Mar 13, 2016
Galatians 6:6-9

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Galatians 6:6-9, “Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

Before we discuss verse 6 I want to begin this morning by unpacking the larger point Paul is making in our text (I think it will help you understand why Paul leads with this exhortation).

Keep in mind… We all live in a constant tension between two opposing forces. On one side (positive force) we all possess “the Holy Spirit” provided to each of us through God’s amazing grace which works in our lives to supernaturally yield Godly “fruit.” On the other side (negative force) remains our sinful and unregenerated “flesh” which, if given allowance, will do nothing but “work” in our lives any and all forms of wickedness.

Because these two forces (our flesh and God’s Spirit) cannot both be in control and will naturally oppose the influence of the other, Paul has made it abundantly clear the only way to deny the flesh the opportunity to fulfill it’s evil intent is to choose to “walk in the Spirit.” Walking in the Spirit not only denies the flesh, but it yields greater Godliness!

This is what makes legalism so dangerous. Not only does it fall short in fulfilling it’s aim to justify or sanctify, but it minimizes the Spirit’s ability to accomplish this aim as well!

Understand… Gospel distortions always emerge as a response to a misdiagnoses. As a reaction to sinful behaviors being demonstrated in the lives of Christians “saved by grace” it only stands to reason that we either seek to excuse away such behaviors (which leads to this “Grace, So I can do anything” distortion)… Or we buy into the lie that grace alone isn’t enough (which leads to a combination of these “Grace, And do these things” or “Grace, But don’t do these things” distortions).

And yet, while the existence of sinful behaviors is less than desirable, the problem isn’t a failure on the part of grace! God’s grace has never led a person into sin! The problem instead centers on a failure to understand how grace transforms a person’s life.

Grace initiated by Jesus’ work on the cross not only provides you incredible favor with God, but it also maintains this favor through a continued relationship you now have with Jesus - All of which is made possible because you were filled with the Holy Spirit upon regeneration. And if being justified and made right with God in addition to having this incredible relationship with Jesus wasn’t enough, it’s this very Spirit of God indwelling your life that will naturally begin to yield Godly attributes and behaviors. Always keep this important reality in mind… Godliness is impossible without the active involvement of the Spirit of God!

As we’ve noted in previous studies… “Walking in the Spirit” or “living in the Spirit” involves nothing more than constantly filling your life with opportunities to be supernaturally influenced by God knowing these things will naturally manifest a reciprocating, Godly result. 

You see sinful behaviors in the life of a believer (the moments you totally blow it) are not an indicator God’s grace has somehow failed, but are instead evidence you are no longer engaging and involved in the things necessary to “walk in the Spirit.” The problem isn’t that grace doesn’t work. The problem is that you’re no longer allowing grace to work!

This is what Paul means when in verses 7 and 8 he says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” 

“Do not be deceived…” Literally, “Do not be led aside from the right way.” Paul is pleading with these Galatians to stop allowing themselves to be led into error. What these false teachers were peddling was not the truth! It was a deception. On account that legalism necessitates the inclusion of our flesh it can never be the solution to sin!

Paul continues with this radicle declaration that “God is not mocked…” In the Greek this word “mocked” or “myktêrizô” means “to turn up the nose or to sneer!” Interesting side note: This is the only time this particular word is used in the entire New Testament. In context Paul is saying that you are actively mocking the God of the universe when you try to earn or maintain God’s favor apart from the work of Jesus on the cross! Anytime you attempt to manufacture Godly-living in your life apart from the Holy Spirit you’re not only undermining, but you’re making a mockery of the power of the Gospel!

Regardless of the lies these false teachers were peddling to the Galatians the spiritual life has been designed by God to operate according to a very specific principle legalism tries to subvert: Sowing and Reaping! Paul writes, “For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” 

Sadly, this concept has been twisted by many into a form of Christian Karma that states, “If you do _______ for God, God will do _______ for you.” This was the premise of the Old Covenant arrangement and one that flies in the face of the New Covenant of Grace. Note: This is an idea that we’re going to unpack further in next Sundays study.

While any topic would do for illustrative purposes more often than not you’ll see this concept rear its head when it comes to the topic of tithing… Many pastors exhort their congregations to faithfully tithe under the pretense that giving money to the church will prompt God to give money back in return. You’ve probably heard it said, “You can never out give God!” 

Tragically, ill-intentioned pastors pitch tithing to Christians as a spiritual discipline designed to yield monetary blessings. Now don’t get me wrong, God wants you to be generous and I’m a firm believer greater blessings will always result (not always reflecting in the bank balance)… And yet, I can say with complete and absolute certainty that God does not want the motivation behind your generosity to be the desire to earn more of His generosity! 

This is not what the idea of “Sowing and Reaping” was designed to communicate. This word “whatever” is the Greek pronoun “hos,” and while the word can be translated as “which, that, or what” in just as many instances it can be found in the NT as “whom, who, or whose.” Example: Matthew 5:19, “Whoever (hos) breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever (hos) does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

I’m of the opinion Galatians 6:7 would be better translated as, “For whom a man sows, that he will also reap.” The emphasis is not particularly on sowing or reaping, but rather the locale in which the activities take place. Notice Paul then says, “For he who sows to his flesh will reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” The point is that “sowing to the flesh” will yield a much different result than “sowing to the Spirit.” The first “will reap corruption” (eternal destruction) while the later “everlasting life!” 

I don’t think it’s an accident that while Paul defines the results of “reaping” he doesn’t particularly define what’s being “sown.” The implication is that whatever is “sown to the flesh will reap corruption” and whatever is “sown to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” Understand, the correct diagnoses as to the existence of sin in the life of a believer is that greater energy is being sown to “the flesh” as opposed to “the Spirit!” Even the best efforts, sincerest desires, and greater disciplines employed by your flesh in the attempt of earning or maintaining God’s favor or the development of Godliness “will reap corruption.” Your flesh is incapable of producing anything that pleases God!

And yet, notice the miracle of grace… Even though you might be the one “sowing to the Spirit” it is only “of the Spirit” that you will “reap everlasting life!” If you spend time in His Word, in prayer, in worship, or around like-minded believers (not because you have to, but as a reciprocation of his grace) “the Spirit will reap” incredible results in your life. It’s a promise!

Paul is hammering home the reality that it’s impossible for you and I to see “the Spirit reap” Godly results in our lives without first taking the time to “sow into the Spirit!” Reaping necessitates one first properly sow the right seed (motivations) in the right place!

I would be amiss if I didn’t also point out that Paul says, “He who sows (literally, “He who is in the habit of sowing”) shall (in the future active tense) reap…” In using this particular agricultural analogy, Paul is letting us know the results of reaping not only require continued, faithful sowing on our part, but that the process ultimately takes time. It’s been said, “You sow a thought you reap a action. You sow an action you reap a habit. You sow a habit you reap a character. You sow a character you reap a destiny.”

In this process whereby we sow to the Spirit and wait for the Spirit to reap results in our lives there are two things that can happen. Paul continues in verse 9, “Do not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” In the Greek this word “grow weary” was used to describe someone who slacked in their efforts because of a prolonged labor. The phrase “lose heart” spoke of a women who, in the midst of this labor, concludes there’s no possible way she’s going to make it.

How easily it is that we can “grow weary” and “lose heart” because our spiritual lives aren’t progressing at the clip we desire! And yet, Paul’s exhortation to press on anyway comes with the promise that “in due season we shall reap!” It’s a guarantee! Philippians 3:12, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.”

Please understand… There are no shortcuts to this process! While many of us would prefer to plant fully developed, mature plants instead of sowing seeds this is not the way our spiritual growth occurs. And yet, with time even the smallest seeds grow into large trees! For example: 

If you started by praying 5 minutes 3 times a day which would total 15 minutes, in just a years time you would spend 5,475 minutes in prayer (91.25 hours or roughly 4 days).

If you read only 25 verses a day which would equate to 9,125 verses for the year, you’d be able to read through the entire NT (7,959 verses) plus all 12 of the Minor Prophets.

If you were to take advantage of everything C316 offers which totals around 10 hours a month (120 hours yearly), it would equate to only a 20 minute a day time commitment (5 days or 1.3% of your time). If you just came every Sunday (1.5 hours or 78 hours a year) it would be to a 13 minute a day commitment (3.25 days or roughly .8% of your time)

If you were to make an every-other-week dinner date night alone with your wife a priority ($60 for dinner and $40 for two hours for the sitter), we’re talking about a 8.5 minute a day time commitment plus budgeting a whopping $7.12 a day to invest in your marriage.

In order to see the “fruit of the Spirit” yielded in your life God simply asks that you sow seed to the Spirit. You don’t have to “go big or go home,” but instead start small and be strategic!

Let’s get back to verse 6 by keeping in mind that the context for Paul’s exhortation is the idea that sowing to the Spirit is critical if we’re to see the Spirit yield a reciprocal work in our lives. “Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.” 

Though I don’t want to get off topic, because money is such a controversial topic, I think it’s important we’re clear that being generous with your financial resources is not optional. In multiple passages throughout Scripture generosity (in much the same way as love) is presented as evidence of a Spirit-filled Christian! It’s been said, “Generosity is the most natural outward expression of an inner attitude of compassion and loving-kindness.” 

Note: The Holy Spirit does more in our hearts than simply prompt an occasional act of generosity; rather the Spirit changes the inner constitution of an individual by instilling within the person a deep desire to be generous. God’s grace is foundationally generous!

Author Oswald Chambers made this fascinating observation, “God never estimates what we give from impulse. We are given credit for what we determine in our hearts to give; for the giving that is governed by a fixed determination. The Spirit of God revolutionizes our philanthropic instincts. Much of our philanthropy is simply the impulse to save ourselves an uncomfortable feeling. The Spirit of God alters all that. As saints our attitude towards giving is that we give for Jesus Christ’s sake, and from no other motive.”

In 1 Timothy 6:17-19 Paul told Timothy to “command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come….”

It should also be pointed out that Scripture speaks of giving as being a matter of obedience to God, stewardship of His resources, faith in His providential care, as well as being an act of worship! In Proverbs 3:9 we’re told to “honor God with our possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase.” In 2 Corinthians 9:7 Paul wrote, “God loves a cheerful giver.” 

If you’ve ever wondered, “What can I really do to express to the Lord how deeply thankful I am for all He’s done for me?” The answer… Love others and be generous! Note: Being generous helps a person retain control over their money as opposed to their money exerting control over them. In Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus told His followers, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Admittedly, when it comes to discussions about the importance of paying the pastor I prefer to leave these topics to one of our elders who, as all laymen, have no financial benefit. I sympathize with what Martin Luther wrote in his commentary on this passage, “These passages are all meant to benefit us ministers. I must say I do not find much pleasure in explaining these verses. I am made to appear as if I am speaking for my own benefit.”

One of the reasons passages like this are by in large cringe-worthy is the brutal but honest fact that so many pastors have abused this principle. It’s almost a weekly occurrence when Mega-Church pastors find themselves in the headlines over financial related abuses. People see celebrity pastors traveling the globe in private planes, hobnobbing with the rich and famous, wearing designer clothing, living in multimillion dollar homes, and driving around town in a Mercedes all the while guilting the common man for another buck. Just last month a RICO lawsuit was filed against Mars Hill Church and specifically former pastor Mark Driscoll in the U.S District Court for the Western District of Washington. Is there any wonder so many question whether or not a pastor should ever be paid! 

In order to be transparent and for full disclosure, our bylaws place the establishment of my salary completely upon the Elders discretion. I have no say in what I’m paid and these decisions are made on a yearly basis by the men God has called and you have confirmed. That said… Calvary316 pays me $40,000 a year to be your pastor with an additional benefits package of $10,000 for ministry related expenses. Honestly, I’m humble by the fact I’m paid anything and would do the job for free if the circumstances demanded it. Also note… If you give of your financial resources to Calvary316 and have any questions about my pay, how the finances are managed, or what measures are in place to insure accountability never hesitate to ask either myself or one of the Elders. Our desire is nothing but complete and utter transparency. 

With that out of the way and in order to fulfill my job of faithfully teaching you expositionally the whole counsel of God, in verse 6 Paul is clearly stressing to these Galatians the importance of financially supporting the teacher you are personally benefiting from spiritually.

Though true Paul only accepted a financial offering from a church on one recorded occasion, this specific exhortation constantly emerges in his writings. 1 Corinthians 9:11, “If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?” 1 Corinthians 9:11-14, “Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.” 1 Timothy 5:17, “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.” 

Let me explain why paying the person who you’ve chosen to faithfully teach you the Word of God is important. As a church the Bible describes us as a living organism filled with people who have differing gifts and callings that support and benefit the body at large. And while everyone’s role, calling, and giftings are essential for the church to be healthy so that it can fulfill Jesus’ design, what makes the pastor’s job unique is that he’s called to support and equip every part of the body through the effective teaching of God’s Word. 

The simple reality is that a church will struggle to remain efficient without a full-time pastor dedicating more than what volunteerism can allow. I hope this goes without saying, but (aside from running the business side of church as well as coordinating the organization needed for a living organism to exist) it takes a lot of time, energy, and effort to pour over God’s Word, unpack it’s meaning, and then craft a coherent, relevant message every week. Paul’s logic is that in order for the pastor to fulfill his calling of ministering to the whole his financial needs should be met by the whole so that he has the time to do this job effectively.

According to a survey conducted by Thom Rainer, the medium time pastors spend in sermon prep is only 13 hours (half cited less and half more). This reality explains why there are so few solid Bible teachers! Just so you know on average I spend somewhere between 25-30 hours a week prepping for Sunday’s study (only 3% of pastors fall into this category).

I hope you recognize the hard work I put into the teaching of God’s Word. For better or worse, even when a sermon falls flat, I pray you can at least recognized the fact I spent a lot of time working hard laying that egg! Heaven forbid anyone leave our church thinking I simply strolled into the pulpit unprepared to handle God’s Word - that I’m simply winging it!

I can’t say it enough how deeply thankful and grateful I am that you all see such a value in being effectively taught the Word of God that you not only faithfully show up to listen, but that you see the benefits in financially enabling me to fulfill God’s calling! The fact that anyone would come listen to me teach anything yet alone the Bible is incredibly humbling.

As we wrap things up don’t forget the context… God has designed the spiritual life to work only one way - You will “reap of the Spirit” when you sow “of the Spirit.” Not only will this continued act of faithful obedience ultimately enable you to resist the pull of the flesh and it’s intent on “reaping corruption” in your life, but this is the only mechanism by which you’ll slowly begin to see your life transform more into the image of Jesus! That said… If growing to be more like Jesus is the ultimate work of grace empowered by the indwelling Spirit, one of the things that will result in your life is a greater generosity. 

This morning if you believe your ability to “walk in the Spirit” would be unaffected without the involvement of Calvary316 in your life, then I encourage you to find a church where such a position could never be stated! The spiritual life predicated upon sowing demands Christian community as well as the involvement of Godly, Bible-based, effective teachers.

However, if you and your family are spiritually benefiting through the things God is doing in and through this particular Christian community (if Calvary316 is helping you “sow to the Spirit”) then I pray you would enable the work to continue through your financial support.

Galatians 6:6-9, “Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”


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