Summary: Series in Romans
Text- Romans 12:3-8
Title- The Antidote
Romans 12:3-8 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. 4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
I. Think Humbly- 3
II. Seek Unity- 4-5
III. Serve Faithfully- 6-8
I want to thank Henry for covering for me last week. Camille and I snuck away for a few days to celebrate our anniversary and we had a great time. But I am glad to be back. Please turn in your Bible to Romans chapter 12…
Chapter 8 of C.S. Lewis’ book Mere Christianity is titled “The Great Sin”. This has always been my favorite chapter of that book. According to C.S. Lewis the great sin is the sin of pride. Let me read what he has to say…
“According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is pride. Unchastely, anger, greed, drunkenness and all that are merely fleabites in comparison: it was through pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.”
Pride is the great sin. Every other sin you can think of is rooted in the sin of pride. Every rebellious act, every selfish thought, every lie, every angry word, every sinful action has its beginning with pride. It is all about wanting to place ourselves above anyone or anything else. It comes from a desire to have what we want at the expense of our relationships with others or with God.
I would even go so far as to say that all the other sins that we each wrestle with from day to day are merely symptoms of a much more lethal disease. All too often we spend all our time treating those pesky symptoms, but the root disease goes unchecked.
A few months ago Alan told me about an encounter he had out at his place in Yolo with a rattlesnake. I guess he was walking around the side of his barn and saw the thing coiled up near the path. So he did what anyone would do, he grabbed a shovel and killed it good.
We all know that rattlesnakes are poisonous and even potentially deadly. A rattlesnake bite will cause redness, swelling, and a lot of pain. When bitten by a rattlesnake it isn’t enough to simply treat these symptoms. A band-aid, an ice-pack, and some aspirin might treat some of those symptoms of a snake bite, but the poison still remains. You need to get to a hospital as fast as you can and get the anti-venom. Only the right antidote will keep you from losing a limb or death.
Every single one of us has been bitten by the same snake and the venom of pride is working its way through. It is the cancer that will eventually rot out our soul and leave us spiritually dead. Pride blinds people to their need for God. Pride destroys our ability to kneel before God. As we’ve seen throughout Romans, sinful pride leaves us separated from God and destined for an eternity of punishment.
Fortunately God’s has graciously provided a way for us to be freed from that fate. Through faith in the work of Jesus Christ we can have new life and hope and security with God. But even for those of us who are believers, the negative effects of our pride still flair up. We are not immune to bouts of selfishness and outbreaks of conceit. We all struggle with different varieties of sin; and usually those things can and should be treated through accountability and prayer and changes in our lifestyle.
But God wants more than to merely deal with sinful symptoms; He wants to help us attack the root problem. In the passage we are looking at today we see a three phase antidote to our pride problem. God has provided Jesus Christ as the ultimate cure to our sin problem, but these three things are designed to help us shed our stubborn pride and begin to live in a Christ-like way.