Monday, July 28, 2014

We Need the Church to Serve (Rom. 12.1-8)

Scripture: Romans 12.1-8
Translation: 12.1So, I urge you, brothers and sisters, because of God’s mercies, to offer your bodies to God as as a living, holy, pleasing sacrifice, your reasonable service. 2And don’t be being conformed to this age; instead, be being transformed in the renewing of your mind in order that you can prove what the will of God is, the [will] that’s good and pleasing and perfect. 3You see, I’m saying to everyone who is among you by means of the grace given to me to not think more highly than what it is necessary to think, but to think in such as way as to think accurately, for each [of you] as God measured a measure of faith, 4because just as in one body we have many body-parts, and all the body-parts don’t have the same function, 5so we, the many, are one body in Christ, and as far as each one is concerned, [we are] the body parts of one another, 6having the different/distributed spiritual gifts according to the grace given to you, and if [you have] prophecy,  [use it] according to the proportion of faith, 7and if [you have] service, [act] in line with service, and if [you are] the one teaching, [act] in line with teaching, 8and if [you’re] the one urging/encouraging, [act] in line with urging/encouragement. The person sharing, [act] in line with generosity. The one leading, [act] in line with passion. The one showing mercy, [act] in line with cheerfulness.

1.      Structure
a.       Instruction Given
                                                              i.      Part 1: Offer your bodies as living sacrifices
                                                            ii.      Part 2:
1.      Negatively: Don’t be conformed to this age
2.      Positively: Be changed in your mind to prove for sure what God’s will is
b.      Instruction Explained
                                                              i.      Overall
1.      Negatively: like this age, don’t think about yourself too highly
2.      Positively: be transformed, think about yourself accurately
                                                            ii.      Specific reason to be humble and think about yourself accurately:
1.      Christians are one body, each part belonging to the others
2.      The body-parts of that one body have different functions
                                                          iii.      Implication of overall explanation and its specific basis: Use your spiritual gifts for the sake of the body as given by God
2.      Themes
a.       One Body with many body-parts
b.      Transformation vs. conformation
c.       Serving God/temple worship imagery
d.      Spiritual gifts
e.       Urging/encouragement
f.       Matching your actions with your gifts
3.      Doctrines
a.       The church is a unity with diversity in Christ
b.      God gives each Christian at least one special gift by the Holy Spirit
c.       Christian worship is not just about singing and hearing sermons and praying and hanging out, it is about living for God with your whole life
d.      Christians need to use their spiritual gifts when they are serving in their spiritual function, they need to use the gifts given to them in worship to God
e.       The will of God is good, pleasing, and perfect
f.       Christian transformation/sanctification involves the renewing of the mind

1.      Outline
a.       Live for God in General
                                                              i.      These first two versed need to apply to all areas of our lives, which includes our participation in the Body of Christ, we need to be doing this and having this happen not just at school or at home, but in the church. So, if you really want to give your whole life to God in worshipful service of Him, you will have to do that as it relates to the church too
b.      Live for God in the Church
                                                              i.      Paul actually clarifies that what He really wants to apply what he says in Rom. 12.1-2 to is how we think about ourselves as it relates to our gifting and function in the Body of Christ. In vv.9ff, Paul will actually go on to apply 12.1-2 to the church being a loving family and loving and humble group of people, and in ch.13 to how we interact with the government and rulers, and in ch.14-15 about how we respond to different convictions, values, or sensibilities in the church.
c.       Thus, you need the church to fully live for God (since totally living for God means living for God in and as a part of the church)…
                                                              i.      Because one of the ways you offer yourself to God as a living, holy, and pleasing sacrifice as act of service to God is by serving God’s people with the gifts He’s given you by His Holy Spirit
                                                            ii.      Because one of the ways that you don’t get conformed to this present age is by not thinking of yourself too highly as it relates to your spiritual gifts
                                                          iii.      Because one of the ways you get transformed in the renewing of your minds and know and do the will of God is by thinking correctly about yourself as it relates to the gifts and functions God gave you in the church
                                                          iv.      Because one of the ways you don’t get conformed to the world and get transformed in you thinking to do the will of God is by thinking about yourself as part of the body, and not merely as an individual, or not merely as a cell in a sea of corporate identity
1.      You don’t belong only to you, you belong to the Body
2.      You don’t only exist as random church members, but church members with specific gifts, roles, purposes, and functions.
d.      Related Questions:
                                                              i.      How do you use your spiritual gifts to serve God by serving the Church?
1.      Be humble, not cocky
2.      Know what your gifts are, don’t be ignorant or apathetic
3.      Use your Spiritual gifts to fulfill your function, not your own power or intelligence
                                                            ii.      What are the spiritual gifts?
1.      There are lots of spiritual gifts
2.      Some of them are:
a.       Prophecy
b.      Serving, administration of resources
c.       Teaching
d.      Preaching/urging
e.       Sharing
f.       Leading
g.      Being compassionate, caring for the poor
2.      Questions
a.       What do you think it would mean to offer your whole live to God as living, holy, and pleasing sacrifice? Name of few different areas of your life and talk about how you could live for God in those areas.
b.      In what ways do you feel like the world is pushing you to think and act the way it wants? How are the ways God wants you to think and act different? Be specific.
c.       What spiritual gifts and/or functions do you think you have in this church body? What about the global church?
d.      Do you feel like you have been serving and blessing our church and even the wider church with your life, or do you feel like you have been more focused on only your own personal desires and growth?
e.       Do you feel like you are a part of the church or are just an independent person who follows God?
f.       If you know what spiritual gifts God has given you, do you use the gifts of the Holy Spirit to serve the church or do you only use your own strength, intelligence, and skill?

1.      The appendix, it has a function, but for a long time no one was sure what it did, and in fact people still are not sure, but it does serve a purpose. For a long time, people thought that your tonsils were useless body parts, but now doctors try to avoid taking out your tonsils except for severe cases, because they are so important. In the same way, all of you are important, and other people and maybe even you yourself might not know yet what purpose you serve in the body, but God has placed you in the body for a reason, and we need you just like you need us.

2.      Esther, she is on missions serving the women, encouraging them and aiming to bring deep emotional healing into their lives, she may not realize it, but I see that she has been so gifted in that area. She does things that are so conducive to achieving her aims, and it comes naturally to her. And it comes naturally because the Holy Spirit is in her and working through her. 

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