Romans 12:1-8 - The Body - Which Part Are You?
Intro : When we hear the word Incarnation- first thing some of us think of is Ice Cream !
A) But most of us think of the Birth of Christ as a little baby there in the manger in Bethlehem
B) And of Christ earthly ministry recorded for us in the gospels !
1) The word incarnate means "to take bodily form."
C) When God chose to demonstrate to mankind His love and the new life He
offered / He did so by incarnating Himself—
1) by taking on our form, sharing our human experience, and living
D) God became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus Christ was the incarnation of
God, the God-man, God in human flesh.
But a common mistake I think we sometimes make concerning the Incarnation is in thinking that it ceased when Jesus - Ascended into Heaven.
A) But nothing could be further from the truth ! The process of the
incarnation is still going on.
B) The life of Jesus is still being manifested upon the earth--but no longer through a single physical body, limited to one geographical location.
1) Today, the body of Christ performs the work of Christ around the clock and around the world.
C) It is a corporate body, comprised of millions of individuals like you and me - This body is called the Church !
1) As Christ lives His life through us by His Spirit who indwells us!
I find it interesting that when you open the book of Acts in the N.T. you find that Luke - Writer / (writing to Theophilus - previous -Gospel of Luke)
A) Luke wrote there in Acts Ch. 1 in the former account I made O Theophilus of all that Jesus began to do and teach."
B) In Acts, the sequel to his Gospel, in which Dr. Luke continues the record
of Jesus' work among mankind—
1) yet Jesus Himself only appears in the first eleven verses of Acts!
C) In verse 11, Jesus ascends into heaven. Yet the story of His work on earth continues for twenty-eight more chapters. Now how can that be?
D) Because the rest of the book of Acts is the story of the work of His new body, the church!
1) When the Church lives in and by the Spirit, the church is nothing less than the physical extension of the life of Jesus to the whole world.
D) Conduits through which Jesus desires to work & minister! I hope that is a
reality in your mind in Your mind ! Christ Living in you through U!
E) The physical life of Jesus began at the moment Mary conceived, and
has continued without interruption right up to this moment! /2000 yrs
1) That is an amazing and all-important concept!
F) What happened on a small scale in Judea and Galilee twenty centuries ago continues on a worldwide scale today,
1) permeating every level of society and every aspect of human life.
G) Once Christians discover and lay hold of this amazing truth for their own lives, their outlook on life is powerfully transformed.
1) Their relationship with God becomes dynamic and exciting. Their
lives become powerfully effective for God.
Now we noted in our study last week that the Bible refers to the Church as a Sheepfold - Good Shepherd / Army - General / Bride - Husband
A) A Building in which He is the Architect & the Chief Corner stone! But the most often used example of the Church is that of a Body !
B) In Which He is the Life - force -( the Spirit ) and through which He is the head
C) Within this body is an incredible Unity - v.4 Many members yet one body
1) Also a great Diversity - v.4 All the members do not have the same function !
D) Last week - we talked about how that Unity is to be recognized & Maintained -
1) And why that Diversity is Necessary & important ! - Not be good if the whole Body were an eyeball .
E) Wed. looked at first part of Ch. 14 - noting that because of the Diversity there will always be differences in perspective - doubtful things - gray ..
1) Paul relates how to maintain a unity & love - despite those differences - Continue look at more on Wed.
F) MISSED LAST SUN. OR WED. GET TAPES - KEY TEACHINGS FROM PAUL ON HOW WE ARE TO FUNCTION AS A BODY
1) How maintain unity / understand diversity / and deal w/ the
controversies that sometimes end up causing Division when they shouldn’t!
But this morning I want us to begin to look at the gifts that God has given to His Church - and how these gifts are to operate . Paul begins
V.6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us,
A) Within this diversity there are different functions that are related to the different Gifting that the Lord has given to each member of the Body.
B) We see the same thing w/ in the human body - My hand has been uniquely designed to function differently from my mouth.
1) Both have a place & function - w/ my mouth I eat - and I can communicate - I can sing - I can eat .
C) W/ My hands I can Build things / fix things / carrying things / write things I can hold my daughter -
1) Now you could say that my hand has been uniquely gifted by the Lord to function in that way !
D) It is not a bundle of lifeless mass connected to the end of my arm! No it has a uniquely ordained & designed function . Gifting so to speak
And so too w/ in the body of Christ each member has been uniquely gifted by the Lord - to fulfill a particular function & purpose.
A) One common area of confusion--and one fact we must clearly understand--is that a spiritual gift is not the same as a natural talent.
B) It is true that talents such as musical ability, artistic skills, athletic coordination, are also gifts from God.
1) But they are not spiritual gifts. They are gifts on a physical or social
level only, given to benefit mankind in the natural realm.
C) Physical Talents can be used to give God glory & they can be used in the work of the ministry but they are different from spiritual gifts !
D) Spiritual gifts, are given to benefit mankind and the church in the realm of the Spirit, & in the realm of an individual's relationship to God.
1) Turn to Eph. 4 we will see the definition of the purpose of Spiritual gifts given to us by the Apostle Paul.
8 Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men."
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head; Christ;
16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
A) Now we are going to break this down in some detail in a later study - but let me just briefly point out what the purpose of these gifts are
B) V.12 To Equip the Saints - the members to minister to the World - and to Build up each other = Edify / build up the body so that it would become
1) Mature - V.13 - coming into the fullness of Christ !
C) Stable - V.14 Not tossed to & fro by winds of doctrine
1) Loving - V.15 - Speaking the truth in Love
2) And to see it cooperating as a unit - v.16 joined & knit together so that every part does it’s share causing the growth of the body for the edifying of itself in Love
D) That is the Purpose of the Church - Put simply - Build up each other to reach out to & share the love of Jesus w/ the World!
1) God has gifted us to fulfill that purpose - / And it is vitally important to understand we do not generate these gifts ourselves - but they are implanted in us by the Holy Spirit
But Talents on the other hand are things that everyone / believer or unbeliever has been given - but only Christians have spiritual gifts
A) Now it is quite possible, for a Christian to have a talent for teaching, for instance, but not to have the spiritual gift of teaching.
B) Now if a believer who had a talent for teaching was asked to teach a Sunday School class, for example,/ he would be quite capable of imparting considerable information and knowledge of facts to his class—
C) but his teaching would lack the power to bless and advance his students spiritually if he didn’t have the gift of teaching !
1) That is why many who are teachers in the academic sense - don’t do well in teaching in the Spiritual arena - entirely different.
D) On the other hand, many school teachers also possess, as Christians, the spiritual gift of teaching and are greatly used of God in Bible classes and Sunday school teaching / or leading a home fellowship .
It is also quite possible for a spiritual gift to be manifested through the vehicle of a natural talent.
A) This is frequently seen in the ministry of Christian singers.
B) We have all heard Christian singers with great voices whose musical
talents would have pleased secular audiences anywhere.
C) But in addition to their talent, they possessed great power & anointing to impart spiritual enrichment through their singing,
1) leaving their audiences spiritually refreshed and strengthened.
D) So we must make that distinction between natural physical talents & spiritual gifts - although - talents can be used for the Lord
1) And when combined w/ a spiritual gift - can be incredible powerful
E) Paul’s Point - we all have gifts = find out what they are & use them !
Now this first group of gifts that we are looking at today here in Rom. 12 are broken up into 2 groups - Those that expound the Word
A) And those which expand the Work !
B) Now the first gift Paul mentions is prophesy - : if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;
C) Now Prophecy means more than foretelling - although it can involve that - In the Old testament - the Prophets predominantly - fore telling ministry
1) Predicting events that were going to happen - largely the prophecies concerning the Coming of Jesus
D) Although - many times they prophesied concerning - Israel’s coming Judgment - unless they repented !
But Prophesy also means forth telling or speaking forth the word of God
A) This is predominantly how it is seen in the N.T. although there are a handful of times when it is seen in a forth telling predictive way - Agabus
B)Prophesy is the gift of declaring truth basically it is the gift of expounding Scripture, making Scripture come alive.
1) The word burns w/ in the heart of those who have this gift & they must get it out !
C) It derives from a Greek root which means "to cause to shine," and is
linked with the prefix "pro" which means "before."
1) So a person w/ the gift of prophecy is one who stands before and causes the word of God to shine.
D) The ministry of prophesy is can be evidenced in the Church when a Pastor is preaching the word . And something that was said was so God.
1) Family camp - Jack Hibbs great teaching on Child like faith - most of us there felt prophetic word for our Church.
E) I felt that way in the studies that we did in Luke 10 - Lord impressed on my heart to preach - those studies / one in Hungary - Rob Nash
1) Mary & Martha - distracted from the one thing that matters /Reading my mind - or describing my life over the last 8 months.
Prophesy can be seen in a Sunday night meeting where we are just waiting on the Lord - or in an afterglow - retreat
A) Simply - someone sharing a word of Scripture ! It is exactly what the church or part of the body needed to hear
B) This can also be evidenced in daily conversations - where the Lord puts you in a place to share w/ someone a specific word of scripture
1) And it is the perfect thing for that person - God impresses deeply upon your heart this is what this person needs to hear.
C) Sometimes - prophecy gets a bad rap -by those who - hyper spiritual - talk king James - Oh my people - thou hast corrupted thy ways …..
1) I have a problem w/ that for a couple of reasons - one you don’t see that in Scripture - in the N.T.
D) 2nd Paul says in 1Cor. 14:3 that he who prophecies speaks edification / exhortation & comfort to men .
1) In other words prophecy is that which is meant to encourage / build up / and comfort the body !
The next gift Paul mentions is ministry - Now Prophesy declares truth - ministry depicts truth .
AA) Jesus showed us this over & over He would first teach & then He would touch !
B) Teach truth & touch people as an illustration of what He taught !
A) I believe that the gift of Ministry is the same as the gift of helps mentioned in 1 Cor. 12 - simply means serving .
1)those who are Deacons fall into this category - word deacon - means
servant ! Deacons will have the gift of helps or ministry
B) The person who has the gift of ministry of the gift of helps is one who depicts the truth of God’s word by being a servant !
1) Their lives are a living testimony & illustration of the truths of the word !
C) Dorcas in Acts 9 was a lady who seemed to minister in this way & when she died the early church was deeply crushed?
1) Called for Peter - Please come & pray that she would be raised
D) Why was she so loved ? Because she was a minister in the truest sense of the word ! Loved God’s people & served them by
1) making garments & coats for people in the Church.
E) Now I have to believe that Dorcas wasn’t the only seamstress in the Church - so it wasn’t what she did - it was the way she did it!
1) Joy & Cheerfulness - loving & serving !
F) Name means Gazelle - one who is bounding and free - not burdened or weighed down - Those w/ the gift of Helps - Live to Help others
1) Helps Ministry - looking for some people w/ that gift !
Next Paul mentions teacher ! Prophet Declares truth / Ministry depicts truth / Teacher defines truth
A) A prophet might share the word sporadically - might start off in a text but moves around to point where - giving this word ! ( One thing to focus on)
B) A teacher shares systematically - verse by verse - line by line - defining & explaining what the word says & means
C) Jesus illustrated this in Matt. 5: 27,28 27 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.'
28 "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
D) Took the word & brought definition to it ! Defined it & made it very applicable!
E) Teaching is the ability to impart knowledge and information, to instruct
the mind/ Whereas prophesying instructs the heart and moves the will.
1) Pastor Chucks model - most Calvary’s follow - Sun. morning Preaching - Prophesy -Message for that particular day Application.
F) Midweek / teaching - might include - prophesy but it might not !
TEACHING OUTSIDE OF THE CHURCH - New Believers - home group - just impart the word - one on one - discipleship
Next gift mentioned is gift of exhortation - The person who has the gift of exhortation is the one w/ the gift to develop truth
A) Person who comes along side of another & literally shows them how to walk - how to minister by doing it w/ them
B) It is a very hands on type of gifting - / in fact the word itself is extremely enlightening ! Parakaleo in the Greek
1) Means one called along side to help or to aid - it is derived from the exact same word used to describe the ministry of the H.S.
C) He is referred to as the Parakletos - or the one called along side to help!
1) So an exhorter’s primary ministry is one of encouraging & coming along side to aid . Strongly urging one to pursue a course of conduct !
E) What is interesting to me about the def. of exhortation is it doesn’t say anything about - rebuking - but that is how it is so often used today.
1) I have the gift of the exhortation - they going around rebuking everyone & Jumping down their throats
F) Sorry but that is not what the gift of exhortation means !
Seen in the Church in teaching & preaching / in counseling / in men’s groups & women’s groups / definitely in Discipleship
A) Seen outside the Church in - coming along side people out of fellowship & helping them get in fellowship - pick up give a ride.
B) Ministry that pursues others to help them grow in the Lord - go on in Christ - go forward in ministry !
1) Ministry that Challenges to go higher - not settle for mediocrity in our lives - in our walks - or in our ministries !
First 4 gifts expound the Word in Different ways - seeking to build up & edify the Body !
A) The next 3 are involved in expanding the work of God ! Next Paul says he who gives, with liberality;
B) Giving expands the work. Giving w/ liberality means giving with no strings attached .
1) It is giving to the Lord freely & Cheerfully not expecting - any pay backs / not demanding to know where money is going !
C) Some say I will only give if I can - determine what this is going to be used for - Paul says don’t give that way!
1) Give freely - freely you have received - freely give !
Years ago, The Sunday School Times carried the account of a Christian school for the children of "untouchables" in India prior to World War II.
A) Presents from children in England
1) On one occasion the doctor from a nearby mission hospital was asked to distribute the gifts.
B) In the course of his visit, he told the youngsters about a village where the boys and girls had never even heard of Jesus. He suggested that maybe they would like to give them some of their old toys as presents.
C) They liked the idea and readily agreed. A week later, the doctor returned to collect the gifts. The sight was unforgettable. One by one the children filed by and handed the doctor their toys.
D) To his great surprise, they all gave the new presents they had just received several days earlier.
When he asked why, a girl spoke up, "Think what God did by giving us his only Son. Could we give him less than our best?"
A) Now all Christians are expected to give - told in 1Cor. 16/ 3 principles
1) My giving is to be regular - 1st day of the week.
2) My giving is to be systematic - let each one lay aside something
3) My giving is to be proportionate - as he has prospered
B) But those w/ the gift of giving have been blessed w/ the ability to earn & give money for the advancement of God's work,
1)and to do so with such wisdom, humility, and cheerfulness
C) Maybe God has blessed you with the gift of giving. If so, exercise it with generosity!
1) Give to others in need - give w/ your whole heart ! More give / more given to give if that is your gift !
Next Paul mentions the gift of leadership : he who leads, with diligence; A) Anthony Green won first prize & $5,000 Because he used duct tape to patch the wing of the plane he flew from Guatemala to Honduras, in the The Best Use of Duct Tape' contest. AMAZING
B) There are people in the Body like Anthony Green. They know how to patch things up. They know how to make things fly.
1) They have a feeling for how things should happen. Theirs is the gift of LEADERSHIP of doing all things decently and in order
C) Help keep things going & functioning in such a way that the Lord can move & work !
1) Person w/ the gift of Leadership / will be different from the person who has a natural talent for leadership
D) In that they will have a sensitivity to others through the H.S. / and it is apparent they are being led by the Spirit in their leadership
1) Those w/ just a natural talent - for leading will bull doze others & often times - do things in the flesh!
The final gift mentioned in Romans 12 is that of doing acts of mercy.
A) Its distinctiveness is indicated by the meaning of the word "mercy."
B) Mercy is undeserved aid, aid given to those who most people find repugnant and offensive--the sick and deformed, the unwashed and foul, those with unpleasant personalities and vile habits.
C) It differs from the gift of helps by being directed to those who are either undeserving or who (like a child with AIDS or a mentally disordered individual) is an innocent victim, treated as an outcast by much of our society.
A) Love how active this body is - I would guess that many of you know your gifts & know your function & place. ( Pray - confirmation - )
B) Some fresh enlightenment concerning your gift & how the Lord wants you to use that gift here in the fellowship & out in the World
1) Ministry list - many reoccurring names - so & so is involved in everything - which is ok if you have the time to be effective in all
C) But sometimes - the reason there are a lot of reoccurring names on those list is because - no one else responds to the needs
D) That is my prayer as we go through - these list of gifts / if you are not active in using your gift - you will become active !
1) Lord is looking for sharpshooters - who can zero in on their area of gifting & go for it / 100% for the Lord
E) Watch the Lord do some great things !