Know Thyself Rightly
Righteousness Revealed: An Exposition of Romans

Gary Combs ·
November 14, 2021 · exposition · Romans 12:3-8 · Notes


How are you getting through the day? Have you believed the lie that you belong to yourself, that you’re responsible for discovering the meaning of your own life? The beginning of wisdom and of self knowledge, is to first know God and then know ourselves. And to know God, we must give ourselves fully to him. As we learned in Romans 12:1-2, Paul called believers to give themselves fully to God and be transformed by the renewing of their minds, so that they might discern and know the will of God.

Now in Romans 12:3-8, Paul instructed believers to think with this transformed and renewed mind, so that they might rightly discern and know themselves. We can rightly know ourselves.


Below is an automated transcript of this message

Good morning, church; it’s good to see all of you today! We’re continuing our series through the book of Romans today.

We’re thankful to welcome Bethel Baptist Church with us today. Give God’s unity a hand! Sometimes, people ask how many churches are in Wilson, North Carolina? You might look in the yellow pages or some other list, but there’s a simple answer. There’s only one true church in Wilson, North Carolina and that’s the bride of Christ and so, we’re happy to worship together with Bethel Baptist today.

We’re appropriately talking today about the body of Christ. It’s perfect how God works things out. His timing is perfect. We’ve entitled today’s message, “Know Thyself Rightly.” Perhaps you recognize that quote, “know thyself.” It’s attributed to Socrates. Socrates is recorded as saying, “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” He goes on to say, ”For the unexamined life is not worth living.” This is good advice, but the problem for us is it’s hard to know yourself if you don’t know God because He’s the one who made you. So, it’s good advice, but we can come up with faulty reasoning left to ourselves.

Here’s what the bible says about the beginning of wisdom in the book of Proverbs, Proverbs 9:10 (NKJV) “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” So, in Paul’s letter to the book of Romans, he reveals that if you would fully give yourselves to God as a living sacrifice, that you would have a transformed life and a renewed mind. As a result of that, you would be able to know yourself. You would be able to know yourself if you’ve been able to know God. People try to know themselves apart from God. They have a desire to know themselves and to think of themselves as belonging to themselves and apart from others, as if any of us exist apart from others or apart from God.

In his book, “You are not your own,” author and teacher, Dr. Alan Noble says that the many ills of living in today’s world comes from believing the lie that “we are each our own, we belong to ourselves.” He warns that the freedom of sovereign individualism comes at a great price. This weight of trying to say, I’m in charge of my own life. I own myself means that I have to take the role of God in my own life and I have to be my own judge, my own support and my own redeemer. He says this leads to a life marked by unrestrained desire and consumption. Either we desire ever greater heights of self mastery or we give ourselves over to entertainment and pleasure, but this leaves us exhausted and empty. To cope with it, he goes on to say that we “self medicate” just to get ourselves through the day. He talks about this idea that once I am liberated with no God, how can I control my own mastery? How can I control my own life as I think through these things now?

I wonder, how are you getting through the day? How do you get through the day? Do you have to “self medicate” to get through the day or are you able to recognize that there’s One more powerful?

Paul says that the beginning of wisdom is this new mind, this renewing of your mind that you can have. You can have a transformed mind. He goes on to say, as we continue in chapter 12, that we can really know ourselves rightly. When we think about ourselves, we can think about ourselves the way God wants us to think about ourselves.

So, as we look at the text today, I think we’ll see three perspectives that help us to know ourselves rightly. Three mirrors, if you will, as we look into God’s word today . Romans 12:3-8 (ESV) 3 “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. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 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.” This is God’s word.

How to know thyself rightly:

1. Find your real measure in the gospel of Christ.

Find your real measure in the gospel of Christ. This is the first perspective. If you want to evaluate yourself, look at yourself in the mirror and say, “Which mirror should I look into to evaluate who I am and how I’m doing in life.” I believe as we look at the scripture today, that real measurement is to measure yourself by the gospel of Jesus.

I want you to look at verse three and circle the word, “think.” How many times do you see the word, “think?” In verse three, you’ll see it three times in the English language. It’s actually hidden in the greek; there are actually four occurrences of the word in the Greek. It’s translated,”with sober judgment” according to the measure of faith God has given each of us.

People often ask me, “How do I know what a passage is about? What do I look for?” I look for keywords and repeated words. I see here that Paul wants to make a point about how you think about yourself. He says the word, “think,” four times in one verse. It’s a particular word. There’s so many words in the Greek language he could have chosen to talk about, but he used a particular Greek word here that has the idea of “to think clearly, soundly or rightly.” You’ll hear this kind of language when somebody makes their last will and testament. There’ll be a statement in there, “Being of sound mind and right mind, I bequeath this…”

Paul says, “For by the grace given to me…” Paul is saying, “I am an apostle.” The word “grace” here is the Greek word “charis.” If your name is Charis or Karen, it comes from that Greek word. It means God’s unconditional favor, favor unearned . “…by the grace…” I think, here, he’s referring to his apostleship, that God made him an apostle. His gift is the gift of apostleship. Another way you might say this is “For by the (apostleship) given to me” because that’s his grace gift.

Then, Paul says, “I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think,” By that authority, I say to you don’t think so highly of yourself. If you get a transformed mind and a renewed mind, don’t be so prideful. Don’t be thinking so highly of yourself. The idea of it begins with the Greek word, with the prefix “huper,” to bear. That’s where we get the word “hyper.” Don’t have a “hyper” mind about yourself. Don’t think so highly of yourself, but then, he doesn’t say to think lowly of yourself either.

Don’t think so highly, which is the human temptation. That’s the tendency; we tend to be prideful, but some of us do struggle with our self esteem. So, he’s also saying think of yourself with sober judgment, which is the idea of appropriately.

He’s not finished. He goes on to say, 3 “…each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” You could misunderstand this passage by thinking it means, Oh well, I can only think of myself based on how much faith I have. So if I have this much faith, I can think about myself like this. But if I have that much faith… That’s not what this passage means. The word measure, here, has more the idea of a standard of measurement. In fact, the Greek word here is where we get the origin for the word meter, which is a measurement.

So, what’s the measurement of our faith? Of the Christian faith? What’s the measurement? Is it the gospel? Now, we can say the whole scripture is how you measure yourself. The bible actually tells us that the word of God is like a mirror. This is one of the analogies of the bible. If you want to know yourself, look in the mirror and let the bible tell you who you are, but, the highest, clearest standard in the scripture for coming into faith is to believe the gospel.

How is this helpful if you’re measuring yourself? Why is it helpful? Why is it important, so that you don’t think too highly or too lowly of yourself to measure yourself by the gospel? Why is that so critical? It’s because the Gospel does two things for us at once. It reminds us that we’re all sinners saved by grace, so you don’t think too highly of yourself. Someone has said that being a christian just means that you know where the bread is. We’re all standing in a breadline; we’re all beggars. We all need bread. The only difference is we know where the bread is. We’re not better than anybody. We need Jesus, just like everybody else does, so it humbles us, but at the same time, it reminds us how much God loves us. We are dearly loved by the Father. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten…”

The gospel comes at us and it informs us not to be too high minded because we’re all sinners, saved by grace, but not to be too low minded either, because you are dearly and deeply loved by God. Both of these things are true. The gospel reminds us of both. In fact, we might say this, that the gospel causes us not to think too highly of ourselves in order to not think too lowly of ourselves. In fact, it kind of helps us stop thinking about ourselves all together, so we’re not so introverted in thinking about ourselves all the time. The “navel gazing” must end. All of the inward glances and all of the mirrors that we walk by and go, Oh wait, wait a minute, let me stop here for a second, must stop. There’s a lot of us who can’t help ourselves when we walk by a mirror. Here he’s saying, Don’t think so highly of yourself. Think with sober reflection, based on the measure of faith, which I think, is the highest measure. It is the gospel.

This is what Tim Keller says, “The gospel prevents us thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought—we are sinners, and all our efforts earn only judgment, and we are saved entirely by Another’s kindness. And the gospel prevents us thinking in a more lowly way than we ought—we are saved sinners, and we are loved and valued in the gaze of the only One whose opinion ultimately matters” The gospel is how we measure ourselves rightly. Don’t think too highly of yourself.

Romans says, Romans 3:23-24 (NLT) 23 “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.”

Don’t think too highly, but also, don’t think too lowly of yourself. 1 Corinthians 6:11 (NLT) “Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” Look at the image of Christ. Just think about Christ on the cross for a moment. Reflect on that for a second. What we see when we look at the cross, we see the picture of the gospel and we see both of these realities. First of all, we see what our sin looks like. This is our sin portrayed; this is what it cost God to pay for our sins. sin Jesus bled and died. That was the severity; He paid for our sin. This should show us the great grace that it costs and should keep us humble, so we know He paid for us, but at the same time, we can ask, How much does God love us? Jesus answers, This much (stretched out arms); I love you this much. We see God’s great love portrayed; at the same time, we see the judgment and holiness of God. We, also, see the love, grace and mercy of God. We evaluate ourselves in view of the cross. We need His grace to save us. We are deeply loved, so we no longer have to spend a lot of time thinking about ourselves. We can, with sober judgment, move on and think about others.

Perhaps, when you look at the life of Jesus, you see One that was careful about obeying the Father and careful about meeting the needs of others. You don’t see someone who is always thinking of themselves. He is always thinking of the Father and of others.

If you really want to be mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy, it’s very important to know how to evaluate yourself. Maybe it’s even more important to consider what Paul says, I don’t let others judge me, I don’t even judge myself. Sometimes it’s better to just leave that to the Lord and let Him be your judge. Be sober minded; be humble. You can evaluate yourself by the cross and by the gospel. Here’s the second perspective:

2. Find your true identity in union with the body of Christ.

This is the second perspective; the second “mirror” that we can look at. So, we can look at the gospel and get a true evaluation of our worth and who we are. Next, we can find our identity and union with the body of Christ. You can find your identity in union with the body of Christ.

Now in verse four, we see that Paul gives us an analogy. He starts off by describing the body. he says, 4 “For as in one body we have many members and the members do not all have the same function.” So he’s describing the human body right now; all of us have one. Look around; it looks like all of you are presently in a human body. What we recognize is that we are in one body; you don’t have a bunch of human bodies. You’ve got one body, but it has many parts and many members. You’ve got hands, feet, eyes, ears and so forth. One body, many parts. Gary, we didn’t really need this definition; we’ve got this. Let me make sure we’re on the same page.

Each part has a unique function. A hand doesn’t do what an eye does and an eye doesn’t do what an ear does, so this is Paul’s analogy. He’s going to apply it to the body of Christ, which is the church and the church is not the steeple; the church is the people. The church is made up of people, but we are one in Christ. Christ is the head; we are the body, so this is the analogy. He’s wanting to make it clear so that we understand.

As he moves into verse five, he says, 5 “so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” He’s saying three things here; three things that you want to think about. One is that we are one, so there’s unity. Then, he says that we also have different functions, so there’s diversity. There’s a diversity of gifting. Lastly, he says we are individually members, one of another, so, there’s mutuality. There’s unity, diversity and mutuality all in view here in these two verses. In other words, mutuality has the idea that we need each other. Don’t we hate admitting that? We hate admitting that we need each other. We are in the land of freedom in America. We’re Americans; we pull our own selves up by our own bootstraps. We don’t need anybody else. I don’t have to go to church. I don’t have to be a part of a church to be a Christian. I can follow my own spirituality. If I need to see some church, I can lay in my bed and watch it on tv between my sock feet.

When we say that we don’t need the church, we’re actually saying that we don’t need the body of Christ because the church is not the building. The church is the people. What we’re saying is that we’re trying to live contrary to what the word of God teaches. But, we need one another. We need the head; we need Christ and we need one another . There’s a mutuality that we do need each other.

I know that some of us, especially some of us grown men, wish that we didn’t need anybody. We wish we could just stay home and not need anybody, but the bible says we need one another. There’s a need for one another.

Galatians 3:27-28 (ESV) 27 “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” There is neither Jew nor Greek. That’s ethnic; that’s now overshadowed by our new identity in Christ. We could say it like this: There is neither black nor white and there’s neither red nor yellow. Ethnic differences have been overshadowed now by our oneness in Christ. There is neither slave nor free, so that’s demographic, rich or poor, employer or employee, nice neighborhood with gated community or living on the wrong side of the railroad tracks. There is neither male nor female, that’s gender identity. All of these are overshadowed by this new identity. We are one in Christ, so we find our true identity in Christ. We find it within the unity, diversity and mutuality of the body of Christ.

Look at what it says in 1 Corinthians 12:12-22 (NLT) 12 “The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit… 18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” 22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.” Paul uses the same analogy of the human body. The human body has many parts but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves and some are free, but we’ve all been baptized into one body by one spirit. We all share the same spirit, but our bodies have many parts. God has put each part just where He wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part. You can’t say that God doesn’t have a sense of humor; that is funny right there. Yes, there are many parts but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, I don’t need you. The head can’t say to the feet, I don’t need you. In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. We need each other and we find our true identity in the body of Christ.

How do we determine who we are? We’re born; we don’t get to pick our own names. Some people might rename themselves, but we were named by other people called mom and dad. The parents usually name their child, so we don’t get to pick our own name. Who here picked where you were born; who of you picked your birthplace? Nobody picked it. We can’t say that we just exist.

We have to admit that we were named by someone else; someone else raised us, so, we tend to think of our identities in at least three different ways. The traditional way is to think of your identity based on externals. Your mom and dad, your family, tell you who you are. As you grow up, maybe your extended family, your friends, the people in your neighborhood, the school you went to, tell you who you are. They tell you what you’re good at and who you look like. It’s not always favorable, but you get your identity externally. That’s the traditional approach, so people find their way in their identity in an external way.

Then, there’s a modern approach; it’s an internal approach. I don’t care what other people say, it’s how I feel. I feel I am this. People look inward and, regardless of what others say to them, they feel it is their choice. I will choose who I am. I won’t let my body determine who I am. I won’t look at my body. I will look inside. I feel that I am this gender; I feel like I’m this sexuality. I feel like I’ve got this identity. We live in a place today that’s very new. We’ve moved past this traditional approach, but may I say that both of them are faulty. They’re both faulty. Perhaps the inward approach came as a result of the fact that the traditional approach was faulty, that we looked outwardly and people got it wrong. They called us the wrong names. Some of us grew up in tough families where they told us terrible things and they called us terrible names, so our identity was all messed up by that.

There’s gotta be a better way. How do you find out who you really are? You can’t trust the people around you, You can’t look inside because your feelings are fickle; it depends on whether or not you ate pepperoni pizza the night before how you feel. Howdo you decide who you are?

There’s a better way. You can ask God. You can be a part of the body of Christ and find your place within His body. He’s the head. Here’s the better way; it’s the upward way. Not the outward or the inward but the upward. If you look upward to Him for your identity, He uses all three. He uses all three approaches; He comes and lives inside of you by His holy spirit, so now you have an inner voice that’s telling you who you are. He puts you in the body of Christ, which is believers who love you, so they lovingly tell you who you are. Then, He speaks to you through His word and from the head. Now, you have the best of all worlds; you have the upward, the outward and the inner voice speaking to you.

I spent a lot of time thinking about this because identity politics and identity divisionsare really blowing our world apart right now, wouldn’t you agree? There’s a better way. It is to find a new identity in Jesus.

I love being part of a team. Don’t you love being part of a team? I tried it my way early on when we first planted this church. In fact, November marks 30 years that we started with seven people in our living room. In November of 1991, there were seven of us in my living room and two of them were Robin and myself. Today, I still live in the same house. When we first planted the church, I did everything myself. That’s basically what it looked like in those early days. I was the worship pastor, the senior pastor and the youth pastor. I did it all. I didn’t know any better. I thought you just worked hard; I didn’t realize that you need to raise up leaders. I grew finally, praise the Lord. I’m still growing and I hope you are too. I’ve learned it’s better with a team. It took me a while to figure that out. We started raising up leaders. People started doing their part and then it was just better. It was sweeter. It was better. It was just “more gooder” in every way to be on a team. There’s no “I” in team.

To be one with the body of Christ it’s just the best! Besides, the bible is filled with “one another” commands: bear one another’s burdens, pray for one another, love one another as people will know that you’re a believer by the love you have for one another. I could go on. There’s dozens and dozens of “one another” commands. By the way, “you can’t do the ‘one anothers’ without ‘one another’.” We need one another just to keep the “one another” commands. We need one another because it helps us know who we are in the body of Christ. We can find our true identity because of Christ and because of the “one anothers.” We can have the measurement of the gospel to help us rightly evaluate ourselves. We have the body of Christ to help us identify who we are. Here’s the third perspective:

3. Find your life purpose in exercising the gifts of Christ.

We are in the next verses, verses six through eight, now. This third perspective is about the spiritual gifts that God gives us. These gifts help orient our purpose. Paul talks about them here, he says, 6 “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us,” There’s that word, “grace,” again. Remember, Paul began by saying, “By the grace given to me, I say to you.” Paul was given the gift of apostleship. Now, he’s saying that you have gifts too, so use them. Paul has the gift of apostleship and he says that you have gifts. He lists several of them. He’s not trying to list them all here. This is not a comprehensive list. We can look in the bible and see other lists of spiritual gifts. You can look in 1 Corinthians 12; there’s a long list there. There’s another list in 1 Corinthians 14. There’s a list in Ephesians 4. There’s another list in 1 Peter 4. You can see these different lists. I don’t think any of them are attempts at a comprehensive listing, but they’re examples of spiritual gifts.

Someone here might say, I don’t think I have a spiritual gift. Paul says that you do; he says that everyone has gifts. He’s making an assumption that you have one. For some of us, the first step to finding your purpose is to discover your spiritual gift; to find out what it is.

We have a process here at our church that we call, “Life on Life Discipleship.” One of the steps in that process is to determine your spiritual shape; it’s an acronym S.H.A.P.E. It stands for spiritual gifts. The H stands for “heart;” what do you have a passion for; what do you love? The A stands for “abilities;” what abilities do you have? The P stands for “personality;” are you an introvert or an extrovert? What do you know? Lastly, E stands for “experiences;” what kind of experiences do you have? Put those all together and you can get an idea of what you’re shaped for and what’s your purpose in life.

One of the things that may be surprising is the E, “experiences.” That one really has a lot to do with what your purpose is and you’ll often be surprised that the place you are most broken, the place of your deepest woundedness and brokenness, but God has healed you, is often your place of best service and ministry. Don’t be surprised by that; God often does that. “He causes all things to work for good to those that love God and are called according to His purpose.”

Let’s say, you are addicted to something, but God has given you freedom from that addiction. You have compassion and empathy to help others that are struggling with addiction. Let’s say you’ve had cancer, but God’s brought you through it. Now, you have a passion, a commitment and a desire to help others that are struggling with cancer. We have a cancer care ministry in our church right now as a result of a family that went through cancer and saw God’s victory in their life. For my own self, one of the things I most identify myself with is my love of being a father,a grandfather and being a pastor of a church. Where does that come from? I’ll tell you how it happened. My father died when I was eight years old and that wound was healed, by God, over time. It has caused me to have an excess of “father power.”

It says in 2 Corinthians, chapter one, that the comfort you’ve been comforted with, you’ll comfort others. You get excess comfort in the place you used to be hurt. You’ll often find your ministry there. We use our gifts and we discover them by thinking about all those variables I was talking about. Let me just give you the short way to try stuff. Think of the church like a laboratory. If it doesn’t work, try something else. Also, it doesn’t have to be inside these four walls; there’s a lot of opportunity to do things inside this church, but the church is best when it’s outside these walls. The church gathers, we gather for power, but we scatter for service. We go out into our neighborhood and our workplace. Some of you are chemists, some of you are teachers,some of you are engineers… Those vocations are just as sacred as my vocation is of being a pastor. Go do what you’re good at ; use your gifts and do it for the glory of God. When people ask you, Why are you so good at that? It just seems like you’re such a natural. It’s actually a supernatural thing; you are doing it for Jesus. He’s giving you the ability and you do it with zeal.

Let’s look at this spiritual gifts list just for a second because it’s important. Paul says, “If prophecy, in proportion to our faith.” What does that mean, “in proportion?” The idea of proportion has more of the idea of a standard. Romans 12:6 (HCSB) “​​If prophecy, use it according to the standard of one’s faith.” it doesn’t mean how much faith here. Again, it means the standard. What’s the standard of our faith? We covered it earlier, so if you’re going to preach don’t preach your opinion. If you’re gonna teach, don’t teach your opinion; teach according to the standard of your faith. The word, prophecy, has always been from the Old Testament to the New Testament. It’s been, “Thus saith the Lord.” It’s never a person in their own wisdom. That’s all I do on Sunday. I’ve got nothing to brag about except Jesus. I just do my best. I’ve told you all this before, but I’m just your “newspaper boy.” All I do is, during the week, I roll this up and put a rubber band around it and throw it as hard as I can at your front door. Whether or not you open it and read it is up to you. The gospel is good news. I’m just your “newspaper boy;” I’m the messenger.

A true prophet from God speaks from God’s word today. That is what’s important. Verse 7, “if service, in our serving;” we get the word, deacon, from this Greek word, diakonia. our service. I love the people who have the gift of service; I have to work at that one. My wife would say, Yep. He does. He has to work at that one, but I’m growing. I love to talk; if you have the gift of teaching, you are good at explaining things.

Verse 8, “the one who exhorts, in his exhortation.” Exhortation is the idea of coming alongside. The Greek word for exhortation is parakaleō. It’s where you get the name for the Holy Spirit; comforter, encourager, exhorter. Verse 8, “…; the one who contributes, in generosity;” Some of us are just givers; it’s your love language. If you love to give, do it with generosity. “The one who leads with zeal;” you have the gift of administration, you’re a good leader. Do it with passion.

“the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” You feed the hungry, you help the sick. You’re a good nurse. You’re a good doctor. Whether you’ve got the title or not, it just comes natural to you; it, actually, comes supernatural to you because these are supernatural gifts. Do it with cheerfulness; not going, Woe is me. The Greek word for cheerfulness is hilarotēs; it is where we get the word, hilarious. You should do it until it cracks you up! It should just fill you with joy. These are gifts that will fill you with purpose and joy in your life as you exercise them and you do all these things for the glory of God.

Here’s what Peter says, in 1 Peter, chapter four, 1 Peter 4:10-11 (ESV) 10 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” One of the best things you can do is just say, “Whatever I do, I want to give God the glory.” So, whatever your vocation is, think about this.

Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatsoever you do, do it heartily as unto the Lord, not as unto men.” Just think about Jesus Christ as your employer, Jesus Christ as your boss, Jesus Christ as the head of your life. Wherever you work, you do it for Him. You do it by His power and for His glory, so that, if people ask, Why are you so happy? Don’t say, Well, I’m one of those “half cup full” peopl, you know; I’m the optimist. Say, It’s Jesus in me. Go ahead and tell people, wherever you’re at; the church scattered is where it’s really going on. We come in here to get encouraged and to be built up and we go back out and we serve in the very grace that God has given us. Your job is just important as my job. My job is no more important to God than your job is. I need you; I need you to get that “spec out of my eye.” We need each other. By expressing our gifts, we learn more about who we are.

There are some here that are either watching online right now or you’re here in person and you struggle with your identity, maybe in one of those areas today. There’s so much confusion about gender, about sexuality, about whether or not you should call yourself an addict or a loser or some name that your parents called you. You have heard that you were never going to make anything out of yourself. All of these names that we’ve called ourselves and whether we’ve looked inwardly or we’ve responded outwardly. God loves you, right where you are. You won’t be able to change yourself; you can’t do it. If you’re waiting to change yourself, you’ll never be ready to come to Christ. You need to come just as you are and let Him, by His love, be the One who changes you.

Don’t misunderstand me when I talk about the different ways that we try to identify ourselves. Love one another and let God do the work. Let His gospel decide how people should evaluate themselves that are within the body of Christ. Encourage one another. Love one another, regardless of how people might be struggling today with identity issues, about purpose in life, about the racial injustice and all the different things that are so divisive today. Let’s come under the head of Jesus. Let’s be patient with people as they try to follow Him.

I think the real measure of how we measure ourselves is the gospel of Jesus. Our true identity is found in the body of Christ, with Him as the head and our true purpose is found as we carry out and live out the gifts that God has given. Let’s pray.

I pray, first of all, for that one that might be here today, that came in on a thin thread. They barely got here and they need You. Is that you, my friend? Have you ever given your life to Jesus? You can do it right now, right in your seat. You can pray to receive Christ right there because prayer is just talking to God. You can pray with me right now. Would you do it? Would you pray with me? Dear Lord Jesus, I’m a sinner, but I believe You died on the cross for my sins and that You were raised from the grave and that You live today. Would You come into my life? Would You come and live in me and make me the person You want me to be, forgiving me of my sins and making me a child of God. I invite You now to be my Lord and my Savior. I believe in you . If you are praying that prayer right now, believing, the Lord Jesus will save you. He will make you a child of the Lord God. You can say that with confidence, right now as you pray. Others are here and you know Him as Lord; You know Him as Savior. You’re a Christian, but you’ve been trying to live life on your own. You’ve been trying to do it yourself. You haven’t been practicing your gifts or exercising your gifts. You haven’t been active in the body of Christ and you’ve fallen somewhat adrift. Would you put your “yes” on the table? Would you do it right now and say, Whatever You want from me, Lord, I am fully Yours. I will do what You say. I will be who You say I am. I will do what You command me to do. I am Yours. I believe in You. I’m ready to do, now, whatever You say because, “If You’re not Lord of all, You’re not Lord at all . We pray these things now in the name of Jesus. Amen.