Summary: It has to do with transforming attitude and producing action. This morning we will talk about giving, but it is not the kind of giving that you are thinking of. The kind of giving we will talk about today is not the giving of tithes and offerings, but t
A HEALTHY CHURCH: ONE THAT GIVES
DL Moody once said, “The Scriptures were not given for our information, but for our transformation.” Becoming a healthy church, is a transformation and a process that is a worthy goal for any church to have. We talked last time about a healthy church being one that prays. Today we will look at another part of being a healthy church. It has to do with transforming attitude and producing action. This morning we will talk about giving, but it is not the kind of giving that you are thinking of. The kind of giving we will talk about today is not the giving of tithes and offerings, but the giving of yourself.
I would like us to look at Romans 12:1-21 this morning and usually I read the passage in its entirety. Today, let us go verse by verse in God’s Word and allow Him to show us how we can give of ourselves and how that produces a healthy church. There are three major areas that we will look at today: giving of yourself to God to serve, giving of yourself to others in love, and giving yourself to good.
I. GIVE YOURSELF TO GOD TO SERVE (12:1-8)
READ VERSE 1: The Apostle Paul begins chapter 12 of Romans with a tall order. We are to give ourselves to God as a living sacrifice in an act of worship. What does that mean? When I think of something or someone being a sacrifice, I think of absolute willingness and a clear sense of purpose. Notice that Paul specifies that it is our bodies that he is referring to. He wants our bodies to be part of the action of living out a holy life for God.
READ VERSE 2: The Apostle Paul does not stop with the body, but includes the mind as well. We are to give our minds to God to be transformed to be able to see Him clearly. Not only are our bodies to be active and holy for God, but our minds are to be separated from the filth of the world and committed to God. With a clear and holy mind, God’s will and His desires are clear to us and we will be able to follow Him.
READ VERSES 3: The Apostle Paul continues to build his order with our attitudes. Verse 3 focuses not on our bodies or minds, but on our emotions and our attitudes. All our attitudes should be tempered with humbleness and faith.
ILLUSTRATION... High Opinion, Our Daily Bread, July 3, 1989
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, “Hmmm, I see it’s got your weight wrong too!”
READ VERSE 4-5: A foundation is laid in verses 1 and 2 and 3 that Paul expands on in verses 4-5 and in the rest of the passage. The foundation is that we are to give our bodies, minds, and attitudes to God. But for what purpose? The purpose is service. We, as a church, are to be a body of believers that gives ourselves to God for service. A healthy church is prepared physically to serve. A healthy church is prepared mentally to serve. A healthy church is prepared emotionally (??attitudinally??) to serve.
READ VERSES 6-8: We do that by employing the gifts that God has given to us. Paul lists a few gifts to make his point. If you have the gift of teaching, then by all means do that. If your gift is prophecy, I want to see you after the service to run some lotto numbers by you. No, I am kidding! Paul states that whatever our gift: prophecy, serving, teaching, encouragement, making money, leadership, mercy, that we should use our gift to live out our lives as living sacrifices to God.
ILLUSTRATION... Heaven and Hell, Found at Afterhours Inspirational Stories (www.ozsermonillustrations.com)
A man spoke with the Lord about Heaven and Hell. "I will show you Hell," said the Lord. And they went
into a room which had a large pot of stew in the middle. The smell was delicious and around the pot sat people who were famished and desperate. All were holding spoons with very long handles which reached to the pot, but because the handles of the spoons were longer than their arms, it was impossible to get the stew into their mouths. Their suffering was terrible.
"Now I will show you Heaven," said the Lord, and they went into an identical room. There was a similar pot of stew and the people had the same identical spoons, but they were well nourished, talking and happy. At first the man did not understand. "It is simple," said the Lord. "You see, they have learned to feed each other."