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Sermon on Galatians 6:1-10


Theme:  Christians carry each others burdens.

Goal:  to encourage Christians to carry each others burdens

Need:  We often live in isolated groups and don’t value the importance of dependence.


Vs 1-  depth of the relationship between believers

Vs 2-  carry each other’s burdens

Vs 3- Don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought

Vs 4-  You can be proud of yourself without comparing yourself to someone else.

Vs 5-  Carry your own load.


          As we get started on the passage for this morning, its helpful to know a little something about the book that we are actually reading out of.   The book of Galatians is a book written by Paul to the church in the city of Galatia.

          And instead of just reading every letter of Paul as if they are all just happy sayings about Jesus, we should know that this letter to the worshipers in Galatia is not a particularly happy letter.  Paul even says in Galatians 3:1.  You foolish Galatians.  Idiots.  Ignoramuses.  Clueless bafoons.  He uses the strong language because the people of that town have held on to law instead of freedom in Christ.  They have been swayed by false teachers and have been  really questioning the authority of Paul as a teacher.  And these sorts of problems with Paul’s teachings have led to divisions in the church and questions about what to do when someone misuses misuses their freedom from the law and fall into sinful activities.  Basically what Paul does in this passage is challenge the Galatian people to the deep sort of binding relationship that they can’t have when there are strong divisions among them.

          We really could use some reminders again about what the depth of the relationship among the church.  Truth is we don’t need to be sitting in the pews to be a Christian and be assured of salvation.  These pews do not make a Christian, but these pews are here because Christians told by Christ to be a Church together.  To worship together, learn together, pray together, hope together, baptize together, eat bread and juice together.  These pews are here so that we can be the church that Christ calls us to be together. 

          What Paul gets at in this passage is the real depth that needs to come among people who commit themselves to be a church together.

          Listen to the passage first of all. 

READ the passage.

          Now lets go back right away to the first verse.  It says, " Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted." (Galatians 6:1, NIV) [1]

           The depth of relationship that the church needs to experience is one where we are able to call people on their sin.  Point it out to them and restore them. 

          In ancient philosophical writings Plutarch talks about the word restore and implies that restoring is allowing a person to conform again with their bests interests.  What a great way to think about this passage.  In the church, we are not about judging others.  You allowed your daughter to wear braided hair to church which is expressly forbidden in the new testament.  Therefore we categorically banish, excommunicate, and defrock you of all your educational instructioning.  (I think he said you’re kicked out and can’t teach Sunday school anymore.)  Don’t judge.  Gently restore a person so that their life conforms again to their best interest, which of course are falling in line with Christ.

          But that is no surface relationship.  People of Ebenezer we are called to go deeper with each other.

          Let’s keep looking on.  Verse 2 says, “"Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:2, NIV) [2]

          Kind of disconnected from the first idea, but not entirely.  Paul goes even further to show us what it really means for us to be the Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church in Trenton.   We are supposed to carry one anothers burdens.

          Easy to say.  Immensely hard to do.  You tell me, how are we supposed to carry someone else’s grief.  You can’t.  But you can make them soup.  How are we supposed to carry someones pain from surgery.  Your can’t but you can  make a run to the grocery store for them.  How can you carry the burden of someone who is lonely and is quite literally bored with life.  We can’t.  But an invite to a social gathering would be great.  How do we help someones concerns about how their child measures up in school.  You can’t.  But you can be a listening ear and a non advice-giving friend.

          The author and theologian John Stott writes about this in his book called, The Radical Disciple.  As a man well into his 80’s and just now calling it quits to his book writing he has a unique perspective on carrying each others burdens and how important that is.

          He actually spins it around the other way and says, in the church we don’t just carry each others burdens, but with dignity and without every losing one ounce of pride we let  others carry our burdens for us as best they can. 

          I have to read it to you.  The quote is just that good.  80 year John Stott writes this.  “I sometimes hear old people, including Christian people who should know better, say, “I don’t want to be a burden to anyone else.  I’m happy to carry on living so long as I can look after myself, but as soon as I become a burden I would rather die.”  But this is wrong.  We are all designed to be a burden to others.  You are designed to be a burden to me and I am designed to be a burden to you.  And the life of the family, including the life of the local church family, should be one of “mutual burdensomeness.”  “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will filfill the law of Christ.   . . .

          Dependence is what we were made for.  Being a burden is what we were made for. So we can take that as a significant challenge.  Be a burden.  And be a burden carrier.  Be both.  That’s what the church is all about.

          And we continue on in the passage.  Verses 3-10 continue with different instructions about how people ought to do good.  Verses 9-10 say, “"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." (Galatians 6:9-10, NIV) [3]

          Paul says, you are going to reap what you sow.  If you do bad you are going to receive punishment in the end.  If you do good, your good deeds are going to sprout forth with new life.

          But it ends with this this short comment about doing good to all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers.  Literally, Paul writes to those who belong to the household of faith.

          Paul is telling the Galatian Christians that Christ expects a deeper connection in the people joined to his body.  I wonder if it isn’t time to hear that again for ourselves here in Trenton.  One of the things that we have noticed around here over the last year is it seems there are fewer people in the pews.  I know that leaves us all wondering, well, who is missing?  And its true there are lots of reason for people to be missing on a Sunday morning.  At least one of the answers is “we are.”  Those of us who are a part of the church “all the time.”  Often are not really here all the time.  But what would be absolutely thrilling is if we made a new commitment to each other here.  If we said, one of the core values of my family is that when the body of Christ gathers for worship, I gather with them.

          The truth is the church just isn’t the same if we don’t make Sunday worship and hard and fast commitment.  This is not law, but this would be the depth of a commitment to doing good for the people of faith at Ebenezer.  We miss each other when we don’t come.  The point is this is the place where we can depend on each other, nurture each other, expect Jesus with each other. 

          You know closely Jesus says we are together as his people.  He says he wants us to be as close with each other, as he and the Father are together.  That means we as a group together who make a commitment to each other as a church ought to be as close with each other as the trinity is.

          Let’s see the trinity.  Three persons of God in one God.  Let’s see we have 350 worshipers that would make us a sesquitricentintiy.  We would be 350 people all unique and special but who come together for the sake of caring for each other.

          And on a smaller level it is even more possible. 

          Be deep with each other.  Ward off sin with each other.  Live our your dependency on each other.  Be the church together as Christ calls us to be. 



[1]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984

[2]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984

[3]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984

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