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When a Fellow Christian Stumbles

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
November 20, 2023 12:00 am

When a Fellow Christian Stumbles

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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November 20, 2023 12:00 am

Dr. Stanley shares six steps a Christian can take to help lead a fellow believer back into good standing with the Lord.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Monday, November 20th. All of us want grace and patience when we make mistakes, but we need to give the same grace to others as well. Today's podcast helps us know what to do when a fellow Christian stumbles. I want us to read the first five verses of Galatians chapter six. Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.

Bear one another's burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone and not in regard to another, for each one shall bear his own load. Sometimes in the midst of emotional stress and oftentimes unexpected events, we who believe us don't always respond the way we ought to. And sometime that's because of things that we have on the inside of us. Sometimes it's because of ignorance. Sometimes we just seemingly forget for a moment that God has given us very clear instruction as to how we're to respond in seasons of difficulty. And so first of all, I want to say that every believer, every single believer is subject to stumbling.

Now, why is that? Well, first of all, it's because the Bible says that all of us have the old sin principle, that is the principle of sin is still within us. Some people call it an old sin nature. Paul said the principle of sin. He describes it in Romans chapter seven when he said, what I don't want to do, I find myself doing.

What I really and truly want to do, somehow I feel so helpless to do it. Whatever you want to name it, there is something on the inside of us that still causes us to struggle. A second reason for that is that we have an enemy who is called the prince of this age, the prince of the powers of this age, who is Satan, who is always there to harass us, to tempt us, to put pressure upon us, to cause us to fail.

And of course, we could add a third, which is this world system with all of its allurements. But even at that, God says we're not perfect. Paul said till the end of his life, he said, I am chief among sinners.

And the impression that sin had made upon his life and upon his own thinking had humbled Paul and brought him to the realization that he was absolutely dependent upon the Lord Jesus Christ every moment of his life. So all of us are subject to failure any moment of our life. And we might ask ourselves the question, why is it that you and I, knowing what we know, we know enough about the Bible, we know the principles, why do we fail in spite of what we know? Why do we fail in spite of what we really want to do?

I think there's several reasons. And the first one is we become careless in our Christian life. We become insensitive to sin oftentimes, and we get careless with the things of God, we get careless with the truths that we know, and we become careless around sin.

My friend, we can never afford to be careless. One of the reasons we fall is carelessness. A second is ignorance. We're just ignorant oftentimes of the nature of sin, and of how Satan operates. And we're oftentimes ignorant of ourselves.

That is, how do we respond in given situations and circumstances and in particular times in our life? A third reason is that we're deceived. Somebody says, well, oh, you know, don't worry about it.

It's not going to hurt you. The deception of Satan, oftentimes a person who is deceived will fall in areas that they would think that they would never fail. A fourth reason is pride.

And that is, well, you know, that will never happen to me, and I think I can handle that situation. And then a fifth reason that I want to mention here that oftentimes I think is a primary reason for many people. When a person becomes weary and weak and worn, what happens is that naturally in our emotions, if we're not careful, we drop our guard. And weariness and weakness and being worn and tired after great periods of labor or emotional stress is a time that Satan will oftentimes hit us. Another reason is satanic attacks. And my friend, if you don't know what a satanic attack is, more than likely, he has so succeeded in your life with that, that he's covered it up so well, you know, what is a satanic attack is a moment or a period of time of intense, unbelievable, intense harassment from Satan, whereby a person undergoes absolutely physical and emotional wrestling against the powers of evil.

It is a satanic attack. They don't only come when a person is close to sin. You can be praying. You can be working.

You can be doing most anything, and Satan can't attack you at any moment. A seventh reason is just pressure. Oftentimes people under continuous pressure. Now what happens is we look for some outlet, some emotional outlet, and a person in moments of carelessness under great pressure will oftentimes seek out some means of getting their needs met the way they think they need to met or some particular need met that they feel is essential at that moment. And what happens?

Down they go. But the truth is that all of us are vulnerable. And one of the wisest conclusions that you and I can come to according to this passage is that we are vulnerable. Every single one of us is vulnerable because it is possible for any Christian brother or sister to fall at any moment. Now the second thing I want to discuss here, and that's this, that is that you and I have a definite responsibility according to the Scripture to restore a Christian friend, a fellow Christian who has fallen into sin no matter what. Now listen to what he says in this passage. Brethren, even if a person is caught in a trespass, in a failure, in a blunder, in a sin, you who are spiritual restore that one in a spirit of gentleness. So the Scripture says that we have a command.

It isn't a suggestion. He says you who are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of gentleness. But what are the steps? That is, if you and I are going to assume responsibility for restoring a fallen brother or sister, what are the steps?

Well, there are six of them and I want you to write them down. Write down how do you restore a fallen brother or sister in the Lord no matter what that reason may be. You see, he doesn't say unless it's this or unless it's that.

Somebody says, well, you know, I just can't get mixed up in that. He says we're to restore such a one, that is, you who are spiritual restore a fellow Christian brother or sister. What are the steps? Number one, you want to lead that person to recognize their failure, to recognize the nature of it, and to recognize that it's sin, and to recognize the consequences of it.

That's step number one. Number two, you want to lead that person to acknowledge responsibility for their sin, to acknowledge the responsibility for their sin. Don't blame it on somebody else. It's very easy to blame our sin on somebody else and that doesn't mean that other people may not be involved. It does not mean that other people may not have influenced us. It may not mean that other people may not have put pressure on us, harassed us, tempted us, tried us.

It doesn't mean that, but no matter what, the final decision is on our part. And so secondly, lead that person to assume responsibility for their sin. Number three, to lead that person to repent of that sin, to confess it and to repent of it. And that is, that altar, I believe, have some degree of remorse and regret.

And I believe whenever we sin against God, though the word repentance means the change of mind, if I change my mind about sin, I am certainly going to be grieved in my heart about disobedience to God or disobedience towards someone else. So to lead that person to repent, which is a change of mind, and I believe genuine true repentance is going to bring about not only a change of mind, but a change of conduct, a change of attitude, which will result in a change of behavior. A fourth step is the step of restitution. That is, in some situations, it may be that restitution needs to be made. If a person steals something, for example, they need to pay it back.

If they have in some way criticized another person, judged their motives, they need to go to that person and say, hey, I didn't see it your way, and I may not still agree, but I want to ask you to forgive me, for I have criticized you in public, I've criticized you among other people, and I need to ask you to forgive me. We need to make restitution, whatever it is. There are some things, listen, there are some things for which you cannot make restitution. There are some activities and some relationships when certain sins have been committed for which there is no restitution except the asking of forgiveness.

And then, and I want you to jot this one down carefully. Receive, listen, receive the message God is sending through your failure. Lead that person to receive the message God is sending them through their failure. And I think oftentimes we fail, that God, in allowing the failure, has a message that He wants to send to us about ourselves.

He wants to send us a message and allowing us to fail. I didn't say God caused the failure. I didn't say God tempted us to fail.

I didn't say that God had anything to do with the failure. But in our failures, and in the failures of brothers and sisters in Christ, we are to lead them, that is if they're willing, but if at all possible, we're to lead that person to find out what is the message. What is the message God is sending me as a result of my failure? And then next, and this may be a little bit more difficult, we're to lead that person to respond to God's chastisement with gratitude.

We're to lead that person to respond to God's chastisement with gratitude. And I think in the 119th Psalm is a good basis for this when David says in verse 67, before I was afflicted, I went astray. Verse 71, listen, it is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn thy statutes.

The law of thy mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces. That is, he was able to express gratitude to God because of his chastisement. And then he says in verse 75, and that in faithfulness, thou has afflicted me.

So if a person is going to be fully restored, I believe that all six of these things are necessary. Now, what is the spirit in which we're to respond and which we are to restore a brother? What is the spirit in which we're to do this?

Listen, if you will, and what he says in these verses beginning now in verse one, brethren, even if a person, man or woman, is caught in any blunder, any fault, any failure, any sin, you who are spiritual restore, let God use you to put back in place, to bring back, to reconcile that person, restore such in one in this. First of all, he says, we are to do it in the spirit of gentleness. That is because, listen, more than likely the person is already hurting and they're as fragile as very, very, very thin glass. And the spirit of gentleness means that we are sensitive to that person's need, sensitive to how they're hurting, sensitive to the agony they're suffering, sensitive to the hurt that they're feeling so deep that oftentimes they cannot express it.

Oftentimes they cannot even cry. But gently he says, we are to restore. Gently he says, we are to restore that person. Each one looking to himself, lest you too be tempted, not only in gentleness, but in the spirit of humility, recognizing that what happened to the other person could also happen to us.

Gently we deal with that person's very fragile emotions at that moment. Then if you'll notice, he says, looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted, bear one another's burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ, not only in the spirit of gentleness and humility, but in the spirit of love. Listen to what he says, bear one another's burdens. And here the word burden is a heavy burden. That is, if I'm going to bear someone else's burdens, that means I'm willing to get up under the load with them. I am willing to help carry them through.

I am willing to vicariously suffer what they're suffering, or at least to some degree feel what they're feeling. No condemnation, but rather love. Now, in the eighth chapter of John, beginning in verse one, But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives, and early in the morning he came again to the temple, and all the people were coming to him. And he sat down and began to teach them. Verse two, And the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery. And having set her in his midst, they said to him, Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the law of Moses, the law of Moses commanded us to stone such women.

And then what do you say? And they were saying this, testing him in order that they might have grounds for accusing him. They didn't want to know what he was going to do, really. In other words, there was nothing sincere about this, all hypocritical.

They were living out what they were. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger he wrote on the ground. Now what did he write on the ground?

Nobody really knows. Somebody says he wrote the Ten Commandments, or he wrote the Seventh Commandment, or whatever it might be. But whatever he wrote was so convicting.

Listen. But when they persisted in asking him, he straightened up and said to them, He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to cast, to throw a stone at her. He didn't defend her. He said to them, He who is among you, who also has not committed adultery, let him be the first one to throw the first stone. Not just a sin, but I believe he meant just that.

And there are many people who would agree with that interpretation. He who is without the same sin among you, let him cast the stone. For you see, Jesus said adultery is not only in the bodily act, but it's in the heart.

It's in the eyes. He that is without the same sin, let him be the first to stone her to death. Now listen. In this passage back to Galatians chapter six, he said, the spirit of gentleness, the spirit of humility, bear one another's burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ. And what is the law of Christ?

The law of Christ is that he said we are to love one another and by this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that you have loved one thought another. And listen, he says, for if anyone thinks he's something when he's nothing, he deceives himself. That is what he's saying is any person who thinks that they are morally or spiritually superior to not someone else, he says that person really has been deceived.

Listen, if anyone thinks he's something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. That is when we think we are more than we are and the truth is we are saints saved by the grace of God. We still have the old indwelling principle of sin within us.

We're all still vulnerable. To think that I'm something that I'm not is to think that I am above anything. And he says in verse four, but rather let each one examine his own work, that is examine our own life. And then he'll have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, not in regard to another. That is, we're not to compare ourselves with other people.

Well, you know, some things I'd never do. No, he says we are to look at ourselves, examine ourselves, recognize our own vulnerability, but we're not to compare ourselves with other people and then make a judgment. He says we're to look at ourselves and make a judgment, but not in regard to each one, to another person. For each one shall bear his own load.

That is, I am responsible. And the two words for burden here are two different words. In verse two, bear one another's burden is the word baros, a heavy burden that we're to bear.

In the fifth verse, the word is fortion in the Greek, which means really responsibility. I have responsibility to restore my brother to the Lord Jesus Christ. That is, you have a responsibility to restore your brother or sister to the Lord. And one way we do that is we get under their burden and we weep with them and we hurt with them and we reach out to them and we're compassionate toward them. And our spirit is gentleness and humility and love. And our spirit is one of helpfulness and caring. We have responsibility to restore each other before the Lord. Thank you for listening to When a Fellow Christian Stumbles. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by intouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-20 05:55:33 / 2023-11-20 06:02:46 / 7

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