Summary: The importance of service in the Christian life.
Service Must Be A Priority
A story is told of a Roman aqueduct at Segovia, Spain. It was built in 109 A.D. For 1800 years, it carried cool water from the mountains to the hot and thirsty city. Nearly 60 generations of men drank from its flow. Then came a new generation, who said, "This aqueduct is so great a marvel that it ought to be preserved for our children, as a museum piece. We shall relieve it of its centuries-long labor."
They did; they laid modern iron pipes. They gave the ancient bricks and mortar a reverent rest. And the aqueduct began to fall apart. The sun beating on the dry mortar caused it to crumble. The bricks and stone sagged and threatened to fall. “What ages of service could not destroy idleness disintegrated.” Resource, Sept./ Oct., 1992, p. 4.
i. An Individual Problem - There are many Christians who have placed themselves upon the shelf and are now in the same condition as this Roman aqua duct.(dried up and falling apart)
ii. A Collective Problem - As a result of individuals who neglect to serve, many churches have become “museum pieces” and are now irrelevant to the communities they were called to serve.
The Apostle Paul, in Romans compares the church to a “Body” The human body serves as a great illustration as to the workings, plan and potential of the Church. Join me in Romans 12 as we consider the thought “Service Must Be A Priority” The first thing I would like to see is:
I. The Unity In Christian Service v4-5
Paul begins with a comparison. He compares the “Church” to the human body. Notice:
A. The Illustration - v4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
Many Systems that make up the human body
1. Cardiovascular System
2. Circulatory System
3. Digestive System
4. Endocrine System
5. Excretory System
6. Immune System
7. Integumentary System
8. Lymphatic System
9. Muscular System
10. Nervous System
11. Reproductive System
12. Respiratory System
13. Skeletal System
14. Urinary System
15. Sensory System
Each of these systems work independently and also work together in order for us to function properly. Paul uses the human body as a grand example of diversity and unity.
This same unity of design and purpose is to exist within the body of Christ. That is the idea he turns to in - v5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.Unity in the church involves more than simply getting along, it requires each of us serving our specific purpose and working together.
It is amazing how the body works, if you wake up in the middle of the night to check on a noise that you heard and you stub your little toe, your whole body hurts. From what I am old this same little toe has a large impact on your balance.
Now, we don’t put much focus on the little toe, you never hear of someone paying thousands of dollars for plastic surgery to improve the look of their little toe. But it is a part of the body, it serves a purpose and is beneficial to the rest of your body.
There are some areas of service that may not receive much attention, but are needful nonetheless. Every part of Christ’s body is needful, useful and profitable. But in many cases certain elements of “the Body” are not working together. When this happens, troubles will arise for the entire body. We have seen the “Illustration” notice the “Explanation”
B. The Explanation -v5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. The human body is made up of various components, they all work together seamlessly. Take eating for example… We smell food cooking, we begin to feel hungry, we walk with our feet to the kitchen, use our hands to gather the desired portion of food, use our fingers to hold the utensils and our arms to move the food to our mouth that has teeth to chew the food and taste buds to taste the home cooked goodness.
This is the kind of seamless cooperation that should exist within the body of Christ. All of us working together to accomplish one specific goal.
Unfortunately many have come to believe that they can get along just as well without other believers. There are also many who seem to think that the rest of the body can handle things without them! There is a parallel passage to Romans 12 found in:
I Corinthians 12:12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. 14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part.15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body.16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? 18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it.19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part!20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body.21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. (NLT)