Summary: Exposition of Romans 12 regarding just like the guiding gifts last week, the leading gifts also serve the church.
Text: Romans 12:6-8, Title: Leadership Gifts, Date/Place: NRBC, 11.6.11, AM
A. Opening illustration: Tell about the church that we were at one night, and the lady looked at my hands after service, and told me, “I know you have been called to ministry, but there is healing in these hands.”
B. Background to passage: As we continue to walk down the road of spiritual gifts in 1 Cor 12, we come to prophecy, and I want to group it with some other “leadership” gifts. I have never seen the gifts labeled as such, but it works for me. So these gifts are related to leadership, but not exclusive to it. Don’t feel like these gifts are simply for those in leadership, not so.
C. Main thought: Just like the guiding gifts last week, the leading gifts also serve the church.
A. Prophecy (v. 6)
1. Prophecy in the NT is not telling the future, or proclaiming a word from the Lord (in the sense that it is a dictated verbatim message from God), or simply powerful preaching. OT prophets did the first two things, but we don’t see it much in the NT. When the NT was written the term “prophet” meant one who has supernatural knowledge and speaks from any outside source. This is why they used the word “apostle” in the NT to speak about someone who writes scripture/speaks directly from God. Prophecy is: a spoken word to an individual or congregation based on an impression or illumination believed to be from God. It could be illumination from the meditation of scripture, or from the moving of the Spirit. It could be spontaneous, or it could be preplanned. But it is a spoken. It is not infallible, but supposed to be judged. It must be kept under control in the body.
3. Illustration: the preacher who said that there is someone here who had just left their wife and family.
4. If you feel like you have this gift, it is appropriate speak what “you think” God is saying to us as a congregation at appropriate times. However, we must be sure that God is leading us to say what we are going to say. Because anything said publically has the potential for harm as well. Prophecy can include preaching and preachers, but it doesn’t have to necessarily.
B. Teaching (v. 7)
1. This is not a gift that needs much explaining. It is: the spirit-empowered ability to explain and apply scriptural and doctrinal (which are derived from scripture) truth to others. This contains biblical texts as well as doctrinal or traditional truth. This could be in a public setting, or private. It could be with large groups, or with small ones, or one on one. It could be to adults, teens, or children. It could be in a church or in a school, conference or other setting. It could have overflow into other natural areas of work, but in the context of the NT, teaching referred to scriptural truths. The reason that I include it in the leadership gifts is that it is required of elders and typically the teachers of the church are respected leaders.
2. Heb 5:12,
4. The obvious applications are to bible studies, Sunday School teachers, and pastors; but there are other applications to this gift. Although be reminded that just because someone is a teacher, doesn’t necessarily mean they have the gift of teaching. Nor does it mean that if you don’t have the gift of teaching, you can’t teach. Our schools (local, colleges, and seminaries) need gifted teachers. Also, a wonderful place that those of you who have this gift can exercise it in the church is discipleship. One of the places that we fall very short is in personal discipleship of other believers. We need many of you to take an interest in sharing your life with others. We can teach you how to use this gift of yours. Solid teachers teach truth that is the ground of our church. Most problems in the church, unless they are personal, they are matters of the lack of or lack of application of good sound teaching. Those of you who use this gift, don’t suppress it by totally relying on the material you use, explain the scriptures.
C. Exhortation (v. 8)
1. The word used here is parakaleo which means to call alongside to encourage. It is a word used in the context of discipleship to designate a mentor type relationship that allows for encouragement. It has a broad range of meanings from comfort the downtrodden and broken, to warn those straying or about to stray, and to fan the flames of those who are burning well. Definition: a spiritual ability to encourage, warn, comfort, applaud, and give confidence to others. The last of those definitions is the one that is usually associated with the word. They would be like a church cheerleader. They would be the one that gives hope, reels in the hurting and sinning, warns, picks up, cheers up, and fires up the congregation.