As Christians we belong to the family of God. The choices we make demonstrate this in our lives. But what happens when someone among us sins? That is question Pastor Jason asks in this message from Galatians 6:1-10.Greensburg Church of the Nazarene
**not a word for word transcript, but the sermon manuscript**
SIN AND CONSEQUENCE
PART ONE: CAUGHT IN SIN
One of my favorite TV shows is The Office, a mockumentary about people working together in an office. Dwight Shrute is a main character, who is raised up in some strange family traditions on a beet farm. In one of the final episodes, Dwight is in the manager’s office with a very young boy (maybe 1 to 2 years old) named Phillip, who Dwight suspects is his son. His defining test is a game called “Shrute or consequences.” He offers Phillip a check for a million dollars or a beet. Phillip chooses the beet, and at least to Dwight, proves he is a Shrute.
Like Phillip, you and I as Christians make choices that demonstrate we belong to the family of God. But what happens when someone among us sins? How should we react? Should we do anything? This is the question we will try to answer studying a passage written by the apostle Paul.
1 My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves. 4 All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbor’s work, will become a cause for pride. 5 For all must carry their own loads. 6 Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher. 7 Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. 8 If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 9 So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. 10 So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith. (NRSV)
This is the Word of God, for the people of God, thanks be to God.
IN THE TEXT: The Christian response
***[v1-5] CAUGHT IN SIN***
The word translated “detected” in the NRSV is “caught” in many other English translations. The idea of being caught by sin is contains the thought of being surprised, ignorant, or giving into temptation, according to John Wesley. When a Christian makes a choice to sin against God, usually that is not the attitude they set out with. Unplanned circumstances, lack of awareness, and the pressure from temptation make opportunities for sinful choices. When that happens, Paul writes that “you who have received the Spirit should restore them.” Like a broken bone or dislocated shoulder, those who are brothers and sisters in the faith should set them right. This is not a wrathful or angry act against the wayward Christian, but an act of love even though it will cause pain.
Verses 2 and 5 seem to contradict one another. Paul first tells us to “bear one another’s burdens” and then writes, “all must carry their own loads.” That makes verses 3 and 4 important. The law of Christ is love, which rests on the premise of love God and love others. Burdens are the heavy loads that are difficulties, also failures of breaking Christ’s law. Everyone is carrying their own burdens, and how we handle them is how God will judge us. But again, this does not contradict verse 2. Sometimes our burden is answering our neighbor’s cry for help. When helping others with their burden, especially sin, we are honest about who we are and the burdens we are carrying. Our help is not because we are better, but because the grace that rescued and sustains us is available to the brother and sister who stumbled.
***[V6] TAUGHT IN THE WORD***
If verses 2 and 5 seem contradictory, verse 6 comes across as out of place. However, those who are teachers of the Word understand the burden involved. We are only able to teach about the Bible because we spend time studying the Bible. Those who benefit from those bearing this burden should support them. Paul is saying, “pay them.” Support them with material things as well as sharing how their teaching has impacted us.
***[V7-10 BROUGHT IN A HARVEST***]
“God will not be mocked.” It means that God knows the truth about our attitudes, intentions, and actions. We may fool others, but you will “reap what you sow.” If we live according to the ways of sin or selfishness, then we will face the consequences of sin. But if we live according to the Spirit we get eternal life. Life is the natural byproduct of being filled with the Spirit.
Carrying our burdens is hard work. Trying to help others is not always care bears, rainbows, and unicorns. Us doing good during and through the difficulties and failures gives evidence to the Spirit breathing His life in us. Therefore, while time remains we work to do good, demonstrating our love for God and others, proof the Spirit of God abides in us.
FROM THE TEXT: The Family’s response
The question we are asking as we study this passage is: “What happens when someone among us sins?” The answer is: We do the good thing, help them lift the burden of sin off. This may mean we have to correct someone in our effort to restore them.
This world operates in a “survival of the fittest” mentality. Sometimes this mindset creeps into the Church, and we treat one another as contestants on a cosmic version of Survivor competing for a spot at God’s table. But we are not competing with one another, God’s table is big enough for all. To be a Christian is to be a part of the family of God.
What is different about the family of God is that it values honesty. We are truthful about who we are and our need for grace. Also, we value the courage to be honest from others. When they admit the burden is too heavy and cry out to God for help, we praise God for their honesty. And when our fellow family members are “caught in sin,” we give them the truth. Not only do we give truth, and value honesty, but we seek to do good in the life of all. Especially those who belong to the family of God. This means helping them to lift their burdens, or take action to remove it.
BEYOND THE TEXT: The choice of our lives
If being a Christian is being a part of the family of God, a family that values honesty and doing good, including helping others to lift burdens, why do we fail? And why do people fall away from the faith? Nazarene theologian, R.E. Howard says, “People fail because they quit and not because they are overcome.”
Don’t quit. You have been following God, but now you have become trapped in patterns of your old life, or have found new ways to sin. Don’t quit. You have been doing good, helping to lift burdens, but seems like it is getting nowhere. Don’t quit. You have been following God, striving to stay on the straight and narrow, but your burdens are too heavy. Don’t quit. Whatever it is, don’t quit, cry out to God. The family of God is here to help you lift your burdens up.
Season 1 Episode 33, "Most important question." The text for the message is from Mark 8:27-30, part 1 of a series called The Son of Man. The question we are trying to answer is "What is the most important question?"