Title:  Putting your toe-nail on the altar

Focus:  The grace God has given to us should cause a response of humility with a proper estimation of our own selves.  With this humlity as a pre-requisite, we can then fulfill God’s purpose for us by using the gifts he has given us to build one another up. 

Funtion:  Encourage the hearers to recognize their equal importance in the body so they will be motivated to use their abilities regularly to build each other up.

Text:  Romans 12:3-8




1.  Mail room to roof to mail room

2.  Bible tells us Jesus humbled himself

3.  Therefore, humility is a central Christian virtue

            a.  Lack of it let to the first sin in the garden

            b.  The first beatitude in Mt 5 is about humility

            c.  James wrote that God is opposed to the proud, give grace to humble

            d.  In this text, response to Gospel involved humility

4.  (Rom 12:3-8)  In order to be a living sacrifice, we need a proper self understanding.  What to understand? 


I.  Self-understanding of our faith (v.3)

            A.  We need to think of ourselves honestly

            B.  What do we have from God?  -- A “measure,” “allotment”

                        1.  This a difficult passage

                                    a.  Calvinist - Faith is a work of God

                                                - But we believe in free will

                                                - We believe our choice is involved

                                    b.  So some relieve tension by saying this is not saving faith

                                                - Problem - Paul not make that distinction

                                                - Saving faith & daily faith connected

                                                - That is why Paul writes chap 12 - 15

                        2.  There is a sense in which faith not possible without God

                                    a.  God had to reveal self before we could have faith

                                    b.  God did a number of things to promote faith

                                                - Swore oaths, made promises, covenant

                                                - Performed miracles in Egypt and in Christ

                                                - Resurrection of Christ

                                    c.  Faith comes by hearing word - God gave word

                                    d.  Since God took initiative for our faith - humility

                        3.  Even with daily faith - It still ultimately from God

                                    a.  Faith as mustard seed - move mountains - God’s power

                                    b.  God amplifies & strengthens faith in this way

                                    c.  Result - It enables us to serve with humble confidence

            C.  Either way, saving faith or daily faith - God get’s the credit

                        1.  That is why Paul says we have an “allotment” of faith

                        2.  Mt 25:14-30 - Parable of Talents

                                    a.  Each had an allotment

                                    b.  Expected to use the allotment

                                    c.  Beauty of it - Can’t be used up by using it

                                    d.  Only way to lose it - Not use it

            D.  So we must humbly use what God has alloted to us

                        1.  No room or high-mindedness or pride

                        2.  Pride can keep you from using your allotment to “serve”

                                    a.  Instead of “serving” you will want to be in charge

                                    b.  Look at Jesus, even he came as a servant

                        3.  God took initiative for us to have faith, not us.

                        4.  Our faith would not be possible had God not sought us out


II.  A proper understanding of our place in the church

            A.  Paul uses the analogy of a body to express this

            B.  This analogy tells us 2 things

                        1.  We are one body made up of many parts

                                    a.  The parts are so different from each other - eyes, hands

                                    b.  But the parts are drawn together into one

                                    c.  The head is what makes them function as one

                                    d.  This is what makes us members of each others

                        2.  Each part is important

                                    a.  We redeemed with precious blood 1 Pet 1:19

                                                - God paid hight price for us

                                                - So none of us are unimportant

                                    b.  1 Cor 12:18 - God placed each of us in the body

                                                - We purchased with the blood of Christ

                                                - Nothing more precious than blood of Christ

                                                - Yet that is what we were purchased with

                                    c.  1 Cor 12:22-27 - God’s vision is we are a body

            C.  ILL:  My science class in High School - Disect Fetal Pigs

                        1.  Final involved identifying organs

                        2.  Did any “part” equal a pig.  No

                        3.  A body part is nothing without body and head

            D.  The brings us back to humility

                        1.  We are nothing by ourselves, need God and each other

                        2.  No room for self-sufficient pride

                        3.  We are part of something bigger than ourselves

                        4.  That being so - how do we fit in?


III.  Understanding of our function in the body

            A.  Seeing our function begins with God

                        1.  We have been given an “allotment” of faith

                        2.  We have gifts that differ according to grace given to us

                                    a.  Gift - charisma (not doron)

                                                - Charisma makes us think of innate ability

                                    b.  Grace - charis

                                    c.  Play on words to highlight that it comes from God

                        3.  Our charisma is for building up the body - not ourself

            B.  Paul gives a list of charismata (obviously not exhaustive list)

                        1.  Prophecy - A forthteller.  One who warns and admonishes

                                    a.  We don’t have this gift today

                                    b.  But there are those who prophet-like qualities

                                    c.  We need people to warn and admonish us

                        2.  Service (diakonia) - Ministry, deacon, etc.

                                    a.  There are those who serve in various ways

                                    b.  Some are appointed to it as deacons

                                    c.  Others serve in other ways

                        3.  Teaching - Teaching and instructing, as in a class or informally

                        4.  Exhort (parakaleo) - To encourage, comfort, help, cheer up

                                    a. This is word Jesus used of the Holy Spirit in John

                                    b.  Some are good an encouraging and cheering up

                        5.  Giving - Means to impart or share

                                    a.  Could mean money, but could be more than this

                                    b.  Some people always lending helping hand

                        6.  Leadership - To direct, administrate, lead

                                    a. Used of those who managed households

                                    b.  Some are good organizers, get things done

                        7.  Mercy - Mercy, pity, help, do acts of mercy

                                    - This involve caring for sick, dying, etc.

            C.  All are important in the body

                        1.  If you neglect a gift, no matter how small, body suffers

                        2.  ILL:  Big ingrown toe nail.  Ignored it

                                    a.  Could have caused a bone infection

                                    b.  Took awhile to heal after saw doctor

                        3.  God placed even the toe nail in the body

                        4.  Do not think, who needs a toe-nail.  God does!!!

                                    a.  We are to be a living sacrifice

                                    b.  Doesn’t matter if you an eye or toe nail

            D.  That means every single one of you are important

                        1.  Body suffers when you do not function properly

                        2.  Body sufers when we do not support each other

                        3.  We need you - you need us



1.  Don’t be too proud to admit you are not self sufficient

            a.  You need us, we need you - Not a sign of weakness

            b.  If we were self-sufficient - Jesus not need to die

                        - WOuld not need to obey Gospel

                        - Have you obeyed Gospel yet?

2.  If you have obeyed the Gospel, then you are an importan part of the body

3.  God has graciously given you an allotment

            a.  That means there is a place for you in the body

            b.  That means you are important

            c.  Where do you fit in?

            d.  What gift or function do you have?  How do you use it?

4.  Maybe you have yet to discover your gift - Is it one of the ones in this list?