Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Praying For The Sinful Brother

Temple Baptist Church - 7-29-2015
1 John 5:16

A.  First of all, let me say that we are commanded to pray one for the other.  Paul said, “Brethren, pray for us!”  I know that I certainly need your prayers as well as you need mine.  There are times when it seems hard to pray.  Times when the problems and cares of this life crush us.  Times when we may not even know how to pray for ourselves. 
Romans 8:26-27  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  (27)  And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
B.  You may or may not have been there but I have.  There have been days in my life when the sweetest sight in the world was that of God’s people walking towards me in the halls of a court house.  What a lifter up of my soul!  What an encouragement!  In that moment, God changed my whole perspective on my problems.
C.  We need to pray for one another.  Supplications and intercessions.
1.  Prayers for protection.
2.  Prayers for prospering. 
3.  Prayers for God’s will and leadership!
D.  In this verse, we find praying for the brethren when they are in a sinful condition.  Too many of God’s people will forsake the sinful brother when he/she needs correction, restoration, and exhortation.  I believe that a brother or sister needs our prayers much more when in a condition of sinfulness than they do when they are where the Lord wants them to be.
E.  Our verse mentions two types of sinfulness:  a sin not unto death and a sin unto death.  There are diversities of opinions concerning this verse and I will not go into all of that.  Notice that both sins are sins that can be seen!  Though sin is still sin and God hates all sin, there are some sins that are more wicked and, therefore, worthy of greater punishment.
1.  What is a sin not unto death? 
a.  Notice in our verse that this is a sin that can be seen.  We can know when a brother/sister is doing something contrary to God’s Word though. 
b.  At this point, we need to be extremely careful and not to just “hear” of a sin not unto death.  Not everything that you hear is right and what you hear is not to be repeated.  When you see a brother/sister sin a sin not unto death, you are not to spread it! 
c.  Restoration is as important as discipline when it comes to sinfulness.  Our heart’s desire should be to see the sinful get right with God and praying for them is the most effective way to help.  Sins not unto death are sins that are correctable and forgivable. 
d.  If the sin that we see a brother sin is not a sin unto death, we can now pray with confidence that the will of God is the correction, repentance, and restoration of the sinful brother/sister.  The effectiveness of such praying will “give him life.”
2.  What is a sin unto death?
a.  Let me begin by saying what a sin unto death is not. 
1)  We do not know when a brother/sister has crossed God’s deadline!  God is more longsuffering than we even know.  I never give up praying for a sinful brother/sister or even a lost person because I cannot see when they cross God’s deadline.  We cannot see the thoughts and imaginations of a sinful brother.  Some of the most outwardly spiritual of men can be inwardly wicked and sinful. 
2)  This sin unto death must be one that can be observed with the eye.  It is outward and not only inward.  It is not only visible but is also knowable! 
3)  A sin unto death is not the loss of eternal salvation.  We are saved and saved forever.  A sin unto death is one which brings up the sinful a death penalty.
b.  The only answer that I can biblically give to you is that a sin unto death is sin upon which God has imposed a death sentence.  There are saved people that have committed such sins as murder and rape.  To Adam and Eve, a sin unto death was that of eating from a forbidden tree.  In the Old Testament, the sin of adultery was a sin unto death.  I will not take the time to name all sins unto death.
c.  Does the sinful unto death always die?  No because we serve a merciful God but to die or not to die is decision that belongs to God alone.  I thank the Lord that the New Testament is full of the grace of God!  Though saved people can commit sins worthy of death, God—who is rich in mercy—does not always require full payment!
d.  Why are we not to pray for it?  Let me give you this illustration of such a sin not to be prayed for.
Genesis 9:5-6  And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man.  (6)  Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
Leviticus 24:17  And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death.
e.  If (and God forbid that this should happen) one of our beloved brethren should commit murder, I would certainly try to restore him to fellowship with the Lord through confession and repentance.  But, I will not pray that God spare his life because murder is a sin unto death and, in most states, carries a death sentence if convicted!  Such a sin is deserving of death and has such a sentence served upon it by an Almighty God.
f.  Verses 14-15 dealt with confident praying which is praying according to the revealed will of God.  Praying for the deliverance of a sinner who is under God’s death sentence is not praying according to God’s will.
Conclusion:  When a brother or sister gets into sinfulness, it is our responsibility and for his or her benefit that we pray fervently for their repentance, confession, and restoration.  We are all sinful at best and our prayers for each other not only aid in the restoration of the sinful but also serve as a warning to us who pray that we are also capable of such transgressions.

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