Restoration Participants (Galatians 6:1)

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“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin,
you who live by the Spirit should
restore that person gently.
But watch yourselves,
or you also may be tempted.”
Galatians 6:1 

There are many parts of this text that bother me!  There’s that whole “caught in sin” piece and the intro of “brothers and sisters” that seems to work contrary to “those of you who are spiritual.”

This passage is such a reflection of the Body of Christ.  Paul writes to inform us that a midst our brothers and sisters, there are those who are not “living according to the Spirit.”   It would seem that Those who are Spiritual would be included in the “Brother and Sister.”  Maybe there are three groups within our walls:  1.   Those who are Saved and Not Spiritual” 2.  Those who Saved, Spiritual but Lacking Maturity”. 3.  Those who are Saved and Spiritual.”

Having said that; which group are you in? 

And how does your group affect the productivity within the church making disciples?

Groups 1 & 2, in this case, would  the individual in sin and in an an attempt to restore them would respond the opposition Spiritual; carnal or with frustration and impatience.  The carnal nature would bring in the gossip, judgment, and condemnation.  The person who is already ensnared, would now have to fight through the arrows of their fellow brothers and sisters.  The lack of maturity could cause one to mismanage the circumstances or process, causing further delays or possible offenses.

Furthermore, they individual would have to fight through brands and labels placed upon them.   Long after God has forgiven and restored, the one caught in sin would be on trial by a jury of peers whom might be struggling but not caught it in a different trap but not exposed or caught yet. This person would not be effective in the restoration process because they in flesh could further scar and embarrass the one caught.

Paul says, “those who are spiritual,” and then gives an instruction, “restore them gently“.  This is key to restoration!  Too often we are harsh, abbrupt and abrasive when dealing with those who have fallen!  Paul Reminds us to approach our brothers and sisters with love as we guide them back to a path of righteousness.

Gently also means in our approach and persuasiveness.  We must be willing to speak and pray with those ensnared, walking them through and pointing them towards that which is right and then holding them accountable not by force, but though love and support.   Gentle implies that we must restore with care, washing thouroghly with the Word, but not scarring our brother and offending them in the process.  We must be willing to reason with them in some cases, understanding that they might feel justified and also be set and comfortable in their present state.  

imageRestoration is a process!  This is why Paul calls upon those who are spiritual! These individuals will approach with wisdom and insight, being patient with their fallen brother or sister according to God’s plan.  

But I am bothered by this warning from Paul!  He says “Watch yourselves or you also may be tempted.”  This was bothersome because the implication is that the one that is spiritual is subject to fall to temptation.   It would have been more comforting if he said, be careful if this is something you struggled with in your past. Or be careful if this is a current stumbling block to you.  But he said, “you may also be tempted.”  This is too generic! It insinuates that one is subject to be tempted and can fall period!

But the ones restoring are walking by the Spirit right? Then why the warning?  How crafty our adversary is!  Even those who walk by the Spirit can be caught.  Just a slight loss of focus and one can stumble and move from restoring to being restored!  

How humbling this is!  Why should we hold back judgement and condemnation for our brother and sister?  Cause we could be next.

Last, let it be said and duly noted that it doesn’t take a Spiritual Person to catch someone in sin, but it requires a Spiritual Person to resort them.  In this, sometimes a person just has to remove themselves from the equation.  I wrote earlier, sometimes the best advice you can give someone is, “ask someone else.”  There are times and situations that are just beyond you and handling it will make things worse.

Reality; everyone can not play a role in restoration.  As we have experienced in the Kingdom, the harm done by those who are immature who revel in catching and condemning those they find.  We have suffered the scars of this who have been exposed for entertainment and cast out from the community to the delight of those operating with carnal minds.  We must in the future find some way to cancel out the harm done by those who refuse to grow and or walk by the Spirit within our walls, or we will find more that choose to stay at home and loose the benefit of being in the Body of Christ.
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The Believers Bite Galatians 5:15

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15 But if you bite and devour one another,
watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit,
and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Galatians 5:15-16

Tonight we enjoyed a fruitful discussion in God’s Word.  Drawing our thoughts for the lesson from the 5th Chapter of Galatians, we allowed the 15th and 16th verse to run the first leg of tonight’s’ teaching.  In our discussion about becoming better evangelist and witnesses for Christ, we find ourselves working on self that we might be more effective in efforts for Christ.

But first a pit-stop.  Paul addresses in this chapter an important part of Kingdom, its citizens.  He writes to handle issues that have arisen in the church, and with a stroke of the pen, corrects bad teaching and bad behavior. full burger

For today’s discussion, I presented to the group the illustration of a freshly prepared hamburger.  It exist whole, without a bite.  The burger, fully in tact consist of many layer, and holds in it a varying level of content.  In this, it is placed into our hands to handle as we choose.  Now of course, our flesh and stomach need and are designed to consume, but today we took our discussion to the Spiritual.

The first question asked was:  “How is a burger consumed?”

The answer of course is “One bite at a time!”  These bites can vary in size, ranging from small to large, they can come from any angle, can be taken in a short amount of time, or a long amount of time, but with each bite, that which was whole begin to disappear.  Paul wrote a warning to the Body of Christ, “if you bite” he warns, soon you will “consume…one another.”

The next question asked was: “Who have you taken a bite of?”

This is an important question.  As we hit the neighborhoods to bare witness bout Christ, we have found that many people have met Christ, but remain at home because they are suffering from the wounds of a bite!  They accepted the Gospel, but couldn’t get past the offenses committed by His church!  I know, they are immature! That’s what you are thinking!  They have a fake faith built on man, and your faith is built on God.  They don’t have enough Word in them?  Right?  Get over yourself I say!  Mature or Immature, healing from wounds takes time, and some bites are just fatal!  Infection set in, and death follows.  And yes, you would probably say that its their fault, right?  It’s their fault they are offended, right?  They should simply forgive and move on, right?

Paul warns us, bites take away from us and lead to consumption.  Someone are simply being eaten alive by those who are in the fold and not walking according to the flesh.  People have perished in our ministries, and some who survived, are holding on to life by a thread.  This brought out a sad reality; many of the people entering our churches are half eaten. halfeatenburger

That’s right.  Those entering your church from previous church homes are sometimes lead to new fields, and other times are escaping hurt and looking for healing and peace.

Why is it you ask that a person can leave after one offense?  Ahh, you said they were immature, but the reality is that many of them were suffering from prior bites, and are just trying to keep from being completely consumed.  And then we foolishly judge them for protecting themselves, and label them to protect our own ignorance.  Our bites are often made worse by those who are not remorseful.  Yep, its that important that we treat each other right, because each person is in a different state, and have different experiences, and your encounter with them can be the difference between them growing in Christ, and dwelling at home alone.

In this day of social media and technology, our encounters with people are weighed even heavier in that many people have grown accustomed to experiencing the world via a video and even a blog.  The human factor is being removed and replaced by imogies and virtual reality, thus limiting the room for error in our encounters with one another.

Paul says while some suffer from “bites” others are “devoured”.

Have you devoured anyone? 

emptyplateThis word frightened me!  The thought that there could be one within our ranks who doesn’t fall from time to time and bite someone, but that in one or two encounters, shows a complete lack of restraint and concern for another and eats them alive in one or two sittings!  How is it that we can destroy those God has sent, stitching the bond of peace afforded to all of us through the blood of Christ and the unity of the Spirit!  Our lack of restraint towards one another can cause those in our midst not to question God’s existence, but if God exist in the place they have become a part of.  Let it not be said of you that you chased away someone that the Spirit draw-ed neigh because of your unwillingness to pursue righteousness and kill the flesh.

How many people have you devoured?  Who’s at home licking their wounds?  Who’s exploring different horizons?  Who’s falling away from the faith because of you?  Sadly, only God knows.  The reality is that most multiple offenders are just being themselves and don’t realize or acknowledge that they are “biters” dare say I “consumers.”  Shame to say, this “consumer” mentality exists in the house, as we jockey for position and protect our territory, and fight for a light that is the glory of humans, which is the glory that fades.  We shine our light not to lead, but to blind people with judgement, and are eager to condemn others, while pardoning our wickedness and justifying our actions.

Paul says, don’t “gratify your flesh”!  Yep, there is nothing good within us, and every once in a while, the desire to bite happens.  The old man fights his way back in the picture and begins warring for control of your limbs.  He plants thoughts in your mind as to how you should respond, and how you should act, what you should say, and how it should be said, but Paul says resist!  “Walk by the Spirit” he says.  Control that which remains dormant in you by continually submitting to the God that is in you!   Just because you have the thought, doesn’t mean you have to follow its suggestion.  It’s just that, a suggestion.  Unwise counsel given from an unwise source, whom desires to wound as many as he can from fire within the camp.  The devil hinders the growth of the Kingdom through those of us who continue fulfilling the desires of the flesh, allowing the old man to once again lift his hands in victory.   Yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit and allow His guidance to keep you from biting and devouring your fellow brother and sister.  Kingdom depends on it!

 

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