The Fruit Of Hope
Humble Service in the Body of Christ
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Love in Action
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Living our identity in Christ personally and passionately in a divided culture.
The Fruit Of Hope
One of the observations from Chapters Romans 1-11, is that the Body of Christ (those who say they love Christ) is not serving each other in humility and they are not pleasing to God. All this is centered around the gentile and Jewish Christians who live in Rome and have conflict between each other. The Jews had put their hope in the law(works – 9:30-32). They were not resting in the Lord’s work but their own. There is no rest for the one who must keep working for their salvation. The Gentiles were arrogant because they thought themselves morally superior to the Jews.(11:17-23) They, also, were not resting in what the Lord had done. He reminds the gentiles of the kindness that God has shown them by grafting them in. The two cultures of the Jew and the Gentile had come clashing together.
In CH 12, Paul reminds those who say they love Christ to be sincere and loving. He charges them: “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” They live in hypocrisy showing little passion, little hope in the Lord. They are not a reflection of what the Lord has done or who He is. They don’t use their gifts to glorify the Lord. They use what is comfortable to them. Their rest/hope is in themselves. Zeal is mentioned several times in this passage. Paul connects it to their hope. Because their hope is in their own works, they have no passion, no joy, no zeal.
****Isn’t this the church today? We are warring against each other because of our different ideas and cultures. We give very little hope and help to the people around us because we are too concerned with what we ourselves want. We do not serve as a Body or reach out with joy because our “zeal” is for ourselves. Are we resting in our own works? Are we arrogant and do not treat others with love? If we rested in the Lord and what He has done through His Son, what would be different about the Body? How would we live in this divided, fractured world?
In CH 13-16, Paul reminds us of what it looks like for the believer to love his enemy, rest in Christ with Christian freedom, live under the governing authorities, and wrestle with law and love……together as one Body. The people of God must find their identity in the Lord and not their culture. – the Jews and the Gentiles each wanted it their way. They were not united in purpose. They needed to rest/hope in the Lord….cling to what is good. He is good. The gifts He gives to each one of them are to be used purposely to glorify Him and not themselves. The true believer is to live personally and passionately from their gifts for the purpose of Glorifying their Lord.
He has given us gifts for a purpose…..to glorify Him. “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.” If our faith is sincere, we serve others out of a genuine unified love/passion for our Lord and our culture will not rule our hearts. The “fruit” of this hope is joy, patience, faithfulness, hospitality, and love. When we rest in Him, we serve with encouragement, diligence, generosity and mercy.
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