Friday, January 28, 2022

Our function in the Lord’s church — Part 3

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            Romans 12:8-21  

“Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness,” Romans 12:8. “Exhortation” in this verse means admonition, comfort, consolation, exhortation, entreaty.  An exhorter is someone who comes along the side of someone else to help them.  They encourage you in what ever you are doing for the Lord, and to do whatever you are doing for the Lord.  They give correction with instruction.  They comfort and confront you with the Scriptures.  They remind you who God is.  

The next gift given by God in verse eight is the giver. “Giveth” in this verse means to give over, i.e. share:- give, impart.  This person is not stingy, nor does this person give grudgingly.  This person loves to give.  This person does not give in order to get, but they give with simplicity.  They give with integrity and fidelity.  They do not give in order to get their way.  They do not give and then brag about what they gave.  They give with no strings attached.  They give to the Lord’s work for the glory of God.  This person gives joyfully.  All of us give, but all of us do not have the gift of giving.  This is done by the measure of faith given to him by God.  

“He that ruleth, with diligence.”  To rule is to practice:- maintain, be over, rule.  This is someone who is able to plan and execute those plans.  They plan things such as bible school, church outings, etc.  They do this with eagerness, earnestness, business, earnest care.  Their plan is to unite, not divide.  Whatever they plan is approved by the elders and then put into action.  They use their God given gift for the edification of the church, and for the glory of God.  They aren’t showing favourtism.    

“He that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.”  The general meaning is to have compassion or mercy on a person in unhappy circumstances.  You feel for others.  This person is not stoic.  They do this with cheerfulness.  They are prompt and willing; brisk and cheerfulness in readiness.  They are always looking to show mercy, and they are quick to respond.  In our day and age people are very self-absorbed.  The church needs people who have the gift of showing mercy.  

In order for us to maximize the use of our gifts we must continue to practice Romans 12:1-3.  These gifts were given to edify the Lord’s church.  They are still in use today.  Don’t focus on your limitations.  Don’t judge others on how they are serving the Lord.  We all have been given a different measure of faith.  All of us are different.  None of us are exactly alike.  In Romans 12:9-13:14 we have been given practical living for the Christian no matter our Spiritual gifts.  Whatever our gifts are, we must remember that we represent Christ in all that we do.  Let us finish this study by turning to Ephesians 4 and then I Peter 4.  

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers,” Ephesians 4:11.  It is very important that we look at the definitions of these words. “Apostles” in this verse speaks of the twelve apostles of Christ, so of Paul, reckoned as the “apostle to the gentiles”.  Also, in a wider sense, spoken of the helpers and companions of the twelve, as aiding to gather churches.  Are the twelve and their companions with us today?  No.  So, we know this gift ceased with the death of the apostles and their companions.  This gift was very important as the church was being built in the first century.  Anyone who claims to be an apostle today is an imposter and should be labeled as a heretic.  

Another gift given to the church was the prophets.  This speaks specifically of those who possessed the prophetic gift or charisma imparted by the Holy Spirit to the early church.  Notice this was given to the early church.  This gift has also ended.  This is different than the gift of prophecy (public speaking) in Romans 12:6.  This was also a first century gift that ended.  

“Evangelists” is a preacher of the gospel.  He was often not located in any particular place, but traveled as a missionary to preach the gospel and establish churches.  This is more in line with missionaries of today, not television evangelists, which are not biblical.  

The last ones given in verse eleven are pastors and teachers.  A pastor is the spiritual guide of a particular church.  He is not a hireling.  A teacher is an instructor; to teach.  These are vital to the local church.  If they do their God given job, then the people will know who God is, and the people will know how to serve God.  The pastor and the teacher’s job is never done.  There is no retirement from the gospel.  There may be a change in ministry, but there is no retirement.  Notice what these do for the local church in verses 12-16.  This is why the pastor and teacher’s job is never over.  It is so important that they are able to do their jobs with the least amount of distractions as possible.  I don’t think people truly know the time and effort it takes to prepare a sermon or a lesson.  Those who are preaching and teaching need your prayers.  

Now let us turn to I Peter 4:7-11, “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.  And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.  Use hospitality one to another without grudging.  As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever.  Amen.”  

“Oracles” in verse 11 are the doctrines of the Gospel.  Every thing is done according to the Scriptures, and for the glory of God.  God gives us gifts so the body can function correctly.  If we are not practicing Romans 12:1-3, we will not be functioning at our greatest potential.  This affects the whole church body.  If the Lord has saved your soul, He has also given you gifts to be used in and through His local church.  He has also given us the Holy Spirit to aid us and empower us to function in and through His local church.  The local church needs you, and you need the local church.  We are all beneficial to each other when we are obeying the Scriptures.  We thank the Lord for His church, and the gifts He gives to each of us according to the measure of faith.

Please send questions and comments to  Soli Deo Gloria.  

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