What Comes After Fruitfulness - pt. 4

Steve Viars August 5, 2000 Galatians 6:1-10

- I want you to know that I have my daughter’s permission to tell you this story.
- Kris and I have three children, our oldest daughter is 14 1/2  years old and is named Bethany.
- Several years ago we sat down with our kids and established a college savings plan.
- we looked at a variety of different schools they might want to attend.
- we researched the tuition costs at the time, and along with room, board, books, etc.
- we also added a factor for inflation between now and when they enter college.
- so on the expense side, we showed them what their various college choices were likely to cost.

- then on the income side, we showed them what Kris and I were planning to contribute to their college savings fund each month from now until they leave for college.
- we showed them how it was invested, in our case in a conservative mutual fund tied to blue chip stocks.
- we showed them how that money might grow over time, and the major point was to help them understand that as they got old enough to begin earning money, if they saved a little bit over a long period of time, it would make going to college much more likely.

- well, that’s been well and good and Bethany has even taken some of her babysitting money and added to that fund.
- but this summer, she got a job at Dairy Queen.
- and she’s worked a lot of hours...and she’s done a good job of handling her money where she gives a portion off the top to the Lord like she should, and then she has asked me to put a fairly significant percentage into her college stock fund.

- that’s the good news.
- the bad news is, all of a sudden she’s paying a whole lot more attention to what happens in the stock market from day to day.
- she also has a feature on her fund where she can call an 800 number and get her current balance on any given day.

- and how that’s affecting me is, my worth around the family seems to be more and more dependent on how the stock market did that day.
- and now I’m met with evening reports on how we’re doing....and overall evaluations of my life, ministry, and personal character.

- now I’m not wanting you to tell me what you think about putting a college fund even in a conservative stock fund, what I’m asking you is....what’s the problem with making too much out of a fluctuation in the stock market in one given day?
- the answer is, you’ve got to have the long view in that kind of investing.
- you have to be willing to handle some short-term pain if you want to have long-term gain.

- so I’m thrilled that my daughter would be disciplined enough to save money and put it in her college fund, she just needs to needs to think about her investment strategy in terms of years instead of days.

- now, why am I telling you about this?
- it’s because the apostle Paul makes the exact same point about the Christian life.
- there are many things about living for Jesus Christ that in the short term are painful, are unattractive, are difficult, are unpleasant.
- and frankly, some of God’s children are hesitant, if not downright unwilling...to take the difficult steps God wants them to take.

- but for the person who has learned to look further down the road, to have the long-view of the Christian life....that person is willing to take some difficult steps today, he/she is willing to move out of their comfort zone, they are willing to do something that ,may be difficult or unpleasant....because in the long-run, they know they’ll be glad they did.
- and the question becomes, are you that kind of person?

- with that in mind, let me invite you to open your Bible to Galatians chapter 6.
- If you’re new to studying the Bible or don’t have one with you today, you’ll find a Bible in the pew in front of you, and Galatians 6 is located on page 160 of your pew Bible.
- we are finishing up a series that we’ve been doing for the last several months on a section of Scripture known as the Fruit of the Spirit.
- today is actually the last time I’ll be speaking from this passage....next week Pastor Dutton will be speaking while our family is on vacation...so he can straighten out everything I didn’t get quite right....then the week after that we’ll be starting a brand new study on the life of Christ.

- but as I said, Galatians 5:22-23 is about the fruit of the Spirit....love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
- so we’ve been studying our way through that list...
- then we asked the question, well, what comes after fruitfulness?
- Paul doesn’t stop the discussion as soon as he concludes the list.

- the answer we’d like to explore today....The Ability to Make Spiritual Investments for the Long Haul.

- let me ask you to be looking for three reasons why we ought to do that as we read these important verses.
- Read Galatians 6:1-10

- we’re looking for three reasons why we ought to develop the ability to make spiritual investments for the long haul.

- the first reason is this....


I.  Because of the Joy of Sharing.


- there’s a lot of ways that this passage can help us, and one of them is that it is a classic example of several key principles of Bible study.
- so I’m going to spend a few minutes talking about how you and I go about interpreting God’s Word, and applying God’s Word...then we’ll use same principles to deal with the verses before us.

- let’s set this up this way....what is interesting about Galatians 6:6-10 is that it contains several verses that are very well-known, and that are often quoted, but are rarely quoted in context.
- for example, many times verse 6 is used to say that churches should be generous with their pastors....”And let the one who is taught the Word share with Him who teaches.”
- well, that’s a nice idea [that churches should be generous with their pastors, and it is clearly emphasized in other places in the Bible], but Galatians 6:6 has nothing to do with that....
- if we used the verse in that way, we would be pulling it totally out of its context, which is a very dangerous thing to do.

- the same is true of verse 7, do not be deceived, God is not mocked, whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap....
- again, a very well known verse, used to support all sorts of ideas, but seldom addressed in it’s context....[cf. context = verses before, and after, etc.]

- we could say the same thing about verse 9 - don’t lose heart in doing good, or verse 10 - do good to all men, especially those who are of the household of faith....
- it is good that those verses are known, it should concern us that they are seldom taken in their context.

- let me encourage you to think about the Bible interpretation process like a funnel.
- and by the way, what we’re talking about in a nutshell here this morning will actually become the topic of study for our Adult Bible Fellowships this fall....Principles of Bible Study [please plan now to participate]....

- now, Bible interpretation as a funnel.
- at the narrow part of the funnel, you have a specific word [or sentence] spoken to a specific person [or group of persons], at a specific time.

- and before we ever try to apply that to ourselves, or find more general principles for general Christian living from that verse....
- we always begin with....specifically what was said, and specifically what was meant to that particular person [or group] at that particular time.

- that’s why you ask questions like....
1) Who was writing?
2) Who was being written to?
3) What words were used? [and what did those words mean in that day and time?]
4) What were the conditions at that period of time?
5) What else had already been said to that person in God’s Word?
6) What had been said in the verses just before the one in question?
7) What is said just after the verse in question?

- in other words, .specifically what was said, and specifically what was meant to that particular person [or group] at that particular time.
- after you’ve established that....[and by the way, that’s not just the pastor’s job, that’s every Christians job....for some reason I’ve had several people mention to me recently that they were impressed when they came to our church that everybody gets their Bible out and studies....its not a passive one sided process]
- so after you’ve established that, then you can broaden the funnel out by asking, is there any sense in which a believer in Jesus Christ today would be in that same situation?
- many times the answer to that is “yes”, and of course it is very appropriate to conclude that we have a direct statement from Scripture that applies to that matter.
- Christian men were married in Bible times....I Peter 3:7 says that husbands were to be learners and dwell with their wives in an understanding way....
- Christian men are married today....therefore they are to dwell with their wives in an understanding way today....
- that is a direct statement from the Bible that is clearly transferable from one time period to the next.

- the funnel becomes broader, though, when you ask....does that passage contain any general principles that the original readers could have legitimately applied to situations that may not have been specifically mentioned in the text?
- many times the answer to that is yes, and it is perfectly appropriate to think about those general principles and apply them to other situations as long as the idea was first studied in its context.

- the next logical question [as the funnel broadens] is, are there any general principles in that verse that we could apply to ourselves today that might not have been specifically mentioned in the context....
- and again, the answer is, yes, as long as it was considered in it’s context first.

- let me give you a test case....
- here’s a couple of other well known verses in God’s Word....
- I Corinthians 10:13 - There hath no temptation taken you.....
- I Cor. 10:31 - Whether, therefore, you eat or drink or whatsoever you do....

- many of us would say, those are great verses....I find myself using the general principles contained in those verses all the time....
- that’s well and good....but let me ask you this question....what’s the context of I Corinthians 10:13 and I Cor. 10:31...do you know?
- the answer is....Christian liberty.....
- I Cor. chapters 8, 9, and 10 is the most extended discussion about Christian liberty in the entire Bible.
- and my point is....it’s always best to study the Bible in its context.

- now, let’s take all that back to what we’re studying this morning in Galatians 6:6-10.
-  you might wonder, PV, where’d you get this idea from verse 6, that we ought to develop the ability to make spiritual investments for the long haul Because of the Joy of Sharing.

- the answer is, Galatians 6:6 cannot be understood apart from what Paul said about walking in the Spirit in Galatians 5:16, and the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, and especially what he said about spiritual people being willing to restore a sinning brother or sister in Galatians 6:1-5.

- see, verse 6, let the one who is taught the Word share all good things with him who teaches.
- who is the one who is taught the word in this text?
- the answer is, the person who was overtaken in a fault in verse one, and someone loved them enough to restore them....
- to talk to them....
- to confront them....
- to minister to them....
- the one who was taught the word is the one who was confronted....
- then who’s the person ate the end of the verse who teaches?
- that’s the person who was loving enough to do the confronting.

- the principle is, yes, confrontation is painful.....
- and yes, confronting someone else is difficult....
- and yes, it involves risks...
- and yes, the person’s immediate reaction isn’t always....
- and yes, you may get a little venom spit on you....
- but if you can look beyond all of that....
- to the possible benefits.....
- because so many times, eventually the person repents....
- and its good for their life when they repent....
- and things are so much better between them and God....
- and so much better between them and others....

- and the great thing is, you get to share in that....
- you have the joy of knowing that you were used by God in that person’s spiritual growth.

- here’s some principles that flow out of that....
A.  Be willing to run the risk of confronting someone in your life who needs it for the possible long-term joy of sharing in the joy and blessing of their repentance.

- I had an interesting conversation this week with someone who was asking how our church was so effective at getting people here to serve in the various ministries we have.
- he said, it just seems like there are so many other things for people to get excited about and involved in, how is it that so many people at Faith are willing to serve God through the various church ministries?
- some of that has to do with exactly what we’re talking about.
- the long term joy of being part of what God is doing in someone’s life is worth the short term sacrifice and risk.

- and friend, what I need to ask you this morning is, are you taking a long view when it comes to the matter of talking to others, and if necessary confronting others and getting problems addressed and solved....because you highly value the joy of being a part of what God is doing in someone’s life?....of sharing in the joy of their repentance.

[if time -- develop the number of folks who have recently come to Christ -- in many cases, someone loved them enough to tell them about Jesus....took a risk....imagine the joy of hearing the news that that person has become a Christian]

- here’s the other side of that principle.....
B.  Be sure to share with people who have confronted you about how thankful you are that they loved you enough to talk to you, and about how their words have been used of God to change your life.
- friend, when someone confronts you, do you receive it like a wise person, or do you receive it like a fool?
- the wise person listens attentively....
- the wise person looks for what God may be trying to tell them through this person’s words....
- the wise person thanks the person who loved them enough to confront them....
- the wise person gets busy and change the things that the other individual helped them to see...
- and the wise person goes back later and tells the person who confronted them how they’ve changed, and they share in that joy together.

- the fool gets angry....
- the fool makes excuses...
- the fool blames his sin on everyone else....
- the fool will not take reproof and the fool will not change and the fool even gets bitter at the person who took the risk to try to talk to him in the first place....

- friend, which one are you?
- and I wonder how many of us would be greatly helped by understanding Galatians 6:6 in its context and deciding right now that we’re going to make contact with that person who confronted us, and we’re going to thank them for their confrontation, and we’re going to tell them about the changes that have been made....in obedience to this verse....
- let the one who is taught the Word share all good things with him who teaches.

- now, what’s another reason why we ought to make spiritual investments for the long haul?


II.  Because of Value of Reaping.


- verse 7 clearly lays out the principle [Reread v. 7]
- then verse 8 explains the principle [Reread v. 8]

- I’m glad verse 8 is in this text, because the word “Spirit” ought to trigger our thinking....
- oh, Paul is taking us back to what he was saying in chapter 5 verse 16, about walking in the Spirit....
- and he’s taking us back to what he was saying in chapter 5 verses 22-23, about the fruit of the Spirit....
- and he’s taking us back to what he said in chapter 6 verse 1, about spiritual people trying to restore those overtaken on a fault.

- and Paul’s point is --- don’t be deceived about this, God’s not going to be mocked...
- yes, sometimes the process of sowing in hard, it’s difficult, it’s distasteful....
- but on the authority of the promises of God, the day is coming when you shall reap.

- people who are just focused on the here and now usually end up sowing to the flesh....they’re after the immediate gratification....
- people who have learned to take a long view of life usually end up sowing to the Spirit...
- even if its harder....
- even if it goes against their emotions....
- even if goes against culture....
- even if there’s a price to pay....
- they end up sowing to the Spirit because they value the day that they’ll reap.
- friend, can I ask you this morning....as you think about this past week, have you been sowing to the Spirit?...or sowing to the flesh?
- as you think about this past summer, have you been sowing to the Spirit, or sowing to the flesh?
- for example, did you spend time each day praying and cultivating your relationship with God because you understand the importance of sowing to the Spirit?
- did you take time to read your Bible and get God’s Word in your heart because you were sowing to the Spirit?
- how about in the way you’ve been relating to the people in your life lately?
- sowing to the Spirit or sowing to the flesh?

- you say, well, why would you ask me about that?
- it’s because that would have been one of the primary applications of this text to the people in the Galatian churches.
- How had they been treating one another?
- the answer is --- they had been biting and devouring one another with their extra-biblical legalism.
- they had come up with all sorts of rules and tests of spirituality and they were running around imposing those rules on every one else in the church....
- they were arguing and feuding and disgracing the cause of Christ.....

- the bottom line is, in their relationships with other people they were sowing to the flesh.
- when you get sinfully angry with someone else, you’re sowing to the flesh.
- when you talk behind someone’s back, you’re sowing to the flesh.
- when you take advantage of someone else, you’re sowing to the flesh.
- when you intimidate someone else with your words and your tones, you’re sowing to the flesh.
- when you’re disobedient and disrespectful, you’re sowing to the flesh.

- but when you’re kind and gracious to others, you’re sowing to the Spirit.
- when you choose to return good for evil, you’re sowing to the Spirit.
- when you ask forgiveness quickly, and grant forgiveness quickly, you’re sowing to the Spirit.

- and I realize someone might say, but PV, it feels so good to blow up....
- it feels so good to tell them off....
- it feels so good let them have it....
- it feels so good to get revenge....

- anyone who things that way is failing to think about what one day they’ll reap.
- and that’s a two edged sword that is very positive for the person sowing to the Spirit and ought to frighten the fire out of the person who is sowing to the flesh.
- and I don’t know when you’ll reap, and I don’t know how you’ll reap, and I don’t know how God will choose to keep His promises....
- but I can assure you of this....He will keep His promises....

- and fruitful people have learned the secret of making the spiritual investment for the long haul....
I.  Because of the Joy of Sharing....
II.  Because of the Value of Reaping.
- now someone might say, but PV, I’m so tired.
- I’ve been trying to walk in the Spirit but its so hard....
- I’ve been trying to put on the fruit of the Spirit but its so hard
- I talked to someone last week after what we studied and a whole week has gone by and there’s still no repentance and change.....
- that brings us to the third emphasis of the text....
- Be willing to make the spiritual investment for the long haul....


III.  Because of the Importance of Waiting.


- Paul says [read 9-10 again]

- there are some here this morning who probably need to hear the words, don’t give up.

1)  You’ve been trying to develop a particular aspect of the Spirit’s fruit, and you were doing pretty well, and then that person got under your skin and you blew it....
- friend, don’t give up.
- God has designed the growth process to be exactly that....a process....
- and we’re going to blow it from time to time, but let me ask you this....as you evaluate a several month period of time, is there progress?
- if so, don’t give up simply because of the setback.

2) Or you have been trying to get a problem solved with another individual....
- and you prayed, and you thought through what needed to be said, and you sat down with the individual and communicated....but there’s still been no repentance....still been no change.....friend, don’t give up.

3) You’ve been witnessing to someone.....


4) You’ve been praying about a particular matter.....

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video