Secret #1 - Humility - Not Too High, but Not Too Low
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
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.
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
- 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!
FOR THOSE WHO ARE SAVED, ARE ALL SAVED IN CHRIST.
GOD LOVES US EQUALLY IN CHRIST.
YOU MUST REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE IN THE CONTEXT OF THE GOSPEL.
WE ARE ALL SINNERS.
THE GOSPEL KEEPS US FROM THINKING TO HIGHLY OF OURSELVES.
THE GOSPEL PREVENTS US FROM THINKING TO LOWLY, BECAUSE WE ARE SAVED SINNERS, AND WE ARE LOVED AND VALUED BY GOD.
THE ONE WHO’S OPINION MATTERS.
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
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.
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
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!