1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.—Gal. 6:1-3 (NIV) When we see some Christian brother or sister that is caught in a sin, we should pray for that person. While we are praying for that person, we should also ask the Holy Spirit to give us the words we need to say to them. We need to ask God to give them a receptive spirit to the words and speak those words in love and offer to help them, if we can. Be sure we are not belittling or harsh in our comments. At the same time, we must be sincere and not back down if we personally know that we are speaking the truth and it is not just hearsay. Correcting our brothers and sisters just might be the hardest thing we are ever asked to do. Why? Because we are not perfect and never will be. We will have to risk rejection and possibly a bad reaction from them. If they respond badly, you may be tempted to react to their actions. Don’t!
Do not gossip (or as we Christians love to say, “share”) about the incident or the person. The next thing is to take other witnesses with you. 15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.–Matt. 18:15-17 (NIV)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Paul did not back down from his stand on circumcision. When Peter, James and John, the pillars of the church in Jerusalem, recognized that Paul was right they gave him the right hand of fellowship. (To those who don’t speak Churchese, that means that Paul now had their support and was welcomed into the congregation of Christians,) They all agreed that the new converts, both Jewish and Gentile should not eat food that had been sacrificed to idols and that they should support the poor. It is still a good idea to help the poor and refrain from acts that might cause our brothers to be offended.. Paul and Barnabas leave to go back to Antioch to give the news to the new converts. We, like the first century church, must be careful not to add requirements to God’s plan of salvation. We do not want to become like the legalistic leaders who weighed men down with their traditions. When the Spirit sets us free, we are indeed free from the bondage of sin that was of no benefit to us. The law could not free us, but God could and did by sending His Son, Jesus, as an offering for our sin.
1 Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. — Gal. 6:1 NLT
When we see others doing things that appear to be sinful in our eyes, what is our response? Are we quick to think the wrong thoughts or do we remember that we have made mistakes as well? Do we criticize or do we correct? Criticism is most often a knee-jerk reaction and usually destroys. If it destroys, then it mus have come from the destroyer (satan) himself. Our reaction should be to pray and then humbly help that person back to the narrow path. To do that requires us to be a channel of God’s love to those around us. This helps us to understand that when we feel condemnation, it comes from satan, but when we feel conviction, it comes from God’s Holy Spirit. God doesn’t condemn Christians for their failures, but He doesn’t wink at sin, either.
When we are having problems in our lives, we often make statements to God that we will do such and such if He will answer our prayers with a “yes”. Then, when He has fulfilled His commitment and the seas are calm, we often forget to perform our part of the contract. Perhaps, we have said that if God would bless us financially, we would increase our tithe and we haven’t done that yet. Or, perhaps we have felt that we were in physical danger and God delivered us in answer to our prayer but we have yet to fulfill the contract.. This puts our very lives and souls in danger. When we make a vow to do this or that for God, we must be careful to fulfill this vow as quickly as possible. Take the case of Ananias and Sapphira in the book of Acts. They sold a piece of property for an amount of money, how much we don’t know. Ananias and his wife had agreed to keep part of the money but to tell the apostles they were giving the full amount. Ananias brought some money to the apostles and told them that it was the full amount of the purchase price. This was not true and when Peter pointed out that Ananias had not only lied to them but to the Holy Spirit, Ananias was struck dead immediately. The same thing happened when Sapphira came in and told the same story.
We must be very careful when we make vows and promises to God. He is not a man that He should lie and we cannot keep secrets from Him. If we have made a commtiment to Him, whether the commitment is financial, more time spent with Him or a change in our lifestyles, we must careful to make sure that our actions are consistent with our promises.
15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.–Eph. 5:15-20 (NLT)
To make the most of our opportunities from a Biblical viewpoint means more than working hard or trying to make a profit on everything we do. It means, at least in part, to take the time to pray for and show love for those God puts in our paths. It means being a good steward over all the resources God has allowed us to use. Understanding what the Lord wants us to do means focusing our every thought and action bringing the lost to Christ. We should avoid excesses of every kind except the fruits of the Spirit against which there is no law. Our rewards for good works here on earth are laid up for us in heaven and will last for an eternity making them much more valuable than gold or sliver. We should always have joy in our hearts and a thankful attitude in our minds and words of praise on our lips.
14 Continue teaching these things, warning people in God’s presence not to argue about words. It does not help anyone, and it ruins those who listen. 15 Make every effort to give yourself to God as the kind of person he will approve. Be a worker who is not ashamed and who uses the true teaching in the right way. 16 Stay away from foolish, useless talk, because that will lead people further away from God. 17 Their evil teaching will spread like a sickness inside the body.– 2 Timothy 2:14-17a (NCV)
In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he is encouraging Timothy to continue his witnessing. He urges Timothy to avoid foolish arguments. We have all gotten into those discussions where no one is going to win and we are all worse off for our effort. As Benjamin Franklin put it: “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” We need to study and be ready to witness to those God puts in our paths. As Paul tells Timothy later in 2 Timothy 4:2 (NCV) 2 Preach the Good News. Be ready at all times, and tell people what they need to do. Tell them when they are wrong. Encourage them with great patience and careful teaching,
We are not to be ashamed of the Gospel or change it to make it more acceptable. But every word we say must be spoken in love which will draw others to Christ and not push them away. Wrong or evil teaching will spread through the Church (body of Christ) just like a sickness spreads through the body.