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Announce Text, Read, Pray Id like to direct your attention to the back of our bulletin and our vision

statement (Read). This week we are coming to the part of our vision statement that really summarizes what came before it, and what will come after it. So let me read that for you: Demonstrate the truth of Jesus love within the family of faith and among our neighbors. Now, as we come to our text today, we need to understand that we are really plopping down at the end of a letter that the apostle Paul had written to the churches in the region of Galatia. So, to really get an idea of what Paul is saying in these verses, we need to understand what he has already told them up to this point. So, let me just give you a brief overview of what Paul has stated up to this point: - Paul writes to warn about these false teachers (Judaizers) who infiltrated church; false gospel: believe in Jesus, plus do works of Law/comply with rituals such as circumcision /presents in concise and clear terms what Gospel is/practical implications in our daily lives: - Chapter 1: begins w/brief gospel/warns about false Gospels - Chapter 2: confronts Peter/denying Gospel by his actions; essence of Gospel a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. Lived by faith in Son of God/does not set aside grace of God/if righteousness gained through law, Christ died in vain - Chapter 3: Confronts Galatians: foolish, who deceived you, cast spell, Christ clearly portrayed as crucified; those who are of faith, not the works of the law, are the true sons of Abraham. Evident no one justified by law/all who rely on works of law under the curse of God. Christ came to redeem us from curse by becoming curse for us on cross. - Chapter 4: Spirit of adoption. Once alienated/now children. - Chapter 5: Freedom of Christ, refuse to be entangled by the yoke of bondage. What matters is faith working through love; love neighbors as self. Battle waging within us between the old sinful nature/the Spirit. Christians alive in Spirit, and need to walk in Spirit.
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And in our text today, Paul is bringing everything to a close mentions some of the practical implications of the Gospel in our lives and what it looks like to actually walk in the Spirit. And Pauls point in our text today is that if we live by the Spirit, then we must do good to all, especially those in the family of faith. And there are 3 key things that we need to see about living in the Spirit and doing good: 1. We must care for the spiritual needs of others; 2. We must care for the material needs of others; 3. We must sow to the Spirit and not the flesh. I. Care for the spiritual needs of others A. Restore those who fall to spiritual health - v. 1: if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. After stating that we must walk in the Spirit, Paul lets his readers know that this doesnt mean that well walk in sinless perfection; far from it. The Christian life is really an on-going process of battling sin and growing in practical holiness. So, the church is not a country club for the sinless, but a hospital for sinners. Its supposed to be a safe place, where we can be honest about our struggles, and seek the help that we need. And so Paul tells us that those who are spiritualthat is, those not struggling with a persistent sinneed to help those who are struggling with sin, so that they can be restored. And the word for restore here has to do with the mending or healing of a broken bone. Anyone who has ever had a broken bone knows how painful that is. If a person has a broken arm, you dont yank it and slap it into a cast. You have to be careful with ityou have to handle it with great care and gentleness. And thats how we are to be with each other when we fall into sin. We must restore each other in a spirit of gentleness, where they know that we our concern is to see them restored to spiritual health. We want to reach out to those in our midst who may be struggling with the love and compassion of Christ so that they can be restored to spiritual health. And secondly, and related to this is that in verse 2 were told to:
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B. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. The shame and guilt that we experience when we struggle with an issue of sin can be unbearable, and that is why we need to restore people in gentleness. And this really stands in stark contrast to what would exist in a legalistic environment such as fostered by the Judaizers who by their legalistic teaching would in effect put heavy weights on people that neither they nor anyone else could bear, and where they might look down upon those who are struggling with an heir of spiritual superiority. If someone struggles with sin, the legalists response would be to thank God that they arent like that miserable sinner, and to condemn the person. But in an environment where Gods Spirit and grace thrive, we recognize our own faults, and seek restoration, not condemnation. Carrying each others burdens also has to do with any number of difficult circumstances that people may go through in life. Have you ever felt like life was just caving in on you, and you were going to be crushed by the weight of everything? Thats how we feel when we struggle with any number of difficult circumstances, whether its dealing with the death of loved one, divorce, depression, or even doubt. So, we need to come along side our brothers/sisters to carry each others burden or demonstrate the truth of Jesus love in those situationswhich might mean that we mourn with them, pray with them, or provide meals, or offer to do some other chore. So many of us though needlessly try to deal with these difficulties by ourselves, and become overwhelmed, and sometimes we even withdraw from fellowship altogether. But when Im in that valley of despair, the thing I need the most is the Gospel, and the God ordained place for me to get full exposure to the Gospel in word and deed is the local church. So instead of withdrawing, I need to soak up as much of the Gospel as I can, because thats what will bring healing to me. So we need to be honest about our burdens, and ask for help.
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We need to know each others burdens, and we need to be forthcoming with each other when we do have burdens that are crushing us under their weight. And we need the Gospel to be ministered to us, both in word and deed, especially during those times. And all of this means that theres no such thing as a lone ranger Christian. The Christian life was meant to be lived in community, which is emphasized throughout the New Testament by the frequent command to love one another. Jesus said A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." And Paul tells the Galatians in chapter 5 that our freedom in Christ is to be used not as an opportunity to sin, but to serve one another in love. Its very difficult to obey those love one another commands if were not a part of a local body of believers. And I think that ultimately thats whats in view when Paul speaks about fulfilling the law of Christ. Its this emphasis on doing what our vision statement says: Christ indwells and we are called to share and demonstrate the love of Christ among the family of believers. C. Beware of Spiritual pride: in v. 1 Paul says watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Then in v. 3 he says that if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. If were the ones who are the restorers and burden bearers, we have to be careful lest we begin to think that were the spiritual super giants who do no wrong and are indestructible! For Paul, the bottom line is that he is what he is by the grace of God. He lived every day and every moment of every day recognizing his need to rest entirely on the grace and Spirit of God for everything. And the moment we forget that is the moment we start to trust in our own power and strength. As Proverbs say, a prideful spirit comes before a fall. So Paul tells us in v. 4-5 that each one of us needs to test our own actions, without comparing ourselves to anyone else, and we need to carry our own load.
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Pauls point is that were all individually responsible to obey God to live the way He wants us to. I cant compare myself to others, rather, I must measure myself by and with Gods Word, and when Gods Word penetrates my heart, it shows me just how far short of Gods glory that I fall. So, we need to be on guard against spiritual pride, and keep coming back to the cross of Christ, and placing our boast in that alone (6:14). II. We must care for the material needs of others Two key ways this is done is by: A. Giving generously to support the teaching ministry of the church: 6 Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.The good things is primarily financial and material support of those who are tasked with teaching and preaching the Gospel on a full time basis, which is ultimately the pastor who is an elder that has been set apart full time to the ministry of the Word and shepherding of the church. The Gospel is free, but Gods people have the joy, privilege, and duty to support the ministry of the Gospel with their financial resources. Secondly, in v. 10 we see that we care for the material needs of others: B. By doing good in general to all, especially those who belong to the family of believers. Doing good in the Scriptures 1) depends on Gods grace and flows out of faith in Christ, 2) is directed toward serving others selfsacrificially for Christ, and 3) has as its goal the glory to Christ. Any work then that doesnt have Christ as its ground and goal is not a good work, strictly speaking, which is at least part of what Paul means in Rom 3:12 when he says that there is none who does good, no not one. So based on that, I would define a good work biblically as something that is done by Gods grace through faith in Christ that shares and demonstrates the love of Christ to someone. And Paul says something very interesting. He says that were to do good to all people, but especially to those who belong to the family
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of believers. Why does Paul say to do good especially to the household of faith/family of believers? Possibly a couple of reasons: 1. There is really no such thing as a casual church experience. The Christian life is meant to be lived in community with other believers who actually spend time with each other (more than just Sundays), and who know each other. 2. It has to do with, again, fulfilling the law of Christ, where He tells us that believers in Christ are to love one another. I often hear Christians get concerned that the church doesnt want to be so inward focused that it ignores those outside, and that is a real danger. But I have also seen churches that are so outward focused that they totally ignore the needs of those right in their own congregation! To me, the danger in the church is always that we would not be inward focused enough! You see, its in here where we learn to demonstrate the love of Christ, and what we learn and do in here, we should take out there. Theologian Harvey Conn said that The church must recapture its identity as the only organization in the world that exists for the sake of its nonmembers. I think he has overstated the case. The church exists primarily for its membersto nurture them and care for them, and so-called mercy ministry must begin here, and then move out from here. So, we want to be about doing good works that are grounded in Christ, and whose goal is the glory of Christ. III. We must sow to the Spirit, not the flesh Look at vv. 7-8. Paul says 7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Paul paints the picture of the Christian life as a farming enterprise and the idea of sowing of reaping. If you plant corn, you wont reap wheat. And I think that Paul here really sums up his whole argument in
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Galatians. If you sow to the flesh, you are under the curse. If you sow to the Spirit, you reap eternal life. And I think there are 2 senses in which we sow to flesh: 1. Sowing to the flesh means that we must not habitually engage in the obvious sins that Paul lists in 5:19ff. 2. But secondly, keeping the problem with the Judaizers in view, sowing to flesh includes anything that we do that is aimed at exalting ourselves and our performance. In other words, when we have a doctrine of salvation of works, that is in fact a sowing to the flesh, because it is placing confidence in ourselves and our own abilities and works for our right standing with God. This was the problem with the Judaizers. They were sowing to the flesh, and the end result was denial of the Gospel. They were putting themselves back under the works of the law as a means for salvation, and they were only going to reap the curse of God for what they had sown. Those who consistently live that way, and really believe that they are justified before God because of their works, are sowing to the flesh, and they are in fact under the curse, and will only reap destruction. As for sowing to please the Spirit, the first way that this is done is by recognizing our inability before God to justify ourselves before him. That is his entire argument in chapters 1- 3. After stating in no uncertain terms that justification is by faith in Jesus Christ alone and not by the works of the law, Paul expresses his shock at the Galatians in chapter 3 for having turned from that truth. He asks them bluntly:Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. Beginning by the Spirit means that they were trusting in Christ alone to save them, not what they could do to save themselves. They had, if you like, sown to the Spirit, and, they had sown to the Spirit
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because the Word had first been sown in them, and God had brought forth the increaseof faith in Christby His grace and Spirit alone. And so there are 2 key things that we can say about sowing to Spirit: 1. First, it begins with faith in Christ. As Paul said, the life I live, I live by faith in Christ. We never move from that. Christ is the heartbeat of the Christian faith, and faith and repentance are the blood. 2. Then out of that faith, we do good works in and by the power of the Spirit, where we exhibit the fruit of the Spirit in our lives: love, joy, peace, kindness, etc. So when Paul says that the one who sows to please Spirit, from the Spirit he will reap eternal life, he is not teaching a doctrine of salvation by works! Just the opposite! Hes saying that the thing that pleases the Spirit is faith in Jesus Christ, and that faith must express itself in good works for it to be a truly legitimate faith. And so now, since we are alive in Spirit, we must walk in the Spirit. We must continue to sow to it. All that means is that we must persevere in the faith to the end, and that perseverance manifests itself in good works, repentance, and reliance upon His enabling grace. And so we need to ask the hard question of what it is were sowing to. What do I spend most of time thinking about and doing. Where do most of my resources go? Am I sowing to the flesh in the sense that I continue to habitually engage in the acts of sinful nature? Am I sowing to flesh by walking in spiritual pride? Or am I sowing to the Spirit, where I am living a life of faith in Christ that is demonstrated through loving and serving others? Conclusion Recap
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Let us go forth then trusting in the perfect work of Christ, and share and demonstrate His love with each other.