Summary: In this sermon we examine three platforms for serving one another: humility, the communion of the saints, and spiritual gifts.
He says, in a very provocative way, that he wants us to live our lives for God. He wants us to give ourselves for God, and he does it in a striking way. He says that he wants us to put ourselves up on the altar. All the people in his day and time would have been familiar with sacrifices. Paul is saying to them, “Climb up on that altar and give yourself to God.”
Then when Paul gets to Romans 12:3 he wants to talk to us about how we relate to the family of God. He wants us to think about how grace works in the family of God. That’s what we’re looking at today in God’s Word. So, let’s read Romans 12:3-8:
3For 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. 4For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8the 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. (Romans 12:3-8)
Paul is speaking to Christians—and not just to those Roman Christians almost 2,000 years ago—about how we ought to relate to one another, how we ought to serve one another, and how we ought to use our gifts, abilities and resources to help one another.
In the context of the discussion, Paul gives us three platforms for serving one another in the church. They are humility, the communion of the saints, and the use of spiritual gifts. Let’s look at each in turn.
I. Grace Should Lead to Humility (12:3)
First, grace should lead to humility. Paul says in verse 3: “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.”
Grace, Paul knows, can lead to pride, if we’re not careful. It ought not to, it’s not designed to do that, but there is no blessing that God gives that we cannot turn upside down.
So Paul knows that grace on occasion leads to spiritual pride and he doesn’t want it to do so. He wants it to lead to humility. Paul is speaking here not just as an apostle, but as an example. He’s standing before us as a person who has been given the grace of apostleship.
Now, none of us has been given the grace of apostleship. Paul is emphasizing that he is speaking to us as Christians in light of the grace that had been given to him and in light of the fact that this grace that God had given to him had not led him to spiritual pride, but had cultivated real humility in him.