Bear One Another’s Burden’s (Gal. 6:1-10)

Mother’s Day video from Ignite Media.  

Today is Mother’s Day and I wish to say Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there.

I want to continue in the sermon series on Galatians, but I believe you will see how this passage relates to mothers. The Bible relates to all of us in our context. Sometimes we try to divorce the Bible from our life, but that should not be. Today’s passage applies to the child and the parent, the employer and the employee. This passage is very applicable to mothers.

I want to encourage all of us to live in the present and be involved in ministry in the present. Serve in the present. I have been involved in a lot of ministry with people with dementia and Alzheimer’s. I have been through specialized training with that tragic illness and I have coordinated a few Alzheimer’s symposiums. During one particular symposium a chaplain from a retirement home was speaking and he talked about living in the moment. He said that very few of us live in the moment. People with Alzheimer’s live in the present. By way of application, do we live in the present? I cannot speak as a mom, but I speak as a parent, I speak knowing that we must live in the present. We will come back to that.

My theme today is: Bear One Another’s Burdens 

Let’s read Gal. 6:1-10:

Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load.

The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

  1. In verses 1-5 Paul talks about caring for one another.
    1. We all must admit that it is usually the mother who is the most caring, agreed? God has created women with the ability to be the most caring. Like a mother the church is called to care for one another. Like a good mother, the church is called to bear one another’s burdens. Let’s read the verse:
    2. Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.
    3. The Moody Bible commentary: This section gives more guidance as to what walking by the Spirit looks like. There is movement back and forth between responsibility for oneself (e.g., vv. 1b, 3, 7-8) and responsibility for others (vv. 1a, 2, 6).[1]
    4. The ESV Study Bible: Paul illustrates what he means by the life of love in the Spirit, which he described in more general terms in the previous section.
    5. Paul addresses them as brethren. Then Paul says, “even if.” The “even if” seems odd if we really think of this as a separate chapter; however, chapters were not in the original text. This follows 5: Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.
    6. So, then it seems that 6:1 jumps off of that, “even if…”
    7. This is the second part, or appendix of the letter of Galatians dealing with Christian living, Christian ethics.
    8. “even if” anyone is caught in any trespass… so if there is a trespass, then you “who are spiritual” restore…
    9. The NET Bible notes: Who are spiritual refers to people who are controlled and directed by God’s Spirit.[2]
    10. This likely could also be sarcasm from the Apostle Paul. He could be saying, “You say that you are spiritual, so restore them.”
    11. The passage does not say how they are to restore them. But the rest of the new Testament explains this. Matthew 18:15-17 instructs is with this: “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
    12. Verse 2: Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
    13. This shows that bearing one another’s burdens is very important, Paul says that this fulfills the law of Christ.
    14. Paul says, “the law of Christ.” This is as opposed to the law of Moses. Paul had been saying that they are free and remember Gal. 5:14: For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
    15. We are to love one another. This is important.
    16. Once again, we can all learn from mothers in this way. Mothers are generally the most caring. They are the ones in the trenches caring for their children.
    17. Look at the next few verses:
    18. Verses 3-4: For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another.
    19. We are also encouraged to examine ourselves.
    20. Verse 5 shows that we are also responsible to carry our own load.
    21. Look at verse 5: For each one will bear his own load.
    22. This is straightforward with Christian living. We must bear our own load in our work. We must boast about our own work. The New American Commentary: On first blush it seems that Paul had flatly contradicted himself within the space of three short verses. In 6:2 he instructed the Galatians to “carry each other’s burdens.” Now in 6:5 he said that each one “should carry his own load.” This apparent discrepancy is easily resolved when we realize that Paul was using two different words to refer to two disparate situations. The word translated “burdens” in v. 2 (barē) refers, as we have seen, to a heavy load, an oppressive weight, which one is expected to carry for a long distance. But the word for “load” in v. 5 is phortion, which is used elsewhere to refer to a ship’s cargo (cf. Acts 27:10), a soldier’s knapsack, or a pilgrim’s backpack. Stott correctly delineates the difference between the two “loads” in Gal 6: “So we are to bear one another’s ‘burdens’ which are too heavy for a man to bear alone, but there is one burden which we cannot share—indeed do not need to because it is a pack light enough for every man to carry himself—and that is our responsibility to God on the day of judgment. On that day you cannot carry my pack and I cannot carry yours.130,[3] Here in v. 5 Paul placed the verb in the future tense (bastasei) to indicate that he was thinking not merely of an individual’s carrying his own weight or bearing his own responsibility here in this life but more particularly the future reckoning that every Christian must make before the judgment seat of Christ.[4]
    23. So, certainly, there are times we must bear each other’s burdens when one is facing a heavy load, or a spiritual weight which we must help them turn to Christ. But this does not negate that for smaller needs we must carry our own load.
  2. In verse 6 Paul gives instructions regarding teachers.
    1. Look at verse 6: The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him.
    2. This has to do with providing for, and supporting, teachers.
    3. Paul had taught in other places including 1 Cor. 9:13-18 about taking care of our leaders.
    4. This, by the way, can indirectly apply to taking care of our mothers. If Paul reminds them to take care of teachers, we certainly must take care of our mothers.
  • In verses 7-10 we see the principle of sowing and reaping.
    1. Verses 7-8: Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
    2. Paul begins with a warning that they are not deceived.
    3. This is especially applicable because they had been deceived. The Galatians were deceived by the Judaizers trying to make them keep the whole law.
    4. Paul says that God is not mocked! Wow! This is a warning.
    5. Moody Bible Commentary:
    6. Sowing to one’s own flesh includes such things as attempting salvation by works (3:2a) including circumcision (5:2), the evil deeds of the flesh (5:19-21), envy (5:26), and conceit (6:3) to name a Sowing to the Spirit includes such things as faith (3:2b), standing in freedom (5:1), the fruit of Spirit (5:22-23), bearing burdens (6:2), and providing economic support for those who teach the word in the church (6:6). If believers sow to the flesh, they will, in this life, reap the kind of moral decay Paul described, though their eternal destiny will remain intact.[5]
    7. à How often do we mock God in our thinking or actions?
    8. à How often do we mock God thinking we can get away with certain things?
    9. à How often do we mock God blaming Him for our predicament when it is the result of our own choices?
    10. à We blame God for not providing for us when we waste our money on lavish vacations, cigarettes, or many other things…
    11. à we blame God for not taking care of our health when we have eaten poorly and lacked exercise.
    12. à We blame God for our children not following Him when we did not raise them to follow Him. Or, we were hypocritical in the way we raised them. We only raised them to follow Him on Sundays. We did not pray in the home, we did not do family devotions, we did not study the Word in the home, and we lived for money.
    13. à We blame God for our marital issues when we refused marital counseling and married unequally yoked.
    14. à We blame God when our children are harsh with us when we were overly harsh with them.
    15. à We blame God for our children’s attitude and sarcasm when that is what they observed in us.
    16. à We blame God for our children yelling when that is what they observed.
    17. à We blame God.
    18. We reap what we sow.
    19. This is a true principle.
    20. This also applies to generosity: 2 Corinthians 9:6: My point is this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously.[6]
    21. Verse 9-10: Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.
    22. Paul is telling them not to be discouraged.
    23. We may think, “no good deed goes unpunished, but don’t lose heart.
    24. In due time we will reap…
    25. “if” we do not grow weary. This means we must keep going and persevere.

Do we live in the present? I am a hyper-planner. I like to plan. I like to have goals and I like to know what to expect tomorrow. However, one particular moment I faced some conviction. It hit me and it hurt a little. Something, or someone, maybe the Holy Spirit told me: “What are you rushing through life for? Some day you will miss these years with your young children. Some day you will miss these years. You look forward to a day when the pressures aren’t so great, but you will miss these years.” That thought was convictional to me. That thought encouraged me to live in the present. Serve one another in the present. Serve one another today, don’t wait for tomorrow. How much do we miss today by looking to tomorrow? How much have I missed today because I was looking for tomorrow? I cannot answer that.

A number of years ago I came home at about 10:45 pm. I was involved in ministry at the University of Mount Union. I came home from an exciting evening with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. After their gatherings I was always wound up and could not sleep. This night I walked in the back door and I was standing in the kitchen probably looking for a snack. Mercedes came out of her room, she was probably only 4 years old at the time. She looked at me and I looked at her and she said something like, “Is it time to get up?” For one split second I had a flash forward. I thought about a day when she will be, maybe 20 years old, and we are standing in the kitchen eating a late night snack talking about things. It was a flash forward as opposed to a flash back. Well, a lot of time has passed and a lot of parenting has passed since then. I must remind myself to live in the present. I hope to have great conversations with my daughters when they are in the future, but for now I must live in the conversations today. God has placed me here to be a servant today. Through living each day, I will get to the future.

The Christian life is a life of bearing one another’s burdens and mothers show that so well. We must honor our mothers; we must care for our children. We must all do our part, living in the present, serving where God has placed us. Don’t be so focused on tomorrow that you miss the service opportunities which God has given you today.

Prayer

 

[1] The Moody Bible Commentary (Kindle Locations 76077-76078). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[2] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Ga 6:1.

130 Stott, Only One Way, 159–60. Cole has suggested that Paul may be here taking one final glance toward the Judaizers, reminding them that they should be less concerned with “counting scalps” than with their own standing before God on the coming day of judgment (Galatians, 175).

[3] Timothy George, Galatians, vol. 30, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994), 418.

[4] Timothy George, Galatians, vol. 30, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994), 418.

[5] The Moody Bible Commentary (Kindle Locations 76097-76102). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[6] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2005), 2 Co 9:6.

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