Genuine Christian Living

An exposition of Romans 12:3-8. romansThis message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, April 11, 2010.

What does it look like?  How am I supposed to act?  What are the rules?  These are all legitimate questions when considering what the Christian life is all about.  Okay we are different.  We’ve been changed by the grace of God – but how are we different?  Are the Amish right?  Are we to shun the world and forego modern conveniences?  Like the Pentecostals are we to avoid makeup, jewelry and make sure we dress modestly?  Are the Word of Faith folks right and we should walk in health and prosperity?  Is there a list?  Maybe a pocket guide to righteous living so that I have it for easy reference.  So many voices, so many views who’s right?  Where do I go for clear direction?  As with all such questions we go to the Word of God.  But what you will find is that it is not as “cut and dried” as you may want it.  It is not about rules.  It is not about lists.  It is deeper than that.  The issues are far more complex than most want to acknowledge.  Living the Christian life is not easy.  It is demanding.  It requires steadfast determination and patience.  It starts with who you are and then naturally unfolds what you do in light of who you are.  Paul wrote to the church at Rome to lay out his gospel, the message God had given him.  He wanted to lay the ground work for what he hoped would be a long and fruitful ministry there.  The first 11 chapters are filled with profound doctrinal truths.  He begins with the radical depravity of man and then reveals God’s gracious provision in Christ.  He explains that the gift of life must be obtained through faith and that faith brings radical change.  The Spirit of God is placed within us and cries, “Papa!  Father!”  The Holy Spirit then begins to work our sanctification or holiness.  This is a life-long process that has its ups and downs.  But always moves us towards holiness until ultimately presenting us holy and acceptable to God.  Paul also makes it clear that God is always faithful to His people and His promise.  Then in chapter 12 the focus moves from doctrine to duty, from theology to practice.  The two must not be seen as separate for they are inseparably linked.  The one flows into the other, the latter grows out of the former.  With chapter 12 the issue becomes, how am I to live in light of chapters 1-11?  What is required of me?  What does Christian living look like?  Our text this morning is found in Romans 12 beginning with verse 3.

Text: Romans 12:3-8

Romans 12:1-2 is a call to commitment.
Reminding us that:
Commitment is based on the mercies of God in Christ.
This commitment demands our total being (love so amazing demands my life, my soul, my all).
This commitment requires that I say, “No” to the spirit of the age and “Yes” to the Spirit of God.

This morning’s text builds on that foundation.  What does it mean to live with a transformed mind?  This life surrendered to the Spirit of God, what does it do?

I want to point out three things from the text.

  1. Genuine Christian living demands an honest self-assessment in light of the person of Jesus Christ.  (12:3)
  2. Genuine Christian living demands that you see your life vitally and dynamically connected with others.  (12:4-5)
  3. Genuine Christian living demands that you unhesitatingly and unselfishly use your gifts for God’s glory and the good of His church.  (12:6-8)

Thesis: Genuine Christian living requires honest evaluation and Christ-centered service focused on others.

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