What to do when sinned against
Introduction: Even in our church life, the carnal sometimes prevails over the spiritual, and Christians sin against each other. I have found this to be true in all the ministries in which I have been involved, even in this church. Therefore, this is perhaps an important message to take to heart and be ready to practice.
This message will answer the question, "How shall I react to another Christian who has sinned against me?" Now my ultimate purpose is not to create a wounded or offended spirit, but "TO RESTORE THE ONE WHO HAS SINNED AGAINST ME."
Please turn to Matthew 18:15-20, and follow me as I read.
"Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. (16) But If he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. (17) And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. (18) Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (19) Again I say unto you. That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. (20) For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
Now verse 15 talks about a "trespass." A trespass is a sin. This person has committed a sin against me. This is not an offense but rather a sin – "if thy brother shall trespass against thee," and he certainly will! The very best Christians in the world are subject to mistakes, misunderstandings, and even sins.
James and John, the sons of thunder, had a sin of pride.
Paul and Barnabas had sharp contention over John Mark.
Peter and Paul also had a sharp disagreement over a serious doctrinal matter. Eudodias and Syntyche, ladies at Philippi, had some misunderstandings that needed to be settled.
What should we do when another Christian has SINNED against us or caused us to stumble? Here are our Lord's instructions.
In verse 15, the Lord says to keep it private. If you are sinned against, it is your responsibility to go to that individual and let them know of their TRESPASS AGAINST YOU. It is not the individual's responsibility to come to you. You are to go to them in PRIVATE. DOES NOT THE TEXT SAY "Go and tell him his fault between thee and him ALONE"? The Bible says nothing about Christians meeting each other halfway.
Give a man a chance to correct His wrongs or to tell his side of the case. Nine times out of ten this avoids the GOSSIP, ILL-FEELING, and BROKEN FELLOWSHIP among Christians.
This verse tells us that Christians are to never tell others about someone's sins until they FIRST honestly and in meekness approach the sinner to hear his side of the situation. Great good can be done by a quiet, PRIVATE approach to another Christian, EVEN IF NO OTHER GOOD IS DONE, YOU CAN FIND OUT THE FULL TRUTH, SEE THE OTHER PERSON’S VIEWPOINT, AND HAVE THE CONSCIOUSNESS THAT YOU HAVE HONESTLY TRIED.
If you do not do this, you offend God and sometimes make useless your prayers (Matthew 5:23-24).
In fact, the brother should be approached immediately, before sundown, if possible (Ephesians 4:26), so that no bitterness will develop in your heart.
Notice the important aim of this private visit: "thou hast gained thy brother." Our primary aim above all else, is to go to him with the idea of winning your brother, NOT WINNING AN ARGUMENT. IT IS POSSIBLE TO WIN THE ARGUMENT AND LOSE YOUR BROTHER.
Someone said, "One of the first motives of every Christian should be to keep intact the brotherly love and fellowship of the body of Christ. It is a terrible sin to prolong or cause divisions and strife among Christians in the church of Christ."
In verse 16, the Lord says to ask help from others. The Bible requires two or three witnesses before anybody should be condemned. Now if the sinner refuses to make things right between the two of you, then you are right to share this with one or two discrete believers. You are to ask for their prayerful consultation and support.
After all, it may be that you are wrong. If that is the case, you must accept your error and move on. However, if the additional brethren feel the cause is just, then together you go back to the one who has trespassed against you and try once again to win them.
Someone said, "When sin is not dealt with honestly, it always spreads. What once was a matter between two people has now grown to involve many others."
In verse 17, the Lord says we are to ask the church for help. Remember the goal is not the winning of a case, but the winning of a brother. This process seems long and complicated. However, remember God wanted us to be quick to forgive and slow to condemn, and He did not want unnecessary divisions among Christians.
Here are Ten Commands we must exercise to help restore a brother who has sinned again us. I have continuously used these over the years.
Command # 1: I will have forgiveness in readiness before you sin against me. In Ephesians 2:32 we read, "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven me."
Command # 2: I will not impute your sin to vou. When a Christian is saved, he is justified by faith. In Romans 5:1 we read, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." If, therefore, I forgive you as God for Christ's sake has forgiven me, I must not only forgive you, but I must not charge you with the offense. In my mind, you never sinned against me.
This "Justified Forgiveness" means that I not only forgive you, but I also do not record/remember what you have done.
Command # 3: I will grieve for you, but not for what you have done to me. I will grieve because you have sinned. I want you to have the JOY of your salvation, but your sin has saddened God and thus your joy is gone. My grief is for you because I want the best for you, and you cannot have the best when you have sinned against another.
Command # 4: I will do all that I can to help you remedy your situation. Galatians 6:1 instructs us,
"Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."
I will not retaliate. I will not be critical of you. I will not share with others what you have done against me. My entire course of action will be that of seeking your restoration. I will not want for your hurt unless God chooses that method to bring you back to Himself.
Commandment # 5: I will ask God to let me suffer for you. In I Corinthians 6:6-8 we read,
"But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. (7) Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? (8) Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren."
Not only must my forgiveness be justified forgiveness, but it will be vicarious forgiveness. I will ask God to punish me instead of you, if that can best serve to bring about your restoration. Isn't that the way that Jesus cared for your sins? He bore the suffering for us vicariously. So since I am to forgive as God forgave, that means I must at times also suffer with you and for you, if that is what God wants.
If at any time while I am obeying these Ten Commands you are restored, then the use of the balance of the commands will not be necessary. However, if I find that you are not yet restored, I must proceed to the next command.
Commandment # 6: I will turn you over to God for justice. In Romans 12:17-20 we read,
"Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest In the sight of all men. (18) If It be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. (19) Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written. Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. (20) Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. (21) Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
Do not forget that this justice from God that I seek for you is for your restoration.
The word "Vengeance" here has to do with justice, and the justice has to do with chastening, and the chastening we hope will lead to repentance, and repentance will lead to restoration of fellowship with God, and to restoration of fellowship with the one sinned against.
Commandment # 7: I will turn you over to the Lord for chastening. In Hebrews 12:10-11 we read.
"For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our
profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. (11) Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."
I want you to be restored, and if asking God to chasten you leads to this restoration, I will be pleased to do so.
Please understand the word "chastening" implies training or educating. God does not punish His children for sin. His measures of inflicting pain upon us are not vindictive. They are punitive and corrective and done in love.
I would much prefer that my FORGIVENESS of you in itself would bring you to restoration. I would love for my JUSTIFICATION of you to accomplish restoration, as if you had never sinned against me. I would hope that a long time before we get to Command # 7, you have been restored to fellowship with God. However, if necessary, I will proceed to Command # 8.
Command # 8: I will turn you over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. In I Corinthians 5:1-6a we read,
"It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. (2) And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. (3) For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have Judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, (4) In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Now notice carefully verse 5, "To deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (6) Your glorying is not good…"
God is not talking here about a judgment deliverance of the sinner to the executioner. God is simply saying he will exhaust every measure in order to restore the offender to Himself. God often times will let the Devil use his weapons on us, but even then only for the purpose of restoration. In I Timothy 1:19-20 we read,
"This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; (19) Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: (20) Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander…"
Now, carefully notice the reason for all this, "whom I have delivered unto Satan, THAT THEY MAY LEARN not to blaspheme." So what is the purpose of turning one over to Satan? THAT THEY MAY LEARN, that is to learn their lesson from their sin.
Command # 9: I will not socialize with you. Here I call your attention to two passages of scripture.
The FIRST passage is the continuation of I Corinthians 5:9-11, "I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: (10) Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. (11) But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat."
The SECOND passage is found in II Thessalonians 3:14, "And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed."
Now please listen carefully. This does not mean that I will not be nice to you. I will do anything I can for you, but I will not socialize with you. Again, this is in an effort for you to be restored. I trust that you will miss my fellowship and will be led to restoration.
Command # 10: I will bless you, do good to you, pray for you and love you. For In Matthew 5:43-44 we read,
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. (44) But I say unto you. Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;…"
I must not combat hatred with hatred, but I will combat hatred with love.
I must not combat cursing with cursing, but I must combat cursing with blessing.
I must not combat spit with spite, but I must combat spite with prayer hoping still that the weapons of love, blessing, prayer and kindness will lead you to your restoration.
I loved you before you sinned against me. Now that you have sinned against me, I need to love you more, because you need me more.
Over the years, here among the members of the Green Street Baptist Chapel, there have been trespasses against others and wounded spirits as a result. These truly need to be resolved. We need our hearts made right.
Let me close by reminding you that each of us is imperfect. All of us have a nature that falls short of the Glory of God because of sin. Scripture tells us that there is none righteous but Jesus. So when trespasses occur, restoration is desperately needed
Do you have some little something festering in your heart against someone here? Is there someone who has offended or sinned against you? Please seek the council of the Lord through prayer and then bravely go to that person and allow restoration to begin.
If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon “What to do when sinned against,” right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please let me know. Please send an e-mail to pdmikBBM@aol.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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