Our Theological Vision – Aspirational Values: Shepherding & Discipleship Part 1: Bearing One Another’s Burdens, Galatians 5:25-6:5

“Our Theological Vision:

Aspirational Values: Shepherding and Discipleship

Galatians 5:25-6:5

May 1, 2022

Faith Presbyterian Church – Morning Service

Pastor Nicoletti

The Reading of the Word

We come now to our second-to-last Sunday in which we are focusing on our theological vision as a church – on the characteristics and values of our congregation, and our goals as we move forward.

We have said that our core purpose as a congregation is that Faith Presbyterian Church exists to be God’s instrument in making, maintaining, and maturing disciples for Jesus Christ.

And then we identified four of our core values as:

  • the deep exposition of Holy Scripture,
  • thoughtful and robust liturgical worship,
  • a culture of Reformed catholicity, and
  • the nurture and equipping of covenant children.

Last Lord’s Day we considered our first aspirational value of three. Our aspirational values are things that we value, that are already at work in some ways in our congregation, but which are also areas we know we need to grow in.

Last week we considered our aspirational value of relationships and community. This Lord’s Day we will consider our second aspirational value of shepherding and discipleship.

And we will consider that theme through a familiar lens,  as we consider this morning our call to bear one another’s burdens, and then, this evening, our call to build one another up in the Lord.

With that in mind, we hear now from our text this morning: Galatians 5:25 through 6:5.

Please do listen carefully, for this is God’s word for us this morning.

5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.For each will have to bear his own load.

This is the word of the Lord.  (Thanks be to God.)

“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” [1 Peter 1:24-25]

Let’s pray …

Prayer of Illumination

Lord, your hands have made and fashioned us;

give us understanding that we may learn your commandments,

that we your people might rejoice together,

as we see the work that you are doing in each of us.

Let your steadfast love comfort us,

according to your promises.

Work now in our hearts, to conform them to your word,

that we may not be put to shame,

but might delight in you.

Teach us from your word now, we ask,

in Jesus’s name. Amen

[Based on Psalm 119:73, 74, 76, 80]

Introduction

So, today, our focus is shepherding and discipleship. And off-the-bat, it’s helpful to acknowledge that there is a lot of overlap in those terms and in those concepts.

With shepherding, we are talking about the calling on the church to act like a shepherd towards sheep – leading congregants, protecting them, caring for them, and so on. With discipleship, we are talking about the church’s call to make disciples by not only baptizing them, but by teaching our congregants what it looks like to live as a follower of Christ, and helping them to put that knowledge into practice in their lives.

The categories are probably not quite as distinct as that. But we are less concerned today with distinguishing them than with discussing the combined themes and activities that they cover together.

And so, to cover that combined area, we will today consider Paul’s commands for us to bear one another’s burdens and build one another up.

These are topics I have discussed before. Some of it will come from things I have said before, and so some of it may be review for you. But it is a topic I know that I need to review for myself over and over, and so it may be helpful for you to review it today as well.

And so, this morning we consider what it looks like for us, as Christians, to receive shepherding from God’s people – to allow others to bear our burdens … as well as what it looks like for us to help shepherd and bear the burdens of others.

The Problem: Pride & Self-Sufficiency

Our text this morning, from Galatians, is noteworthy because it both describes what the church is supposed to be like in this regard, as well as what it is often like instead.

Paul tells us in our text that the church is supposed to be a place where God’s people bear one another’s burdens, and help restore them from their sin, in gentleness and love. It is supposed to be a place where people seek help, and where spiritual shepherding takes place. That is what he is saying in verses one and two of chapter six.

But the truth is that you don’t need to spend much time in the church – in any church – and you don’t need to spend much time with other Christians before you see that things are often not the way they are supposed to be.

Most Christians can reflect on their own experience in almost any believing church … or if they’re new to the faith, they can ask those who have been here longer … and they will soon hear many stories.

Because what many Christians know firsthand, is that Christians, when dealing with their own sin, are often more prone to hide their sins, or their struggles, or their brokenness, than to share them with others. They are often more prone to try to be spiritually self-sufficient than they are to humbly seek help from others. And so, when something is wrong, they cover it over. They put on a fake smile on Sunday morning. They deny that they have any burdens.

And then, one day, someone’s Christian life that looked so good on the outside, implodes. All at once their struggles are revealed. And those around them go into crisis mode. And as we learn more, we learn that the struggle has been growing and festering in secret for so long … and in all that time, the person had never really sought help. They had never sought a brother or sister to help them bear the burden of their struggle, they had never sought someone else to come alongside them like a shepherd, but instead they had tried to handle it all on their own, independently. They had tried to be spiritually self-sufficient. They had tried to look good on the outside.

We have seen this happen in big scandals of well-known public Christian leaders. We have seen it happen in the lives of people much closer to us.

Such stories are often deeply sad and discouraging. And they occur far too often.

And yet, while we often act shocked by this pattern, we should begin by asking ourselves: Do we see that same pattern in our own lives?

When we have sin in our lives, is our tendency to seek help, or to try to cover it up? When we have struggles and suffering in our lives, is our tendency to share with others how weighty the burden feels, so that they can come alongside us and help us bear it … or is our tendency to minimize it, and keep others at arms-length, and tell ourselves that we can carry the weight on our own? When there is brokenness in our lives, in our families, or in our relationships, is our tendency to seek others who can help us with it … or to put up walls to keep others out?

Or, from another  angle, when other Christians ask how we are doing – not as a greeting, but in a real way – when others sincerely ask how we are doing, is our tendency to answer honestly, or to try to put on a good face, and look like we’ve got it together on the outside?

And if your tendency is to keep others away …, do you see that at the root of that is pride? Do you see that underneath that habit is both an arrogant trust in yourself, and a vain concern for how others view you?

Because both of those things are condemned by the Apostle Paul in our passage this morning.

He starts in chapter five, verse 26. And as if to indicate exactly what will get in the way of the Galatians doing what he’s about to ask them to do, he tells them “Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”

Of course conceit is what lies at the root not only of our tendency to judge others, but also of our tendency to hide our own faults. When we see the struggles of another, it is conceit that would tempt us to respond by arrogantly putting ourselves above them. But also, when we struggle ourselves, it is conceit that tempt us to hide it and handle it on our own. We conceitedly trust in ourselves, and, in envy of those who don’t seem to struggle as we do, we seek to hide and mask our difficulties, and project an image of self-sufficiency and spiritual success. [Stott, 156].

Paul continues to address this problem in verse three, reminding us that if we overrate ourselves, we are fooling ourselves. And our acts, not only of judgmentalism, but also of hiding our own burdens, are ways of acting like we are more than we actually are.

For as Paul reminds them in the second half of verse one, they too are liable to temptation. And as he reminds them in verse four, their boast should be in what God sees them do, and not in their public image, or how they compare themselves to their neighbor.

Whether you are tempted towards a judgmentalism that looks down on others who need help … or towards a hypocrisy that hides your sin and struggles so that others will think you are better than you really are … or whether you are tempted towards both – however the conceit and envy and pride that Paul warns about shows up in your life, we need to recognize this morning that all of those tendencies assume a certain perspective on the Christian life. They assume that the goal of the Christian life is to be a self-sufficient spiritual all-star. And so, when others fall short of that, and need help … we judge them for not having it all together. And when we fall short, and we need spiritual help … we hide it, and try to project spiritual self-sufficiency and independence.

In the spiritual all-star view of the Christian life, self-reliance is key. It’s about what you can do all on your own. And it’s about how what you can do on your own compares to what others can do on their own.

And so, in the spiritually self-sufficient all-star view, you need to prove yourself. You need to hit home runs. You need to project the confidence and produce individual accomplishments and spiritual “stats” that will define you well in the light of others.

In such an approach, other people are either irrelevant to your spiritual “stats” or they are comparison points. If their stats are below yours, you welcome the comparison. You’d prefer people look at you and them in the same glance. But if their stats seem to be above yours, then they are a threat. You avoid them. You envy them. You hide your faults even more, so that you can project spiritual equality or even superiority to them.

This is a common tendency among God’s people. This is a common temptation in our hearts. And it is also a pattern that the Apostle Paul condemns in our passage this morning.

What, then, does he call us to instead?

To think about that … I want to start by talking a bit about baseball.

I recently read the book Moneyball by Michael Lewis. The book, which was the basis for a 2011 movie starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, is an analysis of the 2002 season of the Oakland A’s – the Oakland Athletics. I’ve mentioned the movie in an illustration before, but I thought it was worth coming back to again this morning.

The book, Lewis explains, began “with an innocent question: how did one of the poorest teams in baseball, the Oakland Athletics, win so many games?” [Lewis, xi]

He explains: “At the opening of the 2002 season, the richest team [in baseball], the New York Yankees, had a payroll of $126 million while the two poorest teams, the Oakland A’s and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, had payrolls of less than a third of that, about $40 million.” [Lewis, xi-xii]

And yet, at the end of the 2002 season, the Oakland A’s had tied the New York Yankees, for the most wins in all of Major League Baseball, in the regular season.

Now … I am from New York. And I am a New York Yankees fan. But, for the purpose of this illustration, the 2002 New York Yankees will be the negative example … so I do apologize to any other Yankees fans out there.

Here’s something of the big-picture pattern that Lewis explores in the book. In 2002, the New York Yankees and the Oakland A’s represented not just two very different teams, or two very different payrolls, but two very different philosophies about how a team succeeds in baseball.

For the 2002 New York Yankees, as in pretty much the rest of Major League Baseball, the dominant philosophy, as one player put it, was for a team to simply “buy the best hitters money can buy, and set them loose.” [Lewis, 178]

Hiring a bunch of superstars, if you were able to do that (and the New York Yankees were), was how you became a great team. And a superstar was marked by impressive personal stats – things that made him stand out, that marked him as a self-sufficient player, and that highlighted his individual achievements: things like homeruns, stolen bases, runs batted in, and so on. And if you need to improve your team, you just add one more superstar to the lineup. [Lewis, 208]

But the Oakland A’s couldn’t afford any superstars. Which made them open to rethinking this approach. And while other teams valued players with stats that they thought of as representing individual accomplishments and self-sufficient contributions, the front office of the Oakland A’s – especially their GM Billy Bean and his assistant Paul DePodesta, questioned those assumptions.

Up until that point, many baseball statistics were approached as if ballplayers were isolated individuals on the team, and their accomplishments were all their own. But analysts like Bill James had begun to point out how inaccurate that view of the game really was. For example, one highly valued statistic at the time was RBIs – runs batted in. This was the overall number of runners who scored off of a particular player’s hits throughout the season. This stat, Michael Lewis notes, was often treated as an individual achievement – in fact, free agents were paid for their reputation for RBIs. But RBIs are not an individual achievement. Because they rely on other players on the team having already gotten on base. A run batted in is the combination of multiple actions, by several players, whose modest accomplishments then come together with the result of a run scoring. And yet, the dominant mentality on the Yankees and many other teams in 2002 was as if such things were the achievement of one player, who was then viewed as the star. [Lewis, 71]

Bill James, and Paul DePodesta, and Billy Bean proposed a new set of statistics to evaluate a player’s contribution to a team’s success.

Now, there was a lot to these new analytics, often referred to as sabermetrics. That said … what struck me was that the kind of statistics the Oakland A’s began to value more and more, were ones which called on their players to rely on one another, and to intentionally share the burden for each other’s achievements and success. They weren’t the showy stats of a superstar, but the sort of stats that contributed to the team, while also depending on others to bear some of the burden of getting a run home.

For example, in his statistical analysis, Paul DePodesta concluded that a player’s ability (and sometimes willingness) to just get on base – whether it was by a hit or by a walk – was three times more important for a team’s overall success than a player’s ability to hit doubles, or triples, or even homeruns. Just getting on base – even if it was by a walk, usually a very unimpressive event – was three times more helpful to a team, than whether he was a slugger, and it was certainly more important than whether or not he could do things like steal bases. In fact, they concluded that that stat of on base percentage – overlooked by most teams at the time – was the most important offensive stat in baseball. [Lewis, 58, 128, 170]

But here’s the thing. Focusing on simply getting on base, rather than getting big hits, means that you must cultivate a team culture of interdependence and non-showy burden sharing. It calls on teammates to rely on one another.

Because if you get to first base on a walk, and you’re not going to steal, then you are forced to rely on other members of your team. You are not going to get that run home on your own … your teammates will have to get you there – they will have to help bear the burden of scoring that run.

As one player put it, on most teams, batting was treated as an individual thing – something you do alone. But the 2002 Oakland A’s “turned it into a team thing.” [Lewis, 179]. A reality of interdependence rather than the illusion of independence was what they came to value. Which meant that they soon began to recognized value in players that other teams often overlooked.

For example: In 2002, the player with the highest on-base-percentage – the player who, when he stepped up to the plate had the highest probability of getting on base, whether by a hit or by a walk – was Barry Bonds. Bonds was a well-known superstar … so this was no surprise.

But the player with the second highest on-base-percentage – the second most likely player to get on base with each at-bat, was a player named Kevin Youkilis, a mostly overlooked player, whom Michel Lewis describes as “a fat third baseman who couldn’t run, throw, or field.” But he got a lot of walks. And so, he got on base a lot. Paul DePodesta, who desperately wanted Youkilis on the Oakland A’s, but never got him, referred to Youkilis as “The Greek god of walks.” [Lewis, 19, 209, 279]

From a super-star philosophy, Youkilis was a player of little value. He wasn’t showy. He didn’t have impressive individualistic stats. He didn’t look like a superstar. As one writer put it: “He does not look like an MVP candidate; [but] more [like] a refrigerator repairman, a butcher, the man selling hammers behind the counter at the True Value hardware store.” [Jackie MacMullan] But, when it came to getting on base, he was the second best in all of baseball. His value was, eventually recognized … but not as much as it should have been in 2002.

When you approach baseball from a philosophy of trying to gather a bunch of self-sufficient super-stars, the Kevin Youkilises of the game are easily pushed aside. But when you approach baseball from a philosophy of interdependence, and non-showy burden sharing, then you can bring together a bunch of players who may not look very impressive, but who, by working together, by sharing the burden of the tasks before them, can win as many games as the New York Yankees, on less than a third of the budget.

We have trouble believing this sort of thing, but it’s true. As Bean puts it: “The math works. But no matter how many times you prove it, you always have to prove it again [to people].” [Lewis, 271]

Now, why do I tell that story?

Well, because I think we tend to have a New York Yankees view of the Christian life.

We often think that the way to succeed is to be a superstar. And the way for a church to succeed is to gather a bunch of spiritual superstars, and then “let them loose.” And so, our idea of a healthy church would be one stocked with spiritual superstars.

We are impressed by those who most look the part. We ourselves are very concerned with how we are individually perceived by others. And so, rather than approaching our spiritual lives from a perspective of spiritual interdependence and non-showy burden bearing – rather than acknowledging where we need help from others – we instead are usually more worried about looking impressive to others. We want the RBI; we want to score the winning run. It’s not about real success, but about us personally projecting the image of success in how we are perceived by others.

And so … the bottom line becomes that at the end of the day, in our Christian lives, there are times where we’d rather strike out while swinging for the fences all alone, instead of just getting on base and then having to rely on others to help get us home.

The Solution: Bearing One Another’s Burdens

Paul’s outlook in our text, though, is very different.

Because whatever spiritual stats those who think highly of themselves are using, Paul tells us it is not getting them where they think it is. Whatever spiritual practices or moral accomplishments we may be putting stock in, Paul tells us that it’s not actually making us spiritually valuable. It’s not causing us to fulfill the law of Christ. Instead, he says that such things will make us nothing.

Paul gets at this in verse three. The fourth century theologian Jerome has an interesting take on this verse. After acknowledging that a first reading leads us to think of the person described as simply having misjudged themselves, he goes on to say that a more reflective interpretation yields an additional angle. “The second [interpretation],” he writes, “is deeper and more meaningful to me [it is]: ‘If someone thinks he is something, by the very fact of thinking himself something and judging himself, not from his love towards his neighbors but from his own work and labors, contented with his own virtue, he himself becomes nothing through this very arrogance and is his own deceiver” [Jerome, Epistle to the Galatians 3.6.3 quoted in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, 90]

What Jerome is saying is that when we spiritually distance ourselves from our neighbors and seek conceited self-satisfaction, by that very act we show that we love ourselves more than we love our neighbors, and we prove that we have failed spiritually.

We have, like some of the superstars on the 2002 New York Yankees, overvalued ourselves. And maybe we’ve convinced others to overvalue us as well. But we’re not actually contributing towards any real victory. We just look good. And if we want to maintain our superstar status, we need to hope that no one figures that out.

But Paul pushes us to consider a different set of “stats.”

He does this first by making it clear that it is the substance of our walk before God – and not our appearance before others – that matters, and so we must stop hiding our own needs and struggles, and instead, rejecting conceit and envy, we need to allow others to help bear our burdens. That is how we should seek spiritual restoration.

And then, if we want to seek spiritual works that really count, Paul says in verse one that those who are truly spiritual, those who truly fulfill the Law of Christ (the only law that matters) are those who restore others in gentleness. They are those who bear the burdens of others, as he says in verse two.

Restoring, gentleness, and burden bearing. Those are the traits we are told Christ values – not the self-centered stats we present to others or the image we try to project.

If we believe Paul, if we retool our view of spirituality until it lines up with his, it will change the way we relate to one another as a church – as the Body of Christ. Because it will change how we respond to a number of situations.

When You Have a Burden

First, it will change how we act when we have a spiritual burden … whatever that burden might be. That burden could be a struggle with sin. Or it could be a form of suffering or brokenness in your life. One commentator gives a list – our burden could be “sorrow, worry, doubt, failure, poverty, loneliness, illness, divorce, disability, depression” and we could go on and on. [Ryken, 248]

Second, we need to decide to allow – actually, to actively invite – others to help us in those struggles.

John Stott puts it like this – commenting on Galatians 6:2, he writes: “Notice the assumption which lies behind this command, namely that we all have burdens and that God does not mean us to carry them alone. Some people try to. They think it a sign of fortitude not to bother other people with their burdens. Such fortitude is certainly brave. But it is more stoical than Christian. Others remind us that we are told in Psalm 55:22 to ‘cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you,’ and that the Lord Jesus invited the heavy-laden to come to Him and promised to give them rest […]. They therefore argue that we have a divine burden-bearer who is quite adequate, and that it is a sign of weakness to require any human help. This too is a grievous mistake,” Stott writes. “True,” he goes on, “Jesus Christ alone can bear the burden of our sin and guilt; He bore it in His own body when He died on the cross. But this is not so with our other burdens – our worries, temptations, doubts and sorrows. Certainly, we can cast these burdens on the Lord as well. We can cast all our care on Him, since He cares for us […]. But remember that one of the ways in which He bears these burdens of ours is through human friendship. […] Human friendship in which we bear one another’s burdens, is part of the purpose of God for His people. So,” Stott concludes, “we should not keep our burdens to ourselves, but rather seek a Christian friend who will help to bear them with us.” [Stott, 157-158]

Third, we need to identify who to bring our burden to – who we will seek spiritual care and shepherding from.

Sometimes that is a pastor. We want you to bring your burdens to us, and we want to come alongside you, to serve you as Christ’s under-shepherds, and to help bear your burdens.

That is really important to us. We also recognize that we have struggled to meet all the pastoral needs we see among us, which is why one of the steps we are pursuing this year, as a church, is to hire an additional assistant pastor who is gifted in pastoral counseling and shepherding. Because we want to do better – we want to be more available. But even before that new man is hired, we want now, as best we can, to be available to you for that. And so we encourage you to reach out to us with your needs.

Other times a need can be met especially well by a Christian counselor. And so we have often tried to help connect congregants with good Christian counselors, when it seems like that will be a good help for them.

Still other times it is helpful to turn to other leaders in the church: to an elder, or deacon, or leader in our women’s ministry, or others.

And still other times, we need to turn to and get help from our peers in the church, and ask them for spiritual help.

The fifth century theologian Theodoret, commenting on this passage put it like this – he wrote: “You have one deficiency but not another. Your neighbor’s case is the opposite. He has another deficiency but not the one you have. You must bear his and he yours.” [Theodoret, Epistle to the Galatians 6.2, quoted in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, NT:VII:89]

God has provided peers, leaders, counselors, pastors, and others. And often what we need is a combination of people to come alongside us, help bear our burdens and shepherd our souls.

Either way, our text calls us to stop hiding our own needs, to reject any conceit and envy that keeps us from letting others bear our burdens, and instead to seek the help of those who can shepherd and restore us in the midst of our struggles.

This already happens in a number of ways within our church. We want to encourage it more and more. And many of the most important steps we are pursuing in the year ahead – whether the hiring of an additional pastor, the reassessment of the elders’ roles in shepherding, or the beginning of a future small group ministry – these steps are aimed at cultivating a church community with more places and more ways in which our members can receive shepherding, and have others come alongside them and help bear their burdens.

When You Can Bear Someone’s Burden

At the same time, those same steps, and that same focus on shepherding and discipleship, is also intended to increase opportunities for you to help bear the burdens of others.

That is, after all, what Paul exhorts us to in verse two. In fact, out of all he could say, Paul tells us that bearing the burdens of others – that is the thing, that is the virtue, that is the character trait that Christ especially cares about. To do that, he says in verse two, is to fulfill the law of Christ!

Augustine puts this even more pointedly. He writes: “There is no surer test of the spiritual person than his treatment of another’s sin. Note how he takes care to deliver the sinner rather than triumph over him, to help him rather than punish him and, so far as lies in his capacity, to support him.” [Augustine, Epistle to the Galatians 56 (1B.6.1), quoted in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, NT:VII:88]

Augustine is pushing us to examine ourselves. Do we try to deliver those who stumble, or to triumph over them? Do we try to help them or to punish them? To neglect or to support? And when we do help, is it with gentleness, as Paul exhorts us in verse one … or is it with provoking arrogance and conceit as he warns us against in the verse before?

Instead of such arrogance, Paul calls us to fulfill the law of Christ – the law of the one who gently reached out to those who were struggling … the law of the one who, as Isaiah put it, was so gentle that he did not break the bruised read, or quench the faintly burning wick. [Isaiah 42:3]

Just a few verses before our passage, Paul lists “gentleness” as a fruit of the Spirit. I think in our day that is an undervalued fruit of the Spirit. But Paul reminds us here in verses one and two that gentleness is a necessary fruit of the Spirit if we are to fulfill the law of Christ in how we love those around us.

Where is Christ calling you to that?

Where is he calling you to do that more intentionally in the life of a peer? Where might he be calling you to do that more intentionally in the life of someone you are in a leadership role over?

Doing that is difficult work. It requires real sacrifice. As Philip Ryken puts it: “The only way to love our neighbors as ourselves is to recognize that our neighbor is at least as valuable in the sight of God as we are. […] [And] often, the only way to manage someone else’s burden is by putting down our own burdens for a while. Needy people have a way of demanding our time, changing our plans, and rearranging our schedules. Helping them requires the kinds of sacrifices that we will make only if we consider them more important than ourselves.” [Ryken, 249-250]

Who is Christ calling you to see and to love in this way? Whose burden might he be calling you to bear? Who might he be calling you to come alongside, and minister to in gentleness, lovingly shepherding their soul?

Conclusion

If we are to be a church that fulfills the law of Christ, then we must be a church in which we bear one another’s burdens, and restore one another in a spirit of gentleness.

That means that we must be a congregation in which each one of us is willing to shepherd others, but also in which each one of us is willing to be shepherded by others. It means we must be a church that values the reality of interdependence and burden-sharing, rather than being one that chases after the illusion of independent spiritual stardom.

We know this dynamic of bearing one another’s burdens is already at work among us. But we also know that it is an area where we have room to grow.

Some of what we do to encourage that growth will be the sort of structural plans we have outlined for the year ahead.

But some of what we need will be intentional willingness among us to shepherd, and to be shepherded. For that is what Christ calls us to. That is what it means to fulfill the law of Christ.

And that is why shepherding and discipleship is one of our aspirational values.

Amen.

This sermon draws on material from:

Bruce, F. F. The Epistle to the Galatians: A Commentary on the Greek Text. NIGTC. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1982)

Calvin, John. The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. Translated by T. H. L. Parker. Edited by David W. Torrance and Thomas F. Torrance. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1965)

Edwards, Mark. J. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Galatians, Ephesians Philippians. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999)

Lewis, Michael. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 2004.

Moneyball. Columbia Pictures, 2011.

Ryken, Philip Graham. Galatians. Reformed Expository Commentary Series. (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2005)

Stott, John R. W. The Message of Galatians: Only One Way. (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press)

This sermon draws significantly from my October 7, 2018 evening sermon, titled “The Church: The Body of Christ to Bear One Another’s Burdens”: https://www.faithtacoma.org/samuel-nicoletti/spiritual-friendship-1-samuel-181-9

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