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AM Bible Study Archives
"Sowing in the Right Field"
Wednesday Evening Home Bible Study
August 23, 2006
In an earlier part of the “practical” section of Paul's letter (chapters 5-6), Paul had commented on the need for us as believers to show genuine care for one another. We are not to “bite and devour one another”, lest we “be consumed by one another” (5:15). We are not to become “conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” (v. 26). Instead, we are to give ourselves to the care of one another. We are to “[b]ear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (6:1-5). Paul now carries that theme on to a new level—exhorting us to a conscientious commitment to doing good to one another.
A basic spiritual principle stands behind Paul's exhortation in this passage: “Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap”. This same principle is expressed in many other forms in different places in scripture. (See, for example, Job 4:8; Prov. 22:8; Hosea 8:7, Romans 2:5-13; 2 Corinthians 9:6). In terms of our spiritual lives, this principle is vital. In fact, the most masterful and destructive strategy of the devil in destroying lives is that of convincing people that this principle is NOT true—that we do not reap what we sow; and that we can embrace sin without consequence.
Paul's particular point in this principle, as it applies to Galatians, is like what he says in Romans 8:13; “for if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” We absolutely must “sow” in one field or another—either in the field of “the flesh” or in the field of “the Spirit” (see 5:16-26). This is a call to sow in the right field!
I. SHARE WITH THE TEACHERS (v. 6).
A. The word used for “taught” is one from which we get the English word “catechism”. It literally means “to sound in the ears”; and hence, to “instruct” (1 Cor. 14:19; Luke 1:4; Romans 2:18; Acts 18:25; 21:21, 24). The content of the teaching, in this case, is the word of God.
B. The command, in this case then, is that those who are taught in the word of God “share in all good things” with the one who teaches. God has commanded that those who teach the word of God be provided for in their work materially by those who are taught, so that they may devote their full time to the ministry of teaching (Luke 10:7; 1 Corinthians 9:11; 1 Timothy 5:17). When this is done, and God's word is taught well, it provides the greatest possible environment in which genuine Christian care may occur.
II. AVOID SOWING TO THE FLESH (v. 7-8).
A. Here, we find that great principle about sowing and reaping: Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
1. Someone cannot expect to reap where they have not sown. No farmer can stand around and expect a crop, unless he has first sown seeds.
2. One cannot expect to reap anything other than what has been sown. A farmer cannot sow grass-seed and expect corn.
3. If someone sows, they will reap. Reaping follows after sowing as surely as day follows after night.
B. The principle is applied to the spiritual life. If we show to the flesh (that is, to act on the principles described in 5:19-21), we will reap corruption (that is, ruin). If we sow to the Spirit (that is, to act in obedience to the Holy Spirit and produce the kind of actions described in 5:22-23), then we will reap eternal life.
C. Paul warns us not to be “deceived” about this principle. It is unavoidable. No one should ever think that they can “mock” God (that is, to fool Him and beat Him in this principle; as if they can sow to the flesh and still NOT reap corruption and ruin).
III. DO NOT GROW WEARY IN DOING GOOD (v. 9).
A. When it comes to the spiritual life, some of us are like children. We sow a seed; then sit on the ground and watch—waiting for it to sprout. Just as it takes time for a harvest to grow, so it takes time for good works to bring forth good fruit.
B. The call, then, is to “not grow weary while doing good”. We should not let ourselves loose heart; but know that, in due season we shall reap”. It's interesting that Paul makes this a “we” statement. He includes himself in the principle.
IV. SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITIES (v. 10).
A. Because these other principles are true, we are to seize every opportunity to do good to all people. The principle of sowing and reaping is one that God has established in His good universe; and it will succeed.
B. Paul calls his readers to display a 'bias' toward those who are within the household of the faith—that is, to other believers. We are to do good “to all”; but “especially” to those who are our brothers and sisters in Christ.