As this Age draws to a close, defiance to authority increases, as was prophesied in II Timothy 3:1-7. This defiance to authority and anarchy was also seen in the days of the Judges just before Solomon’s Kingdom Age was inaugurated. You can read about it throughout Judges summarized in Judges 21:25.
As we continue our study of Romans, we come to chapter 13 which deals with the Christian’s relationship and responsibilities to human government.
In this chapter we learn
1. Government and authority are of God.
2. Government is for our good.
3. Our duties and responsibilities as Christians to government.
I. HUMAN GOVERNMENT IS OF GOD
This fact is true, regardless of whether it was the Roman dictatorship under the Caesars during New Testament times or whether it is the monarchy of England or the United States Republic of our times or whether it is a different form of government under which you live today. All human government is of God.
Read Romans 13:1-7 and Proverbs 8:15-16 for a sampling of what the Bible says about our responsibilities under human government.
The best government is a Theocracy, that is, a government where God rules supremely. The Bible foretells the coming Kingdom of Christ over all the earth. Go to my series on PROPHECY to learn more about the wonderful coming reign of Christ.
Israel was a theocracy until she begged and whined for a human king to rule over her so she could be as everyone else. Finally God gave them their choice, a Monarchy under King Saul, a handsome young man lacking character. Under his rule, Israel suffered defeats.
In the sovereignty of God He later gave them King David and later, King Solomon, David’s son. As these kings sought God’s wisdom, God blessed them with eighty years of prosperity; forty years under each of these two kings.
The years following Israel’s rebellion against God, led to the spiritual decline of Israel’s kings and eventually, the downfall and scattering of Israel among the nations of the world. Nevertheless, God has eternal plans for His people. All of this is explained in my PROPHECY series.
Presently in this world of sinful men who cannot be entrusted with too much power; the best form of government is a Republic which we Americans have been privileged to enjoy for the past 230 years. Forces are presently at work within our nation to destroy our republic form of government, outlined and described for us in our United States Constitution, with its three branches of government: the executive, legislative and judicial branches which keep sinful leaders in check from gaining too much power.
If we lose our republic, we will find ourselves in a state of anarchy until we are finally enslaved by a dictator. That has been the dismal course of many nations and could be the course of our beloved America.
Would you note as you study the life of Jesus and Paul, that they never rebelled against the unfair government which highly and unfairly taxed them? Rather they taught us to pay our taxes and to be in subjection to government leaders. That is, according to Matthew 22:17-21 we are to render our subjection and respect to our leaders in every area except our conscience. In matters of morality, we are to remain in subjection to God alone.
Thankfully, in America, through the power of the ballot box, we have the power to remove unfit leaders and replace them with charactered leadership- if we, the people, have the character to do it. Usually the character of the people is reflected in the character of the leaders they have elected.
II. GOVERNMENT IS FOR OUR GOOD Romans 13:4
Government has the responsibility of protecting our freedoms under the Law, and to protect our lives and property from foreign and domestic enemies and to insure and enforce equal protection and opportunity under the Law.
Government further has the responsibility of punishing law breakers. Political leaders, police officers, judges and executioners and our military are all servants of God for our protection and for our good.
The justice system is not to make evil men good, but to punish law breakers. Only God can make men good. Read Romans 13:1-4 and I Peter 2:13-14 concerning these matters.
Those who steal or harm others should be forced by government to make full restitution; whether it is those who destroy public and private property with graffiti or those who rob individuals, homes and business establishments. Parents of minors who are involved in such crime should be held responsible for the crimes of their children. Read Exodus 21 and 22 on this subject.
God’s Word required the death penalty for those who had been proven guilty of capital crimes beyond any reasonable doubt. Read about them in Genesis 9:6, Exodus 21, Leviticus 20 and from the New Testament, Romans 13:4
Government has no responsibility nor business providing for all our needs from the cradle to the grave. It is evil to over tax those who will work in order to pay for the needs of those who refuse to work. The Bible teaches in II Thessalonians 3:10 that if one will not work he should not eat. In my ministry I have met men on welfare who when they had the opportunity to work, refused for fear of losing their welfare checks.
Families and churches should care for their aged and infirmed.
For further information on the role of government and the role of families, I encourage you to go to the FAMILY category and read The Family, the Basic Building Block of Society.
GOVERNMENT AND EDUCATION
Government has no business in the educational field. Education of children and young people is the responsibility of parents and their churches. They can carry that out either through home schooling or through private schools or public schools. By the term public school, I mean parents gathering together in local communities to plan and supervise the education of their children. The Federal government has no business being involved in the education of our children. The more local the control, the better the education.
THE SIZE AND SCOPE OF GOVERNMENT
Good government is limited government which frees us to be all that God designed us to be. As a lion in the wild or on a reserve is better off than a lion in a zoo with its security, but very limited freedom; so we are better off living in freedom and depending on God for our strength and health and supply of all our needs than being a slave to government and depending on it to supply all our needs.
Our Federal Constitution wisely limits the scope and power of government.
Citizens need to reduce the size of our present government and get the government out of the business of running a “nanny state” and of robbing working people and their families with oppressive income taxes. Government today stifles the economy by discouraging hard work and the investing of capital into business.
Our tax system needs a major overhaul. Think of the billions of tax dollars and hours and massive paperwork involved by everyone in the tax system today. Think of the billions of dollars hidden from taxes by tax cheats.
A national sales tax could replace the income tax and meet the limited needs of our States and Federal governments.
The best government is limited government which protects us from foreign and domestic enemies who would harm us and which gives us freedom to be all we can be.
III. OUR DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES AS CHRISTIANS TO GOVERNMENT
Regardless of our current state of government, even as we seek to bring about needed changes; Romans 13 teaches us that it is our responsibility to submit to the laws of our land and pay our taxes, even if we think they are unfair. It is never right to resist our government. Those who resist can expect to meet deadly force. Submit for wrath’s sake and for the Lord’s sake. For Christian’s to resist, I Peter 2:13-17 teaches, brings shame to the cause of Christ.
In addition to paying our taxes, let us honor the office of those in authority. Let us as Christians pray for them and for our nation, as we are admonished in II Chronicles 7:14 and I Timothy 2:1-4.
A study of Proverbs 2
Knowledge is information acquired from observation of the universe, from the immediate world around us and from media tools used to store and deliver information or data, such as computers, books, radio, TV.
Knowledge is also acquired from our parents, teachers, preachers and others, as well as from life experiences.
Knowledge reaches as far as the brain where, if it seems applicable and valuable to us, it is stored for future use; or if it seems irrelevant and worthless to us, it is ignored and forgotten.
SOUND WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING
Sound wisdom and understanding is the ability to process and use knowledge so as to live for the glory of God, which is the highest purpose of life.
THE SOURCE OF WISDOM
True knowledge, wisdom and understanding ultimately come only from God, according to Proverbs 2:6.
Christ, our Lord and Saviour, is our wisdom. as well as our righteousness, sanctification and redemption, according to I Corinthians 1:30-31.
THE PURPOSE OF WISDOM
Wisdom is not just for our heads. It is for our hearts. It affects our walk. It affects what we love and value, as well as what we hate and reject. It affects how we live. It affects our priorities and how we use our time. It affects how and why we pray. Turn to Ephesians 1. It is Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian Christians that they might have wisdom and prudence. Interestingly the entire chapter of 23 verses is all one long sentence. Paul is well known for his long, involved sentences.
Since wisdom s what we value and how we live life and ultimately our success under God, it is of supreme value. The ultimate purpose of wisdom is to guide and direct us as to how to live for the glory of God.
GOD HAS ORCHESTRATED MY LIFE.
From my birth, God planned every detail, even to where I went to college. From age 11-16 I was sent to Westervelt Home and School for missionary children outside of Batesburg, S.C. from 1944-1949 where I lived and studied with about 100 other missionary kids from all over the world where I learned about life and the value of character
From 1949-1950 I spent my sophomore year of high school in a high school associated with Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills, Alberta, Canada.
From 1950-1952 I spent my Junior and Senior year of high school in CulterAcademy, a private Christian school in Los Angeles at that time. There I continued to build my life on the lessons I had learned at Westervelt and PBI.
Finally, from 1952-1956 I attended and completed four years of college at BobJonesUniversity in Greenville, S.C.
The interesting thing about all these choices is that none of them were my decisions. I simply followed my Mother’s instruction. She had been widowed when I was four and remarried another missionary when I was 16. I followed her instruction which she received from her older preacher brother in Toronto, Canada.
As a result of simply following Mother’s instruction, I received the best, most well rounded education possible, taught by the best of teachers.
At the age of 22 I married a godly young lady whom God had brought into my life and at that time ceased following my mother’s instructions and started making my own decisions for my wife and me, considering my wife and children’s good, as well as my own.
Read and consider carefully the words of the BobJonesUniversity hymn, written by Dr. Bob Jones Jr, son of the founder of BobJonesUniversity. It is profound and says so much about wisdom.
Wisdom of God, we would by Thee be taught!
Control our minds, direct our every thought.
Knowledge alone life’s problems cannot meet;
We learn to live while sitting at Thy feet.
Light of the world, illumine us we pray.
Our souls are dark, without Thy kindling ray.
Torches unlighted, of all radiance bare,
Touch them to flame and burn in glory there.
Incarnate Truth, help us Thy truth to learn,
Prone to embrace the falsehood we would spurn,
Groping in error’s maze for verity,
Thou art the Truth we need to make us free.
Giver of life, we would not live to please,
Self or the world, nor seek the paths of ease.
Dying Thou bringest life to sons of men,
So may we dying live Thy life again.
Captain of Might, we yield to Thy command.
Armored by faith, Thy Word, our sword in hand:
Fierce though the battle. Thine the victory.
Bravely we’ll strive and more than conq’rors be.
Eternal Lord, let heavens pass away.
Earth be removed, no fear our hearts shall sway.
Empires may crumble, dust return to dust,
Secure are they, who in their Saviour trust.
Unfailing love, we are so cold in heart.
To us Thy passion for the lost impart;
Give us Thy vision of the need of men,
All learning will be used in service then.
Great King of kings, this campus all is Thine.
Make by Thy presence of this place a shrine.
Thee may we meet within the classroom walls,
Go forth to serve Thee from these hallowed halls.
Copyright by BobJonesUniversity.
THINK ABOUT CHRIST
He gives purpose to life.
“For to me to live is Christ. To die is gain.” Philippians 1:21
He gives protection.
“He is our shield and buckler.” Proverbs 2:7-8, Psalm 91:3-7
Psalm 37:23-24, 30,31
He gives understanding. Proverbs 2:9
He removes confusion from our lives and keeps us on course. James 1:6-8
We can know what is right so we can do right. I Chronicles 12:32
Psalm 23:2, 25:4-5, 27:11
He gives discretion. Proverbs 2:10-11
That is, He gives us moral understanding of right and wrong, This protects us from moral indiscretions and foolish decisions that start us down the road of sin and failure.
Discretion follows spiritual wisdom and gives us good judgment and prudence. Joseph, one of the twelve sons of Jacob, used discretion when faced with the temptation of Potiphar’s wife. Though he ended up in prison temporarily, he eventually became Prime Minister of Egypt under Pharaoh. All things worked together for good and Israel and Egypt were saved from starvation
He gives deliverance
From evil men Proverbs 2:12-15
Leading us to separate from those who speak contrary to God’s Word.
Who leave paths of light to walk in darkness.
From evil women. Proverbs 2:16-19
She is recognized by her flattery.
She has forsaken the God of her youth
Sexual sin leads to death.
Note the finality of sexual sin. Proverbs 2:19 states that NONE who get involved in such sin ever return. I wouldn’t say that, but God does.
All I can say about this is that all sexual sins leave a permanent blot on lives that can never be erased or forgotten.
WISDOM TEACHES US TO FOLLOW GOOD EXAMPLES.
That’s why we must guard our associations and all we receive into our minds and hearts through books, music, television, movies, and from our computers. Examples matter. As parents we had better be good examples and also be aware of our children’s friends and influences.
YOUR ONLY TWO OPTIONS
Make wise, Christ-honoring decisions throughout your life starting now.
Live life to the fullest for others to the glory of God. Let your motto be, “For to me to live is Christ; to die is gain” Philippians 1:21
Waste your life living only for yourself and die.
The issue before us in Romans 12:14 and 17-21 is the question of personal revenge
Liberals tell us that the God of the New Testament is not the God of the Old Testament. They tell us that over the centuries man’s understanding of God has progressed from a vengeful, angry God of the Old Testment to a God of love and kindness, as seen in the New Testament. They are wrong.
The God of the Old Testament and the New Testament is identical. He is a God of righteousness, justice and wrath and also of love, mercy and grace. “Jesus Christ, the same, yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8,
God in His amazing wisdom and grace took on a human body, Jesus Christ. Born of a virgin, Jesus was fully God and fully man. He never inherited the sinful nature of Adam from a human father. Then God, in His love for sinners permitted wicked men to carry out their evil plot and fulfill God’s eternal plan to have Jesus crucified as He bore the death penalty for all the sins of the human race. God raised Him from the dead, proving that He was satisfied with the shed blood of Christ as the full atonement for sin.
Those who refuse to recognize themselves as sinners and who refuse to receive Christ as their Saviour from sin will experience the eternal wrath of God in Hell. By the grace of God alone, those repentant sinners who receive Christ as Saviour, have Christ’s perfect righteousness imputed to their account and are made fit to dwell with God in Heaven for eternity.
THE OLD TESTAMENT ON VENGEANCE
The Old Testament in Genesis 9:6, Exodus 21-22 and Deuteronomy 19 teaches us that human government; not individuals, is charged with the responsibility of carrying out vengeance. It is not a sin when it is carried out by human government. These principles of vengeance by human government are just, merciful and good.
THE NEW TESTAMENT ON VENGEANCE
The New Testament teaching on vengeance is not contradictory to the Old Testament, but concentrates more on personal vengeance. In Matthew 5:38-48 Jesus teaches us as Christians how to deal with our personal enemies by loving them and doing good to them. His standard for us is perfection which we cannot attain on our own. By justification, He imputes that perfection to us.
But beyond justification, He empowers us to live by those standards. Not perfectly, of course; but by His indwelling Holy Spirit, we can make constant progress in holy, righteous living. Through the 55 years of my pastoral ministry by God’s grace, He has helped me to grow in Christ-likeness and accept the attacks and lies of others and to not try to get even with those who would harm me. God has always avenged me and given me His love for my enemies and a desire to see them blessed.
PRINCIPLES FOR DEALING WITH OUR ENEMIES
1. Don’t recompense or pay back evil for evil. Romans 12:17 Jesus did not avenge, even in His speech. I Peter 2:21-23 You’ve, no doubt, said it and heard children say, “He hit me first!” If you’re a parent, you’ve probably even taught them to avenge themselves by hitting back. You’ve probably taught your boys that it is not manly to not hit back. But look at the verses again.
2. Don’t avenge yourself. Romans 12:19 It’s not manly.
Dr. Oswald Smith, had a Biblically-based motto that I learned early in life and have tried to live by it all my life. ‘NO ATTACK! NO DEFENSE!” Let God be your defense and avenger. He can do it much more effectively than you and I can.
3. Don’t be overcome with anger by evil done to you. Romans 12:21. This makes for miserable, sick Christians. There’s nothing like holding a grudge for bringing on aches and pains and even ulcers.
4. There IS a time to be angry. Ephesians 4:26. It is right to be angry when God’s glory is at stake. Listen to Jesus blister the Pharisees throughout Matthew 23.
Such holy anger must NEVER degenerate into selfish anger for personal offenses. Read and meditate on Psalm 139:19-24 to learn how to hate as God hates for His glory and not allow it to degenerate into hatred for personal offenses.
1. Rather than trying to hurt or punish our enemies, we should bless them. Romans 12:14. Bless them with kindness as the Good Samaritan helped the one who despised him as a Samaritan.
We can bless our enemies by praying for their good. Jesus prayed for His crucifiers, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34
2. Speak honestly about our enemies. Romans12:17 When angry and vengeful, we tend to lie about our enemies to put them in a bad light.
3. “Live peaceably with all men.” Romans 12:18 That is, as far as you can control a situation, live peaceably with all men.
4. “Give place unto wrath.” Romans 12:19 Let your enemy have his say. Let him do his worst. God will avenge you.
5. “Feed your enemy and give him something to drink.” Romans 12:20
In his distress, give him a hand. Love is the only revenge we are to give. Let God have His way. He is well able to avenge you and bring blessing out of evil.
6. “Overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21 Cry for vengeance and you are conquered. Show kindness to your enemy and conquer your own vengeful spirit and you are victorious. That is a much greater feat. Proverbs16:32 teaches us “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that rules his spirit is greater than he who takes a city.”
On the other hand, Proverbs 25:28 warns us “He who has no control over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and has no walls of protection.”
I challenge you to test God’s Word next time you are tempted to avenge yourself. Experience the joy and exhilaration of enjoying victory over your own sinful flesh nature. It beats giving your enemy a black eye.
The world has lots to say and sing about love, but the world doesn’t know the first thing about it. There are those who claim to have spiritual gifts, but don’t know the first thing about them.
I Corinthians 12 is a major chapter on spiritual gifts and their use. Chapter 13 follows teaching that without love, spiritual gifts are useless. They bless no one, but simply puff up the people who claim to exercise them.
We see the same pattern in Romans 12. Verses 6-8 speaks about spiritual gifts followed by verses 9-16 on the topic of love. Christian workers who exercise their spiritual gifts must exercise them in love for the good of others; otherwise, they benefit no one.
The world is searching for love and integrity in the lives of those who claim to know Christ and who claim to exercise spiritual gifts. If we do not have love for those for whom we claim to minister, we are nothing but hot air and perhaps fanatics.
Love wins when nothing else will.
Though I Corinthians 13 is the major chapter in the Bible on the topic of love, we are presently studying love from the 12th chapter of Romans, So let’s examine now what Romans 12:9-16 has to teach us concerning love.
I. TRUE LOVE IS WITHOUT DISSIMULATION. Romans 12:9
That is, true love is without pretense. It’s not an act we put on. True love hates! It hates all that is evil. Did you hear that? A husband who loves his wife, hates any influence or person who would bring her harm. A father and mother who love their children, HATE any sinful influence that would bring harm to them. That would include the garbage on television. That would include the sinful, harmful influences of the wrong kind of schools. You don’t put up with it. You hate it passionately. You protect your impressionable children from it. That includes the wrong kind of colleges. Yes, your college-aged young people are still impressionable and many have been destroyed spiritually by colleges that reject or compromise the truths of Scripture.
The same goes with churches. If a church is harming you and your family with false doctrine and sinful influences, you separate yourself and your family from that church. You don’t stay with it, hoping that the evil influences will not affect your family. Romans 12:9 teaches us that we are to abhor (hate) evil and cleave to that which is good. That’s what it means to “let love be without dissimulation.”
II. TRUE LOVE IS EXPRESSED Romans 12:10
True love is expressed with kind affection. It is a brotherly, sisterly love. It is natural, and unforced. In fact, it is super-natural, given by God. It is not put on by drooling superficial piety.
III. TRUE LOVE IS CONSIDERATE OF OTHERS Romans 12:10
It involves preferring others before ourselves. It involves esteeming others better than ourselves, as Paul reminds us in Philippians 2:3-8 That’s not difficult when we consider that we are aware of more sin in our own lives than in the lives of others. Note in that passage how the Lord Jesus is the prime and perfect example of true humility.
IV. TRUE LOVE IS OBEDIENT TO GOD Rom. 12:11-12,
Love for Christ is our highest motivation for serving Him. We gladly sacrifice for Him and give Him our best.
V. TRUE LOVE IS A LIBERAL, SELF-SACRIFICING LOVE Rom. 12:13
Christians have needs. God promises to meet all our needs, but He uses sacrificial saints who give out of love, not simply for what they can get out of it.
VI. TRUE LOVE IS A HOSPITABLE LOVE Rom. 12:13
The early church, though persecuted and poor, gave out of their poverty.
Acts 2:44-47. What a wonderful example to us! Don’t forget the stranger. Hebrews 13:1-2. And yes, let us not forget to show love to our enemies. Romans 12:14
VII. TRUE LOVE IS A SYMPATHIZING LOVE Romans 12:15
That can only happen as we see situations from the viewpoint of others. Jesus wept with and for Mary and Martha for their brother Lazarus was dead. He didn’t have to weep for He knew He would raise him from the dead; nevertheless, He wept with these sisters for He saw things from their viewpoint. Read the story in John 11.
VIII. TRUE LOVE SEEKS UNITY OF CHRIST’S BODY Romans 12:16
The Holy Spirit who lives within the body of each Christian gives that unity. We are simply to endeavor to keep it by putting ourselves in other’s shoes and attempting to see situations from other’s viewpoint. We must remember that our ideas and positions are not always correct. Be open to correction.
IX. TRUE LOVE IN MANIFEST IN HUMILITY Romans 12:16
Though we may have high ideals and standards; we can condescend or slow down for those who are slower to catch on and learn and we can learn from others, even to those who are of low estate.
X. TRUE LOVE IS PEACEABLE Romans 12:18
As much as we have control of a situation, we are to live peaceable with all men: saved and unsaved. Certainly we ought to strive to live in understanding and peace with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
XI. FINALLY, TRUE LOVE IS PRACTICAL
It’s not enough to talk and sing about love. We must show it practically to others in physical or emotional need. Certainly we should help those in spiritual need by pointing them to Jesus who is the ultimate answer to every need.
God showed His love to us as undeserving sinners. Read Romans 5:8. Have you received that love? Have you received Christ as your Saviour? People are hungry for love all around us. Perhaps you are a new Christian and a new member of your church. What can you do for the cause of Christ? You can reach out in love to others and show Christ’s love to them.
We move now in our study of Romans 12 from our relationship with the cosmos (world system) in 12:1-2 to our relationship with Christ’s Church and her members in 12:3-8. This inter-relationship of the Body of Christ with one another is also referred to in I Corinthians 12:12-27 and Ephesians5:23and 30, as well as in other passages. I encourage you to read those passages in connection with this message.
In these verses we learn that we care for one another as the members of our physical body care for the whole body. We love one another with a brotherly love as brothers and sisters in Christ. We learn to be faithful to one another as we learn to depend on, count on, protect and trust one another.
We also learn to honor one another where honor is due. This is just the opposite from what we find in many churches today: vicious gossip and destructive criticism and hatefulness in some churches; even in churches that claim to be true to the Bible.
If unconverted sect members and members of secret societies can care for one another; surely the true Church, The Body of Christ, should shine in this area.
God measures out to His Church His undeserved, supernatural gifts given to each of us as Christians according to His grace. Note that these spiritual gifts are not limited only to pastors. Every genuine Christian has a spiritual gift which he must discover and use for God’s glory and for the blessing of others. I encourage you to read the following verses regarding these gifts and their use. Romans 12:3-8, I Corinthians 12, 14:1, II Corinthians 9:8, Ephesians 4:8, I Timothy 4:14, II Timothy 1:6, James 1:17.
THE SPIRITUAL GIFTS
Romans 12:6 begins with the gift of prophecy. That is the gift of preaching or proclaiming the Word of God. The only prophetic preaching or foretelling the future we can do as preachers is to declare what God’s Word has plainly stated.
For us to go beyond what the Bible has plainly declared and attempt to prophesy the future is evil, dangerous and destructive to the souls of men. For us to look to extra-biblical writings as equally authoritative as God’s holy infallible Word is forbidden in the Bible and damns the souls of men. Read this solemn warning. Galatians 1:6-9
That’s why I have warned you repeatedly in this web site to test everything by the infallible Word of God. Anything that claims to be according to the Word of God, that does not square with the Bible is to be rejected as spurious, dangerous and worthless. Read and heed the grave warning at the end of the Bible in Revelation 22:18-19.
For more instruction concerning this gift of prophecy, preaching, I encourage you to read I Corinthians 14. There you will learn how it is to be carried out in a church service and how it is to be tested for accuracy. Here you will also learn who is forbidden to preach.
Each preacher is different as to his own ability and style of preaching. Allow him to be himself, but reject anything that does not square with the Bible.
2. Ministering or Serving
Romans 12:7 lists this important gift. Jesus taught by His example that apart from the exercise of this gift, we are nothing. Beware of those whose only desire is to be in the limelight and appear as “big shots”. If you lose such people from your church because you do not give them that opportunity, you are blessed.
The men we have chosen as elders, and spiritual leaders in our church, are in such positions of authority because they have first proven themselves ready by having servant hearts. If you are not willing to volunteer to sweep the floors and help clean the church kitchen or rest rooms and serving others, you are not ready to assume the responsibility of an elder or a teacher or preacher.
All saints have a ministry, Ephesians 4:11-12 teach us. It is a beautiful thing to see each member of a church exercising his gift and fulfilling his ministry. Such a church runs smoothly and accomplishes God’s purpose for it with no arguments nor personality clashes.
The pastor is the God-gifted primary teacher of the church, according to Ephesians 4:11 His purpose, according to II Timothy 2:2 is to teach other God-gifted teachers to teach others God’s Word thereby multiplying his efforts. That’s exactly what I am attempting to do as a retired pastor through this web site.
Romans 12:8 continues listing the spiritual gifts with exhortation, or encouragement to do right. According to II Timothy 4:1-2 and Hebrews 10:24-25, we encourage and exhort others to do right. We do that primarily by our own example.
Romans 12:8 encourage us to give with simplicity with no other motive but to please Christ. Our giving must not be with pride, nor should we give sparingly, but generously, knowing that God loves a cheerful giver.
Romans 12:8 also lists ruling as a gift to the Church. A ruler is anyone who is given the responsibility of oversight. This would include pastors, elders, deacons, as well as others given responsibilities of oversight. Such are required to be diligent and faithful. Proverbs 20:6 reminds us that faithful men and women are scarce.
Again, we don’t rule by throwing our weight around, that is, by trying to impress people with our self- importance. Such would-be leaders hinder the work of the Lord. Patience is valuable virtue for a leader.
7. Showing Mercy
Finally, spiritual gifts include showing mercy towards others. Certainly we all need to show mercy with cheerfulness. That’s the opposite of impatience.
THE PURPOSE OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS
It is evident that the purpose of spiritual gifts is not for pride and self glory, nor to call attention to one’s self. Rather the purpose of gifts are as the members of our physical body. As members of our physical body each carry out their function for the good of the whole body, so each member of Christ’s Body fulfills his purpose and function for the building up of the Body of Christ that Christ may be glorified Such a healthy Body attracts others to Christ.