Text: Romans 12:3-8 (NIV)
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
Thematic Sentence: A proper evaluation of our relationship to other believers as we serve and are served in the church will help us to fit in.
Introduction: There are times when together we discover that we make up a single body, that we belong to each other and that God has called us to be together as a source of life for each other.
-- Jean Vanier. Leadership, Vol. 11, no. 4.
I. Identify Yourself (v.3)
A. A Gracious Call
B. An Enveloping Call
C. A Challenging Call
1. To Think of Yourself Humbly
2. To Think of Yourself Honestly
II. Identify Your Body (v. 4-5)
A. The Members are Many
B. The Members are Different
C. The Members are United
D. The Members are Mutually Dependent
III. Identify Your Part (v. 6-8)
A. Your Part is Specialized
B. Your Part is a Gift
C. Your Part Benefits Others
D. Your Part Should Be Used Willingly
IV. Conclusion: Some missionaries in the Philippines set up a croquet game in their front yard. Several of their Agta Negrito neighbors became interested and wanted to join the fun. The missionaries explained the game and started them out, each with a mallet and ball. As the game progressed, opportunity came for one of the players to take advantage of another by knocking that person's ball out of the court. A missionary explained the procedure, but his advice only puzzled the Negrito friend. "Why would I want to knock his ball out of the court?" he asked. "So you will be the one to win!" a missionary said. The short-statured man, clad only in a loincloth, shook his head in bewilderment. Competition is generally ruled out in a hunting and gathering society, where people survive not by competing but by sharing equally in every activity.
The game continued, but no one followed the missionaries' advice. When a player successfully got through all the wickets, the game was not over for him. He went back and gave aid and advice to his fellows. As the final player moved toward the last wicket, the affair was still very much a team effort. And finally, when the last wicket was played, the "team" shouted happily, "We won! We won!"
That is how the Church, the body of Christ, should be. We're a team. We all win together.
--James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 123-124