Follow Along

Get new posts by email:

Sunday, November 12, 2017

[Matt's Messages] "We Will Reap a Harvest"

“We Will Reap a Harvest”
Galatians: The Truth of the Gospel
November 12, 2017 :: Galatians 5:26-6:10

Due to guest preachers and Reformation Sunday, it’s been a whole month since we were in Galatians together, so you might not even remember that we’ve been studying Galatians together since the month of May. This is our fourteenth message in Galatians, and I am projecting only one more after this to finish the book this month.

I promised to finish it this year; I plan to finish it this month.

Our series is called “The Truth of the Gospel” because that’s what was at stake in Galatia. The churches that Paul had planted and loved so much had been infiltrated by false teachers who were insisting that the Christians in the region of Galatia take on obedience to the Mosaic Law to be justified before God on the last day and to show their reliance on keeping the Law by having all of the men circumcised.

And Paul was astonished and perplexed because it looked like the Galatian churches just might tragically abandon the truth of the gospel of grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. So Paul wrote this letter to try to rescue them from losing the truth of the gospel and everything that comes with it.

Now, we’ve reached the end of the letter where Paul has been laying out the practical implications of the gospel of grace. The Galatians were to embrace their freedom and embrace their identity as sons and heirs of God. And they were not go back to slavery but instead to live out of their freedom. And to live in love and to live by the Spirit.

Last time, we read that we are to keep in step with the Spirit. To walk by the Spirit, to be led by the Spirit, to allow the Spirit to produce His fruit in us, and to keep in step with the Spirit.

What does that look like?

Well, that’s what he gets into today. Paul didn’t write any big chapter numbers in his letter. 5:25 is immediately followed by 5:26 and 6:1 and so on, in the original!

So that’s what we’re going to read now: 5:26 through 6:10.

But I want to start today with verse 9.

Chapter 6, verse 9 is one of my favorite Scripture passages, and it’s also our new Hide the Word verse for the remainder of 2017.

We’ve been on Galatians 2:20 for some time, and I think we’ve got it down.

So now we’re going to do Galatians 6:9, and it has such a wonderful promise in it.

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

What a great thing to memorize!

What a wonderful promise! That promise is the title of today’s message.

“We Will Reap A Harvest.”

This is the right time of year to talk about harvesting.

This is harvest season when the farmers reap the crop that they have been so painstakingly caring for all year long.

It’s the time for the return on their investment.

And we sing about it this month. A lot of the songs we sing for Thanksgiving have a harvest theme, because it’s that time of the year, and we’re thanking God for what He has provided for us in the harvest.

This harvest in verse 9 is probably not about crops like corn, wheat, and beans. At least, not primarily.

It’s primarily a spiritual harvest. And it’s the blessings that come in eternal life, the blessings of holiness, the blessings of knowing God, the blessings of all of the good gifts that the Lord of the harvest has promised to His faithful children.

Some of those blessings will be seen now in part. Maybe even in corn, wheat, and beans. But most of these blessings will come in full in the future. In the age to come.

But come they will!

We will reap a harvest.

That’s the promise of God.

...if we don’t give up.

Did you notice that in verse 9?

Verse 9 has a wonderful promise, but has a condition. It has a condition that is a calling.

It’s a calling to faithfulness. To continue believing and to continue obeying.

Trusting and obeying. V.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.”

Point Number One today:

#1. DON’T GIVE UP.

The first part of the verse says, “Let us not become weary in doing good...”

Let’s not get fatigued.
Let’s not grow too tired to go on.
Let’s not lose heart.

Don’t give up.

Of course, the Galatians were tempted to give up the gospel. They were tempted to believe a false gospel, another gospel which is really no gospel at all.

But they were also tempted to give up doing good.

They were tempted to stop doing good works.

They were tempted to stop loving the people around them.

That’s easy to do, isn’t it?

To get tired of doing good?

To get compassion fatigue?

To want to just throw in the towel and stop loving the hard-to-love people around you?

That has happened to me at times.

Let me tell you why this verse is so precious to me.

A few years ago, I grew weary of doing good as a pastor. I just got tired of doing what was right in a few relationships that were difficult around here.

And I just avoided them. I didn’t stop doing my job, but I stopped doing that part of my job. I took every excuse.

But God engraved this verse on my soul, and it became my biggest prayer request at the time. “Do not grow weary of doing good.” King James, “Let us not be weary in well doing.”

And so I had to make a list of people to whom I needed to apologize. It was several people long. People that I had failed as their pastor in some way.  I had just given up with them, and God said, “Matt, do not grow weary in well-doing.”

It took me several months, almost a year, to apologize to everyone on that list. But by God’s grace, I did. And I felt an incredible freedom.

Are you tempted to give up?

Hear the promise that goes with that calling: “At the proper time we will reap a harvest.”

I know. I hear it, too, “at the proper time.” “In due season.”

That means waiting. That means being patient.

That means we sow now and we reap later.

You can’t say, “You know, I want to have an apple this afternoon. I should get out there and plant an apple seed this morning.” It doesn’t work that.

There is sowing now and reaping later.

So we’ve got to wait. And we can’t give up while we wait.

We’ve got to hold on for the harvest.

Don’t give up.

Are you tempted to give up? There are a lot of reasons to feel like throwing in the towel. I don’t have to list them to you. You feel them already.

But do you feel the promise?  “We will reap a harvest.”

Now, what is it we’re supposed not give up doing? V.9 again.

“Let us not become weary in doing good...”

#2. DO GOOD. Look at verse 10.

“Therefore [because of the harvest], as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

Because we will reap a harvest, we’re supposed to not give up doing good works, doing things that will serve others–doing good to all people but especially the church, the family of believers.

Do good.

Now, what does that look like?

I think that’s what Paul is talking about in this whole section Galatians 5:26 through 6:10. It’s all about the good we’re supposed to do to each other. Especially to one another in the church.

This is what keeping in the step with the Spirit looks like. And it’s what doing good to people looks like. Let’s back up to 5:26 and look at some specifics. 5:26

“Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

That’s the opposite of doing good.

Paul is going to toggle back and forth between what not to do and what to do to love others.

He starts with the negative. Don’t get into competition with others.

“Let us not become conceited [or prideful or old word, “vainglorious”, full of oneself because that leads to], provoking [or competing] and envying each other.”

This is what you might call the sin of comparison.

It’s thinking so much of yourself that you can only think about others as they compare to you.

Do you know anybody who does that constantly? They are constantly comparing themselves to others, and it comes out in either competing, “I’m better than you,” or envying “you’re better than me and I hate you for it!”

That is not doing good to all people.

Look at what is. Chapter 6, verse 1. “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.”

Doing good to someone who has found themselves trapped in a sin, means restoring them gently.

Now, that is not easy to do.

For one thing, most people who are trapped in a sin don’t want to be restored.

They want to be left alone with their trap.

So it require a loving rebuke. And that’s hard to do gently!

So you can see why Paul says that we should not grow weary in doing good. This is hard work!

But it’s a good work.

I know that right now, while I’m sane, I want someone to love me enough to step into my life if I get caught in a besetting sin and try to restore me. Gently.

That’s what love does.

That’s what Christians do.

They help each other to get out of their sinful traps.

Do you see how is supposed to do that work in verse 1?

“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.”

Who’s that?

Is that a special class of Christians? They “spiritual” Christians?

I don’t think so. I think it just means the true Christians, you know, the ones who hav the Spirit. The ones who are led by the Spirit and walk by the Spirit, and are producing the fruit of the Spirit and are keeping in the step with the Spirit.

Those are the ones who love others enough to do them good by confronting and forgiving and restoring those who have been caught in a sin.

But see the warning in the second half of verse 1?

“But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.”

You might have the same temptation that your sinning friend had fallen into.

Or you might be tempted to pride, tempted to think that because you are helping him, that you’re really something and you’re immune to these sins of lesser mortals.

I know people who love to point out the sin in others, but they can’t see it in themselves. V.2

“Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

That’s what it means to do good to the family of believers.

It means to carry each other’s burdens.

I heard Tim Keller talk about this verse. He said that it’s like helping somebody move furniture.

If the chest of drawers weighs 200 pounds, you can’t carry it yourself. But if two guys grab it. Then you’re both only carrying 100 pounds. And if four guys do it, you only have to lift 50 pounds each.

What I think is interesting is that this verse makes it clear that we all have burdens.

We’ve all got heavy stuff in our lives.

And we’re not supposed to carry them all by ourselves!

We’re supposed to share our loads with another.

I help you. And you help me.

That’s one of the reasons why we have the church!

“Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Isn’t that interesting? The Galatians were so concerned about obeying the Law. Or at least the false teachers wanted them to be.

Paul says, “If you love other people, especially the people in your church and you carry their burdens, you’re fulfilling the Law! The Law of Jesus Christ!”

How are you doing at carry the burdens of others?

Are you praying for someone?

Not just saying that you’re going to, but actually praying for them?

Are you helping people out, the people around you?

Unless this is your first Sunday with us, everybody in this room should have relationships with other people in this room and should know some of each others’ burdens and be doing something to help each other carry them.

Is that happening?

Are you doing that?

That’s what we’re supposed to be doing.

It’s going to look different for different. Different for everybody.

But that’s what church is supposed to be.

“Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

The deaconnesses are helping us with that. But they don’t do it all for us. We all do it for each other.

Look at verse 3. Isn’t it interesting how Paul keeps toggling between what to do and what not to do? Or, maybe it would be better to say that he keeps toggling between how to look at other people (with eyes of love) and how to look at yourself (with a basic mistrust of your own heart). V.3

“If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.”

Point number three.

#3. KEEP AN EYE ON YOURSELF.

Paul is telling us to examine ourselves.

“If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” I think he means, “If you think you’re too good to carry someone else’s burdens, then you are in danger. You are not above helping somebody else with their problems.”

Watch out for that attitude. Test yourself!

“Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else...”

Now, I don’t think he means that you should expect to boast in your own actions on your own merits. That would be antithetical to everything he teaches in the rest of this letter and all of his other letters!

I think he’s basically just saying, that you should keep a critical eye on yourself instead of a critical eye on everybody else (which is what comes naturally!) and if you can honestly say that your motivations come from faith and love, then you can be boast that God has done His work in you on the Day of Christ Jesus. And it’s not what someone else has done, but what God has done in you.

For...(look at the end of verse 5), “for each one should carry his own load.”

Now, that’s interesting because it sounds like the opposite of verse 2 that we help each other carry their loads.

I think it’s different kinds of loads. V.2 is a “burden” like a heavy thing, a trial. I think verse 5 a “load” like a responsibility, a calling.

Verse 5 means that we don’t pass the buck.

We take responsibility for the things God has called us to do.

That doesn’t mean we don’t expect help. Verse 2 tells us that we’ll need it!

But it does mean that we don’t blame everybody else for our failures.

Everybody needs to carry our own load in Christianity.

And of course, that’s by faith, as well. We don’t carry our own load in our own power, either.

But we do keep an eye on ourselves.

We need to have a basic distrust of our natural motives and inclinations.

You know the world says, “Trust your heart! Follow your desires!”

But the Bible says that’s dangerous advice.

We need to keep a weather eye on our own hearts and desires.

Isn’t that interesting? This whole passage is about doing good to others and being gentle with them. But it’s also about being critical of ourselves and not going easy on our own sin.

Helping others but distrusting ourselves.

How are you doing at that?

For me, sometimes I’m good at that. But often I’m not.

I let my guard down and I give myself little passes.

And the next thing you know, I’m off course. And I’m following my own self desires and I think I’m better than others. And I’m concerned that I’m worse than others and I’m jealous of them for it!

And I think I’m really “something.”

And I need to take a good hard look at myself.

How about you?

V.6

“Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.”

This is also about doing good. I think this is basically the call to pay your pastor, and this church is really good at that. Thank you!

But notice how he toggles from the good right back to the bad. V.7

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”

Do you feel the warning?

He’s saying, “Don’t lie to yourself.” “God CANNOT be mocked.”

You see how strong that is? It’s a basic law of the universe, you don’t get away with anything.

God has built the principle of actions and consequences into the fabric of the universe.

This is not karma. It is God’s sowing and reaping principle.

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 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.”

Two kinds of people. Two kinds of sowing. Two kinds of reaping.

Those who sow [literally] “into the flesh” like the sinful nature is the field, will reap destruction (or corruption). That’s what will happen to unbelievers. To those who do not put their faith in and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

But those who sow “into the Spirit” like the Holy Spirit is the field, will reap eternal life from that Spirit!

That’s what happens to those genuine believers who walk by the Spirit, are led by the Spirit, allow the Spirit to produce His fruit in them, and keep in step with the Spirit. They sow to the Spirit and they reap eternal life.

We will reap a harvest!

So don’t give up. V.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.”

Do good. V.10

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

And keep an eye on yourself.

Don’t sow to the flesh. Don’t just listen to your own heart and your desires.

They are often fallen and fleshly.

And the end of that road is destruction.

Instead, sow the Spirit.

Put all of your energy into doing what He wants and what brings glory to Jesus Christ.

Do good to all people. Even children far away that will open up a Shoebox full of your love.

And do good to the people right here close to you. Right here in this room.

Be the church to each other. Restoring each other gently. Carrying each others burdens. Looking out for each other’s welfare.

And don’t stop until you see your Savior’s face.

Until He brings the all of the blessings that He has so faithfully promised.

Because we will reap a harvest!


***

Messages in this Series:
01. To the Churches in Galatia
02. Turning to a Different Gospel
03. Preaching the Faith He Once Tried to Destroy
04. So the Truth of the Gospel Might Remain With You
05. Acting in Line with the Truth of the Gospel
06. I Live By Faith in the Son of God
07. You Foolish Galatians!
08. You Are All Sons of God Through Faith in Christ Jesus
09. So You Are No Longer a Slave
10. I Plead With You
11. Abraham Had Two Sons
12. Called to Be Free

0 comments: