Wednesday, September 29, 2010

You Who Are Spiritual

"I have often thought that if I ever fall into a paraptōma [trespass], I will pray that I don't fall into the hands of those censorious, critical judges in the church. Let me fall into the hands of barkeepers, streetwalkers, or dope peddlers, because such church people would tear me apart with their long, wagging, gossipy tongues, cutting me to shreds".
John MacArthur New Testament Commentary on Galatians

Who is spiritual? What determines if someone is spiritual? Is it found in your dance? Tongue? Praise? Giving? Everyone is not spiritual!!! The paraphrased comments of James Boice are still blessing me as I deal with this area, " It is not in emotional highs but rather it is in concrete situations that the reality of the Holy Spirit is demonstrated in our lives." Your shout may not reveal your substance but conflict and crisis will unveil what may have been covered and cultivating in your life.

Transformation: The word "brethren" (adelphos) means to belong to the same people. It speaks of those who have the same parents or parent. It denotes fellow believers, united to one another by the bond of love. It suggests being united by a common cause or calling. Those to whom Paul wrote were united by their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. I once was lost in sin but Jesus took me in... I am part of the Lord's family because he changed me.

"Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass..."

The word "man" (anthropos) speaks of a human being, with the added notion of weakness, by which man is led into a mistake or prompted to sin. It has reference to the body and the soul. Paul was here lifting up the power of sin over human nature.

The word "caught" (prolambano) means to take before, to hinder or to take one by deterring him, that is, before he can escape or hide his crime. This word means to surprise. Sometimes sins overtake us rather than us overtaking sins. Caught implies that the sin was not premeditated. The word was once used to describe a Roman legion which had been overrun by a Jewish military force.

Representation: When this event happens, God calls on the people who are spiritual. All who are members of the church are not prepared to deal with the person caught or overtaken in sin. Those whom Paul urged to deal with the sinning saint were the spiritual.

The word "spiritual" (pneumatikos) always implies power. It speaks of those who are spiritually mature. It also speaks of people and things that have their origin with God and that are in harmony with his character and conduct.

This word speaks of all that is produced and maintained by the operation of the Holy Spirit. The spiritual person lives under the control of the Holy Spirit and manifests the fruit of the Spirit in his life. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This spiritual state is reached by feeding on the word of God and through prayer. It is maintained by obedience to God and devotion to him and his work.

The only way that we can be prepared to deal with a sinning saint is through the sins of others becoming our concern. Their sins should not be our concern for the purpose of picking the skin off the wound. We should be concerned about the sins of others so that we can help bring healing.

You who are spiritual, in this context, refers to those manifesting the fruit of the Spirit. These believers with Christlike character traits produced by the Holy Spirit encourage faltering Christians. The legalist is judgmental, harsh, and condemning toward those who struggle with sin (Acts 15:10). They know the law, and they know the consequences of falling short of obedience to the law. But they do not know mercy.

We will deal with Demonstration when we deal with RESTORE


Monday, September 27, 2010

Grace In Action

"It is easy to talk about the fruit of the Spirit while doing very little about it, so Christians need to learn that it is in concrete situations, rather than emotional highs, that the reality of the Holy Spirit in their lives is demonstrated".

James Boice

In the 1988 presidential campaign, commentators and voters made much about the character of the candidates, especially those who were rumored to be womanizers. One of the leading candidates had ridiculed another man who had fallen under public attack for his conduct toward women. This leading candidate dared the press to follow him and try to find any misconduct on his part. The press took him up on the dare. Some time later news media published photos of this man himself on a yacht in the Caribbean with an attractive lady who was not his wife. The name of the yacht, prophetically, was Monkey Business. The scandal grew so large that this candidate was forced to withdraw from the campaign which he might have won.

A similar incident happened during the eighties with moral scandals that rocked the Christian television industry. A leading television evangelist was caught in a moral lapse which made headline news all over the United States for a long time. I recall hearing an interview with another television minister who leveled a scathing rebuke of the evangelist who had sinned. I was taken aback at the intensity of this attack; However, it wasn't long before the story of this second evangelist's moral lapse was on newspapers and weekly news magazines across the nation.

Both the television evangelist and the leading presidential candidate were arrogant in their condemnation of others, and their own indiscretions were revealed a short time later. Paul warned of that attitude in this final chapter of Galatians. He encouraged us to treat gently other Christians who have fallen into sin, all the time watching out for ourselves, lest we also be tempted.

Paul was writing to the Galatians because he was concerned about how the church should treat a person who has committed an act of sin. To be clear, God is the only one authorized to tell the church how we should handle someone who has sinned, not politicians, not newspapers, not television talking heads and certainly not people who are not part of the body of Christ in general or that particular church in specific.

Prayerfully, we will talk more about Galatians 6 this week as I am starting to learn how to juggle school and church a little better. Sunday we shared this text and titled it Grace in Action and the brief points were:

I. Be Godly----Pick People Up vs 1
II Be Gentle--Hold People Up vs 2-5
III. Be Giving---Build People Up Vs 6