Portrait of a Mature Faith
Galatians #12 – An exposition of Galatians 6:1-5. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, April 19, 2009.
Sermon Notes »
There is something I feel like a need to tell you. I’m a little uncomfortable talking about it and I wouldn’t want it broadcast but…there are some sinners present today. There are some folks present whose profession is better than their performance. There are some folks who talk a better walk than they walk. I’m just going to say it – there are hypocrites among us! I’m sure that doesn’t surprise you. I know it doesn’t surprise folks “out there.” The question is what do we do about it? Do we turn a “blind eye” and pretend that it doesn’t exist? Do we excuse it with a cavalier, “Nobody’s perfect?” Do we call for an evangelical jihad and run out the infidels? What do we do about it? How are we to respond to sinners in our midst? The church is not perfect. It is not perfect because it is made up of people. Flawed, broken, people who are saved by grace and are in the process of being made holy. We are “frail children of dust” who are stumbling toward glory and yet we are called to a higher standard. We are called to live according to a different set of rules. We are called to be separate and distinct from the world around us. According to the writer of Hebrews we are to “spur one another on to good works” (Hebrews 10:24). So how do we spur one another on without adding to our hypocrisy? Paul was writing to the churches of Galatia because they were in danger of falling away from grace. They were being pulled back into a religion of rules and losing sight of the mercy and grace of God that alone bring the hope of eternal life. In the opening chapters he unflinchingly lays down the doctrine of salvation of grace alone through faith alone. In the last half of the book he applies that doctrine to life. Here is how that truth is lived out in practical ways. He warned of the destructiveness of biting and devouring one another. He spoke of the need to walk by the Spirit rather than the flesh. He laid out the difference between the two and called on the Galatians to make a conscious choice. Note how he ends the 5th chapter – And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (5:24-26)
He is calling them to a life of genuine spirituality. He is calling them to a mature faith. Now you might expect him to lunch into a grand statement of what maturity is all about. Instead he gives two very practical illustrations of mature faith. I want us to look at the first one this morning. Our text is found in Galatians chapter 6 beginning with verse 1.
Text: Galatians 6:1-5
Do you consider yourself a spiritual person? Do you think of yourself as being mature in faith? Prove it. Show me what you got. Isn’t that the way we operate in every other area of life? Try this. Go down to the tag office and say, “I’m here to pick up my driver’s license if you’ll be so kind as to give it to me I’ll be on my way.” They won’t do it. They want some proof you know what you are doing. They make you take an exam and then send someone to ride around with you and grade you and see if you qualify for a license. If you pass (not all of us do the first time) they will give you a license. Or how about this walk into St. Francis and say, “Hi, I’m a brain surgeon and I’d like a job here.” They are probably not going to hire you. They are going to want some proof before they allow you privilege in their hospital. It’s true even at home. You are sitting in your favorite chair and your son hopes up in your lap. You say, “How’s my boy? I love you buddy.” And he says, “Daddy will you play ball with me?” Do you know what he is saying? “Prove it.” We all know that talk is cheap and the real proof is in the “doing.” That is what this passage is about. Here is what genuine spiritual maturity looks like.
Do you consider yourself to be spiritual? Do you think you are mature in your faith? Let’s see.
I want to point out three characteristics of mature faith.
- Those who are mature in faith are compassionate and redemptive in their dealing with the sins of others. (6:1-2)
- Those who are mature in the faith are honest and unflinching when dealing with their own fallenness. (6:3)
- Those who are mature in faith take responsibility for their own conduct. (6:4-5)
So, you think you are spiritual? How do you handle the sin of others? How do you handle your own? It’s not just about how much Bible you know. It’s not about how many services you attend or how much money you give. It is about how well you live the truth of your faith.
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