I've Fallen ... and I Can't Get Up!

Bible Book: Galatians  6 : 1
Subject: Restoration

“I’ve fallen … and I can’t get up!” was a popular catchphrase of early 1990’s popular culture based upon a line from a television commercial. It was originally used in a commercial for a medical service called Lifecall, in 1990. The idea behind Lifecall was that many senior citizens today live at home alone, and may find themselves suddenly in medical danger with no one near to help them. In that kind of situation, they could use Lifecall, which was a small radio badge worn around the wrist or neck. When the button on the badge is pressed, the person is immediately put into contact with a dispatcher who can send a paramedic, fireman, or other emergency assistance.

The TV advertisement specifically featured a fictional lady who has fallen, with her walker, in the bathroom. Sprawled helplessly, she speaks the famous line, and a dispatcher informers her that ‘help is being sent immediately’. On the surface, the commercial illustrated a situation for a senior citizen in dire circumstances.

Lifecall for the United States has since gone out of business, but not before it’s catchphrase became so popular that even Saddam Hussein was rumored to have used the line after his defeat in the Gulf War.

According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, after first applying in October 1990, LifeCall registered the phrase “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” as a trademark in September 1992 until its status was cancelled in 1999. In October 2002, the similar phrase “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” became a registered trademark of Life Alert Emergency Response, Inc. In June 2007, the phrase “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” also became a registered trademark of Life Alert. Both phrases are currently used on their website as well as in their commercials.

I’m convinced that this catchphrase is the heart cry of many weak and wayward Christians this morning. They have fallen; they have become weary in well doing; they have been “overtaken in a fault,” and they are powerless to help themselves. They can’t get up.

Now we know that in a very real way, the Lord restores us and lifts us up, for the psalmist said, “He restoreth my soul” (Psalms 23:3). But the Shepherd is not to be alone in His lifting of the fallen one. The brethren, the saints, are to join with the Shepherd in restoring “such an one.”

Let’s notice right away the connection of our text verse to those that precede it. Paul said in Galatians 5:25-26, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” Pride and provocation are to be omitted, but in their place as we see in chapter 6, verse 1, we are to have pity for our fallen comrades. In Galatians 6:1 we’re talking about restoration. As we expose the truth of this verse…

I. Let’s Notice The Arena Of Restoration

A. This Thing Of Restoration Takes Place In The Arena Of Fellowship

(Galatians 6:1) 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.

1. The Apostle Is Speaking TO Christians

Brethren – Greek 80. adelphos; from G1 (as a connective particle) and delphus (the womb); a brother (literally or figuratively) near or remote.

2. The Apostle Is Speaking OF Christians

a man

John Brown said…

It is plain that though the apostle’s language be indefinite, “if a man be overtaken in a fault,” the injunction does not refer to mankind generally, but to the members of a Christian church. It is just equivalent to, “‘if any of you (are)’ any man that is called a brother.”

(From An Exposition Of The Epistle Of Paul The Apostle To The Galatians)

B. This Thing Of Restoration Takes Place In The Arena Of Fault

(Galatians 6:1) 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.

1. We See Here The Overtaking Of Someone

overtaken – Greek 4301. prolambano, prol-am-ban'-o; from G4253 and G2983; to take in advance, i.e. (lit.) eat before others have an opportunity; (fig.) to anticipate, surprise:--come aforehand, overtake, take before.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary states…

Paul deals with a hypothetical case of a Christian who is caught in a sin, or better, is “caught by a sin.” The thought is that of someone running from sin but sin, being faster, overtakes and catches him.

2. We See Here The Offense Of Someone

fault – Greek 3900. paraptoma, meaning a side-slip (lapse or deviation), i.e. (unintentional) error or (wilful) transgression:--fall, fault, offence, sin, trespass.

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says of this word “fault” that it means…

1. Properly, a fall beside or near something; but it is found nowhere else in this sense.

2. A lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness; a sin, misdeed

II. Let’s Notice The Act Of Restoration

A. Let’s Consider The Meaning Of Restoration

(Galatians 6:1) 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.

The word “restore” is the Greek word katartizo, from which we get our English word catharsis. It means to complete thoroughly, to repair (either literally or figuratively) or to adjust.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary says…

A Christian should “restore” (a word used in secular Greek for setting broken bones and in the New Testament for mending fishing nets).

1. There Is The Operation Of Restoration

Consider how this Greek word is used elsewhere in the New Testament…

(Matthew 4:21) And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.

(Matthew 21:16) And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?

(Luke 6:40) The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.

(Romans 9:22) What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

(1 Corinthians 1:10) Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

(2 Corinthians 13:11) Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

(1 Thessalonians 3:10) Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?

(Hebrews 10:5) Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:

(Hebrews 11:3) Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

(Hebrews 13:21) Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

(1 Peter 5:10) But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

2. There Is The Object Of Restoration

such an one (that has been “overtaken in a fault”)

The Bible Knowledge Commentary says…

Two passages show how the legalists responded to such (cf. John 8:3-5; Acts 21:27-29).

Cf. (Matthew 9:12) But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

B. Let’s Consider The Ministers Of Restoration

(Galatians 6:1) 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.

1. They Are Marked As Brethren

ye – referring back to “Brethren”

2. They Are Mature As Believers

which are spiritual

spiritual – Greek 4152. pneumatikos, pnyoo-mat-ik-os’; from G4151; non-carnal, i.e. (humanly) ethereal (as opposed to gross), or (daemoniacally) a spirit (concr.), or (divinely) supernatural, regenerate, religious:--spiritual.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary says…

The task of restoration is not to be undertaken by fledglings in the faith but by those who are spiritual, that is, believers who walk by the Spirit (cf. Galatians 5:16), and who are mature in the faith (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:15; Hebrews 5:13-14).

III. Let’s Notice The Attitude Of Restoration

A. We Are To Be Humble When It Comes To Others

(Galatians 6:1) 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.

1. Consider The Meaning Of Meekness

meekness – Greek 4236. praiotes, prah-ot'-ace; from G4235; gentleness; by impl. humility:--meekness.

Albert Barnes wrote…

[In the spirit of meekness] With a kind, forbearing, and forgiving spirit. Not with anger; not with a lordly and overbearing mind; not with a love of finding others in fault, and with a desire for inflicting the discipline of the church; not with a harsh and unforgiving temper, but with love, and gentleness, and humility, and patience, and with a readiness to forgive when wrong has been done. This is an essential qualification for restoring and recovering an offending brother. No one should attempt to rebuke or admonish another who cannot do it in the spirit of meekness; no man should engage in any way in the work of reform who has not such a temper of mind.

2. Consider The Mood / Mentality Of Meekness

spirit – Greek 4151. pneuma, pnyoo'-mah; from G4154; a current of air, i.e. breath (blast) or a breeze; by anal. or fig. a spirit, i.e. (human) the rational soul, (by impl.) vital principle, mental disposition, etc., or (superhuman) an angel, daemon, or (divine) God, Christ's spirit, the Holy Spirit:--ghost, life, spirit (-ual, -ually), mind.

B. We Are To Be Heedful When It Comes To Ourselves

(Galatians 6:1) 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.

1. There Is A Heedful Consideration

considering – Greek 4648. skopeo, skop-eh'-o; from G4649; to take aim at (spy), i.e. (fig.) regard:--consider, take heed, look at (on), mark.

(Like a rifle scope.) Don’t take aim at the fallen one; take aim at yourself.

Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament says of this concept of ‘considering oneself’…

Schmidt defines: “To direct one’s attention upon a thing, either in order to obtain it, or because one has a peculiar interest in it, or a duty to fulfill toward it. Also to have an eye to with a view of forming a right judgment.” Notice the passing to the singular number – “considering thyself.” The exhortation is addressed to the conscience of each. Before you deal severely with the erring brother, consider your own weakness and susceptibility to temptation, and restore him in view of that fact.

2. There Is A Heedful Caution

lest thou also be tempted

tempted – Greek 3985. peirazo, pi-rad'-zo; from G3984; to test (obj.) i.e. endeavor, scrutinize, entice, discipline:--assay, examine, go about, prove, tempt (-er), try.

‎A. T. Robertson said…

Spiritual experts (preachers in particular) need this caution. Satan loves a shining mark.

The Pulpit Commentary says…

It is well to remember that, if we had met the same temptation, we might have had even a more grievous fall. And some day our time may come, and then the present offender may be our restorer. Let the work be done, then, as by a brother to a brother.


Consider the words of Fanny Crosby’s great song “Rescue The Perishing,” written in 1869…

Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,

Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;

Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,

Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.

Oh, how we need to reach out to those who are wounded and broken and those that have been “overtaken in a fault.” How they need to be “Touched by a loving heart,” and “wakened by kindness” so that the chords “that were broken will vibrate once more”!