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The Study of Spiritual Gifts (Sermon 9 of 14)

The Study of Spiritual Gifts (Sermon 9 of 14)

November 11, 2001 | Andy Davis
Romans 12:1-21
Spiritual Gifts

Andy Davis preaches a verse-by-verse expository sermon on Romans 12. The focus of this sermon is spiritual gifts.



We've looked in a pretty quick way at 1 Corinthians 12-14, and there's always more we could do. We've certainly begun with Ephesians 4. We've seen the two different analogies that are really teaching the same thing, namely of a spiritual temple that rises up to completion in the Lord. You know, it talks about living stones in 1 Peter and it talks about that foundation built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him, the whole building is rising together and becomes a holy temple in which we are built together to live by the Spirit. And so there's that temple analogy, and we are the temple. We are the temple. The physical temple has been removed, hasn't it? In history, God removed it and it's been destroyed. We are the temple now. We are the Spirit temple where he lives and each one of us is a living stone and we also have priestly duties of ministration in that temple too. So it's a complex image, but it's taking that whole Old Covenant analogy of a temple and sacrifices and all that and it applies it to us. But the picture is of an incomplete work. Isn't that right? Not that Christ's work is incomplete, not at all, but that the church is incomplete. The church should grow therefore, shouldn't it? It should grow in number, through outreach, through evangelism. It should grow in spiritual maturity, through discipleship, through sanctification. Step-by-step we're going to grow. And so the church is rising to become a temple in which God lives by his spirit. The other analogy is what? We had the building analogy. What was the other one?

[Audience speaks] 

The body, that's right, with Jesus as the head and the whole body beautifully integrated, functioning together so that we need each other. The eye can't say to the mouth, "I don't need you." The hand can't say to the head or feet, "I don't need you." We need each other. There's a beautiful interdependence, isn't there? And so God has given us these spiritual gifts and every single one of you who's a Christian has some kind of gift from the Lord, has a gift package or an arrangement from God and he expects you to use it. He wants you to use it. And so we've talked about how the gifts are to be used. We talked about 1 Corinthians 13 and love and that you can use your gifts, but if you don't do it in love, you've accomplished nothing. So, there really is that need to use the gifts and love to build up the body. But there it is. We've got this idea of the spiritual temple or of the body growing up or rising up to completion and step-by-step, week-by-week, worldwide that invisible body of Christ is growing, isn't it? And then it's exciting. That is the story of the world, isn't it? All the other stuff you read in the New York Times or that you see in the news, that is not the ultimate story. That's just stuff that comes and goes. "Nation will rise against nation," Jesus said, "kingdom against kingdom. There'll be wars and rumors and wars, famines and earthquakes in various places, these are just the beginning of birth pains," said Jesus. The real thing is the building of the church of Jesus Christ. And we get to be part of it. We are given spiritual gifts so that our time on earth can be spent in deeds and actions of eternal consequence. Isn't that wonderful? You don't have to be locked into a worthless, useless life. Quite the opposite. You're actually expected not to be useless. You're expected to use your gifts to build the body. Well, it probably has left you a question saying, "How do I find out what my gifts are? What do I do now? How do we get practical?" And so I'm going to urge on us as a body, a three-step process that we are to discover, to develop and to use our spiritual gifts. We are to discover them, we are to develop them, and we are to use them.

"We are given spiritual gifts so that our time on earth can be spent in deeds and actions of eternal consequence. " 

Now, you might say, "Why are we called to discover our gifts? There's no real command anywhere that you should discover your gift." But you have to understand, when it says in 1 Peter 4, for example, "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others," doesn't that imply you know what your gift is that you've received, and what gift you have in your hand? And so it would make sense that you would discover or determine what your gifts are. And I find that it's very common that church people will ask that question once we get into this topic, "How can I know what my gifts are?" And so we're going to talk tonight about how to discover your spiritual gift. We're also going to talk about, in the future, not tonight, but how to develop your spiritual gift. We get that mostly from Paul's admonitions to Timothy, to not be neglectful of the gift that is in him and through the laying on of hands. In other words, you're supposed to be developing your gift. If you have a gift of teaching, you can't just assume that it's fully formed, but you have to grow in your knowledge of Scripture and you have to grow through reading the works of others and through use of the gift. You just are a better teacher 20 years down the line than you were when you started. And so it is with all the other gifts. There's a development of the gifts. We're going to be developing them. And that goes on side-by-side with the third step, which is using the gift that we actually develop while we use. And I actually would say that we also discover a lot while we work, too, don't we? As we do things in the church, you start to see the ways that you are blessing the body and the body confirms to you those gifts or urges you to look in a different direction. That's okay. I mean, that's fine. We need to speak the truth to each other and that's fine. But there is this process.

Now, I want to begin with Romans 12, but I just can't start at Romans 12. I have to start at Romans 11:33. Any chance I get to read this doxology I love to read. Now, we are going step-by-step through Romans, aren't we? And we have learned a lot, but there's just so much more that we could have learned in the passages we've already looked at. And there's so much more yet to learn. We still have mysteries to go through, Chapter 8 and Chapter 9 and 10 and on into 11. And at the end of all of that doctrine, 11 chapters of doctrine, what can Paul do, but take a moment and just worship God? Isn't that wonderful? When you get done with doctrine just to worship God! And I think that actually listening to the word of God and meditating on it, and rejoicing over it, and allowing it to transform you is one of the highest forms of worship there is. It really is a form of worship. What is worship, but worth-ship? We're appraising the worth of God, aren't we? And we're sensing how much God is worth to us and what are his plans and purposes worth to us? And we say, "Oh, they are the highest and greatest value in this world." And so Paul just stops at the end of all this theology. Was there a time when you looked on that as a dry and boring word? Theology? Who would ever want to do that? But theology, I think, is the most exciting study there is, studying the eternal God, theology. We're going to study God and so Paul after 11 chapters of his own theology in which he just puts the pen down, is just astonished at what he's written. Do you think he fully understood it all? I don't think he fully understood all of it, but I think he's amazed. And so he says in verse 33, "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and his paths, beyond tracing out." I can't get past that word, oh. I've talked about it so many times before. Has there been an oh in you today? I hope so. The only function of that word is worship, isn't it? There's a sense of emotion, and glee, and joy at the richness of God. "Oh," says Paul, "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and his paths, beyond tracing out." You can't figure out what God is doing. His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are his thoughts higher than our thoughts and his ways higher than our ways. And Paul says they're beyond tracing out. You can't figure out what God's doing. You can't trace out his paths. “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God that God should repay him?” Will God ever owe you anything? And when you use your spiritual gifts, you may be tempted by the devil to think that God is in some position of debtor to you. You owe him everything. All the things you have, have come to you from grace. God never owes anyone anything. “Who has ever given to God that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things.” Does that include you? Are you from him? Do you exist from him? Were you not created? Were you not knit together in your mother's womb by the hand of God? Did he not breathe your soul into that unformed substance so that you became a living being? And did he not redeem you also by the gospel? Did he not create you out of nothing spiritually as well? From him, you are, “from him and through him and to him are all things.” That's a kind of emotion verse, isn't it? It comes from him, it operates through him and it goes back to him. Isn't that wonderful? “From him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”

Okay, well that amen means I'm at the end of my doctrinal section. Now, I'm going to get to practical application. We're at the application part of the sermon. But you notice how Paul is he always gives you doctrine first before he tells you how you should live, right? And so he gives you 11 chapters of solid doctrine and now he's going to tell you how you should live. And so he does, in 12:1-8. Let's read it together and look at it.

Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you'll be able to test and approve what God's will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me, I say to every one of you, do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ, we who are many form one body. And each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve. If it is teaching, let him teach. If it is encouraging, let him encourage. If it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously. If it is leadership, let him govern diligently. If it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

So this passage is about spiritual gifts, isn't it? And I include the famous first two verses here, and I really do connect the two. So this is, I believe, the best section or the best passage in the whole New Testament on how we discover our spiritual gifts. How do we find out what our gifts are? Paul is answering that question among other things in this passage. And he's telling us how we should discover, and then secondly, how we should use our gifts.

Let's begin in Verse 1. It says, "Therefore," now, the word therefore connects what he's about to say to all the doctrine that we have learned up to this point. And what is that doctrine? Well, we review it every Sunday morning, that we were sinners saved by grace, that we had no hope of salvation. And that if God had not moved, we would be lost. We would be dead in transgressions, and sins it says in Ephesians. Romans 3 is very graphic about how all of us have sinned and lacked the glory of God. And so based on all of that, the whole salvation plan in all of its glory in its majesty based on all of that, "Therefore, in view of God's mercy, I urge you..." There's an urging here. There's a sense of obligation, a sense of debt. Now, I don't want you to think of debt, because we already said that, in effect, if we have a debt mentality there's a sense of transaction between us and God, which is totally apart from grace. It's something that we would not want to understand that God doesn't owe us anything and that we cannot pay God back for what he's done. We have to get away from thinking that, that we're going to use our spiritual gifts to pay God back for what he did for us in Christ. Can you pay God back? Is it not an insult to him to try to pay it? We absolutely must not pay God back. But yet, that does not mean there's not a sense of obligation. And Paul uses this frequently, doesn't he? “Therefore, brothers," he says in Romans 8, "we have an obligation, but it is not to the sinful nature to live according to it." So there is a sense of obligation. We should live a certain way. That's what he's saying, “I urge you in view of all of what God has done to live a certain way.” And what does he say? Well, you should offer your body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.

Now, this is very similar to Roman 6, isn't it? "Do not present the parts of your body to sin as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness." Is this not the same teaching? It's the exact same teaching. Romans 6 and Romans 12 teach the same thing, you are to present the members of your body to God as instruments of his work. Your hands, your feet, your eyes, your brain, your mouth, all the parts of you are tools for the advancement of the kingdom of God. And he's going to use you in a mighty way. He's going to use you in a powerful way as you have presented yourself to God and as you present the parts of your body to him. So he's saying you're going to offer your bodies as living sacrifices.

"You are to present the members of your body to God as instruments of his work. Your hands, your feet, your eyes, your brain, your mouth, all the parts of you are tools for the advancement of the kingdom of God."

Now, this is very different than the Old Covenant, isn't it? What's the difference between this and the Old Covenant? What was offered in the Old Covenant? 

[Audience speaks}

Sacrifices that were dead, once for all. They're dead and there's nothing else. But you are alive forever. You are eternally alive. And so therefore, you can be constantly offered up to God. Look back if you would for a few moments at Romans Chapter 8. Toward the end of Romans 8, we see some marvelous things beginning in verse 31, "What then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?" One time I was at a funeral and there was a listing of verses to be read and it said, Romans 8:28-35, and 37-39. And I said, "Wait a minute, one verse was left out. What verse is it?" Well, it's that one in the middle, that one about being a sheep for the slaughter all day long, right? Well, that's what it says,

What then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all- how will he not also, along with him graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus who died- more than that, who was raised to life -is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble, or hardship, or persecution of famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

 So in all that he's giving a sense of assurance, that nothing can separate you. I think you could sum up the whole message of Romans 8 from no condemnation at the beginning to no separation at the end. That's the whole message. It's a message of total assurance.

But then he says, in the middle of this message of total assurance, "As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’" Well, whoever chose the verses for that funeral thought that was inappropriate and a little negative, but I think you can't understand these verses unless you understand that one. There is a context for the secure power and strength and keeping of God. And that is that we are in a hostile world that hates our faith and that we're going to be out on the front lines, aren't we? We're going to be doing things for God and that we're going to be facing death all day long. We're considered sheep for the slaughter and not just by the world, but by God himself. He's going to be pouring us out. Like Paul said, "I'm already being poured out like a drink offering and the time has come for my departure." God is going to use you. He's even going to use you up on earth. Why? Because he knows you have eternal life. And so he's going to take you and he's going to use you every day. And if you don't have this mentality of, “all day long I'm like a sheep for the slaughter," you will do less for the Lord than you should. You'll hold back from things that God wants you to do, say, "That's too hard. That would mean this. Or somebody won't like me," or some other thing. You're going to hold back. God says, "Think of your life on earth as a life of sacrifice, a life of taking up your cross and being willing to die. And if you do, you will accomplish all these things."

So go back to Romans 12. There's that picture of all day long we're considered sheep to be slaughtered. What does it mean all day long? Well, it's the same thing as being a living sacrifice. All day long you're sacrificed. You die and you die again. Paul says, "I die daily. I die every day. And guess what? Behold I live, I'm alive again to give again. Day after day I'm alive and I keep dying." So he's saying we're a living sacrifice, “holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship.” Is this not your highest form of worship to God? To present yourself fully and say, “I am yours to command and everything you say I will do." And so that word, offer that we already looked at, we saw it earlier in Roman 6, remember? We're going to offer, we're going to present the parts of our body to him as instruments of righteousness. Do you remember where we saw that in terms of the statement made by Jesus the night that he was arrested, you remember? Simon Peter pulled his sword, I've talked about this before, and he wanted to save Jesus from being arrested. He wanted to save Jesus from going to the cross. If he had saved Jesus from going to the cross, he would be eternally condemned. We don't know what God's doing do we? We don't understand God's ways. His ways are so much higher than ours. So he pulls his sword and Jesus tells him, "Put your sword back in its place for all who draw the sword will die by the sword." He said, "Do you think I cannot call on my father and he will at once put at my disposal more than 12 legions of angels?" That's the same Greek word as offer here in Romans 12 and in Romans 6, "Put at my disposal." Well, you have to imagine, use your imagination, with what attitude would the angels come and present themselves to Jesus? What do they say to their commanding officer? They are ready to do anything, anytime, any place. Anything he commands, they will do. “600 Roman soldiers? No problem, Lord, no problem.” Anything that he commands, they will do. Well, that's the same concept here. You are presenting yourself to him the way an angel would and is this not the fulfillment of the Lord's prayer, "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven"? “I want your will to be done in my life the way it is in heaven, and I'm going to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. I'm not going to be a rebel anymore. I'm presenting myself to you. You tell me what to do and I will do it.” So you're going to present your body to him as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. And this is worship. This is worship, not merely the singing of hymns or merely the reading of Scripture, but deeper than that, it is a full-blooded response to God saying, "I want you to rule over me and I'm yours to command."

All right, well that's important. You say, “What does that have to do with discovering your spiritual gift?” Well, it has everything to do with it. If you don't do that, then you cannot serve God. You cannot use your spiritual gift. You'll be an autonomous king or queen in the body of Christ and we don't need that. We need somebody who's under the headship of Christ, submitted to his leadership, using your spiritual gifts in submission to his leadership so that the gifts are used to build up the body and not to destroy the body. So you're going to present yourself. This is your spiritual act of worship. And then in verse 2 it says, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Very important, and we've talked about it before, and I just want to keep focused on spiritual gifts. What this means is you're not going to think of your spiritual gifts the way a worldly person would. You're not going to be conformed to thinking about yourself and what you get out of it, but rather you are coming to serve. You're presenting yourself to God and to his body, and you're going to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. But I'm going to get outside of just spiritual gifts to just doctrine, just the Christian life. You need to take the word of God in daily. You just need to read it. You need to just saturate your mind with the word of God. You just need to read through the whole Book of Job, all those chapters. You just need to go through all the genealogies and chronicles. Just let it wash through you. You need to think about it. You just need to take the word of God in as it's written and just daily, just take it in. Have that daily quiet time. Make it the most important thing you do so that you're transformed moment-by-moment by the renewing of your mind. Every day you're learning a little more about Scripture. Every day you're learning more. And so that way you're not going to be thinking the world does. You're going to be thinking like a Christian. Why is that important? Well, I don't think you can discover what your spiritual gifts are among many other things if you don't do that. You've got to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then, then you'll be able, you see? You see how it works?

People ask, "Well, how do you know what God's will is? How can you know what God's will is for your life?" Wouldn't you say the question of, “What is God's will for my life?” is the same kind of question as what are my spiritual gifts? I mean, they're related. What are my spiritual gifts would be a question like what is God's will for my life? How should I serve in the body? They are related. Well, Paul says, "If you want to know the answer to that question, you have to do some other things first. Present your body to God as willing to serve and then just start renewing and transform your mind, just walking moment-by-moment as a holy servant of God. Then you will be able", it says. You see the connection there? You will be able to test and approve. You see those two things? You are testing the will of God. It's not that you're testing God. You're determining, what is God's will? And that's a challenging thing, isn't it? Because there are, especially when it comes to spiritual gifts, any of them could be God's will for you. How do you know which ones are? And so you are testing what God's will is. You are trying it and testing it. And as a result of that, you're saying, "Yes, this is the will of God." And I think, all of us, you just have to get the big picture in place first, namely, what is God doing in the world? He is building his church in the world. "I will build my church," said Jesus, "and the gates of hell will not prevail against it." That is his work in the world. So therefore, what is your business on a Monday morning as you wake up? What is your business on a Tuesday afternoon? What is your business on a Saturday? Building the church of Jesus Christ in some way. That should be your mentality. You've got a new way of thinking. You'll be able to test and approve of God's will, you see? What it means is you say, "I think it's delightful. I think it's good.” It says, “test and approve what's God's will is, his good pleasing and perfect will."

Now, here's the beauty of it, okay? God's will is already good to God. God's will is already pleasing to God. God's will is already perfect to God. Is it to you? Is it good to you? Does it seem good to you? Does it seem pleasing to you? Does it seem perfect to you? Well, that's where the transforming of your mind happens, that as you're renewed, you're transforming, you're testing, you're saying, "I just want what God wants. That's all I want. I want God's will for my life. I want God's will for his church. I want God's will to be done." Okay, so if you do all that, you'll be able to test and approve what God's will is. People say to me, "How do I know what God's will is for my life? How do I know?" I believe that you prepare today for important decisions you'll make 10 years from now. Prepare today by habits you're in today, specifically in prayer and Bible intake. You prepare today for important decisions you'll have to make down the road. It doesn't happen all at once. It does not happen in a hurry. You can't hurry and store up the wisdom from God. It takes time, doesn't it? There's only so much you can take in every day. And so, “give us today our daily bread.” There's a sense of daily intake of the word. Don't miss a day. Get ready today for something you'll have to do down the road, 10 years down the road. Do you think Philip was ready when the angel came and told him to go to the desert road? Was he ready to interpret Isaiah 53? He was ready. He was ready. So you be ready, too.

Now, here comes the most important word for why it is we're talking about this tonight. See it in 12:3? How does verse 3 begin? For! We're learning not to skip those little words. For, that's a connection. And what it's saying is what I'm about to tell you relates to what I just told you, you see? There's a connection between verse 1 and 2 and the rest of this section that I read. You want to know what your spiritual gifts are? Do verse 1 and 2. There, we already got it. That's how you find out what your spiritual gifts are. Do verse 1 and 2. But he's going to go on beyond that, "For by the grace given to me..." And by the way, what did Paul mean when he talks about the grace given to me? What's he referring to? 

[Audience speaks]

His spiritual gifts, "By my spiritual gift package, I'm going to say some things to you. I was given to be an apostle to the Gentiles and to write these things. I'm a scripture writer. Not most of your scripture writers, but I am a scripture writer and that's my gift. And so by the gift given to me, I'm going to tell you about your gifts." You see how the body builds the body up? "For by the grace given to me, I say to every one of you..." Do you see how it works? He's very careful that every one of us knows we have a gift. We have a place. We have something important to be done. "For by the grace given to me, I say to every one of you, do not think of yourself more highly than you ought." Isn't that good? He's keeping us humble. Don't think of yourself as absolutely indispensable to the body of Christ. But I would urge you from other scriptures not to think too lowly of yourself either. Now, you would say, "Why should I think of myself at all? Shouldn't I just be other-centered or be thinking only about Jesus?" Well, no, Paul actually tells you to think of yourself, "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment." You see? He's commanding you to think about yourself. And I think in terms of the spiritual gifts, he wants you to look inward with the light of the Scripture and the Holy Spirit and that wisdom that we get, good, pleasing and perfect will, we look inward and say, "What have you put here, God? What's in there? What did you give me?" So think of yourself, but always with a view toward humility, you see? Don't think of yourself too highly. Don't be pulled toward thinking, "I am so great or I'm so indispensable," whatever, but always have that humble mindset of servanthood, “I'm going to use whatever I find within to serve the body.” "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment." Isn't that right? Assessing and thinking properly with a sense of sobriety, a sense of seriousness, sober judgment. You're testing yourself, “sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” Now, again, we get this word measure. This is the same thing we got in Ephesians 4. In Ephesians 4, Paul says that, "Each of us has a measure as the gifts are apportioned out, according to the metron," it says in Greek, in Ephesians 4, "... according to the measure of Christ," we get these spiritual gifts. Here we have that measurement language again. We have some things measured to us, you see? And it's a proper scale and scope for the work he has in mind for you to do.

Some things we get without measure, like grace for salvation and forgiveness comes without measure. The Holy Spirit, it says in John 3, comes "without measure." There's no measure to the Holy Spirit. But the gifts are not without measure. There's a limit to it. There's a proper scope for yourself in the body of Christ. So according to the measure. And why does he say the measure of faith? Because isn't all of this stuff only perceivable by faith? We're talking about stuff you can't see. You can't see your spiritual gift. You can't take it off like a holster or something at the end of the day and put it on a table. You'll never do that. It's within you and it's spiritual, you see? And so according to the measure of faith, you're going to think of yourself with sober judgment. You see how it works? So the first comes with a sense of self-assessment of what God has put in you.

"Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ, we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." So, I guess, what he's saying here is the same body analogy we got in Corinthians. You remember that? So there's a sense of diversity in unity, a sense that each of us has a different function. Because we've covered that before, I'm not going to put any more time to it tonight, except to say one thing. It says, "Each member belongs to all the others." Take the word member out and put the word gift in. You see what I'm saying? Each gift, each capability belongs to everybody else. What does that mean? It means your gift belongs to us all. Isn't that beautiful? Doesn't that give you a sense of belonging, a sense that you are vital and important? Now, we're not going to thank too highly of ourselves, but not too lowly either. Each of our gifts belongs to the whole group, and we need them, don't we? We need you to use your gifts. I'm imploring you. Paul urges us, in view of God's mercy, to use our gifts. He's urging us to bring that gift that doesn't just belong to you, but it belongs to everybody. Use it. Each member belongs to all the others. And then he says very plainly in Verse 6, "We have different gifts according to the grace given us." That's about the plainest language you can get. We are talking about spiritual gifts. And we just have different gifts according to grace.

Now, he just gives us a list at this point and just tells them how they should be using their gifts. Isn't it interesting how every single list of spiritual gifts is different than every other list? I think they're only ever meant to be suggestive. I don't really know what they all are. But this is the process that we go through theologically to discover what our gifts are. It really is a very spiritual process of presenting ourself to God in a transforming, a renewing of the mind, reading over 1 Corinthians 12-14, reading over Ephesians 4, reading over 1 Peter 4, reading over Romans 12. And as you read them over, you start saying, "God, what have you put in me? What did you do? I want to do it. I want to use my gifts." And then he starts saying, "All right, get busy. Use your gift." He says, "If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith." I think a better translation would be, in proportion to the faith. In other words, prophecy had to come in and line up with what we already had. It couldn't contradict or also it would be one of those false spirits. And so as you prophesy, be sure it comes down in proportion to the faith that we already have. Let them do it in proportion to what we've already received from God.

“If it is serving, let him serve.” What serving means, specifically, is just taking your gifts and just presenting them in a marvelous way. And so many of you, I think, probably have this gift, among others, the gift of servanthood, the ability to take yourself, all of your things in a very humble way and just present them to the body and to other individuals. And it really relates in so many different minute ways that we couldn't even go into it. It's so broad. But this word here proves that the spiritual gifts, there's a great deal of overlap with what's required of all Christians, right? Aren't we all to serve one another?

And then as he keeps going, "If it is teaching, let him teach.” We need the teachers to teach. “If it is encouraging, let him encourage.” We need the encourages to encourage. “If it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give," and he adds the word, “generously.” And here we get a little bit of that 1 Corinthians 13 flavor, right? It's how you do your gift, not just that you do it. Give lavishly, give generously as to the Lord. And then he says, "If it is leadership, let him govern diligently. If it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully." What a great word, cheerfully, gladly, a sense of gladness. Well, there's a lot more we could say about that at the end, and I'm going to talk more about those verses specifically in the future. But this section right here, I'm pointing your attention to Romans 12:1-8 on the how-to in terms of discovering your gifts, how do you do it? Romans 12:1-8 gives you insight. I want to urge you, discover your gifts, develop your gifts, and use your gifts for the body of Christ.

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