Halfway through the convention, the concept of unity and family is seeping into all facets of the meetings. As we entered the conference room, we sang a song about being all the in the same family. Everyone greeted one another saying we are all family, we are all one.
I find it interesting how Thailand can have such a varied group of people in the country. Coming to Mae Sot, a border town on Burma at the Western most part of Thailand, we hear things like the economic crisis is hitting Thailand too? My thought, was that Thailand created their own problems a year ago with the airport closure and political instability that would have brought economic problems aside from a global market recession. Yet in a town built on villages, the people are never impacted by the fluxuation of markets. They live a sustenance life based on the agriculture of the land. The villages vary from the different regions of the country. More than that we have many hill-tribes that all speak their own language. Bringing these people together is what makes the church so amazing. God always uses different people to make a beautiful family, knitting them together in through the Holy Spirit.
Tonight Clayton is talking about living together as family. We will look at Romans 12 which talks about how we should live together in our Christian life and together.
We looked at the way we should live through Romans 12, sacrifice, renewing our mind, serving, and more. A couple of thoughts before the notes.
The term One another appears throughout the New Testament. We are the church, not one…but one another. How do we live in this way? What changes when we see the church not as for me but for one another?
When we realize the way we live seeds are planted for the future of our life and the family we live with. How do we want to see those seeds harvested? They will come back in another season with abundance. What are we planting in our life and in our family?
Here are the notes of the message:
Romans 12:1give your bodies as a living sacrifice. The foundation of our Christian Life is sacrifice. As a preteen, I had a vision from God. I saw a picture of a globe and a picture of a cross. God said choose one. As I focused on the globe, it grew larger and the cross shrunk back. When I focused on the cross, it grew larger and the world shrunk back. I chose the cross which grew larger and the world disappeared. The cross turned into Jesus. After that, I found this passage. We are to give everything as a sacrifice. We cannot serve God and the world, money or anything. We cannot have both.
The Old Testament had God’s people serve God and other gods…which led to them being exiled. God will not have us serve both him and anything else.
Romans 12:2, be transformed by the renewing of your mind. What is God’s will…that we give him our life. There is a spiritual war for our life. The values of the world begin to change our minds. Should not be…the Bible should set our values. Renew your mind on Christ. When you have God’s mind, you will know his will. Col 1:15. Christ is the image of the invisible God.
You don’t have to chase after God’s will, but Chase after knowing Christ. If you follow Christ completely, God’s will will find you.
Rom 12:3 Think soberly as God has given to everyone the measure of faith. Do not think of ourselves greatly, but humbly. Why do we become offended? Because we think so highly of ourselves. How could they think of me that way, or not give me the seat of honor…instead we need to be humble. God’s will for your life is impossible. If you could do God’s will, you wouldn’t need God. Impossible for you, but not impossible for him. So we trust God and he shows us a little more of his will and a little more. After a lifetime, we look back and see how much God has done. We need to be humble, realizing we have nothing to offer but ourselves. It is God who does the work, therefore he who gets the glory. The verse ends with God has given each on a measure of faith. We all have what we need to accomplish God’s will for his life.
12:4-8, Many members in one body. If he gave everything to one person, we would be so filled with pride (look at me and my greatness). But he made one person a hand, and another a foot (they cannot do much, but take another person somewhere). Together we accomplish God’s will. Alone we cannot do it, but together we do it. How are you serving the body, not how is the body serving you? It all has to do with our altitude.
Romans 12:14 bless and do not curse. How many times have we wept in silence, because of absolutely cruel things spoken against us? Our tendency is to fight back. Scripture says, bless those that persecute you. We reap what we sow, hating when others speak against us, but that is the very thing we do.
Let’s talk about sowing and reaping. If I plant one seed of rice, do I come the next day to reap one grain of rice? If I plant one seed of rice, do I hope for only one grain back? No, more…You plant in one season and reap in another season. You plant one seed and get many seeds back. If I get angry and gossip, complain and then get over it, forget about. In another season, I reap lots of complaining about me. You reap in another season and a lot more than you sow. If everyone is gossiping and slandering you and you bless them back. You will not see anything in the present, but in another season will come back blessings in abundance.
Romans 12:15-16, rejoice with those that rejoice and weep with those that weep, be the same mind towards one another…When our first child died, people said mean and nasty things. If only we had more faith, or if we were better…When some one is suffering, why do we stab them in the back and suffer more. Some people came over to our house and said, don’t worry, he is in heaven. We don’t want him in heaven; we want him in our arms. Another person came over and said nothing, just sat with us and wept with us saying nothing, just crying with us. It felt like they carried half our pain. When they left, half our burden went with them.
Have you ever received anything really good, a new car, nice crop, handsome boyfriend, and others began to speak jealously of you? Should not be. Rejoice with those who rejoice.
Third child became deathly ill at the age of 12, bedridden for 5 years until one day God healed her. Fore 5 years we cared for a very sick child. We trusted God everyday, but she was sick for 5 years. Why can’t we just love people for who they are, and when they suffer, suffer with them? When they are blessed, bless them.
Philippians 2 tells us what we should do. The best way to keep unity in the church is to stop striving for position, but simply love the humble and lowly. Phil 2:5-11. Take the same attitude of Jesus Christ. Jesus living as the only Son of God in the entire universe emptied himself of his glory. He was born in barn and laid in a manger. How did he die, as a criminal on a cross. They beat him, spit on him, pulled out his hear, put a crown of thorns on his head. They mocked the eternal ruler of the universe. He humbled himself, therefore God highly exalted him. If we humble our self, serve the weak and broken. IF we humble ourselves, God himself will raise us up. If we try to exalt ourselves, God opposes the proud.
Over and over again one phrase occurs, ‘One another’. The church is not one, but one another. This phrase shows up 99 times in the New Testament. Let’s read a few of them.
-Romans 15:5-7, May God give you a Spirit of unity…accept one another as Christ accepted you. If we are not in unity, God is not glorified.
– Eph 4:32, Be kind and compassionate, forgiving each other
– Col 3:13, bear with each other, forgive whatever grievances you have.
– Gal 5:13-14, If you bite and devour one another, beware lest you devour one another.
– Rom. 12:18, Let no debt remain, but that to love one another.
– I Thess 4:9, Love one another
– I Peter 1:22, Love one another deeply, from your heart
– I John 3:11, This is the message you heard from the beginning, that you should love one another.
– I John 4:7-12, Let us love one another…love comes from God.
– I Peter 4:8, above everything else, love one another deeply; love covers a multitude of sins.
– I Peter 4:9, Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
– James 5:7, Don’t grumble against each other, or you will be judged.
Conclusion: God has called us as a family. God loves our differences, the uniqueness that each of us bring. Those differences also bring challenges. How can we overcome the challenges? Submit myself to God, give up my selfish ambition. In humility, love others, and let God worry about me. If I take care of my brothers and sisters, God will take care of me.