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Rules for the Righteous
1. We have a message sent to saints. It is all in vain for the unsaved to seek to serve the Saviour. The wicked have never been called into fellowship with Christ in any line of work or witnessing. God demands, first of all, that Christ shall be enthroned in the life as Saviour.
Our chapter opens with the word "Brethren." They are the ones to whom God now speaks, and they are the ones to whom God is now giving certain rules and regulations which should govern the righteous.
Some one, however, will object saying that saints are not under the Law. We readily grant that saints are not under the Law for righteousness, or for salvation, but they are under the Law to Christ. Because we are saved, we are not left to live as we list. The admonitions of this chapter are strong and vital.
2. We have a message that holds a high spiritual standard. Ambassador Wu of China gave an address in this country upon Confuscianism as contrasted with Christianity. One of the things which Mr. Wu emphasized was like this. He said that the ethics of Confuscius were possible ethics, but that the ethics of Christ were impossible. In order to prove his statement, he quoted a part of the sixth chapter of Matthew, emphasizing the beatitudes.
We heartily agree with Mr. Wu. The ethics of Christ and the ethics of the Epistles are impossible, apart from personal contact with the Lord Jesus Himself.
The standard of Christian living and of Christian serving is transcendently beyond any standard for the unregenerate. Others may do many things which we cannot. We are children of the light, and we must walk as children of the light.
3. We have a message that anticipates Heavenly harvesting. The spiritual standards, both of living and of serving, as set forth in Galatians six, are given in view of their bearing on the life to come. The great call of the chapter is, "He shall also reap," or, stated slightly different, "In due season we shall reap."
(1) The Christian is living a life that is linked on to the life to come. Nothing that we do or say, and nothing that we are, has death for its goal.
It is when the Lord Jesus Christ comes adown the clouds that He brings His reward with Him. It is when the believer stands at the bema judgment seat that he shall receive the things done in his body. With this in view we ask you to consider another thought.
(2) The Christian should live below, remembering the power that the present has upon the future.
Paul ran the race anticipating the victor's crown, which should be his at "that day." He desired to be found in Christ as one ready to receive the prize of the upcalling of God.
The Lord Jesus likewise lived upon earth, passed through the hour of His Calvary anguish, looking for the joy that was set before Him, and which would be His in the age to come, and in the Heavenly Kingdom.
I. MEEKNESS OF SPIRIT SHOULD MARK RESTORATION OF OTHERS (Galatians 6:1 )
1. A brother overtaken in a fault. There are two things suggested here. The first is that the man was not spiritual, because, those who were spiritual were to restore him.
The second thing is that the man was overtaken in a fault. He was not one who habitually walked in an evil way.
We are willing to admit that many Christians are not spiritual. We are unwilling to admit that any Christian continues habitually in some sinful way. A Christian may be carnal without being wicked.
Carnality is serving in the flesh. A person may be ever so clean in life and yet live for self. Carnality may be summed up in one little word "Ego." Mark you that the word "flesh" is "self written backwards, with the "h" left off. Many Christians have too much ego, that is the reason they are overtaken in a fault. To be overtaken by a fault shows a spirit or life left unguarded.
"Christian, walk carefully, danger is near,
On in thy journey in meekness and fear;
Snares from without, and temptations within,
Seek to beguile you, my brother, to sin."
Satan always attacks the believer on some unguarded point.
2. A delegated committee-man. God delegates the spiritual as His committee to restore the carnal. Our churches too frequently have carnal deacons or elders appointed to look after the spiritual welfare of some backsliding Christian.
A woman began to talk to a Chinaman about his soul's, welfare. The Chinaman asked the "woman if she danced, or played cards, or attended the theater. When she replied negatively, he said, "Then you can talkee to me."
3. The spirit which should dominate the one who would seek to restore another, Our text says, that the spiritual should restore the one who is fallen, "in the spirit of meekness." He should manifest no "better than thou" attitude. He should carry no spirit of boast, or of Pharisaical superiority.
Even the spiritual may be overtaken; even the one who thinks himself secure may be caught in one of Satan's snares. Remember that Peter cursed and swore, saying, "I know not the Man." Remember that Demas forsook Paul. Even David, wandered, temporarily, from the way of righteousness.
God says, "Little children, I write unto you that ye sin not." We know, therefore, that we may have victory. God, however, adds, "But if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father."
II. THE LAW OF CHRIST (Galatians 6:2 )
The word "law," as used in our key verse, suggests the governing spirit that marked the way of the Lord as He came down from Heaven in our behalf. The "law of Christ" was the "track" that guided His way; the compass that circumscribed His goings.
1. The Law of Christ proclaims Him our Burden-Bearer. Everything that Christ was, He was for us. Everything that Christ did, He did for us. The one consuming concern of the Master was how He could serve His own. He was a Shepherd leading His sheep. He was a Father who provided for His sons; a Saviour who brought salvation to sinners. From morning till night Christ lived for others. He bore our sicknesses and carried our pains. When He went to the Cross, He died the Just for the unjust. This was "the Law of Christ."
2. We should walk in the same Law which guided His steps. In order to do this, we too, must think of others. When the head of the Salvation Army in London wanted to send a greeting to the army in America, he cabled just one word, "Others."
The real Christian never looks on his own things, but on the things of others. He is ready to spend and be spent for some one else. He lives that others may live. He is among the people as one who serves.
3. We should be burden-bearers. There are two classes of burdens which each believer should stand ready to bear. First he should bear another's burdens, and so fulfil the Law of Christ. Secondly, he should bear his own burdens; ever ready to help others with their load; but never willing to impose his own load upon another.
The Lord Jesus gave us a burden, but He said, "My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."
If the believer has a burden he should cast it over onto Christ, for we read, "Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you." Then with his own burden gone, he can go around helping others with their burdens.
III. THE DEEPER MEANING OF MEEKNESS (Galatians 6:3-48.6.4 )
1. The arrogant are self-deceived. Verse three reads, "If a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself."
Woe be to that believer who trusts in the arm of flesh. Woe be to him who imagines that he, of himself, can do anything. It is so easy for us to imagine that we are somebody. Some even think that God could not get along without them.
We should remember that even our comeliness is His placed upon us. We should remember that all of our works, acceptable in His sight, are wrought through invested power. We can do nothing of ourselves. If we think we stand, we will fall. If we think we are wise, God will manifest that we are foolish. Jesus Christ plainly taught, "Without Me ye can do nothing."
2. The acid test. In verse four we read: "Let every man prove his own work." What God wants us to do is to test our work; to weigh it with unbiased mind. There is much in the realm of so-called Christian service that is no more than wood, hay, and stubble.
Whatever we do for human praise, whatever we do to be seen of men, whatever we do to feather our own nest, is unacceptable to God. The acid test is this: "Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." Anything that falls short of this text is an unacceptable service.
We must remember that we have no power, no wisdom, no goodness, with which to bring things to pass for God. We are indescribably weak; we are altogether helpless and undone.
3. Rejoicing in real results. Our fourth verse says, "Then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another."
Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For ye are our glory and joy."
The Thessalonians were converts of the Apostle Paul. He had begotten them, therefore, as he examined his work he had rejoicing in himself, and in the fruitage of his labor.
We do not want to be forced to rejoice alone in the labors of others, we want to have work of our own, which will stand acceptable before God, and prove the rejoicing of our hearts.
IV. RESPONSIBILITIES AND REWARDS (Galatians 6:6 )
Our verse reads, "Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things."
1. We have before us the teacher of the Word. The Word is the only message that God ever gave to His servants to preach. We are commanded to "Preach the Word." God has said, "He that hath My Word let him preach it faithfully."
The Apostles appointed seven men to look after the business cares of the Church, so they might give themselves continually "to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word."
Would that the pulpit might return to Bible expository preaching. There is so much that is preached that is foreign to the Book of books. Some indeed seek to dignify their sermons by taking a verse of Scripture as a text. However, they straightway forget it as they go on preaching about the current topics of the day.
2. We have before us the teacher's earthly reward. Those who are taught should communicate to those who teach. Another Scripture puts it this way, "If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?"
God hath ordained that they who preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel.
Paul personally did not choose to abuse His power in the Gospel. Therefore, he preached making the Gospel of Christ without charge. This he did for the Gospel's sake. Nevertheless, he recognized, what all should recognize, that every laborer is worthy of his hire. We should not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn.
Our lesson is twofold. (1) The preacher should not preach for money, but for the Gospel's sake. (2) The people should be true to their preacher and share with him their carnal things.
V. SEED TIME AND HARVEST (Galatians 6:7-48.6.8 )
1. The harvest is found in the sowing. "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall He also reap." It is not necessary to pay much attention to the harvest, for the harvest is the result of the sowing. We should take heed what we sow.
Another thought the harvest is an eternal fixedness. There will be no opportunity to change the harvest. He that is filthy, let him be filthy still. He that is righteous, let him be righteous still.
2. Sowing to the flesh reaps corruption. The Spirit is teaching us that everything which is carnal, all of the wood, the hay and stubble, will be burned.
Everything that a believer does in the flesh, for himself, for human praise, for financial gain, will bring no abiding reward. To such an one the Lord will say, "Ye have your reward." All the blessing to be received from such service, if blessing it may be called, passes away when the flesh passes away.
The Spirit would likewise teach us that all which is sown to the Spirit will outshine the sun. It will live forever.
Let each one of us take these things to heart. Let us examine our service and seek to find out whether we are spiritual or carnal in what we do; whether we are sowing to the flesh, or sowing to the Spirit. We know the fruit of the Spirit, and we know the works of the flesh. Let us, therefore, walk in the Spirit.
VI. THE CERTAINTY OF THE HARVEST (Galatians 6:9 )
1. We have God's solemn pledge "We shall reap." God is not forgetful of our work and labor, which we have wrought in His Name. The harvest may tarry a long time, yet, "in due season we shall reap."
Verse nine gives a loud call, "Let us not be weary in well doing." This expression reminds us of a verse in the Epistle to the Corinthians. In the first chapter, verse nine, we are called into fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. The word "fellowship" suggests a partnership a joint service.
After the Epistle to the Corinthians is completed, this admonition is given in chapter fifteen, verse fifty-eight: "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."
The opening verse is a call into business with Christ. The closing verse is an admonition to attend to that business.
2. We have God's solemn admonition, "Be not weary"; "faint not." There is a long time between Spring and Autumn, between the sowing and the reaping. That long time is marked by months of toil. Often discouragements arise to the husbandman and the weeds grow fast; the sun bakes the ground. There must be much work by the way of cultivation of the land; there must be much toil in meeting the enemy, which would make impossible a full harvest. God, however, seems to say to the saint, "Be not weary with your toil, nor faint under the difficulties, in due season ye shall reap."
VII. THE HARVEST FIELD (Galatians 6:10 )
1. The field is the world. Our text says, "As ye have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men." "All men" that is the field. The field includes "every creature." Therefore it includes the world.
Christian sowing -is spoken of in this verse as "doing good." In the verse preceding it is spoken of as "well doing." In the verse before that it is described as "sowing in the Spirit," while in verse six it is teaching "in all good things."
The believer is to sow the Word, but that is not all of his obligation. He is to sow the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, etc. He is, in other words, to let his life and lips express the holy Gospel which he possesses.
There should be nothing in the life of a Christian, or in his deeds toward his fellow man, that is not included in the words "doing good." Jesus Christ went about "doing good"; therefore, if you want to fathom the meaning of the words of our text, doing "good unto all men," fathom the words as exemplified in the life of Christ as He did good.
2. The field is the household of saints. The believer is to do good to all men, but "especially unto them who are of the household of faith." We have a particular and peculiar responsibility toward those who are brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.
About the close of the eighteenth century, William Carey and his fellows so aroused the dormant missionary spirit in the churches, that the London Missionary Society sent missionaries to Tahiti. There was a long "night of toil." Sixteen years went by without a sign of blessing. One day a missionary, with a group of savages about him, read from a manuscript copy of the Gospel according to John, the third chapter. As he came to the sixteenth verse, which Luther called "the Gospel in miniature," a rude warrior in the group asked him to read that verse again and again. Then he said, "This, if it be true, is for you only, not for such as me." But the missionary repeated that wonderful word, "Whosoever," and dwelt upon its meaning. "Then," said the warrior, "your God shall be my God; for we have never heard such a message as this; our gods do not love us so." Dr. Pierson.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Galatians 6". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent