What Comes After Fruitfulness - pt. 2

Dr. Steve Viars July 22, 2000 Galatians 6:1-5

- This morning I’d like to begin our time by asking you a question.
- Should it be important in a church that we have a commitment to holiness?
- that we take the issue of becoming more pleasing to God seriously....
- that we really believe in the members of our congregation putting off sinful habits and replacing them with godly ones....
- that being a devoted follower of Jesus Christ really is a seven day a week kind of pursuit that impacts each area of our daily lives....
- it’s the opposite of just being a group of people who play church....
- or who coast along in our relationship with Christ....
- or who take a light view of sin and unrighteousness....

- so I’m asking you, should it be important in a church that we have a commitment to holiness?

- now, let me make a couple of balancing statements before I ask you to give me your final answer.
1) We’re certainly not talking about expecting one another to be sinless.
1 John 1:8, 10 - If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us...If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
James 3:2 - For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.

- that’s why I used the phrase “a commitment to holiness” instead of an expectation of absolute holiness today.

2) I  should also say that I’m not talking right now about our relationship to those who don’t know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
- we’ll talk a little bit about that later one....
- but I’m asking you this question in the context of the church family.

- so regarding the way we function as a church body, or a church family, should it be important in a church that we have a commitment to holiness?
- I hope your answer to that question would be “yes”.

- now I realize you might want to qualify your answer some [here’s what I mean by that, here’s what I don’t mean], but if your only choices were “yes” or “no”, I hope you’d answer the question I’m posing today with a “yes”.

- now let me ask you this....why should a church family be committed to holiness?
[could make this an input question]

1.  Personal and corporate holiness affects the genuineness of our worship.
Psalm 24:3-4, 6 - Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart...This is the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Thy face...
2.  Personal and corporate holiness affects the degree to which we should expect God’s blessing.
Psalm 24:3-5 - Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart...He shall receive a blessing from the LORD And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
- if our church believes that accomplishing our mission is dependent entirely on God choosing to bless our feeble efforts to serve Him, [and we do - cf. Zech. 4:6...not by might...]....then taking the matter of holiness seriously ought to be a primary priority for us.
3.  Personal and corporate holiness determines whether we will truly glorify God.
- Our aim is to give those around us the right opinion of God.
- if our congregation takes sin seriously, as opposed to being lackadaisical about sin, to that degree we’ve given others the right opinion of God...because He certainly takes it seriously.
4.  Personal and corporate holiness impacts the effectiveness of our evangelistic endeavors.
- I hope every person here has a real passion in your heart to see others come to know Jesus Christ as savior and Lord.
- the Bible is clear that one of the most important tools in the evangelism bag is a changed and changing life.
- if you are learning how to handle sinful habits in your life, if you’re finding and applying biblical solutions to the problems of daily living, the people around you will notice.

- we could talk about this in more detail, but I hope every person here would agree, a local church has to have a commitment to holiness....we have to take this matter seriously.

- now I want to ask you a very hard question.
- what should we do when someone in the family is not pleasing God?
- when someone is caught or trapped in a sinful habit and can’t seem to get out?
- what’s the most spiritual thing to do in that situation?
- what’s the most godly thing to do in that situation?
- what’s the most biblical thing to do in that situation?
- what’s the most effective thing to do in that situation?

- would the answer be, just ignore it?
- let sleeping dogs lie.
- don’t be judgmental.
- our church is strong enough that sinfulness would impact us.
- I’m not my brother’s keeper.
- they wouldn’t respond properly so why even try.
- is the answer --- just ignore it.

- on the other side, is the answer...cut the person off at the knees.
- treat them in a harsh, proud fashion.
- act like they sin but you don’t.
- expect complete change overnight.

- you know, there’s a story in the Bible that illustrates these two extremes.
[tell the story of the woman taken in adultery --- the two extremes.]

- so far I’ve really posed two questions to you:
1) Should local churches take the matter of holiness seriously?
2) What should a person in a local church do if they become aware of an apparent lack of holiness in the body?

- difficult, but important questions.
- with that in mind, I’d like to invite you to open your Bible to Galatians chapter 6 verse 1.
[page 149 in the pew Bibles]
- if you’re wondering, why is PV raising these questions this morning, let me try to answer that.

- it’s certainly not because there’s a problem in the church, and we’d rather deal with things publicly than privately in a face to face conversation.
- I can promise you that when problems come up in the church, if they need to be addressed, they will always be handled privately first.
- we don’t believe in ever using the pulpit as a coward’s paradise.
- the reason we’re talking about this this morning is because its the very next issue in the text we’ve been studying.
- for the last 16 weeks or so we’ve been studying the end of Galatians chapter 5 which gives us this marvelous list of the fruit of the spirit.
- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
- the last couple of weeks we’ve been asking the question, well, what comes after fruitfulness?
- Paul doesn’t stop the discussion as soon as he concludes the list.
- so our plan is to keep going in the text, what is supposed to come after we work on developing the fruit of the Spirit?
- the answer from our verses today is that there should be A Desire and a Willingness to Restore
- Read Gal. 6:1-5

- in the time we have remaining, I’d like us to try to answer three questions from this text:
I.  What is the Problem? [this passage is identifying]
II.  What Does God Want to See Happen? [if this problem occurs]
III.  How Does God Want This to be Done? [or what methodology is involved?]

- so first of all....

I.  What is the Problem?

- verse 1 is clear about that, isn’t it?
- we’re talking about a person who is “caught in a trespass.”

- both of those words are important.
- the word trespass is the Greek word paraptoma.
- it literally means, “to stumble, or fall down”
- again, we’re not talking about whether you or I ever sin....we do.
- but this verse is talking about a person who has fallen down, and either will not get up, or cannot get up.
- yes, we all sin....but people who are pleasing God are quick to admit that sin, confess that sin, ask forgiveness from the appropriate people, find biblical answers, get help from others if necessary, and over time get to a better place....
- that’s what we mean about having a commitment to holiness.
- but some individuals have stumbled, or fallen down....and either refuse to get up, or cannot get up.
- [so individuals in the first category, over time, get better....individuals in the second category, over time, do not.]

- so that’s what trespass means.
- the word “caught” is the greek word prolambano.
- it can be caught in the sense that they were seen doing something...i.e. they “got caught”
- but the more likely meaning here is that they were caught by the sinful habit.
- like a snare....they have fallen into this sinful habit and ensnared by it.

- so Galatians 6 could describe any number of conditions in the church.
- a person is caught in sinful anger....
- a person is caught in lazy behavior...
- a person is caught in gossip...
- a person is caught in sexual sin...
- a person is caught in abusive treatment of others....
- a person is caught in doctrinal error....
- the list is potentially endless.

- but if you agree with everything we said earlier about the importance of holiness and purity in a local church....then we have to have a plan in place for what to do when a Galatians 6:1 situation presents itself.

- now let’s switch questions....

II.  What Does God Want to See Happen? [when such an occasion arises?]

- the verse answers that as well, doesn’t it?
A.  God wants to see such a person restored.
- the Bible contains many beautiful and picturesque words...this is one of them.
- the word restore was also used in Bible times to describe a doctor setting a bone that had been broken, or a fisherman repairing a hole in a net.

- see, if you or I are caught up in a trespass, we’re like a broken bone or a damaged net.
- we’re not able to fulfill the purpose God has for us....until something is done to help us change.

- and what’s beautiful about this picture is, God doesn’t just throw us away.
- its not, get a different arm....or get a different net....

- no, God is in the salvaging business...He’s in the restoring business.
- he knows that churches need all of their arms functioning well.
- we need all the nets mended and in the water catching fish.
- thank the Lord that, while on the one hand He won’t ignore our sin, that on the other He doesn’t discard us quickly.
- Hebrews 12:12-13 - Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

- now, another important piece of this puzzle is that:
B.  God expects His people to be involved in this process.
- the text is also very clear about that.
- who is supposed to do this job?
“ye who are spiritual”
- now please don't say, “phew, that leaves me out”.

- this is not some sort of super-saint spirituality.
- we have to interpret Gal. 6:1 in its context --- Paul has just concluded one of the most extended discussion about spiritual living in the entire Bible ---- a significant amount of information about walking in the spirit, and the fruit of the spirit....
- so the phrase “ye who are spiritual” means any Christian in the church.
- we gave several verses last week that teach that we receive the Holy Spirit of God the moment we come to know Christ.
- and people who have the spirit of God are qualified, and are expected by God, to be involved in this restoration process.

- and that takes us back to our key question....What happens after fruitfulness....
- according to these verses, God wants us to have a willingness and a desire to restore.

- now, a couple of questions that naturally flow out of what we’ve talked about:
1.  Are you willing to love someone in this way?
- if you became aware of a person who was caught up in a trespass, [not because you were being a busy-body, not because you were nosing around---but God just brought the situation across your path, would you be willing to love someone in this way?]
2.  If you are caught up in a trespass yourself, how will you handle it if someone lovingly speaks to you about it?
- are you open to confrontation?

- now someone might say, well PV, this is why we hire pastors.
- they’re the hired guns we bring in to clean up the town.

- friends, that’s not what this verse says.
- and when you add to it a passage like Ephesians 4:11-16, our job as pastors is to equip the saints to do the work of ministry.
- so we stubbornly resist the temptation to be a pastor-run church, because we believe that approach is unbiblical and therefore displeasing to God.

- a verse that goes along with this is Romans 15:14 - And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able also to admonish one another.
- one of the basic reasons this church has done as well as it has over the years is because the members take the matter of personal and corporate holiness seriously....and that means we’re willing to be confronted when we need it, and we’re willing to confront others if that’s what God wants us to do.

- incidentally, another clear passage on this topic is Matthew 18:15 - And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.

- now, a third piece of this puzzle is,
C.  God expects His people to increase the love if necessary.
- normally, the vast majority of situations are handled at the level we’ve just described.
- a person sins, someone loves them enough to talk to them about it, the person repents and gets to a better place.
- and you might say, PV, has anyone ever confronted you?....absolutely.
- Did you have to ask forgiveness?....absolutely.
- did you like it?.....absolutely not.
- was it in your best spiritual interest and are you glad now....without a doubt.
- I Timothy 5:19-20 has a specific procedure to follow when church leaders are involved...no one from the church is exempt in such matters.

- now I said, normally, these situations are handled one on one.
- but Matthew 18:16-17 lays out a process if the person will not repent, where at the second step, another person or two are brought in and they sit down and seek to restore the person....and in rare occasions, the entire church needs to be brought in on the matter.

- now what about the person who would say....
D.  But isn’t this unloving, judgmental, and legalistic?
- those are good questions and you may have wondered that as we’ve been talking.
- let’s take the words in that order.
- unloving?
- who’s loves the church the most?
- Jesus Christ
- who’s idea was all of this?....His.
- when a person is in trouble, its not in their best interest to leave them in that condition.
- what about this being judgmental?
- people like to quote Matthew 7:3 - judge not lest ye be judged.
- that is one of most wrongly quoted and wrongly applied verses in all the Bible.
- the point is --- examine your own life first [get the log out of your eye before you try to get the speck out of someone else’s]...and be sure that your judgment of the other person is fair and honest.
- don’t judge someone else in a way or using standards that you would not want applied to you.
- but if you carefully read Matthew 7:1-5, its not about not judging, its about judging correctly...which is why Matthew 7:5 says, You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
- what about this being legalistic?
- friends, what is the book of the NT that was written to especially combat legalism?
- Galatians.
- and again, after one of the most extended passages on spiritual living in all the Bible, what’s the next topic on the agenda in chapter 6?....the importance of being willing to restore.
- can it be done unlovingly?- Yes.can it be done in a sinfully judgmental fashion?-Y
- can it be done in a legalistic fashion - Yes....
- but when its done right, it can often be one of the most spiritual things a person can do
- now, let’s spend the rest of our time on the question....

III.  How Does God Want This to be Done?

- the rest of the material in our passage give us some very important direction:
A.  In a spirit of gentleness.
- you could think about a situation where a person being overtaken in a trespass being like a puddle of muddy water.
- God doesn’t want you or me to be involved in a way that makes the water muddier.
- you might want to think about someone you confronted...
- maybe it was a spouse...maybe it was a co-worker.....
- would the word “gentle” describe what you said and did?

- another important verse at this juncture is 1 Thessalonians 5:14 - And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men.
- do you see the point of that passage?
- situations requiring confrontation do not fit in the category of “one size fits all”
- a person who is stubborn and unruly needs one kind of approach while a person who is fainthearted needs something different.

- so we’re to be a restoring church...but always in the spirit of gentleness.
- verse one also teaches us to do this....
B.  In a spirit of careful humility.
- looking to yourself, lest you also be tempted.
- this is where Matthew 7:3 fits in --- we’re always to get the log out of our own eye before seeking to get the speck out of someone else’s
- if we ever give people the impression that we think we’re better than them, we’re ripe for a fall.

C. Will a willingness to share the burden.
- that’s what verse 2 is talking about.
- that fits into a “tresspass” being something where a person has stumbled under the weight of that temptation.
- and God wants us as a church not simply to point out the wrong, he wants us to be involved in helping that person learn to stand back up and walk properly again.

- God’s Word is filled with answers about how to handle the issues of life, but He has also designed the church to be a place where people lean on one another.
- that’s why we encourage folks to be faithful in attendance....we can lean on one another.
- that’s why we encourage you to get involved in an ABF -- where you can build relationships....
- that’s why we have smaller group studies...men of Faith, women of Faith
- that’s why we have accountability groups [dozens of them going on....describe the one you’re in]
- that’s also why we’ve had a biblical counseling ministry here  [develop]

- if you say, I’d like to have some training....
- describe the lay counseling training program....
- describe the February program

d.  in a spirit of concerned humility
- verse 3 takes the discussion in a bit different direction.
- in verse 1 -- “looking to yourself, lest you also be tempted’...that’s how you look at yourself, realizing that you’re capable of falling to.

- verse 3 has more to do with how you look at the other person and the sin they’ve committed.
- if we think we’re something when we’re not.....that person’s sin makes them lower than me.....the text says, we are deceiving ourselves.
- if we’ve not sinned in a particular way, it is primarily because of the grace of God.
- hopefully our spiritual successes will make us humble as we interact with others.

e.  in a spirit of self-examination
- v. 4
- when someone else sins, we can be very quick to put all the focus on what they did, and wrong they were...
- Paul is saying, you need to put an equal amount of attention into how you’re going to respond

f.  with an emphasis on balance
- v. 5
- yes, we should helps with burdens that are too heavy...but we can’t take the backpack off.
- we have to insist that that person do their part.

- conclude
- gospel
- are you willing to do this?
- are you willing to have this done?

- story of you and Pastor Goode when you confronted someone together

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video