As a family of faith, it is our personal responsibility in mutual accountability to do good to each other
Galatians 6:6-10: 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. (ESV)
Have you ever been in a situation where you were trying to do some good to people, and they turned against you? How do you deal with such a repulsive situation? How do you offer forgiveness and do good to people who hate you so much? Where do you find the courage to not retaliate? The answer may sound cliché, but it’s the truth in Jesus through the power of the Spirit in the fellowship of believers, the family of faith.
Let’s not forget that Palm Sunday (when this sermon was originally preached), is also a part of an account of betrayal, forgiveness, and restoration.
The account of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem in Matthew says that people were shouting “Hosanna,”, which in Hebrew means, “save us, we pray.” It says that in the temple, even the children were shouting Hosanna to the Son of David.
But later, when Jesus did not deny that he was the son of God, they turned against Him. The same shouting turned into cries of “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” They spat on His face, pulled His beard, dragged Him through the streets, put a crown of thorns on His head, and tortured Him to the point that, the Scripture says, He was beyond recognition. Even when He was despised and rejected and hung on the cross, He did not stop doing good for them. From the cross He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Doing good usually feels good, doesn’t it? But if that is your basis for doing good, you will retaliate when evil is done to you. You will do good only to those who are good to you.
Throughout the book of Galatians, Paul taught against doing good to be good because the Galatians equated doing good with the works of the law as their basis of salvation. But in these last few verses of Galatians, Paul challenged the Galatians to do good to everyone, especially to those who belong to the family of faith, irrespective of how they were treated.
Those who belong to the family of faith must do good to others even when evil is done to them. Do you do good to everyone, regardless of how they treat you?
Your good has to be sacrificial and selfless. It is not a requirement to be saved, but it is a requirement for those who are saved to do good to others. Galatians 6:6-10 challenges those who belong to the family of faith that doing good is our personal responsibility in mutual accountability.
Principle of Doing Good
When we belong to the family of faith, we follow the principle of doing good. What is the principle of doing good? Verses 6-7 says, “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.”
The principle is found in verse 7, it says “for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” Two quick observations: a) you cannot reap what you have not sown, and b) you will only reap what you have sown.
The principle of doing good is undergirded by the golden rule Jesus spoke of in Matthew 7:12. He said, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
There is always the possibility that we may be quick to point out the faults of others yet be blind to our own. But when we show mercy, mercy will be shown to us.
In Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus tells a parable to make an even greater point that explains why we should follow the principle of doing good because good has been done to us.
“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
In our text, Paul wants the readers to remember that divine judgment is coming for every person, whether a believer or not. Some teachers and preachers will take the principle of verse 7, “for whatever one sows, that will he also reap,” to strike terror into the hearts of the hearers, and they will threaten you into believing and behaving in a certain way. We hear such preachers on TV, Radio, and the internet. While they have the appearance of godliness, their teachings generate self-righteous legalists that will go around condemning and judging the world while losing themselves to unbiblical, self-pleasing, man-made teachings that Paul has been confronting in the book of Galatians. They do good because that makes them feel good, and they condemn others for not doing good because that also makes them feel good. It is about them, and them only, not God, their witness, or the people that God loved so much that He sent His Son to die for them to offer forgiveness to reconcile them.
On the other extreme we have teachers and preachers who completely miss the opportunity to share the truth of justice, the wrath of God and His divine judgment for all. 2 Corinthians 5:10 says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
It does matter what you do in this body. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 says this, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
What is the application? Threatening others to do good to modify their behavior is as wrong as not telling them the truth at all. They will live a life that does not represent Christ at all.
Today, we have churches that are praised for their inclusivism. They say Jesus loves you all, all are welcome, you come as you are. All of that is true and biblical, but that’s only how far they go when it comes to preaching the truth.
Beyond that, they teach what the hearer wants to hear, or else they would have empty pews and empty bank accounts. I heard from a pastor of a large church in New York City that he must preach what people want, or else they will leave.
When you throw the exclusivity of Christ and the faithfulness to His word out of the church to welcome an inclusive approach to salvation, then you do not have a church. What you have is a large crowd full of lost people destined for hell who want to feel good, and they have just the right preacher to make them feel good.
Church, sin should make us feel terrible, but it should never cause us to run away from God, or seek refuge in the arms of legalists or antinomians, rather it should push us in the ever loving arms of our savior Jesus, the Son of God.
Promise of Doing Good
When we belong to the family of faith, we live for the promise of doing good. Verse 8 says, “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.” Built on self-evaluation with divine judgment in mind, Paul leans on the common Jewish and Greek idea of the scale of good and bad deeds but with a different purpose.
Paul differentiates Christianity by arguing that neither good deeds save people from eternal consequences nor do their bad deeds contribute to the outcomes for eternity because man’s works, whether good or bad, have no bearing on God or God’s plan to save us. It comes down to believing in Jesus and walking by the Spirit.
Take the example of Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. All require good works, but none offer assurance of heaven. In Christianity, we have the promise of eternal life for those who live by the Spirit and assurance that the Spirit will produce good works in and through us. The argument here is this, if you are persistent to live, enjoy, and crave the works of the flesh, whether good or bad, it should be clear that you are deceived in believing that you are saved because you said a few words to convince yourself and others that you are a Christian. It has to come from the heart. Verse 7 says, God cannot be mocked. He knows your heart.
Stop pretending and playing church. Confess, repent, and ask the Spirit to help you live the life worthy of your confession. If there is any scale you need to watch out for, it is the scale of our old sinful nature, the flesh. If we feed our flesh, it will dominate us. If we live by the Spirit, the weight will tilt in favor of the Spirit. When we truly belong to the family of faith, together we live for the promise of eternal life, and we do good.
Practice of Doing Good
When we belong to the family of faith, we learn from the practice of doing good. Verses 9-10 say, “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 the opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
Paul says let’s not get tired of doing good because it is not for our glory, but for Jesus, and God will bring forth the result at an appointed time. He says, “let’s not give up.” It is a communal effort.
I was having a conversation with a believer who has been struggling to mend a relationship with another believer. After many attempts to reconcile, finally, he said that he was done trying. No, that is unacceptable. You should never give up doing good to anybody, and verse 10 specifically says, “especially to those who are in the household of faith.”
What is the application? Doing good led by the Spirit is a practice. The more you do, the more you cannot live without doing good to others, especially to those who belong to the family of faith. So, do not give up, and do not grow tired of doing good to others, for you are doing it for the glory of God and not man.
Once, I heard R.C. Sproul appealing to believers not to give their money to those who do not teach the Word. Why did he say that? Because they teach what people want to hear, and since they make people happy, people make them happy. However, Pastor Sproul also indicated in his talk that those who faithfully preach the word often struggle financially.
I believe this must have been the case among the Galatians because it remains true to this day that false teachers rob people of their salvation, their freedom in Christ, and their money. This is probably why Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote in verse 6, “Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches.”
If God is caring for our spiritual needs in this family of faith, the local church, then in obedience to the Word of God, we meet the physical needs of our church according to what God puts on our heart in generosity and never out of guilt or shame. This is how we develop partnerships so that the Word can be taught faithfully. As a family of faith, it is our personal responsibility in mutual accountability to do good to each other, but how can we do that if we are not doing that to our local church?
Only when we belong to the family of faith do we follow the principle of doing good, we live for the promise of doing good, and therefore we learn from the practice of doing good.
My wife and I watched a movie about a preacher who built his mega ministry on the teaching that God wants you to be rich, healthy, and prosperous. But the Bible does not teach that the more you give financially to God, the more you will receive.
Does your church need your financial support? Absolutely, yes, but not if you are throwing your money and your good deeds at God to shut Him up so that you can continue to enjoy a sinful lifestyle. You cannot buy God’s silence, aka the conviction that comes from the Word of God. Therefore, as a family of faith, doing good is not the basis of who you are in Jesus; rather, who you are in Jesus results in doing good out of love and generosity of heart. If God does not hold back, then why should we?
For the full sermon, click here.