Romans Chapter 12

Part 2

KLMX March 2010

Bryan Kimsey

1st Baptist Church

Des Moines, NM

[Intro]

[Prayer]

Good morning and welcome again to the Ministerial Alliance program on KLMX radio. Iíve been going thru the book of Romans, and this week weíre in Chapter 12. Always keep in mind that what we call the "book" of Romans is actually a letter written by the apostle Paul to the church in Rome. And our modern chapter and verses are fairly recent additions which simply help us identify sections. Itís very illuminating and helpful to read the letters straight thru, as letters, so as not to lose sight of the big picture.

Yesterday, we ended with this passage:

Romans 12:2-3 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.

Paul is exhorting believers to maintain humility and not think too highly of themselves because their faith comes from God and God deals to each the measure that He sees fit. Therefore a person has no reason for boasting about their faith. Today, Paulís going to apply that thought. Hereís our passage for today:

Romans 12:4-8 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.

Itís useless for people to brag about their faith or to think highly of themselves, as Paul shows here. Our own body has many parts and not all have the same function. Some parts that donít seem to do much actually have very important roles. Your big toe, for instance. It lives down there and it doesnít get nearly as much attention as, say, your nose or your eyes. But try doing without your big toe. If you ever break the thing or get gout or stub it hard enough, youíll quickly see that the big toe is essential for walking. It provides the push and the pivot. When Old Testament kings were conquered, their thumbs and big toes were cut off. This cruel treatment rendered them powerless to wield a sword and unable to run or even walk very fast. The big toe is essential and itís silly for the nose to boast against it. And likewise, itís silly for people to boast about their faith and itís silly for others to be jealous of otherís faith. God has distributed faith in the body of Christ as He sees fit.

Paul says "having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them", and this is what I discussed yesterday. ALL Christians have a gift, but so few use their gifts. So many people in the church are like butterflies that refuse to fly but want, instead, to continue being caterpillars. Use those gifts, people! If you donít know what your gift is, ask God to show you. Granted, He may say "Wait" but when opportunity arises, step forward and exercise your gift.

Romans 12:6-8 .. 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.

Paul talks about gifts in his letter to the church at Corinth, too:

1 Corinthians 12:4-11 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. (5) There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. (6) And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. (7) But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: (8) for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, (9) to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, (10) to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. (11) But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

As you should expect, being that Paul is the author of both passages, we see the same train of thought in both passages. God gives these gifts for the benefit of all the body. When those gifts are not used, the body suffers. Regarding the body itself, Paul discusses it just a little further down:

1 Corinthians 12:14-27 For in fact the body is not one member but many. (15) If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? (16) And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? (17) If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? (18) But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. (19) And if they were all one member, where would the body be? (20) But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. (21) And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." (22) No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. (23) And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, (24) but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, (25) that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. (26) And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. (27) Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.

A careful and thoughtful reading of these passages should make it clear as to the role of each individual believer in the body as a whole. It should also address the issue of people who claim to be Christians (and who may be- I canít make that judgment) but who donít go to church, donít associate with other Christians, or donít exercise their gifts. Paulís told us several times now that gifts are given for the edification or the benefit of the body as a whole. If you donít use your gifts for the body of Christ, then are you even of the body? I donít know. It would be so much better to use your gifts for the benefit of the body.

Letís review todayís passage:

Romans 12:4-8 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.

Using a previously unused gift is a lot like bodily exercise. At first, bodily exercise is hard. It takes a lot of effort to get going and your muscles hurt the next day. It may seem like not much was accomplished. But if you keep at it, youíll soon feel a lot better, your muscles develop tone, and youíre getting something accomplished. Itís good for you and good for your body. Let me encourage you to begin exercising your spiritual gifts. If you are already exercising them, let me encourage you to keep at it!

 

Romans 12, Part 1

Romans 12, Part 3