Bear One Another’s Burdens

This summer we’ve been going through a series on the “One Another” sayings in the Bible. In Galatians, we read that we are to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (6:2). What does it mean to bear someone’s burden? Paul explains with five instructions.

We Share
In Galatians 6:1, Paul says that if someone is overtaken in a trespass, those who are spiritual (those who are walking in, and are led by, the Spirit) are to restore him. He is talking to believers! Believers can be overtaken, surprised, and caught in a trap. Adam and Eve had to be restored. David sinned and had to be restored. Peter denied our Lord and had to be restored. I could go on! The word “restore” means to set a broken bone. We are to be quick to help if someone we know is trapped by sin. We should not rejoice that they’ve fallen, reveal their sin, or reject them, but restore them gently. In verse 2, he tells us to bear each other’s burdens. A burden is something too heavy to bear alone. Life has a way of dealing us crushing blows. We should share each other’s burdens when they are too heavy to carry alone.

We Shoulder
Verses 4 and 5 almost seem to contradict 1 and 2: “For each one shall bear his own load” (v.5). I heard about a member who had surgery and their AC went out. They requested prayer. Another member not only prayed, but paid to put a in a new AC unit. They helped bear the burden! It is one thing to buy an AC unit, it is another to think they should pay the utility bill, do all the housework, buy all the groceries, and cut the grass! People can take advantage. Verse 5 balances it out. We should help shoulder burdens, but we can’t carry the whole load. People have to be responsible. The Bible says, “If a man will not work he should not eat,” and, “If you do not take care of your own family you are worse than an infidel.”

We Support
Galatians 6:6 says, “Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.” I am blessed and I thank you for the way you take care of your Pastor and staff! Teaching the word is essential. Faithfully proclaiming God’s word will sow the seeds of Scripture that you will need when the burdens of life come. Have you ever felt like the Pastor was preaching just to you? I hear people say, “Pastor, that sermon was just for me.” God is speaking to you through that Pastor. God knows what is going on in your life and what you need. When you give to those whose ministry has blessed you, you are helping bear the burden and sow the seed that will bear spiritual fruit.

We Sow
Verses 7-9 talk about reaping and sowing. Everyone is sowing something. What are you sowing? The law of the harvest says you reap IF you sow, WHAT you sow, MORE than you sow, and LATER than you sow. Verse 9 tells us to not grow weary in doing good. Vacationers get tired of traveling, millionaires get tired of money, kids get tired of toys, and Christians get tired of doing good. We get tired of bearing one another’s burdens. We get tired of doing good. During the difficult times, our job is to faithfully sow the seed, keep doing good, and God will bring the increase!

We Surrender
In verse 14, Paul says, “God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The burden of our sin is too great to bear. We can’t save ourselves. Apart from the cross, we get nothing but judgment. Apart from the cross, we have nothing but condemnation. Do you remember the line in the old hymn? “My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought. My sin, not in part but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord oh my soul!” Jesus is willing to bear our ultimate burden if we surrender to Him! He sets the ultimate example for us.

Serve One Another

Galatians 5:13 says, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” The book of Galatians is about the liberty we have in Christ. Freedom is never free. Someone has to serve. We have the Armed Services, Servicemen and Servicewomen. Thank God for those who serve! The church of Jesus Christ, the army of the Lord, needs some servicemen and women. Today, we will continue looking at the “One Another” passages in the Bible, and we will look at three hindrances to serving one another.

In Galatians 5:19-21 Paul describes the works of the flesh, things like adultery, idolatry, jealousies, etc. Then, in verses 22-23, he says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Walking in the flesh and walking in the Spirit are total opposites, but they are the only two ways to live. We either live in the Spirit or in the flesh. The flesh wants freedom to do what it wants without restraint. The flesh wants independence from God. The Spirit enables us to please God. If we want to hear from God and walk in the Spirit, we have to confess our sin and die to self. Verse 24 says, “…those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

Are you walking in the Spirit or the flesh? Is your service motivated by love? Does your service bring joy regardless of your circumstances? Do you have inward peace as you serve? Do you have patience with people you serve? Do you show kindness when you serve? Do you want the best and good of others? Are you faithful in your service? Are you gentle? Do you have self-control? This is the fruit that should describe your service.

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Gal. 5:14). It is OK to love yourself, but self should always come last. Jesus said love God with all your heart, love your neighbor, and then love yourself. JOY is J-esus, O-thers, and Y-ou.

If He could have called 10 legions of angels on the cross, He could have called 12 angels to wash their dirty feet!

Jesus was Master but He washed the disciple’s feet. If He could have called 10 legions of angels on the cross, He could have called 12 angels to wash their dirty feet! Self is the toughest weed to pull up. The world is preoccupied with self: self-importance, self-indulgence, self-pity, self-centeredness, self-deception. Is your favorite subject to talk about yourself and your thoughts, plans, schedule, aches, etc.? Are you consumed with yourself? President Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” What kills relationships, marriages, families, churches and countries is selfishness and self-centeredness. As Christians, we are to look to Jesus as our ultimate example and serve others, putting ourselves aside.

Galatians 5:15 warns against biting and devouring one another. You are not going to serve someone if you are mad at them. You are not going to serve someone if you are fighting with them. Just like we don’t want our children to bite, God does not want His children biting one another either!

We are saved to serve! Stop serving sin and self and start serving the Savior! We were created to serve God. We ought to wake up every day saying, “What is my assignment Lord?” When you serve others, you are serving God. Every time you serve, God sees it. God is keeping records. You will be rewarded. Don’t look for people to pay you back or serve you. You are not doing it for them, you are doing it for Him!

Show Hospitality to One Another

Corrie ten Boom once said, “A wall with loose bricks is not good. The bricks must be cemented together.” Jesus taught us how to have community and be cemented together. So far, we have seen that we are to love, encourage, and pray for one another. Today, we will see that we are also to show hospitality. “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling” (1 Peter 4:9).

The Glory of Hospitality
1 Peter 4:11 says, “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ….” Have you given Christ the rightful place and rightful praise in your life? The Bible says the heavens declare the glory of God, but God also said whatever you do in word or deed, do all for the glory of God (Col. 3:17). God has chosen to display His glory not only in the heavens, but also on earth in the way we treat one another. This world is not an end itself. Everything about this world was designed and created to display the glory of God. Jesus is to be magnified in the way we show hospitality to one another.

The Gift of Hospitality
“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). Hospitality is a gift from God. Here the Greek word means to “be generous to guests.” We have tried to model that for our children. Our four children grew up expecting guests in our home – guest preachers, evangelists, deacons, staff, church members, etc. You say, “My apartment is small. We don’t have lots of room.” It is not the size of the house, but the spirit of the house that counts. I read a poem on Sunday that hung on my Granny Ethridge’s wall: “You’ll find where’er you roam, that marble floors and gilded walls can never make a home. But every house where love abides and friendship is a guest, is surely home, and home sweet home, for there the heart can rest.”

The Grumbling of Hospitality
1 Peter 4:7 begins by saying, “But the end of all things is at hand.” The disciples believed Jesus would come in their lifetime. That is how we ought to feel. Every generation of believers should feel like Jesus is coming in our lifetime. It should be positive not negative. It should drive us to open our homes and show hospitality, not drive us underground in isolation to live in a doomsday bunker! Make good use of the time you have left because your days are numbered. Everything in this life is temporary. When we view our possessions, bodies, lives, bank accounts, houses, cars, vacation homes, boats, jet skis, etc., as gifts from God, then we can be good stewards, using it all for His glory. Open up your heart, hands, and your home. Don’t be grumpy! “Be hospitable to one another without grumbling” (1 Peter 4:9).

The Gospel of Hospitality
“For this reason the gospel was preached…” (1 Peter 4:6). My dad was saved at age 12. He joined the Navy and came home out of church. He would drive my mom and brother to church and sit in the parking lot. Every Sunday, a man would tap on the window and just talk to him. He invited him inside. One week, my Dad went in and then he got back in church. He became a Sunday School teacher, a deacon, the choir director, etc. Today, I am a preacher of the Gospel. I grew up with both a mom and dad in church because God used a man out in the parking lot who kept talking to my dad.

The Greek word for hospitality in Hebrews and Romans means to “love strangers.” Hospitality is more than having your friends over. It is having strangers over you don’t really know. Everyone should be inviting new faces and new friends. We tend to think that the people who preach or sing are doing ministry, but YOU preach the first sermon to your neighbors, to those you come in contact with, and to guests in our church! Use your gifts and show hospitality without grumbling, all for the glory of God!

Pray for One Another

One of the best ways you can love and encourage one another is to pray for one another. Not to pray for one another is more than forgetfulness or carelessness. It is sin. 1 Samuel 12:23 says, “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you….” When Jesus gave the model prayer, He prayed, “our Father,” “give us,” “forgive us,” “lead us.”

Pray for Those Suffering
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray” (James 5:13). The suffering talked about here is not physical sickness, but is more general. The word means hardship or trouble. It refers to difficult circumstances. James is writing to believers. Christians have hard times too. Being a Christian does not exempt you from the trials of life. I have good news, however! When your life becomes His life, your problems become His problems. When it is hardest to pray, pray hardest!

Pray for The Sick
“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord” (v. 14). “Sick” here is a physical illness. “And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up” (v. 15). Picture the man in Mark 2 who could not get to Jesus. His friends carried him, ultimately lowering him through the roof. Mark 2:5 says, “When Jesus saw their faith….” He called his friends in faith. In faith, they helped him get to Jesus.

Pray for All Saints
In verse 16, we read the phrase “one another” twice. Don’t be a loner. Get in a group and pray for each other. What do you pray? Pray scripture! There is power in the word of God.

Pray for God’s Servants
In James 5:14 we read “the elders of the church,” and in James 5:17, “Elijah.” We are to pray for those who watch over our soul. We are to pray for pastors, teachers, shepherds, staff members, missionaries, and evangelists. Pray daily for their care, their families, and their protection. God’s servants are a target of the enemy with a bullseye on their back. Pray for their ministry to be fruitful and to multiply. Ask God to open doors for them. Pray for wisdom and insight from above.

Pray for Spiritual Awakening
Verses 17 and 18 tell of Elijah praying for rain. Elijah is an example of a man who prayed for his nation. Elijah is a hero and Elijah is human! He is like us. Don’t read the Bible and say, “But that was Elijah!” In context, prayer is effective, not Elijah. We pray as ordinary people to an extraordinary God! We pray to the same God Elijah did. Pray specific prayers and don’t give up! We need revival in the church, in our own personal lives, and awakening in the land. We need to pray with the Psalmist, “Revive us again.”

Pray for Salvation
“Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins” (v.19-20). When we lose our burden for people to be saved, there is something wrong. Are you praying for unbelieving family members? Neighbors? We all like sheep have gone astray. Never give up on people. God is still God and still on the throne. He is a God of miracles. He is in the saving business.

We pray to the Father, in the name of the Son, through the power of the Holy Spirit, in the will of God, with faith and thanksgiving, knowing our problems are not working against us but for us. Pray to the one who works all things together for our good and His glory. Pray for one another!