Saved to serve the Body of Christ. Romans 12:3-8

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Saved to serve the Body of Christ, the 'good and pleasing' to the Lord. Warnings about attitudes about self and others. Keeping in mind the struggles for unity of the Jews and Gentiles in the body of Christ.

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Turn to Romans 12:3-8 and look with me. We want to see a warning, then unfold the truth of the unity of the Body of Christ that will settle our assessement of ourselves. Then we will make the statement that we are saved to serve each other and drive home that marvellous blessings of our union with Jesus and our oneness as the Body of Christ.

Warning - Everyone must evaluate themselves correctly. verse 3.

Note that the apostle describes his ministry as a ‘grace’ given to him God. Grace is God’s undesrved favour. How do you measure the avlue of your service when waht you have is a gift that you dont deserve. The apostle Paul is not aetching hat he has a superior grace that you and I have and taht he is closerr toGod than those he is teaching. He is not implying a deeper spiritaul connection to God like some who teach a hierachial system of church governement. He is an apostle, does he have authority yes, is it of his wn, no it is his because God is gracious and finds him faithful. Paul ii also not suggesting he is inferior. He is sometimes weak, sometimes overwhelmed, someties misundrstood, sometimes abused and beaten but he is not inferior. Grace is his from a powerful God. He estimtes himself correctly with a measure of sobrirty and self control that is a fruit of the Spirit. In chapter 15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God, 16 that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17 Therefore I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God.
Look back at 12:3 to the warning. The warning not think too highly of ourselves, which we ought to think. To think too highly is evidence of unsound judngement. Such thinking does not acknowlege the gifts and garces of God. And such thinking belittles the giftedness and abilties of others in the Body of Christ. The problem is we overvalue ourselves and underavlue our brother and ssiter in Christ, whom God has saved and given a measure of faith. The realitty is that the biggest problem we have is accepting others, welcoming others, seeing God’s grace and faith in others without feeling threatened or belittled, or undervalued because of our pride and insecurities. Four times Paul says you have to think about yourself correctly. The word means to assess, evalute, not have an exaggerted opinion and to be able rate our abilities with sound judgement.

Fundamentally unchangaebly true - you are part of the Body of Christ, the church. verse 4-5

Now that we have come to the altar as living sacrifices, we have presented our bodies, all our memebers to serve our God. We have had our minds renewed and we are proving wat is the good and perfect will for our lives. In the afterglow of those wonderful verses in Romans 12:1-2 comes a warning for self-evaluation,comes an exhortation towards sobriety. And at the base of these exhortations is the problem of pride, our pride. He warns everyone on verse 3 because pride is the age old problem. I believe that which is the good and pleasing to our God, is the union and unity that beleivers have in Christ. And the ‘good’ and ‘pleasing’ to God is that all of us give ourselves as living sacrifices to serving the Body of Christ.
Unity in Christ that is the lesson for the church - we are one body united in Christ verse 6. diversity not uniformity, embracing the differnces of personality, talents, giftedness and resources. Seeing people as vital instruments in the Lords hands to strengthen the church.

God’s grace and gifts - are given to everybody to serve the church.

Not everyone is equipped by God and given the grace of pastoring, not everyone is called to preaching and teaching for eaxmple, or hospitality, or exhortaing and encouarging, or leading, or in the NT prophecying, or the garce of giving to the Lord’s church and His work. God has given these gifts at His good pleasure for the sole beenfit of the body. The graces and gifts of God are not given for me, for my boasting, for arriving at an untruthful estimation of my self importance. These gifts are not given for my personal benefit, they are given for the benefit of the body of Christ. God gives faith, the garces are the gifts he has given for service. verse 3,6. Romans 14:1-3, 12,
Verse 6 says we have gifts that differ, and the little phrase if propehcy, if service, if teaching, or he who exhorts, who gives, who shows mercy. in verse 7 they connect the giffts and the graces with actions that are not focuused on self. thse describe what you for others. You might ask what about me? Christ will meete your needs as the body takes care of you. I know that sometines believers say ill be praying thta God will meet your needs. I know thta the Lord does, but the Lord acres for my needs through his people, through you. If you know a brother needs encouarging pray but then get up and do somethig about if you are able and capabale. If you know a brother needs financialhelp, you can pray btu f you ahve the means why not help. If you know w rother os ssister is in need of some counselling, aul says i know hta yu area ble to meet thta need. thats the body finctioinig minstering. caring for one another. tha is how the body is fed and strenghtened. We stand together in weaknesses, we rejoice in our blessings. Can yous ee thta not just the cations sare outward but teh atitudes are not selfish and inward. Look again … we prpohecy in proprtion to our faith, in keeping with hw much God has sho wn us, taught us. and we serve, taech and exhort with diligence. We have a steadfast and determined focus on helping others. When we show mercy we show it with cheerfulness and not begrudgeent. When we give we give with liberalty and excitement becasue we know the grace and gifts of our God. Because we are a people of the Body of Christ verse 5 and because we are united in Christ, and we are the ‘one another’ people.

Conclusion.

Way back in chapter 1 he speaks about visiting with the church in Rome. Note the idea of mutual encouragement and his heart of service 8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, 10 making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established—12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. And at the end
Look at the big idea of unity, harmony and welcoming each other runs through this part of the epistle to the Romans as Paul focusses onserving teh Lord and serving each other. I think that the unity was an issue amongst the jewish and Gentile believers and the main reason that Paul wrte this book look at 15:7 Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. 8 Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, 9 and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written:
and look down to … verse 14 Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.
The faith of the church in Rome had spread to the city of Corinth where Paul heard, prayed and wrote to them this marvellous letter. But its clear ttha he wrote some strog words and warnings. They had their problems. From chapter 14 they were in danger of not welcoming the weaker brother. There was the danger of judging the brother or ssster because of waht they ate, of observing special days, verse 10 they reagrded each other with contempt. Paul goes on about our union in verse 14:15, look at verse 19, building upone another. if we assess ourselves by our faith as we warned and encouraged to do then look at 14:22 dont condemn yourself by what you approve or judge to be true. 15:1-2 - bear the waknesses of those who have no strenght, please your neighbour for his good for his edification. We are in Christ, we are united in Him and look at 15:5 to be of one mind according to Jesus Christ. The problem of juding my brother as inferior, of assessingmyself as more imopartnt, of more value is eradicated by the realization that we are wahtw e are, the body, because of Jesus Christ who is the dsaviour of both Jew and Gentile, of both stronga nd weak, of both prophet and ecouarger of both the pastor and the one whos hows hospiatlity. the problem of our thiing to hijghly of ourselves is eradicted when we have the mind of Christ, who humbled himself to be like us so thaw e caould be united in hima nd have the same mind as Christ does in Philippians 2, 2 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
So in Romans 12:3-8, I think when you read this passage and see the atitudes that God expects from those who are benefectors of his merciesm his graces and gifts and who respond with a faith that makes the right estimation of themesleves , then it puts into perspective the false teachings of the Word faith movement who are always looking for God to bless them for their own benefit, to increase their wealth, their boundaries and their worth. God gives so you can give to others. What do you have in your hand?
Let me finsish with that question. What is that the Lord has graced or gifted you with, what undeserved gift or talent,or resource or abilty, s has he given you. Are you using it for His glory or for your own. A simple question are you a a servant or a hoarder of your talents? Either YEs or No. You cannot hoard and keep for yourself the gifts of God’s.
This orning I spoke about union with Christ and being a part of the body of Christ. Byt perhaps this morning you are listennga nd yous ay i am not sure i am unted with Christ? How can I know that I belong to Jesus? As far as salvation is concerned to be united to Christ is to be united in his death, burial and resurrection. Romans 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.
Paul would write to the Colossians 3 :3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. To the Galatians Paul would wtie I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
Friend when you trust in Christ as your saviour, you are united with Him in His death, burial and His resurrcetion. He dies in your place, for your sin. He is alive today, and He has won the victory for your sin and has taken the judgemnet that should be yours. But God offers grace on the absis of the finsihed work of Jesus when you trust you identify and believe in the work of Jesus. He makes and cuts as it were a straight path into the presence of the Father. And for those of us who are in Christ we say the life I live i no longer in my owm strength. But its more than that. The life I now live is a life that is united with Christ in His victory over sin. sin o onger enslaves and controls in th way it once ddi. The life i no live i live with His mind and His atitudes, Hisdesires to not live solly for myself bt for others. To see peace and the harmony and the edicfiacton of the Body. I am in Crist, He defines me , my life and my service. Friend, brother in Christ aving the mind of Jesus mena shta I cannot think of myself too highy or to lowly too. Or to think of you as insignificant either. We are the ‘one anther people’, the forever family of God, the Body of Christ and so it is … we are saved to serve each other.
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