Peninsula Community Church
The Cure for Pride
July 16, 2017
Galatians 6:1-5 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.
Last week, we dealt with the issue of pride and how pride causes us to push God out of our lives and brings us to believe we do not need God. Today, we will explore the cure for pride. First, restoring others to a right standing in Christ helps one deal with pride. In this passage Paul uses an example of someone who has fallen into sin and that sin has been openly revealed. There is no discussion of the specifics. The sin could have been an act of adultery. It could have been an act of stealing. It could have been one caught in a lie. While we may not know the specific sin or even the specific person, we do know that Paul encourages believers in Christ to respond in a way that is different from what we might be inclined to do. He encourages the spiritually mature to restore the sinner to their right place in Christ with gentleness.
I do not know about you but this can run so counter to what I really want to do. When someone is caught in a sin my human flesh wants them to get what is coming to them. My flesh wants to judge, criticize, and condemn their actions. My flesh wants to reject them and push them away so that I am not tainted by their sin or influenced to commit a similar sin or worse yet a greater sin in terms of its consequences.
But notice something in this passage. Paul suggests that it is those who are spiritual that should restore the sinner with a sprit of gentleness. Too often, we love gotcha moments. We love to hear when others get caught in sin because it makes us feel better. That was not God’s plan or purpose in this thing called Christian community and life. This passage reminds me of the opportunity Jesus had to model this for us. He encountered a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. As we read in John 8:1-11, the religious leaders of the day had brought an adulterous woman into the city square. She had been caught in the act of adultery and the religious law of the day required that she be stoned to death.
Think about this picture. The religious leaders had gathered around her with stones in hand. They were ready to punish her for her sin and exact the penal code upon her. From a legal standpoint they had every right to do that. But in the midst of this, Jesus showed up. He assessed the scene and in so doing He found that those who were gathered around this woman were just as guilty of sin as she was. In that moment, Jesus made a profound statement. He stated that those who where without sin should cast the first stone. He stood nose to nose with her accusers and challenged them with their own spiritual condition. If there was anyone without sin, they had His permission to throw the first stone. Sadly, all of these leaders silently slid into the crowd and disappeared under the weight of their own guilt.
Now lest we think that Jesus did not deal with her sin and that He was somehow soft on sin, look at what Jesus did. He approached her to ask where her accusers were and if there was anyone left to condemn her. Of course, no one was left as they had sin which they needed to be deal with. In that moment, Jesus modeled for us what we need to do. He ministered gentleness and He gave her grace. Rather than get on the band wagon of judgment and guilt, He set her free. He lovingly cared for her. He never condemned her but He never justified her sin either. He walked in truth and grace.
You see the religious leaders were more about the law than they were grace. They wanted to punish others while ignoring their own sinful hearts. This is the highest mark of pride possible. Remember that Jesus reminded us to get the log out of our eye before we try to remove the speck in someone else’s eye (Matthew 7:3-5). That was the problem with the religious leaders that day and that was Paul’s point here.
In our passage, Paul uses the word “restore.” The word means to make things right. It was used in Jesus’ day of repairing one’s fishing nets. The idea was when the fishing nets had holes in them, much of the catch would get away. This would negatively impact their life as fishermen. To repair another’s nets meant they were looking to help make others as effective as possible. Sin is a breakdown in the machinery of life. It has to be repaired. In other words, if you find someone that is broken down do what you need to do to help restore that person back to a good working order. Ultimately it is Christ’s responsibility to forgive and restore but we can be a tool to assist in pointing the person in the right direction. Yes we are to admonish, rebuke, and warn each other about attitudes and plans which are wrong but we do so with grace and love. Then we point them to the one who is able to restore and renew them. Helping others keeps us humble.
The second cure for pride is bearing one another’s burdens. The truth is we all deal with issues in life. Sometimes it is easy to bear another’s burdens when they are sick, have financial issues, or have relational issues. But it becomes more impossible to bear one’s burdens when it comes to sin. Rather than bearing one’s burdens, we tend to load up the sinner with guilt and regret. We cast stones rather than gently restoring and or helping to heal the heart of the sinner. Listen to the words of Jesus in Luke 11:46. “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. And then Paul had this to say in Acts 16:10-11. Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”
In our passage today notice that in bearing the burdens of one another we are in fact fulfilling the law of Christ. What is the law of Christ? Remember when Jesus was asked what law was most important? He gave an answer that befuddled the Christian leaders who posed the question in the first place. He stated in essence that no one law is greater than another but that the law could be summed up by two commandments: love God, love others. That is the law of Christ. If we love God with all of our hearts and we love others as we love ourselves, we cannot go wrong.
In essence, the law of Moses was powerless to change our hearts so we could freely obey God’s law. When Christ summons us to obey the law of love, He offers us Himself to slay the dragon of pride, change our hearts, empower us by His spirit, and to fulfill His law in us. The law was powerless but through Christ we can do anything, including bearing the burdens of others so that they are restored in Christ and they are healed of their sin.
Thirdly, to remove pride we must have a proper perspective of who we are. Paul recognized that we are susceptible to pride and we can begin to believe that we are more than we are. We can puff ourselves us with a spiritual slap on the back when we are just as guilty of sin as the one we are encountering. The Bible is replete with warnings about pride and warnings about the potential to fall into the same sin that we judge in others. For that reason Jesus warns us not to judge others because we will be judged by the same judgement we exact on others (Matthew 7:1-2). Jesus knew that the enemy of our souls loves for prideful judgement to be the hallmark of our life. In contrast, Jesus showed us that we are to respond to others with a spirit of grace and love. For that reason, Paul issues this warning, those who are spiritual must guard themselves from the legalism of law and ignoring their own sin.
This idea of restoring another who had been caught in a sin was brought home to me when Michelle and I attended a conference at Gateway church in Dallas Texas. At the conference was Mark Driscoll. Mark had been a pastor for several years. His church had grown to several thousand and he had touched many lives. That all came crashing down when he revealed that he had been guilty of plagiarism, bullying his staff and coworkers, and fits of anger. While he had not been guilty of moral failure per se he acknowledged that his actions were as much a sin as anything else. There were two responses to his resignation.
One part of the body of Christ wrote excoriating letters. His family faced death threats and people confronted his children on the streets. It was a difficult time for him and his family. His children lived in fear and they were forced to move to a new state to start over. But there was also a second response. At the conference, Pastor Robert Morris brought Mark up before the 1500 plus pastors and leaders attending the conference. It was here that Mark admitted the error of his ways and expressed his desire for healing and restoration. Rather than being excoriated the body stood and prayed for him. They did not ignore the accusations but there were more concerned about the person than casting stones. The result was the beginning of healing in his heart and in the heart of his family. Because of the ministry of gentleness and healing, he has been restored and his family has been healed.
Pride causes us to condemn. Pride causes us to ignore other’s needs. But when we follow Paul’s advice healing comes and people are restored. Remember, we are in the restoration business. We are more of a hospital as a church where we restore the wounded and less a day care where we simply maintain. When we restore others in gentleness we change lives. That is God’s plan.
Today there are two types of people who will receive this message. You are either the condemned or the condemner. In being condemned we fall short of Gd’s plan. We are burdened by the guilt of sin and feel that there is no hope. We have had those around us who have and continue to throw stones at us rather than lovingly restore us. On the other side of the there are those who stand with stones in their hands ready to condemn and destroy. The good news is there is grace for both. God sent His son into the world not to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:17). May we receive His grace and love today.
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14
Copyright © 2017 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom