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God's estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God declared him to be, but ironically, he knows at the same time that he is in the sight of God of more importance than angels. In himself, nothing; in God, everything. That is his motto."

b) Command in the restoring. (v. 2) “Bear ye one another’s burdens”

The word “bear” means helping to carry a heavy load. We should be there to help a brother or sister carry their heavy load. Sin is a heavy load for a person to bear alone. Sadly, Christians often avoid a fallen Christian as if they had leprosy. Burdens can refer to temptations, failures and trials in our lives. We need to be there for each other during those difficult days when the flesh and the devil are tempting us to sin.

c) Compassion in the restoring. (v. 2) “fulfill the law of Christ”

The law of Christ may be summed up by the words of Christ: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”  John 13:34

“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” John 15:12

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Galatians 5:14

We are reminded of Peter’s three denials of the Lord. After Jesus’ resurrection, He appeared to Peter and restored him. (Luke 24:34) John records in chapter 21 the tenderness as Jesus encouraged and challenged Peter to continue in his calling.

LESSONS FOR LIFE:

As the redeemed people of God, the church should make every effort to restore a fallen brother or sister. Thankfully, God doesn’t discard us when we sin. We should never be lifted up in pride and think we would never sin like others. To avoid temptation and the consequences that follow, we need to heed Paul’s admonition: “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” Romans 13:14