Sermon delivered before the professions of faith of two sisters and a brother.
Text: Romans 12:15, 16
Reading: Romans 12: 1-16
Romans 12 begins with: offer your bodies as a living sacrifice. This is your spiritual worship. At the beginning of the book of Romans, Paul discusses the sinfulness of man. Then, to the end of chapter 11 he discusses the gospel, namely that Jesus went to the cross because of our sin. Finally, in chapter 12 he describes how we now will live. This passage is not only a command; it is also a description. Because of God’s mercy we will give ourselves to God and to each other. Chapter 12:3 tells us: the transformed life looks like this.
Theme: As people transformed by the Spirit of Christ, we endeavor to be a blessing to each other. This calls for
1. joyful sympathy,
2. harmonious unity,
3. natural humility.
1.Joyful sympathy. We are all part of a body. You, as part of the congregation, cannot remain aloof because you are part of the body. We all function together and are sensitive to the feelings of others, remembering that there is a time to weep and a time to laugh. However, we all respond differently to circumstances and each other. We are to be Christ-like. He entered into our sorrow and so gave us reason for joy. Jesus is the man of sorrows who entered our world so we might be saved. He entered our lives and did not stand aloof, and he became the man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. On the last day, when He returns, he will remove all our sorrow and restore us to joy. He embraced our sorrow so we could embrace his joy. To be Christ-like, we rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.
2.Harmonius unity. This does not mean that we all live and think identically. Harmony implies an orchestra; everyone is on the same page at the same time, but we play different notes that blend together. Our looks, personalities, opinions, and histories are all joined together. John 17 says: that all of them may be one…as we are one…so that the world may know God sent the Son. Disunity in the church brings dishonor to the Lord. Congregational unity is about truth and obedience, not uniformity. And unity does not supersede everything. There must be unity in true faith and loyal obedience to God.
3.Natural humility. Conceit is corrosive to unity and a most effective hindrance to our witness to the world. Jesus welcomed all who wanted to be with him, so naturally should we. We should experience and foster harmonious unity.
But we are not perfect. Each one of us is a work in progress. By the sheer grace of God, our congregation will make more beautiful music with the addition of Carol, Sarah, and Guy.
Sermon by Pastor George on September 9, 2012. Notes, errors, and omissions by NPS.