Studies in Galatians – Wayne Barber/Part 37
By: Dr. Wayne Barber
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2004|
|The Lord Jesus has titles or names; over 593 of them in the New Testament alone. One of the most profound titles of the Lord Jesus is “the gift of God.”|
You Reap What You Sow
Turn with me to Galatians 6. You know, names are very important in Scripture. They’re important because they give understanding of the essence or character of somebody. Different than today; we name something this or that and we don’t think about it, but in Scripture when you see a name it has something behind it. It describes the person. The Lord Jesus has titles or names; over 593 of them in the New Testament alone. One of the most profound titles of the Lord Jesus is “the gift of God.” John 4:10 He’s talking with the woman at the well and He says to her, “Jesus answered and said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God’”—in other words, you’re talking to Him—“‘and who it is who says to you, “Give Me a drink,” you could have asked Him and He would have given you living water.’”
We’ve just passed through the Christmas season and gifts and giving have been on our hearts. And we celebrated the greatest gift ever given to any of us, and that’s the Lord Jesus Christ. He emptied Himself, and that’s an incredible truth. Emptied Himself, made Himself unrecognizable of His divine glory and He came down to earth to be born of a virgin, a helpless little baby in a manger, the God-man, and to one day go to the cross for our sins. He lived a perfect life. He was the perfect God-man. He took our sin debt upon Himself, went to a cross, paid a debt He didn’t owe when we owed a debt we could not pay, resurrected the third day, ascended 50 days later and is now is glorified and seated at the right hand of the Father. Why? He wants to give something to us, freedom, but also eternal life.
He is the perfect example of what giving is all about. And the beautiful thing the book of Galatians tells us is this One who is the perfect example of giving, the great gift that God has given to us, He now lives in us. And He wants to perfect in and through us that giving heart, that loving heart, not ours, nothing that we could come up with, but He wants to live His life through you and me. A key verse to Galatians, it’s been the hinge of the whole book, has been verse 20 of chapter 2, “I have been crucified with Christ, and it’s no longer I who live, but Christ lives [where?] in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and delivered Himself up for me,” Paul says.
And how do we know that we’re experiencing Him? Well, the fifth chapter told us in verses 22-23. We saw that when we experience Him, when we say yes to Him, when we’re walking by the Spirit, when we’re led by the Spirit, the first thing that happens in our life is He gives us a love for people that is not natural. It’s supernatural. It’s His love being manifest in our life with all of its different characteristics that we saw in verses 22-23. And it’s His love that is the root of all giving. A person never gives unless there’s love at the root of it. And He has to produce that love which becomes that giving love. And this love is expressed in the body of Christ like nowhere else.
He told us in 6:1 we become sensitive to one another’s needs. And something that’s not natural, something that doesn’t happen unless Christ is moving and working in our lives, in verse 1 we become sensitive to a brother who has sinned. We don’t talk him down. We don’t kick him out. We come around him and we try to restore him. It says in verse 1, “Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.”
Then in verse 2 we become aware and sensitive to our brother’s needs.” When we see a brother who’s bearing a burden that he cannot bear, and he’s under a load that he can’t handle, we begin to move to help him. It says in verse 2, “Bear one another’s burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ.” Christ’s love in us keeps self out of the picture. He keeps us from deceiving ourselves as to who we think we are because of what we did for somebody else. That’s what religion does.
Verse 3 says, “For if anyone thinks he’s something when he’s nothing, he deceives himself. “ It is self that will do good things. Oh, religious people do good things, but it’s always for their own credit and for their own glory.
Galatians 6:4 says, “But let each man examine his own work and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone and not in regard to another.” You see, Christ in us keeps us from trying to measure what we do compared to what somebody else has or has not done. No, the good that we do is what He produces in us and the glory can only go to Him. It cannot come from us because He lives in us and He is the greatest giver that ever lived, and whatever we do doesn’t come from us. It comes from Him. Christ loving us causes us to recognize that we have our own responsibility, each one individually.
It says in Galatians 6:5, “For each one shall bear his own load.” And what that means is God doesn’t put the same burden on your heart that He might put on my heart to help people out that are in the body of Christ. Now, I’m not talking about missions and things like that. That’s something we do corporately. But I’m talking about on the individual day by day basis, God will put somebody on my heart, and I’m responsible for the burden He places upon my heart. I’m not responsible for a burden He placed upon your heart. Nor are you responsible for a burden He placed upon my heart. We each have our own responsibility.
Christ’s love is a selfless giving love that never speaks of us, it points only to the One who lives within us. Now in this love that Christ produces in our lives, since the greatest giver and the greatest lover that ever lived, He lives in us, then what we have within this love is a discernment. We already know we have a discernment to know what somebody’s need is. But not only that, He gives us another discernment we’re going to look at today. He gives a discernment that is so needed in the church today when it comes to who we support in Christian ministry.
And by the way, there’s no question in Scripture; that’s what we are to be about. That’s why we have a missions program. That’s why we take care of the people that teach the Word of God. When it comes to supporting people, who is it that we’re supposed to support? Only the love of Christ and the discernment of Christ comes at this point in time, and especially at a time when we’re thinking about giving, it’s appropriate that we approach these verses in Galatians 6. Verses 6-8 is what we’re going to focus on in our message today, a unique passage about giving to people that teach the word. And it’s interesting, it’s just like a little nugget that’s placed very carefully right into the context of Galatians 6.
There are three things that I want you to see that Paul speaks to the Galatian church about. First of all, the command of every believer. Now, let me explain that “every believer;” every believer that hungers for the word of God. Now the next two times I’m going to use “every” in the next two points, it means everybody. But on this particular point it simply means those who love the word of God and love to be taught the word of God. Interestingly, there are a lot of people in the body of Christ that don’t want the word of God. They want other things. They want to be entertained or whatever. But for the people that love God’s word, he has a word for them in this first point. He has a command for every believer who loves the word of God.
Galatians 6:6, “And let the one who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches.” By using the term “one,” “let the one who is taught,” he makes this very individual, so it’s never something you can put on somebody else. Everybody that loves the word has this responsibility. First of all, let’s address those who suggest, and there are those who do this, that during the time that Paul wrote the book of Galatians that there were no such things as full time preachers or ministers who were paid by the people that were taught. That’s not true. As a matter of fact, the people who say that don’t understand at all.
Our text will show today they did have full time preachers and teachers and ministers of the word, and they were supported by the people that they taught. The apostle Paul himself backed that up. He said “I’m not going to do it because I don’t want somebody to think I’m doing this for gain.” But he says it’s certainly alright in his writings. To help set the stage, at the time the book of Galatians was written there were many false teachers. They were a dime a dozen. Not much different in the 21st century. And an interesting thing about these false teachers, even though they taught something that would help nobody, they charged for people to come and hear them.
That was so interesting. Here’s the Christian body meeting together, and it’s free, and somebody stands up and teaches them the word. These people who taught nothing and only humanism, they charged for people to come. And so the people that came had to pay a price. They were obligated to pay or they couldn’t hear. Those teachers insisted that their students, their disciples, should share everything in common with them. They even resorted in some cases to communal, living with the teacher and his disciples living together and them taking care of that teacher. There was a cultist type of bondage that they had to their teacher. They were under a tremendous obligation there that they should not have been under.
Well, now that was what was going on. And, by the way, the teachers that had come in and so infected the churches in Galatia were those kind of teachers. And what Paul is trying to do here is to contrast that. He says, oh no, you should never feel obligated. You should feel divinely motivated: if you love the word of God, you want to take care of the people who teach the word of God. He wants to show that walking by the Spirit, walking in the Spirit, God motivates the heart to take care of the people who give the word of God.
Paul identifies that true teacher, in case you’re wondering where I got the teacher of the word of God. He says, “Let the one who is taught the word.” And the definite article is used before the word “word,” which identifies that as the word of God. “Let the one who is taught the word.” Now, the word of God sets the criteria. Believers have no obligation to financially support anyone who claims to be a teacher or a preacher and does not honor “thus sayeth” the Word of God, the Lord, the God of the Word. If a person’s not teaching the word of God, there is never any motivation nor obligation to have to support them.
You know, one of the things that troubles me from time to time; I don’t know how many of you do the same thing I do. Do you ever take the remote, and just start flipping through and you get on one of these channels where somebody’s preaching? Anybody besides me do this? My wife has gotten to the point that she just walks over and gets the remote out of my hand, because it doesn’t do me any good at all. And I’m listening to somebody and he says, “now here’s what it says,” and let’s just say Galatians 6 and such and such a verse. And I have taught that and studied hundreds of hours in it, and I’m thinking, wait a minute, that’s not what it says in Galatians. And then it suddenly dawns on me, he’s using the Scripture to support what he wants to say. And the people who don’t know any better all of a sudden they think that’s the greatest thing in the world and they send millions and millions and millions of dollars to somebody who is not honoring the Word of God.
And it troubles me. It troubles me to hear somebody take a book, verse out of Philippians or a verse out of 1 John or any of the text that I’ve studied and then say something wrong about it. It makes me so angry and my wife is so sweet. She’ll just walk over and say “give me the remote,” and she’ll turn it to someplace else. I want to take a chair and just throw it right through the television set. But listen, they didn’t have televisions in the time of Galatians. But they had the very same thing that was going on.
And what Paul is trying to do here is to say, listen, if you love God and love His Word then you’re only going to feel motivated to take care of those who teach it and who honor it as they speak. The Word of God sets the criteria: “Let the one who is taught the word.” The word “taught” is the word katecheo. Katechoe is the word that especially refers to oral teaching. It was used to describe the apostles and the teachers and the preachers in the church. It is translated “instruct” when it’s used of the apostle Paul.
It says in 1 Corinthians 14:19, “However, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind that I may instruct [that’s the word] others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.” It’s a direct reference to people who stood with a pulpit or whatever and they taught the people the Word of God. But it speaks of those people who did this on a consistent basis. The verb is in the present tense. This would refer to the ongoing teaching of the word of God, those who are being taught the word of God.
“And let the one who is being taught the word.” And I love the Greek word for the word “word.” It’s the word logos. You’ve heard the word logos before. It’s the word that refers to the divine intelligence of God. You can never use this word for somebody who speaks randomly or off the cuff. No, this has to be thought through and intelligent. It’s the divine intelligence of God. Do you realize inside the covers of this Bible we have the divine intelligence of God? That thrills me. I don’t know if it thrills you or not. This is why it’s so important to have this at home with you, not just to come to church to it.
Listen, it’s so important when you see it for yourself. If I have a trouble in my family, I come to the divine intelligence of God. If I’ve got trouble in the church, we come to the divine intelligence of God. If I’ve got trouble with my finances, I come to the divine intelligence of God. Oh, God, this world’s falling apart, and I come to the Word of God. It says, “No it’s not, it’s coming together.” It’s only in this Book that I discover how I’m supposed to think and how God thinks. God’s mind is given to us in the Word. That’s why Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.”
Galatians 6:6 again, “And let the one who is taught the word,” the divine intelligence of God, “share all good things with him who teaches.” Now, the word “share” there is a good translation. It’s the word koinoneo. You’ve heard of it, koinonia, same type of word, same word basically. It means to impart, to give to, to participate in the needs of this individual. It’s a present imperative verb. It’s a command, which means it’s not an option. It means to share and keep on sharing with him. When combined with the phrase “good things,” it obviously refers primarily to the financial way you take care of him. This is back in the book of Galatians. Understand where we are now. And he says, “Listen, if you’re going to be taught the word, financially and other ways take care of the person who’s teaching the word.” And I’ll explain why in a moment. We know this, that it has to do with financial resources.
Isn’t it interesting how treasures are always so important? The Lord Jesus spoke more about treasures than He did hell. And the word koinonia is used by the apostle Paul to refer to finances when it comes to sharing with others so many times in Scripture. He uses the verb form in Romans 12:13, in Romans 15:27, Philippians 4:14. He uses the noun form in Romans 15:26, 2 Corinthians 8:4 and in 2 Corinthians 9:13. So the phrase “all good things” is certainly not limited to money, but it certainly includes it because of Scripture and how it backs itself up.
The word for “good” there “good things” is the word agathos. Now agathos is the word that means benevolent good. In other words, you sense a need and you want to minister to that need. That’s agathos; that’s the name for “God is good.” That’s the name there. It’s a benefit to this individual. It helps that person do what he’s called to do.
Now, be careful to understand the need the teacher has that Paul is implicating here. It’s not as specific as we’d like, but the man who is chosen to teach God’s word has obviously chosen to study it. Now, he understand this, the apostle understands this. And he says, “Listen, it’s going to take so much time for that man to study what he shares with you when he teaches the word that you need to take care of him; he can’t make a living on one side and share the word on the other.
I was with Kay Arthur at Precept for 15 years. They used to say, “Now, listen, on your homework this week, it’ll only take you 5 hours.” Now, those of you that have been in Precept, how many of you argue with that, besides me? I’ve never done it with less than eight hours and most of the time it was 10-12 hours. That’s one lesson, one little lesson, five days of homework, day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4, day 5. That’s all it is. And it takes that much time just to get into the Word and dig out what you want. Now, think for a second. If you take that much time to study it and then you have to take what you have studied and put it into a form that can communicate to somebody else, how much time do you think that takes? And you do that three times a week. We’re already up to about 15 hours. That’s 45 hours in a week that it’s going to take just to study in order to teach the Word of God. It is a full time occupation.
Paul knows that and respects that. And so he says to the people who are taught the word—he doesn’t say this to the people who bail out because of the word—no, he says to the people that are hungry and come for the word. They, above everybody understand this because God puts that discernment in their heart and that’s why they’re motivated to give to make certain that it takes place. If we’re a church that stands for the Word of God, then it should be supported, and that’s what Paul is trying to get across. And the Holy Spirit of God is the One who gives that discernment. It’s labor to study the Word of God.
Paul is very clear about this in other epistles. He wrote in 1 Timothy 5:17 “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.” And that word “work hard” means exactly that. Dr. Stephen Olford who has been here and spoken for us, they did a test at his institute, his preaching institute. They wired a guy up when he preached, and they wanted to find out how much emotion and energy was expended while he was doing this. Their findings was this: a man who puts any kind of energy into his message at all for 30 minutes has just equaled an executive who sets at his desk for 8 hours. And he’s also just equaled the labor of a man who digs a ditch for 14 hours. That’s one 30-minute time.
The apostle Paul didn’t have all the instruments to take the test. The apostle Paul didn’t have all of that, but what he’s saying is, when you love the Word of God you know that whoever teaches that Word, it doesn’t just come to him. It’s something that’s labor; it’s something that’s work. Double honor, he says. Paul makes his point to Timothy when he says in 1 Timothy 5:18, “For the Scripture says you shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing and the laborer is worthy of his wages.” Now, let’s make sure, certain that we have the picture here. It’s very difficult for me to preach this when I’m the one standing up here, but this is the next verse, and what am I going to do?
Alright, first of all you have choice made by a preacher, not to spend his time doing other things, but to spend his time to study the Word of God because he’s going to teach it. Now, that’s a discipline he’s got to accept as part of his calling, as part of his life. But secondly, you have people who have chosen to be taught the Word of God. At one church where I went as pastor, we had 130 and lost 30 of those the first few months. I had somebody tell me, “You’ll never build this church preaching verse by verse like you do.” I was criticized. One guy told me, “You’re like a soap opera. I leave for four weeks and come back and you’re on the second word. Come on, Wayne. You can’t build a church on this.”
Here was my reply to him. My reply was God never told me to build anything. If you ever seen me with a hammer in my hand you would definitely not want me to help you build anything. But what God told me to do was to feed the sheep and He said “I will build My church. You don’t build anything; you just do what I tell you to do. I’ll take care of the rest.” You see, that’s the whole mindset of a lot of people. But thank God you’re here today. And, listen, I’m grateful; because people that want to be taught, you see, and you have somebody who wants to teach and discipline themselves to teach and God takes the rest of it, and the rest will be history. There’ll be no problem in a preacher ever being taken care of if he’s teaching the Word of God to people who want to be taught. Christ’s love will motivate us to take care of the one who’s teaching us. So it’s a command, yes, but remember, His commands are not burdensome. So the person that’s walking in the Spirit, it’s just simple. It’s a divine motivation within their heart. They’re going to take care of the people who teach the Word of God.
But the second thing he does here, interesting, and I’ve never seen it quite as tied together as I see it now, the challenge he gives to every believer. He ties a thought, a verse to this very thing, to who you support. Are you supporting the people who teach the word of God? And he says in verse 7, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows this he will also reap.” “Do not be deceived” is the word planao. We get the word “planet” from it; planet that just wanders around in space. And the idea is to get off track and to wander away from what truth really is. The present passive is the verb tense. And what he’s saying is, is don’t continue to be deceived. Remember, he’s writing to a group of people that are already deceived. He says, don’t continue to let yourself be deceived by their buying into false teaching of those who had deceived them.
Here is the implication of this verse: evidently now they were supporting these false teachers with their money, and this is why he puts this verse where he puts it. Supporting those who preached error. Isn’t it interesting that false teachers would not even exist in our world today, now listen, if believers would stop supporting them? You see, the world doesn’t support false teachers. It’s believers who have been so deceived that they don’t want the Word of God and they’ve been lured off. They’ve been deceived like the Galatians, and now they’re supporting these very people. He says, “Do not continue to be deceived.” Don’t continue to let yourself be deceived.
“God is not mocked.” The word “mocked” is the word mukterizo. It means to turn your nose up and to sneer. Now, if you have ever had small children in your family you know exactly what this word means. Like that little girl that was in the closet, and her mother got so mad at her she shut her in the closet and she forgot about her. And she finally remembered, and she went back to get her and the little girl was just standing there with that little nose turned up and that sneer. And she said, “What are you doing?” She said, “I’ve spit on your clothes. I’ve spit on your coats. I spit on your shoes.” “Well what are you doing now?” She said, “I’m standing here waiting on more spit.” That’s the word “mocked.” That’s exactly the word.
Now, “God is not mocked.” Now, listen, this is present passive. You say, what does this all mean? Let me explain it to you. God is not allowing Himself to be sneered at by somebody who chooses not to love the Word and support those who teach it. In other words, the joke’s on you, Paul says to the people of Galatia. He says, you’re not affecting Him in one bit by what you’re doing. But, oh, how you’re affecting your own life by the choices that you’re making. Turning your nose up and sneering at God by refusing to support people that teach God’s Word, he says, that’s something that’s bringing a consequence in your life, and you don’t even see it.
You see, when a person loves to hear the Word and loves to take care of those who teach it, those who support the Christian ministries and those who support missionaries, people that honor the Word of God, they’re doing a good thing. They’re sowing good seed and it’s going to come back into their life. He’ll show you that in the next verse. But those who choose not to do that, they’re also reaping. They’re sowing bad seed and it’s already showing up in their lifestyle. “For whatever a man sows,” he says, “this he will also reap.”
The interesting thing about sowing that I’ve learned over the years, and certainly you have too, and it’s this, I call it the law of the harvest. First of all, when you sow something, you’re going to reap later than you’ve sown. In other words, if these people are going to hear false teachers and they’re “oh, this is wonderful,” they don’t see the results right then of what they’ve bought into that’s false. They don’t see it then. But there’s a sudden process that begins to start in their lives. It’s going to come up later on. But then secondly, you reap more than you’ve sown. That’s the law of harvest. Whatever you’ve sown, whatever choice you’ve made, you’re going to get a whole lot more back than what you bargained for. And then thirdly, you will reap exactly what you’ve sown. You sow corn, you’re going to reap corn. You sow tomato seeds, you’re going to get tomatoes.
That’s just the way it is. You’re going to sow bad seed by supporting people that don’t honor the Word of God. You’re going to reap as a result of that. It’s the specific and narrow context he’s talking about. Giving to a false teacher who is teaching error is a bad choice. God will not allow us to turn our nose up at Him by turning away from the Word; He will not allow that to happen. He’s not being affected at all. He’s going to make sure that there’s a consequence brought back into our life.
The truth of sowing and reaping does not just apply to this specific context. But the interesting thing about it is, this is a truth in every area of our life no matter what choice we make. Why did God tie that to finances? Why did He tie it to financially supporting the people who teach the Word of God? And I think I know why, because the Lord Jesus did the very same thing. And He said if you want to get down to it whether you’re walking by the Spirit or not, check the pocketbook, because that’s always the measure. It’s got a nerve running from the pocketbook to the heart, and when people won’t give, there’s something wrong in their walk with God, because people that give know it’s not theirs to begin with. But it’s a truth that can govern any part of life. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap.”
But specifically and narrowly to the context, it has to do with supporting people who teach the truth of the Word of God. “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows this he will also reap.” Boy, that’s a sobering truth, a sobering truth. You know there’s not a whole lot of good things about getting older, are there? People told me, “Wayne, life really begins at 40.”They lied. “Well, Wayne, things are wonderful after 50.” They, listen, they didn’t even come close. And now I’m at 60. You know one of the good things I’ve discovered about being 60? You know what it is? I have made so many stupid choices in my life, sown so much stupid seed and had to reap as a result of it, it’s finally getting through my thick head it’s just not worth it. Failure is a great tool to teach. That’s one of the good things God’s done or is doing in my life.
Well, our choices reap a harvest. So there’s a challenge. And what he says to them, hey listen, I know you’re taking care of these false teachers you’ve bought into. I understand that. I understand what you’re doing, but I want you to know it’s costing you and you don’t even realize it. If you’re not hungry for the Word, that’s the only thing that can renew your mind. Therefore, then God takes that and transforms your life. If you want something else, then you’re going to pay having pursued it. Not only will you support it, but you’ll turn right around and you’ll pay for having pursued it.
So the command is to those people who love God and love His Word. He said to them, there’s no option. You take care of the people who teach the Word of God. But then the challenge comes to everybody, not only those who love the word, but those who don’t love the word. So many of them were supporting the wrong people. But then thirdly, the choices of every believer. Every believer only has one of two choices. There are only two, verse 8: “For the one who sows to his own flesh”—now remember the context, but remember it’s broader than that; it can go anywhere—“shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
There are only two fields in which one can sow in verse 8, the field of the flesh—think about a farmer going out, the field of the flesh—and the field of the Spirit. “For the one who sows,” that’s in the present tense so he’s talking about a lifestyle; the one who continually sows, a practice that he has. The word “sow” is the word meaning to scatter seed with the expectation of getting a result. Now, in the Gospels the term sowing had to do with the word of God and taking it and sharing it with others, but not here. In this passage sowing is a choice that you make. You either choose to obey the Spirit or you choose to obey the flesh, one or the other, and you are going to get a harvest from each he says.
The first field is the field of his own flesh. And what does he say? “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption.” Because of the present tense the Greek would be “he who continually sows to the flesh of himself.” There’s so many false teachers in this world that appeal to our flesh. And I think that’s the scary thing to me at my age and this time in the life of our country, of where Christianity has gone to. People would rather be entertained than they would be confronted with the truth of God’s word. The flesh wants something and it’s so appealing to the flesh some of the things that are going on.
If we choose to sow to the flesh, field of the flesh then Paul says “we shall from the flesh reap corruption.” Now the word “corruption” is interesting. It’s not from God. It’s from the flesh, out of the flesh. The word “from the flesh” is ek, out of. In other words, out of the very thing you’ve chosen, it comes right back to bite you. It’s causing the corruption in your life. Plant corn, in other words, you’ll reap corn. The word “corruption” is a word that means it describes a process.
Boy, I love Wise potato chips. But, you know, it’s a funny thing that happens with that food that’s on that plate when you leave it there for several weeks. It’s a process, isn’t it. I mean, the second day you leave it there it’s not so bad. It’s just gotten a little hard. The third day it’s changing, and the fourth day, and the fifth week it’s green and there’s an odd odor that’s coming from it. There has been a process going on.
But I want you to think about corruption as a process. Some of you had fruit for Christmas and you didn’t eat it all. You left it sitting out. What’s happening to it now? There’s a process that sets in and it begins to rot. And, by the way, you take a rotten apple or a tomato and put it into a bunch of healthy ones what happens to the rest of them? And see, there’s a process that goes on here. A person buys into false doctrine; he doesn’t understand it, but immediately he has no desire for the Spirit of God to rule his life. He has no desire to be in the Word of God. He’d rather have this or he’d rather have that, and he doesn’t realize he’s in a stage of corruption, spiritual corruption. And that’s what Paul says. If a person sows to the flesh he shall of the flesh reap corruption.
The Galatians had sowed in the field of religious flesh and we’ve already seen in five chapters the negative part of that. And, by the way, many people think sometimes that I’m negative when I preach. Please don’t hear me that way. We’ve been in the most negative book in the whole New Testament. Do we understand that? For five whole chapters that’s all it’s been. But in chapter 6 we’ve turned the corner, so let’s get on the other side of that fence. I’m not trying to be negative, but I’m talking about people that are living negatively and that’s what we’re trying to see.
“But the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.” There’s your good choice. God says, “Why do you choose this? You’re going to reap corruption.” You have a choice. Choose to sow to the Spirit and specifically, financially, in your finances take care of those who are honoring the Word of God. Take care of the church budget. Take care of the people that are taking care of you biblically. If you’ll just do that, sow in the field of the Spirit, “you shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
I love that phrase, “the one who sows to the Spirit shall reap eternal life.” Eternal life is a powerful term. The word “life,” zoe, means the essence of life. What he’s saying is your whole life is going to change. And eternal has the idea it’ll never stop. It’ll just get better every day of your life. You can start living in the life that God says is yours if you’ll just say yes to Him in all areas of your life; but contextually and specifically in the financial area of your life. You begin to walk in the newness of life. What did Jesus say in John 10:10? “I’ve come that you might have life,” same word, “and have it,” how? “more abundantly.” How many Christians are living in it? But if you’ll look where you’re sowing, it tells you everything about where you’re living. If I’m sowing in the Spirit I’m going to understand that life and it’s eternal. It talks about the quality and the essence of that life, His life in us.
There was an old man, considered to be wise. He was a wise man, always right. Two young boys one day said, “We’re going to confuse and confound him.” They found a baby bird and they put it in their hand and here was their plot. We’re going to ask that old man, is this bird alive or is it dead? And if he says it’s alive we’ll crush it and say, huh, you’re wrong. If he says it’s dead, we’ll turn it loose and let it fly and say, huh, you’re wrong. You’re not as smart as you thought you were.
They went up to the old man and said, “Old man, first of all, what do we have in our hands?” Well, they’d forgotten to cover some of the feathers. He said, “It looks to me like you’ve got a baby bird.” They were surprised. Then they said, “Well, old man, is this bird alive or is it dead?” And the old man thought for a long time. They were chuckling. They had him. He says, “You know what? It’s really your choice, isn’t it?” And they looked at him, and he said, “In your hand you have death or you have life. Choose whichever one you will.”
And it’s almost exactly what Paul is saying to the Galatians. Make your choice. You want death, sow to the flesh; you want life, sow to the Spirit. And specifically—and I still can’t get away from it—but the fact that he ties it to finances. I didn’t tie it to finances, he did. And what he’s saying is, if you’re going to sow and walk by the Spirit, you’re going to love the Word of God and you’re not going to hesitate taking care of those who honor and teach the Word of God. Giving is a no-brainer. It’s a divine consequence, not a cause, a consequence of people who walk by the Spirit of God.