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Scripture

Romans 12:3-8

Open your mind and heart as you read the passage of Scripture aloud and then again quietly to yourself. Listen for God’s word to you.

 

 

Observation

In this section of his letter to the Romans, Paul speaks to individual believers, rather than the Church as a whole. He warns them not to think too highly of themselves or too little of others. Each believer is given a measure of faith when they accept Jesus as Lord, but this is not a matter of pride. Just because someone receives a spiritual gift or gifts that are more visible than another believer, this does not make them more mature in their faith not the other person less worthy. God allocates His spiritual gifts according to His will and His plan.

So, when believers utilise the spiritual gifts they have been given, the Body of Christ, while united in Christ Himself, is able to undertake every task that is required for the growth of both believers and the Kingdom of God. No one should ever use the spiritual gifts they have been given for their own personal promotion. In the same way, to neglect the spiritual gifts that have been given is to hold back God’s plan and the Kingdom’s growth.

God distributes His gifts as an act of grace. They are not given as a result of merit, but rather because God chooses to give them as an act of the Holy Spirit. The ancient Greek word for ‘spiritual gifts’ was charismata which means gifts of grace.

Paul names a few of the gifts that can be found in the Church.

The gift of prophecy is given in proportion to a believer’s faith. It requires faith and trust in God for a person with the gift of prophecy to speak out. The words they say may not foretell the future but may reveal the heart and mind of God for any given situation to those who listen, whether they are an individual person or a church. Both the faith of the person who speaks the prophecy and the faith of those who hear are important for the growth of God’s Kingdom.

By the term ministry, Paul speaks of serving in practical ways. Making a cup of tea or hanging a shelf or any other practical forms of ministry have their own place in the growth of God’s Kingdom as people utilise such spiritual gifts.

Teaching and exhortation go hand in hand for the growth and advance of the Kingdom. Those who are taught but not exhorted to use what they learn tend to absorb information but never put it into practice. Those who are exhorted but not taught can rush around with enthusiasm, but have no understanding what they do or why they do it. Such enthusiasm is without roots and can lead to burn out or have people heading in the wrong direction.

A believer with the gift of giving needs to give generously. In this way, the Body of Christ will have all the resources they need to reach out to those who are hungry, hurting or struggling in any way. Failing to give in accordance with their gift will result in the resources of the church drying up and their own resources doing the same.

Those gifted with leadership must lead, not matter how discouraged they may be or how challenging the situation may seem. They need to persevere, whatever the circumstances to fully utilise this gift.

The gift of mercy needs to be accompanied by cheerfulness. Showing mercy can be draining when someone is trying to be merciful in their own strength. But being positive and cheerful about reaching out in mercy is a sign that this is a gift of the Holy Spirit.

Icebreaker:

When have you seen someone using their spiritual gift/s? What gift did they use? How did you know it was a spiritual gift? What was your response? How did it grow the Kingdom of God?

Application

  • The subject of what your spiritual gifts are has been discussed in the groups before. What progress has been made in both the discovery and the utilisation of your gifts since you previously discussed them?
  • If your response to the above question is ‘a lot’ how are you using your gifts now? If your answer is ‘not much’ how can you intentionally discover what your individual gifts are as members of this group? Are you prepared to do whatever you need to do to discover what your gifts are? Why/why not?
  • Who can you ask for information on identifying your spiritual gifts? Nominate someone within the group to do this research for you and to report back with some possible material next week.
  • How does someone who has the gift of healing or preaching or any other gift that puts them in the public eye utilise their gifts in humility, when the world can hear about them through social media instantly? What can you learn from such people?
  • What would the impact be on the universal Church if they stopped using the gift/s they have been given? How would your own church be impacted if the media person stopped loading the songs; or the Sunday school teachers did not arrive; or the person doing the small groups’ material did not produce anything for a couple of weeks?
  • Whatever your gift/s, how is the church impacted if you fail to utilise it/them? Have you consecrated your gift/s to God? How do you feel about doing that? What difference would it make to you?
  • How can the group help you with the struggles you have mentioned during this session?

Prayer

Lord God, help us to take time to look deep within ourselves to discover your gifts in us and help us to use them for your glory as we serve in our community. May we be instruments in your hands so that your Kingdom may grow on earth.

Pray for one another in regard to the issues that have been raised during your discussion time, and in regard to other needs of the group.

Service

Spend time this week with God, asking Him to reveal the gifts He has graciously given to you. Acknowledge that gifts can change with time. Be intentional about using your gift/s for His glory to serve and build His Kingdom on earth this week. Report what happened to the group next week.

Bibliography

Romans Chapter 12

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