Using Our Gifts - Part 3

Sun, Nov 11, 2018
Teacher: Tom Blackford
Passage: Romans 12:3-8
Duration:47 mins 3 secs

Message text

Using Our Gifts, Part 3
Romans 12:3-8

Good morning. Today we are going to continue to look at Romans 12. Just as a reminder if you hear me say anything that is not according to scripture please let me know and we can look at it together. This morning I would like to continue in our study of this chapter beginning at verse three and continuing through verse 8.

Annie Johnson Flint lived between 1866 and 1932. She suffered from early onset arthritis yet she wrote many beautiful poems. With a pen pushed through bent fingers and held by swollen joints she wrote without any thought that it might be an avenue of ministry, or that it would bring her returns that might help in her support. Her verses provided a solace for her in the long hours of suffering. Then she began making hand-lettered cards and gift books, and decorated some of her own verses. Her life was beset by many problems and suffering. I would recommend you read about her sometime. In considering her life it brings again the question to mind; “Why do good people sometimes suffer?” Of the many poems she wrote I want to mention one titled; The World’s Bible, of which I will read just the first few verses.

Christ has no hands but our hands to do His work today;
He has no feet but our feet to lead men in His way;
He has no tongue but our tongues to tell men how He died;
He has no help but our help to bring them to His side.

We are the only Bible the careless world will read;
We are the sinner's gospel, we are the scoffer's creed;
We are the Lord's last message, given in deed and word;
What if the type is crooked? What if the print is blurred?

What if our hands are busy with other work than His?
What if our feet are walking where sin's allurement is?
What if our tongues are speaking of things His lips would spurn?
How can we hope to help Him and hasten His return?

I would suggest that's what we need to think about. Christ has no hands but our hands to do His work today.

I would also suggest that this is a basic truth of the passages that we've been studying in Romans 12 concerning offering our bodies as spiritual sacrifices to God. God has given us the responsibility to do the work. Not only has He given us responsibility but He has given us the tools and functions as well.

This morning we're going to talk about the gifts God has given us to do His work. Christ has no hands but our hands. He has no feet but our feet. He instructs us to use what we have, to do what God has given us to do.

Turn to Romans chapter 12 if you are not already there. Let’s read starting in verse three again the passage we've been studying.
Romans 12:3-8 – “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. 4. 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.”

We’ve examined these passages in past weeks to try to understand what our responsibility is in terms of service. What serving God is all about. We found as we studied earlier that the attitude of service is humility. That we must not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, but to be always willing to put the other person above ourselves.

We also recognized that in the relationship of service, there are many members in one body. Last week we talked about not being stand alone Christians, we are not isolated from one another, but as the physical members of our body make up a single unit, so we as spiritual members make up a spiritual body. As such we are to focus attention on one another, to care for one another, and to serve one another.

This morning I would like to look at verses 6 to 8, and this aspect of gifts.
I. The activity of service is using gifts: It is functioning in a way that God has given us, not only as a body together corporately, but more specifically as individuals who would do their own work and thereby build up the body of Christ. There are a lot of those in religion who seem to misunderstand what the Bible says about spiritual gifts. In fact, the term gift as it relates to what God has provided for us is looked at in many religious circles as a mystical term that can't really be defined, can't really be explored in any concrete way. That is unfortunate because what the Bible tells us about the things God has provided for us, using the term gifts, is very concrete. It's very particular and practical about way that we are to serve before God.
A. The Apostle in Romans 12, uses a word that is very familiar in the New Testament translated into English as the word “gifts”. The Greek word is charisma [khar-is-mah] which means a gift of grace. It is from the common Greek word charis [kha-res] from where we get the word grace or mercy as it is used throughout the Scriptures. In fact it is used in this very verse that says we are given gifts according to the grace of God.
1. Three times in this passage Paul mentions the aspect of grace or mercy. One of those times is in the definition of the word gift itself. That a gift is an act of mercy. When you receive a gift from someone it is not because you earned it. It means the giver was not under obligation, but rather they gave of their own free will.
2. Before we begin talking about the gifts that God has provided for us and discerning what it means to you and me, to have these gifts from God, we first have to recognize, that we have what we have, and we are what we are by the grace of God. God has given us the tools that we need to function in a spiritual way. These gifts then are not earned; they are that which God has given us of His own free will.
3. In fact, other passages indicate, as Ephesians chapter four does, that God has placed these gifts in His church at His own pleasure. That He has placed the structure of the church according to His own desires. It’s not up to man to decide the leadership characteristics of the body either corporately in terms of the local congregation or even universally in terms of God's church as we can talk about it in a universal sense.
4. Back up a little bit and recognize what Paul said in verses three and four of this particular passage.
i. Paul just said; God has dealt to each one a measure of faith for as we have many members in one body but all the members do not have the same function. So what are the gifts here? What are these things that God has given us?
ii. In the context itself Paul saying they are functions. They are practices or deeds that need to be accomplished. This is not in terms of rank or position as we mentioned last week, but in terms of work that needs to be done.
iii. The implication here is that all of us have received or do receive from God the responsibility to function in a certain way and the ability to function in the way needed. He has given this freely to us through His grace.
B. “Differing according to the grace”: What the text also says is that these gifts differ. That though we all have gifts, we all have functions, we all don’t have the same function, we don't all have the same gifts. We recognize that aspect in the physical body when we make the analogy that Paul makes. We have a physical body. We have different parts, members, of the body and these different parts of that body do different things. They differ.
1. This diversity of gifts or functions makes up the benefit of the whole and so the body is able to function, it is able to do what it does as a whole because each individual part of the body works its own work. The diversity of gifts then is a part of the biblical discussion of the church that Paul presents in a couple of other places.
2. Last week we turned to First Corinthians chapter 12, and I ask you to turn back over there again, because I want us to notice that Paul uses the same concept there. Paul uses the aspect of the diversity of gifts to talk about the actual activity or the functioning of the church at Corinth.
i. In First Corinthians chapter 12 I believe what Paul's talking about are the temporary, miraculous gifts, given by the Holy Spirit at that time. We'll talk about the distinction between this discussion and Romans chapter 12 in just a few moments.
ii. We see in the context of first Corinthians chapter 12 there are these spiritual, miraculous gifts that were given by the laying on the hands of the apostles and they differed from individual to individual. Not everyone that was a Christian in the first century had a miraculous spiritual gift. Some did but they did not all have the same gift. Paul is making it clear here this diversity lends to the unity of the whole.
iii. I Corinthians 12:4-7 - “There are different kinds of gifts but the same spirit. There are different kinds of service but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the spirit is given for the common good.” [para]
iv. Each manifestation of the spirit, gift, is so that the body itself can grow as a whole and can function as a whole. Certainly he’s saying there are different kinds of gifts and this diversity must be recognized.
3. The reason Paul wants them to realize that there are different kinds of gifts, is because he's going to point out later on, particularly as he gets to Chapter 13 and 14, that no gift is better than another. There are different kinds of gifts but any gift, such as the gift of speaking in tongues, is no more spiritual than any of the other types of gifts that were given such as the gift of prophecy.
4. Before we go any further in terms of our discussion of Roman 12 the question comes to mind: Do Christians today have spiritual gifts? We recognize from the study of miraculous gifts that the apostles are no longer around to lay hands on people. The miraculous gifts in the first century were temporary, and therefore there is no miraculous measures of the spirit given to individuals today. In the sense of 1 Corinthians 12 there are no spiritual gifts today.
5. We see the term spiritual is not used in connection with the gifts in Romans chapter 12. When Paul talks about God giving differing gifts in Romans 12 he doesn't use the term spiritual, and that is significant. In comparison to that, looking at 1 Corinthians 12:1 we recognize that when Paul begins talking about spiritual gifts that the word gifts is in italics which means that Paul doesn't use the word gifts. He simply uses the word spirituality or spiritual. It's clear from what takes place in the rest of the context of 1 Corinthians 12 that what he's talking about there are individual miraculous activities, which benefit the whole spiritual body.
C. Miraculous or not: I wondered, how do the spiritual gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12 relate to Romans 12? In Romans 12 when he says we all receive gifts; is he talking about spiritual gifts that are miraculous or not miraculous?
1. We have to be careful to recognize the context of the times in which Paul and the other apostles mention the list of spiritual gifts.
2. Paul has a list in 1 Corinthians 12. He also has a list in Romans 12. Peter has a list in 1 Peter 4. There are lists of individual gifts that are given by the Apostles. Are those lists miraculous or are they non-miraculous? Can we make a clear distinction in the list between what is miraculous and what is non-miraculous? I would suggest that first we have to recognize the context of each passage.
3. The context of 1 Corinthians focuses on the Corinthians misuse of miraculous gifts. Some of those Christians were saying speaking in tongues was more important than any other gift. It was more visible, showier if you will; therefore those who had the gift of speaking in tongues seemed more “spiritual” than other people who did not have that gift. Do some religious people think that today?
i. Paul corrects this. He says there are a variety of gifts God provides for all of them and in the end a person should really seek for love which is far beyond any temporary miraculous gift that was given. You should seek for that greatest gift first, love. 1 Corinthians 13
ii. In the Corinthian letter where Paul deals with the aspects of miraculous gifts he provides a certain context.
iii. The context of Romans 12 is different. The context of Romans 12 is that every Christian has an obligation to offer his body as a spiritual sacrifice to God, verses 1 and two. The list here then, verses six through eight certainly includes what we would recognize to be non-miraculous functions. Notice what he says here. Paul says there is ministering, there’s teaching, there’s exhorting, there’s giving, there's leading, there’s showing mercy. None of those things require miraculous activity or a miraculous ability to function.
iv. There are no implied miraculous gifts in Romans 12. In fact the only one on the list, I believe, that seems to demand miraculous activity or miraculous measure is the first one when he says if you go into prophecy do it according to a measure of faith. We also find in 1 Corinthians 14:3 – “he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.”
4. What's this mean to us? I think the first thing it shows us is the willingness of the apostles to mix miraculous with non-miraculous gifts. It shows, in some sense, that the church in the first century held them as equal functions. In the congregation you had people who did particular work that they couldn't do without a miraculous measure, such as speaking in tongues. There were other individuals who functioned in what we might think of as a regular capacity, who had been given gifts of ordinary measure of the spirit and performed functions in non-miraculous ways.
5. When the apostles talked to the church about gifts, they lumped them together and recognized that all of these were the product of the Holy Spirit in the life of the individual and given by God. They were equal functions from the same spirit.
6. Later Peter uses the term “gift” in 1 Peter 4:10-11 and notice that he applies it to the aspect of that which is non-miraculous. “10. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever.”
D. We’re familiar with these verses. We use these words of Peter to make the point that if a person is going speak or preach he needs to do it as the oracles of God. Meaning what? That he’s going to receive a special miraculous manifestation? No, he’s going to take the word of God as the oracles of God and on that he's going to base his statements and not speak anything other than what God has spoken.
1. Peter indicates that speaking is itself a gift. It is itself a product of the Holy Spirit and therefore spiritual in its very nature. The focus of what Peter said, the focus of what Paul says, in both places, is that the gifts are from God. The glory ought to be given to God when the gift is utilized, or used.
2. When we get through considering the context of each list we should recognize that the term spiritual certainly applies to both miraculous and non-miraculous gifts. It's not wrong to recognize that you and I do have spiritual gifts and that God has given all of these things to us by His power through the Holy Spirit, but that doesn't involve nor necessitate any miraculous activity.
E. These are spiritual functions that benefit the spiritual body of Christ to build it up. They have been acquired through the influence of the Holy Spirit through the word of God. I think that's an important distinction, but sometimes we talk about passages like Romans 12 where it says that we have been given gifts, and we are to use our gifts to the glorify God, and we think simply in the terms of obvious ability.
1. If someone has the ability to run fast or if they can jump high or has some athletic ability or they are very smart, has a lot of intellect, or excels in math, they needs to use that ability to the glory of God.
2. Certainly we are to be using all of the things that God has given us in terms of ability to serve God but recognize in the context of Romans 12 that's not all that Paul's talking about. He's talking about spiritual gifts that have been given to us by the influence of the Spirit of God in our life to do spiritual work.
3. He mentions or lists these things that come from the Spirit of God that an individual ought to be able and willing to use. As a person uses these gifts in the work that is what makes the gifts productive. Makes these gifts function. We are the hands.
4. Consider that for a minute. Now in Philippians 2:13 Paul says; “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
i. The person is influenced by the word of God.
ii. The Holy Spirit provides gifts or functions that we can engage, that will build up the body of Christ.
iii. The implication there is that if the person does not spend time in the word of God they are not influenced by the Spirit of God, then they can’t have many spiritual gifts.
F. Certainly then, when we think about this aspect in searching after ways in which we can serve God, we have to recognize that the source of the ability and the knowledge and strength to use it comes from the word of God. Making sure that we spend time in the word of God and we meditate on the word of God and we live in obedience to the word of God in our life, so that the things God has given us to do become the functioning of the service that God provided to us.
II. Use Them: Then we come to the text. “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them:” This then is the activity of service—use of the gifts that God provides. The growth and development of the body of Christ through the gifts that God provided, is the way that Paul says the church has built up. What gifts does Paul mention here? Let me take a couple of minutes to talk about these gifts because I think that even though the list is not exhaustive, there are some thoughts contained in it that help us to understand what our gifts may be or what our functions may be.
A. The first one he mentions here is prophecy. He says “if prophecy let us prophesy in proportion to our faith.” As I mentioned before the Greek word here prophēteia [pro-fey-tie-ah] is defined as; speaking forth of the mind and the Council of God, according to Vine’s. It simply means the aspect of speaking what God has given the person to speak. In nearly every occasion in the Bible, prophesy is used to describe the activity of someone who has been given a message directly from God.
1. The apostles were inspired by the Holy Spirit to speak and write. God brought things into remembrance that they wouldn’t have known had not the Holy Spirit been given unto them.
2. The prophet was one, both in the Old and New Testament, who could predict the future, reveal undiscoverable things from God, and therefore I believe that this aspect of prophecy always relates in its use to the miraculous measure or the Holy Spirit. It is by definition a miraculous gift.
3. The prophets and the apostles are talked about as laying the foundation of the church. Ephesians 2:20 so their work was by its very definition temporary. They were to receive the word as the apostles did and when they preached that word it became the basis on which the church was built.
4. Other men would preach the word of the apostles even as the apostles preached the Old Testament prophets to lay the foundation of an individual coming to God.
B. Today if we try to make an application of this aspect of the gifts we recognize that prophecy most clearly relates to someone who would stand up and preach or teach the word of God. This someone would not be receiving a direct revelation but would preach the word that came through direct revelation as recorded in the Bible.
1. If we think about the gifts there are some individuals who have a gift to stand up and preach the word of God, because they know what the word God says. That is, they've come to understand and recognize and discern what the word of God teaches and therefore they can stand up and they can take the prophetic word and they can make it known unto those listening.
2. That's exactly what Paul told Timothy to do to commit the word to other faithful men who would be able to teach others also.
3. Vine’s New Testament dictionary says that with the completion of the cannon of scripture prophecy apparently passed away. In this measure the teacher has taken the place of the Prophet. The difference is that whereas the message of the Prophet was a direct revelation of the mind of God for the occasion, the message of the teacher is gathered from the completed revelations contained in scripture.
4. You see then as mentioned in 1 Peter 4 the implication is; we dare not preach and teach anything other than that which is written in scripture, for which we have prophetic word. As Peter said in 2 Peter 21 “for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”.
5. In the text Paul says, “let us prophesy in proportion to our faith”. The faith here may refer to the objective measure of the revelation. I think that's probably the best understanding. The prophet received a message. He was to prophesy according to that. He was not to go beyond that or leave anything out. He was to make known to others what God had made known to him. That's the very same principle we’re talking about here in speaking the oracles of God.
C. Then he mentions the word ministers. He says one of the gifts is ministry. If we have the gift of ministry let us use it in our ministering. The Greek word here is diakonia [de-aka-ne-ah] which means to serve. It’s used to describe all types of service. Physical servants who would serve a master or Paul as he talks about himself being a servant of Jesus Christ, as the apostles were talked about as being servants of the church.
1. The word there is diakonia [de-aka-ne-ah] referring to these as servants of the church. The word minister simply means Servant. Are you a minister? Yes, you are if you’re a Christian. You can't be anything other than a minister if you’re a child of God. Someone who recognizes their responsibility to serve others, and by the influence of a Holy Spirit has the ability to serve, to help another person.
2. Then we look at people as they help one another today and we recognize the spirit still gives the ability to individuals in a non-miraculous way to help one another even through the experiences of life and certainly through an understanding of the word of God. To understand what it means to sympathize and have empathy for another person, to read what Jesus did and know what Jesus did to help others and follow that example. All of that ability comes through the power of the Spirit influencing a person’s life. If one has the capacity to serve, to help in any way, Paul is saying you must use that gift. You dare not hold it back if you can serve another person you must do it. In a very real sense then we are all to be ministers.
D. He also says he who teaches in teaching. The word here again is the very general term. The original word simply means someone who stands up and through systematic and regular instruction tells another person what he needs to do or what he needs to know. In school your teachers would stand up and they would tell you things you didn't know before you studied and that's the aspect of teaching here.
1. The teacher in the biblical context has an enormous responsibility. In fact James says in James 3 that he has a heavier responsibility than a person who doesn't teach. “let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment” His is a greater degree of condemnation because if he teachers something wrong and leads someone astray there’s a problem there. He is not only responsible for his own life he is also responsible for the life of the person he’s teaching.
2. Teaching is something that a person should never engage in without serious consideration, without recognizing the serious responsibilities involved. However, on the other side of that, every Christian must be a teacher.
3. Teachers are not simply a select group of individuals here that we set aside to do the teaching for us. The Bible nowhere in any way, condones the clergy-laity distinction among God’s people. In that sense we’re all clergy in the sense that we are all to be priests before God serving him and sacrificing and certainly teaching.
4. We look at Matthew 28:19 where the great commission is given to the apostles to go out and preach the gospel to every creature. He says they're to teach them to observe all things I have commanded. Everybody needs to be involved in the process of teaching. Titus 2:4 even older women are to teach the younger women how to love their husbands.
5. The word teach is used over and over again in the scriptures to talk about this aspect of imparting to someone information that they need to know.
Are you a teacher?
Do you know how to teach? Perhaps not in the official capacity or before a group. Consider...
Can you teach your children?
Can you teach others’ children?
Can you teach your spouse?
Can you teach your neighbor how to become a Christian?
Teach the very basics of what you did to become one.
Can you replicate that in teaching someone else?
Maybe the more pressing question is: Have you ever done that?
6. By becoming a Christian God gave you and me responsibilities to teach others how to become a Christian. Have you ever converted someone to Christ?
E. Paul also uses the term exhort here. He who exhorts. The compound word parakaleō [para-ka-layo] in the Greek language, para meaning alongside kaleō meaning to call. It literally means to call someone to your side. You're traveling a path that you have chosen and you call another person to go along with you. Side by side you encourage, you exhort this person.
1. In Ephesians Paul uses parakaleō and the English translation of that word is encourage. It means to advise, to plead with someone, to beseech, to warn someone, to strengthen someone, to comfort someone as this particular term is used to describe the Holy Spirit as the comforter, the paraklētos [para-kla-tos], the one who would bring assurance to Christians even through miraculous measures.
2. The Christians then is obligated to learn to exhort another person. It might involve comforting a brother and sister who is going through some emotional distress, who is facing trouble or suffering physically or is facing spiritual problems, who is involved in some trouble or some temptation. The Christian has an obligation to use the gift that they have to call that person along to their side and to exhort them.
3. How important is it for the church to have individuals utilize the gift of exhortation? We should recognize that there is a potential for all of us stray, become weak, fall away, just head down the wrong path, and if there is not someone there to bring us back, if there is not someone there to exhort us, someone who's close to us who can relate to us in a personal way, who can go to us even in privacy and talk about these things, we may very well be lost simply because there is no one to exhort.
4. In Galatians 6:1 Paul called on those who are spiritual. Notice he says; “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” Do we see the context here? The person who through the power of the Holy Spirit has learned a function and God expects them to use it. If you have a person that's spiritual they have an obligation to use that spiritual function or gift to bring someone back, to restore someone who's fallen away.
5. They have to do it in a spirit of gentleness. They may have to bear that other person’s burdens but they must use the gift. Perhaps many times we do not. Many times people fall away from church and become weak. They don’t come to the assemblies anymore and they don't associate with other Christians, they get involved in sin. What do we do? Do we stand back and watch? We have the ability to go talk to them, visit them, and try to encourage them. We can give an example of faithfulness to them but perhaps we don't use our gifts.
F. Then Paul says he who gives, do so with simplicity [KJV] or liberality [NKJV - ASV]. The idea of the word here is sincerity, free from pretence, not self seeking, openness manifested in generosity.
1. All of us give. I suspect Paul knows that some do not give from the heart, not giving as cheerful sharing but perhaps with other motivation. Paul is saying that God has given you the ability of the function to give, to understand the importance of giving, not just in the aspect that you have something to give but understand the importance of giving, and also to know how to give so that other people can benefit from it.
2. You remember what Jesus said in Luke 3:11 “"He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.''” That passage is pointing out what we have determines our responsibility. If you've got two tunics and think someone else needs one you should give him one. You can give to him abundantly.
3. Let him give it to him who has none certainly that applies the physical blessings but I believe it applies spiritually as well. A person is to give with liberality, generosity. While this carries with it the aspect of the amount that a person should give freely, it’s important to recognize that what the apostle is talking about here is that a person gives with no strings attached. He gives in an untainted way without any ulterior motive. That they are to give for the sake of the one they are giving to, for what God has called them to do. They do not give to be recognized as a giver, they do not give to get back or to have the applause of man.
4. Those who have the capacity to give should never be discouraged or prohibited from giving. One way we can deter people from giving—is by not receiving. Sometimes we are simply too proud to receive help. We don't want to admit that we need something.
5. I’m not just talking monetary here. Giving can take many forms and sometimes we are inclined to refuse it. Here's the problem: The person who is trying to do what is right, giving liberally and using their gift for good is turned back and discouraged from giving.
6. Or we're simply not willing to let them be anonymous in their giving. We want to shower them with Thanksgiving and bring them out into the open and give them applause. What we need to realize is that sometimes our human fleshly propensities and ideas of helping one another stand in the way of true spiritual giving where a person can give simply, for the purpose of serving God anonymously, seeking nothing in return, doing it out of the conviction of the heart.
G. Paul says he who leads to lead with diligence. I strongly suspect that this particular Bible passage refers to those who are in positions of leadership, the elders in the capacity of overseers. The same words used to describe their work is translated in 1 Timothy 5:17 – “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.” The word here is translated rule. That they need to rule over their families. They need to rule over the church.
1. Those who have been given the capacity to lead—need to lead. If they have the ability through their knowledge and through the Spirit’s influence in their life to lead others, they should lead. They should not be held back from their function of leading, and they need to do it with all diligence. The word there means zeal. This means you do something not casually, in a leisure way, you do it with great intensity towards a purpose. If you take on a position of leadership you need to take it seriously.
2. There's something here that really stands out to me where a person has been given the spiritual function to lead, whether they like it or not...and that's when you’re a father. You are the spiritual head of a family. You may not have consciously chosen that. You didn’t get that position because you were qualified from a training class, because you had a checklist, met all the requirements to be the head of a family.
i. You got that when you entered into the relationship of marriage and then you had children. You’re a father and a husband and God says by His very decree, without any necessary explanation, you are the leader.
ii. God will give you the capacity to lead. Not in some miraculous way, He’ll give you the capacity to lead in his word. If you spend time meditating on the word of God, listening to the example of Jesus, trying to be a spiritual person, if you use the gift that you already have in a way that pleases God, you will learn through the power of the Spirit of God how to lead.
iii. Not just how to lead but how to lead seriously your family into spiritual health.
H. Then lastly Paul says he who shows mercy with cheerfulness. Look at the list. Does it seem a little odd that this would be included in a list of spiritual gifts? I can understand leading, some people are leaders and other people are followers. In the aspect of giving some people have something and some people don't. But showing mercy? Isn't that something everybody should do? Yes it is.
1. Showing mercy and showing sensitivity to suffering and sorrow and then responding, is a gift. It is something that God gives us through the influence of the spirit in our lives. The way of the flesh says I'm for myself and I only care about myself and a person ought to get what they deserve. Isn’t that the way the world looks at it?
2. A person becomes a Christian, the spirit influences their lives and they recognize I am what I am by the grace of God. If I am going to be a spiritual person I need to learn how to show mercy to others. I need to learn how to look at other people and see their suffering and empathize with that suffering, to see the suffering and sorrow that go unnoticed by others. To see the suffering that takes place within the heart of an individual and tries to do something about it.
3. I believe this is particularly seen in the Christian who visits the hospital, who goes to the sick, who visits the prisoner in jail, who helps the young mothers struggling with their children. The one who cares about other people, who aids people with disabilities, who recognizes that other people don't have as much as they have and wants to provide help for them. Those are the activities of mercy that were vital to the first century church.
I. One of the first visible manifestations of the Lord’s Church in Acts chapter two was that they cared about one another. Individuals that didn't have immediately received from those that had, so that everybody had what they needed. They didn't deserve that, they didn't earn that, those weren’t acts of obligation. They were Christians using the gift that God gave them through the power of the Holy Spirit to help another person, to show mercy.
1. How do you do that? If you have to bite your tongue when you're saying a kind word, if you have to grudgingly squeeze the nickel out of your hands, God doesn't want it and neither does the person who’s going to get it. It has to be given from the heart. It has to be given cheerfully.
2. One cannot show mercy out of obligation because showing mercy is giving to someone who does not deserve it. That's how I got the Mercy I got. That's how you received mercy as well. We didn't deserve it. God gave it to us. If I'm going to give to someone else, I have to be willing to give it cheerfully.
3. One writer wrote in talking about this as a spiritual gift and comparing to other spiritual gifts in the Bible: “Would all the Christians with this gift not only administer it cheerfully but also regularly and consistently there will be fewer needy who have to depend on a Godless and impersonal government or social agency and if Christ’s people patterned their lives after His gracious example, far more people would hear and respond to the saving gospel that meets their greatest need.”

Oh, if we were just people who would use the gifts that God gave us. If we could just show mercy, as basic as that is, we might even bring people to Christ.

It's critical to understand that spiritual gifts are not given for us; they're given for other people. In order to properly use our gifts we have to be willing to serve other people and use our gifts for the development of the whole body of Christ. It is into our hands these gifts have been given.

We are personally blessed, when we're able to use the gifts that we have for other people. Not only that, it is helping the other people that makes the gift powerful.
1 Peter 4:10 a passage we looked at earlier and we’ll close with this; “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” Stewardship, folks, is how we use the grace, the gifts, given us.
What do we do with our gifts? Do we minister to somebody else? Do we give to other people? Help other people with it. A thief steals it for himself. Christians give to somebody else.

No ability, gift, spiritual or otherwise is of any value if it is not used. Think about this; what if all the worlds beautiful sculptures and paintings were in private hands, in collections not to be seen by others. They would simply be a collection. That's not what God means for us when He says we have been given gifts. They have to be used to be beneficial. It’s tragic when we keep our spiritual gifts stored rather using them to serve our Lord and to provide for the benefit of His spiritual body.

We are about to sing the song of invitation. If you are not a Christian, we with all our heart plead with you to make a decision for Christ today. To decide to be His child, step out in your faith and be baptized in water for the forgiveness of sin. That faith becomes access to the grace of God, made possible by the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We believe in that and we rest our hope in that blood.

We invite anyone who has that need or any other need to come forward while we stand and while we sing.

Invitation song: ???

Reference sermon: David Schmidt


Where and when we meet

Chardon Logo vertal lt 275

128 Maple Avenue
Chardon, Ohio 44024
Phone: (440) 286-5505

Our Schedule of Services

10:00 - 10:45 AM
 Bible Study 
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
 Morning Worship 
6:00 - 7:00 PM
 Evening Worship "Suspended Temporarily"
7:00 - 8:00 PM
 Bible Study: "Suspended Temporarily"
Ladies Bible Study: Last Tues. of the month 
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