Apathy – what goes around comes around.
A sermon preached at Elijah Ministries on 25th October 2009
Greetings brothers and sisters… welcome to Elijah this morning…
Shall we pray….
Whats been put on my heart this morning is the subject of Apathy… the title of today’s sermon is Apathy – what goes around comes around.
And when the Lord put this subject on my heart, to preach… the subject of Apathy… I almost said… nah, I just don’t feel like it….! And that’s exactly what Apathy is… I just don’t feel like it – it’s a lack of interest, a lack of enthusiasm, a lack of passion.
Some people believe that the greatest threat to our future on earth is from terrorism, or war, with bombs and guided missiles.
But there’s a growing number of others, who don't think our civilisation will end that way at all. Some have proposed that our future will end, when people no longer care. And that’s exactly whats happening in the world today. The threats to the environement through Global warming and depletion of the earth’s resources should be enough to put every Government on earth on Red alert – yet amazingly little if anything gets done.
The historian Arnold Toynbee has pointed out that 19 out of 21 known civilizations have died from within, not by conquests from without. He tells us that there were no bands playing or flags waving when these civilizations decayed and disappeared. It happened slowly and insidiously, when no one was aware of what was happening… when no-one cared.
Someone has said that the epitaph of our society today should be this:
This civilization died because it just couldn’t be bothered, it just didn't care'.
Albert Einstein once wrote:
The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it. Apathy.
The apathy of Society today is staggering. The world turns a blind eye to blatant injustice of every kind. Everywhere we look it’s oppression and genocide, and rather than take action, the world leaders follow the politically correct path of quiet diplomacy.
The world, in it’s apathy, has lost the will to care – it just couldn’t be bothered.
And whats even worse, is that because Society has become so thoroughly apathetic, it’s evident that this attitude has pervaded the Christian church.
And while Societies definition of apathy is a lack of interest, the great danger I believe is that apathy, from a Christian perspective, really is –
Christians conforming to the world. Apathy in the church leads to worldly Christians.
Someone has said 'I looked for the church, and I found it in the world. I looked for the world, and I found it in the church'.
Wherever we look, we see the weakening of the Christian church, the degradation of the Christian faith… Biblical Christianity stagnating and dieing… Islam taking over disused churches wherever you look. Old churches falling to rack and ruin, but Mosques springing up everywhere…
The Lord said that this would happen in the last days, where the church would become lukewarm, where Christians would have no passion, where the rule of thumb is apathy. This is the church of Laodicea…
I’m not prepared to get involved.
I couldn’t be bothered.
I couldn’t care less.
Why does the church of Jesus Christ seem so weak, so powerless, so impotent?
Why is there such compromise in doctrine amongst mainstream Christians? Why is the church so lifeless, lackluster and lazy?
Why is there so much apathy in the church?
Why does it seem that the church is so dead?
It reminds me of a story:
A father was with his young son, waiting in the foyer of the church for someone to pick them up.
The father was showing his son the plaques on the wall, pointing out all the members of the church who had died while doing military service.
The boy asked, “Who are these men?” The dad replied, “These are the men who died in the service.”
The boy replied, ”Which service was that dad, the evening or the morning?”
And I certainly hope I don’t bore you to death this morning….!
Out the mouths of babes…. The church is dead.
And how do we explain all this apathy…?
I believe the reason for this… is probably because of the eternal laws of Justice…. God’s laws of Justice and Equity…
What goes around, comes around…
What you put in, is what you get out…
It’s even found in one of the Scientific Laws of the Universe… Newton’s 3rd Law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
In apathy, no action… equals no reaction.
You reap what you sow…
Whatever you do to others, so it will be done unto you…
In the way you judge, you will be judged…
By the way you measure, you will be measured…
This statement is not some haphazard theory… rather, it is an eternal law of God.
If you couldn’t be bothered with what you put back into your faith, into your life, into others, into your church, then there’s big trouble coming…
God’s law determines that if you couldn’t be bothered, then you can never expect others to be bothered about you.
And on a different perspective, if you have been shrewd about pointing out the faults of others, the Bible promises that that will be exactly how you will be measured, either in this life, or on judgement day.
What goes around, comes around.
The way you pay, is the way life will pay you back.
What you put in, is what you get out…
If all you put in is dead works, then I’ll leave it up to you as to what you’re going to get out…
This eternal law works from God’s throne all the way down to us.
Psalms 18:20 The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. (21) For I have kept the ways of the LORD, And have not wickedly departed from my God. (22) For all His ordinances were before me, And I did not put away His statutes from me. (23) I was also blameless with Him, And I kept myself from my iniquity. (24) Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness, According to the cleanness of my hands in His eyes.
The Lord’s justice is perfect…
Directly from heaven, He rewards us according to our righteousness. If you live a righteous life, if you keep clean hands, He will reward you accordingly.
This Psalm parallels the time frame of our current study of Samuel, where David
was in trouble. His enemies were encompassed round about him. Saul was pursuing
him and was doing everything he could, to try kill him.
And all through these trials and tribulations, David kept his focus, he kept his eyes on the Lord. He kept his hand’s clean. And as we learnt last week, in 1 Samuel 18, David behaved himself wisely in all his ways, despite his persecution, despite his suffering and hardship. And because of that, 1 Sam 18:14 says the Lord was with Him.
The Lord will be with you when you behave wisely.
If we could keep our hands clean and keep the ways of the Lord, we would see the same deliverance, the same blessings. He would give us what we need, protect us and see us through, just as the Old Testament faithfuls believed. The Lord would be with us and he would reward us accordingly...
V25 of Psalm 18 With the kind You show Yourself kind; With the blameless You show Yourself blameless; (26) With the pure You show Yourself pure, but with the crooked You show Yourself shrewd. (27) For You save the humble people, But proud eyes You bring low. (28) For You light my lamp; The LORD my God illuminates my darkness.
God responds to us as we respond to Him. But it’s not a formula, or a
mathematical statistic on how to win favour with the Lord… all this, and
everything else, is according to His Sovereign will, His Grace and mercy.
He is Sovereign and will accomplish His will… and that will happen, with, or without, your obedience…
The important thing is that:
- It’s up to you, as to how close you want God to be.
- It’s up to you, as to how much grace you want Him to show us.
- It’s up to you, as to how much mercy you want in your life…
For as you sow, so shall ye reap. What you put in, you can expect back.
Verse 19 of Psalm 18… He brought me forth also into a large place; He delivered me… why?…. because He delighted in me".
The Lord delights in children with clean hands and a pure heart. David was humble and kept himself in submission to God. He kept his eyes on the Lord.
Saul, on the other hand, was a double-minded man, and his disobedience cost him dearly.
When our hands are clean, no matter how difficult life may be, God will see us through. He will take us through any trial, in order that we may bring glory to His name when it's all over.
God rewards us according to our righteousness – and this is true according to many Old Testament passages.
Are you keeping the ways of the Lord? If so, you may depend on His protection and strength. When your hands are clean, He sees you through your difficult trials and circumstances. This is a given… according to Scripture.
But many may ask… How do we get these clean hands?
How do we get a pure heart?
How do we become righteous?
When I first became a Christian, I used to really struggle with this issue of righteousness, as the Lord God expects from us. Whenever I used to read about righteousness, I immediately doubted my salvation. I was always too convicted by my own sin to ever even think of myself as righteous.
And Scripture says that our hearts are wicked, wicked beyond measure! And there were so many Saints in the Bible that lived such Holy and righteous lives, I could never be like them!
Maybe I’m not saved after all…?
This is called condemnation… where a lack of understanding on what Grace really is, allows the devil to creep in and sow doubt – and eventually we end up condemning ourselves – always in condemnation... Trying to justify yourself, trying to save yourself through good works... And when you’re in condemnation, it’s very difficult to express the Joy and Peace of the Lord, which should be the primary fruit of every Christian. Condemnation is from the Devil, and it stems from a lack of understanding of Grace.
But if our hearts are wicked beyond measure, how is this righteousness possible? And the Lord demands this righteousness, how is it possible?
And then, to make matters worse - The Scribes and Pharisees were almost perfect in keeping the Laws of the Old Testament. Yet, in Matthew 5:20, Jesus says that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
What!? To become more righteous than a Pharisee! Surely that’s really impossible!? Even more condemnation! How can I possibly be saved?
How is it then that we can accomplish this righteousness?
Well the short answer is…. you can’t. Why?
- There is nothing you can do save yourself.
- There is nothing you can do to become righteous before the Lord.
- Isaiah says that Our best attempts at righteousness are but filthy rags unto the Lord!
Paul in Romans 3:10 states this: as it is written, "There is none righteous. NO, Not even One!”
Turn with me to Romans 4
Romans 4:19 Without becoming weak in faith Abraham contemplated his own body, (now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb; (20) yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, (21) and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was also able to perform.
And right there is a good biblical definition of faith –
the assurance that what God has promised, He is also able to perform…
or in other words…
Faith is the confidence that we have that the promises of God are true.
Abraham believed that the promises of God were true, so – verse 20 says he grew strong in faith,
then… verse 22: Read this very carefully… it is exceptionally important to understand…
he grew strong in faith…
(22) Therefore it was also credited to him as…. righteousness. (23) Now not for his sake only, was it written, that it was credited to him, (24) but… for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe, in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, (25) He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.
A phenomenally important passage. The Lord Jesus died for our sins and was raised from the dead, and through our faith in Him, our confidence that these promises of God are true - when we believe in Him - we become justified, which is then creditted to us as righteousness.
We are creditted as righteous when we believe in Jesus!
What a marvellous, marvellous truth! Amen?
2 Corinthians 5:21 For God has made Jesus to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God, in Christ Jesus.
All you young Christians out there… Grab this truth and never forget it… because no matter what becomes of you, no-one can ever take this precious truth away from you…
In Christ, we become everything that God requires.
Everything!… justified…. Upright…..and righteous!
What an unbelievable gift is this gift of salvation!
If there’s only one thing that you remember this morning it’s this:
In Jesus, we become everything that the Lord God requires.
It’s such a small step to take, with such massive consequences…
Such a small step of faith, to give up control of your own life and place it in the hands of our Creator… a small decision, with such massive eternal consequences…
But, as we so often remind everyone here at Elijah, it’s not about giving the Lord Jesus a small room in your heart… it’s not about taking out fire insurance just in case the Bible is true…
- it’s about bowing your knee in submission before a Holy and Almighty God,
- it’s about weeping with remorse and guilt at your sin,
- it’s about submitting your life entirely to the Lord in repentance, because it’s only in Him that you can overcome.
- it’s about a proper relationship with Jesus Christ.
- It’s about faith, your confidence that the promises of God are true.
And even though we fail the Lord so often, the result of having in us, the righteousness of Jesus Christ, is a life of righteousness before God. Because of what He has done for us, we should in turn, want to serve Him in obedience.
In Romans 6, Paul urges us to continue to offer up the members of our bodies as instruments of righteousness to God.
Turn to Romans 6.
Romans 6:8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, (9) knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.
(10) For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. (11) Even so, consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God, in Christ Jesus. (12) Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, (13) and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
That Scripture speaks very clearly and needs no explanation. Pause….
And so we learn… that right from the throne of heaven, we get rewarded for our righteousness, and the only place we can find that righteousness, is in Christ… in Jesus Christ our Lord.
David said: The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.
How do you get your hands clean ….?
You wash them in the blood of Jesus…
What you put in, is what you get out. You reap what you sow.
God’s eternal law of Justice and retribution is found everywhere…
Turn to Matthew 7
Matthew 7:1-6 "Do not judge so that you will not be judged. (2) "For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. (3) "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? (4) "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? (5) "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly, to take the speck out of your brother's eye. (6) "Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn, and tear you to pieces.
It is a fact of life: We will look at the faults of others with the fine eye of a microscope, seeing every flaw in great, and sometimes imagined detail while ignoring our own faults completely.
Therefore Jesus warns us: "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
Do we really want to be judged in the same way we judge others? Again, Jesus reminds us that the actions we take, will result in similar actions toward us.
Earlier, in the sermon on the mount, Matthew 5: 7 Jesus said: "Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy,"
Do you want mercy? Then be merciful to others.
Later, in Matthew 6:12 "Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us,"
Do you want forgiveness for your sins? Then be forgiving toward others.
And in Ch 7, "…in the same way you judge others, you will be judged,"
Do you want fairness and compassion when you are judged?
Then be fair and compassionate in your assessment of others.
Notice though, that even though we shouldn’t judge - we should still be discerning about right and wrong behavior. In verse 6 Jesus cautions against giving sacred things to dogs, casting pearls before swine —a reference to the realities of witnessing to someone who is hardened against receiving it. Some are not just resistant to hearing the good news of Jesus Christ, they are violently opposed to it. You do more harm than good in casting the pearls of the gospel before such a person. Jesus calls for discernment - making difficult, but necessary judgments about the realities that we face in everyday life.
The best way to handle ourselves in this regard is to pray and ask the Lord for discernment – If the Lord wants us to witness to someone, then ask Him to open the doors, to communicate the Gospel to that person. If they don’t open, then bite your tongue. I have found through my experiences over the years, that whenever I relied on my own assessment of when and what to do, I usually ended up shouting my mouth off and offending the person even further… chasing them even further away from the Truth. I used to have a nasty habit of opening my mouth to change feet…. a simple lack of wisdom, which we should all be seeking through a closer walk with Christ.
So nowdays, instead of shouting my mouth off, my prayer is that the Lord grants me the grace to bear fruit – because it’s by our fruit that true Christians will be known. Only once the ground has been prepared by the Lord, and only once the Lord’s timing is right, only then will your witnessing be worthwhile. If you don’t have good fruit, then no-one is going to take you seriously. It’s very difficult to take a hypocrite seriously. That’s why it’s so difficult to witness to your old friends or your family. They knew what you were once like… they knew the old sinner; a prophet has no honour in his own country.
When the Lord wants you to speak, He will give you a clear opportunity - it will be obvious. Your preaching will then be effective. It can only be effective if the Lord has prepared that person’s heart first.
We are called to preach the Gospel in season and out, but without Spiritual discernment, it is like pearls before swine… and beware they might tear you to pieces.
Another important factor on this issue of passing Judgement - is that we may never judge another person’s salvation; we may never judge another person’s heart or motive. That is simply not up to us – it’s not part of a Christian’s calling. It’s the Lord God who decides whether a person is saved or not. It’s the Lord who decides…
Our judgement with discernment should always be made according to the Word of God… we draw on the Word of God to discern between the things of the soul and the things of the spirit.
John 7: 24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.
Who is righteous?
Jesus Christ and His word is righteous. The Word of God judges, not us.
But having said that, the subject of judging others really boils down to humility. If we were all humble enough and really after the heart of the Lord, we wouldn’t criticize anybody, we wouldn’t be so arrogant as to pass judgement on anybody… who gave us that right anyway? Who made us so holier than thou? Who said that we were any better? Are we just hypocrites – like the bible says: we who criticize others, we practice the very same errors…
Do you want Him, on Judgement day, to criticize you, the way you have criticized others?
Do you want Him to judge you the way you have judged others.
The Lord have mercy…
Whatever way you judge, will be the very way that you are judged.
with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
With the way in which you criticize, will be the way you are criticized…
In Romans 2
this is applied in an even more
definite way by saying that the one who criticizes another is guilty of the very
same thing. The Word says that the reason we see hypocrisy, deceit, and
insincerity in others, is that they are all in our own hearts.
When we pass judgement on others, when we criticize others, we pass judgement on ourselves. The Bible says, even though we won’t admit it, even though we don’t realize it – that we’re guilty of the very same things.
This reminds me of another nice little story …
A husband makes an appointment with the family doctor out of concern, and a great deal of frustration, over his wife’s apparent loss of hearing.
“Doc, I think she’s going deaf," he says to the doctor. "She never hears me the first time I say something to her. In fact, I have to repeat things over and over again before she responds."
"Well," the doctor responds, "It’s difficult to make a diagnosis without seeing her, but until she’s willing to come in to see me, here’s something you can do to help measure the severity of her loss of hearing. When you get home, stand about 15 feet away from her and say something. If she doesn’t reply, move five feet closer and say it again. Keep doing this until she replies so we can get some idea of the severity of her deafness."
This seemed like a good idea to the husband, so he decided to try it. When he got home, his wife was in the kitchen chopping vegetables.
Standing about 15 feet away from her, he says to her, "Honey, what’s for dinner?"
So he moves a little bit closer and asks again, "Honey, what’s for dinner?" …..Still no response.
So moving a bit closer, he asks again
…. No response.
Finally, he moves right next to her and asks for the fourth time, "Honey, what’s for dinner?"
The wife turns around and says: "For the fourth time…. vegetable stew!"
Isn’t it amazing how we see the faults of others so clearly, yet we don’t even recognize them in ourselves!
The greatest characteristic of a saint is humility. Instead of pointing fingers at others, we should be cognisant of the fact that, yes, all those faults that we see in others, as well as other much greater faults, we exhibit those very same faults in ourselves.
Essentially, we have no right to judge, we have no right to criticize.
The same way that you criticize now, will be the same way that the Almighty will criticize you one day… do you want that to happen? I certainly don’t.
Turn to Romans 2…
Romans 2:1 Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge, you practice the same things. (2) And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. (3) But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and then do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?
(4) Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
(5) But because of your
stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the
day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, (6) who will
render to each person according to his deeds:
There’s the same Eternal law of God again, the payback principle. Verse 7: to those, who by perseverance in doing good, who seek for glory and honor and immortality,… eternal life; (8) but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, ….wrath and indignation.
Who of us would dare to stand before God and say:
“Lord, judge me as I have judged others”?
How many times have we judged others as sinners? If God should judge us in the same way, we would be condemned to hell. We need to repent of our criticism and judgement.
If we would do that, the good news is that God will judge us on the basis of the miraculous atonement on the cross by Jesus Christ.
Therefore you have no excuse everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that
which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge, practice
the very same things.
You cannot hope to restore a sinful brother if you’re in the same sin yourself.
Instead if criticizing and judging a brother… the way we treat a brother in sin is an important duty in our lives within the Christian family, and how faithful we are in dealing with the issue, will determine how we reap in this regard.
Have apathy about this and the Lord might have apathy for you.
Turn to Galatians 6 and keep a bookmark there…
Galatians 6 :1 Brothers, if a man is overtaken in a sin, you the spiritual ones, restore such a person in the spirit of meekness, considering yourself, lest you also be tempted.
(2) Bear one another's burdens, and so you will fulfill the Law of Christ.
(3) For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. (4) But let each one prove his own work, and then he alone can have pride in himself, but not in comparing himself to another. (5) For each one will bear his own load. (6) But let him who is taught in the Word, share with the one teaching, in all good things. (7) Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he also will reap. (8) For he, sowing to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh. But he sowing to the Spirit will reap life everlasting from the Spirit.
(9) But we should not lose heart in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not faint. (10) So then as we have time, let us work good toward all, especially toward those of the household of faith.
Here we have that same payback principle yet again… whatever a man sows, that he will also reap; what you put in, is what you get out..
In this passage, the apostle Paul sets down for us here a principle that is so broad that it deals with practically every aspect of life.
It includes many truths. He tells us, that
· - we should be faithful in restoring our sinful brother,
· - we should bear other people’s burdens,
· – that we should never boast, be proud or conceited,
· - we should bear our own burdens and not be a burden to others
· We should support our Pastor and church
· - we should walk in the Spirit, not in the flesh
· - we should do good to all, especially to Christians
In all these things, we are promised that we will reap accordingly to however well or poorly we do them.
To paraphrase the importance of these concepts – consider this:
· If we are not faithful in restoring a sinful brother, how can we expect to be restored ourselves?
· If we don’t share someone else’s burdens, how can we expect others to share ours?
· If we are proud and conceited, how can we expect others to be humble?
· If we sow to the flesh, how can we expect to harvest from the Spirit?
· If we couldn’t be bothered, how can we expect others to be bothered about us?
beginning to see why the church of today is dead?! Christian apathy.
You see, Reaping and sowing affects every aspect of our lives here on earth.
What goes around, comes around.
This is God's rule. This is a principle which God has set down.
These are quite sobering thoughts, something that we ought to take careful note of, as we live our lives. To even think that we won’t reap what we sow, is to mock God in our hearts. It is God's rule. It is a rule which cannot be set aside, because it abides as surely as the God of heaven abides.
And how ever well or poorly we give of ourselves, will determine how well we will be given, either on this earth or in the afterlife.
Verse 2 of Galatians 6, Bear one another's burdens, and so you will fulfill.. the Law …of Christ.
Now what exactly is this Law of Christ? Turn to John 13…..
John 13:34 And you can take a red pen and highlight this verse, draw stars and asterisks round it with exclamation marks, because it’s one of the most important verses in the whole Bible.
It is the law of Christ – and in it, Jesus says: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
The Law of Christ. A vitally important law.
So, we are instructed to bear one another’s burdens and by doing that, we can fulfill the law of Christ, which is to love one another.
We are supposed to carry each other’s burdens! How is it that we don’t?
– The world out there is so ungodly, so evil, such an unfriendly place, a place that we cannot and should not find fellowship, because there is no partnership between light and darkness. The world is so full of apathy, full of people who don’t care and just couldn’t be bothered. And yet, we Christians, why is it that we are so unfriendly and unloving, especially to our own brothers and sisters…
Maybe we’ve become like the world, filled with apathy.
We are supposed to be a family, people, and we are instructed to support each other and carry each other’s burdens, and that’s something we all need to work on, because I promise you that the world out there is not going be there for us when we need help. As individuals we are responsible for our own actions, but as a Christian community we are collectively responsible for each other.
Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he also will reap.
Be not deceived is what the Word says. If we are deceived with respect to the truth, it can only lead to destruction.
But Paul is not talking about deception in general here. He is talking about a very specific type of deception. He is talking about sowing and reaping.
You know, one of Satan’s greatest joys is to deceive you into thinking that you can get away with things, that you don’t have to answer to anyone, that you can sow whatever you like and not reap what you sow. The Devil would like us to think that we can sin and get away with it, just like he told Eve in the Garden of Eden, that we can break God's commandments and still be blessed by Him.
This is the type of deception that Paul is talking about here. You think that you can do this sin or that sin and no one is going to know about it. Well, I’ve got news for you….. this is the first step to backsliding. You can fool yourself, you can even fool your spouse, you can fool your friends and even your parents. You can fool most people.
But can you fool God? ….
Jeremiah 32:19 great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, giving to everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds; ….
God sees all and you cannot hide anything from Him.
If you think you can, you are deceived and on your way to backsliding.
If you think you can escape God’s discipline or justice, you are deceived.
If you think you can sow and not reap, you are deceived.
Back to Galatians 6….
So far, Paul has been speaking in general terms about reaping and sowing, but then in verse 8 he becomes very specific:
"For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."
The word "flesh" refers to our old, sinful nature, the old man –
- all that we are in Adam,
- all that we are, apart from the grace of God,
- the man we were before we were born again.
Romans 8:13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
And that’s the crux of the Christian walk, to die to self and to be born again.
In closing, turn with me quickly to John 3 – there’s something I just need to clarify…
John 3:1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; (2) this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him." (3) Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." (4) Nicodemus *said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?" (5) Jesus answered, "Truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (6) "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
(7) "Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'
Consider this – Unbelievers are born once, but die twice.
Believers are born twice, but only die once.
So Galatians 6 v 8 says: but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."
The Spirit here is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit whom we receive at the time that we are born again. He is the Spirit who gives to us the new nature and who produces, out of that new nature, the fruit of the Spirit.
To sow to the Spirit means that we walk in the Spirit. We live according to the Spirit. We do those things which are the fruit of the Spirit. This is our calling as Christians. And the only way you can do this is to have a relationship with Jesus Christ by reading His Word and praying.
And if we sow to the Spirit, we shall by the Spirit, reap life everlasting.
When we sow a field of Spirit works, Spirit fruit, then when harvest time comes we will reap eternal life.
Eternal Life. – that’s the very opposite of corruption and death. It is the life of Jesus Christ. If we sow to the Spirit by the grace of God, when we die we will go to heaven. And there we will be with Christ. There we will have blessed fellowship and communion with our Savior. And when the world comes to an end, we will enter into the glory of the eternal kingdom of God in the new heavens and the new earth. Then all the blessing of that kingdom will be ours. We will enjoy all the good things that God has for His people, things which we could never even imagine. Where there are no tears or unhappiness. And that will be our place forever. That's the blessing that we harvest when we sow to the Spirit.
And that’s a major problem with the church of today. Wordly Christians, who have been sucked into the Apathy of the world, who just couldn’t be bothered about sowing.
Someone once said “The opposite of Love is not hate, it’s apathy.”
Galatians 6: 9 "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
Don’t give up in doing good, because God hasn’t given up on you.