Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: A person’s place in the Body of Christ.

Every human being desires to feel needed and wanted. Feeling that we need to be in someone’s life or doing a certain job makes us feel important. It gives purpose and meaning to our lives. Sometimes just the fact that others rely on us can keep us going even when we want to quit. You may hate your job but you know that if you quit you can’t feed your family. They need you as the man or woman of the household to work to support them because they cannot support themselves. We see this in the empty nest syndrome that most parents, especially mothers, feel as their children leave home. Many times its not just your baby leaving that hurts and makes you sad but the fact that the whole reason you have lived for the last 20 years was to take care of that child/children. When they leave, even if you sometimes complained about having to care for them, you miss them and you miss your reason for living.

On the idea of purpose, there is a story about a rich man who wanted to buy his mother something she had never had and that only he could afford. He spent weeks trying to find the perfect gift when finally he heard about a bird which could sing opera, speak four-thousand words, and could even speak in different languages. This is the perfect gift for his mother. She spends most of her time at the house alone just watching TV. Now she can have a companion. He immediately bought the bird for fifty thousand dollars and express shipped it to his mother. After about a week, he became concerned that she hadn’t received the bird. He soon called her and sure enough she had received the bird. “What do you think of the bird, mom?” She replied excitedly, “Delicious!”

Today we start on the second train track that we will lay that will take us into the future as a church. The second track that we must lay gives purpose and meaning to our lives as children of the Lord. Today we will talk about spiritually gifted ministry. Romans 12:1 states “Therefore I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” A good translation of this would be “because of all that God has done, we should serve him in the way that we have been given to serve Him.” How? With what are you and I supposed to serve God? Romans 12:3-8 give us the answer. (READ SCRIPTURE) In the body of Christ, everyone has a place to serve. God has gifted each and every one of us to have a place to serve Him. In God’s kingdom, the church, there is a place for everyone and everyone should find their place. Let’s look through the verses we have read and see how we can find our place in the body of Christ.

Start with a Servant’s Heart (Rom 12: 1, 3)

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

According to the grace given to Paul, in other words his apostleship, he gives everyone a command that they should understand. Each one of the Christians at Rome had been given a spiritual gift that they were supposed to use to edify the body of Christ. Knowing exactly how mankind works, Paul addresses the very first issue: pride. “Each individual member of the congregation is pointedly commanded by the apostle to be careful how he regards himself, lest constantly, habitually, he allow himself to have either too high an opinion of his own importance, or too low an estimate of his value to the congregation.” Neither being prideful nor being disdainful has any value or place in the body of Christ. Instead, the people judge themselves according to a better measuring stick; sober thinking. They must choose to think responsibly about where they belong in the body. Sober thinking never exaggerates nor depreciates the gifts God has given and no gift is necessarily better than another. The Romans needed to understand that if a gift was given to us by God then it is exactly what the body needs to grow strong. All the gifts given to the Romans were given to serve God while building up his church. A servant doesn’t wonder whether or not he can do anything for his master but does what he can to the best of his ability.

“In 1972, NASA launched the exploratory space probe Pioneer 10. According to Leon Jaroff in Time, the satellite’s primary mission was to reach Jupiter, photograph the planet and its moons, and beam data to earth about Jupiter’s magnetic field, radiation belts, and atmosphere. Scientists regarded this as a bold plan, for at that time no earth satellite had ever gone beyond Mars, and they feared the asteroid belt would destroy the satellite before it could reach its target. But Pioneer 10 accomplished its mission and much, much more. Swinging past the giant planet in November 1973, Jupiter’s immense gravity hurled Pioneer 10 at a higher rate of speed toward the edge of the solar system. At one billion miles from the sun, Pioneer 10 passed Saturn. At some two billion miles, it hurtled past Uranus; Neptune at nearly three billion miles; Pluto at almost four billion miles. By 1997, twenty-five years after its launch, Pioneer 10 was more than six billion miles from the sun. And despite that immense distance, Pioneer 10 continued to beam back radio signals to scientists on Earth. "Perhaps most remarkable," writes Jaroff, "those signals emanate from an 8-watt transmitter, which radiates about as much power as a bedroom night light, and takes more than nine hours to reach Earth.’" The Little Satellite That Could was not qualified to do what it did. Engineers designed Pioneer 10 with a useful life of just three years. But it kept going and going. By simple longevity, its tiny 8-watt transmitter radio accomplished more than anyone thought possible.

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Gary Close

commented on Feb 3, 2007

Though my sermon on Romans 12:3-8 will be taking a different direction I found Brien's message very helpful, and I really liked a couple of his illustrations.

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