Intro:† We saw in our study last week that Ch. 12 was the Beginning of a new section of the Book of Romans - Practical Christian living !
A) Begins w/ making a decision in light of all that God has given to us that we are going to give ourselves - whole heartedly to Him
B) That is what is meant by the phrase - to present bodies - to God as a living sacrifice ! (reasonable Worship )
C) We noted last† Sunday that it is that Kind of commitment which translates itself into living worship / lifestyle of worship
1) †It is a mindset that says God is going to have all of me - All my heart , all my adoration, the very best that I have to give!
CC) How maintained V.2 Donít be conformed - Lit. Ö.. squeeze into mold
††††††††† but be transformed by the renewing of your mind
D) Paul spends the rest of Ch. 12 focusing on our position, place & function within the body of Christ - ( Focus on Sun. mornings - )
Paul Begins by first noting how we should see ourselves as individuals
3† For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
A) Paul begins donít think more highly of yourself than you ought to think -
1) †Universal tendency of human race - think too much about ourselves
B) This tendency is mainly seen in 2 forms !
1) †on the one hand† is the person who is always talking about himself -†
self elevating braggart
C) Always quick to tell you how smart he is - what he has done or is doing -
††††† how strong he is or how spiritual .
D) These people never share any failures / only victories ! They are legends in their own minds - masters at everything
1) †They are on a crash course to be humbled or may never get used
E) The bible says that God resist the proud yet He gives grace to the humble
Former Miami Dolphin coach Don Shula, took his wife on vacation to a small seaside town in Maine.† He figured it was a place they could relax anonymously.
†It was raining when they arrived; they decided to take in a movie.† As they entered the small theatre, the show had not started yet, the lights were still up. And to their surprise the scattered handful of people applauded their entrance.†
After they were seated Don said, "I guess there's nowhere I'm not known."† His wife smiled and said, "And loved, dear."
A man seated nearby reached over and shook Don's hand.† And Shula said, "I have to admit I'm kind of surprised that you know me here." The man responded w/ a puzzled look on his face "Should I know you?† We're just happy to see you folks because the manager had said he wasn't going to start the movie until at least two more people showed up."
A young seminary graduate came up to the pulpit very self confident and immaculately dressed.† He began to deliver his first sermon in his first church and the words simply would not come out. Finally he burst into tears and ended up leaving the platform obviously humbled.
There were 2 older ladies sitting in the front row & one remarked to the other, "If he'd come in like he went out, he would have gone out like he came in
F) It is true that the Lord has a way of humbling those who think more highly of themselves than they ought to ( Shrinking down to size )
††††††††† 1) But this also means to not over think about oneself
This over focus on self is seen in the person who goes around always talking about how their nobodies†
A) Talk about how insecure they are - which is really just another form of pride & Characteristic of being consumed w/ self
B) So Paul says donít overly think about yourself - donít think that you are higher than you really are - or more important
1) †But think soberly - meaning rightly / when People are drunk - they donít think rightly
C) They think they can do things they really canít - when they sober up they come back down to reality .
1) †Paul says to think soberly - rightly according to the measure of faith that God has given to you.
D) This word measure can also be translated standard - which I believe makes more sense in this context .
1) †The idea is that each believer has a standard of faith by which he is to measure himself & that standard is Christ !
E) Paul is not asking the believer to measure† himself according to his feelings which - go up & down .
1) †He is not asking that we measure ourselves according to our successes - which can be few or many
F) And he is not asking us to measure† ourselves - by comparing ourselves w/ others - Husband / father / Christian / the standard is Christ .
†† 1)And when I see myself in light of Him / it is both sobering & humbling
††††† Fall short / Yet encouraging - Godís goal - making me like His Son!
So A key to seeing our place & understanding our function w/ in the body is to see ourselves properly
A) Not in a high minded way - but soberly - rightly as we see ourselves in light of Jesus - Hero - Friend - our savior & example
Next Paul moves on to explain how we are to see ourselves, not just in light of Christ, but as part of the body of Christ !† v.4,5
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.
A) In the scriptures the church is referred to in several different ways - seen as a building - Jesus is the Architect & also chief corner stone
1) †Army - He is the General / Sheepfold - He is the good shepherd -
†††† Bride - He is our husband
B) But the most often used description & probably the clearest is that we are a body - He is the Head !
C) Now There is nothing in the world more beautiful, more exquisite, more intricate than the human body.
1) †The human body beautifully† balanced and delicately articulated
†††† instrument the world has ever seen.
D) All the computers in the world put together cannot do what a single human
†††† body can do, & does w/ such exquisite grace when it is functioning right.
1) †It is so true what the Psalmist - declared when he said that we are fearfully & wonderfully made !
E) Ken Caminetti can hit a baseball that is thrown to him at 99 mph - yet he hits it - 520 feet -that takes incredible timing & hand eye coordination
1) †Or when you sit down & watch a master pianist - work his instrument in such a way - beautiful music - fingers going up down
F) Those are incredible feats - that would be impossible to perform if every member of the body wasnít functioning properly
Even seemingly simple task like eating - and drinking - things that we donít even think about are a major miracle
A) That - your stomach sends a signal to your brain - Hey Iím hungry - lets get some food down here !
B) Brain sends the single down to the legs & feet - the stomach is hungry again - †legs get you up & feet get going to fridge.
1) †Single comes from the Brain to the hands lets go for the Pep. Pizza & the chocolate - Pie - w/ some iced tea to drink
C) Sit down & again a miracle takes place as the Brain - directs the hands so that - the Pizza & cake end up in your mouth & not your nose or ear
D) It is truly an amazing creation when you think about it !
And it is no accident that the Lord refers to His Church as a body - because it is also a complex entity comprised of many members who need to function together as one
A) And when the Church is functioning properly it can do powerful things & it is a beautiful thing to behold !
B) In looking at the Church as a body - there are 2 things that Paul mentions here ! Because we are a body there is a unity v.5
1) †But also a diversity v. 4†† Both are important to understand
C) First lets look at our unity ! 5† so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
Paul is sharing here that there is a unity that we experience as Christians
A) That unity is the connectedness that we enjoy being a part of the body of Christ . Many members yet - one body
B) Love what we read of the early Church in the book of Acts - first formed - it says Acts 2:42 42† And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
43† Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
44† Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common,
C) That last phrase is what I find the most interesting - they had all things in common.
1) †Diff. Back grounds - different - occupations - diff. Regions of the country - traveled to Jerusalem for Pentecost / saved
D) Yet they all things in common because of their connectedness to Christ - they had Him in common - therefore there was a unity !
E) We enjoy that same unity - today -/ See† There is unity when we are gathered around Christ ! Hearts seeking to touch Christ
1) †Be touched by Christ / unity in seeking to build up each other in our relationship w/ Christ !
Now there is a movement today in the church Known as the ecumenical movement - ecumenical = universal - Universal unified church
A) They say the problem w/ the Church today is that it is not unified - therefore we must - pursue unity at all cost !
B) meaning - we put aside our doctrine - and we just love each other & put up w/ our differences
1) †So if the Church down the street wants to have Pastors who are†
†Homosexual - so be it - we will be one !
C) Such a cry for unity is totally unscriptural - the minute any Church - lays†
††††††† aside the word of God as its guideline it is† in trouble
1) †Always should be able to point to the word & explain the reason why
†††† we are doing anything say - This is that which is written here !
But there are 2 other problems w/ this type of mentality /
A) The first is that it essentially ignores the unity that the bible says we already possess in the Lord ! Turn to Eph. 4
4:1† I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,
2† with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3† endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4† There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;†† 5† one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
6† one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
B) †Paul is describing a unity that we already have - it is a unity that is in place when we become a part of Christ
1) †Paul refers to it as the unity of the Spirit in the bond of Peace
b) †It is a unity created by the Spirit of Christ dwelling in His people
C) And that unity is only severed - when we disconnect ourselves from Christ By ignoring His word - doing our own thing /
1) Chicken w/ head cut off -† motion / no direction
D) But There is a unity that is already there by virtue of the very existence of a church. There is no need to create it- it already exist†
1) †It is a supernatural working of the H.S. that has brought us together in Christ as one body - having many members !
2nd Problem with the ecumenical movement today is that they are ignoring the unity that the N.T. says already exist
A) And They are trying to create is a unity of the flesh, itís† an organizational unity
B) which draws its power from the number of bodies which can be joined together, apart from conviction and spiritual agreement.
Dr. Bernard Ramm says,
When the modern groups deny the supernatural character of Christ the church becomes a society, a natural, human, non-supernatural, religious community. It is bound together purely by natural ties, such as a common heritage in the Bible, a common belief in some sort of uniqueness in Jesus, a common belief in the historical continuity of Christians, and a common ethic of love.
†††† Now it is true that† the church is a society, but that is secondary First & foremost it is the supernatural body of Christ.
D) This is the difference that needs to be clearly seen these days.
1) †The church is not a conglomeration of individuals who happen to agree upon certain things.
E) But the Church is a Living organism - a body - which has been joined together w/ Christ as the head !
1) †Church derives its power not from organization - but from Him
Someone has well described this attempt to unify the Church in the flesh as
an attempt to put all the corpses into one cemetery, and thus make for a Resurrection
F) But it cannot work. The church is intended to be an instrument of life, but putting dead bodies together does not produce† life.
So Paul says there is a unity that we experience in being a part of Christ but notice what he says here in v. 3 Eph 3† endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
A) Now this is what we need to understand - we are exhorted to maintain this unity that we already possess in Christ
B) This phrase is even stronger in the Greek text it is striving to maintain the unity we possess .
1) †And I want us to consider this in light of our individual Church
C) There are 2 keys to maintaining this unity !† This is what I want to focus on w/ the rest of our time† mention in reverse order of importance† !
†So First - Realize there is diversity !† Back to Romans v.4 ††For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,
A) Weirsbe - Unity without diversity would produce uniformity,( Everything†
†††† the same ) †and uniformity† tends to produce death.
Being a part of a body means there is diversity - We donít all have the same function or calling !
A) Remember when Peter was taught this lesson - there in Jn 21 after the Resurrection. Jesus meets His disciples on the beach after unsuccessful night of fishing
B) Put your net on the other side ! -†† Great hall / Peter its the Lord
C) Peter love me more than these - Feed my sheep - tend my lambs ! Peter feed & take care of my people !
D) Great calling - but some reason - Peter† looks at John & says what about Him ! What about John what want Him to do !
1) †Jesus looks at Peter & says What is that to thee - in other words - it is none of your business you just do what I am telling you to do
E) It is sad today that there can be a great deal of competition w/ in the Church today . A great deal of Jealousy
1) †By People who are unsatisfied w/ the gifts & calling that the Lord has given to others
F) Instead of being excited that the Lord has given all of us the opportunity to be used by Him !†† All have gifts all have a place
1) †We need to be satisfied - w/ where the Lord has us / and how He has gifted us - and thankful that He seeks to use us at all
G) Paul talks about this unity in greater detail in 1 Cor. 12 turn there v.14
Now there are 2 problems that can arise from the Diversity in being a part of the body - Paul addresses them here !
A) The first is feeling like we are insignificant - I donít have a place & I donít fit in God canít use me / no abilities†
B) - notice what Paul says in light of that attitude
14† For in fact the body is not one member but many.
15† If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? 16† And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body?
17† If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18† But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.
19† And if they were all one member, where would the body be?
A) Paul says that if your foot should say, "Well I can't do all the things a hand does. It's so flexible. It is hooked onto that long arm, &† it is used all the time.
B) I can't wiggle my toes like the hand can wiggle the fingers; I just can't do what the hand can do, therefore I really don't belong in this body,"
1) †That would be ridiculous!
C) Paul says Just because the foot canít do what the hand does doesnít make it any less part of the body !
D) Or If the ear says, "Because I can't see like an eye, I am not part of the body," the ear is deceiving itself. It is part of the body.
1) †Now as humorous as this is - this type of thinking does go on in the Church !
E) So & so is so gifted - or so & so is always up front - I wish I could do that - but the question is where† has God placed you / how gifted you .
1) †Listen John Randall sing - I wish I could sing like that - Plus he plays
††† he can preach & he surfs - why he get all gifts
F) Fantasy - Rock star - God knew I couldnít handle it ! - So gave me zero musically abilities
Point is God has gifted each one of us & desires us to use those gifts & develop our gifts / realizing we are all different ! we seek to
A) The Apostle is saying that if you think of yourself as a member of the church, the Body of Christ, and you say to yourself,
B) "Well, because I can't stand up and sing or preach or teach or lead a meeting, there is really nothing I can do in the Body of Christ,"
1) †you are deceiving yourself! And† You have not changed reality any.††
††††† You are still a part of the body.†† You have a part to play
b) And if you are not using your gift or not really being a part of the body / just showing up - listen & go - you are robbing the body - thumb
C) Part of the reason why we struggle w/ things like this is because we have forgotten what the purpose of the Church is !
1) †We have the tendency to think the main work of the Church is to have a great meeting on Sunday mornings
D) When in reality the soul purpose of meetings like this is to build up equip & strengthen the Church to go out & affects its world
1) †And to equip the body to minister to each other & build one another up to stir up love & good works
E) If the only ministry that ever take place through the Body of CC Vista is what goes on in this building - we are falling way short of our purpose & calling!
F) what we do here is merely part of the training program. We do not come to church to fulfill the work of the church.
1) †We come here to get ready to be used out there in the world
G) We are the body of Christ & He is seeking to live His life through us today as the members of His body - to reach this world !†† ( Incarnation lives on)
Quote Stedman : We have been so brainwashed with the conventional idea of the church that we need to be† dynamited out of that concept, to capture again the glorious excitement of Jesus Christ walking through the hurt of this world and touching with a healing hand, by the instruments of his people, the blind eyes, the lame legs, the hurting & destroyed lives all
That is what the work of the church is: Christ in us at work in the world.
Now if you have that kind of mindset you realize that - every part of the body is important & vital !† And Diversity is Necessary & Important
A) Paul says "If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?"
A) Youth Pastor Football - eye ball - like my baby - date - w/ the eye !
B) What a ridiculous body it would be if we all did the same thing & the work of the Church only consisted of what takes place on Sunday mornings
C) So I hope that is clear, & forever settles the question of feeling insignificant as part of the body. You cannot say to yourself,
††††† 1) "There is no place for me," for there definitely is.
Now let us take the next problem that surfaces in a church, an independent spirit:
20† But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.
21† And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."††
22† No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.
23† And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty,
24† but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it,
25† that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.
26† And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
27† Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
A) It is amazing that in many congregations people get the idea that they do not need the rest of the body; they can function on their own;
1) †they have their own abilities, their own ministry, and they can do things quite apart from others.
B) This always creates a sense of competitiveness, of rivalry.
C) I have played on some Basketball teams that were this way - whoever got the rebound would dribble the length of the court & shoot .
1) †Wouldnít pass if life depended on it !
D) Great rebounding teams -fighting w/ your own players for rebounds - only way you would have a chance to shoot.
E) Now Paul says that if that type of independent spirit manifested itself in your physical body it would cause some major problems
1) †What would happen if the eye said, "I don't need the rest of the body. I'll just roll around seeing things and let the rest of the body go."
F) That eyeball would instantly go blind & the body would go around bumping into everything !
1) †That type of independent spirit is equally as damaging in the body of Christ !
G) The instant any part of the body says to any other part, ďI donít need you!Ē it begins to weaken & die & creates problems for the body as a whole
But Diversity in the body is an evidence of the wisdom of God.
A) All these different members doing their part to fulfill the function of the body as a whole !
C) Now When Paul speaks of the weaker parts of the body - he isnít talking about strength - or significance - but of Visibility
1) †There are the parts of our body - that are visible - hands feet
D) But there are the parts which are unseen - but are not less - in fact those unseen parts are vital - Heart & Brain ! Blood etc.
E) So too there are those in the body of Christ who may not ever be seen yet they are the Life & the blood of the Church
1) †Example those who pray !
So one thing that is vitally important to maintaining our unity is realizing our diversity - Many members diff. Functions And No one is insignificant
But the most important thing in maintaining our unity† is to keep our eyes on the Head !† Close w/ this little story
Brother Hammer was appointed to preside over the Master Tool Convention. Brother Screwdriver objected, saying ďBrother Hammer, youíre too noisy to preside over this meeting. Youíre always driving home your point, always nailing people. I call for your resignation immediately.
Brother Hammer responded ďWell, what about you, Brother Screwdriver? All you ever do is spin around in circles.Ē†††† ďThat may be true, said Brother Screwdriver, but al least Iím not like Brother Plane. His work is so surface, so shallow. What right does he have to even be here?Ē
ďIf youíre going to kick me out, protested Brother Plane, what about Brother Ruler? He thinks heís always right, measuring everyone else by his standardsĒ
ďWell, if youíre going to come down on me, argued Brother Ruler, what about Brother Pliers? He needs to get a grip!Ē
ďAt least I donít rub people the wrong way, said Brother Pliers, who was† staring at Brother Sandpaper.
Just then the Master Craftsman walked in. And, as He used each tool at the perfect time, He created an object of great beauty.
Many parts - all have our place in the masters work shop - need to let Him use us as He wants to !