Beloved Believer in Jesus Christ may the grace and the love and the mercy of God fill you this day. May you truly be in the Spirit, being led by the Spirit, even filled by the Holy Spirit as we desire to draw near to God in our worship of Him today.
As you can see, we are getting close to finishing this book. After today just one or two more sermons. I mentioned previously my hope is to begin a new series preaching through First and Second Timothy. So, if you have some spare time in the upcoming weeks it might be helpful to read through those books.
Well, this morning we are going to look at Galatians 6:6-10. You remember in this last chapter the Holy Spirit inspires the apostle Paul to give the Galatian Believers a series of moral or religious exhortations. This passage, like verses one through five, is another “do this” or duty passage. In general, God is showing us that truly converted people are to live as converted people. In other words, if we are really born again to Christ then we are going to live for Christ, His life in us will come out of us as Paul says in Galatians 2:20. Open you Bible to Galatians 6, I will begin to read at verse 6, hear the blessed word of our holy God, read.
Galatians 6:6. The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him. 7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.
Beloved we are engaged in a spiritual act of worship. As Spirit-renewed new creatures in Christ we are hearing from our God in His word. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help us in our worship today, pray.
I have entitled this sermon “Instructions for Discipleship”. And I have added the subtitle, “Doing Good”. Let me define what a disciple is. And then what discipleship means.
A disciple is a “learner of”. A disciple of Jesus is first a (true) believer in Jesus. A disciple of Jesus has repented of their sins and has turned in faith to Christ as their sin-atoning sacrifice Savior. (I Cor.2:2) A disciple of Jesus is a student of Jesus.
We study Him as He reveals Himself to us in His Word. He is our Lord, our Savior, our Master, and our whole life.
We study Him in the Book of Providence as the Puritans would refer to it. That is to say, we study Christ’s government over our lives and over all things as He is the Second Person of the Divine Trinity. We study to know what Christ is teaching us by the events and circumstances of our life.
To live is Christ and to die is to gain Christ’s immediate presence.
Discipleship is the life that Christ has called us to. Discipleship is the life of the sheep following our Good Shepherd. Wherever He leads us, we go. That is what it means to be a learner of Jesus. We learn of Him in His word, the Bible. And then we learn of Him as we follow Him in our everyday lives. But the entire time we are living for Christ and following Christ. (Mt.28:18-20, Lk.14:27, Mt.5:14-16, Eph.4:11-17, Lk.9:23, Jn.8:31-32, Jn.13:34-35)
So, a disciple is a disciple of Jesus Christ. (Mt.11:25-30) I know that sounds a bit obvious. But I am stressing being a disciple of Jesus for a purpose. In moral exhortations, if we forget “why” and to “whom” we serve then the moral exhortation becomes Christ-less moralism. In other words, if we do not keep Christ in mind then the duty passages could be done by a non-Christian, which is not what God inspires Paul to say.
For example, think of this. Christ says, love your neighbor. (Mt.22:35-40) Well, if let’s say the Hindu or the Muslim or the Atheist says, well I do love my neighbor, therefore I am an obedient person or a good person or what have you.
Actually, apart from Christ no one is good. And apart from Christ no one can do good. Apart from Christ no one loves their neighbor – the way that the true and living God of the Bible requires. Because apart from Christ no one loves the true and living God of the Bible. (Rom.3:9-18, Heb.11:6, Rom.8:7, I Cor.2:14, Eph.2:1-3, WCF 16.7) Apart from Christ all men are spiritually dead in their sins.
Positively then, only those truly “in” Christ will want to do any of these moral exhortations. But by faith in Jesus, we can do them. (Phil.4:13) Beloved we have not been saved by our obeying. We have been saved by Christ’s obeying. But we have been saved “unto” obeying (God).
We have been saved by Christ to serve Christ. And one way we serve Christ is by serving others. Which, I will say, is “like” Christ. Christ came to serve and not to be served. (Mt.20:28, Jn.13:1-17) Christ, the Lord and Master came in the form of a servant. (Phil.2:1-11) We, beloved, are to follow in His footsteps. (I Pt.2:15-21) Remember Christ taught us to imitate His life of service by washing the feet of others. What a picture. What a lesson. May God give us grace to serve others like our Lord. (Jn.13:1-17)
Listen to Jesus before we unpack these duties for disciples.
Matthew 28:18. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matthew 5:14. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 22:37. And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38 “This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’
To the Believer – love others.
The most basic duty behind all the duties we see in our passage is the duty to love God and to love others for God’s sake or for Christ’s sake. Love is the royal law of God. Love fulfills the law of God. Love imitates God who is love. Love is the greatest and best motivator to do our duty to our fellow man and to our fellow Believer. In fact, if we do not have love to God and to Man then we will not do any of these duties, not the way that pleases God and imitates God. Oh Beloved, may we be a people that love others.
To the taught – support your pastor-teacher.
These things are duties that Christ wants from us. This is what it looks like to be a faithful follower of Jesus.
The first exhortation God through Paul tells the Galatian Christians is to share their good things with their pastor-teacher who teaches them the Word of God. (Lk.1:4)
Galatians 6:6. The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him.
Of course, we can apply “share all good things” in a broad way. We can say that God calls Believers to support their minister by praying for him and by praying for his family. Charles Spurgeon attributed much of his success to the prayers of Christ’s people for him.
The NT records for us eight distinct times that the apostle Paul asked fellow Believers to pray for him.
Here is one of them.
Ephesians 6:17. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (Rom.15:30-32, 2 Cor.1:10-11, Phil.1:19, Col.4:2-4, I Thess.5:25, Phil.1:22)
The most specific prayer that we should pray for those that God has sent to teach us His word is that they we be faithful and accurate in their teaching of the word. And then pray for all the things associated with that, time to study, success in study.
Included in this, is that the teacher has to learn the word of God experimentally in order to teach faithful. So, pray for their progressive sanctification. Robert Murray McCheyne said that the greatest thing that his congregation needed from him was his own sanctification.
The other general “good things” we can share with the teacher of God’s word is our encouragement on their ministry or service by our attendance and by our reception of their teaching. And I would say, also by sharing that affects of their ministry in our lives.
But most specifically this passage refers to the divine duty of sharing material support for the pastor-teacher.
Now left to myself, I do not like to talk about such a subject because it can make me as your minister look self-serving and even a little grasping. But God does put it here in His word as our duty to support the ministry of word (and sacrament) and so I speak to it.
In the OT God called His people to give a portion of their offerings to the Aaronical and Levitical priests as God called those men to be devoted to their priestly service. The priests were called to serve God by serving God’s people with their priestly duties. Therefore, God provided for their livelihood by the gifts of the people served. (Num.18:8-32)
Well, the principle is the same in the NT with the pastor-teacher.
I Corinthians 9:9. For it is written in the Law of Moses, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He? 10 Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops. 11 If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12 If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar? 14 So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel. (I Tim.1:17-18, Lk.10:7, I Thess.5:12-13, Rom.4:4)
The Bible does say that elder-ministers are not to be lovers of money, greedy. (I Tim.3:3) And it is Pharisee-like to use church office as a way to be greedy. (Mt.23:14) But everyone needs a measure of wealth to eat and to live, even the minister.
Think for example, if the pastor-teacher were not paid such that he could provide for himself and his family. He would have to put the ministry of the word aside and find work to provide for his family. The ministry of the word would suffer.
In fact, in the OT the people did stop supporting the Levites so they left their priestly duties and went out to work the fields in order the eat. God justly condemned their unloving faithlessness. (Num.13:10)
To the teacher – teach the word.
This passage is also a duty passage to the teacher. You see what God says, teach the word. That is to say, the pastor-teacher is to confine his ministry to God’s people to teaching the Bible (and nothing but the Bible).
There are two truths here, one negative and implied and the other positive and stated.
Negatively, the minister is not to get entangled in the everyday affairs of life. I think how entangling politics have been to so many ministers. The minister is not to be a part time preacher and a part time politician. (2 Tim.2:4)
I think of Nehemiah when Tobiah and Sanballat tried to discourage him from the work of God by asking him to come meet with them. In essence Nehemiah said, I am too busy with God’s work to turn aside to lesser things. Oh how many ministers need to learn that lesson, to tell people “no” as they try to dissuade the man of God from the word of God often under the guise of some other good work. (Neh.6:3)
Also see that God sent out preachers of the word not painters or sculptures or YMCA directors or CEOs or any other such thing.
Positively, Christ sent out His apostles as preacher teachers of the word of God, both of the Law of God and of the Gospel of God. The apostle Paul tells pastor Timothy, be absorbed in your study of the Bible, work hard at your Bible studies and sermons. Do the work of an evangelist, of a gospeler, preach the Gospel of salvation in season and out of season. (I Cor.2:2, 2 Tim.4:1-5, I Tim.6:11-21, 2 Tim.2:15, 2 Tim.3:14-17)
I think it was Charles Spurgeon that said if you pricked John Bunyan, he would bleed Bible! This is the preacher’s calling.
Listen to God’s word.
Titus 1:4. To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. 5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, 6 namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. 7 For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, 8 but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. 10 For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, (I Tim.3:16, I Pt.5:1-14, Acts 20:28, Ezek.34:1-10, Heb.13:17, Acts 6:1-15, Rom.16:17, Eph.4:11)
Beloved think of this. God brings us to Himself by His word. He justifies us by His word. And God continuously builds us up in the image of Christ by His word. (Rom.10:1-17, Jn.17:17, Jas.1:18)
Sow in faith.
V.7-8. Since Paul is being inspired by God the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit then knows the thoughts and the hearts of all men.
Applied to the giver.
Some might be tempted to think, well if I give a portion of my money to support my church then I will have less, I will be the poorer loser by it.
Support the ministry.
But God says, no. Give away in support of My ministry and I will add to you. Oh, I do not mean like the silly and the sinful so-called “seed offering” that the TV charlatan preachers ask for. Along the lines of, send in $1,000 dollars to the ministry and God will give you 30, 60, 100-fold in return. Beloved, that is unbiblical and crass.
But is it true that as we are faithful with the gifts and talents God gives us then He often is pleased to bless us as we are using His blessings to serve others in His name.
Applied to the preacher.
The same can be said for the minister of the Word.
Preach the word.
Preach the word. Be faithful. Do not worry about the results. Pray that God would bless the work. Give yourself away. Pour yourself out like a drink offering in the ministry of the word of God. Do not worry that most will think you are a fool for doing so. In due time God will see to it that His word will bring forth the intended harvest.
We see once again Paul returns to God forbidding us to sow to our flesh nature and feed our sins and requiring that we sow to our new spiritual nature, that we walk by faith in the Son of God. (Gal.5:19-25)
Sow in faith – be zealous for holy living or good works.
You see how God shows us by a very usual truth. Whatever kind of seed you sow will dictate the kind of fruits you reap. This is true in natural things and in spiritual things. (Titus 2:14, Jn.2:17, Mt.7:21-23, Rev.2 and 3)
What we are sowing is actually fairly evident. So, in this way, what we will reap as a harvest is also fairly obvious – if we actually really stopped and thought about it, which I would say most do not.
What do I mean? Let’s say a person is serious about their physical health. They eat healthy foods, they avoid unhealthy foods, they exercise, they get fresh air and sunshine and these kinds of a things. Well, it is not a surprise when they have a healthy weight and so on. They reap what they have sowed. The opposite is also true. Sow to ice cream, reap to portliness. 😊
Then notice he says, God is not mocked, or God will not be mocked. This means that you may think that you can sow to the flesh and you have somehow “tricked” God and you will then reap eternal life. But he tells us categorically that this cannot be.
Galatians 6:7. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
You see a great many people “play” at their Christian faith. They are “Christians” while at church on Sunday for an hour and a half. But then the rest of the time they live for themselves without a thought of God, Christ, sin, salvation, heaven, and holiness. All is a sowing to self, and a sowing to this world, all absorbed with the world and its things. No room for God.
Does the company we keep say, sowing to the flesh? Or sowing to the Spirit? What about what we watch or listen to?
We are told, God cannot be fooled. Someday all those that threw God’s word behind their back will be called to an account before holy Judge Christ. Sow to sin, reap a whirlwind.
Job 4:8. According to what I have seen, those who plow iniquity And those who sow trouble harvest it. 9 “By the breath of God they perish, And by the blast of His anger they come to an end.
Conversely, for those true Believers that by the grace of God in the Christ of God – you are like Paul in Philippians 3:1-14, you are forgetting the sin that lies behind you and you are running towards Christ and the heavenly calling – you will reap eternal life.
You see the idea here is that God is calling us to be rich towards God, to store up riches for ourselves in heaven. God wants us to think more of our eternal life with Him in the eternal estate than we think of our temporal life here below. Or perhaps I could put it this way, God wants us to live our life here in this life in this fallen world while looking at the next life. Oh, what Christlike Christians we would be if we could do this! (Mt.6:19-21, Lk.12:15-33, Col.3:1-3)
Beloved, this life is preparation for the next life. I know most people do not really think so. But the Bible says that it is. Would a man give ten thousand worlds in exchange for his eternal soul? (Mk.8:36)
Living for Christ is preparation to living with Christ. Believers are called to think on spiritual things. We start to live on heaven before we get there. By God’s grace we are a heavenly minded people. This world is not our god. It is not our home. We have an infinitely better home with God.
Look to heaven as your heaven. Look to Christ as your reward. It makes you a better disciple in this life. You will be happier because you will be holier.
Persevere in faith.
By this Paul is telling us that we are actively involved in our own Christian life. I know this sounds so self-evident that it is silly. It is self-evident, but it is not silly.
Many Christians are far too passive in their Christian life. Following Jesus is super active, running, wrestling, boxing, farming, building, and the life.
Many people fallen prey to “victim mentality”. Oh I am just the unhappy victim of this or that circumstances, there is nothing I can do. I just have to sit here in my self-pity.
No. Beloved, we are not victims. We are new creatures in Christ. We are enabled by God to come to Christ. We are enabled by God to follow Christ. Let’s work out our salvation with fear and trembling. He who is in us is stronger than those engaged against us. (I Jn.4:4, Rom.8:10-32)
When God promises we will have eternal life this is another way of saying all of our labors for Christ in this world are not in vain. Oh Beloved, I know how under appreciated we all can feel as Believers striving to follow Jesus in a world and often in a church of people striving against Jesus.
Life is a wearying business. Life as a lover of Christ in an anti-Christ world is a wearying business. We get tired fighting the world, the flesh, and the devil. It is hard to pick up our cross and deny ourselves. Sometimes we do not want to go where Jesus leads us. (2 Thess.3:13)
Beloved, God wants us to see ourselves as Christians as farmers! Think and work like a farmer!
Oh, how we need to the Holy Spirit to tell us, cheer us, look to Christ, look to the day of Christ, press on the race is almost over, the finish line is in sight. Work time now. Rest time soon enough. Why does the faithful farmer sweat and toil and sow? He has an eye to the harvest, to the reaping.
Galatians 6:9. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.
God does not forget our faith in His Son. God does not forget our service of love to Him and love to others for Christ’s sake.
Labor to love and serve all people. But especially labor to love and serve those loved by Christ and that love Christ.
Matthew 24:44. For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. 45 “Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 “Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. 47 “Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.
2 Corinthians 4:16. Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.