Author Archive

Different Members; Same Body

For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us…

Romans 12:4-6a

In our bodies, we have many different “members.”  We have arms and legs, hands and feet, fingers and toes.  We have a tongue, a nose, two ears, two eyes, and thousands of hair follicles.  If we get down to the cellular level, there are literally millions of “members” of our bodies and every single one of those members has its own job to do.  The eyes help us to see and the ears help us to hear.

It is the same with the church, the body of Christ.  The body of Christ has many members and they all have their own job to do.  We can look around our church and readily see this truth.  There are people in the church who preach.  There are people who sing.  There are people who teach Sunday school classes.  There are people who encourage others.  There are people who are good leaders.  There are people who are good followers.  There are many, many different people in any church with many, many different talents and abilities.

Since we are not all the same, we should not expect everyone else to be just like us and we should not try to be just like someone else.  Just as it would be ridiculous for the eyes to look down on the ears because they don’t see anything, so it is ridiculous for us to look down at someone else only because they do not do the exact same thing that we do.

Let us remember that we are different members within the same body the next time we want someone else to be just like us.

Salvation! O the Joyful Sound (Hymn)

Salvation!  O the Joyful Sound!
Isaac Watts (1709)

Salvation! O the joyful sound!
What pleasure to our ears!
A sovereign balm for every wound,
A cordial for our fears.

Buried in sorrow and in sin,
And at hell’s dark door we lay;
But we arise by grace divine
To see a heavenly day.

Glory, honor, praise, and power,
Be unto the Lamb forever:
Jesus Christ is our Redeemer:
Hallelujah, Praise the Lord.

Salvation! let the echo fly
The spacious earth around;
While all the armies of the sky
Conspire to raise the sound!

Salvation! O Thou bleeding Lamb,
To Thee the praise belongs;
Salvation shall inspire our hearts,
And dwell upon our tongues.

And song that speaks of salvation should be a delight to the ears and heart of a Christian.  Isaac Watts was an English hymn writer who clearly loved and appreciated his salvation.  Singing and thinking about hymns like this one will help us to love and appreciate it as well!

Saturday Psalm (9)

I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.  I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.  When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence.  for thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right.

Psalm 9:1-4

Many of the Psalms deal with the theme of praising the Lord for His goodness to us.  In the first verse in this Psalm, the Psalmist says that he is going to praise the Lord with his whole heart.  Just thinking about that will give us plenty to consider today.

The Psalmist praised the Lord, which is what we should all be doing.  But he made it a point to say that he was praising the Lord with his whole heart.  How often are we guilty of praising the Lord halfheartedly?  How often are we guilty of praising the Lord sometimes and ignoring Him other times?

We need to praise the Lord with our whole hearts.  We need to praise the Lord all the time, every day and in every way.  We need to watch ourselves that we do not fail to praise the Lord for His goodness to us.  He has been good to us, hasn’t He?  If so, then we ought to be praising Him for it and letting others know!

Thinking Soberly

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.  For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every many that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 

Romans 12:1-3

Verse three tells us (after telling us that we should not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think) that we need to “think soberly.”  The word “soberly” simply means “seriously.”  We need to be serious minded people.

Thinking soberly does not mean that we cannot have a sense of humor.  It does not mean that we cannot enjoy life or laugh.  But it does mean that we need to be serious about certain things, especially spiritual things.

We need to be serious about our walk with the Lord.  We need to be serious about telling others about Him and getting others to Him.  We need to be serious about living our lives in a way that honors Him.

We are sober and serious about these things because we understand what is at stake.  We understand that people are going to go either to Heaven or Hell.  We understand that all men are sinners and that the only way to be forgiven of all of our sins is to come to Jesus Christ for His mercy and grace.  Life is not just a big party or a joke.  There is life and death in the decisions that people make.

Understanding these things will help us to keep our minds sober and keep us right with the Lord Jesus.

Thinking of Ourselves

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.  For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every many that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 

Romans 12:1-3

In verses one and two, we are admonished to present ourselves living sacrifices to God.  We are admonished to allow Him to make the decisions in our lives.  After telling us those things, we come to the third verse.  There, we are told that we, as Christians, are “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think…”

We aren’t supposed to think more highly of ourselves than we “ought to think.”  That might sound simple, but we are prideful creatures by nature.  It is our nature to be proud.  It is our nature to think highly of ourselves.  But God wants us to be humble and remember what we are.

We are vile sinners.  We are nothing in ourselves.  The only reason we are anything is the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is only through Him that we enjoy salvation and forgiveness.  Remembering those things will help us to think ourselves as we ought to think.  It will help us to keep our pride in check.

Really, the main point of life is to keep our eyes on Jesus and not on ourselves.  Doing that will help keep our opinions of ourselves in check!

 

Be Not Conformed

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:1-2

After telling us that we should present our bodies a living sacrifice in verse 1, Paul tells us how we can accomplish that in verse 2.  We are told to “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing our your mind.”

First, we need to not be conformed to this world.  When we become Christians, we need to stop living like the world lives.  The world lives in sin.  There are certain things that the world sees as being fine that a Christian knows are wrong.  There are places that the world goes that a Christian should not go and there are things that the world does that a Christian should not do.  We should not be conformed to the world.

Second, we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  When we become Christians, our whole way of thinking needs to change.  The only way that can happen is for us to constantly renew our minds.  Every day, we need to put the Lord Jesus in our minds.  We need to put the Bible in our minds.  The more we put the right things in our minds, the more the wrong things begin to get crowded out.  Every single day, we need to put the right things in our minds.

Most of the Christian life consists simply of moving closer to the Lord Jesus Christ and farther away from everything else.  How are we doing?  Which direction are we moving?

Our Reasonable Service

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Romans 12:1

In this verse, Paul tells us that we should dedicate ourselves, our lives and our bodies to serving the Lord.  We should present ourselves as a “living sacrifice” to God.  Our whole lives should be surrendered to what He wants and not what we want.  As Christians, our lives should be all about Him, not all about ourselves.  He ends the verse with this: “…which is your reasonable service.”

Giving our entire lives to Lord seems like a huge thing.  Becoming a living sacrifice to Him seems to be a monumental task.  But Paul says that it is simply “our reasonable service.”

I heard a story many years ago dealing with this verse that has stayed with me through the years.  A pastor in one of the former Soviet countries had three daughters.  He was told to stop preaching, and, when he didn’t, the government cut out the tongues of his three daughters.  Years later, an American was visiting a church in that country and noticed 3 young women sitting on the front row, smiling and communicating with sign language.  They seemed to have the sweetest spirits about them, and the American asked the pastor about them.  The pastor told him the story about their father and the American was fascinated.  He asked the girls how they were able to go through that without becoming bitter.  Their simple response was: “it was our reasonable service.”

How often do we want to stop serving the Lord when we run into any minor hardship?  Someone is unkind to us and we are ready to stop serving Him.  Someone makes fun of us and we are ready to stop.  Living our lives for Him and giving our lives to Him might seem like a huge thing, but we need to remember that it really is our reasonable service.

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