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"Lifestyles of the Rich in Faith"

"Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted."

Galatians 6:1

The message is pretty straight forward in the book of Galatians. Legalism is witnessed by self preservation where as love is witnessed by self sacrifice. The churches Paul is writing to personally in the book of Galatians had started off good in the Christian journey like many of us, as they started off by faith but now they are seeking to be justified by the works of the law which Paul reminds them will unfortunately nullify salvation by grace as grace can only be received by faith apart from works. You can't work for God's gift of salvation.

What the apostle Paul was seeking to communicate regarding the importance of God's grace is that "Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace. Your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace." Everyone needs grace! In fact, every chapter in the book of Galatians is about grace, God's amazing grace!

In chapter six verse one the apostle Paul gives the mature believer an assignment when he writes, "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted." The word "trespass" means a person "steps in it" as it were, they are caught in their sin like a trap. The word "Trespass" is a passive verb in the Greek language. This isn't the same attitude regarding "sin as a practice" like we read of regarding the works of the flesh back in Galatians 5:21, "that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." Paul writes in Galatians 5:21 that those people who make sin a regular practice in their life we aren't even to have anything to do with them for what does light have with darkness. 

This person here in chapter six is a brother or sister who has become "over taken" or trapped by their sin. They didn't set out to get stuck in their sin but unfortunately they haveā€¦and they need our help! Hebrews 12:1 puts it like this, "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." 

Though the sin that so easily entangles us is not premeditated, it is still our fault. No one can say when he is tempted that God made them do it. What God does do is in every temptation is to make a way of escape so we are without excuse. God is always there to help us walk in victory. 1 Corinthians 10:13 makes it perfectly clear, "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."

Yes, loved one, you and I who would consider ourselves to be "spiritual" or "mature" in Christ and bearing the fruit of His Spirit in our lives have a responsibility to get involved as the word, "Restore" in the Greek language is an imperative, meaning it is a command. We who are spiritual are commanded to leave the ninety nine as it were and go and help them, to get involved in getting them out of their sin even if that means getting our own feet dirty remembering, "Jesus said to him, "He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you" (John 13:10).

Keep in mind the word "to restore" means to "mend" as in repairing a fishing net. Its laborious and tedious work but its necessary. To restore can also mean to "set straight" as in setting a broken bone. You don't want just anyone to set a broken bone. You want someone who is gentle yet firm to do so. You want someone who is spiritually mature to minimize the pain if possible.

So, here is the million dollar question today we should ask ourselves. How do we know if we are spiritual or mature in the Fatih? Is there fruit evidenced in your life like we read of in Galatians chapter five? Is your life marked by the fact that you are walking with Jesus and He is producing in you the fruit of His Spirit, "Galatians 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." 

Go back to Galatians chapter six verse one as it goes on to say, "in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted." When a mature person is dealing with the sin of another person they will do so in a spirit of gentleness which translated means, "Meekness under control". It means when we need to confront others who are stuck in sin to do so humbly knowing we could just as easily get stuck ourselves if not for the grace of God. 

Our humility stems from our awareness that our conversation is going to be painful as we seek to mend and set things straight. The apostle Paul writes in a nut shell, "Be humble lest you stumble." Never underestimate your own ability to blow it and to get stuck in sin! Because we can so easily offended when someone confronts us in our sin we often say of that person, "they are judging me". In reality we are not judging someone with whom we are willing to go to and talk to in private and get involved in their sin, in their mess with the desire to get involved and help them out of it. Its actually the very opposite.

Here is what a judgmental person does, this is what the Pharisees and the Judaizers Paul was confronting did. "You form an opinion about someone and do nothing about it." This person "talks the talk" but fails to "walk the walk". Its easy to talk about people, but to actually get involved in their lives takes love and time. The legalistic talks about people, they gossip about the person but they do so with no intention of getting involved and helping them get "unstuck". They will talk negative about the person all the while keeping their distance.  

Here is something we all can do the next time a judgmental gossip seeks to draw you into their sin by gossiping about others. Ask these two questions

1. Are you helping them? Ask the person gossiping. I hear what you are saying but let me ask you a question. What are you doing to help them get out of their sin? Is what you are saying right now easing their load or are you adding to their burden? We all know the loving thing to do is get involved. Thats what love does. It gets involved where the judgmental person, the legalist and the Pharisee just talk and point out whats wrong.

Heres another question you can ask the person gossiping to you about someone else.

2. What is your telling me doing to help them? Is what you are saying to me right now doing anything at all to help them? If not, all you are doing is gossiping and you should stop, you should ask God to forgive you. (What you are doing is modeling for them the right way to help a person get out of sin. Recognize they have stepped in it). 

Are you aware that one of the reasons people gossip is because they are lazy? Its true. The reason we gossip based on Galatians 6 is we don't want to get involved as getting involved means doing something. People who gossip don't really care, so as we gossip we are trying to convince ourselves we don't need to get involved or shouldn't get involved when other people are caught in sin though the Scriptures command us to get involved and help the person out. We all know the loving thing to do is to leave the ninety nine as it were and go after the one.

Galatians 6:1 teaches us the best way to avoid falling into sin is to stay focused on helping others get out of theirs. When our eyes are on ourselves we can get easily trapped in sin as we are not paying attention to whats going on around us. But when our eyes are fixed on Jesus and we are seeking to help other people who are in need of help getting unstuck from their sin we are too busy to get drawn away. 

Yes, loved one, the best way to enjoy the lifestyle of the rich in faith is to look for opportunity to help someone else today, to prefer others better than ourselves and to look for someone who is stuck in sin and help them find a way to get out. After all, isn't that what Jesus came to do for me and you? 

"For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost."

Matthew 18:11


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