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Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is both helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible often doesn't tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what the book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is important too. You must be able to recognize counterfeit teaching.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

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Friday, December 15, 2017

Galatians (6:7*10) (Lesson 24)

Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

Established November 2008                                                       Published Weekly on Friday

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men (and women) to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  (1Timothy 2:3-4)

Galatians (6:7-10)                                                                 (Lesson 24)

Welcome to HBS.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).

The Creator God has established various natural laws in His universe that are unyielding.   When Isaac Newton saw apples falling from a tree, he noticed each one struck the ground.  He noticed because as he continued to watch the tree no apple that broke free from its branch ever traveled upward.  Mr. Newton may not be the first person to recognize God’s gravitational pull on the earth, but he was the first person to write a law describing it. 

God has established other natural laws in His universe such as the Laws of Thermodynamics.  Man has debated these laws over the centuries, but what has changed?  The debating continues, but God’s unyielding laws stand.  I assure you if you step off of a tall ladder you will become acquainted with the Law of Gravity.  Debating this law with God will not change your situation.  God’s gravitational law will stand and you will fall.  And we’re all experiencing the undeniable effects of God’s second law of Thermodynamics.  This law simply means everything in existence is breaking-down.  It is the universal law of decay.  Everything in God’s creation ages, wears out, and dies; not just our bodies, but the clothes we wear, our cars, our homes; just about everything you can think of has an expiration date.  This isn’t how God designed His universe; it’s the result of Adam’s offense; it brought sin and death into the world (Romans 5:12-21, 8:21; 1 Corinthians 15:21).

It stands to reason, since there are laws that govern the universe, then God has also established moral and spiritual laws for His creation.  We first learn of this in the book of beginnings.  In Genesis 4:7, long before the Ten Commandments were given to the nation of Israel at Mt. Sinai, Cain knew it was wrong to murder someone.  Before he committed the evil deed the LORD God communicated this message to him, “And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it. (In other words, get your act together!)

This book says it is not possible for sin to exist where there is no law for:  where there is no law, there also is no violation,” (Romans 4:15; 1 John 3:4; Romans 7:7).  These Bible passages prove no sin can be imputed where there is no law in effect, which also proves God’s moral law was in effect at the very beginning, even before God gave the moral law to Moses.  The statement the LORD God made to Cain about sin crouching at the door is clearly in reference to his conscious plan to kill his brother.  Cain, who was destitute of faith and envious of his brother, evidently toyed with the idea of taking his brother’s life for some time.  The Omniscient LORD God (Psalm 139:1-3; Matthew 10:29-30; 1 John 30:20) appeared to Cain before the deed, to warn him, his plan to kill Abel would violate His established moral laws.  I say “laws” (plural) because when Cain murdered Abel he violated every one of the Ten Commandments.  There’s some homework, if you’re interested.  How did Cain violate each one of God’s Ten Commandments?  I’ll give you a head-start with this Bible passage Romans 13:8-13.

Man continues to debate and lawyer their way around these moral and spiritual laws which are meant to govern our present lives, but humanity will end up bringing about their ruin if they ignore God’s wise counsel (Proverbs 8:33; Romans 1:18-32, 3:23). 

In our lesson this week, Paul explains one such law:  Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap (Galatians 6:7).

Please open your Bible to Galatians 6:7-10

Sowing and Reaping

Galatians 6

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will reap.  For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.  Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.  So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith (7-10).

The Galatians were being deceived by the Judaizers.  The different gospel they proclaimed as truth, which is really not another; sets aside the grace of God, and justification based upon faith (alone) and teaches a works-based faith instead (Galatians 1:6-7, 2:21).     

God is not mocked – the Koine Greek word for mocked is Mukterizo (mook-tay-rid’-zo), Verb, Strong’s Greek #3456, meaning:  to turn up the nose or sneer at.  To understand what Paul means to say by this, we need to back up one verse to Galatians 6:6. 

And let the one who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches.

Paul’s saying if the Galatians value the things that are “of God,” those things that are eternal, and they value walking by the Spirit, then they need to share all good things with him who teaches.   This message differs somewhat from Paul’s instruction to the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 9).  I said differs but not changed.  Here Paul said Believers are to share all good things.  You won’t find this command in his letters to the Corinthians.  The closest parallel is:  If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we should reap material things from you?  (1 Corinthians 9:11)

We find an in depth explanation of Galatians 6:6 from our Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9.  In this chapter, Paul answers the Corinthian saint’s question on Christian liberty.  Paul (who sets the example for every Believer) just recently made a statement in 8:13 saying he was willing to surrender his rights (liberty) for the sake of his brother:

Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, that I might not cause my brother to stumble (1 Corinthians 8:13).

In chapter 9 Paul goes on to show us he practiced what he preached.  Not only did he talk the talk, he walked the walked; meaning he laid aside his rights.  Paul could have stressed the need for the Corinthians to support him financially, instead of doing that Paul chose to earn his own living.  He was a tent-maker by trade; he chose to work with his hands rather than accept any financial help from the Corinthians.  This wasn’t unusual for Paul.  He usually declined financial help from immature Believers.  This may seem odd to us today, but Paul took the gospel of God’s grace to the gentiles, a.k.a. pagans; to places other people had never been.  He didn’t want these people to get the idea he was doing it for the money.  There were plenty of people making money from preaching, but Paul didn’t want to be linked with any of them (1 Corinthians 9:12).

Getting back to Galatians 6:6, sharing in Koine Greek is translated Koinonia (koy-nohn-ee’-ah), Noun, Feminine, Strongs’ Greek #2842, and it means “fellowship” or share.  It’s an interesting word choice.  It does not convey the idea of payment for services rendered, as though one was paying a debt.  It expresses the idea of mutual participation in the ministry with and to other members of the Body of Christ.  The word sharing conveys the meaning of mutual involvement or communion (Romans 12:3; 2 Corinthians 9:13; Hebrews 13:16).  For example, the sharing of the Philippian church was not merely payment for services rendered to Paul.  There existed a mutual participation in the ministry, a linking-up in fellowship as Paul ministered to others (Philippians 1:5, 4:15).  

Now we’ve arrived at the heart of Paul’s message - for whatever a man sows, this he will reap – here Paul uses a farming illustration to explain God’s moral law.  The farmer knows if he sows 40 acres of corn, he will not reap 40 acres of apples.  It’s not possible because the Creator God has established this law in His universe:  Whatever you sow, of that same kind you will reap” (Genesis 1:11-12).

The farmer as well as the urbanite with a small garden or flower bed understands this law.   They totally “get this” farming principle, but I find it interesting the vast majority of people don’t understand (or won’t accept) God’s moral and spiritual laws apply in life equally.

The farmer knows there is a time element involved in sowing and reaping.  Sowing is the beginning of the process, while reaping is the conclusion of it.  When the farmer sows his field, he must do so in faith, trusting all of his efforts will eventually be worthwhile.  I was born and raised in a farming community, so I’m aware no farmer enters their field to begin the process of sowing thinking “this won’t accomplish a thing.” The farmer does just about everything by faith, trusting God.  As Paul pointed out, so it is with the spiritual life. 

you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:7-8);

We walk by faith not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7);

for I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6). 

The law of sowing and reaping reminds us our sowing will ultimately be rewarded by our reaping. 

The law of sowing and reaping also exists to remind us we will reap what we have sown.  When the farmer sows wheat seed, he fully expects to reap wheat.  Paul employs the image of sowing and reaping to show the direct correlation between what is done in this life and what we’ll reap in eternity.  Paul wants the Galatians (and us) to know God is keeping a running account.  What we do and why we do it matters to God.  Paul is saying we have but two choices as to what we will sow in this life.  We can either sow to the Spirit” or “to the flesh.”

Sowingto the Spirit” means to invest our time and resources in those things which are spiritual (of God) and thus are eternal.  This investment is achieved through the Spirit of God, and not through the flesh.  Our Apostle Paul said, “… put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity” (Colossians 3:14). 

It has been said, “If your life were an arrow, your values would aim that arrow.”  Good values, therefore, help you establish sound priorities in life and help you make the best use of your time and talents, i.e. your resources.  Therefore every Believer should remember there is no higher value than love.  God said so (Matthew 22:36-40).  This is why the first fruit of the Spirit is love.  Paul said there was nothing greater for:  if I do not have love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13).  If you don’t practice loving unconditionally, then you’ll never love. 

Galatians 6

8: For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

I pay attention to every word and punctuation mark in scripture and I’ve noticed the words “flesh” and “Spirit” are used often by Paul throughout this Galatian letter.  But Paul introduces a new concept here it’s the sowing of seeds.  So we need to determine what Paul means by the phrases:  "sows to the Spirit," and "sows to the flesh?"   

This is a good place for an illustration:  Paul’s saying our individual lives are being built just like a building is erected, “one brick at a time.”  These bricks resemble the choices we make, one at a time.  By these individual choices, we are putting one brick after another into that building process, and the kind of life that results from our decision-making depends on the hundreds, literally thousands, of individual choices that went into it.  The warning that comes across in this section of Paul’s letter is to make those choices based on what God’s Spirit is concerned with.  Walk by the Spirit is a command to do this, daily. 

You’ve probably noticed there’s quite a bit of repetition in Scripture and this is done on purpose.  When something is repeated it’s because God wants us to learn this truth.  So, once again, this book says there are two ways we can sow.  We can sow to the flesh, and if you choose to walk this path your plan is to get what you want out of life.  It means you’ve swallowed the old McDonald's’ slogan, “You can have it your way” hook, line, and sinker.   Or you can sow to the Spirit and the aim of this is to fulfill God’s will and purpose for your life (John 15:1-6; Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Peter 4:10-11).

It’s important to understand the one who sows to the flesh ends up with zero   Paul used the word “corruption. It’s the Koine Greek word Phthora (fthor-ah), Noun Feminine, Strongs’ Greek #5356, which means decay or destruction.  Here Paul uses it to convey the idea of a “putrid corpse, in the process of decomposition.  Now that doesn’t evoke a pretty picture, but it explains Paul’s comment perfectly.  Below are three names you may recognize.  These people opted to sow to the flesh and reaped corruption.

·         Pete Rose was discredited and dishonorably discharged from baseball for illegal betting.  He is forever barred from entering the Baseball Hall of Fame.  He’s suffering the consequences of “his poor choices.”  Pete is reaping what he has sown. 
·         Martha Stewart only wanted to avoid losing money in the stock market.  The problem with her decision was it broke the law.  Martha lost more than her money in that transaction.  Her reputation is tarnished and her company suffered financial loss and she served jail time.  She reaped corruption. 
·         Over thirty years ago they found the body of Jim Morrison in a bath tub in Paris, France.  Jim and The Doors climbed the ladder of success and made it to the top.  They enjoyed rock-stardom for a few years, but “what goes up must come down.”  He too was sowing to the flesh.  Drugs and alcohol played an intricate role in their lives, and because of this Jim reaped what he had sown.  On July 3, 1971, Jim, who was only 27 years old, overdosed on heroin. 

As you can see sowing to the flesh is investing one’s time and resources in that, which is mortal, physical, and thus passing away, rather than those things which are Spiritual, of God, i.e. those things that are eternal.  In short, those who sow to the flesh are those people who do what they feel like doing because they feel like doing it.  These people by-and-large are not interested in God or what God has said.  They are building themselves a little kingdom all their own here on earth and they are in a hurry to become lord over it.  This book says their destruction is certain (Proverbs 16:18; Psalms 37:38; Philippians 3:18-19; 2 Thessalonians 1:9).

Sowing to the Spirit is investing one’s time and resources in those things which are Spiritual and thus eternal.  This can only be achieved through the Holy Spirit.  To sow to the Spirit is the same as to walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:18).  It is the same as abiding in Christ and in His Word (John 15:7).  It is the same as walking with Christ (Colossians 2:6) and setting one’s mind on the things above; not on the things that are on earth (Colossians 3:2).

So, we’re at the point in this lesson where the obvious question is, “What interests you the most the world’s system (this originated with Satan and consists of those philosophies and values that perpetually influence humanity to think and behave contrary to God’s expressed will – 1 John 2:15-16) or Spiritual things?  “Is God the Main Thing in your life or has He been brushed aside by lesser things?”  How you answer these questions is important because how you view Spiritual matters speaks volumes about the kind of life you’re building. 

Remember, every single day we make hundreds of choices and we’re going to be sowing in one of two fields.  There is no third field.  You are either going to sow into the field called the flesh or the field called the Spirit.  Now when you opt to sit down and watch an “R” rated movie where do you suppose you are sowing?  When you curse at the driver next to you and flip the finger at him because he would not let you cross over into his lane, in which field are you sowing?  When you cheat on your taxes, which field are you sowing in?  Are you starting to get the idea? 

Paul wants the Galatians to know every word they speak, every choice they make, has eternal ramifications.  They can’t go through the day, biting and devouring one another, in all actuality, sowing in the field called the flesh, and then complain when they reap a harvest of corruption.  This book clearly says whatever you sow, you reap.  If you sow Spiritual seeds, you will reap a harvest of God’s blessings.   Paul wrote:  the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (6:8). 

Earlier I pointed out Paul said it’s possible for someone to decide on sowing to the flesh.  If they chose to do so, what will they reap?  Look to the Corinthian church and the Galatians who were entertaining the idea of being circumcised, to assure their place in God’s kingdom or their salvation.  Paul said those who sow to the flesh wind up with zero or corruption.  So, verse 8 is not about obtaining eternal life/salvation, as some people claim, or even losing it, if we don’t “toe the line.”  It is a warning of discipline to those who sow to the flesh.

Another law of the harvest is:  you reap far more than what you sow.  An example of this is the tiny acorn.  It starts out small but it contains within itself a mighty, towering oak tree.  A pumpkin seed is small compared with the massive pumpkin it produces.  While up in Indiana recently I saw a pumpkin that weighed in excess of 57 lbs.  The size of the seed does not determine the size of the harvest (1 Corinthians 2:9).  That's why the text contains a negative warning:  "Do not be deceived" (6:7).

Galatians 6

9: And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.

Here Paul is saying there are times when Believers devote their talents, and time in doing good, but they don’t notice any fruit, so they lose heart.  They’re active in their church.  They’re forgiving, they give regularly, they practice loving; they pray, serve, teach, and they witness.  But they aren’t getting any positive feed-back; there are no external signs showing what they are doing amounts to all that much. 

And yet our Apostle Paul, the encourager, provides this verse for those who are “growing weary,” those who are losing heart in doing good.   He’s saying press onward toward the goal.  Our rest is on the other side.  Remember, this verse comes in the context that begins in verse 6.  The well doing that we are not to be weary of has to do with sowing and reaping.  When I sow to the flesh, I usually reap an immediate benefit.  If I purchase a new car, I drive it home right away.  If I get paid on Friday, I go right out and treat myself to a lavish meal and I eat it.  These are examples of immediate rewards. 

It’s not that way, Spiritually speaking.  Spiritually, we are making an investment.  You agree to help a child at church with their English homework, mentoring them over a period of time and this is considered an investment.  You’re not going to see a return on your outlay right away and that’s the thing.  Sometimes people grow weary of doing good things; it becomes a chore.  Sometimes these tasks may even become a burden (Galatians 6:2). 

This book says the time of reaping is ahead for those who persevere in doing good.
Paul assures Believers a reward for doing good awaits:  for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary (v9b).

The farmer sows his seed with the expectation of harvesting or reaping at the proper time.  I’ve never seen an “instant seed.”  The Bible never speaks of one in this life so we should not expect to see a harvest in this life from what we have sown Spiritually. Nevertheless, we must never give up; because we know that at the proper time our Lord will reward those who have been faithful servants (Matthew 25:23).

We need to continue to plant, sow, and water, not with the idea that we are the agents of growth but with the understanding what we sow, God can make grow:   So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.  Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor (1 Corinthians 3:7-8).  

Verse 10:

Galatians 6

10: So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

Let’s make sure we understand what Paul is saying here.  Every opportunity that presents itself is actually an appointment prearranged by God Himself.  Where am I getting this; from my Bible study.  This is why we study our Bible, so that we make every effort to present ourselves approved to God, an unashamed workman who accurately handles the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15 – Berean Study Bible).  

The  word opportunity comes from the Koine Greek word Kairos (kahee-ros’), Noun, Masculine, Strong’s Greek# 2540, which is sometimes translated “time” or “occasion.
But don’t think of it as time, slipping away.  It refers to those moments of time when a door of opportunity literally opens before us, and we have a choice to make.  Kairos means:  a measure of time, a fixed and definite time, a seasonal time, or the right time.  You are familiar with the child’s Sunday school song, “In His Hands.”  Well, the Bible teaches all of our time is in God’s hands.  The time of our birth as well as the time of our passing, and every minute in-between, is owned by God – He’s in control of all things (Psalm 95:1-5; Daniel 4:35; Matthew 20:15; Ephesians 1:11-12). 

Every true Believer has been created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).  There is definitely a time element involved in that passage and here our Apostle Paul is saying the Galatians (as well as every true Believer) will have opportunities to do good, if they welcome and take advantage of those occasions or seasonal periods of time when they come; and they will come.  Every single day there are moments when these Galatians can be an encourager.  There are times when they can come alongside someone who is carrying too heavy a burden and offer to share their load.  For instance, a Believer may be eating a meal with another church member when all of a sudden that individual begins talking about a situation confronting them at home.  It’s true misery loves company; and at that particular time the door of opportunity just may swing open for you.  This could be your Kairos moment and if so you have a choice to make. 

Let us not lose heart in doing good - this includes many different things.  It certainly speaks to those who are being taught the word of truth.  They are to share all good things with the one who teaches.  But Paul isn’t saying these folks are to be “paid for their services,” necessarily.  The phrase “is to share” teaches us Believers have a Spiritual responsibility to share in the ministry of those who preach and teach the word but the word share means “fellowship.  Paul’s saying Believers who give to the ministry are actually participating in the Lord’s work with and to other members of the Body of Christ.

Let us do good… to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

Please turn with me in your Bible to Titus 3:8.

This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have (what) believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds.  These things are good and profitable for men.

Skip down to verse 14:

14: Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful. 

From these Bible passages we learn Believers are to actively, energetically pursue a course of good deeds for others and not just for our church family.   Where do I get this information?  Turn with me to Acts 10:38 please.

You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

The Apostle Peter summarized the Lord’s ministry thusly:  He went around doing good.”

The Apostle John said something similar:  This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true.  And there are also many other things which Jesus did, (the many astonishing things) which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written (John 21:24-25). 

The Lord Jesus Christ performed many miracles, signs, and wonders (John 4:48) during His three-year ministry to His own people (the Jews – John 1:11) with a few gentile exceptions, with purpose but what I want you to take away from this is there wasn’t a prejudiced bone in His body.   Jesus showed loved to all people.  He was openly critical of those who were not in harmony with God’s Truths (John 8:44), the Pharisee’s come quickly to mind; but this book says Jesus Christ came to save all people (John 12:44-50; 1 Timothy 2:4).

In contrast, the Galatians were already at each other (5:15).  The competition was well underway thanks to the legalists.  There wasn’t a whole lot of good being done anywhere.  Paul taught these Believers the divisions between Jews and Gentiles had been eliminated.  But instead of peace and harmony, they were experiencing quarreling and divisiveness.  Paul said this activity runs contrary to what the Lord accomplished on Calvary and against the unity for which the Body of Christ was to strive (1 Corinthians 12:13).  This troublesome situation resulted from the Judaizers’ teaching that circumcision was necessary if the Gentiles wanted to be fully accepted by God. 

People haven’t changed all that much over time.  It’s natural to think anyone who refused to be circumcised would be considered second class or worse, inferior, and I base this on the human pecking order.  Therefore it’s no wonder discord and divisions developed between the Believers who chose to be circumcised and those who chose to say, “No.” 

So, I hope you’re starting to see the Judaizers brought some serious problems into these churches that had been taught the grace of Christ.  This is why Paul refused to remain silent and why in verse 10 he commands the Galatians to “do good to all people, especially those who are of the household of the faith.”

Paul is saying our love is meant for all people and this is because he fully intends to save some.  There is a view toward evangelism in the words we speak and in our actions for we are Christ’s ministers of reconciliation (1 Corinthians 9:19-23; 2 Corinthians 5; 1 Peter 3:15). 

However, our primary focus, as far as fellowship goes (2 Corinthians 6:14), is on the household of the faith.  This truth crosses all denominations.  When someone says they have trusted in the gospel of Jesus Christ by faith (alone) for their salvation (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), we are to take them at their word.  Once that has been established, we are to serve them, as Christ served us (Mark 10:35-45; John 13; Galatians 6:2). 

(To be continued)

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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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Friday, December 8, 2017

Galatians (6:6) (Lesson 23)

Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

Established November 2008                                                       Published Weekly on Friday

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men (and women) to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  (1Timothy 2:3-4)

Galatians (6:6)                                                                      (Lesson 23)

Welcome to HBS.

One of my unswerving prayers is I never teach y’all something that does not line up with Scripture.  The other positive thing I attempt to do each week is I try to make this Bible study interesting, and I have to admit it isn’t effortless.  Certain books of the Bible lend themselves to storytelling and this, naturally, attracts readers because people enjoy a good story.  I offer Genesis and Exodus as two examples.  Hollywood moguls thought so too because several motion pictures were produced based on characters and events from these two books.  But I’ve yet to see a movie based on Galatians or Ephesians and probably never will, and that’s my point.  Some books of the Bible just don’t “light up the big screen” like other books.  Some people would call them “dry” or “boring.”  It takes a mature Believer to understand the entire Bible for what it is; “a love letter from the Creator God to His creation, inviting us to be reconciled to Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:18).

Our salvation is just the first step in a process known as sanctification, thus I urge y’all to remember why we’re here:  For in Him we live and move and are.  ‘As also some of the poets among you have said, “For we are also His offspring (Acts 17:28 – Berean Literal Bible).

But the One sanctifying and those being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brothers (Hebrews 2:11).

Our life in the Spirit isn’t just a walk it’s a journey.  There are no short-cuts to learning how to walk by the Spirit (Romans 8:4-25).  You can take comfort in knowing you’re not journeying alone (Romans 5:3-5; Philippians 1:6).

Please open your Bible at Galatians 6:6.

Galatians 6

6: The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him.

The one who is taught – the word taught is from the Koine Greek word Katecheo, (Kat-ay-kleh’-o), Verb, Strong’s Greek #2727, which means to instruct.  Paul means to say the Galatians are involved in a regular, ongoing ministry.  Being taught the word of God is (or should be) a normal part of their life from now on. 

We worship God at church, that’s a given, but the primary reason Believers attend church services is to be taught the word of truth from the Bible.  To mature in the faith the Believer must hear from God regularly?  One of the ways a Believer can achieve this is by listening to the word being taught in their church.  It was done this way in the O.T. and in the first century church.  Those house churches would spend the majority of their time listening to the word of God. 

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12-13).

The Bible isn’t a dead language; this is the world’s viewpoint.  It’s living and active because its author is the One, true God.  When we read and study God’s Truths, His living power invades our hearts and grows within us; His power changes us from the inside out.

The word – we find this term in John 1:1, referring to Jesus Christ.  The word is the gospel of and about Jesus Christ.  Our Apostle Paul uses a variety of ways to refer to this “word.”  

The word of God – 1 Corinthians 14:36; 2 Corinthians 2:17; Philippians 1:14; Colossians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:13
The word of the Lord – 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Thessalonians 3:1
The word – Galatians 6:6; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; Colossians 4:3; 2 Timothy 4:2

At the risk of upsetting some people, I need to point something out to y’all.  Some time ago many churches in an effort to bolster their membership ranks and in an attempt to halt the flow of families leaving the church decided to provide some “glamour and glitz” to their Sunday services in hopes of producing the “Wow” effect amongst the congregations and this trend is ongoing.  But here’s the thing, despite all the effort, energy, and money diverted to this program, and it is substantial, the church is not a member of the entertainment industry.  It’s not about the church leader, their diverse programs, or the spectacle they can provide.  These can all go away, but what must not diminish is the word of God or its Truths; its content (nothing added and nothing taken away) must be taught regularly to the Body of Christ.  Sadly, this is exactly what has diminished in the church today.  In the one place where God’s Truth should be found, and heard routinely, many churches are failing.    

Is to share – this phrase relates to the law of spiritual sowing and reaping.  Those who are taught the word are under the spiritual responsibility to share in the ministry of those who preach and teach it.

In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul writes about his use of liberty re: ” sowing and reaping, “the plowman ought to plow in hope and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops” (9:10b).

In other words, let those who are being blessed by the ministry of their faithful church preachers and teachers remember the words from our Apostle Paul:  So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel (9:14). 

is to share is a command from the Lord and mature Believers understand this (1 Corinthians 14:37).  However Paul did not take advantage of this blessing, but he advocated it for other preachers and teachers (1 Corinthians 9).  However, this is a hot topic because people attending church are aware of certain preachers who have become wealthy “making a gain” off the ministry.  They’ve turned it into a lucrative enterprise, in other words.  2 Corinthians 12:17-18 stands as a resounding rebuke to those individuals who would abuse the word of God in this manner. 

If you attend a church on Sunday morning, you’re going to hear the word tithe most likely, and that’s because churches today teach the tithe.  Now I’ve been a “regular” attendee of more than a few churches in my lifetime and of various denominations, including the nondenominational denomination.  And out of all those church groups there was only one that did not use the word “tithe,” when they spoke of taking up a collection to support their ministry.  Instead, they put baskets at the rear of the church and this is where you placed your envelope, if you were a member.  Everyone else, if they desired, could walk by and drop a ”love-offering” of whatever amount they chose or had purposed in their heart into one of the baskets.  Please know this was the only church that got it right, because in the Dispensation of Grace Believers are not commanded to tithe.     

Most church leaders won’t agree with what I just said because, as I’ve already stated, they teach the tithe as biblical truth.  I’ll cite one example from my own experience:  I won’t use the man’s name because I don’t think that’s necessary.  However, I listened to his radio program one Sunday morning and heard this well-known Baptist preacher and author say, “How dare you show up in church without your tithe!” Then he quoted a well-known verse from Malachi 3.  I was stunned; and his audience should have been.  I turned the radio off, because his message turned me off.  Why?  This is not what the Bible teaches!  

This gentleman should have known better, but to be fair, he’s only relaying the message he was taught in seminary.  My advice would be to spend more time studying this book and rightly dividing it, per God’s command, instead of relying solely on the teaching of men (1 Corinthians 2:2-5; 2 Timothy 2:15).  I’m reminded this same Baptist pastor once taught you could lose your salvation, but he recanted that belief after years of personal Bible study.  He now understands, “Once saved, always saved” (Ephesians 1:13, 2:8-9, Romans 8:38).   He finally understands God’s truth on this important matter, even though that truth has always been there.  But the truth on Tithing is there as well. 

What Does the Scripture Say?

First, do the same thing I did and grab your concordance and look up the word "tithe."  It’s plural in the New Testament.  You'll discover it is used only eight times.  It is found once in Matthew and twice in Luke, each one is referring to the Old Testament law.  Tithe is used five times in Hebrews 7, speaking of a time before the Law was given, when Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek.  The word tithe does not appear in the N.T. again after this. 

Our Apostle Paul devoted two entire chapters of scripture (2 Corinthians 8 & 9) to the subject of stewardship, and he never used the word tithe once.   Let’s be clear, Tithing is taught in the Bible, but only in the O.T, but even in the Old Testament it was not a form of giving.  You see, giving was always voluntary in the O.T.  The tithe was a tax; and not giving; just like we are taxed every April 15th.  You’re not sending the IRS a gift; you are paying off a debt.  If you don’t pay it, you face retribution, i.e. penalties, fines, wage garnishment, or possibly jail time.  So, in a nutshell, tithing was taxation under the Mosaic economy. 

Many churches promote a concept called “storehousetithing, based on Malachi 3:10, where God commands Israel to “bring the whole tithe into the storehouse.”  I’ve heard this sermon more than once, and I know some of you have too.  One of the churches I attended told our congregation one Sunday morning “this church is God’s storehouse, and our tithes belong to Him, and His blessing is conditioned upon faithfulness in tithing.”

I’ve taught the book of Malachi a couple of times and verse 1 specifically says the letter was written to the Israelites.  You see, God’s chosen people were not bringing their grain offerings to the temple.  So, the LORD challenged them to bring “the full tithe” of grain sacrifices (Leviticus 6:14-23), and see that He would bless them with an abundance of future crops.

The book of Malachi and its message is not meant for us Gentiles, but I wonder how my pastor would have reacted if I placed a couple loaves of bread in the offering basket instead of cash as it was passed to me?  I imagine he would have been as shocked to see bread in the offering basket as I was to hear he was trying to put me back under the Law. 

Let’s be clear:  you can give as much of your talent, time, and treasure to God (the church) as you please, but let’s look at these reasons why tithing is not God’s standard for Grace Age Believers:

A: Tithing was a part of the Law of Moses; Believers are not under the law, were under grace.  Romans, Galatians, and other New Testament passages make it clear Believers are not under the Law.  That does not mean we are lawless, because we are under the law of Christ (1 Corinthians 9:20-21; James 1:25, 2:8, 12; Romans 13:8-10).  God’s moral laws are still valid under the New Covenant and are repeated as commands in the New Testament.  But here’s the thing, the Church has never received a command to tithe from God.

Those who argue for tithing point out that Abraham and Jacob both tithed prior to the Mosaic Law (Genesis 14:20, 28:22).  Thus tithing supersedes the law, they say.  If you examine the references to Abraham’s and Jacob’s tithing, you will see God did not command them to tithe and there is no indication this was their regular practice.  On one occasion after a victory in battle, Abraham tithed the spoils from that battle, but nothing is said regarding his other possessions or his regular income.  It was a “one-time tithe.”  But they fail to mention this important detail (Genesis 14:20).  To follow Jacob’s example would be wrong, because he was making a conditional vow before God, promising that if God would keep him safe and provide for him, then he would give God a tenth (Genesis 28:20-22).  That’s hardly a good example to follow in giving, and yet they use it frequently. Tithing was required under the Mosaic Law, but, again, Believers are not under the Law, they are under grace. 

B. Tithing was an involuntary tax to support Israel; Believers are not a part of the theocratic nation.

In the Old Testament, there was both required and voluntary giving.  Every Israelite was commanded to fund national worship and to help the poor.  In actuality, there was not just one tithe, but rather two or three 1) Leviticus 27: 30-33; Numbers 18:20-21; 2) Deuteronomy 12:17-18; 3) Deuteronomy 14:28-29, so adding it up the total responsibility wasn’t 10 percent, it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 percent.

The tithe consisted of the Temple tax, the Land Sabbath Tax, and the Special Profit-Sharing Tax (leaving the four corners of their fields unharvested, for the poor).  As I pointed out already, the required giving for the Jew was in the neighborhood of 25 percent annually.  In addition to all of this, the O.T. mentions voluntary giving, which included first-fruit giving and freewill offerings.
What often gets lost in this required and voluntary giving is the LORD wasn’t all that interested in how much His people were giving but on the attitude of the giver and the quality of the gift.  Think about that for a moment, as we prepare to move to Paul’s teachings on the subject for there are similarities.

The point is "tithing" is an Old Testament practice that was equivalent to our modern-day tax structure.  Tithes were not gifts at all, but were required giving.  Tithes as most of you know means one-tenth and from the time of Moses onward, the Israelites (not the Gentiles) were commanded to pay it.  But according to the Bible they were to pay it to only one group.  These people were the Levites who (among other people) ministered in the Temple:

And behold, I have given the children of Levi all (what) the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service of the tabernacle of the congregation (Numbers 18:21). 

It was made abundantly clear that the biblical tithe was to be paid to the tribe of Levi, one of the twelve tribes of ancient Israel.  In this initial law of tithing, no one else had the slightest authority to receive that tithe.  Even Jesus Christ, while he was teaching on earth, did not use (nor did he demand) a penny of biblical tithe to fund his preaching activities and neither did His apostles.  Did you ever consider this?  Looking at this biblically, the Lord was a descendant, in an adoptive way, from the tribe of Judah (Hebrews 7:14).  He was not a Levite.  Thus, He was ineligible to receive any part of the biblical tithe that was ordained for use by the Levites at the time of Moses.  

The central fact was this:  only members of the tribe of Levi were at first ordained in the Bible to receive the tithe (the tenth).  The Levites in turn were to give one-tenth of that tithe to the Priests (Numbers 18:25–28) who did not tithe at all.  In our modern age, if you think about it, even the ministers and priests are disqualified from receiving any biblical tithe because there is no official body of men functioning as Levites.

Since there is no Temple in existence, there are also no Levites, ministers, and Priests serving in the Temple.  The tithe at first was brought into play by Moses to maintain the service of the Temple.  With no Temple, the major factor for tithe paying does not exist as far as the biblical laws of tithing are concerned.  For preachers and church leaders to change the direction of paying the tithe from that of the Temple to the service of their Christian ministry is to do so without any authority whatever from God, the author of Scripture.  In fact, to use the tithing laws in a manner not sanctioned by the Word of God is to sin against biblical law.  And that is what most church leaders and evangelists are doing today.

Now some people get excited and say the church will go "under" in short order if the people are told they don't have to tithe.  I disagree and remind them if the church is supported only because Believers are wrongly taught to tithe then that practice must end.  Many churches today would have to "cease operations" if their tithes were taken away.  But the churches God chooses to exist will continue to thrive because God’s people will continue to support them with their love offerings and the church will “never" lack for anything.  One godly writer said, "God's work done God's way will never lack God's provision." (Galatians 6:2)

The tithe is never imposed on the Believer.  We don't live in a Theocracy!  According to Deuteronomy 12, the tithe was to be paid in Jerusalem only.  So, if you think you are under obligation to give a tithe, per scripture, not only are you 2,000 years too late, because the Jewish Temple is no longer in existence, but what’s more there’s more than 5,000 miles separating you from your goal.  Here’s the thing, this is so clearly taught in the New Testament one has to be oblivious or severely prejudiced to miss it.   

If we are not under the tithe, and clearly we are not, how much are we supposed to give?   Before I answer that question, let’s all look to God’s example of giving in Christ:

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 through His poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). 

Jesus Christ laid aside His privileges, took on human flesh, and took upon Himself the sin and corruption of this world, in order that we might become rich (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Grace Age giving then looks to the substitionary sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself up for all, so we might be rescued from God’s wrath, and says, “Lord, You gave all for me.  What can I give You in return?” 

Paul may have had this thought (or one like it in mind) when he wrote about the subject of stewardship to the Corinthian church:  You are not your own, for you have been bought with a price…” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

In the Dispensation of Grace, all that we are and all we have belongs to God; not just a tenth.  We are merely the “managers” of His resources.  As good stewards of God’s resources, we are responsible to use them wisely to further His work here on earth.   Under Paul’s guidance, this is all about inner motivation and not outward compulsion (2 Corinthians 8:3-5, 9:7). 

Therefore, we shouldn’t think, “How much can I afford to give?” but rather, “How much can I give?”  We should not wait for someone to pressure us into giving; directing us where to channel our funds.  We should look for and be aware of good works that need to be met for in Ephesians 2:10 Paul writes:  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. 

The word workmanship is better translated His masterpiece.  God is working out in our lives a tremendous exhibition of His love, His character, His life, His joy, His patience, His peace, His power, and His wisdom.  He is teaching us, training us, bringing us along, bit-by-bit, here a little, there a little, day-by-day, applying the paint, as it were, in all the right places, to produce a one-of-a-kind masterpiece to be put on display for all the world to behold.  This is to result in good works:  love, kindness, mercy, compassion, helping one another, seeking another’s highest good. 

No one knows how many good works God has prepared for us, but they are out there waiting for us to walk in them as we trust and obey, depending fully on Christ Jesus. 

As I said previously, Paul devoted two whole chapters to stewardship, the management of God’s resources, and he said the amount we’re to give is determined by the two “P’s” – prosper and proportion. 

On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he (what) may prosper(1 Corinthians 16:2a).

And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea (Acts 11:29; 2 Corinthians 8:3).

The New Covenant churches each gave according to their ability.  We know some of the churches gave sacrificially, i.e. beyond their ability; however, the point is each of them determined how much their gift or their contribution was going to be.  No one commanded them to tithe. 

Another point worth mentioning is this: …For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have (2 Corinthians 8:11-12).

Paul is saying, if you have a willing mind (you have the desire to give) but you have insufficient funds to give to the church (you have money in your checking account, but it’s already committed to groceries, medical bills, rent, utility payments, etc.) your desire to give (alone) is acceptable before God.  You don’t have to give money to the ministry too.  Has anyone ever taught you this is what the Bible says? 

If we are able, we have responsibilities, if we're not able, then we don't have responsibilities.  Our responsibility is according to our ability or as our Apostle Paul said, “according to what a person has.” The portion is incidental; it’s the proportion that matters.  Those who have less than enough are to receive from others who have more than enough.  This isn’t Gary’s opinion; by the way, this is what your book says.  Turn to 1 Corinthians 8:13-14:     

For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality-- at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality.

Those who had little gave the little they had:  that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.  For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, (2 Corinthians 8:2-3)

Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).

They gave of their own accord.”  Another way of saying this is, “The amount they gave was of their own choosing.”  No one ordered them to tithe on a certain amount (your “net” or your “gross income”) and no one belittled them for “not bringing a tithe into the storehouse.” They all gave as “they purposed in his heart.  This is proportionate giving.  Here we find although this (house church) was in deep poverty, and they were facing persecution and trials from within and without, yet the gift they gave was beyond their means.  The amount they came up with individually, and as a church, they had purposed in their heart to fulfill a great need, i.e. to help the Judean saints who had significantly less. 

Getting back to Galatians 6:6, anyone teaching the word of truth has the right to receive remuneration for their services…  The laborer is worthy of his wages:  If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?  (1 Corinthians 9:11)   (See Romans 15:27; 1 Corinthians 9).

Breaking this passage down, Paul is saying, since I have taught you the word, since I taught you about spiritual things, since I have encouraged you in the word of God, shouldn’t you provide material things for me?  This verse is about sowing and reaping just as our text in Galatians 6:6 is, just as his comments in 1 Corinthians 9. 

Back in Paul’s day, the Greek philosophers received an honorarium for their instruction, and this was common knowledge.  Didn’t Paul have the right to exercise this concern when teaching spiritual things?  This is one of the basic church principles, if we receive spiritual blessings, we should in turn share material blessings. 

but now, I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints.  For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.  Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them.  For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things (Romans 15:25-27). 

Paul wants the Galatians to know Believers cannot go without sound Bible teaching and those who teach the word should be paid a wage so they don’t have to work at other jobs to support themselves and their loved ones.  I’ve served with pastors who had to work at other jobs.  They couldn’t support themselves and their families on just the salary they received from their ministry, and this is truly unfortunate because it placed a preventable burden upon them.  But these men cheerfully press on, while burning the candle at both ends, praying for a better day when they’ll have the time to devote their efforts and energies to the ministry full-time. 

When you give to support the church, you are fulfilling the law of Christ, according to Galatians 6:2, because you are helping to bear another’s burden. 

(To be continued)

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