Summary: It is an expository sermon on the fruit of the spirit goodness from the end of Galatians 6,
The book of Galatians was a letter written from Paul to the churches in what is now the country of Turkey. He wrote this letter to refute the teachings of the Judiazers who were saying that in order to be a true and whole Christian you had to be circumcised according to the Old Testament Law. The whole letter deals with the subject of the Law versus the Spirit.
We’ve learned a lot about the fruit of the Spirit in the past couple weeks. Overall it is hard to separate the different portions of the fruit of the Spirit because of the fact that they are all combined. The Scripture does not say "fruits of the Spirit". It is not plural. It is the "fruit", singular. They are all related, and as said last week, they can all be put together as love. From joy to self-control, they are all an outward sign of love. When you have joy, peace and patience you have love. You are showing love when you show someone kindness, show faithfulness, gentleness and show self-control. When you have the Spirit you have love, and when you have love you show goodness.
This portion confused me for awhile, particularly the last phrase of verse 10, "especially to those who belong to the family of believers." I really had to pray about it for a long time. It bothered me. I was reading it as it was saying that we should be treating fellow Christians better than those who weren’t in the fellowship of believers. I just couldn’t understand why Paul would say this. But after much prayer and further study, the Holy Spirit revealed that I was taking the phrase and more importantly the word "especially" out of context. I should’ve been reading it as a whole letter and not just as a small paragraph or phrase.
As I said, the subject of goodness is all encompassing. The act of goodness is all encompassing. We are to do good to all.
Point 1: Do Good To All
Anchor verse: Gal. 6:10a "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people"
We are to do good to all. It cannot be said any plainer. In order to show people the love that comes from Him we are to do good. The Bible is full of verses describing how we are to treat our fellow man. Jesus Himself was the perfect example of this, not just in word, but in deed as well. He didn’t just say to be a servant of your fellow man. "’Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-- 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’" He showed us in His life…and His death. The example Jesus gave us is beyond compare, but we need to realize that because goodness is part of the Fruit of the Spirit it is a sign of continuing spiritual growth. If we aren’t treating our neighbor like we would like to be treated, if we are spending more time being bitter and crusty than we are being happy and joyful then we need to do some soul searching.
Mother Theresa, one of the great heroines of the faith who was actually just made a saint in the Roman Catholic Church, is a person who took Jesus’ words literally. She made herself like a servant to people of lower classes in a society where that was unheard of. In India, this caste system is how the country runs. A person cannot climb to a higher class than what they were born into, and it’s a disgrace to want to be in a lower one. Mother Theresa left the family she knew and spent her life doing good for other people. She made herself their servant. She did good to all as Galatians 6:10 tells us to do. We cannot forget the last part of this verse, though.
Point 2: Especially Love Each Other
Anchor Verse: Gal. 6:10b "especially to those who belong to the family of believers."
What does this mean? Does this mean we are to treat fellow Christians better than we treat non-Christians? NO. When reading this portion we must realize why Paul is writing this letter. The Judiazers were teaching a heresy regarding the proper way to become a Christian and Paul wanted to clear it up. He was writing this letter to a specific group of people doing specific things, but it does have a message for us today. What would be some reasons for doing good to all, especially to those who are fellow believers? First of all, if we can’t show love to the people we have a connection to within Christ how can we show the true love of Christ to those who aren’t Christians? Eugene Peterson puts it great, "Let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith." We must start by loving those who are hard to love in the Church (because we know somebody like that) and then once we’ve learned that we can move on to bigger and better things and show our love to non-Christians.