I would suggest a four–part outline for this passage.
I. The Occasion for Caring (v. 1)
II. The Expression of Caring (v. 1)
III. The Danger in Caring (v. 1)
IV. The Characteristics of Caring (vv. 2-10)
Let’s look today at —
I. The Occasion for Caring (v. 1).
There we read, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.
Note first of all that the ones providing the caring are described as “brothers and sisters” and as “you who live by the Spirit.”
The one who needs the Christian care is “someone caught in a sin.” This does not appear to be someone who wants to rationalize away his sin, or deny his sin, or cover-up his sin. For someone who refuses to repent of his sin, Matthew 5, Matthew 18, and I Corinthians 5 give the church detailed instructions on how to deal with such a Christian.
If we want to develop a community of caring, then this will involve identifying one who is caught in a sin and getting involved in that other believer’s life. We are to “carry each other’s burdens,” and in this text the burden is a sin which needs to repented of.
Anyone you know “caught in a sin”? If we genuinely care for one another, we will reach out in love and kindness to carry each other’s burden.
1. Why don’t we see more of this kind of caring in our Christian circles?
2. If you or I become “caught in a sin,” how would we want the Christian family to work with us?