Spiritual Gifts, Part 2 – Romans 12:7

 

Pastor Scott L. Harris

Grace Bible Church, NY

December 29, 2002

Spiritual Gifts, Part 2

Romans 12:7,8

INTRODUCTION

What do you call someone that has some body part that does not
function properly or is missing? Proper terms include
"handicapped" or "disabled," though some now
consider those to be insensitive and politically incorrect
language. Such people tend to label the function that is impaired
and say the person is "challenged" in that area. For
example, a person with poor eyesight is "visually
challenged," a person with poor hearing is
"acoustically challenged," and a person with a bad leg
has a "mobility challenge."

Over the last several messages I have been pointing out to you
the analogy that Paul makes in Romans 12 and in 1 Corinthians 12
of the physical human body with the church, which is the
spiritual body of Jesus Christ. And just as the physical body is
handicapped when a body part is not functioning properly or is
missing, so it is with the church when someone who is supposed to
be part of it is not functioning properly or is missing
altogether. The body of Christ is left handicapped, or to use
more politically correct language, the church is left
"ministry challenged." We cannot function the way we
are supposed to and therefore cannot properly accomplish the
ministries God has called us to do, if we can accomplish them at
all.

It is for that reason that we will be taking a close
examination of all the various spiritual gifts listed in not only
Romans 12:6-8, but also in other New Testament passages. We need
to have an understanding of these various examples of gifts that
God had given to His people and how we are to work together.

Turn again to Romans 12 to begin our study. Starting in verse
3 we read the following:

"For through the grace given to me I say to every man
among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to
think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has
allotted to each a measure of faith. 4 For just as we have many
members in one body and all the members do not have the same
function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and
individually members one of another. 6 And since we have gifts
that differ according to the grace given to us, [let each
exercise them accordingly]: if prophecy, according to the
proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who
teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his
exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with
diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness."

The Christian is to think as to have sound judgement
and never think more highly of himself than he ought to think
because every Christian is part of the body of Christ, and every
part of that body is needed for it to function properly. Just as
with the physical body, there are no worthless parts, so with the
body of Christ, there are no worthless members. Just as with the
physical body, there are no insignificant organs, so with the
body of Christ, there are no insignificant ministries. Every gift
and ministry are needed for the body of Christ to be healthy. If
any body part is injured or no longer functioning properly, then
the body is handicapped. If those in the church are not using
their God give ministry gift, then the whole body is handicapped.
No one can be proud, because everyone is needed, and in some ways
those whose ministries are done quietly with little or no public
recognition are especially needed.

Another reason that all Christians are to be humble is because
their spiritual gift, their ministry and the effectiveness of
that ministry are all up to God, not the individual. As Paul
stated in verse 6, each of us "have gifts that differ
according to the grace given to us."
Paul is even more
clear in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 stating Verse 4, "There are
varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.
And there are
varieties of ministries, but the same Lord.
And there are
varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in
all."
We can summarize these two passages by saying that
God has gifted you to serve Him, but the gift or gifts given, the
ministry that the gift(s) are used in, and the effectiveness of
the gift(s) are according to the Lord’s will, not yours. The
Christian has no basis to boast about themselves and where they
fit into the body. That is all according to God’s grace
given to you.

And a final reason for the Christian to think with sound
judgement concerning their place and functioning within the body
of Christ is because of what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:7 "But
to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the
common good."
Whatever gifts, ministries and their
effectiveness you have in serving the Lord are all for the
purpose of the common good of the whole body. I know I mentioned
this last week, but it bears repeating. There are no manifestations
of the Spirit
that are for your personal benefit, and keep in
mind that "manifestations of the Spirit" here in
1 Cor. 12 refers to any spiritual gift used in a godly manner
reflecting the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22,23
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness & self-control. The error in the Corinthian church
is commonly repeated today because people do not keep that truth
in focus. That is why so many Charismatics fail to understand 1
Cor. 14 and end up promoting the very thing that Paul was seeking
to correct. They had become proud and sought to use their gifts
for the benefit of themselves instead of for the whole body. Let
us always be humble and keep in mind that every gift and ministry
is given for the benefit of the common good of the church, the
Body of Christ, and never to feed our selfishness or pride.

There are many different gifts and ministries within the Body
of Christ and those in turn will vary in their power or
effectiveness all according to the grace of God in keeping with
His will. As I pointed out last week, there are several New
Testament passages that list out different spiritual gifts
including Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, & 28,
Ephesians 4:11, 1 Timothy 2:7 and 1 Peter 4:11. None of these
lists are comprehensive in themselves. Each of them lists gifts
not mentioned in the other passages. It is for that reason that I
believe that each of these are only examples of the kinds of
spiritual gifts that God gives. I do not believe you have to know
what your gift is in order to use it. In fact, usually a person
does not know what their gift or gifts might be until after they
have been using them and are affirmed in that by other mature
Christians. They simply give us some idea of how God desires to
use His people in serving Him and that is why were are taking the
time to study them as we are. I want you to think and pray about
how God may have equipped you to serve Him.

SPIRITUAL GIFTS

A spiritual gift (carismata
charismata – literally grace gift) is the special way in which
God enables you to serve Him beyond what is generally commanded.
This service is done with effectiveness and, I believe, also with
joy. I find that we often may need to serve the Lord outside our
particular giftedness, and though we may be able to accomplish
the task, it is usually with difficulty and sometimes frustration
that we do it. It would be like a right handed person trying to
write with their left hand, or even worse, trying to write with
our toes. With enough practice it can be done, but it is not
easy. When you are using your spiritual gifts, it is like writing
with your dominant hand. It can still be a lot of work, but it
can be done with effectiveness, efficiency and joy.

ProphecyRomans 12:6

Last week we looked at prophecy ( profhteiva
/ prophateia), which is the first gift listed in Romans 12:6. It
is also listed in 1 Corinthians 12:10 in the subcategory of gifts
of faith. There is also the office of "prophet" listed
in Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Corinthians 12:28. As we saw last week,
the root idea of prophecy is to "bring forth into the
light" and refers to someone who is "an interpreter or
forth-teller of the divine will."

A prophet can also refer to someone who was used by God to
reveal what would happen in the future. Those who did that had to
meet God’s standard of 100% accuracy 100% of the time, or
they were to be declared to be false prophets and put to death
(Deut. 13:1-5). This aspect of this gift is not in operation in
our present age because its purposes have been fulfilled in the
completion of the Bible. There are those that claim to be able to
reveal the future, but they do not meet the Deuteronomic standard
of 100% accuracy 100% of the time. They are part of the group of
false teachers that both Peter (2 Pet. 2:1) and Paul warns us
about.

The more fundamental aspect of this gift of prophecy is that
of forthtelling, or proclaiming what God had said. The prophet
was one who was an interpreter in explaining God’s will.
This was true of the Old Testament prophets as well as the gift
of prophecy in the New Testament, and it is still true today.
This is the gift that separates a religious speaker who speaks
from man’s wisdom from the preacher that boldly declares
God’s will based on what the Bible says.

Keep in mind that all Christians have a certain amount of
responsibility in doing what someone who is called to be a
preacher (1 Tim. 2:7) is to do to a greater degree. 1 Peter 2:9
tells that everyone who is a Christian has been called by God to
be "a people for His own possession, that you may
proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of
darkness into His marvelous light."
Every believer is to
proclaim God and when they do so, they are to speak "as
it were, the utterances of God."
They are to speak with
all due respect and reverence for what God has said remembering
that the word of God is "living and active and sharper
than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of
soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the
thoughts and intentions of the heart
"(Heb. 4:12). It is
a powerful weapon by which we need not fear our adversaries.

ServiceRomans 12:7

The next gift is listed in Romans 12:7 and 1 Peter 4:11 as
"service" or "ministry" (KJV). This comes
from diakonian / diakonian which is a
general term for service and literally refers to a table waiter
and is used that way in John 2:5 & 9; 12:2 and Luke 10:40.
This reflects the attitude that the Lord’s servant is to
have in all their service regardless of its specific form. A
table waiter must be humble because they are present to enhance
the dinning experience of the one eating. The focus is not on the
waiter, but on the one they are serving. The one who ministers
must do likewise in their ministry.

The term as used here has its broadest meaning in referring to
any act of service. MacArthur describes this gifts as being "manifested
in every sort of practical help that Christians can give one
another in Jesus’ name."
There is an aspect of this
that is required of every Christian for all Christians are to
serve the Lord and each other in some capacity. In John 12:26
Jesus said, "If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and
where I am, there shall My servant also be; if anyone serves Me,
the Father will honor him."
In Ephesians 4:11,12 we find
that there are various gifted men given to the church for the
purpose of "equipping the saints for the work of service,
to the building up of the body of Christ."
Christian
service is not doing just any good deed, but doing good for the
welfare of others for the specific purposes of glorifying God, as
Jesus said we were to do (Matt. 5:16), and helping other
believers in their walk with Christ.

In many ways you could say that service is a broad gift in
which many of the other gifts would be a subcategory. In fact,
Paul uses the same word in 1 Cor. 12:5 to describe the ways in
which the various gifts could express themselves. Among the
different gifts that are also specifically described as
"service" or "ministry" are preaching Christ
(2 Cor. 4:1) and giving financially (2 Cor. 9:1). In Acts 6 we
find that the duty given to the seven of making sure the widows
were properly cared for is described as "serving."

In Philippians 1:1 and 1 Timothy 3:8-13 a cognate of this word
is used to designate and describe an office in the church, that
of Deacons. In my view, 1 Timothy 3:11 refers to Deaconesses of
which Phoebe is specifically mentioned as being one (Rom. 16:1).
These are people that have matured in Christ so that they
demonstrate certain godly characteristics that enable them to be
given leadership in the various general ministries in the church.

While, all Christians are to serve the Lord and one another in
some capacity, Paul’s distinguishes the gift of service in
Romans 12:7 from the other gifts listed. This means that while
serving is a broad category under which other gifts are sometimes
placed, there is also a specific gift of serving that is
different from other gifts. One example of this would be 1 Cor.
16:15 where Paul commends the household of Stephanas because they
had "devoted themselves for ministry to the saints."
Those who have the gift of service are to devote themselves
to that service without being either jealous of those with
different gifts or proud about their own. Such is to be true with
each of the gifts.

What does this mean in practical application? Every Christian
is to have a humble attitude and serve one another considering
others to be more important than themselves (Phil. 2:3). Some of
you are specifically gifted in the area of the ministry of
service. That could manifest itself in any sort of practical
help that Christians can give one another in Jesus’ name.

It is important to stress that this is not just doing good deeds,
for non-Christians do a lot of good deeds. But a cup of water
given without reference to Christ does not glorify God. This
gifts’ main manifestation will be that it will be done in a
way to glorify God and will encourage other believers in their
own walk with the Lord. The one with this gift will be satisfied
with the serving itself, even if they receive little or no
personal recognition for it.

Some of the various ways that I have personally seen this gift
exhibited include: Those who joyfully clean the church
facilities. Others who take care of our property by fixing
things, mowing the grass or making our landscape look nice. Those
who prepare meals for those in need. Taking on some work project
around the church, for another ministry, such as a missions
project, or for another believer. Fixing things that break. Those
who prepare for and/or clean up after one of our church
fellowships. Caring for someone else’s children, which
includes working in the church nursery. Setting up and taking
down the Community Day outreach booth as well as handing out the
cups of lemonade and water. There are also those that prepare the
float, costumes and work with the puppeteers so all of that is
done well. There are those that serve by working our sound
system, others copy tapes and CD’s, and others change our
church sign.

There are a multitude of ways in which people can use their
gifts of serving. It is only limited by their imagination of how
they can glorify in the Lord in what they do and encourage others
in their walk with Christ.

Helps1 Corinthians 12:28

Similar to "service" is the gift of
"helps" listed in 1 Corinthians 12:28. Helps is from
the term ajntivlhmyi" /
antil’mpsis which has a root meaning of "a laying hold
of" and came to mean "to aid, help" or "rendering
assistance
." The main difference between the gift of
"helps" and "service" would seem to be in the
personal nature of the ministry given. Helps is often
specifically associated with rendering assistance to those who
are weak. In Acts 20:35 Paul is addressing the Ephesian elders
and refers to his own example in his charge to them to "help
the weak." 1 Thess. 5:14 Paul includes "help the
weak’ as part of his concluding general commands to all
believers. Every believer has a responsibility in helping one
another as needs might be, but those with this gift have greater
ability and desire to be involved in this particular type of
ministry.

While there would be much overlap between the two gifts,
"service" would be the broader category under which
helps would be more specific to helping a person with something
pertaining to them personally as opposed to doing something more
general. Perhaps this is making too much distinction between the
two, but in my own mind, service is more task oriented and helps
is more people oriented. A person with the gift of helps would
take on a task with more of the idea of assisting the other
person rather than of just doing the task itself. For example, a
person with the gift of service might clean the church simply
because it is a needed task to be done for the good of the whole
body and glorifying God by taking proper care of the facilities
He has entrusted to us. A person with the gift of helps might
clean the church because they desire to show brotherly love and
glorify God by assisting their friend in completing the task they
are doing. Again, there would be a lot of overlap between the two
gifts and it might often be very difficult to make any
distinction.

How can people help each other? It would include any of the
things I said earlier regarding service as well as getting
involved in something just to assist another believer. Again, the
variety of ways is only limited by the person’s imagination
of how they can glorify the Lord in what they do and encourage
others in their walk with Christ. How could you help another
believer?

TeachingRomans 12:7

Teaching is the next gift listed in Romans 12:7. Teaching is
the God given ability to impart spiritual truths to others. The
word here is from didavskw /
didasko from which we get our word "didactic." However,
this is not the didactic impartation of knowledge so prevalent in
our school systems in which the students learn many facts, but
often little about how to transfer those facts to life. Biblical
teaching is the transfer of knowledge along with understanding so
that the truths learned are applied to life.

All believers have a certain amount of responsibility in
teaching others, both Christians and non-Christians. Fathers are
to diligently teach their children about God (Deut. 6:7) and
raise them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph.
6:4). Children are not to forsake their mother’s teaching
(Proverbs 1:8). Older women are to be godly in their behavior and
teach what is good so that they might encourage the young women
to love their husbands and children (Titus 2:3,4). As already
mentioned, all Christians are to proclaim the excellencies of
Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light
(1
Peter. 2:9). We are also bound by the Great Commission of Matthew
28:19, 20 to "Go therefore and make disciples of all the
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and
the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded
you
." Those who are more mature are to be teaching those
who are less mature while at the same time learning from those
who are more mature than themselves. The result is that the whole
body grows and matures in the unity faith (Eph. 4:12f). Who are
you teaching and who is teaching you?

There is also the specific gift of teaching listed in Romans
12:7 by which God uses particular people to impart to other
people knowledge of Himself and understanding of how He wants His
followers to live. This gift can manifest itself in many
different ministries. This gift might be used in one individual
only in personal situations, while in another only in small
groups, while another might be able to teach multitudes. One
individual might only be able to teach young children, another
only teens and another only adults while yet still another can
teach any age group. The kind of ministry the teaching goes
through can also vary. Most of the time it is through speaking,
but it can also be manifested in writing, music, art and drama.

Paul did a lot of speaking, but his writing has taught
immeasurably more people than his speaking ever did. Most of us
are probably not even aware how much we learn through music, but
it can be a very effective means of teaching. That is the key
reason that the theology and philosophy taught in a song is much
more important than its style, yet too often people tend to
choose the music they will listen to based on style instead of
content. Even in the church a lot of songs and hymns are sung
based on style without much thought to the heretical doctrine it
teaches. Drama also teaches. Those of you who have been reading
Wayne Wilson’s book, "Worldly Amusements,"
are probably starting to realize how much you have been
negatively effected by drama, but drama can also be used to
impart wonderful spiritual truths. These same things are also
true of art. Who here has not only been moved emotionally, but
also taught something through an artists rendition of some
Biblical event or object. Drawings and diagrams of such things as
the Tabernacle and the Temple add a lot to our understanding of
them and the magnificence of the God who was worshiped within
them. Perhaps you have the gift of teaching? If so, how are you
using it? And more importantly, are you being careful to make
sure that you are imparting the truths of God and not your own
musings.

Again, the gift of teaching is not about being able to just
impart information and get other people to believe you. Many
secular teachers can do that and they are taking a lot of people
to Hell with them. The gift of teaching is about imparting the
truth of the Word of God so that the person believes and follows
God. Let me stress that last part, they teach so that the person
follows God. A good teacher does not encourage or allow people to
cultically follow them. That is the mark of a false teacher. A
person with the Biblical gift of teachings keeps pointing their
followers to Christ even as Paul did in 1 Cor. 11:1 saying,
"Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ."

The gift of teaching is if critical importance to the health
of the church. In 1 Corinthians 12:28 Paul lists some who have
the gift of teaching that are also identified as having the
office of teacher within the church, and he states that they are
the third most important office in the church. Only the offices
of apostles and prophets are of greater importance because they
are the ones that laid the foundation of the Word of God upon
which the church is built (Eph. 2:20). Only those who have this
gift are to hold spiritual leadership positions in the church.
Elders are required to be "able to teach" (1
Tim. 3:2). Titus 1:7 expands on this requirement saying that an
elder must hold "fast the faithful word which is in
accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort
in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict."

The elder must be able to handle both the positive and negative
aspects of teaching about God and His will for man. From the
positive side he must be able to "exhort in sound
doctrine" those who want to learn. At the same time, from
the negative side, he must know the truth so well that he can
refute those who have departed from the truth and so contradict
it with false teaching. In Eph. 4:11 Paul expresses the
requirement for the elder to be able to teach by joining the
office of teacher with that of pastor. The term
"pastor" comes from the Latin word for
"shepherd." The elder is to "shepherd" his
flock (1 Peter 5:1,2). The term "pastor" simply
describes the work that an elder does. They are the same office.

The gift of teaching is also vital to the continuation of the
church. In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul told Timothy, "And the
things which you have heard from me in the presence of many
witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to
teach others also."
Paul taught Timothy, and Timothy was
in turn to teach faithful men who would in turn teach other
faithful men, and this is to continue until the Lord’s
return. Without the gift of teaching, this plan could not
continue and the church would die. The church always has been and
continues to be one generation away from extinction, but God
always calls and equips His people to serve Him, therefore, the
church will continue until Jesus returns for her.

This church plans to continue to glorify God by making
disciples of Jesus Christ until He returns, and that can happen
because God has equipped His people to serve Him. The only
question is are you serving the Lord with the gifts He has given
you? If not, you leave the rest of the body handicapped. A new
year is about to begin. It is a good time to resolve to either
continue to use your spiritual gifts or begin to use them and see
what great things God will do in 2003.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * *

KIDS CORNER

Parents, you are responsible to apply
God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help.
Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear
during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at
lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following:
1) Count how many times the words "serving" and
"teaching" are used. 2) Discuss with your parents

these two gifts and how they affect you.

THINK ABOUT IT!

Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others.

What is the context of Romans 12:6-8? Give three reasons the
Christian should be humble and think as to have sound judgement
and not to think more highly of themselves than they ought? What
is the origin of all spiritual gifts? Ministries? Effects? What
is their purpose? Describe the gift of prophecy ( profhteia /prophateia). What
responsibilities belong to all Christians in proclaiming God? How
does this gift go beyond that? What is the literal meaning of
servant (diakonian/ diakonian)? What
attitude should a servant have? What is its general meaning? Give
examples of this gift being used in the New Testament. What is
the relationship between a "servant" and a
"Deacon." How does "service" differ from the
other gifts? How have you seen the gift of service used in the
Church? What is the gift of helps (ajntilhmyiVvvv / antil’mpsis)? What is its
relationship to "service" and how does it differ? How
can you serve and/or help other believers? What it the gift of
teaching teaching (didaskw / didasko)? How does the gift of
teaching go beyond that?? What responsibilities do all believers
have in In what different ways can the gift of teaching manifest
itself? Describe. How does this teaching differ from secular
teaching? Why is teaching so critical to the health of the
church? To its continuation? Are you seeking to used your
spiritual gifts to the best of your ability?.

Sermon
Study Sheets

 

Sermon Notes – 12/29/2002 am

Spiritual Gifts,
Part 2
Romans 12:7

INTRODUCTION – Romans 12:3-8

1 Corinthians 12:4-7

Galatians 5:22,23

A spiritual gift is the special way in which God enables
you to serve Him beyond what is generally commanded.

ProphecyRomans 12:6, 1 Cor. 12:10

Foretelling standard – Deut. 13:1-5; 18:20-22

Forthtelling

1 Timothy 2:7; 1 Peter 2:9

ServiceRomans 12:7, 1 Peter 4:11

Literal Meaning – John 2:5,9; 12:2; Luke 10:40

General Meaning – John 12:26; Eph. 4:11,12; 1 Cor. 12:5

The Office of Servant – Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:8-13, cf. Rom.
16:1

The Gift of Service – 1 Cor. 16:15

Practical examples of the gift of service.

Helps1 Corinthians 12:28

Meaning –

Difference from Service (Acts 20:35; 1 Thess. 5:14).

TeachingRomans 12:7

Meaning –

General Responsibilities – Deut. 6:76; Eph. 6:4; Prov.
1:8; Titus 2:3,4; 1 Pet. 2:9; Matt. 28:19,20

Gift of Teaching

Various manifestations of this gift.

Its Critical Importance –

Required gift for office – 1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:7; 1 Cor.
12:28; Eph. 4:11; 1 Pret. 5:1,2

Continuation of the church – 2 Tim. 2:2