Summary: Romans 12 contains some of the Gifts given by the Spirit of God in order to edify the Body and bring Glory to God. The first listed in Romans 12:6, Prophecy, has often been the center of Christian debate.
"Prophets and Prophecy"
We have been putting all the puzzle pieces together of those believers in Christ who are called out of the world, to live and serve together for the Lord Jesus while they are IN THE WORLD. That’s us! Last week we looked at the biblical teaching of being “One Body in Christian Community”. As believers, we are called to exist in this world, NOT APART from other Christians, but united in purpose and mission. Just like our individual Bodies have many parts which function in unity together, this part of God’s Body here in this local part of God’s Church functions in harmony together through the Power of the Holy Spirit, under the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ as Head, and under God’s authoritative Word, for HIS GLORY.
Jesus gave His life (his Physical Body) for each individual in this Body, and we are called to respond by offering OUR individual bodies, as parts of the local Body of Christ, who meet in this place for the purpose of serving God, this Body, and others.
We looked at that in Romans 12:1-3: 1 “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. 3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think ; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”
The Church, the Body of Christ is not some “vague ambiguity” out there somewhere. It is not some mysterious or imaginative spiritual concept; the Church (with a capital “C”) certainly is not a building. Part of the Church is the LOCAL VISIBLE Body of Christ in this world. It’s US! According to our SECRET CHURCH studies on the Body of Christ for the last 5 weeks on Wed. and Thurs., MEMBERSHIP with a local body of believers is not commanded but strongly IMPLIED in scripture, and it is ASSUMED and it’s OBVIOUS that believers are bound together in Service to Our Savior, to the body and to others.
Romans 12: 4-5: “For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”
WE NEED EACH OTHER here in the Church, the Church NEEDS you and YOU NEED the CHURCH. If you realize this, and obey God’s Will for the Local Church, then you will be contributing to the healthy Body of Christ, and not causing a handicapped body.
Today we look at Romans 12:6 (but I’ll read 6-8):
6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us,(today) each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving ; or he who teaches, in his teaching ; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality ; he who leads, with diligence ; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”
How Important is God’s Grace?
How absolutely amazing is God’s Grace! How important is God’s Grace to us? We are indebted to God’s Grace for every good thing that we have and enjoy. The Greek word for grace is Charis. God saves us by His unmerited Grace, (Charis). He saves us NOT BECAUSE WE ARE GOOD, but because HE ALONE IS GOOD.
Then by His Grace equips us with GIFTS OF HIS GRACE- He gives us spiritual gifts to serve His Body for whom He died- He gives “Charisma”, in the Greek. He gives us gifts to serve each other, and to serve Him. Giftedness is ONLY a result of His Grace being given to us.
That is why we can’t help ourselves in service to the Body of Christ, as we overflow with thankfulness and gratitude, “Eu-charis-tia” (Gr.), to God. Col. 2:7: “Having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude” (eucharistia.) God’s GRACE is the Basis of our Lives, our Gifts, and our gratitude. We will be looking at the seven spiritual gifts, “charisma”, of Romans 12 over the next few weeks.
Prophets and Prophecy
What about Prophets and Prophecy? What does it mean to prophesy? The Greek word for prophesy simply means to “speak forth” and to “proclaim publicly”. The gift it was primarily a gift of proclamation, of “forth-telling,” not prediction or “fore-telling.” What have Godly prophets proclaimed? The WORD of God. In the Old Testament much, but not all of the words of God’s true prophets are recorded. One of the gifts or callings of God in the Old Testament was to be a “Prophet”, a proclaimer or herald of God’s Words. That calling for most of the prophets resulted in extreme persecution, and often death. True prophets have always been persecuted because they point unholy people to repentance to the one true Holy God. Prophets were never popular “people pleasers” but God-pleasers.