20180311 Sunday Worship Sermon
Romans 12:3-13 “A Life of Service”
How can we be saved?
Romans chapters 1-11 gives a clear answer to this question.
It is "to be saved through faith by the grace of Jesus Christ".
Then, what would the next question that saved people should ask?
It is a question about life.
This is the question, “how will the saved people live?”
Romans chapters 12-16 gives an answer to this question.
Last Sunday, we talked about how we, Christians, should live a life of worship.
And in today’s text, Paul tells us that Christians should live a life of service.
It seems that Paul is answering to three specific questions regarding the life of service.
I would like to share this with you.
The first question is the issue of where to start?
In other words, it is about "priority."
Second, we need strength to enable service, so where can we find the power we need?
It is about the source of power.
And third, how should we serve?
It's about "attitude."
First, we will talk about “priority.”
Where should we serve first?
In short, it is at a church.
All services must begin within the church.
Romans 12: 3-13, which we read today, speaks of the importance of serving the Church.
Then, the words after verse 14 tell us about a serving in social life.
So the order of priority in the Bible is clear.
It is the church that is the starting point of the life of service.
Why should service begin in the church?
It is because the church is the light and hope of the world.
It is true that churches today lose their influence in the world.
Nevertheless, we still believe that the Church has the power to break the evil, injustice and power of Satan in the world.
In every age, the hope of the world was in the church.
Looking back on history, when the church exerted spiritual power, innovation and revival took place.
On the other hand, when the church lost its mission of light and was corrupted, the society also became corrupt and lost its direction.
Therefore, the church has the power to change society.
When our worship is restored, when our prayer is heated, and when our devotion is burned, there is a hope to change the entire society.
When there are various intertwined problems, the one to solve the problem is the church.
When we repent, worship before God, and the spirit of prayer revives in us, the world has hope and the ability to be changed.
Also, the reason why a service should begin within the church is because we are the body of the church that is the body of Christ.
Jesus said, "Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Here we emphasize the passage "Love our neighbors."
But we must realize the fact that these words teach us to love ourselves to love our neighbor.
It means that a person who does not love himself can never love another person.
To be able to love others, we must love ourselves first.
This is important.
We cannot love other people until we love the church, the body of Christ.
It is because we are the body of church.
We, as the body of Christ, must love church first, and then go out into the world with passion and embrace the world with love.
The church has two structures.
It is the coming to the structure and going from the structure.
First of all, we must gather in the church.
What we have to do together is to receive the strength that God poured out.
And then it is not just a gathering, but going out to the world.
We have to shine in the world.
We must be the light and salt of the world and have a holy influence in the world.
In order to be the light and salt of the world, it must first be prepared and trained in the church.
We need strength to serve in the church.
But we cannot serve with our strength.
Because the work of the church is a spiritual battle, we must be spiritually armed.
Let’s look at First Peter 4:11.
“Whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies…”
Where does the strength of service come from?
The strength of service is derived from God.
In order to devote and serve for the church, we should seek the strength of God.
That is the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Yes, we should humbly ask the gift of the gift of the Holy Spirit.
It is obvious when someone is asking for a broom, this request is for cleaning.
If someone wants to clean the floors, we should give him a broom.
Likewise, God also gives us the instruments when we are dedicated and willing to serve.
When we ask and pray, God pours out his gifts to us.
In verses 6-8, Paul tells us about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which is a necessary instrument for doing God’s work.
We also need various gifts according to the need of ministry to do God's work.
We should also ask for these gifts to be presented to us.
Let's look at some gifts that Paul mentions in today’s text.
First, the gift of prophecy. (ppt)
The gift of prophecy described here is not the mysterious ability to guess the future.
This gift of prophecy is the gift of the word of God.
Or, the gift of preaching the gospel.
When a person with this gift of prophecy preaches the Word, it is powerful.
That message is clear and can touch a heart.
I personally want to have this gift of prophecy, the gift of the Word.
It is not a gift only for the pastor.
It is a gift for all who want to spread the gospel.
I have seen many lay people who have touched many hearts with this gift of prophecy.
I hope that all of you have this gift of prophecy, and share and spread the Gospel with this gift of the Word.
Second, the gift of serving.
This gift is to help other’s ministries.
Those who receive this gift will not succeed if they work alone.
However, if they help others and work together, they excel more than they have.
We refer to those who received this gift as a step, an assistant, or a co-worker.
Aaron and Hur in Exodus 17 were those who received this gift.
The Israelites fought against Amalek.
In this war, as long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalek were winning.
At that time, what did Aaron and Hur do?
They held Moses’ hands up – one on one side, one on the other.
This is the ministry of serving.
Yes, when we do God's work, we need not only people like Moses, but also people like Aaron and Hur.
When we look at those who have done great things with great leadership in Christian history, we can see that there have always been those who helped them.
Without their service and help they could not have done great things.
In this era, when everyone wants to be a leader, we need someone who has the gift of serving.
In God's kingdom, people who serve are the greatest.
I hope that you become those who are eager to have this gift of serving.
Third, the gift of teaching.
This gift is similar in some ways to the gift of prophecy.
In comparison, if the gift of prophecy is a spiritual power to testify the Word, the gift of teaching will be the ability to understand it.
Even if we may hear the exact same thing, we may hear someone’s speaking better than someone else’s speaking.
It is because of the ability to persuade.
When someone talks, even though it is not a big deal, we are concentrated on his speaking.
This is because he has the gift of teaching.
Fourth, the gift of encouragement.
When we meet someone who has a gift of encouragement, we gain strength.
When people who are always saying "I will not be able to... I am nothing… I am stupid…” meet and talk with someone who has this gift of encouragement, those that are discouraged can gain strength.
I believe that this gift of encouragement is the gift we all should receive.
However, some have gifts that are not encouraging, but discouraging gifts.
I do not know if we can call it a gift... anyway, when we meet such a person, we may always lose strength.
Brothers and sisters, we will always have to discern whether or not someone will gain strength or be discouraged through our words and deeds.
Indeed, I hope that we seek for the gifts of encouragement and be the people of encouragement.
Fifth, the gift of giving, the gift of sharing.
Sharing is not something we can do because we have a lot of money.
It is a gift of the Holy Spirit.
It is something that can be shared when God gives grace.
The wealth of the world is different from the wealth of the kingdom of God.
There are those who are called rich, but are really stingy when doing God's work.
They are actually poor people.
On the contrary, there are those who do not have much, but are giving everything for God’s work.
They are truly rich people.
God works through these people.
In Luke 6:38 Jesus says, “Give, and it will be given to you.”
The Lord gives us when we give.
But if we do not give or share, the Lord will not give us.
The wells continue to be filled with clear water even when pumped and used.
This is the principle of a well.
But if we do not use it, and only save for ourselves, the well will be dried out.
If we do not use what God has given us, it will eventually become a dried well.
When we share and use what we have, God will fill us with even more and even a better spring.
Please seek and receive this gift of sharing.
Sixth, the gift of a leader.
If people meet someone who has this gift of a leader, even ordinary people turn into a competent person.
There are many cases in the sport teams.
No matter how great the athletes are, if the coach does not lead well, the team will lose the game.
On the other hand, even if there are a bunch of players who are not competent, if the leader can lead well, this team will be good and get a good result in the game.
All other communities are the same.
Depending on the leader, the community may collapse or become established.
I would like us to have this gift of a leader and build up our church strong.
Seventh, lastly, the gift of compassion.
Paul says, “the compassionate, in cheerfulness.”
What does this mean?
It is a gift that regards the other’s pain as mine when this person is in trouble.
It is the heart to bear the burden of another person instead.
Brothers and sisters, please seek and receive this gift of compassion.
Yes, Paul is teaching us about the gifts, the spiritual gift.
In addition, there are many other gifts of the Holy Spirit in the Bible.
I hope all of us will be able to do God's work, using these spiritual gifts.
Now, I would like to move on to the next question.
What attitude is expected when using these gifts?
This is also very important.
Even though there is power, and the right instrument, if the attitude is not right, everything becomes wrong.
What is important is how those instruments are being used and with what kind of attitude we have while doing so.
Today's text will summarize this in several parts.
Let’s look at verses 9-10.
“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.” (verses 9-10)
The first attitude is love.
Through love will there be a work of transformation and life.
When I served a church in New York, I was in charge of the Youth ministry.
There was one real problem child amongst the youth group.
I kept him in mind while I was preparing my sermon hoping that God’s words would transform him somehow.
Yes, I have preached several weeks focusing on him.
I expected some kind of reaction from him.
However, there was no change.
I have prayed in tears with my broken heart.
Surprisingly, the love for the child’s soul formed inside of my heart after praying for him in tears.
Interestingly, since then I could see him being transformed little by little.
That is right.
Words might transform a person, but love is what transforms a person fundamentally.
No matter how one is wicked, one’s heart will be touched and transformed only when embraced by love.
Again, love is important.
There are people who always seem discouraged, intimidated, and negative.
In most cases, we can realize that not having been loved as to be the cause of it.
When a person receives love, confidence begins to emerge from that moment.
People who are positive to all things are loved.
Yes, love is important.
Love is the only power that is capable of changing the people and the world.
I would like us to use God’s gifts with love and do God's work with love.
The second attitude is passion.
Let’s look at verse 11.
“Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord.” (verse 11)
We should do God’s work with passion.
Our God does not like indecisiveness.
We must use the gifts from God with all our hearts.
The third attitude is loyalty.
Let’s look at verse 12.
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.” (verse 12)
It means to be always loyal to our Lord and serve others regardless.
If you ever find yourself getting exhausted from doing God’s work, you will need an attitude of praying more and being more loyal.
That may be a lot to absorb.
Brothers and sisters, let's take a moment and briefly summarize today's message.
Today, we talked about the life of service.
We, as Christians, should live a life of service.
To live that life, we ask for various gifts of the Holy Spirit and use the gifts which God has given us.
And what attitudes do we need to serve with these gifts?
Those are love, passion and loyalty.
As Christians, when we live a life of service, God will make amazing works of change through us.
I pray that all of us live such a life of service in the name of the Lord. Amen.