31 May 2018

Good morning and welcome to Thursday’s podcast. I hope that as we make our way through the last chapter of Galatians that you are getting a few ‘penny dropping moments’ when all that Paul has been arguing plops into place. And as we are examining the practical implications of Paul’s theology, I hope that you are also feeling the challenge. Today we arrive at Galatians 6:6-10.

REFLECTION:

All this week (and last week with Mick) we have been looking at the freedom that Jesus has won for us. How our relationship with God is dependent on Jesus alone. It’s not Jesus and the Law, it’s not Jesus and circumcision, it’s not Jesus and anything!! Our freedom is ours, it is a free gift from God. Undeserved! Unmerited! Unimaginably costly… but free to anyone who puts their faith in Jesus.

We have also taken the picture of previously being slaves and prisoners learning to live a free life and how we have a responsibility to partner with the spirit to cut off the old way of life and nurture the new.

Today is ‘rubber hits the road’ day! Paul says that this is serious. He has addressed our thinking and shown us how we can live increasingly free lives. Today comes challenge and encouragement. v7 says: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”

Do not be deceived! Do not be deceived! When you receive Jesus and you are ushered out of that dark prison into light and life and beautiful freedom. When you trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection, when you ask for the spirit… don’t stop there! It is by grace that you have been saved but you now have to put that faith into practice! God doesn’t usher us saved ones into church and forget about us. He sets about transforming us. We don’t get let out of prison to find a park bench and settle down to sleep until we die. He didn’t save us to flop on the sofa playing Xbox for days at a time. He saved us for so much more than that!

God cannot be mocked… sneered at, disdained, rejected. Imagine receiving freedom, being given a guide who will teach you to live free and then… and then… living as a slave! NO! No! No!
It is no better than mocking God, sneering at him, rejecting him! This is hard and challenging language. This is a hard and challenging message. Following Jesus isn’t signing up for an easy ride!

A person reaps what they sow:
v8: Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

If we continue to live as slaves we sow to please the flesh, we continue to look out for number one, we try to survive, we try to make ends meet, we grab and cheat and steal and hurt to survive… we reap destruction – corruption, decay, rottenness, decomposition. Our attempts at self sufficiency cause damage to ourselves and those around us.

And here’s the crux of the matter… Sowing to please the spirit takes effort. It takes perseverance! It takes dedication and discipline! It’s Hard Flipping Work!!!

Dallas Willard, an American theologian and great thinker on discipleship, writes…“Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning.”

We don’t earn our salvation, but we do continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Paul writes the same thing over and over:

To the Church in Philippi [Philippians 3:13-14] But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

To the church in Corinth [1 Corinthians 9:25] Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

To his friend Timothy: [1Tim 4:7-8] Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

And Peter even gets in on the act! [2Peter 1:5-7] For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.

So the questions for us today are:

  • Where is God training us today?
  • What effort are we making to live differently?
  • What area of our lives are we still living as slaves and do we need to ask him to show us the way of freedom?
  • Are we learning how to love?
  • Are we learning how to forgive?
  • Are we learning to be generous?
  • Are we practicing doing good?
  • Are we helping those in need?
  • Do we have time for the nobodies?

I will sign off today with Paul’s own encouragement!

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

PRAYER:

Father, Thank you for setting us free, help us today to live work hard to live out the freedom that you have given us. When we know what you are training us right now, I pray that you would renew our strength and conviction to persevere. When we don’t know where to start, I pray that we would open our Bibles, listen to the podcast and we would hear your word to us today. Point us in the right direction and help us to grow in you. Amen

READING: Galatians 6:6-10

Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.