Summary: In Christian community we find the encouragement and support to press on the higher calling of Jesus.
Doing Life Together
Text: Gal. 6:1-10
1. Illustration: "Christian community is like the Christian's sanctification. It is a gift of God which we cannot claim. Only God knows the real state of our fellowship, of our sanctification. What may appear weak and trifling to us may be great and glorious to God. Just as the Christian should not be constantly feeling his spiritual pulse, so, too, the Christian community has not been given to us by God for us to be constantly taking its temperature. The more thankfully we daily receive what is given to us, the more surely and steadily will fellowship increase and grow from day to day as God pleases."
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community
2. One of the great realities of the Christian life is that it was meant to be shared together.
a. Jesus knew that the life he was calling his disciples to would be difficult, and that none of us could do this on our own.
b. So he established his church and designed it to function in community.
c. We would be totally dependent upon Him, but also upon one another.
3. In doing life together we find...
4. Let's stand together as we read Gal. 6:1-10
Proposition: In Christian community we find the encouragement and support to press on the higher calling of Jesus.
Transition: In doing life together we find...
I. Restoring (1-5).
A. Gently and Humbly
1. It is somewhat ironic that Jesus referred to coming to faith in him as being "born again," because in a spiritual sense this is what the Christian life is all about.
a. We are spiritually born, and like a new born baby, we have to learn what to do and what not to do.
b. Along the way we make mistakes, and need to learn from our mistakes.
c. However, in most cases we need the help of our Christian brother and sisters to get us back on the right path.
2. Paul wants the Christians in Galatia to learn this concept, and so he tells them, "Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself."
a. One problem that sometimes arises for those who live as a community of people who are striving to live in the Spirit is that someone falls into sin or begins to manifest "the works of the flesh."
b. In this situation, the community should take it upon itself to restore such a person because this is one way a family expresses its love.
c. But Paul's emphasis here is not that this restoration should be done but how. His emphasis is on the word "gently" (McKnight, The NIV Application Commentary – Galatians, 284).
d. Gently: gentleness of attitude and behavior, in contrast with harshness in one's dealings with others - (Johannes P. Louw and Eugene A. Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Symantic Domains, 88.59-88.65)".
e. In so doing, however, those restoring must watch out for themselves because they "also may be tempted."
f. Paul uses a strong word (skopeō, to observe or consider) in the present tense, which emphasized a continual, diligent attentiveness to their own purity.
g. They, too, could be tempted and even fall into the same sin for which they confronted a brother or sister (MacArthur, MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Galatians, 179).
h. However, I think the temptation here is to pride. While some have argued that the temptation would have been to the specific sin that the erring brother was trapped in, that does not seem as likely as the view I have offered.
i. Regardless, this is the problem Paul is emphasizing; he is not as much concerned here with the sinner as he is with the restorer (McKnight, 284).
3. Paul further emphasizes this when he says, "Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ."
a. Share has the thought of carrying with endurance, and burdens is from baros, which refers to heavy loads that are difficult to lift and carry.
b. Used metaphorically, as here, it represents any difficulty or problem a person has trouble coping with (MacArthur, 180).
c. As used in this verse, troubles and problems refer to the heavy or oppressive burdens that a believer cannot carry alone.
d. It could be financial burdens; it could be burdens of temptation.
e. We must help share the loads that others find too heavy to carry alone.
f. However, we must not regard this load as a burden, but a joy.
g. Like people hiking a trail, we not only shoulder our own backpacks, but we help out with other people’s loads when the trail gets too steep, they get too tired, or their feet get blistered—whenever they need assistance (Barton, Life Application New Testament Commentary, 793).