Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Grace and Mercy Within the Church

 Wednesday, August 18, 2021 Some material taken from Worthy Living by Keith Warren

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. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 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; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:3-8 NASB


Our relationships with other Christians (Biblical community) run on grace and mercy – the same grace and mercy that God showed us, and that Paul talked about in the first 11 chapters of Romans. The love, grace and mercy of God is designed to flow straight from Him, through us, to others all around us. There are many ways this happens in biblical community.

This past Sunday Keith gave us three examples from Romans 12 of this flow in our relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul’s practical application of the horizontal flow of grace now shifts to how we as believers’ function in community with one another.

Three dimensions of biblical community:

Humility – “not to think too highly of himself…” v.3

Verse 3 is about not elevating ourselves above others. The world is constantly telling us just the opposite. Humility has no place in this world of “self-love” and “self-care.” But as believers, we are not supposed to be conformed to this world, right? (v 1) When we have received the awesome mercy in Christ, the way we lead our lives should change and that means it is our responsibility to be in this world, but not of it. Social media will tell us the complete opposite – on all fronts. On social media we will find all the reasons we should practice self-care above everything, while excusing us of any responsibility for anything at all that we don’t want to deal with. 

Interdependence – “so we, who are many, are one body in Christ…” v.5

Let us not lose sight of how much we actually need each other, especially within the church. We can easily gravitate to an “every man for himself” mentality, especially during a pandemic. We spent months without meeting together and we all realized just how vital the body of Christ is to us. We are one unified, whole body, while at the same time being distinct individual members. We are unified in Christ, one body in Him, working together for His glory.

Service – “let us exercise them [our gifts] accordingly…” v.6

We are one body in Christ, as the scripture says. The body of Christ only works when we all work together – and individually members one of another. The body doesn’t work well when it is missing a foot. It can still work – but there is a handicap, so it doesn’t work as well as it could. The same is true with the body of Christ. It will work when some of us don’t do our part, but we all have gifts and an important place in the body of Christ. 

God made every one of us different and unique. We all have skills, passions, and gifts that make us who we are. Our personalities enhance these and make us unique. All our unique personalities and gifts set in motion make up the body of Christ, where we grow, bless one another, and reach a hurting and lost world for Him.

We are at our best as a church when we strive for humility, recognize our 
interdependence, and exercise our unique gifts.

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