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Small Groups: Engage in Community

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Engage  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  39:58
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Jesus spent more time with 12 men than He did with everyone else in the world put together. As we look throughout the New Testament we see small groups of believers everywhere. Understand why building small groups of believers is important and biblical, and how we can begin to model the "small" nature of the church in a "big" way. Take a tour of the New Testament church with Pastor Leger as he presents the teaching series.

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Mercy and the Church…

If you have a Bible, and I hope you do, let me invite you to open with me to . Community may not be the easiest thing in the world. When you get together with a group of people with different passions, different gifts, different skills, different life situations, different life experiences, you can’t really expect everything to go completely smooth.
Mercy and the Church…
I heard about this book. It’s called, Everybody’s Normal Until You Get to Know Them. Community would be a lot easier if you didn’t have to get to know people in the process, but somewhere along the way, this is the way God has designed us, and He’s created us to share life with each other. Somewhere along the way, we’ve missed out on some of this, in our culture of individualism, what it means to really … to really share life with each other, and that’s why we’re talking about small groups.
David Platt, “Small Groups: Engage in Community,” in David Platt Sermon Archive (Birmingham, AL: David Platt, 2007), 880.
Our growth in Christ as individuals is based on being a part of the community of faith. So, we engage in Christ through small groups.
David Platt, “Small Groups: Engage in Community,” in David Platt Sermon Archive (Birmingham, AL: David Platt, 2007), 880.
We engage in care. Last week, we saw how the suffering we go through is not intended only for our sake, and the comfort we receive in the middle of that, but it’s intended for others’ sake; how God comforts us not to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters.

We are mercy-driven worshipers.

David Platt, “Small Groups: Engage in Community,” in David Platt Sermon Archive (Birmingham, AL: David Platt, 2007), 880.
What I want us to do this morning is I want us to think about how small groups might enable us to engage the kind of biblical community that is at the core of the New Testament church. I want us to look at this passage of Scripture in . We’re going to read through the whole chapter. We’re going to be in this text this week and next week.

We are mercy-driven worshipers.

We are mercy-driven worshipers.

This week, I want us to look at a bird’s eye view of what’s going on in this text and think about engaging in community through small groups, and then we’ll go to another facet of this text next week. However, I want you to follow along and just picture this. I want you to notice how over and over and over again, it talks about how we relate to each other in community. Listen to ...

We are mercy-driven worshipers.

Romans 12:1–8 NKJV
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
David Platt, “Small Groups: Engage in Community,” in David Platt Sermon Archive (Birmingham, AL: David Platt, 2007), 880.
Now listen to this, talking about how we relate to each other...
Romans 12:9–21 NKJV
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. 17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:9-21
What I want us to see this morning in this passage of Scripture is how we relate to God, how we relate to each other in the church as a community in faith, and how we relate to the world. I want us to see how those three relationships are highlighted throughout this text. However, before we dive in, we’ve got to see that the primary word, the word upon which this whole chapter is based, is in the very beginning of .
What I want us to see this morning in this passage of Scripture is how we relate to God, how we relate to each other in the church as a community in faith, and how we relate to the world. I want us to see how those three relationships are highlighted throughout this text. However, before we dive in, we’ve got to see that the primary word, the word upon which this whole chapter is based, is in the very beginning of .

We are mercy-driven worshipers.

Romans 12:1 NKJV
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
Therefore… we know that what follows is based on what’s come before that. The mercy of God is at the foundation of all that follows. Chapter starts off with the wrath of God being poured out on all sinners. So a brief synopsis of the first eleven chapters of Romans would be...
David Platt, “Small Groups: Engage in Community,” in David Platt Sermon Archive (Birmingham, AL: David Platt, 2007), 881.
“In light of the fact that you used to be under the wrath of God in your sin, and Jesus Christ took your place, and by trusting in Him, He has given you His righteousness and His grace and His peace, and now you stand not only free from your sin, but victorious over all sin for all of eternity all because of the grace of God. In light of that, you worship God. In light of that, you love each other. In light of that, you bless your enemies, those who persecute you.” So we see that all of the following commands are rooted in the mercy of God. This whole text teaches us that we are...

We are mercy-driven worshipers.

David Platt, “Small Groups: Engage in Community,” in David Platt Sermon Archive (Birmingham, AL: David Platt, 2007), 883.

We are mercy-driven worshipers.

As we gather together this morning to sing, praise and honor and glory to Him; as we live lives of worship, it’s all motivated by mercy. Worship used to involve dead animals. What Paul is saying in is that you no longer put animals on the altar. You put yourself on the altar. So we...

We live to worship…

As we gather together this morning to sing, praise and honor and glory to Him; as we live lives of worship, it’s all motivated by mercy.
“In light of the fact that you used to be under the wrath of God in your sin, and Jesus Christ took your place, and by trusting in Him, He has given you His righteousness and His grace and His peace, and now you stand not only free from your sin, but victorious over all sin for all of eternity all because of the grace of God. In light of that, you worship God. In light of that, you love each other. In light of that, you bless your enemies, those who persecute you.”
David Platt, “Small Groups: Engage in Community,” in David Platt Sermon Archive (Birmingham, AL: David Platt, 2007), 883.
David Platt, “Small Groups: Engage in Community,” in David Platt Sermon Archive (Birmingham, AL: David Platt, 2007), 883.

We live to worship…

We live to worship…

This is not just a religious routine any more, this is not just singing, this is not just religious activity. This is your life. We live to worship. As we worship we are...

Sacrificing our bodies.

Verse 1 - We offer ourselves to God. As followers of Jesus Christ, we put our bodies on the altar and we say, “God, use my body to display your holiness. God, use my body for your pleasure.” That’s worship. So we are sacrificing our bodies and we are...

Surrendering our minds.

Verse 2 - Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. We are surrendering our minds to be saturated with the Word of God and we will be thinking differently. And we are...

Submitting our wills.

Then you will be able to test what the will of God is. Verse 2. Here’s the picture that we need to see about this idea of being mercy-driven worshippers...

Worship is not our religious duty; it is our greatest delight.

Worship is not our religious duty in this church. We don’t worship because it’s what you do on Sunday morning in our culture. On the contrary, we live to worship because our greatest delight is found in worshipping because we’re worshipping in a view of the mercy of God. We’re mercy-driven worshippers. It drives our worship. We’re mercy-driven worshippers.
Worship is not our religious duty in this church. We don’t worship because it’s what you do on Sunday morning in our culture. On the contrary, we live to worship because our greatest delight is found in worshipping because we’re worshipping in a view of the mercy of God. We’re mercy-driven worshippers. It drives our worship. We’re mercy-driven worshippers.

We are a mercy-molded family.

Now I want us to see how that, throughout the rest of this passage, how God’s mercy affects the way we relate to each other. We are mercy-driven worshippers and...
David Platt, “Small Groups: Engage in Community,” in David Platt Sermon Archive (Birmingham, AL: David Platt, 2007), 884.

We are a mercy-molded family.

Here’s the picture. From verse 3 all the way to verse 21, over and over again, we see commands, words of encouragement, and challenges that relate to how we show mercy to one another. Here’s the picture. We experience mercy personally, and we express mercy corporately.

We belong to each other.

Here’s the picture. From verse 3 all the way to verse 21, over and over again, we see commands, words of encouragement, and challenges that relate to how we show mercy to one another. Here’s the picture. We experience mercy personally, and we express mercy corporately.
We experience the mercy of God personally so that we can express the mercy of God corporately. Mercy is intended, not just for us, but intended for others’ sake. What we see from verses 3–21 is how mercy affects the way we relate to each other. That’s really where the main focus is in . However, also, we see how mercy affects the way we relate to the world.
David Platt, “Small Groups: Engage in Community,” in David Platt Sermon Archive (Birmingham, AL: David Platt, 2007), 884.
These verses talk about how we are together as a family in God. We’re going to go through these verses rather quickly, but I just want us to get the picture. What does a mercy-molded family look like? What is the church supposed to look like? Number one...

We belong to each other.

Look in verse 5...
Romans 12:5 NKJV
5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
There is a profound interconnectedness that happens in the church that we actually belong to each other, just like one body has many parts. We’re going to spend some time on verses 3–8 next week, so I won’t go too far here, but just like one body has many parts, this is the analogy here. When one part hurts, we all hurt. We belong to each other, and we’re united to each other. And we...

We love each other.

There is a profound interconnectedness that happens in the church that we actually belong to each other, just like one body has many parts. We’re going to spend some time on verses 3–8 next week, so I won’t go too far here, but just like one body has many parts, this is the analogy here.
David Platt, “Small Groups: Engage in Community,” in David Platt Sermon Archive (Birmingham, AL: David Platt, 2007), 886.

We love each other.

You get down to verse 9, and this is where they just start to come one by one right after another.
Romans 12:9 NKJV
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
You might want to circle that word and put a little note to the side. It’s the word Agape. Love must be sincere, without hypocrisy. This word literally means selfless love or self-giving, unselfish love. It was a very rare term in Greek culture and Greek literature. It was viewed as a very weak love. They thought promoting yourself was much more virtuous. It’s even counter-cultural today. Everyone’s out for themselves and what they can get out of relationships. We belong to each other. We love each other, and...

We care for each other.

Remember, we talked about that last week. These are great words in verse 10...
Romans 12:10 NKJV
10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
Romans 12:10
Two main words here in the original language of the NT, and the first one is a compound word. It combines the word “friend” with the word for love that refers to family love, “storgae” love, and so it’s a picture of a friend and a family together. What you’ve got in the second part of that sentence is the word “philadelphia”, which you know is brotherly love. It’s a combination of brother and the kind of love you have for a friend.
So now we have a picture here of the care that we are intended to have for each other as a church. It is intended to reflect the care of a family. We are also to...

We honor each other.

Romans 12:10 NKJV
10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
Romans
It literally says, “Prefer one another in honor.” Or, Prefer to Honor instead of being Honored. The picture here in verse 10 is that we outdo each other in honoring each other and heaping honor upon each other without favoritism. We don’t just honor the people we like. And we...

We spur on each other.

Here’s where you get some phrases back to back.
Romans 12:11–12 NKJV
11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;
Romans 12:11 NKJV
11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
Romans 12:
Here’s the picture. It says, “Let your heart and your spirit be zealous for the Lord,” on fire, literally for the Lord.

We share with each other.

This is the picture here of not being lazy in your walk with Christ, not being slothful in your relationship with Him, especially when tough times come, to be patient in affliction, devoted to prayer, not to slack off, but to be on fire. It’s why says, “Don’t give up meeting together. Come together so that you may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” And...
David Platt, “Small Groups: Engage in Community,” in David Platt Sermon Archive (Birmingham, AL: David Platt, 2007), 888.

We share with each other.

Romans 12:13 NKJV
13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
Circle that word “distributing”. some translations translate it as “share”. The word Paul used is “Koinonia” Remember, it’s the word for “fellowship” in the NT. Now it’s getting into more than just eating together. It’s sharing life together and sharing physical needs. We also...

We rejoice with each other.

Let’s jump to verse 15...
Romans 12:15 NKJV
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
We rejoice with each other and we...

We weep with each other.

This is difficult for some people to do. and then we...

We accept each other.

Romans 12:16 NKJV
16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
Or, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” Remember, it’s the mercy of God that connects us together, which is deeper than anything this world has to offer. This whole thing is designed so that...

The gladness of the family reflects the glory of the Father.

When we relate to each other like is teaching us to relate to each other, it reflects on our Father. When we show what community is like together, then it brings great glory to the God who makes that community a reality, the God who is behind that community. The gladness of the family reflects the glory of the Father. We are a mercy-molded family. And finally...
When we relate to each other like is teaching us to relate to each other, it reflects on our Father. When we show what community is like together, then it brings great glory to the God who makes that community a reality, the God who is behind that community. The gladness of the family reflects the glory of the Father.

We are on a mercy-giving mission.

David Platt, “Small Groups: Engage in Community,” in David Platt Sermon Archive (Birmingham, AL: David Platt, 2007), 890.

We are on a mercy-giving mission.

We don’t have the time to really get into it, but I want to finish this out be simply reading the verses we haven’t looked at yet.

We trust in God’s justice.

Romans 12:14 NKJV
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Romans 12:17–21 NKJV
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

We triumph with God’s love.

The early church was under severe persecution. So how do you respond to that? The commands God gives were counter-cultural then and counter-cultural today. We don’t have to say that what their enemies were doing was right. God just wants us to extend mercy to the world. God’s mercy and goodness to us led us to repentance. God’s mercy we dispense to the world could have the same effect. And if not, they just missed out on turning to God from the kindness that He has shown through you. You can trust the justice of God at that point.
So what now…?

Pray continually that God will make us a community with great mercy for each other and for the people in Lake Charles and the rest of the world.

God, please make us a kind of church.

We follow the One who died for His enemies…

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