[This is part of a series of sermons on the topic of “One Another”. To access previous messages, please click here.]
Last week we talked about the hypocritical attitude we can have with our works and our conscience. With our works, we can get to a point where we think we deserve a position in the ministry for the Lord. I have literally had people list the works they have done for 20 or 30 years to justify why they demand a position of leadership in the church. They ask why they were not chosen. They ask why the pastor would disqualify them. They do not understand. If they have taught Sunday school, taught children, helped others, shoveled walks and driveways, witnessed for the Lord and visited many, why are they not qualified to be a deacon, or trustee or in some churches an elder? The answer is that none of those things are requirements to be a deacon. They are things deacons do, services they perform. The chief requirement to serve as a deacon is for the man to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:3). Other requirements, articulated in Titus and 1 Timothy, include submissiveness, blamelessness, not being an adulterer, having faithful children, being a steward of God, not quick to anger, not given to wine, not someone who would fight or be greedy. There are more qualifications, but the point is that through their own personal admission and line of argument, the individual listing their accomplishments and demands was neither submissive nor full of the Holy Spirit.
As we studied both works and conscience, we quickly find that our works do not earn us salvation, but our salvation is evinced in our works. We also found that our conscience can both accuse and excuse. We can accuse some by simply having a testimony that convicts them. The Christian testimony convicts because it involves submission. Christian submission to God is a bane to man who seeks only to please himself.[i] Man cannot understand how faith in things unseen motivates the Christian. Through faith, the Christian accuses the unbeliever and excuses the believer.
The believer’s faith in Christ’s vicarious sacrifice forces self-assessment and understanding of personal sin. With true understanding of imperfection, every believer knows he makes mistakes. Therefore, believers are forgiving as God in Christ is forgiving (Eph 4:32).
We will look at three passages today. Our first is the most extensive, but they are all essential to understanding how a unified church body functions. We will consider who moves the body, what our parts are in the body, and how we all submit in the body and the construct of the body. We should personalize this entire discussion. This is not sophistry, but functionality in the Christian life. All the way through this exposition you should be asking yourself, where do I fit in all of this? Continue reading