Summary: We should rightly assess ourselves and we should responsibly access our gifts.
There’s nothing like the local church when she is working right. When the church becomes the church that God intended her to be, the church is a force to reckon with. Lives are changed. Marriages restored. Families united. Communities transformed. No wonder the church was labeled as “These who have turned the world upside down”. One of the ways to make the church work right is to help the members discover and develop their spiritual gifts. Let us open our Bibles in Romans 12:3-8 as we continue our series on gifts, “Empowered to Engage.”
“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.”
Paul spoke with authority. In verse 3 he says, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you”. What he was saying was, “God gave me the power to tell you this.” Verse 3 continues: “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.” Simply put, we should not overestimate or underestimate ourselves. Instead, we should rightly ASSESS ourselves. The New Living Translation goes like this: “Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.”
We should not put ourselves up on a pedestal. We should not also put ourselves down. Overrating or underrating ourselves is actually pride. A humble person knows where he stands. An honest evaluation of yourself is seeing how God sees you. We are to become the way He meant us to be.
Note that God starts with you and me. We will not whine about people who are not here. We usually think while listening to a sermon, “Brother so and so should be here. He really needs this message.” When we say, “Pastor we should do this or have that,” we better ask, “Who does the ‘we’ refer to? Who’s ‘we’?” Because there are times what we really meant by “we” is “you not me.” So, there will be people who would say, “We should get involved.” But what they are really saying is, “You should get involved. Me? I’ll just comment.” That’s the problem. We tend to comment but not commit. But before God changes others, He starts with us. Yes, that means both you and me.
We are to see ourselves also as part of a bigger context, the Body of Christ, the church. Let’s read verses 4 and 5. “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.” Note the last clause: “each member belongs to all the others”. We need each other. Each one is complete in Christ. But we complete His body. Each one finds value as a part of the church. That’s why we are not to compete against or compare with each other. We are to cooperate with one another.
So, we must rightly assess ourselves. Thus, we should responsibly ACCESS our gifts, that is, make use of our gifts properly. We already saw the support gifts. Now we will look at the service gifts. We will not devote time in studying the sign gifts in our series because I think it is better to do so in a Bible study format due to so much theological issues involved. Thus, if you want to know more about sign gifts, wait for our MGC 301 class in our Sunday school. That’s the “Ministry: Growing in Commitment” class. Let us look at the service gifts one by one.
Verse 6 talks about the gift of prophecy. “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.” We already saw that to prophesy is to preach. First Corinthians 14:3 says that “everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.” God enabled this person to proclaim His Word. Now, in Romans 12:6, the clause “in proportion to his faith” can be translated “in agreement with the faith”. That means he should preach God’s Word, the whole Word and nothing but the Word. The person with this gift has the passion to declare the truth.