Galatians Sermon Series # 7

by   |  03.27.19  |  Sermons

New Creation Communities

Galatians 6:1-10

Focus:  As a new creation community, the church demonstrates the gospel of love.

Function:  To encourage the congregation to fulfill the law of love for the sake of others.

Plotline: Paul can be confusing at times. While not confusing exhortations with the gospel, these exhortations are necessary for a community to live in harmony. Through mutual responsibility within the community, we fulfill “the law of Christ.” Because it is through the cross of Christ that we are a new creation.

6 My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves. All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbor’s work, will become a cause for pride. For all must carry their own loads. Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher. Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. 10 So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.

Paul can be confusing at times. I’ve been echoing Paul’s words about there is nothing one can add to the gospel to make it better, more inclusive, or more effective. Not circumcision, special days, or food laws. Even all the wonderful benefits of the Law to provide moral guidance can add to your salvation. While it has taken churches awhile to catch up with Paul, we have for the most part done that here. And often every generation must renew its commitment to Paul’s teachings on these matters.

Now Paul gives us a list of exhortations, things to do. What’s Up With That? Paul can be confusing at times. On the one hand, you cannot do anything to add to your salvation; and now on the other hand, here are your responsibilities you will be judged by.

While not confusing exhortations with the gospel, these exhortations are necessary for a community to live in harmony. Through mutual responsibility within the community, we fulfill “the law of Christ.

Paul has told them that the Law is fulfilled by the love command and they will not fulfill the desires of the flesh if they keep step with the Spirit. However, Paul did not give them any practical advice about how to live out these abstract ideas. “What does it mean to love my neighbor in the concrete circumstances of life?” “How does one walk in the Spirit?” Here Paul gives moral advice that is precise, concrete, and practical.

In a back-and-forth pattern, Paul gives both individual and communal exhortations. Do any of these have any currency in 2021?

  • Through Individual Responsibility—
    • 1b— Take care that you yourselves are not tempted.
    • 3-5— For all must carry their own loads.
    • 7-8— Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. Paul calls us to live responsibly because you are still under God’s judgment in the present.
  • Through Communal Responsibility—
    • 1a— My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness.
    • 2— Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
    • 6— Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher.
    • 9-10— So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest-time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.
  • The Galatians had to work all this out in their context, in the midst of this rift between Jewish and Gentile Christians. … We have to work it out in our context, in ways that demonstrate the Spirit of God living in us, exhibited with love.
  • (Imagine ways with the list above. What would it look like here if….?)

Because it is through the cross of Christ that we are a new creation. Once we were not a people, but now we are the people of God. And as a new creation community, we are cross bearers for the sake of others.