************ Sermon on Galatians 6:9-10 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on November 22, 1998
"Never Give Up!"
In June of 1955, Sir Winston Churchill, who was the near the end of his life, was asked to give a commencement address at a British university. At this time he was physically infirm; he had to be helped to the podium. Then he held on to the podium for what seemed an endless amount of time.
He stood with his head bowed down but finally looked up. Then the voice that years before had called Britain back from the brink of destruction sounded publicly for the last time in history: "Never give up. Never give up. Never give up."
With that, Churchill turned and went back to his seat.
I read somewhere that there was silence, and then, as if one person, the whole audience rose to applaud him. They rose to applaud him because here was a man whose life and words were together. During the darkest days of World War II when country after country was being swallowed by the Nazis, when German planes were bombing English cities into piles of rubble, when the threat of invasion seemed imminent, when even the hardiest of souls was giving up hope, Churchill never lost hope and never gave up. Also, again and again throughout his political career, Churchill had known setbacks. Three times, his career apparently over, he was sent off to oblivion. Three times he came back to lead his country. Here was a man who never gave up.
"Never give up. Never give up. Never give up." This is excellent advice for politicians and soldiers facing defeat, for students facing exams and papers, for athletes facing stiff competition, for parents despairing over wayward children, for married couples wondering if they should divorce, for those lost in the despair that follows the death of a loved one. To all these people I say, "Never give up. Never give up. Never give up."
Especially, though, this is excellent advice for anybody who is seeking to serve the Lord and accomplish His work. In the Lord's service, it is always too soon to quit. In the Lord's service, it is never time to slacken our efforts. In the Lord's service, we never come to the point of giving up. Paul had this in mind when he wrote,
(Gal 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.Whenever we are tempted to do less than our best, or perhaps to quit completely, we ought to remember this verse and the truths that it contains. Whenever we find ourselves getting tired of or burned out from or losing enthusiasm for the Lord's work we need to remember the words of our text.
I The Christian's Calling
A Paul speaks to us this morning about our Christian calling. As Christians, what is our calling? It is "doing good." Each one of us is called to do good. That is what Christian life and service are all about. We Christians are not only believers; we also are behavers. As James puts it,
(James 1:22) Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.We are not only called to faith but we are also called to do the will of God and the work of God.
B It is clear from the Bible that God expects all of His people to be involved in doing good. Don't forget, in our text Paul is writing to the churches in Galatia. That means he is writing to men and women, adult singles and young people and children, leaders and followers, teachers and students. To all of these church members he says, "Let us not become weary in doing good ..." Every church member is expected to do good.
I also think of what Paul writes in his first letter to Timothy. He talks there about godly women. According to Paul, godly women are to dress themselves with "good deeds" rather than with braided hair, gold, pearls, or expensive clothes (1 Tim 2:10). In the same way, of course, we know that godly men are also to dress themselves with good deeds. Good deeds are expected of godly men and women.
Further on in his first letter to Timothy, Paul also talks about a "list of widows." These widows functioned as some kind of leaders among the Christian women. Paul says that no widow is to be put on this list of leaders unless she is "well known for her good deeds" (1 Tim 5:10). We know from what Paul writes about the qualifications of elders and deacons that male leaders in the church are to be known for their good deeds too (1 Tim 3:1-13).
What it comes down to is that all of God's people are to consider it their calling to do good.
C It is also clear from the Bible to whom God expects us to do good. Did you catch what Paul said in verse 10? He writes,
(Gal 6:10) Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.We are to do good to all people. But it starts off with fellow Christians. It makes no sense to do good in the world if we don't first do good to those in the household of faith. It makes no sense to help out our unbelieving neighbor if we ignore our own family.
D What is the good we are being called to do? Throughout the Bible, in both the Old and the New Testaments, God tells us what He expects of us.
(Deut 15:7-8) If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. (8) Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs.I already mentioned Paul's "list of widows" in his first letter to Timothy. He says that no widow is to be put on the list unless she is
(Cf Isaiah 58:6-7; Matt 25:34-36)
(1 Tim 5:10) ... well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.
If there is any book of the Bible that deals with good deeds, it is the book of James. James tells us that
(James 1:27) Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress ... (Cf James 2:15-17)
Our good deeds are not to be limited to acts of charity. Also in mind is involvement in the causes of the church and kingdom. I think of such things as being willing to serve on a committee or board or in a leadership function; being willing to work with our youth through GEMS, Cadets, Young People, or Church School; helping out in the nursery; using your talents in worship; leading a Bible Study, and so on.
E When we do good, we are simply following the example of Christ. Paul tells us in another place to adopt the mind of Christ, to imitate His example (Phil 2:5). We all should know that Jesus "went around doing good" (Acts 10:38). He healed the disabled – the lame, the deaf, the blind. He embraced outcasts – lepers, prostitutes, tax-collectors (their equivalent today are those with AIDS). He made time for widows, orphans, and children. He took the side of the poor, the little guy, and the underdog against those who were rich, powerful, and influential. He fed the hungry. He befriended the lonely. He went out of His way to minister to the sick. He not only had compassion on the crowds but He also taught them. Every time we do good, we who are Christians are simply following in the steps of the Master.
F How do we measure up?
We help non-members in our community through LOVE INC, Visalia Rescue Mission, and Sister Ursula's Soup Kitchen.
We as a church do good "to those who belong to the family of believers." For instance, this past week our GEMS made a dinner for the widows of our congregation. Every year around Christmas our deacons host a dinner for the same group. When someone is sick or laid-up members are organized to provide meals. If there is a legitimate financial need many members step forward to help the needy family or person.
Many churches have problems making nominations for church office because no one is willing to serve. Many churches scramble for Church School teachers or youth leaders. Many churches can hardly get people to serve on committees. Many churches beg for musicians to play the organ or piano. Many churches can't find members willing to sing in the choir. Thank God and praise God that none of this is a problem in Trinity.
It is clear, isn't it, that we as a church are engaged in "doing good."
II The Danger
A Paul speaks to us not only about our calling to do good, but also about a danger. He speaks about the danger of growing "weary in doing good." It has often been said that though we get weary in the Lord's work, we must never get weary of the Lord's work. For when that happens we cease to be God's joyful servants. We then begrudge doing good. And, instead of helping people we end up hurting them and making them miserable. When we grow weary in doing good we are like the priests the prophet Malachi speaks of. These priests did not give God their best and said of their service, "What a burden!" (Mal 1:13).
B "Let us not become weary in doing good." What does Paul have in mind here? Sometimes Christians develop a weariness of the mind and heart, a loss of excitement and challenge; they become tired of doing the same old thing. It produces a ministry that is dull, lifeless, routine, and ineffective. Before long, we start to get critical and resentful. Like the older brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, we can be busy in the field and even faithful to the Father, but still be a drudge who finds no joy in ministry.
Sometimes Christians are tempted to quit doing good because it seems to do no good. No matter how many times you help someone, it never seems to be enough, it seems they always need more.
Sometimes Christians get turned off with doing good because those they are helping are taking advantage of them or are being lazy or are spending money foolishly. Or, those they help whine and complain instead of being grateful and thankful.
Sometimes Christians think they don't have the time. It takes away from my work. It takes away from my leisure. It takes away from my family.
Regardless of the situation or the circumstances, Paul's advice to us is this: "Let us not become weary in doing good." Keep on helping, keep on ministering, keep on serving, keep on doing the Lord's work. Or, as Churchill put it, "Never give up. Never give up. Never give up."
C "Let us not become weary in doing good." Look at doing good as a privilege. If you keep reminding yourself that it is a privilege to serve the Lord, you are not likely to become weary in doing good. Say to yourself, "God has chosen me to be His servant." And be amazed at the wonder of this.
I came across these thoughts this past week that speaks to us when we are tempted to become weary in doing good, when we are tempted to give up:
Topic: LoveIn other words, "Let us not become weary in doing good."
People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest people with the smallest pride.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for some underdogs anyway.
What you spent years building may be destroyed overnight.
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you've got anyway!
III The Promise
A The last thing Paul speaks of is a promise. "Let us not become weary in doing good," says Paul, "for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
The image here is of a farm. If there is one worker who knows what it means to stay on the job, it is the farmer. He must prepare the soil, sow the seed, pull the weeds, and water the plants. He can never afford to give up or quit. Regardless of the long hours, the heat of the sun, or the cold of the rain, he must keep on working. And in spite of all this he has no guarantee of reaping a harvest.
The farmer has no guarantee of the harvest, but the Christian worker does have a guarantee. God promises a harvest to those who not give up on doing good. God promises a harvest to those who do not become weary in doing good.
B What is this harvest promised, guaranteed, by the Lord? Listen to these verses:
(Matt 5:16) In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
(1 Pet 2:12) Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
According to these verses something wonderful happens when God's people do not become weary in doing good. What happens is that people are attracted to us and our God because of our love for each other. You see, there is a whole world out there that is desperate for love. People are surrounded everyday by hate, murder, rape, theft, abuse, selfishness, and greed. They are looking for and crying for love. When they find it in the church they come to God in faith. The result: the church grows and God's name is praised.
In his sermon on the Mount Jesus talks to us about storing up treasures in heaven (Mt 6:20). When we do not become weary in doing good, we store up treasures for ourselves in heaven. By grace, God rewards us for the good we have done. He one day will say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." And He will give us the victor's crown (1 Tim 4:7-8; 1 Cor 9:24).
"Never give up. Never give up. Never give up." In the Lord's service, it is always too soon to quit. In the Lord's service, it is never time to slacken our efforts. In the Lord's service, we never come to the point of giving up.
A survey published by a national sales organization revealed that 48% of salesmen quit trying to sell a customer after their first visit, while 25% called a second time before quitting. Only 15% made three visits – and then they gave up. The remaining 12% kept on calling – and they did 80% of the total business!
God's business is even more important. So in His business we must "Never give up. Never give up. Never give up."
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