Introduction: Most of our study of Galatians has focused on how we
live by the Spirit and by grace. Paul now turns his attention to how
we should relate with other members of the church. What should we do
about sin in the church? Does the nature of the sin matter? Does
the prominence of the member matter? On a recent church weekend
retreat, one member wanted to discuss this issue with me. We agreed
that everyone in the church is a sinner. We all need grace. A
distinction arises, however, when a member becomes a proponent of
sin. They not only sin, but they argue that sin should be accepted.
Let’s plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more!

    1. Restoration


      1. Read Galatians 6:1. What do you think it means to “catch”
        another member in sin? (It could mean that you surprised
        them or it could mean that they were “caught up” in sin.)


        1. Does it make any difference?


      1. Look again at Galatians 6:1. What is our goal once we
        learn of the sin? (To restore the person.)


        1. What do you think that means – to restore the person?
          (To help them out of sin.)


        1. How does this work given that we are all sinners? (We
          are all sinners, but Paul makes a distinction between
          “you who are spiritual” and those “caught in a sin.”
          It seems this is a sin that needs to be addressed.)


        1. How should we do this? By yelling at the sinner or
          trying to embarrass the sinner? (The Bible tells us
          to restore them “gently.” No yelling. No attempt to


      1. Let’s focus on the last part of Galatians 6:1. What is the
        danger in restoring another person from their sin? (We may
        be tempted.)


        1. Tempted by what? (The text does not say, but my first
          reaction is that we should avoid being tempted by the
          sin that we are trying to address.)


          1. Have you experienced this?


        1. If the problem is looking deeply into the sin, what
          does this suggest to us about watching television and
          movies that deal with sin? (We get the exposure to
          sin without the positive side of trying to help
          another person out of sin.)


      1. Read Galatians 6:2-3. When I read Galatians 6:1, I thought
        the temptation was to engage in the same sort of sin as
        the person who had been “caught.” This suggests a
        different answer. What is it? (The sin problem here is
        that I will think I’m superior to the person I’m helping
        out of sin.)


        1. If I’m helping another person out of sin, doesn’t
          that automatically mean that I’m “better” when it
          comes to this sin? (If we think that, Paul tells us
          that we have been deceived. We are all sinners.)


        1. One of the things Paul tells us to do is “carry each
          other’s burdens.” If you are thinking all the time
          that you are a better person than the one you are
          trying to restore from sin, is there a practical
          problem? (If you have an attitude of superiority,
          that comes through. Surely, that kind of attitude
          prevents you from being truly sympathetic. You are
          not helping to carry that person’s burden.)


      1. Read Galatians 6:4. What does it mean to “test” our “own
        actions?” (If you are like me, I’m not really tempted in
        all areas of my life. Stealing money or murdering someone
        are not things that tempt me. If I’m counseling someone
        who likes to steal things, God tells me to consider the
        areas in which I have a problem so that I will not feel
        superior to the thief.)


        1. Wait a minute! I just wrote that we should not feel
          superior to the thief, but the text tells us that we
          can “take pride” in our self. How can we avoid
          feeling superior and at the same time be proud about
          our self? (We should not have pride based on the
          fact that we are better than the person we are
          helping. Rather, we should take pride in the fact
          that we are making progress in our walk towards


          1. Doesn’t taking pride seem contrary to
            understanding that it is the Holy Spirit
            working in us that gives us progress towards
            holiness? (I think the sense is that we rejoice
            in victories over sin.)


      1. Read Galatians 6:5. Why should we carry our “own load?”
        (Paul has been writing about us carrying “each other’s”
        burdens. Here, he tells us to carry our own burden. Once
        again, I think the point is that when we realize our own
        sins, it makes us feel less superior to others who face
        different kinds of sins.)


    1. Lifting Up the Instructor


      1. Read Galatians 6:6. What does it mean to “share all good
        things with his instructor?” (It means to support the
        person who is teaching you.)


        1. Notice the kind of instruction that deserves support
          -“instruction in the word.” What does that tell us
          about people who teach a philosophy of life that is
          not Bible based? (That instruction does not deserve
          our support.)


    1. The Law of Return


      1. Read Galatians 6:7. We understand that a farmer “reaps
        what he sows.” How does this work when it comes to sin and
        helping others get out of sin?


      1. Read Ecclesiastes 8:14 and Ecclesiastes 9:1-2. Should King
        Solomon and Paul have a debate? They seem to completely
        disagree! (Two things are going on. First, Solomon may be
        saying that there are exceptions to the general rule.
        Hebrews 11, especially Hebrews 11:35-38, agrees that
        unfair things happen here on earth. However, that is not
        the general rule. Plus, Hebrews 11 says that it will all
        be made right when Jesus returns. Second, Solomon is
        clearly depressed. Many Christians I know cite
        Ecclesiastes 9:5 to prove the state of the dead. That is
        foolishness. If that text is taken literally, it rejects
        the promise of Hebrews 11 that all will be made right in
        heaven. Solomon is simply depressed – and this fact
        encourages those who struggle with depression.)


      1. Read Galatians 6:8. Paul explains that the reaping he is
        talking about is our eternal destination. That resolves
        some of the conflict with Solomon. What have you observed?
        Have you observed “pay back” even during life here on


      1. Read Galatians 6:9. What should we do if we feel “weary”
        because of our good works? (We need to remind ourselves
        that we will receive a reward if we do not give up!)


        1. Isn’t this contrary to the idea of grace? (Galatians
          6:8 makes it hard to argue that Paul is talking about
          two different things, eternal life versus rewards in
          heaven. Instead, I think Paul tells us that those who
          accept grace, those who choose to live by the leading
          of the Holy Spirit, those who are walking the path to
          righteousness, reflect good works in their life.)


      1. Read Galatians 6:10. How has our “opportunity” changed
        since the time of Paul? (We now know of needs world-wide.
        We can hear about them instantly. Paul, on the other hand,
        was talking about things that would catch the attention of
        the believer.)


        1. Does our “opportunity” seem overwhelming sometimes?


        1. I read a research article about the use of local tax
          revenues versus state tax revenues. The article found
          that local people more intelligently used local taxes
          on local problems. They understood the situation
          better than those handing out revenue at the state
          level. Would that concept apply to helping others?
          We might be aware of world-wide problems, but helping
          the people we know locally helps us give more
          effective aid?


        1. What does Paul say about making fellow believers a
          priority when giving aid? (He says we should
          “especially” help fellow believers.)


      1. Friend, have you considered carefully how you can help
        those around you? Did you notice that Paul gives us
        specific instructions for helping? That means that our
        help should be intentional. Paul encourages us to be
        helpful by telling us that we will reap a reward for our
        help. Will you consider what you can do to help others?


  1. Next week: Boasting in the Cross.