Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Let us not grow weary

 Read Galatians 6

It’s Palm Sunday.  We read of the triumphant entry into Jerusalem.  The children went all over the sanctuary with their palms. You know those little stringy things that come of the fronds?  We will be picking those up until Thanksgiving.  It’s Palm Sunday.  We observe that context, but we press on to finish Paul’s letter to churches in Galatia.

Paul is still writing about living by the law and living by the Spirit, but we get some practical counsel in the midst of these two broad approaches.  Like what?

Everyone should carry their own load.  We should do what we can to make it in this world, but if someone is having trouble, help them.

In the armed forces, there is an offense called malingering.  It’s Article 115.  It means that the person is doing things—feigning illness or disability—to avoid doing his part.  In the all-volunteer force, we don’t see much of this anymore.

There are plenty of folks like this in the world.  Some have jobs and get paid.  I didn’t say that they worked, just that they have jobs and get paid.  They work at not having to work. We read plenty about the lazy and the sluggard in the Proverbs.  Elsewhere, the term might be slacker. 

We get it.  There are people trying to get out of doing their fair share.  But what about people who are trying—genuinely and sincerely giving everything their best effort and still coming up short?

If someone is trying to carry his own load but is struggling, help them.  Help them.

Let’s try this nugget. We should not sin, but if someone does and we know it, we should help bring them home. If they were running a good race and someone—including the person himself—got them off course, we should help them get back in their race of faith.

 We are not to be the voice of condemnation but of reconciliation. We don’t walk around with a pocket full of yellow penalty flags looking for offense.  We are equipped with invitations to come home.

Remember the joy in heaven is much greater for the lost or the sinner who comes home than for those that didn’t need much help.

Remember that the flesh and the Spirit that live within us are at war.  If the flesh wins a battle or two, render aid to the believer who is struggling.  Help restore them.  Remind them that God has not given up on them and neither have we.

Anything else? We are to inspect ourselves.  We are to let the Spirit of God who lives within us examine out thoughts and actions.  Before we interact with others, we must undergo inspection by the Holy Spirit.

What is being inspected?  Surely our thoughts and attitudes and also our weapons and equipment.  We will get to that in the next book we are set to study.

Paul reminds us to take care of our instructors.  If we put God’s words into practice and are blessed, share that blessing with your teacher.

When we cruise or go someplace new, we enjoy picking out something for our grandchildren’s teachers. When you put God’s words into practice and are blessed remember those who helped put you on this path.

Some of you still remember the people that put you on the right course.  Remember them and bless them while they are alive. God will reward them, but let them know that they made a difference in your life.

We are at war with the flesh.  Sometimes the flesh tries to convince us that we can try to get one over on God, but it is an impossible task.  We can fool ourselves but we can’t fool God.  God will not be mocked.

Sometimes it seems that we just keep on trying to do good and we don’t see any fruit from our efforts.  We don’t see any progress.  It gets hard to stay the course. We grow weary and wonder if it’s really worth it.  Listen to Paul’s counsel once more.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

A harvest is promised.  There will be fruit that comes from your good efforts.  They are not in vain.  You might have to practice trust in the Lord and patience, but a harvest is coming of your good works.

Remember, your good works don’t get you to salvation, they come out of your gratefulness for your salvation.  They are the fruit of our new nature.

So, don’t give up. Press on towards the goal. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Continue to live by the Spirit and by love. Live by faith not sight.

Let your light shine before people.  They will see the good that you do and this will bring glory to God.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

I am reminded of the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, who said never, never, never give up.  If you say never three times you must really mean it.  Here’s another one.

Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never -- in nothing, great or small, large or petty -- never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense.

We should continue, press on, and never give up in doing good to all, but especially to those within the body of Christ. 

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Paul wraps up this chapter and this letter by reminding his readers not to let anyone cut them off in their race of faith.  Yes, it’s another short bout of how worthless circumcision is to the one who has come to God by faith.

Paul reminds these Galatian believers that circumcision and the other demands of the Judaizers are made only to bring them back to living in the flesh, in slavery, and to deny the work done on the cross. These people only want you as a notch on their belts, and these are belts of slavery.

Paul brings forth a recurring theme.  I am crucified with Christ.  Christ lives in me.

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. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.

Paul began this letter with a harsh tone but concludes in a way that says I love my family in Christ.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.

Some of you are thinking, I can’t believe that we talked about circumcision for 6 weeks.  Others may remember different things.

There is no other gospel.

Salvation is by grace through faith.

I am crucified with Christ.  Christ lives in me.

The law is no longer our guardian or governor.

If the law could get you to salvation, Christ died for nothing.

You are on the right path when you live by faith.  Don’t let anyone cut in on you or cause you to veer off course.

Keep doing good.  Harvest is coming.

We continue with Paul’s letters in the order they come in most of your Bibles.  We are on to Ephesians.  Here are some seeds to start your thinking.

What do I have in Christ?

We are saved by grace through faith. Yes, I jumped the gun on that one while we were still in Galatians.

Did you know that we are God’s workmanship created to do good?

May we approach almighty God with freedom and confidence?

Can we grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of God that we know in Christ?

Think about the number one.  One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.  Two can be as bad as one, but the loneliest number… That was Three Dog Night.  Some of you are too young to know that you missed the best music ever in the sixties and seventies.

Paul says something about the number one as well. One body.  One Spirit. One hope. One Lord. One faith. One baptism. One God and Father of all.

Here is more that we will discuss in Ephesians.

Putting off the old self and putting on the new self.

Live a life of love.  This one seems to show up everywhere. It’s a recurring theme in God-inspired authors.

Counsel to husbands and wives and children and parents.

Last but not least, putting on the full armor of God.

All of that and more is compressed into six chapters.

We will celebrate resurrection next Sunday and then it’s headfirst into Ephesians.  We should celebrate both.

For now:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.


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