Romans 12: Week 4

Romans 12: Week 4

<Guide for Informal Bible Study>

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

Any body else do the  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 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.

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.

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;

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.


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 and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.

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

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.

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.

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.

1 Peter 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. 

Do it with God’s strength.

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

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

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, 1 Cor 12:28-29, and Eph 4:11.

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.

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?

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.



Acts of mercy


Giving. Givers are to give generously.  Notice that no particular beneficiary is mentioned here.

Giving can be for the saints as a whole.  It can also be giving money  to a particular member who is in need.  Do it freely and generously, with no strings attached. 

If someone asks for a loan, and you decide to give it, tell that it is a gift.

A believer with the gift of giving has the capacity to give of his substance to the work of the Lord, or to the people of God, consistently, liberally, sacrificially, and with such wisdom and cheerfulness that others are encouraged and blessed.

This gift is not exclusively given to the wealthy. We have several examples in the New Testament (Phil 4:10-16 and 2 Cor 8) of those who were poor giving liberally.

When this gift is functioning properly, it will be without any reluctance (2Co 9:7) , without false pretense (Acts 5), and with single-minded devotion to the Lord (Rom 12:8).

Dorcas (Act 9:36) may have had this gift, as she abounded with deeds of kindness and charity, which she continually did.

Gaius in Rome may very well have had this gift also (Rom 16:23)

If you are gifted with this gift, do it with the cheerfulness and generous heart that the Spirit will provide to you.

Leadership (administration, ruling).How do you know whether you have this gift?  When you think you are leading, simply turn around – who is following?!

This gift of leadership is a Spirit-given capacity to organize and administer with such efficiency and spirituality that not only is the project brought to a satisfactory conclusion but it is done harmoniously and with evident blessing.

The person is able to give vision and direction.

He is able to organize and direct toward a specific goal.

He sees that everything is done decently and in order.

Projects are done in a way that promotes the work of God and the growth of those involved.

A good leader is first of all an example to the flock.  The see how you do it and they do it the same way.

A good leader in the church considers himself to be the servant of all.  That is what the washing of the feet was all about.

The Greek word literally means “one who stands in front”.

It is clearly evidenced in facilitating meetings, conducting discussions, chairing boards and organizations, and so forth.

Those with the gift of leadership organize social gatherings of the church, organize conferences, direct the vacation bible school, run the Sunday school, run the church building program.

Those who exercise this gift of leadership  should do so in a way that edifies and helps others spiritually.

If you find yourself operating in this gift, be sure to do it with the eagerness and diligence that the Spirit will supply to you.

Acts of mercy:  this is merciful actions taken on behalf of someone who is sick, or suffering, or in extreme poverty, or in deep trouble.

The Greek wordeleeo means to show mercy, to have compassion.

Our world is a world filled with cruelty, injustice and suffering.

So the Spirit supernaturally gifts some saints with an ability to minister to and restore those who are suffering,

Mercy is undeserved aid.  It is aid given to those who most people find repugnant and offensive – the sick and deformed, the unwashed and foul, those with unpleasant personalities and vile habits.

It differs from the gift of helps by being directed to those who are either undeserving or who (like a child with AIDS or a mentally disordered individual) is an innocent victim but treated as an outcast by much of our society.

Those with the gift of mercy usually manifest four major characteristics:

  1. They are drawn to people in distress. 
  2. They have a supernatural ability to love and care for others, even total strangers.  They have a strong desire to meet the needs of others and share  the love of Christ with them.
  3. These saints will be drawn to ministries and acts of service that seek to restore the hurting.  Where others may give a financial gift for the situation, these believers feel the need to physically serve those in need.
  4. those with the gift of mercy have a hatred of that which causes injustice and suffering on others.

People who have this gift use it to work among retarded children or in the AIDS ward of the hospital, or in prison visitation ministries ..

Or service to the homeless and the immigrant poor

Or in ministries to alcoholics and drug addicts,

It is a divine ability to reach out to people in need and take action that addresses their need. And to do it with cheerfulness. Do it so your being there serves to give them hope and encouragement.

The love and patience exhibited by those with the gift of mercy is a thing of rare beauty.

Now next time we will pick things up with verses 9-13.


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