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Our title today is “Don’t grow weary and give up!” And our text is Galatians 6:9, if you would like to turn there in your Bibles.

Galatians 6:9

The apostle Paul says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

Let me begin by pointing out a few things about this verse. The phrase, “grow weary” can also be translated, “get tired,” or “become discouraged.” It means, “don’t lose your motivation in continuing a desirable pattern of activity.” [BDAG]

In this case what is desirable refers to doing what is right or as the ESV says, “doing good.” This means living the Christian life, or more specifically in v. 10 it means doing good for others – that is, being a Christian and ministering to others both within and outside of the church.

The sense is that you have been doing good for a while and the temptation over time is to get tired and weary of this. The promise is of a harvest in due season; of fruitfulness in due time. (The reaping language comes from vs. 7-8) And the condition is “if we do not give up;” that is, if we don’t lose heart or faint from weariness.

If we put all this together it can read: “And let us not grow weary/ get tired of doing what is right/good, for in due season we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up/lose heart.”

Now, let’s look at –

Galatians 6:9 in the context of the book of Galatians

Galatia was the name of a Roman province in Paul’s day, in what is now modern Turkey. Paul preached the gospel here on his first missionary journey, recorded in Acts 13 and 14. And a group of several churches was formed in some of the cities in this territory – Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe.

Well, it wasn’t long after Paul left that new teachers had come in and were teaching a different Gospel saying that Gentile believers need to become Jews to truly be saved. In other words, faith in Christ and his death on the cross was not enough. And some in Galatia had accepted this new teaching. And this led to a terrible conflict with lots of hurt and pain all around.

1. Paul was upset. There is no letter quite like Galatians, where his emotions are raw and in the open. For instance, he says in 3:1-3 – “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” It seemed to Paul that these new teachers had put a spell on the Galatians so that they abandoned the truth. 

2. Accusations were made against Paul. These were made by those whom Paul labeled “trouble makers” (6:17).

– They said, Paul is a people-pleaser. Specifically, when he is around Jews he preaches circumcision, but when he is around Gentiles like you, he doesn’t. He does this to make it easier for you; gain more converts. (5:11; 1:10). Paul corrects this by noting he has suffered persecution for the cross of Christ, which is not a mark of a people pleaser; and that it is they who seek an easy life by preaching circumcision since in this day most of the persecution came from Jewish sourses (6).

– They said, he is not a real apostle with a message from God. Paul responds in detail, of how God called him and gave him a message to preach on the Damascus road when he saw Jesus. (1, 2)

– They said Peter doesn’t support his ministry. Paul responds that Peter along with James and John had approved of his message before he came to Galatia. They gave him the right hand of fellowship. (2). [It’s a bit more complicated than this given the Antioch incident, where Peter seemed to be against Paul, but Paul notes that he corrected Peter publicly.]

3. There was dissension and division in the church of Galatia. In his list of the works of the flesh, notice how many have to do with conflict gone awry – “enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions” – 5:20.

And Paul talks about the danger of gossip and slander – “if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another” – 5:15. He talks about the danger of “becoming conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” – 5:26.

To all this he contrasts the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” – 5:22-23. Paul is saying, the manifestation of the Spirit in our lives in these ways is the antidote to such destructive works of the flesh.

4. There were strained relationships. Paul says in 4:13-20 – “You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first, and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. What then has become of your blessedness? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me. Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth? They make much of you, but for no good purpose . . . my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.” They worked together closely and cared for one another, but now Paul is not sure where he stands with them.

5. Difficult action needed to be taken. This was serious stuff and sorting through it was not necessarily easy.

  • Those who were confused needed correction. Paul works at this throughout most of his letter. And he comes out and says it bluntly in 5:4 “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.” Some people needed to relearn the gospel.
  • Those caught in sin needed help. Paul says in 6:1-2 – “Brothers and sisters, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Notice how this involves gentleness, humility and love on the part of the one who seeks to restore another.
  • The false teachers needed accountability. He says in 5:7-10 – “You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is.”

What a mess!!! Can you imagine? One thing we learn from all this is that conflict isn’t new. It was there in the apostolic period, recorded for us in the New Testament. And as we look at this particular example in Galatia – we don’t know how long it went on, but surely it would have taken a toll on them. And thus we understand the the temptation to give up from weariness. And also the need for this exhortation not to do this in Galatians 6:9, which is his last word of teaching to them, before he closes out the letter. “And let us not grow weary/ get tired of doing what is right/good, for in due season we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up/lose heart.”

I believe –

This is a word of encouragement to us

Perhaps you have been through conflict or difficult times in your personal life, in your church life or at work or school. And the result is that you are weary this morning. The word of encouragement is – Don’t give up! Why? Because we will reap a harvest. God will come through for us. When? In due season. It may be in this life, or it may not be. Some labor faithfully with little fruit to show for it in this life. But certainly the harvest will come in the fullness of the kingdom.

This is a message of hope. Your work is not for naught. Despite our difficulties, God is faithful and will give us a harvest of blessing. So don’t let life’s difficulties cause you to give up and put you on the sidelines. Continue on with your Christian faith strong. And continue to do good and minister to others.

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