Keep in Step with the Spirit, Part 6
Scripture: Galatians 5:25–6:10
Keep in Step with the Spirit
Text: Galatians 5:25-6:10
“In all honesty, it must be confessed how hard it is in practice to judge God’s will in the use of our money” (Paul Tournier, Guilt and Grace, p. 36).
A. Believers are to generously support those who teach the gospel. v. 6
B. Believers are to generously sow to the Spirit rather than the flesh. vv. 7-9
C. Believers are to generously help all men, especially fellow believers. v. 10
1. Generous to all men, v. 10a
2. Generous to fellow believers, v. 10b
“The household of faith is a new phrase to designate those who belong to our fellowship of faith; first among these are the ministers of the Word, and then other believers” (Luther’s Works, vol. 27, p. 129).
1. Keeping in step with the Spirit not only leads to mutual concern for one another’s spiritual needs but also one another’s temporal and material needs.
2. We must guard against confusing our obligation to love one’s neighbor (i.e., do good) with the gospel.
3. We must guard against the tendency to save ourselves by attempting to appease our guilt by generous giving.
“The more acute this sense of responsibility becomes the keener too becomes the guilt we feel at all the evil in the world” (Paul Tournier, Guilt and Grace, p. 41).
“…uneasy at being in good health when there are so many people sick; happy, when there are so many people unhappy; at having money when so many are short of it. I feel a certain discomfort to at having an interesting vocation when so many people sigh beneath the burden of a job they hate; and even at having been taken hold of by God and illuminated by faith, when so many people suffer in anguish, isolation and obscurity” (Guilt and Grace, pp. 37-38).
“…in the world of work…those who earn too much money, or who earn it too easily” seek to “exculpate themselves by generous endowments to the Church, social works or by founding scholarships or prizes” (Guilt and Grace, p. 37).
4. We must understand the principle of limited responsibility.
“If there is so much suffering in the world, is it not because so many people, who are very moral, even scrupulous in their immediate responsibilities, reassure themselves too easily by telling themselves that those distant sufferings on such a grand scale are outside their radius of action? They persuade themselves that they can do nothing about it. In this way flagrant injustices subsist through a sort of universal complicity” (Paul Tournier, Guilt and Grace, p. 38).
5. We must understand the Spirit-designated priority for generosity in giving.
a. First, believers should give generously to their families.
b. Second, according to one’s own resources, believers should give generously to their church to support the teaching of the gospel and to help meet the needs of fellow believers.
c. Third, as one’s resources allow, believers are free to give generously to all men.
“Debt is dumb. Most normal people are just plain broke because they are in debt up to their eyeballs with no hope of help. If you're in debt, then you're a slave because you do not have the freedom to use your money to help change your family tree.” (Dave Ramsey, “The Truth About Debt,” Accessed March 29, 2012, http://www.daveramsey.com/article/the-truth-about-debt).
“What’s yours is mine; I will take it.”
“What’s yours is mine; I will keep it.”
“What’s mine is God’s; I will share it” (Jerry Bridges, The Disciplines of Grace, p. 88).
6. Let us remember to show generosity but the gospel must always have the last word.
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).
© John Fonville
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