Summary: A teaching message on Romans 12:3-8.
Romans Series # 48 July 24, 2002
Title: 4 Truths about Spiritual Gifts
Introduction: Welcome to New Life in Christ. We are currently in Chapter 12 of Romans as we continue with message #48 of our verse-by-verse study of the Book of Romans.
Read Romans 12:3-8
Tonight I will be sharing with you on the topic of spiritual gifts, which is the subject of the six verses that we just read. Specifically I will be sharing 4 truths about spiritual gifts which the apostle Paul elaborates on in this passage. Without further ado let’s get to the first truth concerning spiritual gifts.
1. Every Christian has spiritual gifts.
Some people may think that God skipped them when it when he was handing out spiritual gifts, but the clear teaching of the entire Bible is that every Christian has one or more spiritual gifts. In this passage Paul clearly indicates this truth. For instance, in verse 3 he makes a point of saying that he is speaking "to every one of you." He is speaking to everyone in the church about the subject of spiritual gifts because every Christian has spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are not limited to those who have a leadership role in the church, or to those who have received specialized training in ministry. "We (not I or some) have different gifts according to the grace given us." (vs. 6.)
1. Every Christian has spiritual gifts.
I need to explain my use of the term "spiritual gifts." When many people hear that term, they only think of abilities that are clearly supernatural such as: healing the sick, working miracles, prophesying, or speaking in tongues. I do not think that you can limit spiritual gifts to these specific supernatural abilities or even to the nine manifestations of the Spirit listed 1 Corinthians 12:7-10. In fact, as Paul continues in 1 Corinthians 12 on the same subject of spiritual gifts, he lists the seemingly non-miraculous abilities such as: helping others, administrating, and teaching along with miraculous abilities that have been traditionally understood as "spiritual gifts." Let’s read 1 Corinthians 12:27-31 where the Bible teaches that spiritual gifts include the obviously miraculous abilities and the seemingly non-miraculous abilities of Christians.
Based on the Bible, I believe that spiritual gifts are any ability or capacity given to Christians to help the whole church. It may be teaching, praying, leading worship, singing, organizing, serving, giving financially, etc... The term "spiritual" is appropriate because the origin of all these abilities is the Holy Spirit who equips us and the term is appropriate because the purpose of these gifts is spiritual and not worldly and nature. These abilities are referred to as "gifts" because that is what they are. These are abilities that have been given as gifts to us. They were not chosen by us, or earned by our hard work or spiritual diligence. In fact, the Greek word translated as "gifts" in Romans 12:5 is the Greek word "charismata", which means "special gifts of grace." In other words, any ability we have is 100% the result of God’s grace toward us. What is grace? It is undeserved favor from God.
Now back to the first truth I was sharing with you about spiritual gifts, which is that every Christian has spiritual gifts. Some people may be gifted in spectacular ways, while others may be gifted in not so spectacular ways, but everyone is given special abilities for spiritual purposes. Now let us go on to the second truth concerning spiritual gifts.
Read Romans 12:3
2. Christians must guard against becoming proud because of their spiritual gifts.
In this passage Paul warns us about becoming conceited or prideful by telling us that we should not "think more highly of ourselves than we ought to." This is a good biblical exhortation for life in general, but in this context Paul is dealing with people becoming proud because of their spiritual gifts in particular. Christian sometimes forget that all spiritual abilities are totally undeserved gifts and when they do that, they become proud. This is especially true with abilities that are more prominent in the church, sensational, or sacrificial in nature. A pastor can easily become proud of their ability to teach or preach. A servant can think how great they are because they sacrifice so much to serve God. A musician can easily become conceited because of their abilities. A contributor of money may become prideful because they’re donations are so much greater than others. A person with the gift of mercy may begin to feel superior to other Christians because there are the ones who are always there to help the hurting, needy, elderly, etc... A miracle worker may act pompous and self-important because of their sensational gifts. Some people think that the song "How Great Thou Art" is about them! I could go on listing ways that we can become prideful about our spiritual gifts but the point is clear; every one of us needs to stay alert to pride. Don’t over estimate yourself!