A Difficult Text For Wednesday Night

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Turn with me in your Bibles to Galatians Chapter Six. Galatians is a book written by the Apostle Paul to the Church at Galatia. The Church was largely composed of Gentile Believers, but had recently been visited by Christians with a Jewish background. These Jewish believers told the Galatians that they were not fully saved because they did not keep the festivals and the rituals (like circumcision) that they themselves did. The Apostle – himself a Jew – wrote to correct the error that the Christ following Jews were introducing.

When the Apostle Peter wrote of Paul’s writings, he said:

2 Peter 3:15-16 (ESV) And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

Peter said that Paul’s writings contained some things that are hard to understand, and that some false teachers took Paul’s writings and twisted them rather than expounding them. Tonight we’re going to look at one of these hard to understand texts.

Galatians 6:1-5 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For every man shall bear his own burden.

In verse 2 the Apostle states, Bear ye one another’s burdens, but then just a few verses later says in verse 5, For every man shall bear his own burden. This sounds as if Paul contradicts himself.

Bear others burdens – but everyone shall bear their own burden. Hmmmm.

Word Study: When I come across a text like this, I do a lot of praying. Let’s look first at the word burdens” in verse 2. This is the Greek βάρος báros, {pronounced bar’-os}, which means “heaviness, weight, burden, troubles”. In verse 5 the word translated burden is the Greek φορτίον phortíon, {pronounced for-tee’-on}. Though it can be translated burden, the word is better translated “a task or service, an obligation that Christ lays upon His followers”. Jesus used this word when He said:

Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden {phortíon} is light.

  • The first time the Apostle speaks of burdens(báros), he is talking about the various trials and tribulations that we as humans, and especially we as believers, encounter while we are in this life. As our brothers and sisters suffer, we are to suffer and empathize with them. We are the Body of Christ, His Church. Whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.(1 Corinthians 12:26). We are to lift up the fallen to Christ by listening to them, by praying for them, and by assisting them where we are able. Jesus said:

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

  • The second time the Apostle speaks of burden, he is speaking of the obligation that every believer has to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. We are all under obligation to live for Christ. This is not optional! Jesus said:

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

Let’s Look At The First Use Of “Burden” (Báros)
We Must Lift Up The Burdened or Fallen To Christ

We live in a hard world, and everyone – yes, even Christians – can stumble and fall. We read:

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

Word Study: The MUST of lifting up others is emphasized in the first word of our text, Brethren. God calls Christians to come together as His Kingdom, to by love help one another to stay true to Jesus as we – together – travel through this life and into glory. If a man be overtaken in a fault. This phrase is very interesting. It speaks of sin as if it were an animal trap, a snare, hidden among the leaves of the forest. The word translated fault is the Greek παράπτωμα paráptōma, (pronounced par-ap’-to-mah), which means “a side slip, an unintentional fall, offense, trespass or sin”. The devil often disguises sin in such a way that we grab hold of it, or step in it, and then are trapped.

Illustration: During World War 2, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, our soldiers were often “trapped” by the Asian enemy. Sometimes the enemy would leave a prized weapon like a sword or a Luger in plain view, something that an American GI might want as a souvenir. What they didn’t know was that the area around this “souvenir” was mined, or the object was “booby trapped” so that it would kill the seeker. In some instances, dead American soldiers were rigged so that – when a medic went to recover them or take them to the morgue – the body blew up, killing the retriever. What the enemy did was not new. The devil has done this since the beginning of humanity.

Have you ever considered why didn’t the devil come to Adam and Eve as an Angel, but as a serpent? Had Lucifer appeared to Adam and Eve in his brilliant beauty (for he was created beautiful), they probably would have run away. But by masking himself as a serpent – a creature that Adam was familiar with, and one that he himself named (see Genesis 2:18-20) – the tempter caught both Adam and Eve off guard. Sin does this.

Illustrate: I was watching a show called Chicago Med last night when one of the doctors, going to a bar, is approached by an utterly beautiful woman. She convinces the doctor to go to his room with her. Ten minutes later, the doctor is down stairs, complaining to a friend. “I went for some ice, and when I came back to my room, my watch, and all my money was gone”. The doctor should have practiced chastity, and not sought out sexual sin. The devil can be beautiful! Be very, very careful.

Illustrate: Over in Korea black marketers would often take bottles of alcohol, drill a small hole in the bottom of the bottle, then drain out the drinkable liquor. They would replace the potable with poisonous wood alcohol, then seal the hole. Soldiers bought the extremely cheap “liquor” and, drinking this mess, would often go blind! Sin is so very deceptive!

Galatians 6:1 …. restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

The Bible tells us that sin can deceive any of us. If a brother or sister in Christ is ensnared by sin, surprised by sin, tricked by sin, we are told ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness.

Believers who are living the normal Christian life, “walking in the Spirit, empowered by God” (Galatians 5:16), are to “restore” the fallen believer. We share Scripture, prayer, and a listening ear to the hurting.

Word Study: Restoration is to be done in the spirit of meekness. The word meekness is the Greek πρᾳότης praiótēs, {pronounced prah-ot’-ace}, which means “gentleness, mildness, in a humble way”. Meekness or humility is one of the aspects of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23). We are not to be self righteous nor superior (like Pharisees) when restoring someone to a right place with God.

We are to be humble with the fallen, knowing that
“there but for the Grace of God go I”.

Meekness is key when approaching another who has fallen. The Scripture says:

Ephesians 4:1-3 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness (praiótēs), with long suffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

As God’s Chosen People, we are to (Colossians 3:12) “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness (praiótēs), long suffering.

We pray for one another.
We share Scripture with one another.
We need one another.

Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens (Báros), and so fulfill the law of Christ.

The Law of Christ is the Law of Love. Whoever loves others has fulfilled the Law. … Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law” (Romans 13:8, 10 NIV). We fulfill the Law of Christ when we encourage our brothers and sisters in the Lord. We point the fallen to Christ. We do not condemn them, but love them as wounded members of the body.

Galatians 6:3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

When the devil snares a Christian, the secondary snare we ourselves provide is our very own human PRIDE.

Illustrate: I remember years ago, a pastor friend I know was ensnared by the devil. The first I heard of it was when another pastor friend called me up and said, “Did you hear about so and so? He did this! I though he was a good, fundamental preacher!”. When I went to visit my fallen friend, he was transitioning from his Church, and not far from a jail sentence. Those around him treated him as if he were a pariah. My friend decided to sell his library to help with his lawyer fees, and I purchased several books that I still have in my library today. Fallen, the man had few who would stand by him. “Why, I thought he was a preacher!” He was. What was more sickening than my friend’s fall was the self righteousness others expressed over the whole matter. And, I have to admit, I felt a little self righteous, too!

God forgive me.

We are all broken creatures who could be snared on any day. Our strength is to be not in ourselves, but “In Christ”. I was reading a book this morning called Lessons From The Upper Roomby Sinclair B Ferguson. In that book Pastor Ferguson noted that the word “Christian” is only found three times in the New Testament (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). When believers are named, they were rarely called “Christians”. However, the believer in Jesus is called “in Christ” over two hundred times. When a brother or sister in Christ falls from Christ, we are to show them how to get back “in Christ” through repentance and obedience. We are not superior to them because we have not fallen. We have not fallen because we are “In Christ”. Beware of pride!

1 Corinthians 8:2 if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.

Let’s Look At The Second Use Of “Burden” (Phortíon):

Every “Christian” Is Under Obligation To
Live Out Our Lives For Christ

Galatians 6:5-6 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For every man shall bear his own burden (phortíon).

As believers in Jesus, we are not just to help our fellows fallen believers to get back in step with Jesus – but we are to ensure that we ourselves are in step with Jesus. The Christian is to prove {my} own work.

One of the snares that the devil throws before us is
spiritual laziness. God calls us to WORK for Him.

Jeremiah 17:10 I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

God expects His Children by faith in Christ to work for Him. We are to “let our light shine before others, so that the world may see your good works and give glory to your Father Who is in Heaven(Matthew 5:16).

Our salvation is not just a moment in time, but it is a continuing event, a work in progress. We are to live our lives bringing glory to our God. Our works are the proof of the genuineness of our faith.

Christians are to live for Jesus, to glorify Him. Jesus said “I am the Vine, and you are the Branches” (John 15:5). The Vine-dresser, God our Father, expects each vine (that’s you and I) to produce fruit. As we abide in Jesus, trusting in Him, obeying His Word, the Spirit that is in Jesus Christ operates through us. The Apostle says:

Romans 2:6-11(ESV) {God} will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.

Every person will stand before God one day to be judged. The unbeliever who works for themselves shall stand before a Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11-15). Their works will count for nothing, and they will go into a Lake of Fire because their name was not found written in the Book of Life (Revelation 20:15). The Christ follower, the person who is “in Christ”, will also have their works judged by God. We who are saved are to work so as to please Jesus:

Galatians 6:5 … For every man shall bear his own burden.

We are told in another place:

Romans 14:10-12 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” 12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

At the Judgment Seat of Christ, the SOUL of the
Christian is not in question, but the VALUE OF THE WORKS that Christian did for God while on the earth.

You and I will bear our own burden. We will not be allowed to blame others for what we did. We won’t be able to find ways to deflect our guilt, nor ways to manufacture innocence. God the Son, using God the Holy Spirit, will examine the deeds that we have done while in this body, whether good or bad. The Bible says:

1 Corinthians 3:13-15 (ESV) … each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation {of Jesus Christ} survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

The Divine Law Of Sowing And Reaping

The believer who has been snared by sin, we who are NOT snared are to restore him to the faith. We pray for him. We counsel him. We guide him back to the state of being “In Christ”. We do not act superior to him, but we love him.

And we ourselves must work for the Lord. Jesus told us,

Matthew 16:24 (ESV) If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

We were left on this earth to be laborers together with God” (1 Corinthians 3:9). The Apostle continues:

Galatians 6:7-8 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

One of the Biblical Laws, sure as gravity, is the Law of Sowing and Reaping. What a person sows, that person will reap. If you sow corn in a field, you harvest corn. If you sow peas in a field, you harvest peas. What you sow replicates, duplicates, and multiplies. If you sow to the flesh, you reap the flesh, or corruption. If you only sow temporal things, then these things, like the smoke of a fire, drift away, and cease to be. But if you sow to the Spirit – walking with the Spirit and following His guidance – you will reap a great life, and an eternal life.

If you sow CORN, what will you get? CORN!
If you sow PEAS, what will you get? PEAS!
If you sow NOTHING, what will you get? NOTHING!

In the first three chapters of Revelation, the Lord addresses 7 Churches. Though Jesus commends or condemns each Church in a different way, Jesus starts out addressing each Church with the same four words:

I know thy works”
Revelation 2:2, 9, 13, 19
Revelation 3:1, 8, 15

Each Church did works. Each believer does works. It is not an option to do nothing as a Christian. We are to work for Jesus, to serve the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. We are not to quit, nor to do nothing. We are to work for our Jesus. We are to work for the glory of God in Christ. We will end with this:

Galatians 6:9-10 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

God is faithful. Jesus will never leave us. Let us keep working for Him, for the glory of God. Let us do good, and do good works! Let us shine for Jesus while we can. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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