“ABUNDANT LIFE (2) SERVICE” By Pastor YAU
Text: Romans 12:3-5 March 27, 2011
1) Who have the hands? After World War II, a group of German students volunteered to help rebuild an English church that had been damaged severely by German bombs. As work progressed, they became concerned a large statue of Jesus whose arms were outstretched and beneath which was the inscription: “Come unto Me.” They had particular difficulty in trying to reconnect the hands that had been completely destroyed. After much discussion, they decided to let the hands remain missing and changed the inscription to: “Christ has no hands but ours.”
2) Who have the mission? “Not so with you. Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant. Whoever wants to be first must be your slave. Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26-28) Jesus gave this teaching right after a mother of two of his disciples came to ask him a special position of privilege in the Kingdom of God that means power, pride and glory. Jesus cares not about power, pride or glory for himself or his followers. He cares about if his followers have the proper attitude of humility, lowliness and service to others.
PROPER ATTITUDE ON SERVICE: (12:3)
1) There must be a connection: “For through the grace given to me.” (12:3a) “For” or “Therefore” is from a Greek word “gar” which serves as a conjunction to connect the previous verse to the next verse. The previous verse is about our need of giving back to God all we have, (12:1-2), then the proper action we need to follow is to serve others. No one may claim he loves God, being obedient to God or dedicated to God, but doesn’t involve his service to others at God’s church and God’s field, the world. No one may claim to be a true follower of Christ by staying out of God’s business, watching worship program on tv and didn’t do anything to sacrifice his time, energy and resources to God’s course through God’s house and around the world. There must be a connection between what we claim to be and what we do to validate our claims. Paul didn’t say things on his own mind but on the authority (grace) of God.
2) No one may claim exemption: “I say to every man among you.” (12:3b)One of the most common false beliefs is that only those who have been called need to serve God and others. Or only those who are elected in positions or committees can serve in the church. Nothing is farther from the truth. When Jesus told his disciples about the need to serve, there is no distinction of any kind. Certainly Paul was talking to all the believers in the church at Rome. Whoever use whatever excuses to escape his duty of serving God has no ground to justify his claim. Once he is saved by the blood of Jesus he is a servant or slave of the Lord and his only right thing to do is to serve God and others.
3) No one is higher than others: “Do not think more highly than one ought to think.” (12:3c) Paul listed here 2 factors that hinder one to serve: 1) One thinks of himself more highly than others. This means “to over estimate” his true status. The fact is he is not more highly than anyone else but he thinks he is. This is about false belief or pride. 2) Than he ought to think, he “suppose” or “properly” to think. This means he is “out of the line” both because he is not more highly or even he is, he should not think that way according to the principle set by the Lord Jesus. Jesus deserves to think more highly than anyone else but he didn’t do that. He served others even with his own life. So no one ought to think that way.
4) Think as God would think: “But to think so as to have a sound judgment, as God allotted to each a measure of faith.” (12:3d) The value of each person before God is allotted by God, not by anyone else. “Sound judgment” comes from a “sound” mind, a mind that is functioning properly. Anyone who thinks of himself more highly than he ought to is not having a sound or correct mindset or the ability to make proper judgment. One way to make sound judgment is when he recognizes God’s measure of faith in him. If one focuses on God, close to God, he will be able to make proper judgment.
PROPER ATTITUDE ON DIVERSITY: (12:4)
1) God created diversity: “Just as we have many members in one body.” (12:4a) God creates the body, and He creates those many members in the body. Most of us love to be with people “like us.” We feel uncomfortable to live, work or socialize with people who are different from us. But we need to know that God did not create all people like “us.” People are all different in shapes and sizes, in personality and abilities, in values and ways of doing things. Even between husbands and wives, there are gulfs to cross over to build a strong marriage. If all people are like me, the world will be so boring. I guarantee that.
2) We need many members: “Just as we have many members.” (12:4b) Unless you are out of your mind, you will agree that we need many members in our body to survive, to thrive, to achieve and to share the joy of success. No one body may survive, much less achieve anything significant to have just one member on the body. This is true at home, in school, at work, in church as well. We need more than one member in a body, regardless of your feeling or preference. God knows our needs and he crates us that way for our good. So, thank God for the many members.
3) Many members but one body: “We have many members in one body.” The concept of “one body” is very important in all areas of our life, be it in family, in school, in a company, a church or a country. The fact that we have many different members in the body doesn’t make us “many bodies” but one. No one member of the body may feel or think he doesn’t belong to the one body. You may find more teaching on this “inter-dependence” in 1 Corinthians 12:12-18. The sense of unity is vitally important in all areas of our life.
4) All members are useful: “And all the members do not have the same function.” (12:4d) “Function” means being useful, taking active part, contributing and benefiting. With all the differences in the many members, the big and the small, the visible and the invisible, the stronger and the weaker, the glorious and the less appealing, they all have their unique function or contribution to the well being of the body. This is true in a family, a company or a church. It is very important that we recognize the unique contribution of all members. This also means that all members in family or business or a church need to be “functioning and contributing” members. No member may just enjoy all benefits of the body but not contributing to the well being of the body.
PROPER ATTITUDE ON RELATIONSHIP: (12:5)
1) The importance of relationship: “So we, who are many, are one body.” (12:5a)There is an inseparable tie between the members and the body and both members and the body need to function properly. No individual member may survive much less function profitably, if it is separated from the body. This is a very important concept on the unity in the church. If a member of a church is separated from the body, the church, he cannot function profitably for himself or for the church or for God. His usefulness will render minimal if anything.
2) First, relationship with Christ: “We who are many, are one body in Christ.” (12:5b)The foundation of all good relationship must be established first and foremost with Christ. When Christ is the center, His purpose becomes our purpose, his value our value then all aspects of human relationship will be grounded in Him.
3) Then, relationship with others: “And individually members one of another.” “One another” is the next level of relationship we need to build when we serve God and the people. Our vertical relationship is with Christ while our horizontal relationship is with God’s people. While we need to be close with Christ, we also need to be close with other members of God’s church.
4) Finally, our individuality: “And individually members of each other.” (12:5d)We also need to pay attention on personal growth and development. Personal growth on spiritual, social aspects in life is vital to improve our quality in serving God and others.
1) There is a purpose: The fact that God saves us but puts us in this world has a purpose in it: He wants us to be the salt and the light to those who are lost in the darkness of sin. The call in the Great Commission is a call to serve people of this world so we may lead them to Christ. As Jesus came not to be served but to serve, we as His followers are to serve others so they may come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior.
2) We are in partnership: As we try to serve God and his people, we need to partner with one another and together, partner with God. Keeping a close walk with Jesus is the foundation in our pursuit of service. Building a proper attitude with other is also vital in the effectiveness of our service. No one may achieve a goal without working with others in the body of Christ. We are to understand the importance of relationship and mutual respect of one another to build up the body of Christ.
3) You are invited too: The vineyard of God is always available to anyone who has the desire to serve God and His people. If the Lord inspires your heart and you want to become his follower, you may ask Jesus to come into your heart, confess your sins and follow His lead in your life. If you are inspired to get involved in any service, you may call me and I will be happy to help you find a position suitable for your talents. Be blessed.