Sunday, 23 November 2008 00:00

The Power of One's Words to Restore Saints

Galatians 6:1-2 (ESV)

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.

We began this series by explaining there are two kinds of speech identified in Scripture. There are reckless words that are compared to "pierces of swords" (Proverbs 12:18), and then there are apt words that are compared to "apples (jewelry) of gold" (Proverbs 25:11). Today we close the series by focusing on the power of our words to restore fallen saints. I use the term "saints" as the Apostle Paul uses it—those justified by grace through faith.

  1. Those who are saved by grace are sometimes surprised by sin.
    "Brothers and sisters, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual restore him in a spirit of meekness" (v.1). The question we must ask is "what is sin?" The word translated transgression ("fault" in KJV) means "to fall by the wayside." It carries the connotation of a believer tripping and crossing an established boundary, to wind up doing, saying, or participating in something that is immoral or unethical.
    1. The mark of genuine Christianity is a movement away from sin.
      You shall call His name Jesus for He shall save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). When Christians sin, it is contrary to their nature. Tripping interrupts walking. "Sin may rebel in the heart of a believer, but it will never reign in the heart of a believer." Thomas Watson. The normal course of the righteous is away from sin.
    2. The mistake many Christians make is to underestimate their vulnerability.
      "It so happens" Stephen Olford said, "that the most grievous sins creeps up." When James describes the temptation to sin in James 1:14 he uses a word that is translated "lure." It's the same word we use of fishermen who go after fish. They lure them in. Sin, too, your enemy will design your life to trip you up.
  2. Those who are surprised by sin need Christians who know how to restore.
    The word "restore" is a medical term in the Greek language. It was used of doctors who mended broken bones, and it was used of fishermen who mended torn nets.
    1. You who are spiritual—(pneumatikoi"you who are spirit sensitive." Those who are more concerned with the temporal than the eternal are disqualified.
    2. With a spirit of gentleness—this is the spirit in which the words are conveyed. Showing a concern for the person who has transgressed in his walk with Christ.
    3. Keeping watch on yourself—without a spirit of superiority or pride that shows itself in words like "I would never do anything like that" Then you speak. "Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way" (Ephesians 4:15).
  3. The church is called to "bear one another's burdens" to fulfill the law of Christ.
    The burdens mentioned in context are not necessarily financial or physical burdens. Paul is referring to those sins that trip up believers. It is a ministry of reconciliation and restoration. This "law of Christ" is mentioned by Paul in the previous chapter: "The whole law is fulfilled in one word. You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (5:14). My prayer is this series will have taught you the incredible importance of using your words as gifts, and, in the years to come, you speak words that bring healing and restoration to God's people. May God give us this gentle, spiritual, healing spirit.

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