Full Text for Galatians- Volume 41 - Catechists in the Galatian Church (Galatians 6) (Video)

No. 41 >> Earlier you talked about how there were catechetical teachers in the Galatian congregations who are continuing the teaching of Paul among the saints. Paul refers to them in the last section of Chapter 6. What is the significance of Paul talking about these teachers at this point? And what fruit of the Spirit is Paul urging the Galatian congregations to exhibit over and against these teachers? >>DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.: Up until this point we have not heard much about the catechetical teachers that Paul left behind in Galatia to continue to teach the truth of the Gospel that he first taught to them when he visited them. So your question is an excellent one. Because we're somewhat surprised that right after Verse 5, Paul refers to these teachers. Now, I think the reason is because he wants us to see that the life of Christ is embodied in various ways. And this is a very important point to us. Especially in our church today. As I mentioned before, I'm director of a deaconess program. So I'm talking about ***diocnesis, service. And one of the things I've come to recognize and I mentioned this earlier with Paul and he does hint at this when he says at the end of that part of Chapter 2 when the pillars in Jerusalem told him to remember the poor, the very thing which I wish to do, support of those who teach the Gospel is at the heart of expressing one's need and concern for hearing the teaching and the preaching of the truth of the Gospel in a congregation. And so this admonition of Paul, not only to the Galatians but particularly in light of the opponents, is a very significant one. Again, we have to read between the lines here. But what it seems to be that is happening in this congregation is this: That the catechetical instructors that Paul left behind are not being supported by the teachers who are his opponents. So you've got two teachers going on. Paul's teachers. And now these opponents who are teaching. And they are cutting out these catechetical instructors by not supporting them financially. And it appears as if some of the Galatians are going along with that. Now, this is pretty typical. I think every one of you can identify with you know you want to get rid of someone in a parish, you start cutting their salary. This is going to make it impossible for them to live and continue to serve in that congregation. That's exactly what's happening here. So this is what Paul says in Verse 6. One who is taught the Word must share all good things with the one who teaches. This is simply what Jesus said when a laborer is worthy of his hire. That you've got to support those who preach and teach the truth of the Gospel in your congregations. Now, this is something that indicates that in the teaching of the truth of the Gospel, what's at stake is the truth of the Gospel. Now, this is why Verse 7 absolutely astounds us. And Paul, you know, you kind of go: Whoa, Paul, this is really sharp language. Do not be deceived, he says. God is not mocked. Now, he's talking about support of his teachers financially. God is not mocked. So don't be deceived by this. For everyone who sows, that will he also reap. Now, this is a common expression, it's used all over the place. It's used in Jesus' teaching. But here it's used by Paul and a it's very clear had a that he's talking about support for the catechetical teachers. Financial support. So that the truth of the Gospel might be heard. If they go, so goes the truth of the Gospel. And he says the way in which you sow, you're going to reap. If you don't sow by supporting them, you are not going to reap what is the fruit of the Spirit that comes from the truth of the Gospel of preaching Christ crucified, Christ risen from the dead. And then he illustrates it in Verse 8. He keeps the sowing and reaping imagery here, as well. He says. For the one who sows to his own flesh. And here this is circumcision. To his own flesh is circumcision. He will reap -- and look at what is -- the Greek it's the last word of the sentence. He will reap corruption from his flesh. Now, let me read you a translation. The one who sows to his own flesh will reap from the flesh corruption. Now, that is a strong statement. He's talking there about his opponents. They sow circumcision. They are going to reap from that flesh, from that circumcision, that teaching of circumcision, they are going to reap corruption. Corruption. That's a strong word. But then the one who reaps by the Spirit, not his own spirit, but the Spirit of Christ, will reap out of that Spirit of Christ eternal life. Now, look at corruption versus eternal life. Think of the teachings of Jesus. You know, laying up for yourselves treasures in heaven. As opposed to those treasures in which moths can destroy and rust can destroy. Eternal life is what you will reap if you sow from the Spirit by supporting these catechetical teachers who bring the truth of the Gospel, what you will receive is eternal life. Now, this is the first time we've seen that expression, eternal life. Life that never if ends. And this is truly living in liberty now and forever. Now, that is a profound statement. And he's talking here about the fruit of the Spirit which is generosity. He's talking about giving to the church. He's talking about how an expression of love and mercy and compassion is shown in a very, very tangible way by what we give. Now, I wish I had time to go into the teaching of Jesus, as you perhaps know, I've written a commentary on Luke's Gospel. I was so surprised in writing that commentary how much Jesus talks about money. And how money is very important as an expression of what it is that -- you know who it is, I should say, that we are and what it is that we do. The love of money is what he accuses the Pharisees of being. And I think the very same thing is going on here. These are Pharisaical Christians. They love money. They are using money as a weapon to get at the truth of the Gospel. And Paul is saying that if that happens, there is corruption. Do not be deceived. God is not mocked. And I think this is a very powerful statement in which he's talking about how an impulsive desire of the flesh, namely, love of money, is being exhibited among his opponents whereas Paul is encouraging the Galatians to live out the spirit of love by loving the catechetical teachers and showing that in tangible expressions of support for them. Now, he's not done. Verse 9 he says -- and now he's going to talk in more general ways. But I think still the fruit of the Spirit, generosity, is what is in mind here. Let us not grow weary in doing good. Doing good. Namely, fruits of the Spirit. For in due season, we will reap if we do not give up. Now, you can see that it's a future. We will reap. It's something that will happen in the future. And going back to the previous verse, it's eternal life. But eternal life is already with us now. And Paul knows that. It's that now not yet tension. But what he can see -- and this is true of all of us. This is perhaps some of the things that is most evident of the virus of sin that infects us. Sometimes in this world we get weary. We get weary of living out the christological life. Because we get persecuted for it. Or we don't see people responding as they should. And it is something that can just simply wear us down. I think that's what's happening in the Galatian congregation. They know what Paul said. But these opponents are so much beating on them, the world is beating on them, that they are tired. They are weary. They are warriors on the front lines of that Apocalyptic war. And they are worn out. And so here is Paul, the pastor, encouraging them. He says very clearly: Let us not grow weary in doing good. For in due season, in the ***chiros that's the word, in the critical time of salvation, we will reap if we don't give up. And now Verse 10 just continues that. So therefore then as that critical time comes, as we have opportunity. In this critical time of salvation. And this is wonderful here what he says. Let us continue over and over again to do good to everyone. To live out the fruits of the Spirit to everyone. And he says especially to those who are of the household of faith. It begins at home. It begins in the church. It doesn't end there. Because this life of love is lived out among the whole world. But it begins in the church. And I think here perhaps Paul is speaking of the Jerusalem church. The fact that they are broken by a famine. They need Paul to take up the collection for them. That there is real tangible expressions of need there. And let's not grow weary in taking up that collection for them, as well. But I think Paul here is showing very clearly that one of the ways in which the impulsive desire of the flesh and living under the law can wear down a church is that they cease to see that the Gospel is expressed in concrete expressions of mercy. And that's not only just simply kind of in spiritual expressions by loving one another and forgiving one another. But concrete expressions. Where you actually bring tangible evidence of helping people in their lives. This is why I am so delighted to be leading a deaconess program here at the seminary. And I have been enriched by seeing deaconesses around the world who are servants of love and mercy. And they not only bring God's Word to people and pray with people and show in the Scriptures how God is a merciful and loving God. But they bring concrete expressions of it. I'll never forget, we have a few deaconesses in Kenya walking out into the fields, three miles to visit a widow and orphans. And how this deaconess who makes $7 a month is out there bringing Scripture, bringing prayer, bringing consolation and comfort to this widow and her orphan grandchildren. But also bringing a bag of maize, of corn, so she can make something for these children. Where she gets the money on $7 a month -- she had her own family. But she was able to bring a concrete expression of this. That's what Paul is talking about here. That in supporting the catechetical teachers, in not growing weary in doing good both in terms of our forgiveness but our tangible expressions of love, taking care of the poor, providing for those who are in famine, bringing concrete realities to people in their human need, this is all part and parcel of what it means to love our neighbor as ourselves. This is part and parcel of what the truth of the Gospel is. And nobody that I've ever seen before has shown how clearly this is what it means to live daily life in a church in which God is making right what has gone wrong.