Summary: God calls us to be a part of His body by equipping and empowering us for service. We are to present ourselves to Him as the norm for being a vital and living part of His team.
Spiritual Gifts Series # 1
1. Dramatize a ‘Winning Team’ with a tug of war.
a. One team pulling together & the other pulling in different directions and disorganized.
b. Have congregation vote on which team they would like to be on.
2. Paul gives us a clear picture of a winning team in Romans 12.
a. Read chap 12
b. Notice Paul begins chapter 12 with the word therefore, which tells us we need to understand the context of the preceding chapter.
c. Chapter 11 is a warning to the gentiles not to become arrogant as the Jews had done or they too could be broken off of the olive tree.
d. They (the Jews) had made the mistake of thinking that because they were God’s chosen people that meant special privilege for them instead of special responsibility. So it is in that context that the Apostle begins by saying ‘therefore’.
Trans... (Vs 1) “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”
I. Characteristics of a Winning Team.
KJV “...which is your reasonable service.” NIV “...this is your spiritual act of worship.”
A. Vss 1 - 2. “...present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice....”
1. Illus... A Nation of Spectators
2. Illus...Monday Morning Armchair Quarterbacks
3. First characteristic of a winning team is they became actively involved in the team. I didn’t say game but rather team involvement.
4. You cannot play in the game until you are apart of the team. Which means you present yourself to the coach (Head of the Church).
5. Paul even tells us how we are to present ourselves for he says: “... present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice,...”
6. Holy comes from the Greek ‘hagios’ meaning in the highest sense to belong to God (Isa 6:3 Re 15:4) and to Christians as consecrated to God’s service, and in so far as they are conformed in all things to the will of God (Ro 6:19,22 Eph 1:4 Ti 1:8 1Pe 1:15). (Easton’s Dictionary)
7. Sanctification, which comes from the same Greek root word (hagiasmos), is the act and process of the Holy Spirit that produces an imparted holiness in the life of the believer.
8. Quote Easton’s Dictionary: “Sanctification, involves more than a mere moral reformation of character, brought about by the power of the truth: it is the work of the Holy Spirit bringing the whole nature more and more under the influences of the new gracious principles implanted in the soul in regeneration. In other words, sanctification is the carrying on to perfection the work begun in regeneration, and it extends to the whole man (Ro 6:13 2Co 4:6 Col 3:10 1Jo 4:7 1Co 6:19). It is the special office of the Holy Spirit in the plan of redemption to carry on this work (1Co 6:11 2Th 2:13).”
9. Quote Hodge (Calvinist): "The more holy a man is, the more humble, self-renouncing, self-abhorring, and the more sensitive to every sin he becomes, and the more closely he clings to Christ....”
Trans...This leads me to the second characteristic of a winning team. How we should think of ourselves.
B. ( Vss 3) “...to think so as to have sound judgment....”
1. Illus...The Greek myth about Narcissus - a young man who saw his own reflection in a pool of water and spent the rest of his life pinning away for himself. We call it narcissism. Another word , a little less intense, is self-centeredness.
2. In order to be a good team player you have to lay your life aside for the benefit of the team.
3. Jesus expressed it in these terms: “Take up your cross and follow Me.” And then He gave us a great example by doing just that.
4. So think of yourself with sound judgment according to the measure of faith you have received.
5. You can talk about faith all day but look at the way you are living your life. You are living according to the measure of faith that you have within the context of the body of Christ (The winning team).
Trans...The third characteristic of a winning team is that it is one body with many members.
C. (Vss 4 - 8) One Body with Many Members
1. Another way of putting it is that there must be unity in diversity.
2. Our oneness needs to be the result of our diversity. Our diversity needs to build our unity. If our different gifts take away from our oneness then they are being used in a carnal manner.
3. We need to recognize and appreciate the diversity of gifts that God has given to the body. Paul list several, such as: prophesy, service, teaching, exhortation, giving, leadership and mercy.