Lesson 64: "Let Every Man Prove His Own Work. . ." (Galatians 6:4)
Paul's Missionary Journey Epistles. Welcome to lesson #64. After Paul gave his catalogue of terms describing the works of the flesh (beginning in 5:19) and his catalogue of terms describing and identifying the fruit of the Spirit (beginning in 5:22); he closed that chapter with these words: "Let us not be desirous of vainglory, provoking one another, envying one another." (V.26). If you will focus on that verse; notice that after Paul had suggested of instructed what to do: "walk in the Spirit" (v.25); he then said (in essence), BUT don't do this! No vainglory, no provoking one another, no envying! In other words: don't have excessive ambitions, always looking for honors and popularity, don't go around challenging one another in rivalry, and don't be jealous of each other. That would sure alleviate a lot of problems today; wouldn't it? There are a lot of preachers that need to read that verse. Then Pal said (6.1); "Brethren...", i.e. Paul began an affectionate appeal to those in the Galatian churches, who were walking in the spirit; those who were solidly behind Paul. The apostle had already used this term: "brethren," several times in this letter. But, here in 6.1; Paul made that affectionate appeal again. "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." In this section: the apostle got down to the practical duties of a Christian. The fruit of the spirit - in practice. This section corresponds to Rom. T2 & 13; the practical section in that book. So, right now; let's take the time to read the practical section of Galatians. Let's read the first 10 verses of Gal. Ch. 6. Are you ready? Starting from the beginning (v. 1 -10: "brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be wary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."
Alright, let's take a look at Paul's appeal. "If, what does IF mean? Paul is saying; here is a situation, a hypothetical situation: "if a man be overtaken in a fault..." Any fault! Any sin! Any trespass! What does it mean to be "overtaken" in sin? That is, when a Christian is detected or discovered in a sin...overtaken! Moses told the Rabbinates and the Gadites (Num. 32:23) "be sure your sin will find you out." Can that happen? You better believe it! Now, IF that happens—what about it Paul? Listen now: step on him! Put him down! Embarrass him! Is that what Paul said? No sir! "Ye which are spiritual, restore such a one [HOW PAUL?] in the spirit of meekness." How do you restore something? Did you ever see an old house about ready to fall down; ready to be lost; and someone buys it and "restores" it? I recall one place where we lived in Florida there was an old house two doors down the hill. It was almost hidden by the weeds and bushes and the leaves from the trees. The front porch floor was decayed away and the porch roof was falling in. I just assumed it was past repair, from looking at it. I would have given up on it before I started and said relinquish it to loss. But, a young man came in there and bought that old house, spent about a year working on it; and, it became the most beautiful house on the block. He RESTORED that house. He put it back where it used to be. Paul said in essence, if one of you should fall down into sin; don't just relinquish your brother to the scrap heap. "Ye which are spiritual, [who is that? Paul? brethren led by the spirit] restore such a one..." Put him back where he used to be. He can be repaired, his faith RESTORED. God will forgive him and accept him back, if he will only repent and ask god the Father to forgive his adopted son. Don't consign his soul to hell. Restore such a one! How Paul? "In the spirit of meekness." Do you see that word up in v.23 of ch. 5? Meekness is one of the fruits of the Spirit. What does "meekness" mean? Jesus said: "The meek shall inherit the earth." Do you remember that" (Matt. 5:5)? Yeah! It';s one of the beatitudes! It's a blessed trait to have and the meek shall inherit the earth. Not this old planet; but the new heaven and the new earth (II Pet. 3:13). It's another way of saying heaven! Now, think just a minute: MEEKNESS, FAITH, INHERITANCE and HEAVEN. Does that have anything to do with Abraham, Paul" The promise! Yeah! You got it! You see this all fits together like a hand in a glove. It takes a little love, a little joy, a little peace, a lot of long-suffering some times, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. And, there isn't any law against that! You can't get arrested for that. It will save your soul! And it will restore and save the soul of your brother also. The FRUIT of the Spirit. Finally, look at the last two phrases in v.l! "Considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." Have a little empathy, put yourself hi the other man's shoes, like the good Samaritan. Yes, your brother has sinned - murder, adultery, fornication, hatred...and such like....use any example you want to. Take a bulldozer and push him in the pit. Is that it? What if it happened to you? Don' get indignant now! It could happen! It has happened to a lot of people. You mean Christians? Yea! I mean Christians. A lot of Christians have sinned and been bulldozed into the pit by their brothers and sisters in Christ, figuratively speaking. Paul said, don't do it. Restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Jesus taught the disciples to pray "deliver us from evil." (Matt. 6:13). Temptation! It's a powerful thing! Don';t ever forget it. What if it was me? Even if I should get a little radical and say some nasty things and tell you to leave me along; please don't! It's the only soul I've got. Paul said, "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." (V.2) Jesus said, "all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." That's the golden rule. (Matt. 7:12). It is the "law of Christ," Paul said at the end of v.2. But, everybody has a nobody. Have you heard that? It is easy to think of our self more highly than we ought to think, v.3. "If a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself." Just look at me! Lord I'm a special person! My ancestors, my money, my influence and my affluence, my education, my, my, my! Peter said hi the household of Cornelius: "God is no respecter of persons." (Acts 10:34). My preaching grandpa and my pious uncle and preacher so-and-so, they can't do it for ye. Look at v.4! "Let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not hi another." When it comes to the judgment, "every man shall bear his own burden." (V.5) This is important brethren! Paul knew it was going to take some teaching; the prophets in the Galatian churches had their work cut out for them. When I see the word "communicate", I think of conversing and speaking and discussing etc. But the word "communicate" in v.6 of the KJV apparently doesn't mean that! The Greek word used here means to share or distribute. In other words v.6 is saying: Let him that is taught in the word; i.e. brethren, who walk in the Spirit, or faithful disciples: let them share in their needs and distribute to those who teach the word. We might say simply, pay the preacher. The Phillips translation has that verse like this: "The man under Christian instruction should be willing to contribute toward the livelihood of his teacher." It's a little hard to get that out of the KJV. But, why did Paul say that to the Galatian brethren? There was competition from the Judiazers. Those who were taught in the word were likely not carrying their part of the load, financially. And that sometimes happens today. It's one of the reasons the great commission has not been fulfilled. That's part of bearing one another's burdens, up in v.2. Be sure your sins will find you out! God is not mocked [v.7], for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." You can't plant corn and harvest pumpkins; it won't work, it's a common law of nature. Even so, Paul continues, you can't sow to the flesh and harvest the Spirit, v.8. And then, v. 9, hang in there. "Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." There's going to be a reward! If you prepare the soil, plant the word or sow the seed, water, cultivate and hang-in-there and don't faint, i.e. carry the job to completion, be faithful unto death, there is going to be a great harvest or inheritance someday. And, it's worth the effort. Brethren, don't give-in to the Judiazers. No, not for a hour! Restore the misguided. Teach the sinner. Overcome the works of the flesh. Carry your load! "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." As we have opportunity! My friend, opportunity is knocking. Across the street, down the alley, over the hill! Do good! Do good to who, Paul? All men! The down and out. Sinners. The misguided. Even the Judiazers. Don't withhold needs that you can supply. It is especially important that you do good to the church, your brethren that walk in the Spirit. If you are forced to discriminate; favor your brother. The phrase "household of faith" at the end of v.10 is a reference to Christ's church or kingdom; i.e. the children of God or the family (Eph. 3:15). i.e. made up of God's adopted sons and daughters. Paul is bringing it down home, so-to-speak, where the rubber meets the road. "Brethren...! have confidence in you..." (5:10). Somebody has bewitched you! WHO? Let every man prove his own work (6:4). "If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law." (5:18). What would Paul have to say to make his point any clearer? Malachi said the priests in his day wouldn't close the doors of the temple unless they got paid for it! (Mai. 1:10) Sometimes when you try to talk to people about their soul; they as much as say, what's in it for me? Now! How will it help me NOW? If you back up and look at the fruit of the Spirit and compare that with Paul's list of works of the flesh; I think you've got your answer.
Let's read the last eight verses in the Galatian letter. Ch. 6, v.11-18! If you're ready! Beginning in v. 11. "Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand. As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. From henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with our spirit. Amen."
Alright, back up in v. 11, where Paul said: "Ye see how large a letter I have written..." Most
translations have "letters" i.e. plural, and, I get the impression from the KJV, Paul was saying he wrote a long letter or long message. But, that apparently is NOT the idea. Galatians is not as long as Romans, or I & II Corinthians. Most of the commentators think Paul dictated this letter to someone else, who actually did the writing or penmanship. The point is, at this point in the book of Galatians, Paul apparently took the writing instrument in hand and penned the last few lies himself. This served as what we would call a signature and also called attention to the importance of what Paul said in his closing remarks. So, Paul is probably talking about writing characters, or alphabet when he said "letters." His writing was coarser and larger than those of the secretary, who perhaps was more skilled and more refined. The scribe was probably Tertius, the man who helped Paul with the book of Romans (according to Rom. 16:22). We have assumed that both books were written from Corinth, you will remember. I would be inclined to think from the household of Gaius (Rom. 16:23). Some, take this larger penmanship as further evidence that Paul's thorn-in-the-flesh was associated with his eyes. I'll leave that with you! But, what Paul said here (in his closing remarks) I don't think you'll have any difficulty with. Paul explained the motive of the Judiazers by ascribing to them (#1) they "desired to make a fair show" of those they circumcised. (#2 at the end of v.l 2) he said they did not want to "suffer persecution for the cross of Christ." Then, (#3), very much like #1, is in v.13, "that they may glory in your flesh." The preaching of the cross stirred hostility in the Jews. They could not imagine God's messiah being crucified. They were looking for some great national leader to liberate them from the Romans. For the Jews to circumcise gentiles, emphasized that the Jews by birth were God's chosen people. But, these Judiazers were not even sincere, Paul said, he said they themselves were not keeping the law, i.e. in its entirety. But, Paul said he would not glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (v. 14). Then, Paul gave the reason (v. 15); "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature." What really matters is being a spiritual heir of Abraham, an adopted son of the Father, walking in the Spirit; which Paul describes here as a new creature. Circumcision simply has no meaning in the new system. Those who realize this and walk accordingly; Paul says: "peace be on them, mercy, and upon the Israel of "God." I understand "the Israel of God" to be a spiritual term referring to the church. Some think Paul meant his nation. In v.l7, Paul was saying: brethren, let's get this circumcision business behind us. Those of you who are spiritual; teach your brothers and sisters, communicate! Paul was hoping he wouldn't be bothered with such disgusting false doctrines again. He had too many scars already on his body. And, in a figurative sense; his scars identified him as a servant of his master, the Lord Jesus Christ just as much as some slaves who had their owner's name branded on them, just like the Texans brand cattle even today. V.l8 is very much like the closing statement in most of Paul's epistles. Let's say that does Galatians for now. We'll begin Romans in our next lesson. Have a good day.