"THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS" The Sin Of Hindering Others (5:7-12) INTRODUCTION 1. It is not unusual in foot races for runners to jostle one another... a. Bumping elbows, tripping over one another's feet b. Often resulting in breaking one's stride, hindering one's ability to keep up 2. Paul expressed his concern about Christians being 'hindered' in their spiritual race.. - Ga 5:7-12 a. The word used here (anakopto) means properly to beat or drive back - Barnes b. Hence, it means to hinder, check, or retard. Dr. Doddridge remarks that this is "an Olympic expression, and properly signifies "coming across the course" while a person is running in it, in such a manner as to jostle, and throw him out of the way." - ibid. [We are in a race in which we must all run well (cf. 1Co 9:24; He 12:1). As we run, do we help or hinder others who run along with us? Here are some thoughts on "The Sin Of Hindering Others"...] I. HOW WE CAN HINDER OTHER CHRISTIANS A. THROUGH FALSE TEACHING... 1. The problem in our text (those teaching the necessity of circumcision) - cf. Ga 5:1-6 2. A concern later voiced by Peter - cf. 2Pe 3:17 3. Preventing one from obeying the truth - Ga 5:7 -- Certainly a warning to those who would teach and preach B. THROUGH SINFUL CONDUCT... 1. Such as immorality, being a bad influence on others
- cf. 1Co 15:33 2. Such as slothfulness, which is as detrimental as those who would destroy - cf. Pr 18:9 3. The example we set can have an adverse effect on others -- This should be a warning to all Christians, whether teachers or not [In different ways, then, we can easily become a hindrance to those who are running. To appreciate how serious a matter this is, consider...] II. HOW GOD FEELS ABOUT THOSE WHO HINDER A. FROM THE WORDS OF PAUL... 1. They are like leaven that leavens the whole lump
- Ga 5:9; cf. 1Co 5:6-8 a. Their negative influence spreads, infecting others b. Similar to how one runner may jostle another, who then bumps into another, etc. 2. They will bear their judgment (be held accountable) - Ga 5:10 a. The Lord takes notice of those who are a hindrance b. It matters not who they are (or think they are) 3. He could wish that they cut off themselves - Ga 5:12 a. Some believe Paul had in mind that they may emasculate themselves b. Others believe Paul desired they cut themselves off from the community of the church -- Strong words from the inspired pen of the apostle! B. FROM THE WORDS OF JESUS... 1. Woe to those who cause offenses (occasions of stumbling)
- Lk 17:1 2. It is better to place a millstone around one's neck, and be cast into the sea - Lk 17:2 3. Jesus takes mistreating His disciples personally - cf. Mt 25: 41-45; Ac 9:1-5 -- Equally strong words from the voice of the Son of God! [In view of such strong words, we do well to be concerned about not hindering our brethren...] III. HOW WE CAN AVOID BECOMING A HINDRANCE A. GIVE CAREFUL ATTENTION TO OUR EXAMPLE... 1. So Paul encouraged young Timothy - cf. 1Ti 4:12 2. Give attention to our attendance a. The example we set influences others to be either faithful or slothful b. Is our example in attending services of the church hindering others in this regard? 3. Give attention to our attitude a. We can inspire others by our love, spirit, speech and faith b. Are we a source of spiritual encouragement to those around us? -- What kind of example are we providing to our fellow 'runners'...? B. GIVE CAREFUL ATTENTION TO THE WORD... 1. So Paul admonished young Timothy - 1Ti 4:16 2. Give attention to the study of God's Word a. Only through careful study can we discern between truth and error b. Is our example of attending Bible study encouraging others to do the same? 3. Give attention to the proclamation of the Word a. To what we say or teach about God's Word, whether in private or in public b. Is what we tell others helping them to draw closer to God? CONCLUSION 1. We either hinder or help our brethren in Christ... a. Who are running a great race, the race of faith b. Who can easily be made to stumble by the other runners around them 2. Christians should be a source of great encouragement to one another... a. If we are, how wonderful it will be when we are together in eternity! b. If we hinder others, woe to us, for we will be judged harshly! Paul had confidence in his brethren (Ga 5:10); do we give each other reason for similar confidence? We will, if we run "looking unto Jesus" and with "straight paths for your feet" (He 12:1-2,12-16)...