Romans 12: Week 3

STUDYGUIDE-8-131121 - length: 60:00 - taught on Nov, 21 2013

Class Outline:

Study Guide : Romans 12 : Week 3


<Guide for Informal Bible Study>

Reminder that our mind set for these informal Bible studies in EPH 4:11-16.

Last week’s Homework:  Pick a fellow believer in the congregation and describe how they have contributed to your life and the life of the church by using their spiritual gift. 

  • Who is that person?
  • What gift have they exercised?
  • Describe how they have employed it in serving you and others.
  • How did it build you up?  Describe how they have ministered to you.


ROM 12:1 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.

ROM 12:2 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.

So let’s continue along here in Romans 12, remembering as we do those 3   basic questions we have:

  • What does this say?
  • What does this mean?
  • How are we , the saints of Lighthouse Bible Church, to live according to what this means?

What would we look like coming under this command and being obedient to it now as best as we can?

The first two verses of Romans 12 describe what our attitude towards God is supposed to be in light of the mercies of God described in the first 11 chapters of Romans.

We are to be living and holy sacrifices. This involves presenting our bodies to God.

We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so we learn to discern what God’s will is.

Offer your bodies to God in all that you do.

Work each day at cooperating with the Holy Spirit in having your mind transformed.

Last week we saw a little bit about those two Greek words that are translated here “conformed” and “transformed”.

If we are not being transformed by the renewing of our minds, we will be conformed to this world.

Now both these verbs are in the passive voice. These are things that are done to us with our cooperation.

We cannot change ourselves.

We are either cooperating with those forces that would mold us according to the pattern of the world


We are cooperating with the Holy Spirit in His work of changing us into another form - the image and likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ!

What are we putting our mind towards? And we were encouraged by the exhortation in Phil 4:8-9 to dwell on things that are true, honorable, right, pure lovely, of good repute, any excellence and anything worthy of praise.

So again, the first two verses of Romans 12 tell us about what our attitude towards God is to be.

Now the second section of Romans 12, verses 3-13, tell us what our attitude is to be toward other saints, other believers.

And the third section of Romans 12 is verses 14-21, and that deals with what our attitude is to be toward our enemies. Our enemies. 

We continued in Romans 12 with verse 3.

ROM 12:3 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.


So verse 3 is a first of a series of exhortations describing how we are to carry out the goals in verses 1 and 2.

Notice where God starts.

He starts with what you think about yourself, what I think about myself.

What is the temptation here?

To have a higher opinion of myself than I ought to have.

God has given to each of His saints a certain allotment or measure of faith - the ability to lay hold on the mighty operations of the Spirit of grace.

Notice that God doesnot say knowledge here , but rather faith.

This important verse is followed up by its explanation.
We are not to think we are better than anyone else.

We are all part of one body.

ROM 12:4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function,

ROM 12:5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Paul likens the church to a body with hands and feet and moving parts and vital organs.

The church has different functions that it performs.  Hands have a different function than feet do.

When was the last time you brushed your teeth with your feet?

Or walked a mile on your hands?

In the same way, each part of the body of Christ has its own gift.

That gift has been given by the Body-maker..God the Holy Spirit…for the building up and encouragement of the church.

Our gifts differ according to the grace given to us.

ROM 12:6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;

What new and vital specific is added here?  GIFTS!

Now as we go through these spiritual gifts, first just drink it all in.  Enjoy what the Lord has provided us with in all of these gifts working together.  What an amazing family:  with leadership, preaching,  teaching, exhortation, giving, service, mercy. We are so well cared for by God!

Recall that there are foundation gifts, speaking gifts, and serving gifts.

Foundation gifts were especially given to the apostles in the beginning to validate their authority so the brand new church would grow quickly and function effectively to get off to a good start.


Now Romans 12 lists gifts of speaking and serving.

Speaking and serving gifts are given to build up the church and to encourage the saints.

Your attitude toward other Christians should never be to look down on them for any reason. 

Instead, exercise your spiritual gifts to build other believers up.

The gift of prophecy here refers to preaching the word of God.  It is a speaking gift.

The word literally means “to speak before”.  To speak before people.  To speak before a group of believers.

The special gift of prophecy that was operating in the early church has now ceased with the completion of the written New Testament.  It was a foundation gift.

It was the capacity to receive and speak forth truth which has been given by direct revelation from God. (1Cor 14:29-32)

The result of the gift of prophecy is understanding “mysteries” (1Cor 13:2). 

This gift according to EPH 2:20 was foundational for the New Testament church.

But of course we still have speaking gifts in the church today.

Next, Paul lists a serving gift.

ROM 12:7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching;

Servicerefers to doing all sorts of things that support and build up the body of Christ. 

The person with this gift of service has an unusual capacity to serve faithfully behind the scenes, in practical ways, to assist in the work of the Lord and thereby encourage and strengthen others spiritually.

Service and helps are somewhat similar gifts. However, the gift of helps is a person-centered gift (strengthening the ministry of others, whereas the gift of service is a task-oriented gift.

The same Greek word as we have for service in ROM 12:7 described Phoebe, a servant of the church, in ROM 16:1.

This gift is very similar if not identical to the gift of helps in 1CO 12:28.

It suggests the rendering of assistance, especially to the weak or needy.

The household of Onesiphorus, who often refreshed Paul (2TI 1:16-18) probably illustrates this gift in action.

Also the house of Stephanus in 1CO 16:15.

And in the Roman congregation it appears that Mary had this gift as well (ROM 16:6).

These people devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints.

A person with this gift will loathe the limelight but be the backbone of an effective church.

I chose a person with the gift of service when I did the homework assignment for this week.

It could be working on our building.  Doing the landscaping.  It could be setting things up for our worship service.

It could be cleaning or working on the sound and video and internet.

It could also be serving members of the body in their need - for example, somebody who is sick and needs groceries brought to their home.

It is doing such things, asking nothing in return.

These acts of service encourage other believers!

A servant’ s heart is a very precious thing both in our own estimation but more importantly before God.

And when you begin by serving in a little thing, God will take that and direct it into bigger things.

So present your bodies for service is you think you may have that gift.

Find out who is in charge of an area of service for our congregation and offer to help.

Right now we need help with the cleaning

We need ushers.

We could always use help with our young people.

Maybe you see something that needs doing that no one is doing right now.  Ask me or one of the other leaders if we would like you to begin doing that!

It could also be helping a needy Christian family.

It could also be entering into the support of the ministry by the service of prayer.

People with this gift who serve joyfully and faithfully are invaluable to the body.

And remember that you serve with the strength that God supplies.

1PE 4:10-11 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

1PE 4:11  Whoever speaks, is to do so  as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

If you try to serve in your own strength, you will eventually get discouraged and want to quit. 

Remember, when you serve, you are serving people.  And you will run into people who will criticize what you are doing.

Someone will always take advantage of you when you serve.

Sometimes you do an act of service and people take it the wrong way and they look down on you.

Do it with God’s strength.

ROM 12:7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching;

So next we have another speaking gift - teaching.

Teaching relates to the systematic study of God’s word and the preparation and delivery of instruction to other believers.

A person with the gift of teaching will exhibit two major characteristics:

He or she will have an insatiable interest in their personal study of the Word. They will love practicing the disciplines involved in study and preparation.

Second, they will have the capacity to communicate clearly the truths and applications of the Bible in a way that ministers to others.

After you have heard a teacher who has this gift teach, your response should be “I see what he means”.

This spiritual gift is mentioned in several of the lists of gifts, including ROM 12:7, 1CO 12:28-29, and EPH 4:11.

Priscilla and Aquila were a husband and wife team who were gifted teachers, as illustrated in ACT 18:26 when they explained to Apollos the way of God more accurately.

The apostle Paul of course was an amazing teacher as part of his gift of apostleship.
We have several individuals serving in our prep school/Sunday school right now who are gifted teachers of the Bible to our young people.

Remember what James wrote about this gift:

JAM 3:1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. 2

When you teach, you are teaching the very oracles of God.

So you need to study the passage. Pray about it.  Spend time in God’s word.

And it begins with having your own mind renewed. 

That involves lots of study, lots of pouring over  the Scriptures, lots of preparation and practice.

And never forget - it is a spiritual gift.

That is the bottom line. This is a gift from the Holy Spirit to be able to present truth from the Bible that ministers to the saints.


ROM 12:8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

The next gift mentioned is exhortation.   Exhortation is different from teaching.

The word used by Paul here literally means “ a calling to one’s side and so to one’s aid.”

It may be prospective - exhortation, or retrospective - consolation.

The person with the gift of exhortation has the ability to encourage the saints to take bold action in their faith.

While the teacher brings us to say “I see that”….

The exhorter brings us to say “I’ll do that!”

Under the prompting of the Holy Spirit, he drives home spiritual truth and fires up the saints to obedience.

Paul is exhorting the saints here in chapter 12.

There is a time for teaching: Romans 1-11…and a time for exhortation:  Romans 12-15.

Present facts, truth, in the form of declarative statements. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Followed by statements in the imperative mood:  commands, imploring, encouraging. Coaching.

The gift can also be one of consolation and encouragement in the midst of a trial, disappointment, or failure.

The book of Hebrews is a great book of exhortation and encouragement.

Barnabas was a “Son of Encouragement”.  He came to Paul’s side to comfort him when the disciples in Jerusalem shunned him (ACT 9:27).  Later he came to John Mark’s side when Paul rejected the young man as a missionary candidate (ACT 15:39). 

Someone with the gift of exhortation challenges without condemning…

Inspires without condescending…

Helps another move forward to excel still more.

Think of a coach who encourages and challenges an athlete to reach a particular goal.

Run the race!

C’mon you can do it.  Watch out - you’re  getting sloppy.  Stay strong in the Lord!

Do not persist in your unbelief, but BELIEVE!

Fight the good fight of faith.


These are people who embody the practical and emotional side of preaching or counseling.  They minister to aching hearts and tired souls.

Next, in verse 8, we are presented with three more serving gifts:

ROM 12:8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.