June 20, 2021

Commitment to God: Ministry (part 1)


The motivation for a holy life and service is the mercy of God, and the call for sacrificial dedication to God, and separation from this world, but the knowledge of the will of God through the renewal of the mind!

For me, of all the things presented in the first 2 verses, the most challenging one is the phrase “renewed by the mind.” How does this happen when an old mind is replaced by the new one? As in software and computer programs, a new version is needed, and you need to reload constantly the new programs… So is in the spiritual life of a Christian, there is a constant replacement of software.

The question is how?

Let’s look at the opposite. Let’s look at the thinking that’s not been transformed by the renewal, but rather, the mind that moves in the opposite direction.

(1:28) is a depraved mind. What is that?

(v. 18) suppresses the truth with the lie (the opposite of the Word)

(v. 21) do not glorify God

(v. 24) worship creation

(v. 25) living in sin, by sin and for sin

(v. 28) did not care to fill the mind with God!

The result is a renewal of the mind, everything will be in opposition: obedience to the Word, praising God,  worshipping only God, struggle with sin, filling the mind with God!

This is important because the first verses of our text today speak of the ability to have the right kind of thinking. Paul gives a description of what renewed thinking looks like.

But first, one more important observation that will help us look at today’s text rightly. The renewal of the mind takes place under the motive of the grace hidden in the Gospel, and sacrifices of dedication! This is when I completely devote myself to God! These are all – both spiritual abilities and gifts, and ordinary talents and abilities! This relieves a little of tension of knowing exactly all your gifts, finding a specific name for them, placing them in categories, documenting them, etc. I have given everything I have to God

Today’s text is how to have and Effective, productive life. 

3 factors of an effective ministry:

I. Humility (v. 3) (an attitude toward gifts – inner world – the Gospel in humility, thinking, the heart of the church)

Paul continues to talk about human awareness, thinking, and the perspective people have toward faith, grace and gifts (v. 3) “sober judgment” – in Greek literally means – to think “exactly, correctly.”

What humbles a person? How does humility come?

A. Humility in grace (v. 3a)

Paul’s personal example!

It is not the authority of the apostle, nor the experience of the great missionary, nor the experience of spiritual practice, nor the knowledge of theology is his authority. Pushing everything aside, Paul says that God’s grace is the basis for his ministry and instructing the church at that very moment (15:14-16) – Grace gives confidence and courage.

The call to the Roman church (v. 6a)

Just as with Paul, his ministry and gift to instruct the Church depend on God’s grace, so our attitude and use of spiritual gifts depends on God’s grace!

As a result, the person serving with his spiritual gift does so in humility. Grace humbles! (Eph. 2:8) – so as not to boast, not to be proud).

(1 Cor. 4:7) – everything we have in relation to salvation, ministry, and life, is from God!!! EVERYTHING!

What humbles a person? How does humility come?

B. Humility in faith (v. 3b)

God gives faith, and even distributes the measure (the size) of this faith to each person.

In other words, he gives us a tape measure, a ruler of faith. Every Christian has a saving faith, but here we are talking about the measure of the faith that each received, and we must measure our faith in accordance with the divine measuring instrument, and correspondingly think of ourselves as that tape measure indicates.

What does this measure of faith gauge? 

To put it simply – it measures the look at Christ – this is precisely the measure of our condition! All other measuring instruments, tame measure for assessing our life are secondary! It is the living faith in Jesus Christ and His redemptive work on the cross is being gauged, or measured here!

Why specifically faith is targeted? Faith is not a look at self, but a look away from self… a look to Christ!

(Rom. 3:21-22; 9:33; 10:9-11; 11:20) – faith in Jesus Christ that He died for my sins. This is what saves and keeps us saved. And this the faith measured by the ability to look more clearly, more precisely, more focused on Christ! Our ability to look at Christ, is the measure of faith. If Christ is brighter, the measure of faith is greater. In other words, my worth is directly related to my ability to value Christ. 

But even this is a gift from God!

“has assigned” literally: “to each as God measured a measure of faith.”

(Eph. 2:8) is a gift so that we do not boast

Why such a process? (1 Pet. 4:10-11) gives the answer – so that the glory and praise gets not the one who uses spiritual gifts, but the one who gives the gifts!

It is pride that keeps many Christians from knowing their spiritual gifts, and using those gifts!

This is why Johann Sebastian Bach at the end of each composition would write words “Soli Deo gloria” (only to God be the glory)

II. Teamwork (v. 4-5) (visible world, relationship to the church – diversity in unity, Gospel among believers)

(v. 4) – This text says that there are no useless parts, organs or members of the human body. Everything that makes up the human body, has unique important function or role. For many years, it has been thought that the appendix is the only part that is not really needed, but its importance is also confirmed! In fact, the appendix is a small reservoir where the intestine microflora is stored, and if some important bacteria in the intestines are destroyed, they can be restored from the stock reserved in the appendix. Therefore, we cannot in any way excuse our indifference in the life of the church, referring to the fact that we are supposedly function as an appendix.

(v. 5) – we are one body in Christ. A familiar phrase, but it says that everything that we have is in Jesus Christ:

(3:24) – our redemption is in Christ

(6:3-11) – freedom from and victory over sin is in Christ (vv. 3, 11) 

(6:23) – our eternal life is in Christ

(8:1) – we have no condemnation in Christ

(8:38-39) – nothing will separate us from God’s love in Christ

(v. 5) “members one of another… in the body” – means that we belong to each other! Anyone who says that he has a good relationship with God, but the church does not suit him, this text says that if you are in Christ, in His body, in the church, you belong to the church, namely, to each specific member of the church!

This is very important for those who continue to be between the churches… This passage has warning for you! If we believe that salvation is of a specific person (individual) by the specific Savior, Jesus Christ, there is a specific body of Christ, why do we break logic here and say that in regards to being members of one another, we suddenly belong to the universal church. No! It is the specific group of people! These are specific people, specific members of the church, to whom you and I should belong!

Oh, do not linger near the church – this is not a biblical understanding! Be the part of the specific church. Begin the process of joining a specific church; if not ours, then any evangelical, biblical church.

Often, spiritual gifts in the church are seen as instruments by using which we can win the race. Whoever has the brighter or more powerful gifts has a better chance to shine and with the race. Most common thinking, that the people who get on stage are more gifted and therefore have more chances to win the race. But this is wrong thinking that Paul corrects here – we are not in the race, but rather assigned mutual help in the body. We are not competing with one another on whether we will cross the finish line before the rest of the body, or if we do more, but how the body of the church functions better, and crosses the finish line together! If so, then an invisible nerve cell may be more valuable in a moment of danger that a large and eloquent tongue!

Why such a design? To help us all see the church as one, yet with many different parts! Like a computer, that has many different parts, yet, they all are important in their own, unique way. 

We need each other, since now one possesses all spiritual gifts!

III. Ministry (vv. 6-8) (gifts, practice, application, the purpose – the building up the church)

Father: 1) Fight the temptation to think highly of yourselves, 2) rely on grace, 3) be dependent on the family, or the local church.

The Gospel: Salvation of sinners is by grace, through faith in Christ, and not without being places in the specific body of believers!

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