NO AUDIO THIS WEEK
Let Us Do Good To All
Key Verse: 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.”
Paul had earlier written to the Galatians about “Living (or walking) by the Spirit” so that they might not gratify the desires of their sinful nature. He had made a clear contrast between what it is to live by the sinful nature, versus living by the Spirit, and he had recounted to them the fruits of the Spirit that a Christian is to produce in his or her life when they walked by the Spirit. Then in this last chapter, he talked about another fruit of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who profess faith and obedience to Jesus Christ. He says: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (2) Surely this is one of the identifying marks of a Christian living by the Spirit of God. He or she is willing to carry a fellow believer’s burdens. Those who have been blessed with the Lord’s grace in their lives are eager to carry each other’s burdens because the compassion of Christ and his humility and servantship propel them to carry out the will of God with overflowing love for those who suffer the burdens of this life.
In the passage we are looking at today, Paul again talks about the overflowing fruits of the Spirit by which we live our Christians lives. He talks about the responsibility of the believers in the church towards their instructor or Pastor. That responsibility is another fruit of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who share the Lord’s grace and blessings with one another. Paul here also talks about another fruit of the Spirit. He speaks of perseverance (or as he puts it, not becoming weary— and not giving up) as a fruit of the Spirit— Especially perseverance in doing what is good in the sight of God. We need to understand that doing good is not enough. But to persevere in doing what is good in the sight of God is a glorious fruit of the Spirit.
Read verse 6. “Anyone who receives instructions in the word must share all good things with his instructor.” Who is “anyone”? It is the congregation of a body of believers. Who is the “instructor”? Anyone who has devoted his or her life to instructing the church in the word of God. What are the “good things”? They are the good things— God’s blessings— which God freely pours out on his people, from the skills and talents that he gives them, and the encouragements they receive from day to day, to all the financial or material blessings that God sees fit to entrust to his people. Verse 6 may be one of the bluntest verses in the Bible. I’ve looked it up in many places in order to make sure that it is what most expositors believe Paul is alluding to here. And I found out that they all agree that Paul is talking about taking care of— or carrying the financial and material burdens of— the instructor or teacher in the church— the pastor, as well as all those who have been set apart by God to minister his word to the body of believers.
Look at verses 1-5. On the heal of instructing the Galatian Christians about carrying each other’s burdens, suddenly Paul reflects on their responsibility to take care of the needs of their Instructor. Paul himself had been their instructor. He had carried many of their burdens as they were growing up in the faith and maturing into the church of the Living God. They had once been as orphans, wallowing in the muck of a worldly life, not knowing the God who loves them. But he had faithfully preached the word of God to them and had seen to nurturing them in the word of God. He had lovingly carried their burdens together with them like a father and mother who carry their children’s weaknesses and failings until the burden is lightened and made bearable. They had grown from infants in the faith to spiritual giants who were themselves now able to instruct others in the way of righteousness. So, in the same way, they too must carry some of the Instructor’s burdens as well. Instructors have been called to put aside all things, in order to teach and preach the word of God to the church. This is their calling before God. But they cannot fully devote themselves to serving the word of God and the church, if they are left to carry the burden of supporting themselves and their families. There is nothing more regretful than a believer or a congregation of believers who care little about the Instructor’s needs and makes no effort to help him carry the burden of the church. And here we are not only talking about carrying the Instructor’s financial needs, but his need for support and encouragement and friendship and a helping hand in the day to day burdens of the kingdom-work. “all good things”! So Paul instructs the congregation of believers to share “all good things” with their instructor.
All good things are “all good things” that the good Lord pours into our lap from day to day as we live our lives in his will and for his glory. But Paul is mainly talking about the financial needs of those who serve the church as instructors of righteousness— as teachers of the word of God. In the sight of God, with a good conscience, it is necessary that we who have been served through the sacrifice and devotion of those who were called to serve us with the word of God, to remember God’s grace through them who have been instrumental in our spiritual upbringing. The Spirit of God compels us to produce such fruit out of our love for God and our walk by the his Spirit. We are different from the world. The world is cold, and uncaring, easily forgetful of the good of those who have been generous towards them. But as for us, we are the Lord’s people. It is necessary that we make every effort to carry the burdens of those who have served us with the word of God. They are precious to us because they had brought us the word of God and served us in our difficulties and carried us in their prayers. If we do not carry their burden, who will? Proverbs 3:27 instructs us like this: “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.”
On the other hand, let me take the opportunity to speak to the instructors themselves as well. While it is the believer’s privilege to carry the burden of those who have been called to instruct in the word of God, it is the privilege of the instructor to live by faith in the Lord who called him. Here I have found 3 principles by which the Lord’s servant must live by faith in the Lord. The first principle is “Do not worry about your life”. The Lord himself tells us in the sermon on the mount,: “Don’t worry about your life…. Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 5:25-34) The Lord takes good care of his servants who have devoted their lives to their calling as shepherds and Bible teachers, as pastors and missionaries. The second principle is “Jehovah-Jireh” which means “the Lord will provide.” When Isaac asked about where the offering would come from, Abraham set for him and us a lifelong principle— and faith— to live by. Genesis 22:14 tells us: “So Abraham called that place [Jehovah-Jireh] The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.’” It is easy in the life of faith of those who devote themselves to the Lord’s work to fall into insecurity and unbelief. But as Abraham discovered, “The Lord will provide.” That is— and should be our faith. Those who serve God’s purpose in their lives by instructing others in the way of truth must rely on the Lord who provides for all their needs. If they don’t, there is a danger that they would quickly slip into the ways of corruption and so dishonor God. There is third principle as well for those who are serving the Lord’s work. It is “Be Content.” ‘Be content in the Lord’s provision’. The Lord’s servant must not be greedy nor excessive in his expectations from those who are committed in the Lord to serve his needs. The Instructor’s heart must be content to have (possess) the Lord and whatever the Lord provides him with without greed or undue expectation.
Paul’s faith regarding his his commitment to contentment, as well as his commendation to a congregation which carried his burdens in the love of God is found in Philippians 4:10-19. “I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
Read verse 7. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” What is he talking about? He is taking about self deception, about mocking God, and about a very serious life principle. He first says: “Do not deceived.” We saw that self deception is a huge problem in the churches. People thinking that they are better than other people in the church— that’s self-deception. Rather than bearing the burdens of each other, they criticize, ostracize and condemn each other as inferior. But Paul talks to the spiritual man and woman in the congregation telling them that those who are spiritual ought to carry each others burdens. They ought to gently nurture a weak and failing brother or sister back to health until they are fully restored. Self-deception is a problem all God’s people ought to be careful about. We can avoid self-deception if we remember the marvelous grace of the Lord Jesus in each of our lives— that we are only forgiven sinners. Then we will not look down on those who have revealed a weakness or failing, but embrace them and lead them back to God and to his grace. But Paul here is again talking about self-deception, and this self deception comes in another form. This is the self deception that you can live in the flesh and think you can get away with it. Paul says, that’s like mocking God! And so many Christians fall for this until it becomes a self-deception and blinds them to see his actual sorry condition before God. Paul says that you cannot mock God by what you do, either secretly nor openly and then get away with it. No one can get away with what they choose to do in life and with their lives. Even if we can fool people, we cannot fool God nor mock his majesty.
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.” Then he says: “A man reaps what he sows.” A man reaps what he sows! We cannot sow something and expect to get something else in return. We cannot think or act in a godless way, and then expect to be recognized as a genuine Christians. We reap and harvest what we sow in our lives. But this is what self deceivers want to do. They want to sow corn and then harvest wheat. They want to harvest barley when they have sown wheat. You cannot do that. Why? There is a law— a law of nature— a law God instituted form the onset of time. What you sow you will reap. If you sow rice you will harvest rice. If you sow corn you will not harvest wheat but you will reap corn. How is this relevant in a spiritual sense? This is the law of things in life. Jesus talked about sowing and reaping many times in the gospels. What people plant in this life, what they sow and plant in their hearts, they will reap in this life— and then again they will also real in the next. Neither God can be fooled, nor can the law of things be changed. If you sow wickedness, you will not reap goodness, but you will reap wickedness. If you sow evil, you will not harvest “good” but you will harvest evil. It is the law of things, especially which Christians must be very careful about. It’s what Paul is teaching the church. We shouldn’t deceive ourselves and by doing so, mock God and his laws as well. This is the way things are. You reap and what you sow.
In Romans 6:21 Paul warns the Christians who have made a public confession of faith. “What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death.” Indeed Christians who have tasted the grace of The Lord cannot even stomach the things they did before they came to Christ. They are ashamed of them. They are ashamed of the thoughts that entered their minds and flooded their hearts all the time. They are ashamed of their actions living as if God were dead. But they had come to Christ and Christ had washed their sins away. He had given them a new mind and heart where the Spirit of God lives, and directs their footsteps. There are some Christians who keep on hiding from other Christians. They are more comfortable with non-Christians than with Christians. If when they are with other Christians they pretend to be Christians. They know how to talk about spiritual things, and how to avoid talking about things that they know Christians won’t welcome. Why do they frequently hide from other Christians? Possibly, because they are sowing what they should not sow, and doing what they know they should not do. But Paul says that we will reap what we sow. David sinned against God by committing adultery. When he accepted the Lord’s rebuke, he was forgiven, but he reaped what he sowed. He never had a moment of peace and rest in his family. We cannot mock God. We reap what we sow.
Read verse 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.” And that is the truth of things! We reap what we sow in our lives. If we sow corruption, and division and criticism, and hold on to anger and bitterness, to envy and to greed, we will reap exactly that in our lives. But the Christian does not sow to please his sinful nature. He does not give in to temptations that corrupt his heart and lead him in the way he knows he should not go. If he says its okay to stray a little, I will come back later, what he will reap is corruption, because corruption breeds more corruption. But a Christians ought to sow what is pleasing to the Spirit of God. He ought to follow the Spirit to see what the desires of the Spirit are. What are the desires of the Spirit? We know that God desires above all else faith and hope and love, of which Love is the greatest. When we devote ourselves to the word of God, and to prayer, the Spirit reveals all that God would have us do. There are those who mistake their own desires for the Spirit’s desires and claim that they have the freedom to pursue this or that. But the Spirit’s desires are clearly seen in the Scripture. And when that’s not clear, God has given us brothers and sisters to be counseled by, who love us and are glad to tell us what is good and what is not. But if we have no spiritual friends to confide in and to seek counsel from, we have the church, the body of believers who love us and would embrace us and guide us according to the Spirit’s desires. Christians are blessed people who know what to sow in their lives and what to reap in this life and in the next. They are blessed because they have God’s assurance that when we determine not deceive ourselves, nor to mock God, but determine to please the Spirit, God leads us in the way that is good and right which always reaps life and blessing, now and at the end.
Read verse 9-10. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” One of the hardest things in life is to persevere in what we have, or in what we are doing. So easily we get discouraged and lose our focus and goal in what we are doing. Paul knew the dangers of becoming weary, especially in doing good, in doing what we know God wants us to do. We get weary and tired of everything. We get weary especially when we have poured our hearts and lives into something and we see no fruit in sight. But when we walk by the Spirit, we bear the fruit of the Spirit, and one of the precious fruits of the Spirit is doing what is good and right in the sight of God. Another fruit is to persevere in it, without giving up. We have been called to serve the gospel to our generation. To do that we pour ourselves, our prayers, our love and our effort into the work of God and into those whom God sends us. It is tiring work, if we do by our own strength and with our own will. Our will and strength soon falter and fail. But we do not tire at all when we do the good God calls us to do by the Spirit. And the Spirit is also the Spirit of patience and endurance and perseverance, where such things come to us by the power of the Sprit himself through whom we live. Paul tells us the truth, the simple truth. Do not become weary in doing good, don’t get tired of the life God calls us to live, don’t get frustrated when you do not see fruit of your good-doing. Because God is faithful and the harvest is near.
We can say many things here about doing good and persevering in it. But I want to focus on parents today. Especially on parents who have poured out their lives in serving God, and have raised their children in the church. Their children have been born to Godly parents. They had grown in God’s house. They had been taught and established in the word of God. They had been offered since birth to God who accepted them. It does not matter what fruit you see today. The fruit of your perseverance and your love and prayers and sacrifices for them and on their behalf cannot be overlooked by God. Moses’ mother, Jochabed, had too few years to raise her son before he was taken to live in the palace in the godless atmosphere of Egypt. But she believed that her son is special. She planted faith in his heart when he was young. And in God’s time her son could not but fulfill his purpose in God. In the same way, all our children are special, because there were born to you in your faith and devotion to God. Please persevere in your prayer for them, persevere in your stand on faith, and believe that they are special, and in God’s time they will reject the world and it glitter and embrace their calling to serve God’s great purpose in their lives. Perseverance is indeed difficult especially when we do good, and see no harvest on the horizon. But God’s word is true. Paul encourages us to not grow weary in doing good. To persevere in it, and not give up. That is the glorious fruit of the Spirit in our lives. May you reap a harvest of good from what you have sown in the lives of others, and in serving God’s kingdom. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”