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Humble Beginnings

Marks of a Christian  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction to Series

Marks of a Christian is going to be a series that takes us deeper in our relationship with God.
In order to do this, we are going to have to make a commitment to let the Holy Spirit do a work in us.
At times it is going to be painful, and very real how much we need God’s grace in our life.
By the end and hopefully several times along the journey, you are going to find that the workings of the Holy Spirit, although painful at times, will end up making us stronger.
How many have arrived and are pleased with where they are as a Christian?
How many are looking for more, the fulness of what it means to be a Christian (Christ-follower)?

Definitions

Grace: greek = charis; defined = the merciful kindness by which God exerts His holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.
in other words, God loves us so much that He would give us the strength we need to be the best Christians

What can I do?

Romans 12:1–2 ESV
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:
Therefore - Paul is saying, after the last 11 chapters of information I’ve said, this is the basics of it.
Paul writes a bunch of Christian doctrine before this chapter and in chapter 12 he breaks it down into practical, simple, straightforward instruction.
So this is where we start our journey through Romans...

Living Sacrifices

We are to live a life that is founded in humility and by doing that we get rid of all our selfish motives.
Offering our bodies as living sacrifices is not a one, two, 100 time things. It is an every day of your life, you have to make the decision to HUMBLE OURSELVES.

Humility

Humility goes directly against our natural impulse as humans. Naturally our human desire to to be selfish and go after what we want, when we want it.
When we become living sacrifices, we are able to break from the conformity to this world. In other words, when those that don’t know Jesus come into contact with us, they will wonder what is different about us.

Mind Battles

verse 2, we see that the battle for humility takes place in our minds.
It is absolutely possible to not conform to the world. Here’s the deal, YOU CAN’T DO IT BY YOURSELF.
You need the Holy Spirit to partner with your mind can be transformed.

Transformation

transformed - greek = metamorphoo; define = be changed
So when you Humble yourself, the Holy Spirit will literally help change your mind

Holy Spirit-Led Mind

When your mind has been changed, you will be able to discern or know, the will of God.
It will be as if, your sight will be brought into focus. There won’t be as many questions about what the right step to take is.

God’s Will

verse 2b - God’s will is Good, Acceptable, Perfect
As in, you won’t be in trouble for following God’s will.

What We can Do?

Romans 12:3–8 ESV
3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
Romans 12:3-
Illustration: look around the room...
Are there any two people in this room that are exactly alike?
NOPE.
Look at your body…you have two hands, do they look exactly the same?
If you examine them carefully, you will find that they aren’t.
One might have a scar that the other doesn’t have, one might have longer nails that the other, one might have more freckles than the other…
The point is, it’s very hard to find two things that are exactly alike.
This is not a bad thing, this is actually a great and incredible thing.
Paul uses our bodies as an example of what the church (body of Christ) looks and operates like.
Every Christian is different, has different gifts and talents.
gifts greek = charismata; define = "a gift of grace"
gifts supernaturally bestowed on the early Christians, each having his own proper gift or gifts for the edification of the body of Christ.
Paul says it this way in Ephesians...
Ephesians 4:12–14 ESV
to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
Eph
Notice here that when we are working together in unity (again, this is humbling because it means not always doing what YOU want), we achieve a sound mind!
We “wont be tossed to and fro by the waves”
When each one of us get’s to a healthy place individually, the next step is to get to a healthy place corporately.
What would this youth group look like if everyone was spiritually healthy?
healings
drama-free
salvations (growing in numbers)
schools would start to change from the inside out
Schools should be changing with the students, not the government or faculty
encouragement
Paul lists off a few “positions” or “members of the body”
prophecy
service
teaching
exhortation (encouragement)
givers
leaders
merciful

Mature Unity!

Romans 12:9
Romans 12:9–21 ESV
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
vs 9 - Love must be genuine
We can love with ulterior motives in mind. I can love you so that you will ultimately do something for me.
Genuine love expects nothing in return - it’s unconditional - literally meaning, there’s no conditions for my love for you. I love you because you are you.

Marks of a Christian

Genuine Love
Pursue Good
Honor
Serve the Lord
Hopeful
Patient
Prayerful
Hospitable
Bless enemies
Rejoice with rejoicers, Mourn with mourners
Live in Unity & Peace
Surrender ALL to God
Romans 12:19 ESV
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
Take care of our enemies
Don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good

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