Keep in Step with the Spirit, Part 4
Scripture: Galatians 5:26–6:10
Keep in Step with the Spirit
Text: Galatians 5:25-6:10
“It is easy to talk about the fruit of the Spirit while doing very little about it. So Christians need to learn that it is in concrete situations, rather than in emotional highs, that the reality of the Holy Spirit in their lives is demonstrated” (James Boice, Galatians, p. 501).
I. Paul exhorts believers to keep in step with the Spirit in order to restore sinning believers (5:26-6:5).
II. Paul exhorts believers to keep in step with the Spirit in order to be generous to all men, especially believers (6:6-10).
A. Believers are to generously provide for teachers of the gospel. v. 6
“There was no system of instruction in the Pagan religions. The favour of the gods was gained by acts of ritual, not by moral conduct. Every prayer for help was a deliberate bargain; the worshipper promised certain gifts to the god, on condition that the god gave the help implored. To people used to this kind of religion, a good deal of instruction had to be given before they were used to the Christian way. The teacher was thus very important, and Paul insists that care be given to provide for such teachers” (Leon Morris, Galatians, p. 182).
“He (Paul-J.F.) saw that the minsters of the word were neglected, because the word itself was despised; for if the word be truly esteemed, its ministers will always receive kind and honourable treatment” (John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries, vol. 21, pp. 176-177).
“Christian giving, for Paul, is never a mere payment, but is an essentially spiritual act in which it is a privilege to be allowed to share (cf. 2 Cor. Viii.1-6), one way among many in which Christians can show their fellowship in the gospel (cf. Phil. 1:5)” (George Duncan, Galatians, p. 185).
“It is one of the tricks of satan to defraud godly ministers of support, that the Church may be deprived of such ministers. An earnest desire to preserve a gospel ministry, led to Paul’s recommendation that proper attention should be paid to good and faithful and pastors” (John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries, vol. 21, p. 177).
“What Paul calls “all good things” are the things a teacher has need of, that is, temporal goods, by which he stays alive, since, being busy with the Word, he cannot gain them by his own work but receives all things from him whom he instructs” (Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, vol. 27, p. 398).
“It is impossible that one man should be devoted to household duties day and night for his support and at the same time pay attention to the study of sacred Scripture, as the teaching ministry requires” (Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, vol. 27, p. 126).
“…place the man who is able nicely to divorce the Law from the Gospel at the head of the list and call him a Doctor of Holy Scripture…” (Ewald Plass, What Luther Says, p. 732).
1. This text shows us that those who teach the gospel are doing a very important work.
“Certainly, the first and greatest work in the church is the preaching of the Word, which is what the Lord laid upon Peter three times (John 21:15ff.) and what He most persistently demands of everyone” (Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, vol. 27, p. 397).
“There is nothing more notable or glorious in the church than the ministry of the gospel” (John Calvin, Institutes, 4.3.3.).
“God testifies that, in raising up teachers for them, he bestows a singular benefit upon men when he bids the prophet exclaim, “Beautiful are the feet and blessed the coming of those who announce peace” (Isa. 52:7)” (John Calvin, Institutes, 4.3.3.).
“This is how the Kingdom of God comes: Jesus exercises His Kingly power through the scepter of His preached gospel” (Graeme Goldsworthy, Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture, p. 55).
“For as the powerful word of God in the beginning, did give being to things that were not, so the gospel (being the power of God to salvation to every one that believeth) doth make new creatures, by the immortal seed of the word” (William Perkins, Galatians, p. 468).
“…nothing fosters mutual love more fittingly than for men to be bound together with this bond: one is appointed pastor to teach the rest, and those bidden to be pupils receive the common teaching from one mouth. For if anyone were sufficient to himself and needed no one’s help (such is the pride of human nature), each man would despise the rest and be despised by them. The Lord has therefore bound His church together with a knot that He foresaw would be the strongest means of keeping unity, while he entrusted to men the teaching of salvation and everlasting life in order that through their hands it might be communicated to the rest” (John Calvin, Institutes, 4.3.1.).
2. This text gives us a clear job description of the ministry: Teaching the Word.
“These days ministers are tempted to perform many other jobs. They have become salesmen, businessmen, musicians, entertainers, comedians, janitors…anything and everything except preachers. But a true minister is nothing more and nothing less than a minister of the Word. The center of my ministry must be the exposition of Holy Scripture” (Philip Ryken, Galatians, p. 253).
“All other aspects of the ministry, however worthy, must be subordinate to this fundamental task, for God has chosen the ‘foolishness of preaching to save them that believe’ (1 Cor. 1:21)” (Timothy George, Galatians, p. 421).
3. This text teaches us to support only those who teach the gospel.
“…there is a special relationship between those who dispense instruction in the Word of God and those who hear and receive it. A workman is still worthy of his keep, and faithful pastors should not be taken for granted but rather recognized as a special gift from the Lord, one worthy of unstinted and generous support” (Timothy George, Galatians, p. 421).
© John Fonville
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