Sermon – May 6, 2018
Paul has started to fill in what it means to love our neighbors as ourselves, calling for us to walk by the Spirit by cultivating fruit in our lives. This focus was mainly on who we were to be and the kind of characteristics that we ought to have. Now, Paul wants to fill that picture in even further, and lead the Galatians in how such fruit is to be used amongst the body of believers known as the churches in Galatia. A healthy body needs the fruit of the Spirit, and we best demonstrate our fruit as we:
1. Perfect the broken
Paul calls on every believer, as all who are saved are “spiritual”, to restore those who have sinned gently. As members of a body, we treat those who are broken as we would broken pieces of our own bodies – with care, seeking to end the pain, as the body is brought back to full function and health. As we practice this we are reminded that sin is always lurking at our doors, and so we keep careful watch on our own lives, that we might not fall in the same way.
2. Provide for burdens
Further, Paul calls on each of us to bear the burdens of one another. We are not to care about our own trouble alone; rather, in love we are to meet the needs that others in the congregation have. Whether we provide for them financially, physically, spiritually, we are to in some form ease their burdens just as Christ has borne our burdens in his body. No one can claim humility, or pride, as a reason for skipping this important command: for anyone who thinks that he is above such service is truly nothing in the Kingdom of God.
3. Prove every boast
The central idea here is not an arrogant boasting, but rather a frank acknowledgement of what one has accomplished in this life. We are reminded that we will be rewarded for our service to the Lord, and that we will not be able to claim for ourselves anything that we were simply near. We cannot claim good teaching, missionary zeal, evangelistic fervor, mighty prayer, just because it happened in our church. You must stand before God and tell him what you have done, not simply report what people who were associated with you did. You will bear your own load!
In line with these three points, we should note the importance of meaningful membership. First, it is difficult to understand what people are being restored to if membership is not clearly understood. We cannot restore people to God, that is the work of the Holy Spirit and the intercession of Christ! But, when repentance is present, we can restore the body of members back to full health. Membership matters. Secondly, you must be present and active within a congregation if you hope, for even a second, to carry the burdens of others in this congregation. How can you bear the needs of others when you are fully out of touch with what those needs might be? Meaningful membership matters. Trust Christ, for he will reward you for your work in the church! No matter what you must give up to be an active and growing member of Crossway, you will find that Christ’s blessing is more than sufficient to make up for any lack.