Getting Outside Ourselves — Romans 12:3-8

Theme: To be a living sacrifice we must think accurately about ourselves, know how the body of Christ works, and use our gifts.

And those are the takeaways of my study of Romans 12:3-8.

  1. Think accurately about the self
  2. Know how the body of Christ works
  3. Use your gifts

In this post I’ve included:

  • [ ] Sermon Video
  • [ ] Sermon Audio
  • [ ] 1,800 Word Study Outline
  • [ ] Study Outline PDF
  • [ ] Podcast Link

Romans 12:3-8 / Gospel Application: Get Outside Ourselves

Bottom Line: To be a living sacrifice we must think accurately about ourselves, know how the body of Christ works, and use our gifts.

We’ve wrestled with the question: “what does it look like to be a living sacrifice?”

  • We’ve imagined the Old Testament sacrificial system.
  • We’ve thought of ways we want to give ourselves to God.
  • But Paul will now describe it for us in Romans 12:3-15:13.

Jesus is all over this section.

  • His words:

    • 12:14 Bless those who persecute you / Luke 6:28 Bless those who curse you
    • 12:17 Repay no one evil for evil / Matthew 5:39 Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
    • 12:18 Live peaceably with all / 14:19 Pursue what makes for peace / Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers / Mark 9:50 Be at peace with one another
    • 12:20 If your enemy is hungry, feed him / Luke 6:27, 35 Love your enemies, to good to those who hate you
    • 13:7 Pay to all what is owed them: taxes to whom taxes are owed / Mark 12:17 Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.
    • 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who love another has fulfilled the law / Matthew 22:37-38 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And ha second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
  • His life:

    • 12:1 His body for God’s glory.
    • 12:3 Humble thought of self.
    • 12:6 Used gifts.
    • 13:1-7 Submitted to authorities.
    • 13:14 Made no provision for the flesh.
    • 14:1 Welcomed the weak in faith.
    • 14:17 Kingdom is not about eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy.
    • 15:1 Denial of liberties.
    • 15:8 “For I tell you that Christ became a servant.”

To get here we must think accurately about the self, know how the body of Christ works, and use our gifts.

Think Accurately About Yourself (12:3)

Romans 12:3 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.

The Goal — Think accurately about yourself.

Think with sober judgment:

  • This is the obstacle of 12:2 revisited: conformity to the world (age).
  • Sober judgment: The spirit of self intoxicates us. The danger is an inaccurate self-view.
    • Like intoxication.

The renewed mind begins to think less highly of the self. Why is this important to deal with?

  • To be trapped here means you cannot go on.

High view of self: disables gifts, the sacrificial treatment of others, submission, the consideration of those who are weak.
You cannot hear from God with a perpetually high view of the self, for your opinions are already the highest authority.

  • A sober view enables dialogue, learning, service, submission, worship.

Joshua’s Example (Joshua 24:1-14)

  • God: took them out of Mesopotamia, led through Canaan, made Abraham promises, gave Abraham Isaac, sent Moses, plagued Egypt, brought them out, brought them out of the wilderness, destroyed enemies on the Eastern side of the Jordan, wouldn’t listen to Balaam’s curses, gave the Canaanites into their hand.
  • Conclusion: Joshua 24:13a (ESV)—13a I gave you a land on which you had not labored and cities that you had not built,
  • Their big part: Joshua 24:13a (ESV)— 13b and you dwell in them. You eat the fruit of vineyards and olive orchards that you did not plant.’

A Help — the truth about who you are.

According to the measure of faith that God has assigned:
This is a hint as to what’s coming; we all have a part to play in the body of Christ, with gifts for the larger collection of believers.

A Danger — the lie about who you are.

  • Not think of himself more highly than he ought to think:

An Example — Paul.

  • For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you:
  • Paul was ferocious in his work, purpose, ministry.
  • I say to everyone: He is bold here, with the Romans.
  • He knew God’s grace had given him a role in the body.
  • He attacked that role.
    • Philippians 3:12–14 (ESV)—12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Know How The Body Of Christ Works (12:4-5)

Romans 12:4 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.

The human body is a great illustration of the body of Christ.
What is Paul’s emphasis?

One body in Christ, and individually members of one another:
Know how the body of Christ works — We are many, but one.

Paul’s emphasis — there are many of us, but we are just one body.

1 Corinthians 12:20–21 (ESV)—20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

The members do not all have the same function:
Know how the body of Christ works — We are different, but complimentary.

Paul’s emphasis — We are one, but serve different roles.

1 Corinthians 12:16–19 (ESV)—16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be?

Use Your Gifts (12:6-8)

Romans 12:6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them:

Use your gifts — You have them.

  • The Holy Spirit is in all believers.
  • Ephesians 1:13–14 (ESV)—13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
  • 2 Corinthians 1:22 (ESV)—22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

Use your gifts — They’re from God.

Gifts / According to the grace given to us:

  • This is ability from God.
  • This isn’t to say we don’t serve or give if we don’t have the gift. But some are gifted.

Let us use them:

  • Paul’s point here isn’t an exhaustive study, but exhaustive use.
  • He only mentions seven of the gifts here.
    • Gifts listed: Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Corinthians 7.

It is wonderful to grow tired using your gifts.

Romans 12:6 if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;

Prophecy: To speak to people while under inspiration.

  • Misconception: that it is primarily foretelling.
    • No, it is more commonly forth-telling God’s Word at the right moment.
  • 1 Corinthians 14:3 (ESV)—3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.
  • Great gift to desire.
    • 1 Corinthians 14:1 (ESV)—1 Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.

Romans 12:7 if service, in our serving;

Service: To help people, perhaps in a particular group.

  • Helps (1 Corinthians 12) is more task focused. Service is people focused.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:5 (NIV)—5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
  • If you have this gift you’ll own your role.

Romans 12:7 the one who teaches, in his teaching;

Teaches: To teach people God’s Word.

  • Various contexts:
    • Pulpit, ministries, discipleship settings, personally.
  • Their day: a new life and doctrine was being learned.
  • Our day: the same is true.
  • Thoughts:
    • Study hard
    • Love people (not just study)

Romans 12:8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation;

Exhorts: To appeal to people.

  • Greek: Parakalon — ask for earnestly, invite, call together to, encourage (Holy Spirit referred to this in John 14).
  • Big word: to appeal, to beg, to comfort, to encourage.
  • Thoughts:
  • Necessary in their day. First century life was generally grim.
  • Necessary in our day.
  • Hebrews 10:24–25 (ESV) — 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Romans 12:8 the one who contributes, in generosity;

Contributes: To give to people.

  • More than money: tunic (Luke 3:11), spiritual gift (Romans 1:11), gospel and our own lives (1 Thessalonians 2:8), and to those in financial need (Ephesians 4:28). Barnabas sold some land and joined them (Acts 4:36-37). John Mark’s mother: The church used her house (Acts 12:12).

  • Wealth is not a requirement for this gift.

  • Habit of generosity is good to cultivate.
  • This is trust in God.

Romans 12:8 the one who leads, with zeal;

Leads: To stand and go before people.

  • This speaks of responsibility to oversee and manage.
    • 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 over you in the Lord
    • 1 Timothy 5:17-18 those who rule well
    • 1 Timothy 3:4-5 manage his own household / God’s church

Romans 12:8 the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Acts of mercy: To show God’s mercy to people.

  • Rather than just say God’s mercy.
  • You might have a burden.
  • Compassion fills your heart.

Wrap Up

Use them.
One of the saddest sentences in the Bible: Matthew 25:25 (ESV)—25 I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground…’

Have faith!

Bottom Line: To be a living sacrifice we must think accurately about ourselves, know how the body of Christ works, and use our gifts.