Romans 12:3-8

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

Text: Romans 12:3-8

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

INTRODUCTION:

When you are in the pastoral ministry, you soon learn that you take people where they are in their spiritual lives and that you work with them, seeking to get them to take the next step and eventually to make mature Christians out of them.

If they are unsaved, you seek their salvation.

If they are unsurrendered, you seek their surrender to the Lord.

If they are surrendered, you seek their spiritual growth and maturity.

Where are you in your spiritual life?

Where should you be going from here in your spiritual life?

Romans 12 provides some answers to this question of where we go from here in our spiritual lives.

In Romans 12 salvation is assumed. However, if you are not saved, you need to do something about it before it is too late.

We have already seen that -

I. BELIEVERS ARE URGED TO DEDICATE THEIR LIVES TO THE LORD - 12:1

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

This not-to-be-repeated dedication marks the beginning of the surrendered life and of all that follows in the rest of chapter 12.

In the event that at some point in the past you have given yourself to the Lord to live for Him but have not been living for Him, you need to confess this as sin and get back to studying your Bible and practicing what it says.

We have also seen that -

II. THE DEDICATED LIFE DEMANDS THAT WE STOP BEING CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD - 12:2A

Romans 12:2 a - And be not conformed to this world. . . .

We have furthermore seen that -

III. THE DEDICATED LIFE DEMANDS THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE BELIEVER'S LIFE AS A RESULT OF THE RENEWING OF HIS MIND - 12:2B

Romans 12:2 b - . . . But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

We continue with -

Another ramification of the dedicated life is seen in verses 3-8 -

IV. THE DEDICATED LIFE DEMANDS THAT THE BELIEVER USE HIS SPIRITUAL GIFT(S) IN HIS CHRISTIAN SERVICE TO THE FULL MEASURE OF THE GIFT HE HAS BEEN GIVEN - 12:3-8

Romans 12:3-8 - 3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

For suggests that an explanation is about to be given. It might instead be understood in an emphatic sense as certainly or indeed.

I say, which is to be connected with to every man that is among you, I am saying, I am asserting, or I am declaring.

Through the grace given unto me is by means of the grace given unto me.

By grace Paul does not mean the unmerited favor which brought about his salvation. He means instead the spiritual gift which has been given to him, i.e. his gift as an apostle. It is through this grace of God that Paul has been made an apostle and equipped with the powers and capabilities necessary.

Unto me is to me and refers to Paul. He is speaking to every man that is among you, i.e. to all who are among you or to everyone who is among you, which includes both males and females.

What he is saying to them is not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Not to think . . . more highly of himself is not to be thinking too highly (of himself) or not to be haughty, and its tense indicates that this is to be constant or continuous. The suggestion is that he already is thinking too highly of himself, and he needs to stop doing so.

Than he ought to think is from what is necessary to think or from what is necessary to hold as an opinion.

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to not to think (of himself) more highly than he ought to think.

To think soberly is to be thinking reasonably, to be thinking in a reasonable manner, to be thinking in a sensible manner, or to be thinking in a serious manner. It means that he needs to keep his head or his wits about him, i.e. that he needs to think realistically.

According as is according to what.

God hath dealt is God assigned, God dealt, or God apportioned; and it has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

To every man is literally to every one or to each one. God's apportionments were not given only to males.

The measure of faith is a measure of faith. God has given to each believer what he needs to function where God wants him to be serving Him. The believer is to realize whatever has been apportioned to him, to think seriously about it, and to use it to bring honor and glory to the Lord. He needs to recognize this apportionment for what it is and to use it as God intended.

Romans 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office.

In verses 4-8 Paul points out that, as in a physical body, all members do not have the same function, the same is true of individual believers in the body of Christ. Believers ought to exercise to the fullest extent possible whatever function they have been given in the body of Christ.

For indicates that an explanation of what has preceded is about to take place, that a man should think soberly as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith. A realistic appraisal of his spiritual gift is important. The man should not try to be what he is not, but he ought to try to exercise the gift which he has been given to the fullest extent possible.

As in verse 4 is used in connection with so in verse 5.

We speaks of people in general.

Have speaks of a present possession.

Many members is many parts or many limbs.

In one body refers to the physical body of each person. Our physical bodies are composed of many individual parts with differing functions.

And all members is and all parts or and all limbs.

Have not the same office is do not have the same function. Each body part has a different function. People do not walk with their eyes, think with their feet, and smell with their knees. These body parts were never intended to be used for these purposes. their eyes have a unique function as do their feet and their knees. It is a mistake to use one of your body parts for something for which it was never intended. It would probably not be wise for a carpenter to begin using his head to drive nails without the use of a hammer or nailing gun.

Romans 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

So is connected with as from verse 4. Both are used to present a comparison.

We refers to believers and particularly to believers within a local church.

Being many suggests that although there are many believers within the local church; yet, together they are one body in Christ. This is understood as the local church.

Believers have an interrelationship with one another within the local church suggested by and every one members one of another.

Every one suggests that this is true of each individual believer.

Members is parts, and one of another is of each other.

Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith.

According to verses 6-8, every believer has been given a different spiritual gift; and he should use whatever gift he has been given to the fullest extent possible.

Having is understood in the sense of because we have or since we have.

Then introduces a continuation of what Paul is saying in the sense of now.

What believers have are gifts.

These are spiritual gifts, but not every believer has been given the same spiritual gift(s). They are differing, i.e. different gifts. Some have more than one gift, and what various believers have varies from one individual to another.

They differ according to the grace that is given to us.

According to is in accordance with or with reference to.

The grace that is given to us does not refer to saving grace; instead, it refers to the spiritual gift which has been given to each believer.

Grace is the same term used of Paul in verse 3, where it refers to Paul's spiritual gift as an apostle.

Whether suggests if.

One spiritual gift which has been given to some believers is prophecy. The gift of prophecy is the ability to receive divine revelation which is then communicated to others. God speaks directly to or through an individual prophet.

As indicated by the italics, let us prophesy has been supplied by the translators to aid the understanding of the English reader. It is implied in the context. Those believers who have been given the gift or prophecy should prophesy.

According to the proportion of faith indicates that, if believers have been given the gift of prophecy, they should use this gift to its fullest extent.

According to the proportion of suggests in right relationship to, in agreement with, or in proportion to.

Faith here is not the spiritual trust that one has placed in Christ as his Savior, nor is it the body of Christian doctrine. Instead, it refers to the spiritual gift the believer has been given.

According to the proportion of faith means in accordance with the proportion of the spiritual gift given.

Lest you spend a lot of time wondering if you have the gift of prophecy, I can help you - you don't have it. The gift of prophecy ceased to be given when the New Testament was completed.

Romans 12:7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching.

Or ministry suggests another spiritual gift given to some believers.

Or ministry is the gift of serving.

As indicated by the italics, let us wait has supplied by the translators.

On our ministering suggests that believers who have received this spiritual gift of ministry or service should use it to its fullest extent.

Ministering is the same word translated ministry. The appears in the Greek text before ministering and is used in a possessive sense as our.

Or introduces another spiritual gift given to some.

He that teacheth is the one who teaches. It is the spiritual gift of teaching.

On teaching suggests what he should be doing: using his spiritual gift of teaching to its fullest extent. The translators did not supply anything here as they did with let us prophesy and with let us wait. Something such as let us exercise the spiritual gift on teaching might have been supplied. It suggests that, if we have been given the spiritual gift of teaching, we should be faithfully using it to the best of the ability which God has given us and that we should be using it for teaching.

Romans 12:8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Or he that exhorteth is the one who is exhorting, the one who is urging, or the one who is encouraging, the one who is comforting, or the one who is cheering up.

On exhortation suggests that if someone has the gift of exhortation, he ought to use this gift for the Lord to exhort, to urge, to encourage, to comfort, or to cheer up others.

He that giveth suggests another spiritual gift found among believers. It is the one who shares, the one who imparts, or the one who gives part of something.

Let him do it with simplicity suggests let the one who gives should give with simplicity, i.e. with generosity or with liberality.

He that ruleth is yet another spiritual gift. It means the one who is at the head of, the one who directs, the one who manages, or the one who conducts.

He is to rule (i.e. to be at the head of, to direct, to manage, or to conduct) with diligence, i.e. diligently or in a diligent manner.

The last spiritual gift suggested is he that sheweth mercy, i.e. the one who is merciful.

With cheerfulness suggests how he should exercise his spiritual gift. It is with gladness, with graciousness, cheerfully, graciously, or gladly.

CONCLUSION:

So where are you in your spiritual life? Are you sure that you have been saved? If you are not saved and you know it, or if you are not sure that you have really been saved, then you need to make sure of it. Speak to any of us about it, and we would be most happy to help you to be sure of your salvation.

Have you dedicated your life to the Lord so that you are a surrendered Christian? If you are, this is wonderful. If you are not yet surrendered, then you need to get alone with God and give your life completely to him and ask Him to help you live for Him.

As a surrendered Christian, are you stopping your conformity to the world?

As a surrendered Christian, are you renewing your mind through the daily study of the Word of God with the result that your life is being changed? Consistent Bible study and submission of the heart and mind to the teaching of the Bible will change your life.

As a surrendered Christian, are you serving the Lord to the best of your ability in the area of your spiritual gift, i.e. of your ability and interest?

As a surrendered Christian, are you living the sort of life which is consistent with your life as a dedicated Christian? Are you living victoriously over sin while at the same time growing toward maturity in Christ?

If we can be of help to you, we would love the privilege of doing what we can to help you on your way toward becoming a mature, godly Christian.