July 4, 2021 Series: Romans
Topic: Sunday Sermons Passage: Romans 12:3–8
 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.  For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function,  so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.  Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;  if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching;  the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. - Romans 12:3–8
Transformed thinking is rightly thinking about
ourselves, others and the gifts of grace.
Transformed Thinking is Rightly Thinking
Last Sunday we primarily focused on how the Mercies of God lay a foundation for the renewal of our heart - the thing that drives, or motivates, our outward actions. There was an intentional focus on the direct connection between what we believe and how we live.
Today there’s a component of ourselves that Paul addresses inwardly that again results in outward change. A Transformation through the process of renewal.
Last week in our hearts, this week in our minds.
We recognize again the total being transformation that God is after in his people.
As I’ve been studying I’ve thought about why the mind is critical to transformation.
Last week we saw the importance of presenting ourselves as vessels to be filled, I need my mind to be filled with the right things to think correctly so that the outflowing actions are also correct.
Even as I was preparing I tried to slow down to give thought to the ways my mind plays such a critical role in my understanding, retention of knowledge, signaling my body to even type out these notes through the involvement of my arms, hands and fingers… it reminded me of Acts where Paul is quoting a poet of the time but using it to illustrate our life in Christ when he says:
 for… ‘In him [Christ] we live and move and have our being’...” - Acts 17:28
Or, in Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth where he’s exhorting them to proclaim the radical news of Salvation in Christ, doing so with the wisdom that the Spirit provides and drawing together in unity in the church and he reminds the church, everyone there:
 “...we have the mind of Christ.” - 1 Corinthians 2:16
This is the same mind that the Spirit transforms in us today as a church, we too, as spiritual beings, in Christ can be transformed by renewal to have the mind of Christ and through that live and move and have our being - our outward being and actions TRANSFORMED through an inward renewal. Isn’t that amazingly good news?
John Stott tells us of this passage:
A renewed mind is a humble mind like Christ’s. Our renewed mind, which is capable of discerning and approving God’s will, must also be active in evaluating ourselves, our identity and our gifts. For we need to know who we are, and to have an accurate, balanced and above all sober self-image. - Stott, John.
So, Transformed thinking is renewed into rightly thinking about a few things, beginning with ourselves.
 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
The importance of faith for the Christian walk - not saving faith, this is our sustaining faith, faith in the power of the spirit, faith in the gifts given.
Notice that last week there was a foundational focus on the mercies of God - that is, our deserving of punishment for sin yet receiving pardon through Christ’s finished work on our behalf.
This week, Paul shifts the focus a bit to a grace -that is a favor, blessing, benefit (covenantal language) that we didn’t earn or deserve or garner for ourselves.
Paul actually is modeling what it looks like to operate in our closing point today- that is, operating in a gift of grace - because he says here in v.3 by the grace given to me and in v.6 he’ll turn the tables to address all of us by saying essentially… now, by the grace given to us… do what I just showed you how to do.
It’s also important to have clarity in our thinking on what Paul says here about the ‘measure of faith’
Some commentators would say that a better way for the phrase ‘according to the measure of faith given to us’ ...would be to say... ‘according to the standard of faith given to us…’
If we read it ‘according to the standard of faith given to us…’ we realize that the standard of our faith is Christ himself … in light of looking to him, Paul’s first point is that we’ll be humbled about ourselves.
In this context, it’s right for us to also see that Paul is noting the portion of our faith.
Here’s where I want to be clear, and perhaps to do so it’s best to personalize this a bit… It’s right when those around me stir up my faith by challenging me, stir up my faith by calling me out when I’m settling for something less than what God has for me. I want to -we should all want to- live in the fullness of blessings and benefit of saving faith in Jesus.
But it’s not right when someone tries to say that more faith means more results. We need to think rightly about the gifts, their unifying benefit to and for the church as well as their limitations. More faith doesn’t equal better results. More faith never means more glory for me as an individual.
Sobered thinking -not being intoxicated by our own thoughts, personality, perspective, etc- helps us realize that we may have the same gift as someone else but different amounts of it for expression in a variety of circumstances or calling.
The moment we’re equating faith and results we’re operating outside of what Paul is bringing our attention to: humble posture, sober judgements - RIGHT THINKING about ourselves.
Each week our notes go around to to our Pastoral team for feedback, this section got a good bit of feedback this week, in an encouraging way. I thought I’d offer, on their behalf, thoughts that I received from Cristian and Danny on verse 3:
From Cristian: What matters is not the size of our faith, but the object of our faith.
From Danny: [Right thinking] counteracts pride as well as comparisons - he was also noting how different this is than the “true tonyourself” that the world tried to push today (last week we saw these’schemes of the age’) - I believe transformed thinking is being submitted to our truly created selves.
Next, he’ll turn his attention to our fellow believers, let’s read on together in verses 4-5
Fellow Believers (v.4-5)
 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function,  so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Another fruit of Christ as the measure -or as we just saw: standard- for our faith: namely, thinking rightly about others…
What does this illustration of the body that Paul uses mean; Appreciating their gifts rather than trying to compete with them
The Body (note how this connects to Paul’s comments connecting our whole being up to this point in R.1-12)
Gathered here today, we’re not supposed to look like some grotesque mannequin graveyard. Pieces & parts laying around, static in nature, disjointed and disconnected.
When Ella was younger she had a tendency to go to mannequins in a store and hold hands with them, it was weird and when I was asking permission to share this she said it was so she could have a normal family