Freed to be Free #15
A Community of Freedom
Well our journey through Galatians ends today.
We’ve been off and on this journey since October, with a few side trips for stewardship emphasis and Christmas, for the New Year, Easter, and Mother’s Day.
As our journey began, Paul was addressing deception in the church. A group of false believers had infiltrated the church in Galatia. They were, perhaps, trying to avoid persecution by trying to eliminate this “Christian sect.” As Christians were being persecuted, Jews were being included since many saw them as a sect of Judaism. So some were trying to eliminate the threat by calling Christians to embrace Judaism. If this were not their focus, then they were trying to gain control of the Christians, to seize on their impact in the Gentile community. Perhaps they feared losing their religious structure and so tried to exert control through fear and legalism.
Paul addresses first the integrity of the gospel that he preached to them. The gospel of Salvation through Grace by faith alone is the only way to Christ.
Then he addresses the spiritual identity of the invaders. He calls them, not misguided, not mistaken, not missionaries, no, he doesn’t call them brothers but FALSE brothers, who have infiltrated the church.
Then he moves on to the Importance of understanding and living by the Truth of the Gospel. He helps us understand that observance of the law is impossible and never makes us right with God. But only through faith can we be right with God.
Paul taught that OUR Spiritual Identity in Christ is that of Adult Sons of God, the true Offspring of Abraham, receivers of his promised inheritance that is the Holy Spirit of God bringing Christ into our heart.
Finally he moves us into the Intent of Freedom and that is True Freedom. That is living Free. Out of gratitude for grace, yielding to the Spirit and seeing the Fruit of the Spirit born in our lives showing ourselves truly children of God.
And so know, we will take in all of Chapter 6. We could spend several weeks here but we will look today at the Grand finale to the apologetic of Paul …
Legalism takes in one narrow view on life
Legalism is a selfish attempt by some to feel better about themselves by bring about conformity from others to their faulty view of reality.
Legalism is self-serving
But the Grace of God
But there is a beautiful transformation that happens when Grace takes over
When Grace takes over, I don’t believe that I deserve anything
When Grace reigns I am grateful
When Grace reigns I recognize the collective need we each have for one another
When Grace reigns selflessness abounds
Where Grace reigns, Jesus is Lord
Where Grace reigns, there is a Community
Read Galatians 6
com•mu•ni•ty \kə-ˈmyü-nə-tē\ n
1 : a unified body of individuals:
b : the people with common interests living in a particular area
c : an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (as species) in a common location
e : a group linked by a common policy
f : a body of persons or nations having a common history
2 : society at large
3 a : joint ownership or participation
b : common character :
c : social activity : fellowship
d : a social state or condition
Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc.
Freedom was not given to become some individual out on your own
I am saddened when I see people professing Christ as Lord, professing to be born again, but then I ask them where they attend church, they say “oh I don’t have a church” …
Possible To Be Christian Without Church?
Question: Can I be a Christian without joining the church?
Answer: Yes, it is possible. It is something like being:
A student who will not go to school.
A soldier who will not join an army.
A citizen who does not pay taxes or vote.
A salesman with no customers.
An explorer with no base camp.
A sailor on a ship without a crew.
A businessman on a deserted island.
An author without readers.
A tuba player without an orchestra.
A parent without a family.
A football player without a team.
A politician who is a hermit.
A scientist who does not share his findings.
A bee without a hive. 
yeah you can be a Christian without Church but you are missing part of the purpose for which they were recreated, reborn in Christ Jesus
We are called sons of Abraham
We are Brothers in Christ
We are all adult sons.
Now if you haven’t been with us, we are talking about in a legal and wonderful sense all who are in Christ Jesus by Grace through faith have the same standing in Christ. We are all entitled to full inheritance of all the goodness of God.
We are, in Christ, a Community of Faith
A Community of Disciples
A Community of Freedom
It is a beautiful painting that Paul gives us here. Beautiful not because of its individual pieces but beautiful because of its overall picture
Paintings may contain colors and items that are more and less beautiful but together they are beautiful
Without the black lines and spaces to distinguish the shapes and colors, there would be no pictures.
So the beautiful thing of a community of freedom must also have dark and light, difficulty and triumph, sorrow and joy.
1. Bearing Burdens
A. of Sin
1. Paul directs our thoughts with his first word “Brothers” – adelphos – a brother … having the same national ancestor, belonging to the same people, or countryman – we are brothers in Christ, we are of the same family of the same tribe …we have a responsibility to one another as children of Grace and Freedom. Paul is speaking to people who are in relationship with one another. Jesus told us to Love one another so that all my know we are his disciples. We MUST care for one another or we are no different to the world that is a survival of the fittest model. But we know that none of us are fit for the Kingdom, none of us are fit for salvation, we must love and bear one another
2. the editors of this text, who added the verse numbers and chapter breaks sometimes break up thoughts and teachings in ways that will cause us to lose the train of thought if we are not paying attention. That is why preaching progressively through books is beneficial to us.
3. Paul has just taught us in chapter 5 the difference between deeds of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. He finished chapter 5 by encouraging us to keep in step with the Spirit, literally to march to the drumbeat of the Spirit, thus forsaking the deeds of the flesh and giving way to the fruit of the Spirit … but then as we move to chapter 6 and speak of bearing one another Paul says “if someone is caught in a sin … restore him gently … Carry each other’s burden’s”
4. can you see the connection. Paul is saying the battle to live according to the fruit of the Spirit is a difficult one. And brothers will fall, but brothers do not turn their back on brothers but we don’t just put up with each other, we carry one another when necessary
1.Carry - bastazo to take up with the hands; to carry or bear, to put on one’s self to be carried; to bear what is burdensome; to carry off
2. the Legalist doesn’t want to carry he wants to bury. “Live my way or get out of the way. Live my way or die.”
3. the response of those living in a community of freedom is not to be quick cast aside one who has failed to live up to Spiritual expectations, but instead to seek restoration.
4. restore – katartizo – to render, fit, sound, complete; to mend what has been broken, to repair
5. we might be quick to look the other way if we don’t want to face difficulty. We might be quick to push away for fear of being connected to the wrong. But Paul encourages that those living in a community of Freedom, seek not only to live in step with the Spirit but we also seek to mend those who have stumbled and fallen.
6. do you have someone close to you that has stumbled and fallen? Have you attempted to restore them gently? Paul encourages care and wisdom. You can’t get so close in the midst of reconciliation that you too get pulled into their actions but seek to restore nonetheless
1. What greater burden is there than the burden of sin?
2. it weighs heavy, it affects the Spirit, it affects the mind, it affects the soul. It affects relationships, business, interpersonal, as well as spiritual.
3. but a fellow son, a fellow resident in the community of freedom will seek to restore, gently, graciously
4. The legalist doesn’t seek to lighten the load but to increase the burden. While feeling the weight of failure, sin, the very world, the Legalist heaps on disappointment, discouragement, anger, and unfulfilled expectations
5. But the resident of the Land of Grace, should seek whenever possible to embrace and exchange grace, sorrow for despair, hope for hopelessness
6. What do you need to do? We are not competing with one another to see who can be more spiritual than the other. We cannot be perfect so we seek not to be closer to perfect than another but instead can we compete with seeing who can out love the other. Who can be the greatest and purest giver of grace?
7. Why? Because Jesus said “A NEW Commandment I give you, LOVE …”
8. Jesus painted the picture of restoration in Matthew 18:15-35 – (1) go one on one with love … if unresponsive (2) go with 1 or 2 witnesss, if still not responded (3) take them to the church and only then finally if no response 4) treat them as if they do not know they Lord, meaning remove responsibility, expectation, and preach the gospel to them. With the goal of forgiveness and restoration
9. Before I move along, is this saying that we just always look the other way, always carry our brothers, with no expectations for them? No because that is NOT what this says. Verse 2 says “carry each other’s Burden” and Verse 5 says “each one should carry his OWN load” … different words are used for the burdens. In verse 2 it is talking about the Heavy Weight as in a difficulty that has become to much to bear alone. One who needs help with the struggles of life. But verse 5 says we should carry our OWN LOAD … the word phortion /for-tee-on/ means a ship’s freight or a soldier’s pack … Jesus said “deny yourself take up your cross and follow me” … Paul wrote “there is no temptation that has overtaken you that is not common to man and God is faithful and won’t allow you to be tempted above which you are able …” . If you have been born from above, you are a child of God a spiritual descendant of Abraham and that bears a responsibility.
Warren Wiersbe gives the simple example, If my car breaks down, my next door neighbor can drive my kids to school, but he cannot, nor should not Father my children. The one who has slipped and fallen should be both carried when necessary but also held responsible for their duty to live in step with the Spirit.
A Community of Faith is Bearing … with one another but also
Interestingly Paul uses examples of these aspects of the Community that are not the entirety of our duty but an example of the broader principles. We are not ONLY to bear the burdens of our brother who has wandered in sin, but if we would do THAT then how much more would we also do the more simple bearing of burdens.
So here when Paul shows a community of Freedom is a generous one, he uses the example of sowing monetarily into the Kingdom through the ministers who are over you.
1. before we can share we first have to recognize how greatly we have received And since we have received, we take some of what we have received and we invest it in the Kingdom
2. Paul says “anyone who has received instruction in the Word” - the NASB simply “the one who has been taught” – it is a beautiful word picture, it is the word katecheo /kat-ay-kheh-o/ to sound towards, sound down upon, resound, to charm with a resounding sound; to teach orally - as one has had the instruction of the word – Logos – fall down on them through the charm of preaching … If you have been blessed by the Word, if the Word has blessed you, iF God has poured out blessing on you … SHARE
B. Nurturing The Pastor
1. now I can apply this to the church, but Paul starts with the Pastor
2. anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor – If you’ve received Spiritual Treasures, you should share material treasures … Don’t fuss at ME … that’s what HE says …
3. SHARE – Fellowship – the word is Koinoneo – come into communion or fellowship, become a sharer, be made a partner, join one’s self to an associate, to be a partner
Jesus taught that a workman is worthy of his hire Luke 10:7; Paul reminded us of that in 1 Cor 9:11,14 if we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? … the Lord commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel
4. Paul says don’t you get it? We reap what we sow. We can’t trick God into giving us wheat when planted sugarcane and we can’t get flowers when we plan weeds.
5. the Kingdom is advanced as we invest in the Kingdom. So don’t get tired of doing good, verse 9 says. Harvest will come. God’s work is NEVER in vain. Investing in the Kingdom is never in vain. If the Pastor and thus the church is faithful to deliver the gospel and you invest your time and money and energy in fellowshipping with that, sharing the work, sharing your treasures, laying up treasures in heaven, you will reap a godly harvest both here and in heaven.
C. Lifestyle Principle
The principle of Sharing in the Community of Freedom
1. Paul is teaching a principle of fellowship / sharing … when you sow good seed, you reap a good harvest. Personally, if you so toward your sinful nature, you reap weeds … weeds of destruction. If you sow godly seed, you will reap eternal things.
2. So, take the principle to the fullest extent, share with the ministers of the Work of God and Reap a Harvest of Righteousness and Evangelism. Fellowship with truth in your own life and reap a harvest of righteousness … and then in verse 10 as we have opportunity, to good to all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers
3. share with One Another and with the world.
4. while we have Kairos – opportunity is the word in English … but it is a big word. Kairos means due measure, measure of time, a fixed definite time – we must understand we have a fixed time that we pass through in this life. I do not know how long, nor do you, but we have a fixed time. The Lord has invested in US a measure of time, a measure of talent, a measure of treasures … and we must FELLOWSHIP, SHARE, impart that into eternal things.
a. It is not for you to leave the work of evangelism to me or other “professionals” saying “good luck pastor” but become a partner with us. Support it generously with treasures but also come alongside, take up the work of sowing, nurturing and reaping with us.
b. It is not for you to look at one another, and say “you got your measure take care of yourself” No perhaps part of their measure has been given to you and God is expecting you to fill that cup up with part of the measure he has given you.
c. It is not for us to look to a dying world and say, “I hope God helps you” … no, do Good to all, you may be their portion of the gospel, their portion of daily need … listen to the voice of God and share, fellowship, we walk these streets together, will we just walk by?
No that’s not the way of a Community of Freedom …
A Community of Freedom is ever
As Paul closes his letter he brings it down to what it’s all about and what it is not.
He shows one more contrast
The contrast between the legalist Community and the person in the Community of Freedom …
Living for the Glory of Man or the Glory of God
Remember the word Glory, means “Reputation”
So the Legalist tries to live a life of a high standard so we will be so impressed … the problem is that even if they live a beautiful outward expression, what’s left when they are through? They will still have not lived up to the standard of the law. They still will not have pleased God
When they finish this life, they will have gotten what they will get
Psalm 17:14 O Lord, by your hand save me from such men, from men of this world whose reward is in THIS LIFE.
Matt 6:2,5,16 When you give to the needy, (just to be) to be honored by men … When you pray … to be seen by men …When you fast … to show men (you) are fasting. (in all cases) I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
But we as Paul says in
2 Cor 3:18 we who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory …
We live for one purpose and that is to be fulfilled in Christ Jesus to fulfill our purpose in Him
A. Seeing New Lives from Old
1. how you express your faith in Christ isn’t the point … circumcision or not, suit or jeans, hymns or choruses, organs or guitars, choirs or praise teams, those things don’t matter. What matters is being BORN AGAIN
2. Jesus told Nicodemus, YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN. If anyone is in Christ he is a NEW CREATION, the old has passed all things are made new … That is what matters!
3. The legalist can reform themselves but in Christ I am NEW.
Why do I preach the gospel of Jesus Christ? Because it is the POWER of God to Salvation … Because Jesus came that we might have LIFE to the FULL … I Preach the Gospel because it changes lives and I never get tired of seeing that happen
Who here has experienced New Life from old in the last year? In the last 5 years? In the last 10? The Last 20+ years. Isn’t that a beautiful thing?
4. Why? How? A Person, a Plan and a Proposition. Preachers, there’s an evangelistic outline for you
a. Paul says may I never boast but in the Lord Jesus Christ. I can have New Life, not because of Jim Goforth but because of Jesus Christ, not because of New Life Baptist Church or the Southern Baptist Convention but because of Jesus Christ.
b. Paul says I’ll boast in Jesus and his plan that took him to the Cross. It is a gruesome image but it saved me and gave me freedom. It released me from the law of sin and death and introduced me to the law of the Spirit of Life
c. Paul said “may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your Spirit” The Person, the Plan, and the Proposition that if we have faith in the Grace of Christ to set us free and make us whole in Christ Jesus, we are forgiven, and born again in Christ Jesus.
One other point of fulfillment that we can’t leave out and that is part of being fulfilled in the Community of Freedom is Joining Christ Jesus
B. Knowing you Follow Christ even in Persecution
1. You should know that as members of the Community of Freedom, when we choose to follow Christ we submit ourselves to the slings and arrows of the evil one.
2. we have to admit that in the Community of Freedom in the world we live in, we are increasingly part of a Tribe of people who are under attack from the world. You may be under character assassination at work, perhaps your job has been on the line or lost, perhaps you have been an object of ridicule at school … Paul would say today “I can relate” because he said “I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. This did NOT mean a stigmata of some self mutilating wound to relate to Christ, but he bore the marks of persecution for the cause of Christ.
But Paul would then remind you and I in the Community of Freedom, though persecuted for Christ
2 Cor 4:8-10
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
A Community of Believers
Bearing with one another
Sharing with one another
With one another Fulfilling the purpose of Christ in us
A Community is one that looks out for the other members that watches out for them, calls them to faithfulness, encourages them to grow
Stories are told about some villages of the earliest African converts to Christianity. That community of believers was so regular and earnest in their private devotions that each Christian member of the village they their own separate spot in the thicket to Pray. As time passed the traffic to and from their assigned placed multiple times a day wore very distinctive paths. Well if one of the community members began to neglect their spiritual duties, it would be very obvious and another community member would gently remind by saying “Brother, the grass grows on your path over there”
Well a Community of Freedom will gently remind one another “Brother the grass grows on your walk of faith. The Grass grows on your journey following the Great Commission. The Grass grows under your path of stewardship. The Grass grows on your area of church service.”
That’s a Community,
bought by the blood of Jesus
Saved by the grace of God
Entered by the means of Faith
Walking about in Freedom
Blooming to the Fruit of the Spirit
Living the Life of Christ before a world in bondage who longs to be free
Tan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers. Garland TX: Bible Communications.