Introduction: We conclude our survey of Galatians, Living Free.
- This morning’s message is entitled, The Law of Christ.
- Theme verse: Galatians 6:2 (NLT)—Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
- This letter to the Galatians deals with whether a Christian must obey the law of Moses; in this closing chapter, Paul replaces the law of Moses with the Law of Christ.
The law of Christ is… (Galatians 6:1-18)
#1 - Displaying concern for others. (Galatians 6:1-3; C/R: Matthew 18:15-17; Romans 13:8-10; James 5:19-20; 1 Peter 4:8)
- At chapter 5:16ff., Paul contrasted the consequences of living according to the flesh and being led by the Holy Spirit. [APP.: Are you gaining greater awareness of the Spirit?]
- Here, he stresses helping, not condemning, Christians caught in sin.
- Galatians 6:1 (NLT)—Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly [mature, experienced, believers] should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.
- The Judaizers emphasized obeying the Law of Moses, which focused on outward behaviors and external appearances.
- Paul stressed that Christians should not be interested in inspecting each other’s actions, rather, they should be concerned with rescuing those who had fallen into sin, not with an arrogant, superior, attitude that comes from comparison, but with an honest, humble, awareness that we are all susceptible to sin. (Matthew18:15-17; 1 Peter 4:8; James 5:19-20)
- Galatians 6:2 (NLT)—Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
- To share or bear (other translations) each other’s burdens is to become like Jesus, our ultimate burden-bearer, who actually became our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), experienced it personally, then was punished for it, to fulfill the Law of Moses on our behalf.
- The Law of Christ in a broad sense means all of Jesus’ teaching, but here, it specifically refers to the command to love your neighbor, which results in obeying all the rest of God’s law about how to treat others. (Romans 13:8-10)
- Galatians 6:3 (NLT)—If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.
- Paul pressed each of us to examine ourselves honestly, asking, “Who am I helping?”
- He implied that our unwillingness to aid others due to our own pride, self-centeredness, unwillingness to be inconvenienced for the sake of someone in need.
- APP.: Are you willing to assist someone overcome by sin? Ask God for someone!
The law of Christ is…
#2 - Doing what is good. (Galatians 6:4-10; C/R: Matthew 5:16; Hebrews 13:16; James 2:17-18; 1 Peter 2:12)
- Galatians 6:4-5 (NLT)—4 Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. 5 For we are each responsible for our own conduct.
- Paul encouraged the Galatians, and us, to view each other as allies and partners, not competitors, working together to achieve God’s goals, plans and purposes.
- Every one of us is expected by God to do his or her part to further God’s kingdom, not to merely try to look good in other people’s eyes, but instead, to bring glory to God.
- This responsibility includes learning God’s Word, which includes valuing the teaching of the Bible and supporting people God has called to teach His truth and encourage spiritual development in our lives.
- Galatians 6:6 (NLT)—Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them. [all kinds of support; 1 Corinthians 9:11.14]
- Thanks for your generosity that allows me and our other pastors to use our lives to study, learn and teach God’s Word. (We have fine, humble, industrious, pastors who minister to every age and most of life’s significant and difficult situations.)
- Galatians 6:7-8 (NLT)—7 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. [Reap what you sow.] 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.
- When we live to please the Spirit, we will harvest the spiritual blessings of eternal life (and some material blessings from God who desires to delight His children; Psalm 37:4)
- APP.: Do you use your resources, time and money, where the Spirit directs? (James 2:17-18)
- Galatians 6:9 (NLT)—So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. [Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12]
- APP.: Are you tired of doing what is good? What good are you doing?
- Galatians 6:10 (NLT)—Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone–especially to those in the family of faith. [Hebrews 13:16]
- APP.: Will you ask God to show you someone to do good for, especially another believer (because we are responsible for caring for each other)?
The law of Christ is…
#3 - Demonstrated on the cross. (Galatians 6:11-18; C/R: Romans 2:29; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 11:23-27; Philippians 3:3; Colossians 2:11)
- Paul likely dictated this letter to a scribe (Romans 16:22), his custom was to add a closing and his signature (2 Thessalonians 3:17), but he was so concerned that the Galatians grasp the message of this letter that he personally wrote the entire closing paragraph in his own hand.
- Galatians 6:11 (NLT)—NOTICE WHAT LARGE LETTERS I USE AS I WRITE THESE CLOSING WORDS IN MY OWN HANDWRITING. [Vision problems? Thorn in the flesh? 2 Corinthians 12:7-10]
- He again confronted the Judaizers for their false teaching, and explained their motivation was more related to pride and conceit than a desire to lead people to Christ or encourage their spiritual growth.
- Galatians 6:12-13 (NLT)—12 Those who are trying to force you to be circumcised want to look good to others. They don’t want to be persecuted for teaching that the cross of Christ alone can save. [self-centered, dishonest] 13 And even those who advocate circumcision don’t really keep the whole law themselves. [hypocritical, insincere] They only want you to be circumcised so they can brag about it and claim you as their disciples. [ego]
- Then Paul reasserted the significance of the cross.
- Galatians 6:14 (NLT)—As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died.
- Paul was not interested in anything this world offers; he was dead to the world and the world was dead to him, he lived to serve Christ and extend God’s kingdom. (Philippians 1:21)
- Paul then again summarized the main theme of the letter one final time!
- Galatians 6:15-16 (NLT)—15 It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. [2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 2:11] 16 May God’s mercy and peace be upon all those who live by this principle; they are the new people of God.
- God’s people included both Jews and Gentiles—anyone, in fact who embraced Jesus by faith and had been born again! [Romans 2:29]
- This includes YOU! You are the new people of God together with them!
- We celebrate our unity of faith and Spirit when we gather at the Lord’s table!
We share in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross at the Lord’s Supper
- Paul wrote…
- 1 Corinthians 10:16–17 (NLT)—16 When we bless the cup at the Lord’s Table, aren’t we sharing in the blood of Christ? And when we break the bread, aren’t we sharing in the body of Christ? 17 And though we are many, we all eat from one loaf of bread, showing that we are one body. [Look around you! We, together, are the People of God!]
- We share in the body and blood—the sacrifice—of Jesus; we are personally related, intimately connected to each other—to love each other sacrificially in the Lord!
- Open your sachet, take out the bread and prepare your hearts to participate. [Pray?]
- 1 Corinthians 11:23-24 (NLT)—23 For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord Himself. On the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread 24 and gave thanks to God for it. Then He broke it in pieces and said, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this to remember Me.” [Eat it. … Take out the cup. Peel of the top.]
- 1 Corinthians 11:25-26 (NLT)—25 In the same way, He took the cup of wine after supper [3rd cup, the cup of redemption], saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and His people—an agreement confirmed with My blood. Do this to remember Me as often as you drink it.” [Drink it.] 26 For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until He comes again.
- Song: Remembrance
- Paul continued: Galatians 6:17 (NLT)—From now on, don’t let anyone trouble me with these things. For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus.[2 Corinthians 11:23–27]
- In other words, I am tired of hearing about this salvation through personal works; I speak for Christ when I give you this instruction, so heed it!
- Then Paul closed his letter with a blessing (which I apply to us)!
- Galatians 6:18 (NLT)—Dear brothers and sisters, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen