I. BRETHREN ACCORDING TO THE FAITH.
II. OUR RESPONSIBILITY TOWARD BRETHREN CAUGHT IN TRANSGRESSION.
III. THE TRANSGRESSION IS AN ACT AGAINST GOD AND HIS LAW.
IV. A WORD FOR THE SPIRITUALLY MATURE.
V. RESTORATION IS THE GOAL OF CORRECTION.
VI. SPIRIT OF MEEKNESS AT THE HEART OF CORRECTION/RESTORATION.
VII. LOOKING ATTENTIVELY AT ONE’S SELF IN CORRECTING/RESTORING A FALLEN BROTHER.
VIII. BEWARE, LEST YOU ALSO BE TEMPTED.
I refer to the family of God. Those who are in the faith of Jesus Christ.
Families have problems. Marriages of Biblical as well as non-biblical couples have problems, yet many times work things out or learn to live with each other in love. The same is also true within the church – the Body of Christ. Sadly some cannot, or don’t want to work things out.
The Christian family cannot do anything except love one another, as we have been given commandment; by our Lord Himself (John 13:34-35).
The Spirit of God’s family is His Spirit. His Spirit gives live, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness (Keep an eye on this word), temperance… How God’s family treats one another goes a long way in the way we deal with our neighbor, work associates, or ones we might consider “enemy”. We have no enemy but Satan, and he is the enemy of every human being.
BRETHREN ACCORDING TO THE FAITH. There are three ways in which humanity can be called brethren. The first is by being a part of creation some have a tendency of calling us all brethren because we are of the human race; but if that were the case, then we not be “brethren” with all created things. That would be okay with the pantheists I guess. Secondly, we are brethren with those who are born into our physical family. Thirdly we are brethren when we are born again in faith through Jesus Christ. Now there are probably other ways to be called “brethren”, but I will not consider any of those.
As brethren/family through Christ we have been born again. Raised from death in sin to life in the crucified, buried, and risen Christ. Called to be the brethren of Jesus Christ Himself. He being our Elder Brother (Hebrews 2:11-13).
OUR RESPONSIBILITY TOWARD BRETHREN CAUGHT IN TRANSGRESSION. Every Christian has died to sin and its power; but none are sinless in this world. The seed of Christ in us never sins (1 John 3:9-10). The flesh in which we labor to overcome sins, must be forgiven and cleansed, changed through the sanctification of God’s Spirit. We experience sin through the “lust of the flesh’, ‘lust of the eyes’, and ‘ the pride of life” (1 John 2:16).
This must be dealing with sin which has trapped, and holds the brethren, as he lingers within it. A follower of Jesus Christ can become blinded by rationalizing. It is often because we get away from daily prayer, daily Bible study and reading, church attendance/worship and living in the disobedience of it all; stuck in the mud pits of sin.
We must all be aware of sins entrapment. It can grab, and hold you by a lingering, overbearing doubt, fear, lust. It can bite or sting you through a simple luxury. It can be as subtle as a slithering serpent.
THE TRANSGRESSION IS AN ACT AGAINST GOD. Sin is transgression of God’s Law (1 John 3:4). The law is a “schoolmaster” to bring us to Christ (3:24). By the law we learn we transgress God’s law – we are incapable of obedience to it for the glorifying of God – thus “falling short of the glory of God”.
All mankind has transgressed the law of God making us sinners – transgressors. Unworthy of God’s love, mercy and grace.
It is sad to say, but sometimes, even the Christian willfully transgresses the law of God, and by their sin offend others. This is probably the “fault” or transgression of which Paul refers. O, God be merciful to the child which willfully disobeys and send a loving member of the family for correction and restoration.
A WORD FOR THE SPIRITUALLY MATURE. Shows there are levels of Christian growth. The apostle speaks to this when he says to the Corinthian church, “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1). The apostle Peter even addresses this when he states, “…As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2).
We cannot and should not expect new born Christians to suddenly become mature. Growing is a process, and is a good and godly thing. It will require prayer, Bible study, worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and witness. It will also involve trials, suffering, testing – and none that are really pleasant to prove their faith.
RESTORATION IS THE GOAL OF CORRECTION. How a piece of wood furniture is restored. First of all it is taken apart piece by piece; then each part is sanded and prepared for finishing; then if needed new bolts, screws, biscuits replace the old; and last new varnish, laquer, or other finish is brushed or rolled onto the wood restoring and renewing the surface.
Sometimes a fallen brother or sister needs the loving, mentoring/discipling of another brother or sister to guide them back into fellowship with the church. It is tough love that corrects and restores one loved. It is not love at all to let a brother or sister continue in sin without correction; anymore than it would be for a parent to allow a child to continue doing something that would hurt them.
SPIRIT OF MEEKNESS AT THE HEART OF CORRECTION/RESTORATION. Jesus spoke of meekness, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Meekness is not weakness – it is strength or power, authority under control. Two of the meekest men who ever lived are Jesus and Moses (Matthew 11:29; Numbers 12:3).
As one who knows and is aware of the weakness of the flesh; meekness serves as a means of godly wisdom with understanding of one’s own redemption story. One’s knowing from whence he/she came. Pulled, snatched from the burning, the cesspools, pits of fear, despair, doubt, destruction, sin and condemnation.
Meekness can be seen in Presidents, kings, potentates, teachers, pastors, preachers, or leaders from most walks of life; as they take off their “garments” of leadership, and put on a tool belt: for more than political promoting picture ops. Simply remembering our “roots”. Putting ourselves on equal/level ground with the “overtaken” brethren.
LOOKING ATTENTIVELY AT ONE’S SELF IN CORRECTING/RESTORING A FALLEN BROTHER. Knowing your own weakness to sin will help you to mercifully deal with brethren. The Christian who says, “This would never happen to me”, is in for a big disappointment somewhere down the road of their lives.
Correcting is showing/teaching the errors or wrong as well as teaching the right, and without further condemnation. Usually, the fallen brethren are feeling guilt, shame, and don’t quite know how to deal with what they have done, or are still doing. A loving example, “considering yourself”, in their presence could be all that is necessary to bring them back.
BEWARE, LEST YOU ALSO BE TEMPTED. Jesus was tempted, but not unto sin. Temptation is not sin. James writes, “…Every man[everyone] is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:14-15). We are drawn away by our lust, our ungodly desire. Temptation only becomes sin if it is not quickly dealt with and terminated.
Temptation can be so subtle, quiet, and deceptive. “I am not happy in my current marriage” says a wife and mother to her friend, “so, I am leaving my husband for Joe who I am happy being around”. “God wants me to be happy”. Temptation comes in the form of obtaining happiness, wealth, things, even health outside God’s law, grace and provisions.
It helps each of us to know and confess our own weaknesses. It could be a proclivity toward lying. It could also be love for the luxurious. It could be an almost overbearing desire for wealth; or the sin of greed. What about gossip, talebearing, or a froward (trouble making) attitude and lifestyle. There are so many; far too many, but each individual must deal with them accurately and adequately.
All sins were dealt with by Jesus and the Father on His cross. The Spirit of the Family is the Spirit of God given to all who believe that Jesus is the Christ Son of the Living God. Believing that Jesus is God [Immanuel] come in flesh.
-Tim A. Blankenship
Please note: This message will be preached in Carr Lane Baptist Church in two parts – Sunday morning and Sunday evening.