Cruise Ship v. Battleship 遊輪與戰艦
My honeymoon was celebrated by going a cruise. I felt like a king in the cruise ship. Everyone was serving me and I consumed everything they had to offer. It was fun for a few days, until I started feeling empty and purposeless because there was nothing left for me to consume.
Many Christians today come to church with the same mentality; they see the church as a cruise ship. They go to church to be entertained and have a mindset of consumption. This is not how the Bible describes the church. The church should be viewed more as a battleship rather than a cruise ship. In a battleship everyone is working hard towards the same mission. No one is seeking to be served but everyone has a vital role to play. A failure to do one’s part is to the detriment of the whole ship and a role well-played brings out the finest battleships.
Let us study Romans 12:1-8 and learn how we can serve well, so that FCBC can be one of the finest battleships for the glory of God.
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 3 For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, but to think with sober discernment, as God has distributed to each of you a measure of faith. 4 For just as in one body we have many members, and not all the members serve the same function, 5 so we who are many are one body in Christ, and individually we are members who belong to one another. 6 And we have different gifts according to the grace given to us. If the gift is prophecy, that individual must use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is service, he must serve; if it is teaching, he must teach; 8 if it is exhortation, he must exhort; if it is contributing, he must do so with sincerity; if it is leadership, he must do so with diligence; if it is showing mercy, he must do so with cheerfulness. (Romans 12:1-8)
Always have God’s mercy in mind when serving: When Paul said therefore in verse 1, he is basically referring back to chapters 1-11. Chapters 1-11 can be summed up in the idea that everyone has sinned and deserves to be sent to hell, but because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we have now been spared of hell and have been given eternal life with Jesus Christ. This is what he means when he said in view of God’s mercy. He is emphasizing the idea of us not needing to be sent to hell anymore. We must always have this mindset whenever we serve. We are able to serve and become living sacrifices because we don’t have to go to hell anymore and that becomes our source of joy and strength whenever we serve.
Serving is not optional but is expected of us by God: In reference to Christians being as living sacrifices, the Greek word λογικός in verse 1 has been translated in different ways: (NET) which is your reasonable service, (ESV) which is your spiritual worship, (NIV) this is your true and proper worship, (NLT) This is truly the way to worship Him. What Paul seems to be conveying is that now that you understand that you deserve hell but have been spared from it, the only reasonable and almost expected response from us is to become living sacrifices. Christians must serve. The word must appears 7 times from verse 6-8 (NET). It is not optional but an expected response from us. We must use our gifts to serve God.
Serving is also physically beneficial for us: God expects and wants us to serve not just because it brings Him glory but because it is beneficial for us as well. Even non-believers have observed this universal principle that God has established. Different studies have shown that people who serve end up happier, less stressed, with lower blood pressure, being more productive at work and having longer lifespans. This is because God has wired us to serve Him and others. As we focus our resources, money, time, and energy in giving to Him and others, the more fulfilled and complete we feel as human beings. It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)
1所以，弟兄們，我以 神的慈悲勸你們，將身體獻上，當作活祭，是聖潔的，是 神所喜悅的；你們如此事奉乃是理所當然的。 2不要效法這個世界，只要心意更新而變化，叫你們察驗何為 神的善良、純全、可喜悅的旨意。3我憑著所賜我的恩對你們各人說：不要看自己過於所當看的；要照著 神所分給各人信心的大小，看得合乎中道。4正如我們一個身子上有好些肢體，肢體也不都是一樣的用處。5我們這許多人，在基督裡成為一身，互相聯絡作肢體，也是如此。6 按我們所得的恩賜，各有不同。或說預言，就當照著信心的程度說預言；7 或作執事，就當專一執事；或作教導的，就當專一教導；8或作勸化的，就當專一勸化；施捨的，就當誠實；治理的，就當殷勤；憐憫人的，就當甘心。(羅12:1-8)
2. 事奉不是選擇，而是神對我們的期待：基督徒是活祭，第1節中的活祭希臘原文“λογικός”有幾個不同的翻譯：NET 譯為理所當然的事奉；ESV 譯為屬靈的敬拜；NIV譯為真實正確的崇拜；NLT 譯為真正敬拜祂的方式。保羅似乎在傳達，既然瞭解自己本該下地獄，但如今脫離了地獄，那麼唯一理所當然的要求就是成為活祭。基督徒必須事奉。「當」這個字在6-8節出現了 7次 ，表明事奉不是一項選擇，而是神所期待的回應方式。我們應當使用恩賜來服事神。
～ Min. David Or 柯啟洋傳道～