Serving in Grace (Revised)

Righteousness of God revealed - Book of Romans  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  42:46
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Life has rules

I think you would agree that life comes with the guidelines (rules) and suggestions too. The bible is no different. Paul gives some general rules for Christian service in our passage today.
First, we have already looked at how great God is (11:33-36)
Second, we looked at the apostolic plea for spiritual service (12:1-2) - we did not finish this, so I want to pick back up there, maybe back up just a little.
Present your bodies as a living sacrifice picture inserted here
Our consecration comes with a choice and an action. It is voluntary.
It is complete
The action is to be whole hearted , remember being set apart (consecrated) for Him.
It is sacrificial
A living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God
It is practical
It is an act of worship, This is proof of the complete, sacrificial choices, our consecration which bears fruit. This is demonstrated in doing the good works God prepared for us to do.
It is rational
“Reasonable act of worship” to be rational is: something that makes sense or that could be based in fact or someone who behaves and thinks logically-
Enduring word commentary says
“It is best to see the body here as reference to our entire being. Whatever we say about our spirit, soul, flesh, and mind, we know that they each live in our bodies. When we give the body to God, the soul and spirit go with it.”
Reasonable service is a life of worship
Reasonable service is presenting your body as a living sacrifice
Reasonable service is that which is holy (consecrated), acceptable to God.

The command for resisting conformity

Romans 12:1 NLT
1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
Romans 12:2 NLT
2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
We now want to focus on (v.2); a warning and an instruction.
What is the warning (v.2)?
What is the instruction (v.2)?
What is result (v.2)?
Warning sign picture here
Warning: Do not be conformed
The world system, pop culture is in direct conflict with God, and in total rebellion with God.
The world wants us to look like them, not like Jesus
The world wants to say things are OK, whereas God says they are an abomination
To be conformed does not happen overnight, it happens over time. We need to heed the warning and let the positive take place
Be transformed
By the renewing of your mind
What does transformation look like?
How, according to the scripture is someone transformed?
Honestly many Christians live by what they feel, not by what the word reveals. Or live in doing and not being transformed.
“The life based on feelings says, ‘How do I feel today? How do I feel about my job? How do I feel about my wife? How do I feel about worship? How do I feel about the preacher? - this life by feeling will never know the transforming power of God, because it ignores the renewing of the mind by the word.” - Jon Corson.
Then there is the life of doing
“Don’t give me your theology. Just tell me what to do. Give me four points for this and seven keys for that.” -This life of doing, like the one based on feelings will never know the transforming power of God by the renewing of the mind by the word. - Jon Corson
Metamorphosis we mentioned earlier, we used the Caterpillar to the butterfly, but the apostles saw this too on the mount of transfiguration (Mk9:2-3). How glorious was that?
Your transformation is beautiful, glorious, and it happens by renewing the mind by the word.
Your transformation happens by your choice. God does not force you, nor does He do it without your cooperation.
We cannot do God’s part nor will God do our part. You must choose, you must participate.
Here is another good scripture on transformation. It is not on your outline
2 Corinthians 3:18 NASB95
18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
Proof is knowing the will of God
That will that is good, acceptable and perfect
Our transformation is the reconstruction of our mind and it takes us from being like the world to knowing and walking in God’s will.
May we keep in mind the mercies of God (past, present and future)
Our presentation to God our bodies (all of us)
Our bodies living and holy (consecrated); pleasing to God, acceptable by God
Resist being conformed to the world
Be transformed by God through His Word by renewing your mind.
Prove it by living it out
Today, we look at the righteous man and his social service (12:3-8)
What kind of service do you think we should offer, can offer?
Do you think we have a responsibility to serve?
Some general suggestions:
Know yourself
In the Greek it is”man, know thyself”
We need to know who we are
We need to know whose we are
We need to know God has given us abilities, gifts to serve with.
Accept yourself
Don’t be envious of others, know God made you unique.
God has given you God given qualities, abilities, talents, gifts to be used.
God has given YOU work to do, not someone else’s work, so don’t be jealous, envious of the work others have been called to do.
If God has called you, equipped you; do you believe in yourself and accept yourself?
Apply yourself
All gifts from God and are given for the glory of God and for the service to others.
Take what You have been given knowing who you are, whose you are and apply what He has given you.
Do you know your spiritual gifts? Are you using them?
A good suggestion is for us to look at the passage so let’s do that now.

Our passage

In the application section of the book of Romans, Paul gives some instruction about righteous service using the graces (gifts) You have been give. One gift is a desire, a heart for the word.
Romans 12:3 NASB95
3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
Romans 12:4–5 NASB95
4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Romans 12:6 NASB95
6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;
Romans 12:7 NASB95
7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching;
Romans 12:8 NASB95
8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
What was given to Paul, and what are the instructions Paul gives (v.3)?
Many members but one what according to (v.4)?
We are members of what (v.5)?
What do we have according to grace given, and what are we to do with what we are given (v.6)?
What are the gifts listed in (vv.6-8)?

God’s grace for service with warning

Paul knew of the grace given to him was beyond favor. It was for life and service. He wants the Romans to understand the grace and graces given to them. It starts with a warning.
As we discover and learn to live in humility. Paul gives a warning about humility here
To everyone among you
Coming soon to a passage near you, Paul will be addressing how each person is to use, exercise spiritual gifts.
The warning is do it in and with humility. It is easy to get prideful. Those who think they are spiritually gifted and others are not, or the gifts are not as good as yours.
Spiritual giftedness does not equal spiritual maturity.
Don’t think higher of self
Remember earlier we mentioned to know yourself. We do, in humility because of what God has done, is doing in our lives. It is not of ourselves, so don’t think higher of yourself.
We need to ask God to show us who we really are, help us to see ourselves as we truly are. For when we do, there is no way that pride can come in and we think of ourselves higher.
God has given each a measure of faith
This goes beyond saving faith. This goes to equipped working faith.
Saving faith we have no part of. God does it all. working faith we are to participate in. God has given it to us, now it is our part, what are we going to do with it?

Unity and diversity

Can we have unity and diversity at the same time?
Does unity mean uniformity?
Romans 12:4–5 NKJV
4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
Church unified as one body
Church diversified because of a variety of gifts
Church is individually members of one another
We would be mistaken if we think that unity (which we are) is promoted over individually within the body
On the other hand, individuality should not replace or diminish the church’s essential unity as one body.
Jesus Christ and faith in Him is our common ground.

Time to use the gifts after understanding

Is knowledge the same as understanding?
Does understanding always lead to application?
Romans 12:6 NKJV
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;
Romans 12:7 NKJV
7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;
Romans 12:8 NKJV
8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Different gifts by the graces given by God.
Spiritual gifts are not due to merit (anything we have done) but as God chooses
The Greek work “Charismata” means spiritual gifts, gifts of grace.
Spiritual gifts are distributed and gifted through the Holy Spirit
1 Corinthians 12:11 NASB95
11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
Having this knowledge, having this understand should keep us from pride, in the receipt and the execution of the grace given spiritual gifts. Pride exalts man, humility exalts God.
Prophecy: in proportion to your faith.
What does proportion mean?
God gives, the Holy Spirit distributes.
God may give to the individual, or even a body of believers that stretch our faith, try our comfort zone.
If Prophesy, it must be done in faith or should not be done at all
Prophesy is more about forthtelling than foretelling.
Prophesy in accordance to the faith is “the” faith, our common faith, our doctrine that is held by all believers. For there is no prophesy given in private.
2 Peter 1:20–21 NASB95
20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
Prophesy, it has been said, being a proportion of the faith, is the faith of the people, the congregation, assembly. This too has truth in it too. If there is no faith, how can you know if it is true? It has to be received in and by faith.
In service (ministry) in his serving
ministry means to serve, servant.
This is serving in more than just the practical, simple ways. It has to be with faith, faith that can be sure, growing, and even challenging to bring out of comfort zone to serve (minister).
In teaching (instruction) in his teaching.
This is looking at the instructions then the exhortation encourages to take the teaching, the instruction and put it into practice, to use it for the good of the body.
Teaching is necessary in the Christian life to help the Christian to grow and to use the God given graces (gifts) for the good of the body.
In exhortation (encouraging)
The building up, the edifying with encouragement to take the grace and use it. This works hand in hand with teaching.
I had once read: “those who are taught but not exhorted become “fat sheep” that only take in and never live a Christian life. Those who are exhorted but not taught become excited and active, but have no depth or understanding to what they do and will burn out quickly or will work in wrong ways.”
Give, give in liberality
What does liberality mean?
This is a person who is a giver, in providing for the needs of the body.
Not just money but in ministry due to the measure of faith given.
This spiritual gift, giving, is to be done in liberality. If there is no giving there is a drying up. This drying up can be physically or spiritually. So, if you are a giver, don’t stop giving and giving in liberality.
He who leads, with diligence
Leaders lead, but can grow weary in leading, or burn out.
Hence why it must be done with diligence.
It God called you to it, He has equipped you to go through it. That is called perseverance!
If we want to please God in our leading, do it with perseverance and not give up.
Mercy and cheerfulness
We want mercy, we want grace, but here it is the gift of mercy. To offer it to others, and do it cheerfully.
If we are honest it is, maybe hard, to offer mercy at times. Mercy is freeing to you. We need to remember that God is the God of mercy, He is the mercy giver, and somethings that mercy comes through you.

May we be reminded

Be properly minded
Be of sound judgment by measure of faith given
Many members make one body, unified by faith. Members have different parts, different gifts to be used for the body
We are members of one another
We are to exercise the different gifts of grace that are given.
Prophesy (forthtelling the word of God)
Service in your serving
Teaching in your instruction
Exhorting, in your exhortation which goes hand in hand with the teaching. To put into action that which you were taught.
In giving, do it with liberality. To give in abundance. This is not just financially, but it can be, it is in service, giving of time, attention, effort in serving (ministering).
Leading with diligence, to not give up even when it is rough.
Showing mercy, and do it with cheerfulness. Remember the mercy offered to you, received by you, is mercy you can, should give to others.
These are personal gifts for the person, to be used for the body. They are to be used in unity, but not in uniformity. They are differing gifts for differing purposes. Distributed by One Spirit as He pleases.
Are you using the gifts, the graces given to you?
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