Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.
Today we wrap up our sermon series from the book of Galatians. In this letter to churches, Paul launched an assault on perversions of the gospel. He has clearly set out what the gospel is and what it is not. The gospel is not good news that you have figured out how to behave morally. Instead, the gospel good news is that God has imputed the righteousness of Jesus Christ to you because it is impossible for you to ever earn it. Your debt has been cancelled and the purity of Jesus is what God sees when He looks at you.
If you are striving with a pursuit of moral perfection, you are always going to fall short of the glory of God. Therefore, God intervenes and provides for you a righteousness that is greater than any righteousness that you could ever achieve. The cross of Jesus Christ absorbed the wrath of God towards you because of your rebellion. The gospel is good news because if we are in Jesus Christ, we are viewed as spotless, blameless, and perfect in His sight.
Not a thing of this glorious salvation is because of anything that we have done. It is all because of God’s plan to redeem and restore us through Jesus Christ. We celebrate today! We are not simply celebrating that we used to be this and now we are this - or we were hooked on this and now we are not - or we had this bad situation and now we don’t. Instead, our celebration is that our God counts us as righteous and not only forgives us, but He loves us and likes us!
A Gospel Environment Creates Gospel Community
These truths are to rewire our hearts and cause us to walk in freedom in this life. Paul does not want us to fall back into enslavement by trying to earn favor with God. He has warned us of the errors of legalism and license. These last two chapters Paul is laying out what a community that believe this gospel will look like.
When a group of people believe, embrace, and understand the gospel, a type of community is formed. When men and women believe and trust in the gospel, you will have a place where people serve one another, consider others before themselves, restore those that fail, and bear one another’s burdens. You will have a community that manifests the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control) - these are growing among all the people. In verse 6, he paints the picture of a community that is generous with those that proclaim the Word - this includes any that serve you.
Sowing And Reaping
Paul now moves to a warning in verse 7. By beginning with the words, “do not be deceived…”, Paul is saying that all of us have a tendency to believe that we’re right about something when we are actually wrong. It is dangerous to think that we are honoring God when in fact we are mocking Him - or showing contempt for God. We mock God when we try to earn salvation by our performance. We are deceived when we try to earn what has been freely given. It is mocking God because you are essentially saying that you have no need for Jesus, the cross, His death, and His resurrection.
To stop receiving your righteousness from Jesus, and to start trying to make your own righteousness, shows contempt for God and mocks the God of the universe. The other way we mock God is by abusing God’s grace and seeing it as a license to sin and rebel against God’s design for His people. These errors have a result - death.
In verses 7-8, Paul uses a familiar human experience - the agricultural process of sowing and reaping. This is an absolute principle. Whatever you sow you will reap. Today, your life is a result of what you have historically sown. You are now reaping from the seeds you have sown. Whether you are happy and walking with Lord or you are distant from Him - it is a result of what you have sown. Our relationships, our finances, our hurts, habits, and hangups often reflect what we have sown - both good and bad.
Our spiritual lives - either vital or anemic - are a result of what we have sown. It is not a question of whether you are sowing - it is a question of what you are sowing. Are you sowing to the desires of your flesh or are you sowing to the desires of the Spirit? Your cannot ignore your spiritual aspirations and think that someday you will just wake up and be spiritually mature. There is no silver bullet sermon, class, church, or place in life that will automatically give you spiritual maturity.
Paul gives us hope, “the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” For sure there is a future to this principle - the making new of all things by Jesus when there will be no more tears, no more crying, no more hurt, loss, death, or tragedy. But there is also a present reality to this principle. Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”.
Jesus’ work in the gospel isn’t just about a future life, but every bit as much about the fullness of life here and now. As we submit to the gospel and walk with each other, there will be an increase of the fruit of the Spirit. We reap the fullness of life now as we sow seeds in the Spirit and keep in step with the Spirit. When you sow in the flesh, you reap from what the flesh has to offer you: enslavement, destruction, and the death of hope. But when you sow in the Spirit, there is life, freedom, and a sure hope!
We are simultaneously sowing and reaping right now. What are you planting? You did sow this last week. You did contribute to tomorrow this past week. Paul challenges us in verse 9. We don’t do good because others deserve it or because we get something in return. Our motivation for doing good to others is that good has been done to us in Christ when we were not worthy of that good. In verse 10, Paul brings this back to what this looks like in gospel community. The beauty of the Church is this deep reliance we have on one another - a confession of weakness and need for one another. By living like this, we put Jesus on display to the world.
Sow To Please The Spirit!
Our Via Communities are our primary discipleship tool. This section is to help you as you discuss the sermon with others in your life. It is designed for communities to utilize but can be used to facilitate a conversation between spouses, good friends, co-workers, etc., as we live to be faithful to God’s mission in his world.
This simple acronym (BLESS, B - Bless, L - Listen, E - Eat, S - Speak, S - Sabbath) should help you to frame your life according to the great commandment “love God” (Matthew 22:37) and the expression of that commandment in loving your neighbor (John 13:34). Each time you meet, start by discussing the rhythms of your life according to B.L.E.S.S.
Intentionally bless: Christ-followers, non-believers and those different than you.
Listen to what God is saying to you, through His Word and others.
Share a meal with a Christ-follower and also a non-believer.
Talk to God through prayer and to others about Jesus through witness.
Be intentional about taking time to both rest and recreate.
The Gospel is powerful. The good news of Jesus changes us. This section is to record the ways you are noticing the good news of Jesus transforming your life. Jot notes to help you remember.
As we examined God’s Word, in what ways was His Word examining you?
Describe how Jesus is becoming more central in your life.
What does trusting in Jesus look like for you this week?