“Grow Pa More”: Knowing Your Part in the Body—Part 2 (Romans 12:3-8)

tumblr_ni83fxloic1rwy6s8o1_1280I continue my sermon series on our 2016 Theme, “Connect, Grow, Serve.” The point of our theme is that you need to “connect” with Christ and His body, the church. You “grow” in Christ and His body. Then you “serve” Christ and His body.

In Rom. 12:1-2, we must offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God. We should not let the world shape their thought and conduct. Rather, we should let God transform us by renewing our minds. The result of this mind renewal is the ability to discern God’s will.

The renewing of our minds happens in the context of the body of Christ. This is where the body of Christ comes in. In v. 3, we should think soberly in the body of Christ. In vv. 4-5, we should think about others in the body of Christ. In v. 6, we see how the many parts function as one body.

We learn three things about renewing our minds in community.

  1. Discern Yourself Moderately (v. 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” (Rom. 12:3). The phrase “everyone among you” refers to everyone in the local church, the body of Christ. Paul explains how transformed minds think in the church.

The phrase “to think of himself more highly” (huperphroneo) is just one verb in the Greek. It denotes “think too highly of oneself, be haughty,” (Gingrich). The phrase “to think more highly” means “an understanding which goes beyond proper bounds.” (Dunn) Hence, to think more highly “than he ought to think” is to think “beyond” the bounds of proper thinking of oneself. The result is a proud mind, a haughty spirit.

The story is told of two ducks and a frog who lived happily together in a farm pond. The best of friends, the three would amuse themselves and play together in their waterhole. When the hot summer days came, however, the pond began to dry up, and soon it was evident they would have to move. This was no problem for the ducks, who could easily fly to another pond. But the frog was stuck.

So it was decided that they would put a stick in the bill of each duck that the frog could hang onto with his mouth as they flew to another pond.

The plan worked well–so well, in fact, that as they were flying along a farmer looked up in admiration and mused, “Well, isn’t that a clever idea! I wonder who thought of it?”

The frog said, “I did…”[1]

How then should we think in relation to others in the church? Paul gives two ways in how we should think in the body of Christ. First, in v. 3, we are “to think with sober judgment.” In the Greek, it literally reads, “but to think so as to think of sober mind.” The verb “to think of sober judgment” speaks of “a measured and ordered way of life be self-controlled, be moderate, be sober (RO 12.3).” (Friberg) It means to “observe proper moderation or discretion, exercise self-control.” (Dunn)

That is how we should renew our minds in relating to others in the body of Christ. God’s Word commands you NOT to think too highly of yourself in the body of Christ. Do NOT think proudly of yourself. Instead, think moderately, in a self-controlled, restrained, and sober way. That is how you should think of yourself in the body of Christ.

[1]  “Two Ducks and a Frog,” Today in the Word, April, 1989, 34, cited in Bible.org. Cited October 12, 2016. Online: https://bible.org/illustration/two-ducks-and-frog.

 

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