First Baptist Church of Minneola
Loaded Down 1/2
1 Timothy 2:1HCSB
- INTRO - Some years ago we had a fellow and his family that came to this church for help. In the course of time, the family seemed to come around to doing much better than they had in many years. We taught the children, loved on the mom, and even baptized the dad.In time, the parents were tempted and returned to bad habits. Worldly enticements overwhelmed them and they took the wrong path.Jump ahead, today they are not together. Today the family is fractured. My pastoral calls landed a conversation or two, but sadly the world continued to have a strong hold.What went wrong? Did this church let down the family? Did this pastor fail in his ministry? Or, perhaps, were the people at fault?It may depend on the person you ask, but I’m sure you’d get a variety of answers.Now ask, how does the church contend with lives, families, and others when lives are so often very messy?How does a Spirit-led church appear? What do people see in a Spirit led church?Our passage provides a glimpse. Paul provides the description:Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.This is the BIG idea of our passage today. This is what a Spirit-led church does.Sure we try to feed people and provide other practical help. While writing this introduction I got a call from a lady reaching out for financial assistance. Churches are know for helping folks when they need it most.But, this is not exactly what Paul is discussing. Paul’s emphasis is on spiritual restoration. Look at our first verse:Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.Back to our troubled family. Some say, “dysfunctional,” others that its, “their own fault.” And in some ways this is true because God helps us resist temptation.A few sermons ago I noted that church is messy work and this family is an example of the sort of work that churches often contend. Messy workers, those involved with people, experience heartache. We are both mess makers and the mess.What does this indicate? It means we need to know how to work through the messes we make.Recall our frequent emphasis on the “way of love” or “following the lead of the Spirit” form our chapter five? If we want to work through messes we have to come alongside erring folks and restore them to right spiritual condition.I believe that all Christians have the responsibility to respond to fallen folks and to be part of their restoration efforts. Sadly, I don’t see this occuring often or even with any degree of knowing what or how to accomplish restorative work.What I do see are timid people scared to speak up. On the other hand I see proud people quick to point out other’s falling and to blame them for their condition. Or, the proud might be annoyed with what a person did and not wanting to waste personal time on helping them.Instead of helping the hurting, the very thing Jesus came to accomplish and what He calls His church to continue with, most church folk simply let people continue in sin without making any attempt in to address the mess and help someone move toward spiritual healing?Why all this during this time pastor? Why not more encouragement?The encouragement you need is not some sort of “feel good” or “everything is gonna be okay.” The encouragement of the Bible is always pointing people to God.I do want you to “feel good,” but I want you to “feel good” about living your life to serve God the way the Bible teaches us to so do.TRANS - Six quick points and a conclusion today. A bit more than usual, but not any longer to deliver. I promise.Get ready, turn your hat around, its gonna come fast.Conceited ChristianILL - Do you know the story of the fellow warning cars the bridge ahead was out? Car by car folks didn’t care to listen to his advice; they had all their answers. Car by car the man heard splash and cries for help.This simple story presents an interesting fact about most people. When offered help, we usually respond with “no thanks, I got this.”Now, some of this is because we’ve been led aside by people just being sneaky and trying to sell us something. But that’s not from where I’m coming. This is not about the man warning others, but the ones who thought, “I have all the answers.”The only way we can do spiritual restoration is when we’re not caught up in our own conceit.Look at our verse from last week:Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.It is so easy to want to feel better about ourselves when dealing with someone who has taken the wrong turn. We may not wish bow down to their level. It might feel like we are carrying something that is theirs with which to deal.Bear their burden’s, I think not.Instead of grieving over someone else’s sin, we of often tempted to become like the Jesus parable to the Pharisee “God, I thank you that I am not like them.”TRANS - This attitude kills burden bearing and Paul has something to say about the matter.Crucified ChristTo kill conceit, consider the cross. Look at v.2:Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.What is this “law of Christ.” Consider the “Law” is getting much attention. Then Paul tosses out this phrase, “law of Christ.” Instead of the Law of Moses, or God’s Law given to the Jews, Paul says, “law of Christ.”Christ wants us to bear burdens of other people. Does this really line up with the rest of the Bible?Look here:For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”And here:and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.And for the OT scholar here:Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.Jesus provides the best example of burden bearing.His humility, sacrifice, suffering, and love for others goes beyond all else. If anything might take the conceit from our hearts its looking to Jesus.TRANS - Satan is a crafty one and quite the sneaky one too. Let’s look at this in our next point.Crafty CunningnessBeware, you might think a bit to highly of yourself. Time to come down from that high horse.ILL - I grew up hearing, “come down off your high horse.” Good parents deal with prideful children. Pride leads children to be selfish, demanding, and display bad tempers when not getting their own way. Good parents challenge bad behavior.Jennifer and I watched a show called “Nanny on Tour” this past Thursday evening. Nanny Jo showed parents how to talk directly to a child and force them to listen or face consequences the bring on themselves.Father God is demanding Christians listen to Him of face consequences they bring on themselves.Time to “get real” with self.For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.Be honest, all of us can can deceive ourselves. Ever give yourself an applaud. “I’m such a nice guy. Look what I did this for you.”There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others.-C. S. LewisThe sin of such pride! It’s one of those that when we have it, we fail to see it.The proud are the last to think there is something wrong with them.Instead of being burden bearers the prideful become judges. Jesus draws our attention to that in his Sermon on the Mount:Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?Making comparison of ourselves to others for the sake of making them look small and us look big is sinful pride and nothing less. This sort of judgement destroys lives.The solution is confession. Acknowledging pride is how to start rooting out pride. Whether it be the pride that says, “I am so good,” or the pride that says, “I am nothing,” both put the limelight on self. Both refuse to recognize self deception.TRANS - If you think you are not conceited, it might be a sign that you are. Ask God, like the Psalmist, to “Search me, O God and know my heart!”Taking a closer look at self is always a good practice. Unless we take regular inventory, we don’t know what’s on the shelf.A rather funny illustration in our world today. I never knew the color of backing of Publix’s shelves. I imagine their inventory is much easier these days.Let’s see what God’s Word tells us about self examination in our next point.Character CalculationPaul’s next point for keeping from conceit is to inspect our own work as others examine their’s.But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another.HUM - The one thing an know-it-all person doesn’t know is how irritating they are to everyone else.Nobody really likes the know-it-all who is always giving their advice on others work. Conceit or pride drives this sort of person to be comparative and competitive with others in their lives.The know-it-all is not really interested in how they are doing, but how they are doing in relations to everyone else. That is why, back a chapter, Paul said:Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.The Bible’s standard for self-examination is not us, but Christ Jesus. Recall our second point “the law of Christ?”The Law of Moses was embodied in Jesus’ life and teaching. Jesus life is a life of self-giving, and He gives love.Therefore, we might:Compare ourselves to Jesus instead of expecting all others to live up to our expectations.Their is no need to prop up our fragile egos when we can patiently ask God to help us evaluate ourselves in view of Christ Jesus.TRANS - When from God comes our praise, then we are free to become burden bearers. This brings us to our next point.Comprehending ChastisementFor each one will bear his own load.It almost sounds like Paul contradicts himself. He says, “carry others burdens, then, “bear his own load.”What we don’t see is that Paul is using two different words.In v.2 the “burdens” bare is to carry some oppressive weight for a good distance.In v.5 “load” phortion is elsewhere noted as the cargo in a ship, a soldiers knapsack, or a persons backpack.There is the weight too much for someone else which we help them carry. Then, their is the weight we can’t share because its what God gives. God never gives us more than we can carry. It is our responsibility to carry what God gives and we will answer for this on the Day of Judgement.Keeping an eye on judgement, not keeping a judging eye on others, but watching our conduct with all God provides, including our personal burdens to carry, will help us serve others and do what God personally assigns each person.TRANS - We’ve noted ways to kill conceit so that we can properly help carry the burden’s of others.Let’s put some of this to answer the old “What do I do with this? question.Constructive Criterion“Who should bear burdens?” - According to the Bible, spiritual people, Spirit-led Christians.The Bible does not teach that special super-Christians, nor pastors and clergy only, nor any kind of unique class of people are responsible. The Bible does specify born-again people are to be Spirit-led, therefore all Christians must engage in the work of spiritual restoration.“When do we bear another’s burdens?” - The Bible says, when anyone is overtaken “in any transgression.”Transgression implies serious sin such as sexual immorality, idolatry, apostasy, drunkenness, and other works of the flesh. Others might include enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissension, divisions, and envy. These lists give us the “idea” but do not cover every sort of transgression. Certainly we can add internet pornography, drug abuse, and white collar crimes to name a few.“How should we do it?” - Paul says do it “in a spirit of gentleness” (Ephesians 4:1-3.)Avoid doing it if we are personally offended; cool down first. Do it graciously “between you and him alone” first according to Matthew 18:15.Sensitivity, to our feelings and those we hope to help is a key part in burden bearing.It should be part of our lives and deeper with our most intimate and commited relationships.TRANS - Past considering the Bibles “how to” instructions for doing spiritual restoration, lets consider this work is truly a rewarding part of being a Christian. Observing someone transition from dark to light is very much tied to our faith and something that brings great joy to God and all who belong to Him.This is what Spirit-led churches look like and what we do. We bear another’s burdens and do spiritual restoration.Concluding ConversationWhen you see God moving among His people, you see folks labeled by love, not the sentimental sort or the sweetness kind.True Christianity is humble, gentle, and gracious. Christian love is, also, strong, courageous, and full with conviction.Love restores, seeks first God’s glory, and then good in the one being restored.Love seeks the purity and oneness with the Church, with the whole of the Body of Christ.Martin Luther says our passage is an attack on the “poisonous vice of vainglory.”Paul, too, had this understanding.Luther, also, stated something we might consider for ourselves: “The Holy Spirit alone is able to preserve us from being infected by this poison.”(end)
1 Peter 2:24HCSB
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