Summary: As Christians, our actions should speak louder than words.
Do good in all you do.
Grace, mercy and peace, from God the Father, our creator, God the Son our redeemer, and God the Holy Spirit who keeps us in the faith. Amen.
The Gospel message today is based on today’s Epistle reading from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians.
God has blessed us with the knowledge of faith in Jesus Christ. We are here today to praise and glorify Him. But, for what other purpose has God called us? How should we handle a Christian brother or sister who has gone astray? What should we be doing? And why should we be doing it?
God has not only called us to faith, we are also called to do the will of God. Jesus made God’s will quite clear when he gave the simple command “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We are not here only to serve ourselves; we are also here to serve others. Our motives, our desires, our dreams should come forth in everything we do. They should be derived from our faith, and not merely a side note to it. If we are truly pure in our motives, it will show forth in our actions. This could mean the assisting of a neighbor in need, a fellow Christian, or even someone we’ve never met. A simple line from a popular hymn comes to mind. The line reads, “They will know we are Christians by our love”
But, how we show that love, is up to us. Each of us has faith, but we all display that faith differently. We all have our own relationship with God. All of us have needs and desires as well as our own set of talents and capabilities. God has given us the tools to do many things. And we all have something to offer to someone else.
At the beginning of Chapter 6, Paul writes about helping other people. Even the most faithful will fall once in a while and require assistance to get back up. All of us should be willing to help our fellow man, especially fellow Christians, who need a hand. And especially when that problem is a spiritual one. How many times have we heard of some church or some church member doing something that was contrary to God’s word? Gossip is one example that seems to run in many churches from time to time. How hard is it to control the tongue? Even more difficult is it to speak out against it. But, that is exactly what we should be doing.
if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness
This is talking about restoring someone who has committed trespass. This is talking about repairing a person’s heart who may have strayed from the will of God. This doesn’t mean we condemn the sinner. We condemn the sin, but we accept the sinner. We may need to point out the error of someone in a gentle and loving fashion so that they may be brought back to the fold, brought back to the church, pulled away from their error. But, Paul has a warning, don’t be tempted to commit the same sin. Just as a doctor can become sick from treating an ill patient, we too must take precautions to ensure we stay on the straight and narrow path. The simplest way is to test what we do and examine our own motives. Does it meet the commands that God laid out for us? Would we be proud to show our parents, our spouse or our pastor what we did and how we did it? Why do we do the things we do?
There will be times when we can be that assistance that another Christian needs. We can be that shoulder to lean on. In other times, we may be that person in need of a shoulder. Just as other experience distress, Christians too can be overcome with problems. What seem like insurmountable problems could be the opportunity for us to step in and help. Sometimes, being a listening ear is all that is required. In other cases, perhaps we need other ways to deal with the problem. The situation wasn’t all that different in Galatia. Paul saw this and told them to bear one another’s burdens to fulfill the law of Christ. The situation isn’t different today. How we assist, or how we ignore other’s problems is what the non-Christian community sees. Do we talk one way and act another? Or are we willing to talk the talk and walk the walk.
We have been commanded to do good things. But what does God see as good things? Various Bible passages identify what is good. In Deuteronomy 15:7-8 it says: