We have been in the “School Room” together and have received divine instruction. We enter the last division of Romans now and find ourselves in the Serving and Waiting Room.
Israel was detained at Sinai for some time after their deliverance from bondage. There they “sat down” at the feet of Jehovah and “received of His words.” They were the servants of Jehovah as well as His saints and they received the instructions for the building of the tabernacle and all its service while waiting there.
We learn that we too are servants. We notice there are seven circles of service in ch. 12-15. The first is the tiny all-important circle of our own life and then the spheres expand until in ch. 15 we have the world circle. The whole world is to feel the warmth of Christian service.
1. Self Sacrificial Service, Ch. 12:1, 2.
Our service begins with the presenting of ourselves to God. The Israelite was to bring different materials—gold, silver and precious stones linen etc. to God for the building of the tabernacle. (Ex. 25:1-9). But the house of God is not being built thus. We are to bring our bodies to be at His disposal. We learn in this chapter that we are one body in Christ. Being gathered together by the Holy Ghost we are the house of God. Two things are to mark us, devotedness and separation. In vs. 1 we have devotion. We were the slaves of sin now we are slaves of love. The “mercies of God” like a golden chain bind our hearts to God. Gladly we render to Him all we have and are.
In vs. 2 we have separation. If Christ has won our hearts we turn our backs upon this world. Abiding in the sunlight of His presence we are transfigured into His own likeness. We are not to pattern after the world and its ways we are to live to please God in all things.
2. Service In The Assembly, Vs. 3-8.
The will of God is that all who believe should be in assembly fellowship. We are not only Christ’s but we are also “members one of the other.” Our bodies illustrate the truth. We have many members in our bodies, feet, hands, ears, eyes and so on; but the body is one. Each of these members has a different office and each is necessary to the good of the whole body. So it is in the Church. We are one in Christ, yet each of us have a place to fill, a duty to perform and a grace to dispose. In our service there are three things necessary for acceptable service.
1. I must have low thoughts of self. vs. 3 They tell of an old boat on the Mississippi that had a whistle so large it took all the steam. Every time it blew the engines stopped. Self-importance must be dealt a death blow. None of us have any occasion for boasting for all is the gift of God.
2. I must recognize the truth of the one body. vs. 4, 5. “Many are one” says the apostle. There would be no jealousy in our service if we really believed this. We are one in Christ. True there is diversity but there is harmony. Union is different from unity. A boy has a bundle of sticks. They are held together by a cord, but the many are not one. The branches of a tree all differ but the tree is one tree though the branches are many.
Like the notes in music each believer differs from the other, but what strains of sweet music are produced by the master hand of the musician.
3. I must be exercised before God as to my service. vs. 6-8.
The various gifts are mentioned here. There are seven in all.
1. Prophecy, the telling forth of the mind of God.
2. Ministry or service. We are to give ourselves wholly to it.
3. Teaching that is explaining the Word of God.
4. Exhorting, that is applying the Word of God in a practical way.
5. Giving, “imparting” our goods: a divine investment.
6. Ruling, “presiding” in home, Sunday School or assembly.
7. Shewing mercy. This takes us all in. We can all be kind one to another. With hearts aglow and faces radiant we can bring heaven’s cheer to dark hearts and lonely.
1. What must precede service for God?
2. What is the great incentive for service?
3. Where does service begin?
4. How can one serve in the assembly?