2000-02-12 - Romans Chapter 12
Last week we discussed what it means to be a living sacrifice, carrying our cross and denying ourselves. We discussed the importance of being transformed by the Word of God and not being conformed to the image of this world. God's Word gives us direction: "Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness. That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work. " (II Timothy 3:16-17) We are all sinners saved by Grace. This week we will take up where we left off in our devotional from last week discussing our gifts and how to use them.
Romans 12:3-5 For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think as to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to each man a measure of faith. For even as we have many members in one body, and all the members have not the same office: so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and severally members one of another.
If we listen and obey what God asks us to do we will certainly bear fruit that will last. But we need to abide in Christ, get into His Word and "do" what it says. Please note the following verses.
I Peter 5:5-7 Likewise, ye younger, be subject unto the elder. Yea, all of you gird yourselves with humility, to serve one another: for God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time; casting all your anxiety upon him, because he careth for you.
We have a warning from God to be humble. Paul thought a great deal of himself before becoming a Christian, yet from last weeks devotional we see that he came to the realization he had nothing to brag about. We are all sinners I know when I sin, Godly sorrow leads me to repentance and that repentance leads to cleansing, forgiveness and restoration of fellowship with God. We need to likewise forgive those who repent and not allow their sorrow to fester as the world's sorrow does and destroy them. Again we need to forget "ourselves" with "our" ideas on the subject and "listen" to God's Word and "do" what that Word says.
I Corinthians 5:5-8 But if any hath caused sorrow, he hath caused sorrow, not to me, but in part (that I press not too heavily) to you all. Sufficient to such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the many; so that contrariwise ye should rather forgive him and comfort him, lest by any means such a one should be swallowed up with his overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you to confirm your love toward him.
In the body of Christ we are all called to "do" something. We are not all alike, but we have different gifts to share with one another. These gifts do not make us greater or lesser but enable us to serve one another consistently to advance Gods' Kingdom. If the foot runs across a piece of glass it will hurt and affect the rest of the body. But if the eye sees the object and sends a message to the foot to avoid the glass the foot can do its part and continue to walk safely carrying out its job for the rest of the body. I believe this is how we are to work together in humble unity ministering to the needs of others on very practical levels. It is a dangerous thing to try to serve the Lord when no gift has been given; and it is also tragic to refuse to use a gift for His glory
Romans 12:6-8 And having gifts differing according to the grace that was given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of our faith; or ministry, let us give ourselves to our ministry; or he that teacheth, to his teaching; or he that exhorteth, to his exhorting: he that giveth, let him do it with liberality; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness.
Ministry is servanthood. Jesus gave us an excellent example of servanthood through the washing of the disciples feet.
Prophecy is a speaking forth from God in proportion to your faith, which comes by hearing the Word of God.
Teaching is a gift we all have. Like it or not we are constantly teaching those around us what we believe by our words and actions. What are you teaching people about your faith?
To exhort simply means to encourage people around you in the faith. Many times people around us can benefit from words of encouragement.
The gift of giving refers to give with no strings attached. God gave us a gift of salvation and does not revoke His gift if we blow it. If someone whom we have given to sins, we should praise God they are saved and pray for them. We should never give because of a hidden motive of our own.
Leadership is from God and refers to church government. Romans 13:1 tells us that authorities exist from God and in our study they are to diligently rule in accordance with God's will.
The gift of mercy should be shown cheerfully. Philippians 2:14 tells us to do everything without complaining. So should mercy be shown to your brother. God gives mercy by seeing your brother through what He is doing in his life and we should look at him in the same way. Allow God to show your brother to you and encourage them with Spiritual insight. Above all let us not only remember the following verses but let us "live" them--for the benefit of others.
Romans 12:9-13 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. In love of the brethren be tenderly affectioned one to another; in honor preferring one another; in diligence not slothful; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing stedfastly in prayer; communicating to the necessities of the saints; given to hospitality.
I hope you can see the importance of serving in love to help others in your local church. Most of the 112 references to the church in the New Testament refer to local bodies of believers. God did not make everyone the same and your gift(s) are needed to help the brethren. Next week we will discuss what the Bible says about persecution and dealing with evil as we continue in our study of Romans chapter 12. Until then let us remember what it means to be a living sacrifice renewing our minds with the Word of God. May we use our gift(s) to bless those around us and advance the Gospel.