Socrates said, Know thyself. God calls us to have a realistic view of ourselves so we can live well with others in community, serving them with our God-given gifts as described by the Apostle Paul in Romans Chapter 12 verses 3 to 8.
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Music: Achaidh Cheide - Celtic by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Romans chapter 12 verses 3-8 Know Thyself
Inflation is a problem….price of food goes up. Genuine danger to people’s well being
Yet I want to suggest to you there is a greater type of inflation which is much more likely to exist in your life and cause you much greater problems…v.3. thinking more highly of yourself than you should. Socrates…know thyself….because life is a battlefield.
1. Having the right Ammunition for Life
Imagine- war zone- supplies are needed and a case of bullets is delivered to the front line- but the wrong ones were grabbed. What we are talking about is knowing if you are a 22, a 38 a hang grenade mortar round, or something for a howitzer. It’s important because you are going to be put to use on a battlefield. Self-assessment- knowing what’s inside the box of ammo is really important because our gifts are going to be used on the front line. And we want to be sure the right gift is delivered to the right spot for the right moment.
Pride: Hyper...thinking…overthinking – lead to pride …think//think…sober thinking – neither high not too low- otherwise it’s a dark doorway to mental health issues like self-hate and depression. But like Goldilocks porridge- just right- sober.
X belittling. False humility- pride. But a realistic view- is important- because horses for courses. What one is good at another is terrible at. Marriages- often have that balance…my mum wrote the letters my dad did the maths.
We are to be self-reflective- how can we not be! But our assessments are to be sober- that is clear-headed. Not drunk on self-pity or plastered by the effects of your own achievements in life!
Faith- gold standard. God distributed…of things not seen – substantive. You put bullets and shells in weapons- then they can fire. Faith is the firing mechanism so your gifting can discharge in the fight of life. Yet - pillars and caterpillars- because faith grows as you use it, just like your biceps!
2. Delivering the Ammunition to the Army
Illustration of the human body v.4- one body lots of parts. Each has its own part to play a hand is not an eye and an eye is not a kidney! Abolishes- Priesthood/laity distinction- that’s one reason why I don’t want to be called pastor!
Pride in the Body: Danger in the church of high thinking- pride- place yourself above others, not talk to others, not honor one another or listen to one another. Means you may steamroll your way over others. Or you downplay- hide the gifts God gave you, that the church needs and things get neglected.
Parallel with the Church as a body- we are all so different and that is good! The most diverse community in any city should be the church of Christ on a Sunday morning- as nations are all united around Christ. Different yet united IN Christ. Part of that variety expresses itself in the variety of spiritual gifts and opportunities God gives us.
The Supply Depot: v.6 God has given…our gifts are gifts – not ours to be proud about. So that is the first step in humility not self-made- for there is so much in our lives we had no hand in – where we were born, what sex, what family, what century, what DNA!
3. Using Ammunition on the Battlefield - and how to use them on the ground on the battlefields of life…What if...you’re not on the list- door! Not a full list. There are other gifts! But- how to find- heart- opportunity- practice- be willing to be pushed- most – self-assessment is too low- hinders the work. 3 speaking and 4 serving gifts: Charisma – something Plus = God’s gift in your life.
a. Prophecy What is it? Foretelling and forth-telling – it’s what we have in our Bibles, carried by the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit to transform us.
- How to practice it? THE Faith…in agreement with the Gospel.
b. Teaching- teach v.7 The message of Christ needs not only to be proclaimed; it needs also to be explained. Youth/ discipleship. school of preachers- start young.
c. Encourage v.8 – every time you meet someone is an opportunity. Our morning prayer meeting - go through the lists of people’s needs -it's overwhelming. That’s just the ones we know. Compare to mouth to mouth resuscitation! Oxygen in the soul
d. Serve – everyone will be in that one! All called. all believers are called on to serve Christ and one another; Eph. 4:12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up).
But sure- certain people have a gifting for it…office of deacon could be here too. The danger with gifts- oh, my gift is intercessory pray- means others say - mine isn’t getting out jail card for praying! Same with service- all serve- bottom line.
Manner- get on with it! Practically here- music ministry. Friends moving on. Youth group
e. Giving v.9- Promise you made when you joined the church- give- TTT- time, tithe – 10% or the Pinch Test. Talent- wider discussion here of gifts/talents. IF you don’t give? No honoring of God with your faith.
Haplotes- W Barclay- The Testament of Issachar which perfectly illustrates its meaning. " …The simple (haplous) man does not desire gold, doth not ravish his neighbour, doth not care for all kinds of dainty meats, doth not wish for diversity of clothing, doth not promise himself length of days, but receiveth only the will of God. He walketh in uprightness of life and beholdeth all things in simplicity (haplotes)
f. Lead – diligently /zeal-Donald - door duty cf to bashful Tony…coffee time- talk to visitors
g. Mercy- cheerfully – cold food in a restaurant cf cold forgiveness- needs to be deep and heartfelt served warm. In the prison- the difference between staff and inmates, we haven’t been caught yet! Mercy- all tasted at the cross- has that become cold you your soul? Communion- meal- taste it afresh- then you will offer it in a fresh way to others- cheerfully. Despite all that you are, all that you could beat yourself up about- instead take it to Jesus now at the Table- the emblems of him being beaten up in your place- let this remind you of the infinite value God places upon you!
Conclusion: so make sure you know what you have in the box, then use it amongst us as a people, and discern which specific area you need to respond to today? ASK now- show me my gifts?