"Devoted to One Another"
As we conclude this study of Galatians, Paul’s heart reaches out to people that he loves and calls upon all of us to love each other deeply. It starts by how we seek to help a failing Christian, but goes much farther.
Devoted To One Another
A. When Jesus came into Jerusalem the Sunday before his crucifixion, he was hailed as a king and Messianic phrases were shouted by the people. Today we call that Palm Sunday. The week is often called “Passion Week.” The reason is because we see the passion of Jesus poured for all the sins of mankind. It was first used in the second century to describe the death of Jesus. Jesus went through a cruel trail of beatings and humiliation before an agonizingly long, torturous death by crucifixion.
B. During that week we find him forcing people out of the temple as they disrupted its purpose as a place of prayer and communion with the Father. He challenged religious leaders, he taught the people at the temple and we read of him weeping over Jerusalem (READ Matt. 23:37).
C. I look at my life, at this congregation, and I ask myself how much passion do I have for each of you individually? What lengths would I go to be of help to you?
D. I hear Paul ache inside for the Jewish people. He loved his people deeply. He knew they were gifted by God, chosen by God, and experienced God in a way no other people have ever experienced God. Yet, as a whole, they rejected Jesus as the Messiah. (READ Rom. 9:1-3).
E. Early in Acts, as the church was in its first few years of life, we read how people gave so much so that others could have their needs met. The church was a family and each person was important. They had issues and fights, but the idea of family was powerful. As the churches began around the northern parts of the Mediterranean Sea we find Jews and Gentiles learning to love each other as equals, willing to help poor saints in Israel, and sharing in the ministry of Paul. The church was seen universally as well as locally.
F. Time marches on, Christians divided, doctrines came through interpretation and individuals were less important that the collective church beliefs.
I. A Falling Brother
A. The letter to the churches of Galatia has been harsh. Paul has called upon them to see Jesus as the only way of salvation and their own works, righteousness, or law-keeping would not be able to save them. He calls upon to examine their walk and see if their lives are a product of the Holy Spirit or if they simply live according to their fleshly desires. He pleads in the most passionate way bring about a restoration of their faith instead of believing a different, twisted gospel message that some called Christianity but it was not. Paul reminded them of how close they had been during his ministry in that region. Now, he closes with asking them to love each other in spiritually dividing times.
B. We come to our text of Gal. 6:1-5. Let’s just walk through this (READ verse 1a). “Caught” This is not the idea that caught them doing some sin, this is about a person who is caught up in sin. They get sucked into it by a series of bad choices. Their life is heading downward spiritually, and probably physically or morally. My guess is, when you look at what Paul listed as acts of the flesh, you might find a brother who has been caught up in some of that.
C. Before we condemn everyone who gets caught up in a sin, look at some of heroes of faith. Abraham lied about Sarah, David committed terrible sins involving Bathsheba, the great Apostle Peter denied Jesus and then years later withdrew from Gentile Christians. People get caught up in a sin and it takes them quickly away from God. So here is the calling (READ vs 1b).
D. James tells us that when a brother wanders from the truth and someone brings them back, a soul has been saved from death (James 5:19-20). I am convinced that I would not be able to preach today had people not loved me enough to challenge where I was caught up in sin.
E. As deeply as Jesus loved us enough to die for our sins, as deeply as the Father loved the prodigal son, I should desire to love you back home to God. How is that done? Who is responsible? (READ Gal. 6:2-5)
II. How Far Do I Take This?
A. People ask me, how far do we go in seeking to help a sinful Christian see the error of their ways? At what point do we give up and leave them in their sinful choices? My only answer is that I can never stop seeking to help a fellow Christian see the need to repent. My frustration may grow strong, but my heart needs to keep on trying.
B. Paul reminds me of two things. First listen to verses 9-10. Don’t grow weary, as you have opportunity. Those two phrases push me to be intentional about my willingness to do good even when my heart isn’t excited. Sometimes I do what is right simply because it is God’s will.
C. The second is found in verses 14-15. If my boasting, my pride is not in me, but in what Jesus did at the cross, then I know that my calling to do good doesn’t end until this life comes to an end.
A. What counts? It’s not circumcision or uncircumcision. The only thing that counts is being a “new creation.” So are you? Are you a new creation? Before you quickly answer “yes,” which I believe most here are, I ask you to think about what it means to be that new creation. You were created to be Christ to the world.
B. So we enter “holy week.” We come to a time when the churches spend the week rethinking about all that Jesus did in his passion for us. I love this time of year. It is a time of reflection, but it is also a time of action. I want to be as devoted to you as Jesus was to me. I may never achieve that divine height, but I will strive. I will call you to repentance, and I hope you call me to repentance. Our love is seen is all of us going home to God, holding each other up on the walk of this life. If you need our strength for your journey, please come as we stand and sing.
Because of Jesus,
Jeffrey Dillinger, minister