The Secret of Sacrifice

Romans - I Am Not Ashamed  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Secret #1 - Humility - Not Too High, but Not Too Low

Romans 12:3 ESV
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
Despite all the warning our culture gives about the danger of low self-esteem, the real danger is self-centeredness.
C.S. Lewis once said he knew of no one, except Christians, who ever admitted to being proud and conceited.
This is a very personal note from Paul to them. Something he has learned on a very personal level.
You ought to have the right view of yourself in view of God’s mercy. God’s Grace has its place!
It is how He was convicted!
It is how he was saved!
It is how he as served!
It is how he has learned!
Having that humble heart leads to think with sober judgment - Sobriety here means just what we think it means, an alternative to drunkeness. To be sober means to be rigorously accurate, completely in touch with reality.
Thinking with sober judgment begins with self-examination
2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
1 Corinthians 11:28 ESV
Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
We ought to think of ourselves, but there is a fine line between a high opinion(arrogance/pride) and a bad attitude.
The standard for the Christian is confidence, but not arrogance.
Ephesians 4:7 ESV
But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
2 Corinthians 10:12–13 ESV
Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you.
Jesus’ take on humility is KEY -
- Service above self, not demanding, but serving others
- Jesus gave us the example to follow as He took the position of the lowest of the low and washed the feet of the disciples
Mark 10:
- Paul calls on all Christians to have the mind of Christ which was a mindset of humility, considering others before ourselves.
Paul’s last comment here in verse 3, “according to the measure of faith that God has assigned...” is a profound thought.
The measure of faith is not the “amount of faith” you possess.
IT is a standard of measurement, not an amount. Paul is saying, “All of you have been given your saving faith in Christ crucified, and that is how you are to measure yourselves.
Christ-crucified is the standard. In View of God’s Mercy!
Because we viewed in light of the cross, we are equal in the eyes of God…which leads to the second secret…UNITY.

Secret #2 - Unity - One Body, Many Members

Romans 12:
Romans 12:4–5 ESV
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
The body is the favorite illustration to which Paul refers to the church. Two things about the body make this work well.
The obvious unity of the physical body. It is vital
So is the unity of the spiritual body.
The other obvious thing is the diversity within the body.
While the body is one, it has many different parts and pieces. No two members have the same function.
The diversity does not detract from the unity of the body—rather it compliments it.
So it is with the church.
We are many members
We are in one body
We are dependent upon one another
We are not all the same member; we differ
One body, Christ is the head
One body, but with a diversity of functions
We are individuals saved by grace, but also shaped by grace to serve one another.
We are members of one another. If one hurts, we all hurt. If one is joyful, we are all full of joy.
Working backwards...
Verse 3 - We are one body, but can only function as a body if members view themselves soberly in light of their grace assignments, each believer doing his/her part.
Verse 2 - This kind of perspective only comes from a mind that is renewed daily, committed to the perfect will of God.
Verse 1 - Finally, the only people renewing their mind daily are those who have offered themselves as living sacrifices to God in view of the mercy of God.

Secret #3 - Service - God’s grace to serve the Church

Romans 12:6–8 ESV
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
The good, acceptable, and pleasing will of God for the church is unity based on the contributions of its diverse members. Paul provides us a list of gifts for service and ministry in the church.
1) Notice the Spiritual Gifts are not based on merit, that is a wage, but rather SG’s are based on God’s grace! Gifts are NOT about you.
SG’s are based on God’s grace!
Your having the gift is evidence of the generosity of God—not of your merit or deserving.
Your having a spiritual gift says nothing about your character or spirituality—only reveals that God is truly a God of grace.
They are given by the giver, freely bestowed according to the good pleasure of the giver.
The Holy Spirit gives the gifts. It is a manifestation of His presence as He also empowers their use for the common good of the church.
There is NO boasting because you didn’t earn it.
There is no arrogance
There is recognition of the LORD!
The command here is to USE THEM!
Paul is not correcting here in this list like he did with the church in Corinth.
But rather saying, Here are the gifts, now use them! Put them to work!
Every saved man/woman/boy/girl has a gift. God does not give 20% of the church 80% of the gifts. Yet that is what we often see.
The reality is…all are gifted.
The second reality is…is you are not using your gifts in the church, then you are being disobedient.
That gift is designed to help build up the church, strengthen her, encourage her, etc.
If you are holding out, then you are hurting the church, not helping her.
Do you really want to be in that place?
It is not secret here these gifts are listed here to serve the church, expressed through different ministries.
Prophecy - Speaks to the church, and the prophet cannot prophesy in a way that contradicts Christian doctrine. This really seams to point toward preaching or anointed speaking. Revealing of truth.
Service - Ministry, diakonia, - practical service. Good at administration, practical tasks.
Teaching - Making the truth clear and understandable.
Encouragement - Exhortation - to “come alongside,” could also mean support, inspiration, counseling. These people can serve as advisors, supporters, greeters, etc.
Giving - Not only enjoy giving in unusually proportions, but are wise in their gifts.
Leadership - getting people to follow them.
Mercy - moved to work with the poor, sick, weak, the prisoner, the addicted, the elderly, and so on.
The Point —> Whatever gifts God has gifted you with, you must utilize it according to the faith God has given us in conjunction with the gift!
The performance is deliberate
The performance is bountiful
The performance is our best!
How do I discern my gift? Glad you asked
Self-examination -
Romans 8–16 for You Discerning Your Gifts

1. Self-examination. Paul wants us to “think of yourself with sober judgment” (v 3) with regard to gifts. To begin with, we look at our hearts to discover gifts. We can look at our feelings. We ask: What do I enjoy doing? What kind of ministry is satisfying and attractive to me?

We can look at our perceptions of needs. What problems do I most notice? Do I feel burdened for the poor? For people with counseling needs? Do I feel the church is too disorganized? In other words, it is possible that you are especially sensitive to the kinds of needs that God has called you to meet.

We can look at our effectiveness. Am I any good at what I enjoy? Do people get helped? Ask those who know you to be sure that your judgment is “sober” and rigorously accurate.

2. Experience. In verse 6, Paul says that if someone has a gift, “let him use it.” In general, you don’t learn your gifts before you do ministry. You learn your gifts as you minister. Do you think you have a set of gifts in a particular area? Well, work in that area. You may revise your understanding of your gifts as you do ministry. It is best to try all kinds of ministry as a way to learn your spiritual “aptitudes.”

3. Study the biblical lists. These lists are probably there to help readers to take an inventory. It is hard to discern your gifts without some categories of spiritual ability through which to assess yourself. So it is helpful and important to look at the spiritual-gift lists and the characters of the Bible to process better your own experience.

4. “Use it” (v 6); “do it” (v 8)! Once we have identified a gifting, we are to use it in service of others in the church. God gives his gifts as he chooses, and we’re not to say: I would like a different gift! or: I want to use my gift in a different way! Part of living as a sacrifice to God is to give over our abilities and gifts to him, to be used in his service. We’ll only do this joyfully as we keep his mercies to us in view.

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