The Church, a Body in Covenant - Some Initial Commitments We Must Make
SERIES: “The Church, a Body in Covenant”
TITLE: “Some Initial Commitments We Must Make”
TEXT: Romans 12:1-21
1 Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship.
2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. Romans 1
3 For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one.
4 Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function,
5 in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another.
6 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts: If prophecy, use it according to the standard of one’s faith;
7 if service, in service; if teaching, in teaching;
8 if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good.
10 Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor.
11 Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord.
12 Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.
13 Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.
16 Be in agreement with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Try to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes.
18 If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone.
19 Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for His wrath. For it is written: Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay, says the Lord.
20 But If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head.
21 Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.
As believers in Jesus Christ and members of the body of Christ, we need to know how to live in this covenant relationship. In the Church Covenant, there are some initial commitments that lay some beginning principles we need to grasp:
We engage, therfore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love ; to strive for the advancement of this church, in knowledge, holiness, and comfort;
To promote its prosperity and spirituality ; to sustain its worship, ordinance, discipline, and doctrines;
To contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel through all nations.
Romans chapter 12 gives the biblical instruction that the above commitments summarize.
I. WALK TOGETHER IN CHRISTIAN LOVE (VS. 9,10).
A. Walk in genuine Christian love (vs. 9).
1. What is genuine love like? (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
4 Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited,
5 does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs.
6 ⌊Love⌋ finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth.
7 ⌊It⌋ bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for languages, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end.
c) Not envious
d) Does not call attention to self
e) Not rude
f) Does not put its own interests ahead of others
g) Is not easily angered or exasperated (παροξύνω)
h) Does not λογίζομαι- conclude or suppose harmful intent
i) Does not support or rejoice in evil
B. Walking in love means putting others ahead of self (vs. 10).
II. STRIVE TO ADVANCE THIS CHURCH (VS. 4-8).
A. Strive by working together as the body of Christ (vs. 4-5)
1. Each one does what he or she is gifted and able to do.
a) Illustration: Human body
B. Strive by giving 100% of self to the task (vs. 10).
1. Use the gifts and abilities you have.
2. Serve in the power of the Holy Spirit (note 1 Cor. 12:4-7, 11).
4 Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 There are different ministries, but the same Lord.
6 And there are different activities, but the same God activates each gift in each person.
7 A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial: … 11 But one and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as He wills.
III. PROMOTE THE SPIRITUAL AND PHYSICAL PROSPERITY OF THIS FELLOWSHIP (VS. 9B,11).
A. Promote prosperity through pursuing holiness (vs. 9b).
1. Hate and forsake evil.
2. Hold to and pursue what is good.
B. Promote prosperity by fervency in service (vs. 11).
1. Whole-hearted service to God. (Colossians 3:23-24).
23 Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men,
24 knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.
IV. SUSTAIN THE PRACTICES AND PRINCIPLES OF THIS FELLOWSHIP (V. 1-2).
A. Put away worldly practices and philosophies – sustain and practice what the scriptures teach (vs. 1).
1. Faithful to the fellowship (Hebrews 10:25).
2. Fulfilling the commands of Christ
3. Following scriptural discipline
4. Faithful to sound doctrine
B. Be a transformed individual in word and deed (vs. 2).
V. SUPPORT THE MINISTRY OF CHRIST THROUGH THIS CHURCH (VS. 12-13).
A. Support through prayer (vs. 12d).
1. Intercession for the church
2. Intercession for church leaders
a) Illustration: Aaron & Hur (Exodus 17:2)
3. Intercession for fellow members
B. Support through tithes and offerings (vs. 13).
1. The proper attitude for giving (2 Corinthians 9:6-11)
6 Remember this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously.
7 Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.
8 And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.
9 As it is written: He scattered; He gave to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.
10 Now the One who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.
11 You will be enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us.
2. There is a correlation between giving and receiving (Luke 6:38). “ Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over—will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”