Summary: We are called to live in and develop a community of grace
Romans 12:9-21 – A Community of Grace
The Soap Maker
• A minister and a soap maker went for a walk together. The soap maker said, "what good is Christianity? Look at all the trouble and misery of the world! Still there, even after years--thousands of years--of teaching about goodness and truth and peace. Still there, after all the prayers and sermons and teachings. If religion is good and true, why should this be?"
The minister said nothing. They continued walking until he noticed a child playing in the gutter.
Then the minister said, "Look at that child. You say that soap makes people clean, but see the dirt on that youngster. Of what good is soap? With all the soap in the world, over all these years, the child is still filthy. I wonder how effective soap is, after all!"
The soap maker protested. "But, Pastor, soap cannot do any good unless it is used!"
"Exactly!" replied the minister.
Christianity is like soap, its no good unless it is put to us
• Last week we looked at the first part of Rom 12
• Paul after taking 11 chapters to explain about God’s love and mercy to us, now moves to what a Christian’s response should be to the Good news of Jesus Christ
• Rom 12:1 - “Therefore, I urge you brothers, In view of God’s mercy (Grace) to offer your bodies as living sacrifices
• Because God has been “graceful and loving” to us, we now need to be “graceful and loving” to others
• Otherwise we are like that unused soap
• Christianity is meant to be put to use
• And that use is governed by the administration we live under, Do we live under the administration of Law or the administration of Grace
• What does Paul tell us we are under?
• Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
• We no longer live under the control and dominion of sin because God’s grace has set us free
• John 1:16-17 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
• Jesus introduced the administration of grace and we are expected to live that reality
• Paul in Eph 3:2 speaks about the “administration of God’s grace that was given to me…..”
• We have a responsibility to administer or dispense God’s grace
• Grace is not limited to the gift of salvation. The gift also comes as a task
• Paul viewed himself as a manager of “God’s grace” and so should we
• 1 Peter 4:10 commands us saying, “each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”
• God has enlisted you and I into his work of administrating “grace” to a dying world
• 1 Corinthians 3:9 calls us, ‘God’s fellow-laborers.”
• We are to be his spiritual ambulances administering his grace in a spiritually sick world
• God has enlisted us into his service to be vehicles of his grace
• We should regard ministry as a privilege because we are helping God do his work
Pick up the story in v.9
• So far Paul has told us to change our thinking about the use of our bodies v.1
• the renewing or transformation of our minds, v.2
• we need a humble and submissive heart in order to serve, v.3
• and we are to use the gifts and talents God has given us to serve the church v.4-8
Now he moves on to instruct us on how the Christian community is to treat one another
• Let me say a few words about community before we go into this section
• Too often we regard our calling as an individual thing – “Jesus died for me”, rather than viewing it within the community context of covenant
• Jesus didn’t just die for me, did He? He died for the whole world
• It’s impossible to separate ourselves from the rest of the Christian community
• When the NT talks about reconciliation, it does so in the context of entering into the community of God, of entering into a new order – a new creation
2 Corinthians 5:17-19 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away( Not just the old man) all things have become new.18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the ministry of reconciliation.