Sermon on Galatians 6:1-10, 14-16
Text: Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be
tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load. 6 Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. 16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule — to the Israel of God.
I really admire people who have seem to have a natural ability to do things. I could practice for a long time and maybe even to play a tune on the piano. There are those people, however, who bring that instrument to life by the way that they play it. There are those people who are naturally artistic and can draw wonderfully, even without any sort of formal training. I am lucky if I can draw a stick figure to illustrate a point. For some people things like these just seem to come naturally. There is one thing that all Christians can do. DOING GOOD COMES NATURALLY FOR CHRISTIANS 1. Because They Are Created To Do Good and 2. Because There Is So Much Good To Do.
Whenever we are told that we have done something good, there is a tendency for us to feel proud of ourselves. In and of itself, there can be nothing wrong with that. We are using the talents and abilities that God gives us. However, when we begin to boast about ourselves, then we are going above and beyond what is right. If there might have been a person who could brag about what he had done, we might think of the apostle Paul. After all, look at what he accomplished. He traveled many miles telling people about Jesus. He authored at least thirteen of the twenty-seven books that comprise the New Testament. Yet, we note what he says in verse 14, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The reason he felt that way is the same reason that you and I have. Paul knew what he was without Christ. He was a lost and condemned sinner. All of the good things that he accomplished could never earn him a spot in heaven. Were it not for the saving work of Jesus Christ, he would be lost forever. Paul wasn’t going to boast about his accomplishments, but, rather, what he was because of Christ.
The same is true for us. We would have been lost forever, if it were not for the cross of Christ. On our own, there is absolutely nothing that we could bring before God that would give us cause to boast. All we could bring before him is our sins. We might try to pretty them up, but they are still sins. We might try to minimize them, but they are still sins. There is no one who is immune to this, as Paul would later write to the Romans, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) If we were to stand before God with these things, we, also, would be lost forever.
However, we do not put our hope in what we have done. We put our trust in Jesus Christ and what he accomplished on the cross. It was there that he laid down his perfect life as the full payment for our sins. Because of what happened on the cross, and Jesus’ subsequent resurrection, God no longer sees our sins. He sees us as perfect. When we are brought to faith, we are born again. We are a new creation. We have been made good.
More than that, we are created to do good. That is because, when we were brought to faith, the sinful nature was put to death. Paul says in verse 14, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” The world, that is to say, the evil desires of the world and the corruption it brings into our lives, was crucified to us, when we were brought to faith. No longer must we obey what it tells us to
do. Out of love for Christ and what he has done for us, we seek ways to thank him for all that he has done for us. We realize what we are now, the children of God, and no longer want to serve the world. Paul gives us this reminder in Romans 6:11, “Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Not only are we created good, but, we are also created to do good.
This “doing good” is not just a show that we put on for others. Paul warns us in verses 7-8, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” The sinful nature is good at looking like it is doing the right thing. It may go through all of the motions and say all the right things. However, we cannot pull a fast one on God. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.” If we are just doing it for show, or that others will see and praise us for it, we have already received our reward. If we try to put on a good show, so that we can cover up our evil, Paul says, “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction.”
However, if we do the good that we are created to do, Paul writes, “Whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Verses 8-9) This is not to say that our good works earn eternal life. That can only be accomplished through the work of Jesus Christ. Rather, the fact that we are doing these good works is evidence of the faith that is residing in our hearts. Think of what Jesus describes in Matthew 25. As the believers stand before him, Jesus points out the many ways that they showed their love for him by the things that they did for other people. It was not because they did good that they were saved. Rather, it was because they were saved that they did these good works. Even though the sinful nature wants to control us, we want to live in a way that glorifies God for all that he has done for us. We are created good to do good. It is what we do because we are Christians.
What, exactly, is the good that we are to do? Paul summarizes this in verse 10, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Paul notes that God is going to place many opportunities in front of us every day to do good. We are not to take the attitude of doing our good deed for the day and, then, we are done. We please God when we make the most of every opportunity that he places in front of us.
What exactly is meant by “good?” It means that we do that which is useful and beneficial for the people around us. If it helps someone else out, it is considered to be good. This word, also, carries the connotation of that which is acceptable to God. We measure what is good according to what God tells us in his Word.
We, also, take note of whom we are to do good for. It is “all people.” This flies in the face of what our sinful nature and the world around us tell us. They say that you do good for those who are good to you. You repay their kindness. You, also, do good for those people that you want something from. ‘I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.’ Yet, out of thankfulness for all that God has done for us, we want to do good to all people. This includes the people who are not nice to us. It, also, includes people from whom we will never get anything back in return. Jesus said in Luke 6:27-28, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” In addition to having the opportunity to praise God when you do this, you, also, get the opportunity
to show others what your relationship with God means, in the hope that they, too, will want to learn more. This is part of what Jesus meant when he said in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
We, also, note that we are to do good “especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” While we are to do good to everyone we meet, associate, or live with, God wants us to especially be sure that we love and do good to our fellow Christians, because we share a mutual faith in Jesus Christ and a mutual hope of eternal life. It is natural for us to do good for the members of our families. We are reminded that we are part of a family with our fellow Christians. As a result, we want to do whatever we can to help those in the family of believers. This can come in various ways. It might be that we can help with a project at their place. It might be that they are lonely and we go to lift their spirits. We pray for each other. Again, if it is beneficial to them, we want to do it.
There is one specific area that Paul mentions where we can do good for the members of our spiritual family. He writes in verse 1, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.” One of our family members has fallen into sin. It is so easy for us to echo Cain’s words, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” We don’t want to get involved because they might become upset with us. It seems easier to look the other way. Yet, because we love them, we want to point out what they are doing as wrong, so that they might repent and receive the forgiveness that Jesus won for them. That is always the desired end result. Jesus said in Matthew 18:15, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” We show love to them in this way, so that they will be with us forever in heaven. That is why Paul adds in verse 2, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” The “law of Christ” is his command in John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
A warning is added to this, when Paul says, “But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” (Verse 1) This isn’t necessarily pointing to the fact that you are tempted to join them in that particular sin. Rather, there will be the temptation to look down on our brother or sister in the faith. ‘I would never fall into that sin.’ Verses 3-5 state, “If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.” What Paul means here if that we are to, first of all, remind ourselves who and what we are by nature. We realize that we are also sinners, who have sinned against our God time and again. We thank God that Jesus has paid for those sins. Having done that, we will not be minded to come into this situation thinking so highly of ourselves. Rather, we will come to our brother or sister who is caught in a sin with understanding and love. This is one of the opportunities that God gives to you and me to “do good . . . especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” May we take advantage of these opportunities. May God help us to always do good to all, by loving as we ourselves have been loved.
A father and mother watched their little boy playing T-Ball and couldn’t help but think to themselves, ‘He’s a natural. Look at the way he is able to throw, field, and hit better than any of the others on his team.’ Whether or not that little boy ever makes it to the big leagues remains to be seen. You and I are also naturals – naturals at doing good. God created you to do good when he brought you to faith. All of your sins were washed away. A new man was created in you that delights in doing those things that are pleasing to him, things that are truly good. We also know that God places so many opportunities in front of us every day to do good. We pray that God would continue to open our eyes to these opportunities and that we would then, out of love for him, carry them out. There is so much good for us to do what we are naturally good at doing. Amen.
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