The Church, Missions & Technology

For The Good Of All: Galatians 6:10

When we lived in the Middle East and we gave out food and blankets to the poor we would often get the question, and ‘Why are you doing this?’. We would say that God commands us ,as Christian, to love our neighbors and work for the good of all people. I have been a Baptist as long as I can remember. As a denomination we talk at length about the nations. We pray for the nations, we give money and send people to the nations, and even some of us go to the nations to share the love of Christ. We do good work to help others all over the earth because He told us to.


In Galatians 6 we see that Paul is instructing the believers to do good to those in the community. Paul also says to do this as we have an opportunity to do so. As believers we should have more opportunities to assist people of every race and ethnicity that we encounter. And we do this not for our betterment, but for Him and His name.

We all have the opportunity to do good for others. Recently I noticed that Starbucks has caught on to how contagious generosity can be in the drive thru line. A month ago I pulled up to the drive thru window and the wonderful barista said that the person in the car in front of me paid for my order and wanted to know if I want to pay for the order of the car behind me. I said of course I would love to do that. Generosity is so contagious. Paul ends this letter by encouraging us to do good for all people but especially those of the household of faith, meaning all believers. I challenge you this week to do something good, something random for a stranger, or a member of your church community from a different background than you.

Check Your Heart: Galatians 6:4

As Paul is wrapping up this letter to the Galatian believers, he instructs them to examine their own hearts, we would say examine our motives. We have seen this before in the New Testament. Jesus gave us this same instruction in both Matthew and Luke’s gospel. Even instructing us not to try to take the speck out of our brothers eye without looking into our own eyes to see a huge piece of wood blocking our true vision.


So how does this affect our views of racial problems in the church. Well first things first, we have to examine our own hearts to see what racial prejudices we have hidden there.. Each of us have them. Some of us have been hurt or rejected by members of another race. This can cause us to develop false emotions towards that race. So we have to check our hearts and attitudes towards these children that are His. Because I lived in the Middle East for several years good Christian people would ask me how can you love Arab Muslims who want to destroy America? I would laugh a little and say simply for two reasons. First, we are commanded to love them. Second, as human being, they bear the image of God. We, humans are his image bearers and so if we start looking at them like they bear the image of God maybe we will not look at them like they are undeserving of our love or grace.

One of the best ways for us as believers to check our hearts is in community or in a one on one relationship with one another. Just yesterday I sat with a 62 year old man who started opening his heart on matters of faith and racial prejudices. He told me that he had not shared this with his pastor because he felt like he could not talk to him about his sin. So we have to find someone that we can share the secret hidden motives that spark our hearts to put words in our mouth. Please find someone that you can share life with. Find someone that will agree to ask you hard questions that will help you grow in your maturity with Christ.

Restore One Another: Galatians 6:1

For years many of our churches have turned a blind eye to racial issues both in and outside the church. This cannot remain. Many times church leaders have been afraid to correct wrong doing especially when it comes to dealing with issues related to racial prejudices. This sin, just like any other sin, for that matter, can no longer be ignored in our churches.


Paul is telling the Galatian believers that they must restore each other in this process. How do we restore our friends and family that make racial comments in the church? How do we restore years of cultural bias that has passed down over the generations? The best way to start is by being gentle and loving. As verse one says, “Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit.” Correction is hard enough but restoring them is another step in the wonderful process of righteousness. You might have to ask small group teachers to step down over comments they make and after a time of correction they can be restored to leading a small group again.

As leaders in the church, you can set the example of how members of the flock are corrected and restored. You have the chance to model to staff and lay leaders how this process will flow in the future. This is another command that we see in Galatians that can easily apply to our lives today. This is a perfect example of how Christ wants us to live out our lives in front of a culture that expects us to live double lives by not obeying truth.

Love Your Neighbor

I am well aware that we do not live in a perfect world. But issues related to race would be so much better if we would treat each other in the same ways that we would like to be treated. I like to use the phrase, “It’s Not Rocket Science”. If we would treat people with the same respect we would like to have, then it seems as though the world or at least your street would be a better place. Here in Galatians Paul is trying to get the believers to do just that. Even in verse 13 he compels them to serve one another in love. This is something that Christ commands from the time he walked the earth.


What is interesting is this is a quote Paul is using from the Old Testament. If we take a look at Leviticus 19:18 we see something that will also help us as we strive to end racial issues in the church. This verse goes further by commanding us not to hold a grudge or seek revenge on members of our community, but to love them as ourselves.

We know what the Bible says about love. We know what the Bible says about loving all peoples and those from various backgrounds. We know what the Bible says about loving our neighbors, but are we going to do it? I am asking what it will take for you this month to show love to those of a different color. I know that most of you reading this are from the same ethnic background so I can challenge you to make an effort this week to start loving a person of a different race. Treat them in the ways that you want to be treated. Now get ready for the bonus part.

Do not treat this as a project that you are going to do once a quarter. You need to integrate this into your everyday life. If there is a minority that you encounter on a regular basis, make it a point to strike up a friendship with them. Learn about them. Love them and treat them as you want to be treated.

Who Is Preventing You From Obeying The Truth: Galatians 5:7

Paul asks the Galatian believers several questions about what happened to them. How could they, after doing so well, get tricked or prevented by some force from obeying what they knew to be true. I believe Paul wanted an answer. I know that I would have if I was writing a letter to people I was discipling.

So what is our natural response when someone tries to correct us? We tend to respond with something like, “I don’t know”, or “I didn’t really mean it”. The fact is we need correction from time to time. We need people who will help keep us on course with loving all peoples of the earth.


Most of the time we have an item, or a person, who is keeping us from obeying the truth. We know what the Bible says about how we are to treat people from another background, but for some odd reason we don’t want to treat them according to what the Bible instructs. This is exactly what Paul was talking about here in Galatians 5. We have to be bold as Christians who want to strive for truth so we must ask our fellow believers what is causing you to speak in that way? This will help us find constructive ways to help believers combat racial issues in the church.

Strive to get to the bottom of the issue individually. In everyone’s past there is a story about why they feel a certain way about people of various colors. By discovering reasons why believers have racial issues in the church we can move forward by looking at what Paul is trying to get the Galatians to understand about loving your neighbor.

Racial Prejudices Doesn't Accomplish Anything: Galatians 5:6

I think we have all been at that place in life where we have that feeling that it just doesn’t matter anymore. No matter what I do he or she will not listen to me. We almost want to give up. Why is that? We want to give up because it feels like we are not accomplishing anything. In the passage we are looking at today that is exactly what Paul was trying to tell the Galatian believers about prejudices. It doesn’t accomplish anything. It doesn’t bring about anything good. This is not only true inside the church but also outside in the greater community that we live.


If we were all to recognize and try our best to treat each other as we would like to be treated we wouldn’t have this problem. I am pretty sure that Paul was trying to explain to the Galatians believers that if treating any person different on the purposes of race or gender or any other difference does not accomplish any good.

So if it doesn’t accomplish anything what are we to do about it? Paul says what matters here is faith working through love. Paul says this exact phrase again in the final chapter of Galatians so we know that it is super important for the Galatians to get this right. It is equally important for us as Christians to get this right as well. We have to treat everyone with love expressed by our faith. So what does our faith say to do to strangers, widows, the hungry and homeless. We have to love them regardless of their skin, country of origin or current status in this life. We must love them.

We Are All Free: Galatians 3:27

If we look at the fact that slavery is not legal anymore and it has not been for a very long time why are we still having issues among certain groups of people for being minorities. Paul is trying to share to the Galatian believers that they are all free. They are all considered the same according to how Jesus views them. He views us that way today too.

So as Christians who are free how do we act in that freedom. I personally think we do treat others the same as we want to be treated. We will see Paul teaches on that very topic later in this letter to the Galatian believers.


I have been treated in a negative way because of both my skin color, my religion, and my country of origin. All of these were in countries that claimed freedom for all people. It is so important that we not treat anyone different but that we strive to teach our children not to have those same negative thoughts against people of a different race. I am sure we all have friends that talk about how their grandparents used to tell them to watch out for certain people in school because they did not come from good stock. Please do not let your children hear such junk. Our kids worldview comes directly from us as parents as we watch TV and react and say things.

It is hard for us to remember that because we are free, we have a choice. We have a choice to treat others with respect and kindness. We have a choice to be different, now I can say that those of us that are followers of Christ we do not have a choice. We are commanded to treat people from different races and ethnicities with love and respect. Just as we want to be treated. We are commanded to love one another. Because we believe that Jesus expects this out of us then once again, we are called to a higher standard. We are called to live different lives in order to treat all peoples, even those of a different color with love and respect. This is what Paul was teaching the Galatian believers and mirrors what Christ taught the disciples. We can have an impact on racism in our communities if we show others this awesome love and kindness.

Correction Must Happen: Galatians 3:1

Starting in the 3rd chapter of Galatians we can see Paul at a very frustrating point. He is upset because the believers have been manipulated into believing something that is not true. So Paul spends a few sentences correcting them with some of the harshest language in the New Testament.


When we see our brothers and sisters in Christ not acting as Christ teaches, we must correct such actions. Here is how this works in biblical community. First, you correct the person in a one on one setting. If that doesn’t work then you and another member of your community need to go and try to correct that person. I know what you are thinking. Phil, I have never seen this in my church. If that is the case I am so sorry. Correction must happen. Church leaders need to speak to members of congregations they lead in order to correct false actions. It is the responsibility of the church to correct members of the church and when that does not happen accountability cannot exist and pretty much anyone can do anything he or she wants and still call themselves Christians. I am not saying this is the main reason the church is in such bad shape today, but I am saying it is a contributing factor to poor church health all across America.

I want to go one step further. What if members in the church are corrected for their actions. But lets say that people not connected to your church or any church for that matter do not correct their actions and still discriminate people based on skin color. Will we make a difference? Oh course we will. We will treat others with respect. We will treat those that might be hostile against us with love. Why will we do this, because Jesus commands us to, and it is how we want to be treated.

I want to add one little piece to this even though it doesn’t feel like it from Paul’s tone in this passage. We must correct one another in love. This is one of the most difficult things to do in the body of Christ.

We Need To Tell Our Story: Galatians 1:16-2:8

In this section, Paul shared about his journey to bring them the gospel. It is so important to listen to one another and hear where we are all coming from. We tend to have different experiences depending on our race and where we grew up. I personally grew up in Tennessee. I did not have a lot of exposure to African Americans. Even in college they were few and far between. It wasn’t until I moved to New Orleans did I learn a great deal about African American culture. The roles flipped and for once I was the minority. I was the only Caucasian guy on my line at work. For a short season I experienced what it felt like to be treated a little different. Then, I moved overseas to the Middle East. Where I became even more of a minority. Laws for discrimination are not enforced in this unnamed country. Caucasian people, from America or Europe, were all treated different. We normally paid double price for items because of the color of our skin. Because of my experiences living among those of a difference culture, I am able to understand life from an outsider perspective. This helps me not to be too quick to judge or place blame in a particular direction.


This is why it is important for us to share stories of our journey in life with people of another race. It helps build relationships and allows us to see more of who we are. It is a whole lot harder to get angry with someone if you know and understand more of their background and where they come from when they express hurt over an incident in your community.

Paul shared a part of his journey so the believers in Galatia would have a better understanding of Paul’s motives in encouraging them not to listen to false teachers. As you develop friendships with people from other backgrounds share your story. Share parts of your spiritual journey in order to better bridge the gap and encourage everyone to treat each other as you want to be treated.

How Quick We Turn. Galatians 1:6

Today Race is a hot topic. I find it a little strange even though I grew up in the South and heard rumors of racial junk going on in churches across America. I think people were scared to react in a way that was counter cultural at the time. When I graduated college I began my career towards being a minority. I moved to New Orleans Louisiana to start seminary and quickly got a job working at UPS. I had entered the minority section of UPS. I didn’t have a problem with it because I was planning to move overseas and I would be an even bigger minority. I just considered it training for the future. During my time at UPS I learned a great deal about African America culture. I learned about the ethics they support and deny, I also learned about the sub culture of African American Christians and of course their worship style. After my educational time in New Orleans I moved overseas and lived among different Arab people groups for almost ten years. Learning they too have Racism that fuels their various sub-cultures. So Racial Issues do still exist in the world. And let me tell you it is much worse in the Middle East.


Paul in his letter to the Galatian believers talked a great deal about race. In the beginning of the letter he was shocked at how quickly the believers turned their backs on one another and really on Christ. He was shocked at how quick they turned their back on the teachings of Christ. When racial tensions start to flare we as believers must not be quick to turn our backs on what Christ teaches us and how He instructs us to treat one another.

In the original language of the New Testament this phrase turning away is more complex than just forgetting what someone taught you. Its meaning is more filled with trading sides in a game or better switching allegiances of a country. We must remember that we are human. We must remember that as believers we must care for all peoples of this earth. When my girls leave the house I remind them of who they are, and whose they are. When we remember whose we are it helps us to remember who we are and how we are supposed to treat others. In a future post we will talk about the importance of the Golden Rule but as for now let me remind you that Jesus expects, instructs, and commands every person that claims to be a believer to treat one another in the same way that we want to be treated. As Paul was saying in the first chapter of Galatians, we cannot turn our backs on the teachings of Christ because an individual or group with a different skin color does something harsh to another. We must stand for the teachings of Christ remembering that His teachings are for all peoples.