How To Help Our Brothers and Sister Fight Sin (Galatians 6:1-10) SERMON
HOW TO HELP OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS FIGHT SIN
Have you ever confessed your sin to another person? I mean, have you ever told that really dark, horrible, no good, very bad, ugly truth about yourself to someone? If you have, it can feel like a weight is off your shoulders, you levitate, a sigh of relief, and deep rest.
HOLDING IT IN
What happens when you hold it in or when you keep it to yourself? If you are a follower of Christ, bottling up what is going on inside can be torture, especially when the Holy Spirit brings conviction. That happened to a Middle Eastern king 3000 years ago. He had an affair with the wife of one of his security guards. She got pregnant. After trying and failing to get his guard to think it was his child, through an elaborate overnight scheme, he had the guard killed. The king clearly was living in sin. He was not following God’s way. He allowed his desires to define and rule him. He misused his position of power for personal gain.
SIN LEADS TO DEATH
James teaches, “desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:15). When we allow our desires to run free, they wreak relational havoc on us and everyone else. Often we don’t realize it until it is too late.
POETIC JUSTICEThis king intimately knew this nagging consequent death sentence. He was spiritually dying inside. His soul was suffocating with hypocrisy. He wrote in an ancient private poem made public,
When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. (Psalm 32:3–4)
THE HAND OF GOD
Whose hand was heavy on him? God’s. He felt God’s judgment in the quiet moment. Do you know that feeling? Have you felt that way?
HIGH SCHOOL CONFESSION
I distinctly remember times like that. Once, in high school, I was walking with a buddy late at night. I wanted to share what I had done. I wanted to tell of my struggle of sin. It was eating me up inside. I couldn’t talk to anyone. So, I took a step of faith and said what I did. He listened to me and shared his own struggles. We committed to helping each other walk in holiness.
CONFESSION CAN BE SCARY
Confession can be frightening. We worry about what people would think if they knew. But say you take that step, how should the friend respond? This morning I will talk to two groups of people: those who should confess and those who hear the confession. I want to answer a specific question. “How do we help those seeking to break from sexual sin?”
We are continuing our series on biblical sexuality. Much of our discussion has been to address the truth of scripture in light of culture. In the first week, Jeff established that the Bible is our source of authority for right and wrong, not the church or leadership or tradition. The second week we discussed being made in the image of God. God defines who we are. We explored what the Bible calls marriage. We looked at the permutations of sexuality outside of marriage and saw they were and are out of bounds. Last week we talked about what defines us, desires, or God.
Friends, Satan wants to destroy us, and he will use sexuality to do it. Many, if not most, adults here have seen pornography unwillingly or willingly. Sexual immorality, practicing homosexuality, and adultery are the norm in society. Culture embraces more palatable words to describe such deeds, for example, the affair, cohabitation, addiction, and identity. These words aren’t inherently wrong, however, they can be euphemism claiming sin is not sinful. Many of you have struggled with sexual sins over the years, and some statistically speaking are struggling right now. If that is you, you are not alone. You are not alone.
NOT ALONE PER 1 Cor. 10:13
1 Corinthians 10:13 says this,
13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.
Let me say that again. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. That means you are not alone.
God is faithful, [the passage continues] and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
God has put you here to get you help. God wants to help you today. This morning is part of that help. How do we find help? How do we help each other break from sexual sin?
LIMITATIONS AND FOLLOWUP
I am not going to be able to cover everything that could be covered on this subject. Jeff is preaching at Converge on this today too. If you want either or both of our sermon notes, they are available through the office. Also, we recognize, not everyone sitting here is in the same place theologically. We don’t all agree. We are glad you are here, regardless. We realize this subject is broad and raises important questions and emotions. If you have questions or would like to hear more discussion on this subject, come back tonight at 6 PM at Converge, our second site. Bring your questions or put them in a connect card, and we will do our best to answer them. If you can’t make it, come back next week.
BIG IDEA - Sanctification in Community
So, the burning question for the day is, how do we wage war for our brothers’ or sisters’ purity? Jeff has said, “Sanctification is a Journey, which happens in the church community.” John Piper has said it this way, “Sanctification is a community project.” We are not islands. We are a family of faith that needs each other. We need the Bible. We need God. He speaks in his Word to us today in our community. He speaks into our bedrooms, bathrooms, boardrooms, classrooms, and hearts. Listen to his voice to you today.
HOW DO W HELP? GO TO GALATIANS 6:1–10
How would God have us help our brothers or sisters fight for purity? Let’s travel back in time and space, two thousand years and five thousand six hundred miles from here to nowadays, Turkey. A false gospel is spreading. Teachers are saying you have to follow the works of the Law to be saved. People are straying from the faith theologically and morally. It is in this setting that Paul wrote Galatians 6:1–10.
If you have your Bibles, let me encourage you to look at that passage with me. I am going to have C. and A. D. read for us. (You can come up here now.) They will be reading from the English Standard Version of the Bible. If you are able, let us stand for the reading of God’s word.
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. 2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Thank you. Please, pray with me.
God, I pray that the power of your Word would unlock a firestorm of grace right now. Some are stuck in sin. They clicked, they watched, they enjoyed, they gave in, they fell prey, said yes, and ignored your still small voice yesterday or this week. The church is painful or a bother or a habit for some. May these moments be a sweet burn that cleanses the dirt and grime from the anemic soul. God, do something here for the hesitant, stuck, and hardened. Do something here for those who are desperate. Empower grace for those who feel alone. Help those who want to fight but don’t know how — Grant wisdom for those of us who are here to help. We need you. We all need you. You alone are the God of the Universe. You created sex to be great. We have distorted it as a people and made it a god. It terrorizes us and our children and threatens our churches and communities. God, may you bring healing and help and wholeness to our souls. We need you. Oh, we need you. Redeem this time for your glory and your great name we pray. AMEN. You may be seated.
CONTEXT OF THE PASSAGE
Many of you have read Galatians. Right before this passage is what we call the fruit of the Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22–23).
Those are amazing qualities! We all want to be more joyful. We probably all want to be more self-controlled. I am glad we have that kind of Spirit at work in us. However, those qualities follow some dark realities that relate to a need to restore people from a life of sin in chapter 6.
WORKS OF THE FLESH
Galatians 5:19–21 list works of the flesh.
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.
The Galatian churches had diversity in their sin. Paul offers at least four things to consider when we help each other fight for holiness in chapter 6.
OUTLINE (4 POINTS)
Here are my points.
- We Must Help in Gentleness
- We Must Help in Wisdom
- We Must Help in Humility
- We Must Help in Hope
WE MUST HELP IN GENTLENESS
Go back to verse 1.
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.
I picture a friend walking in the dunes. All of a sudden, he or she goes off the path. He hits an area that looks like a clearing. Unbeknownst to this person, it is quicksand. He goes down. He is sinking. He is caught. He needs help. You hear him cry out. HELP! HELP ME! HELP! You run to his aid. What are you to do?
STEP ONE GENTLENESS
The letter to the Galatians helps us pull one another out of such a quagmire. Paul says, be gentle. We see this gentleness in others in other passages as well. For instance, across the Aegean Sea, in Corinth, Greece, Paul wrote to the church to punish an unrepentant sinner for his sexual sin. The punishment was an excommunication, a removal, kicking out of the community in love. It was tough love. Like a parent saying to a child, you aren’t going to do drugs under my roof. You can do whatever you want, but I am not going to watch you kill yourself in my home. That is the kind of tough love the Corinthian church needed to practice. From Paul’s second letter, it seems like the church obeyed. Now, the man is repentant, and it is time to bring him back gently. Paul writes,
7 so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. (2 Corinthians 2:7–8)
Reaffirm your love for him, comfort, and forgive. Restore him in gentleness. Do you hear the kindness drip from the letter? That being the goal of helping one another, restoring must be done gently. When trying to help our brother caught in quicksand, restore gently.
DEFINING RESTORING - MEND
What does it mean to restore? The word for restore translates elsewhere as mend, like mending nets. We must help mend in a spirit of grace, encouragement, and kindness.
BEARING WITH CARRYING BURDENS
Galatians 6 to verse 2 helps flesh out a vision for this gentleness.
2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ
What does it mean to bear one another’s burdens?
Maybe it means praying. You intercede for another. You go to God with them and without them, for them. You are praying fervently, hour after hour.
Maybe you help by listening, really listening. Be an ear to a burden bearer. That can be hard.
Maybe you feel like you have to say something. You feel like you know the perfect book for a person to read, a sermon that is going to help, or an article to solve their problem. I am sure you do, and it may.
When someone confesses to you, don’t jump to solve the problem. Just be silent with them. Just because you feel like you have to say something, doesn’t mean you have to say it. Job’s friends sat with him in silence for seven days and still got in trouble with their mouths. You feeling a need to respond could be more about you than them. Just be quiet. They may need someone to be their sounding board. They may know the right answer.
DO YOU HEAR YOURSELF?
Do you ever find yourself listening to someone and all of a sudden, you are planning what you are going to say next? How well are you listening? Probably not that well. Quiet your heart. Silence the voices inside your head and listen.
Ask yourself, before you speak, why must I say what I want to say? Do you really need to say what you want to say? Do I really understand what is going on with my friend? If you shoot your mouth off every time, people soon will shut up, they won’t share, and they won’t feel like you care, or are gentle.
SUMMARY - LISTEN
People are not projects. Seek to understand before you offer your Solomonic wisdom. You may have heard the saying; people don’t care what you know until they know that you care. That is true, for the most part. Earn the right to speak. If someone has the guts to tell you what they are trying to fight, listen. If you have something to say, you may eventually, but let us guard against spiritual pride that interrupts, interjects, and assumes.
SPEAK A WORD
Maybe you do speak a word of grace. Sexual sin can be alienating. I know of several people who have old baggage, but they are haunted by it every day. Maybe that is you. You are ashamed. It colors your relationships. If that is you, if Satan brings up your past relentlessly, thank you for being in the community. Hear this: you are not alone. Your past does not define you. Do you trust in Christ? Do you believe that Jesus came, lived, died, and rose? He did that for a purpose. He did that to forgive sin. He wants to forgive your sin at the cross. Do you believe it? Then receive it. Jesus’s work on the cross is for you. He thought of you. He knew it before it happened. He is greater and stronger than your sin. He loves you.
ROMANS 8 IS PROOF
Romans 8:1 is proof.
1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
There is, therefore, now, no condemnation. No one knows about your sin like you. If they know a part of it, they are not thinking about it. Arrest self-absorbed thoughts that would cease your worship of God and presence with us. The flesh, the world, and the Devil want to destroy you and inflate guilty thoughts into a black hole of depression and hopelessness. Embrace the good news! We are the body, a family, a community of Christ-followers, saved by grace, and not our moral beauty.
A WORD OF GRACE
Now, back to you all who want to help this friend stuck in quicksand. How do we carry his burden gently? Did you hear the gospel message I just gave? Embrace it. Learn that message. After you have prayed and listened well, maybe you share a message of grace and so bear one another’s burdens.
LAW OF CHRIST
Galatians 6:2 says in doing so, we fulfill the Law of Christ? What is the Law of Christ? How do we fulfill the Law of Christ? Paul tells us in Galatians 5:14.
14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
That was not one word. What word? Love. God wants us to love our neighbor struggling to fight sin. How? We must help in gentleness. That includes gentle intercession, gentle listening, and gentle words. Let us not be rough with each other. Some of us tend to be blunt and rude. That can be me. In the quicksand picture, let’s run to our friend, grab a stick, and help them gently. Be careful and kind, and compassionate in all we do.
WE MUST HELP IN WISDOM
The letter of Galatians continues. The second point I see here is that we must help in wisdom.
We must Help in GentlenessWe must Help in Wisdom
Look back at Galatians 6.
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.
NOW YOU ARE STUCK
Imagine that quicksand again. Say you go tromping through to help your friend. You run up to him. You get right there to pull him up. You look down. Your feet are sinking. Now both of you are stuck.
There can be a danger when we seek to pull someone out of sin. Sin tempts. There are some places you should not go.
ALCOHOLISM & GAMBLING
If you know there is a family history of alcohol abuse, for example, is it not wise to meet your brother who struggles with drunkenness over a beer or sister with a bottle of wine. Say you struggle with self-control, and your friend has a secret gambling habit. Don’t go to the casino to help her.
Be wise and be careful. Another rule of thumb, when it comes to sexual matters, don’t be sharing with the opposite sex your temptations unless it is your spouse or family member. Be wise. Be careful.
WHERE DO GET WISDOM? GOD
Where do we get wisdom? The Bible says if you need wisdom, ask. God loves to give it. James 1:5 states,
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
WHERE DO WE GET WISDOM? EACH OTHER
Where do we get wisdom? We can get it from each other. We must help each other. Don’t be foolish. If you lack wisdom, ask. We are in a community, and we can work together to fight for holiness. Go to your women’s ministry leaders, your pastors, your elders, your youth leaders, your parents, or life group leaders for help.
- WE MUST HELP IN HUMILITY
- We Must Help in Gentleness
- We Must Help in Wisdom
Paul goes on in Galatians chapter 6,
3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
FULL OF HIMSELF
Have you ever met a person who is full of himself? Or, have you ever looked down on someone?
SUCH WERE SOME OF YOU
A few weeks ago, we read a passage from 1 Corinthians 6.
Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. (1 Corinthians 6:9–11)
Such were some of you. Understanding our past grounds our ability to help one another in the present.
Maybe you hear the lists of sins and think that was not me. Don’t put me in that group! I have never swindled. I have never been sexually immoral or drunk. Awesome! But have you been stingy with money? Has savings ever become a god for you? Have you made work an idol and neglected the more important things? Being greedy is on this list with practicing homosexuality. In Galatians 5, Paul lists envy and jealousy with orgies. We must remember when trying to help others what the Bible says about us, “All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Friends, be humble. Do not be deceived. Don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought.
JESUS SAVES US
Jesus came to save sinners. If you can’t accept that, he can’t be a part of you. 1 John says if anyone says he has no sin, he makes God out to be a liar (1 John 1:8). Don’t do that. Don’t make God a liar. Don’t be judgmental or prideful or hypocritical, instead be humble.
HOW DO WE BE HUMBLE? CONSIDER OTHERS
How? Think of what it feels like to be treated condescendingly. How does that make you feel? No one wants to be talked to like a 2nd grader unless you are a 2nd grader, and even then, those little people want respect.
QUICKSAND NOT HELP
If we want to help the brother caught in a sin, be humble. Let’s go back to the quicksand analogy. Don’t run to the friend and start shooting our mouths off like we know it all or have never strayed. “Why did you get off the path in the first place? What is your problem? Didn’t you read the signs? Didn’t you bring a map? What kind of map did you use? Didn’t your parents train you better?” Such words are arrogant empty while your friend is sinking.
If someone shares with you their past, be gentle, wise, and please be humble. The opposite of humility is pride. Pride is an abomination to God. That means he hates it. Don’t go there.
HOW DO WE FIGHT FOR HUMILITY?
How do we fight judgmental thoughts when a person shares a sin we don’t like or don’t expect or seems far out and ugly. How do we remain humble? One thing you can do is a quick inventory in your head.
- How many times have you been jealous?
- How many times have you complained?
- How many times have you worried?
- How many times have you lied?
- How many times have you been so angry you have called someone a name?
- How many times have you lusted over someone on a screen or at a store, or by water?
Jesus said that anger is murder and that lust is adultery. We have been jealous, lying, stealing, murdering, adulterers in our hearts. Those are sins of commission. You committed sin. Could you count all of them? You know quantitatively more sin in your life than your confessor. That can keep you humble when you struggle with being judgmental.
SINS OF OMISSION
Now here is another set of questions that can keep you humble from a different angle.
- How many times have you not been patient, when you should have been?
- How many times have you not been kind when you should have been?
- How many times have you not been faithful when you should have been?
- How many times have you not been gentle when you should have been?
- How many times have you not been self-controlled when you should have been?
Can you number the times? Those are sins of omission. You omitted to do the right thing. Don’t sit on a high horse and look down at another person. If they struggle, the battle is a sign of the Spirit. Praise God with them instead of judging them. Be gentle, wise, and humble.
WE MUST HELP IN HOPE
6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Friends, we must help in Hope.
- We Must Help in Gentleness
- We Must Help in Wisdom
- We Must Help in Humility
- We Must Help in Hope
THIS IS A PROLONGED BATTLE
Paul encourages, In due season we will reap if we do not give up. Sin generally not conquered in a day. Nor is it often conquered in a week, month, or even year. Sadly, sometimes temptation lasts a lifetime. Sanctification or the pursuit of holiness is a marathon. My quicksand analogy breaks down here. We don’t get to the friend and pull them up, and we are done. There are many traps and problems throughout life’s journey. But friends, we have hope. There is a fruit of righteousness that is sweet and available for all who truly repent and believe. We can offer help through extending this hope of the scriptures in our faith community. Satan would love to define us as our past. He wants to stop us. Don’t let that enemy get the upper hand. God may call you to pull people out of a struggle today, that they can help others tomorrow. 2 Peter 3:13 says, “But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” God is making us righteous.
The Bible paints a picture of a future with desires fully conformed to God’s. They will never be fully satisfied in this life, never. However, they echo a reality that exponentially exceeds what we experience now. Heaven will be a mind-boggling joy, peace, and comfort that will make the greatest pleasures a footnote.
LET US FIGHT TOGETHER
Until that time, help each other fight for purity. If you struggle, take off the mask with someone, and unveil what is going on inside. When that happens friends, be gentle, wise, humble, and hopeful. Who can you share your struggle with? Whom can you go to to help fight your sins? Who is God putting in your life to help? Let us go on this adventure of life together. Don’t do it alone. Let us take a moment to talk to God about our sin or pray for those who may be struggling with sin today, quietly in our hearts.
God, thank you for all that you have done for us in sending your Son to die in our place. We love you. We want to follow you. There are some here who are stuck. They may go back home and look at things they should not look at, read things they should not read, and do things they should not do. They need help. Stop them. They can’t do it alone. Empower grace to say no, to get help. For those of us who are called to restore our brothers and sisters, help us be gentle, wise, humble, and hopeful. You are good, and your steadfast love endures forever. We need you. Oh, We need you. Amen.
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