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Summary: A believer's consecration to God & his transformed lifestyle is demonstrated in his exercising his spiritual gifts in & for the body of Christ. The basic idea is that every believer is a living part of the body of Christ & each member has a spiritual fun

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ROMANS 12:3-6

A HEALTHY BODY

After World War II, a group of German students volunteered to help rebuild an ENGLISH CATHEDRAL that had been severely damaged by German bombs. As work progressed, they became concerned about a large statue of Jesus, whose arms were outstretched and beneath which was the inscription: "Come unto Me." They had particular difficulty trying to restore the hands, which had been completely destroyed. After much discussion, they decided to let the hands remain missing and changed the inscription to: "Christ has no hands but ours."

The work of Jesus Christ in the world our hands, it is in the hands of those who belong to Him. In that sense, He has no hands but our hands, and no feet but our feet. But in order to serve God and be what He desires we must first be a living and holy sacrifice. Only as a living sacrifice can we be what He wants us to be, do what He wants us to do, and thereby prove that the will of God is good, acceptable and perfect. The fully surrendered life is not only the prerequisite for worship, it is also the prerequisite for divine usefulness. Devotion to the Lord and active, faithful ministry are bound together.

We desire each member to be a living sacrifice because we are bound together in the body of Christ, the church. Since each is to be used to build up the body and help move each other toward completion and perfection in Christ (1 Cor. 12:7), the greater the usefulness the greater the building up of the body. We belong to each other, we minister to each other and we need each other if we are ever going to realize what Christ has for His body.

I. HONEST EVALUATION, 3.

II. MANY MEMBER OF ONE BODY,4-5.

III. THE PORTION OF FAITH, 6.

A believer's consecration to God and his transformed lifestyle is demonstrated in his exercising his spiritual gifts in and for the body of Christ. The basic idea is that every believer is a living part of the body of Christ and each member has a spiritual function to perform. But to carry out your function and build up the body an honest evaluation needs to be performed. Verse 3; "For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

Are you building up the body of Christ? An evaluation is needed to assess that question but this test can only be honestly administered by the renewed mind. A result of the process of the renewing of the mind is a humble attitude (you don't think more highly of himself than you ought to think). Only the humble can have the necessary sound judgment concerning themselves. Notice Paul addresses "everyone," "I say to everyone among you." No believer is exempt from this universal call to humility. For the sin of exaggerated self-importance is out of place in the Christian life. No matter how vigorously we seek to serve, our gifts will never work as intended until self is set aside.

The reason is that pride damages self as well as others. In his book "Psychological Seduction, the Failures of Modern Psychology," professor William K. Kilpatrick writes, "Extreme forms of mental illness are always extreme cases of self-absorption. [For example ...] "The distinctive quality, the thing that sets paranoid people apart is hyper-self-consciousness. [And the thing they prize most about themselves is their autonomy. Their constant fear is that someone else is interfering with their will or trying to direct their lives" (p. 67).]

A man who had a high opinion of himself stepped on a COIN-OPERATED SCALE that dispensed a card, giving his weight and comments about his personality. After reading the card, he handed it to his wife and said, "Here, look at this!" She took it and read aloud, "You are dynamic, a born leader, handsome, and much admired by women for your personality." Giving it a second look, she added, "Hmm, I see it's got your weight wrong too!"

Nothing so mars the happiness and stunts the growth of God's people as self-importance, conceit, and self-indulgence. [This concentration on the "big I' may show itself in several ways. There is a sinful pride of nationality, of social status, or of mental or physical superiority. Self-pity is a more subtle form of self-importance. Some people always feel sorry for themselves and are easily hurt if they're not pampered.]

We all need Paul's admonition not to think too highly of ourselves. Till we accurately see ourselves by realizing that all we are and have is by grace, won't live for His glory. Once we recognize that God gave our abilities and strengths to us to be used for His glory will we see ourselves correctly.

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