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Galatians Chapter 6 Verses 7 to 10 - Sowing and Reaping - Dr J Stewart Gillespie  

Galatians Chapter 6 Verses 7 to 10  - Sowing and Reaping - Dr J Stewart Gillespie

Audio sermon and bible study notes 


  1. Sharing & Bearing (6:1-6) 
  2. Sowing & Reaping (6:7-10) 
  3. Glorying & Crucifying (6:11-18) 

  In each of the sections: a practical example of living in the power of the flesh (vs1-3) or living in the power of the Spirit (vs4-6).  

  In vs7 to 10 see the same pattern: a choice of sowing to the flesh or of sowing to the Spirit. 

The Principle of Like for Like (6:7) 
The Principle of the Immature for the Mature (6:8) 
The Principle of Seedtime and Harvest (6:9) 
The Principle of Time and Opportunity (6:10) 

The Principle of Like for Like (6:7) 

 What is it? – We reap what we sow! 

 Don’t be deceived by the simplicity of the principle: very simple, but very profound! 

 What is reaped is identical in kind with what is sown. 

 When is it? A principle I can see often worked out in time: 

   Often true in time, but not invariably so, sometimes those who bend the rules, tread others under foot seem to prosper: Ps73:2ff. 

   Judge Paul is taking a longer term view, by just looking at time we might be “deceived” 

   Sowing is down in time but the reaping isn’t always in time, may well be in eternity: Ps73:16ff, need to look at the “end” of the thing. Could easily get a false sense of security “slippery places” (Ps73:18) if only take a short term view. 

 If going to appreciate the principle of like for like going to have to take an eternal perspective. 

 So much for the exposition, what about the application? 

 Apostle speaking to believers not to drug addicts & criminals. 

 If we appreciated this as Christians would we live as we do, putting all sorts before Christ: business, family, entertainment, self before Christ? At the meetings only if it suits us? Only if we don’t get a better offer? 

 I seem to have profited. The demands of Christ have never penetrated too deep! 

 Never dealt with the cross of Mark 8 – your cross, not Christ’s, nor with the altar of Romans 13 – your altar, not Christ’s, given Christ second place! 

 Listen to the words of Gal6:7 – what we sow we’ll reap! If we don’t reap it in time, reap it in eternity! 

 Must take an eternal perspective – the perspective of v8: 

The Principle of the Immature for the Mature (6:8) 

 Might sow a seed but grow a plant

 The consequences far exceed the cause. 

 Little things may have huge results 

 Exhort you to pay special head to every day details of the Christian experience 

 Sow service in time – reap reward in eternity! 

 Sow sin in time – loose reward in eternity! 

 “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (1Pet1:4). 

 “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away” (1Pet5:4). 

 Eternal consequences – actions now will remain with me forever! 

 Labour the point? About to embark upon a gospel effort. About to make sacrifices of time, effort & energy, our presence, taking opportunity to invite others. Lets not think just a series of meetings. Sowing to Spirit: eternal consequences! 

 Sow in time, reap in eternity. 

 The consequences far exceed the cause. 

The Principle of Seedtime and Harvest (6:9) 

Notice the challenge: 

   “let us not be weary in well doing…” 

   No shortage of examples in scriptures of those who grew weary 

   Symptoms of weariness: 1Co10:10 murmurings, moans & groans 

   Be wary of the symptoms of weariness 

   Cure of weariness: Heb12:2-3: same word for faint – focused upon Christ, on finishing line, on the crown: cf. 2 Timothy 4:8 “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” 

Notice the Certainty: 

   “we shall reap…” 

Notice the Condition: 

   “if we faint not…” 

   “faint” – ‘to let loose’ – to give up! ‘if we don’t give up.’ 

The Principle of Time and Opportunity (6:10) 

 Often opportunities pass through our fingers 

 View each day, each opportunity as a once, never to be repeated opportunity to “do good” – to sow to the Spirit, work for Christ. 

 Seize today & seize the opportunity. 

 Don’t know about tomorrow 

 Opportunity in the next few weeks: seize it for Christ & eternity. 

 “now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Co 6:2)

Notes and audio recording, download from our systematic bible teaching series of ministry sermons as we expound the meaning and application of Paul's letter to the Galatians.

Yours by Grace in Christ 

Dr J Stewart Gillespie

Galatians chapter 6 verses 1 to 6 - Sharing and Bearing - Dr J Stewart Gillespie  

Galatians chapter 6 verses 1 to 6 - Sharing and Bearing 

Sowing & Reaping (6:7-10) 
Glorying & Crucifying (6:11-18) 

Living in the Strength of the Flesh (6:1-3) 

The Situation Specified (v1) 

 “if a man be overtaken in a fault” 

 “Overtaken”: “prolambano”: ‘taken by surprise, seized unawares, overtaken, entrapped’: note passive voice (Longenecker) 

 “Fault”: “paraptoma”: “fall beside” or “false step”: contains the idea of falling, not planned, “a mistake rather than a misdeed” (Ridderbos) 

 This is not a brother who persistently commits  particular sin, nor a brother who feels the only thing he has done wrong is to get caught! 

 The teaching only applies to the situation specified. 

 Here is a brother relying upon the strength of his flesh (5:16) and what was apparent to everyone but himself has happened: he has fallen. 

 It was never his deliberate intention to sin. It was inevitable. 

The Qualification Required (v1) 

General: “spiritual” cf. 5:22-23. 
Specific: “Spirit of meekness” cf. 5:23. Not weakness 

 The fall of the other Christian is not cause for gloating or pride. 

The Restoration Desired (v1) 

 “Restore”: “katartizo”: to put a thing in its appropriate condition. Used of the setting of fractured bones. Put a person back in his place. Fellowship with the Lord & then fellowship with His people. 

 When a believer falls into sin, out of fellowship, they are out of place. The believer loses & so does the assembly. “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it” (1Co12:26). 

The Reflection Advised (v1) 

 “considering thyself…” 

 Can see how the downfall has been due to living in the strength of the flesh. It has been as a result of ‘temptation’ – a principle which operates in the realm of the flesh (James 1:13-14). 

“Bear ye one another’s burdens” (v2) 

 “bear”: present imperative, don’t just do it once, keep at it. 

 Need to be close to share a burden 

 So many things can crowd out our life, work, family. Can become introspective & disinterested in others. 

 “burdens”:  what constitutes a burden in v2? Anything which has become too much for the believer to cope with & which can be shared by another. Anything which could put them under such pressure that they are tempted or enticed to sin. 

“Burdens are weights too heavy for individuals to shoulder & capable of being shared with other brethren in the fellowship” (Vos p110). 

“if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing” (v3) 

 to bear “one another’s burdens” takes humility. We will neither approach the brother of v1 in a spirit of meekness, nor will we share his burden if we are aloof & disinterested & proud. 

 Perhaps too it was a false sense of self confidence that led to the problem of verse 1 in the first place. 

Living by the Power of the Spirit (6:4-6) 

“let every man prove his own work” (v4) 

 As Christians we love to do what we’re not told to do & so often we fail to do what we are instructed to do. 

 “prove”: “dokimazo" : “to put to the test, examine, prove by testing” (Leon Morris).Note present imperative once again cf. “bear” (v2). 

 We love to examine, criticise & put to the test the service, ministry & preaching of others. Not what we are instructed to prove: “own work”. 

 This is instructed & is thus a matter of obedience. It is also a matter of prudence. One day Christ will ‘prove’ or ‘try’ our work (1Co3:13): “the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is,” – “try” = “dokimavzw” 

 What Christ will do absolutely at the bema we are exhorted to do now in anticipation. Illust: BMJ smoke detector experiment, given & fitted free, reduced deaths in 1st year, back a few years later deaths the same, never replaced the batteries! Didn’t expect the fire, weren’t prepared. Suggest we prime our smoke detectors. Anticipate the fire. 

 Need to examine our own service. Presume we are engaged in some! 

“For every man shall bear his own burden.” (v5) 

  Do we have a contradiction between verses 2 & 5? 

  Some point to the 2 diff. words for burden: 

“bavro"” (v2) 
“fortivon” (v5) 

 Suggest they are 2 different burdens. Certainly 2 different words that would itself seem to indicate 2 different burdens. 

 How is it the man in v2 requires help with his burden & yet the brother in v5 bears his burden alone? 

 Some then suggest that the burden of v5 is a lighter burden, a smaller burden, more easily handled and easier to carry, but it is also used by the Lord of the burdens placed upon men by the Pharisees (Matt23:4) “heavy burdens and grievous to be borne” also used of the burden carried by a whole ship (Acts27:10). 

 Whilst there is no doubt there is a difference in the burden being carried, maybe its not just as simple as the first burden is a heavy one and the second is a light one. 

 Observed that in vs1-3 the brother lives in the strength of his flesh. He’s tempted, he falls, he needs restored. 

 In vs4-6 the subject seems more to be that of service (v4) & hence we’ll move onto the subject of supporting the servant. Service for God can only ever be accomplished in the power of the Spirit. 

 Suggest that in vs4-6 we have a man living in the power of the Spirit. The ‘burden’ is the ‘burden’ of service, but the reason it can be borne, is not because it’s ‘so small’ but because it’s carried in the power of the Spirit. This word for “burden”: “fortivon” (v5) is the word used by the Lord in Matt11:30 of His burden, a burden borne together with Christ. 

 In service for Christ, we are in service with Christ. How often have we faced a task which we felt inadequate for only to discover that His grace is sufficient for me & that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. 

 The Lord has a task for you? You’re not up to the task? You’re right, you’re not, but Christ is! 

“Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth…” (v6) 

 There’s an assembly with a pastor! 

 Surely after all that we’ve said ~ service wouldn’t envisage trying to employ a pastor to take over your responsibilities? 

 Doesn’t refer to the practice of employing a pastor. Can’t do. If they had employed a pastor they would be forced to support him wouldn’t need to be told to do so. 

 Here is a brother who has found it necessary to reduce his commitment to secular employment to more fully dedicate himself to spiritual activities. 

 This truth is complimentary to, not contradictory to other NT passages concerning the teacher: 

1Tim3:1-2: Teaching is undertaken by the “ejpiskopos”: ‘bishop’ or ‘overseer’ 
Titus1:5-9: The ‘elder’ is equivalent to the ‘overseer’ who teaches & there are a plurality of elders (1:5) 
Acts20:17,28: Elders equivalent to overseers, there is a plurality of the same in each assembly. Not one man over many assemblies, nor one man over one assembly, but many men in one assembly.

Free to download audio message and notes from our systematic bible study in Paul's letter to the Galatians.

Yours by Grace in Christ

Dr J Stewart Gillespie