READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary l In his letter to the Galatians, Paul taught that we have been justified by faith alone and not by the works of the law. Therefore, we are to walk in the Spirit. Paul immediately moves on to Chapter 6 to teach on our responsibilities towards one another. It is not enough to walk in the Spirit alone! There is a greater maturity beyond that. We are to help one another by cultivating a safe space in order to nurture one another in our Christian community not to just know the Word but to walk in the Spirit daily together.
So what is a safe space?
“It is a community rooted strongly enough in grace that everyone is safe in the sense that they will not be mocked, abused or thrown out regardless of what they say. It’s a judgement-free zone where it’s okay to have questions, doubts, and passionate opinions as long as we speak and listen in love.” (Pastor Morgan Guyton)
Within this safe space we learn to love God, grow in Christlikeness, and serve in the power of the Holy Spirit. 1 Cor 12:26 says that whatever happens to one part of the Church family will impact the rest of the Church. Therefore, if we are to walk in the spirit as a church, we need a safe space to deal with the following two realities.
1. The Reality of Sin (Soul care)
Christian perfection is not being sinless but rather loving God wholeheartedly and seeking to turn away from sin. The sin referred to in Gal 6:1 is an unintentional sin not committed deliberately. We are to restore them gently. William Barclay casts light on the meaning of this word.
“The whole atmosphere of the word lays the stress not on punishment but on cure; the correction is thought of not as a penalty but as an amendment”
How do we do this? The Christian who offers restoration must be spirit-filled and gentle. There has to be trust and an intention to listen not to lecture and a desire to build up and not beat down. The above Christian should be humble, mindful that we can all fall into sin. This why practicing Examen daily helps us to be more aware of our own hidden faults. As we seek to restore someone, we are to keep the spotlight on the other person and try to discern what God is doing in their life.
2. The Reality of our Present Circumstances (Body care)
Everyone needs a space to talk about their struggles. As we give ear to others, Gal 6:2 instructs us to not just listen but to bear one another’s burdens. It also says that we are to carry our own load. (v5). These words, though similar, have different meanings. Burden implies extra ordinary circumstances and we are to help others at these times and be burden lifters. A load is the daily responsibilities of our lives which we should be taking care of and not expect others to keep helping us (burden givers). We learn to be burden lifters within our small groups and discipleship bands. As we help others, we bless them and also give a powerful witness to pre-believers of the love of God manifested through His church.
(Sermon notes by Frances Lim)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
1. How does Galatians 6:1-10 fit with Paul’s earlier instructions to walk in freedom to serve (Gal 5:13-15) and to walk with the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:16-25)?
2. How would you define a Christian safe space? Provide personal experiences if you are comfortable.
3. Why is a safe space important?
4. Have you ever received gentle restoration as mentioned by Paul in Galatians 6:1? If so, please share what you feel the person or community did that was helpful for you?
5. Read Galatians 6:2-10. What is the difference between a burden lifter and burden giver?
6. What are 2 burdens you may bear this week for someone or group?
7. Discuss and pray: What is 1 burden your small group may bear this month for someone or group?