7th Sunday after Pentecost – C (Proper 9) LSB #901
Text – Galatians 6:9
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
IN DUE SEASON
The sermon last week was titled, Walking by the Spirit. The message for today will help you to determine if you are, because it’s important to know that walking by the Spirit means not only avoiding sin. It also means the rehabilitation of those who’ve fallen into it. Rehabilitation is one of those words that sounds really good in theory.
Rehabilitation is one of those words that is extremely difficult in practice. In the Sunday morning Adult Bible Study we’ve been referring frequently to the idea of reaching bottom. It’s a concept that comes out of psychology, & reflects upon a process by which people are able to make drastic changes in behavior.
In his letter to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul writes about another facet of changing behavior: “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” St. Paul understood that the good news about Christ’s forgiveness can empower drastic changes in behavior, for the better.
The Apostle also understood, from personal experience, that the good news is only respected after the bad news from the Law has done its work. Jesus Himself convicted Paul of persecuting the sinless Son of God. Finding himself to be the chief of sinners, Paul then discovered great comfort & mercy in the news that his sins had been taken away by Jesus.
It’s similar to the reality that people in Michigan do not appreciate water like people do who are living in the desert of Arizona. We don’t respect the benefits that water brings until we taste the deadly thirst that a lack of water produces. As is said, you don’t miss the water until the well runs dry. We don’t miss forgiveness until we are convicted of our desperate need for it. At v. 14 of the OT reading from Isaiah, God promises His people that their heart shall rejoice & their bones will flourish when He releases them from their exile in Babylon. However, they had to know the suffering of exile in order to appreciate, & rejoice in, their release from it.
So it is with sin. We need to recognize our own guilt, & the harm we cause through it, in order to appreciate, & rejoice in, our release from it. In Isaiah, it was the Holy Spirit who brought about the rebirth & restoration of God’s people in Jerusalem. In your life & mine, it is also the Holy Spirit who brings about our rebirth & restoration, not from exile, but from sin.
The exile of the people from the nation of Judah was a picture of what sin does to us. It diminishes our access to the only source of true life – Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Either exile, or the consequences of sin, can be seen as discipline from the Lord, for the purpose of helping us to reach bottom. God’s design is that we reach the end of ourselves & finally turn back to Him.
When a person finally surrenders to God, out of total helplessness, then God’s Spirit can work to bring that person back to life. It’s the Holy Spirit that empowers us to surrender in the 1st place, & the life that He offers to us looks like this:
“And [Jesus] answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart & with all your soul & with all your strength & with all your mind, & your neighbor as yourself.”” (Luke 10:27 ESV) As you well know, in this broken world, that is not an easy life. The Apostle Paul makes that clear as he writes:
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also 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. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:7-9 ESV) It’s those words, “in due season” that cause us so much trouble. If we could just see the results now, then we’d be more faithful. Then we could keep on walking the talk. Instead, we are sorely tempted to give up too soon, as if God will not work through us. We don’t persevere long enough to see the results, because we fail to trust the promises of our Lord.
We falter in our walk because the full work of Christ is most often hidden to our eyes. St. Paul knew that, so he also wrote the 2nd half of verse 1, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” (Here’s the 2nd half) “Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”
You see, even if we doing this restoration in a spirit of gentleness, there will be a tremendous temptation to give up, because rehabilitation is exceedingly difficult work. Yet, before we get that far, how often are we tempted to hammer someone with the Law even when it has already broken them?
“I told you so” are such tempting words to speak, not because the one who failed is ignorant of the fact, but because the one pointing out the failure feels so good in hearing them. Granted, there are arrogant, self-righteous people out there, who refuse to see or acknowledge any of their failures. Gentleness certainly won’t work with them.
However, the world has a far greater number of broken, crest-fallen individuals, who have given up because they’ve known nothing but failure; at least, failure by the world’s standards. They too have grown weary of doing good & given up. Satan’s constant barrage of temptation has brought them down to the bottom. Their soul needs to hear words of hope & life.
We find those words not in God’s Law, but in the good news of His Gospel. Because of what Jesus has accomplished for you, on the cross, Yahweh’s 1st love is to share with you words like these from the prophet Isaiah: “You shall see, & your heart shall rejoice; your bones shall flourish like the grass; & the hand of the Lord shall be known to His servants, & He shall show His indignation against His enemies.” First off, “You shall see” ultimately points to heaven where Yahweh will no longer be hidden & we shall see Him face to face.
Lastly, “He shall show His indignation against His enemies” means that our Lord will cast Satan into hell, along with all who have followed him, & the children of God will suffer temptation no more! No more oppression by those who feed their ego through stepping on others. No more lies & no more humiliation at the hands of the powerful & connected.
The harvest of souls for heaven that will be fully realized at the end of time is even now being realized among believers to a certain extent as they patiently serve one another in Christ’s love. We know discouragement from struggling against many of the same problems over & over again. Reaping the harvest is not automatic or effortless.
A real danger exists that believers in Christ are falling away from faith, who then will miss out on eternal life. For some Christians, the doctrinal slogan is “once saved, always saved.” St. Paul would not agree. Human beings can always choose to sever themselves from Christ. He always calls in grace, but that call can be resisted.
Walking by the Spirit is not an automatic, or robotic, type of life. It is a constant struggle to always remain dependent upon Jesus & upon each other in love & service. For those who do not give up on God, by the grace of God the present spiritual life will mature into the life of glory where there is fullness of joy at the right hand of Yahweh forevermore.
As you & I continue, for now, in the earthly struggle, let us hear from God’s Word in order to receive encouragement, that in due season we shall reap the harvest:
Isaiah 64:4 From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for Him. ESV
Isaiah 40:31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run & not be weary; they shall walk & not faint. ESV
Isaiah 40:28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; ESV
Jeremiah 31:25 For I will satisfy the weary soul, & every languishing soul I will replenish. ESV
Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all who are weary & heavy-laden, & I will give you rest.” NASB
Christ has died that we might have freedom from sin; not freedom from God, nor freedom from our neighbor & his needs. In due season we shall see the results of that service to those around us. It is our Lord’s promise to all of His children. Walking by the Spirit is about trusting our heavenly Father to work in our lives & through our lives to bring blessing to others.
“…let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Amen.
Open now Thy gates of beauty; Zion let me enter there, where my soul in joyful duty waits for Him who answers prayer. Oh, how blessed is this place, filled with solace, light & grace! Thou my faith increase & quicken; let me keep Thy gift divine, howsoe’er temptations thicken; may Thy Word still o’er me shine as my guiding star through life, as my comfort in all strife. Amen. LSB 901:1, 4
 Galatians 6:1a ESV
 Isaiah 66 ESV
 Galatians 6:9 ESV
Pastor Dean R. Poellet