Paul's Epistle to the Romans

 (43) Relationship to Gifts of the Spirit
Romans12:3-8

                                           
SCRIPTURE

3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8 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.

 


INTRODUCTION

The biblical pattern is to relate doctrine and duty, for what you believe must determine how you behave. 

Chapter 12 began with our Christian duty to God—verses 1 and 2 (See Chapter 42), but the rest of the chapter concerns our duty to ourselves, and to our brother. There are three divisions to verses 3-21:
Division1. Relationship to gifts of the Spirit             verses 3-8                                     Chapter 43     
To think more highly of yourself, or less highly, is sin, so have a proper estimate of who you are and what God has given you—For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. Every man shall bear his own burden. (Galatians 6:3–5).
Division 2Relationship to other believers              verses 9-16                                    Chapter 44  
You are part of the body of Christ with a ministry to fulfill, so do your part lovingly and joyfully.
Division 3. Relationship to unbelievers                    verses17-21                                   Chapter 45
If yours is a godly life, you are bound to have enemies— “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” ( 2 Timothy 3:12); but leave all judgment to the Lord. If you let the Lord have His way, He will use your enemies to build you and make you more like Christ.  

 

 

COMMENTARY


3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

For I say,
Paul, being a person of great importance in the early church, speaks here with authority. The word "for" shows that the apostle is about to introduce some additional issues for consideration that will enforce what he had just said; that is, to show how we may display a mind that is not conformed to the world.

through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you,
Paul now enlarges the biblical idea of the transformed life. His authority to preach the Gospel, and also to rule the Church of Christ. comes from the grace which is given to him. That grace is the spiritual gift of apostleship ([1]Romans1:5; [2]Romans15:15; [3]1 Corinthians 3:10).

Despite his exalted position within the first century church, Paul is a humble man who realized his own sinfulness and uselessness.  When he wrote, “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8), it was the true self-estimate of one who is filled by the Holy Spirit.

What follows was written to every man that is among you (all the people of the Roman church), but it is one of the great passages of Scripture for Christians today.

not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think;
There is nothing in the gospel that would encourage anyone to have a superiority complex. In fact, Paul urges us to be humble in exercising our gifts. The transformation which comes through imputed righteousness is first exhibited in humility. The believer must be careful of being above-minded; having an attitude of superiority.

We should never have exaggerated ideas of our own importance. We should not over-estimate ourselves, or think more of ourselves than we ought to. What then is the true standard by which we ought to assess ourselves? Here is a caution against pride; and an exhortation not to judge ourselves by our talents, wealth, or office, but to form another standard for judging ourselves; by our Christian character. The Romans would probably have been in a great deal of danger since character is the measure of a Christian. At that time, the prevailing habit of judging among them was according to rank, or wealth, or eloquence, or office. While this habit of judging prevailed in the world around them, there was danger that it might also prevail in the church. And the exhortation was that they should not judge their own characters by the usual manner among men, but by their Christian attainments. There is no sin to which men are more prone than an excessive self-evaluation and pride. Instead of judging by that which embodies true excellence of character, they pride themselves on that which is of no inherent value-on rank, and titles, and external accomplishments; or on talents, learning, or wealth. The only true standard of character pertains to the principles of action (how we do things) or to that which makes up the moral nature of the man; and that is the standard that the apostle urges upon the Roman people.
There are some who believe that Paul is addressing these comments specifically to the officers of the church, or at least to the recipients of spiritual gifts. It is very evident from 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, that these gifts were coveted and exercised by many of the early Christians for the purpose of self-exaltation. They did not desire those gifts which were most useful, but rather, those which were the most attractive; and some were puffed up, while others were envious and discontented. The apostle forcibly and beautifully reproved this evil in the chapters referred to, in the same manner that he does here, and much more in depth. He showed his readers that these gifts were all gratuitous, and were, therefore, occasions for gratitude, but not grounds of boasting.

but to think soberly,
The word properly translated soberly means to be of a sane mind; and then to be reasonable or self-controlled. Paul spoke of the person who over-estimates or praises himself as being beside himself; and of him who is modest and humble as being of a sane mind; that is, as making a proper assessment of himself and his gifts. A proper assessment can never  be anything other than a very humble one, since whatever good there is in us is not of our own making, but comes from God; and that the glory belongs to the giver, and not to him who has received the gift..  The apostle wrote, “For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause” (2 Corinthians 5:13). The Good News Bible says it this way, “Are we really insane? It is for God’s sake. Or are we sane? Then it is for your sake.” When making an assessment of ourselves it should be based in [4]Galatians 2:20  where we recognize that we have been crucified with Christ and He lives through us.

according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
The word faith is used here to stand for religion, or Christianity. Faith is the main thing in religion; therefore, we say that religion is characterized by its faith, or its confidence in God—See [5]Mark 16:16, Hebrews 11, and Romans 4. For that reason we are not to be elated in our view of ourselves; we are not to judge our own character by wealth, or talent, or learning; but by our attachment to God, and by the influence that faith has on our minds. The meaning of this part of the verse is “judge yourselves, or assess yourselves, by your holiness.” The correctness of this rule is apparent,

1) because no other standard is a correct one, or one of value. Our talent, learning, rank, or wealth, is a very improper standard by which to gauge ourselves. All of these factors may be entirely unconnected with moral worth; and the worst of men as well as the best men may possess them.
2)  God will judge us in the Day of Judgment by our attachment to Christ and his cause (Matthew 25), and that is the true standard by which to estimate ourselves.
3) Nothing else will get hold of and promote humility but this. All other things may produce or promote pride, but this will effectively secure humility. The fact that God has given us all that we have; the fact that the poor and little known may have just as much an improvement of character as ourselves; the awareness of our own imperfections and short-comings in the Christian faith; and the certainty that we are soon to be arraigned and tried by the One who will judge all mankind, whether we have evidence that we are the friends of God or not, will all tend to promote humbleness of mind, and to bring down our usual unreasonable self-estimation. If all Christians judged themselves in this way, it would remove at once a large part of the pride of life and pride in self, and would produce deep attachment for those who are blessed with faith in the gospel, though they may be unadorned by any of the wealth or trappings which now promote pride and distinctions among men.

Neither should we be envious of others. Instead, we should realize that each person is unique and that we all have an important function to perform for our Lord. We should be happy with the place God has dealt to us within the Body of Believers, and we should seek to exercise our gifts with all the strength that God supplies.

The faith which Christians have is traced to God as its Giver. This fact, that God has given it, will be one of the most effective promoters of humility and right feeling. Men commonly regard the objects on which they pride themselves as things they have created, or as things that depend upon them. But if an object is regarded as the gift of God, and therefore it ceases to excite pride, and the feeling is at once changed into gratitude, and therefore he begins to regard God as the Source of all blessings, and he will be a humble man. After all, what room is there for glorying in that which we have received?


____________verse 3 notes______________
[1]Romans 1:5) “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name.” It was through Jesus Christ our Lord that Paul received grace (the undeserved favor that saved him) and apostleship.
[2](Romans 15:15) “Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God,”
[3](1 Corinthians 3:10) “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.” The apostle acknowledges that anything he has been able to accomplish has been due to the grace of God. By this he means the undeserved ability from God to do the work of an apostle.

[4](Galatians 2:20) I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 
[5](Mark 16:16) He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.


4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

For
Here the word “for” refers to another illustration or proof of what he had said just before this. The commitment that he was urging the Romans to make was to not be unduly exalted or elevated in their opinion of themselves. In order to produce proper humility, he shows them that God has appointed his people to certain positions or areas of service within the church; that all are useful in their proper place; that we should seek to carry out our duty in our appointed specialty; and as a result, that the appropriate compliance and order would be maintained. To show this, he introduces a beautiful comparison drawn from the human body. There are various members in the human structure; all are useful and honorable in their proper place; and all are designed to promote the order, and beauty, and harmony of the whole. So the church is one body, consisting of many members, and each is ready to be useful and lovely in its proper place. He uses the same comparison in [7]Ephesians 4:25  and [8]Ephesians 5:30  (Also see 1 Corinthians 12:4-31; in this chapter the comparison is carried out to much greater length.).

as we have many members [6]in one body,
The human body has [9]many members, yet each one has a unique role to play. The health and welfare of the body depend on the proper functioning of each member.

The church is likened to the human body in which the various organs each has its own task to fulfill; so (according to verse 5), although the church has many members, they are one body  in Christ, and they are all related to each other in the same way as the organs of the body are related.

He reminds his readers that the propose for which these gifts were bestowed, was the edification of the church, and not the exaltation of the receiver; that, however diversified in their nature, they were all manifestations of one and the same Spirit, and were as necessary to a perfect whole as the several members of the body, with their various functions, to a perfect man. Having one Spirit, and making up one body, any honoring of one over the other was as unnatural as the eye or ear ignoring and despising the hand or the foot. Since this tendency to abuse their official and spiritual differences was not confined to the Corinthian Christians, we find the apostle, in this passage, giving substantially the same instructions to the Romans.

and all members have not the same office:
Along with the unity there is diversity; both are essential to the proper operation of the body (the church). The word “office,” is the same as that rendered “deeds” in 8:13. It represents a function that has been performed; however, not all believers are equipped to do the same thing; one is to see, another to hear, a third to walk with, etc. (See 1 Corinthians 12:14-23).

So we, being many,
We who are members of the Church of Christ, which is considered the body of which he is the head, have various offices assigned to us, according to the measure of grace, faith and religious knowledge which we possess; and although each has a different office, and qualifications suitable to that office, yet all belong to the same body; and each has as much need of help from another as that other has of him; therefore,  there should be neither pride on the one hand, nor envy on the other.

are one body in Christ,
Believers are one in Christ, i.e. by virtue of their common union with him. And as this union with Christ is not merely external, or by profession, or by unity of opinion and sentiment only, but vital, arising from the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Christ, so, the apostle adds, the union of believers one with another, is also a vital union. They are every one members one of another. The relation of believers to each other is far more intimate than that between the members of any external organization, whether civil or ecclesiastical. The real union of Christians results from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, in the similar way that the union of the several members of the body is the result of all of them being animated and actuated by one soul.

We are one body. We are united together making one society or one people, mutually dependent, and having the same great interests at heart, which are promoted by us according to our peculiar talents and opportunities. In the same way that the welfare of the same body is to be promoted in one manner by the feet, in another by the eye, etc., so is the welfare of the body of Christ to be promoted by discharging our duties in our appropriate sphere, as God has appointed us.

We are in Christ. We are one body, joined to Christ, or connected with him as the head. “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:22, 23).This does not mean that there is any physical or literal union, or any destruction of personal identity, or anything particularly mysterious or unintelligible. Christians acknowledge him as their head, that is, their Lawgiver; their Counselor, Guide, and Redeemer. They are bound to him by particularly tender ties of affection, gratitude, and friendship; they are united in him, that is, in acknowledging him as their common Lord and Savior. Any other union than this is impossible; and the sacred writers never intended that expressions like these should be explained literally. The union of Christians to Christ is the most tender and interesting of any in this world, but no more mysterious than that which binds friend to friend, children to parents, or husbands to their wives.

and every one members one of another.
This unity is a common and vital union in Christ, common because of our being in Christ, vital because we are members one of another. Corporate unity involves mutual responsibility.

This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other equally. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad” (1 Corinthians 12:25, 26; The New Living Translation). We are equipped by the Savior to be mutually dependent; each one is of service to the other; and the existence and office of the one is necessary to the usefulness of the other. Thus the members of the body may be said to be members one of another; as the feet could not, for example, perform their functions, or be of use, if it were not for the eye; the ear, the hand, the teeth, etc., would be useless if it were not for the other members, which go to make up the entire person. Thus in the church, every individual is not only necessary in his place as an individual, but is needful to the proper symmetry and action of the whole.

______________verses 4 and 5 noter__________________
[6](In one body) Constituting one body; or united in one, and making one person. Essential to the existence, beauty, and happiness of the one body or person.

[7](Ephesians 4:25) Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
[8](Ephesians 5:30) For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
[9](Many members) Limbs, or parts; feet, hands, eyes, ears, etc. (See 1 Corinthians 12:14-15).

6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us,

Paul now gives instructions for the use of certain gifts. The list does not cover all the gifts; it is meant to be suggestive rather than exhaustive.

Our gifts differ according to the grace that is given to us. In other words, God’s grace deals out differing gifts to different people. And God gives the necessary strength or ability to use whatever gifts we have. So we are responsible to use these God-given abilities as good stewards; each of us should apply ourselves to the diligent improvement of his particular office and talent, and modestly keep within the bounds of it, not exalting ourselves or despising others. Christians must always bear in mind that the wonderful gifts we receive from God are just that—they are not designed or produced by us. When we come to understand that our Spiritual gifts are from God, we feel humbled and we no longer think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think.

Differing. It was never intended that all Christians should be equal. God planned that men would have different gifts (talents and positions). The very nature of today’s society supposes this. There never was a state of perfect equality in anything; and it would be impossible for one to exist. In this, God exercises a sovereignty, and bestows his favors as he pleases, injuring no one by conferring favors on others; and holding me responsible for the right use of what I have, and not for what may be conferred on my neighbor.

According to the grace. Grace is the favor, the mercy that is bestowed on us. Seeing that all we have is a matter of grace, it should keep us from pride; and it should make us willing to occupy our appropriate place in the church. True honor consists not in splendid gifts, or great wealth and office. It consists in rightly discharging the duties which God requires of us in our appropriate sphere. If all men thought of their talents as the gift of God; if all of us would find and occupy in society the place which God designed for us, it would prevent much of the uneasiness, the restlessness, the ambition, and misery of the world.

These gifts from God are for service to Him and we will glorify Him when we use them.  They differ according to the grace given unto us, that is, as there are in the one body various offices and gifts, let every one of us act in a manner consistent with the nature and design of the particular gift which he has received.
 
whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

Those who have the gift of prophecy should prophesy in proportion to their faith. A prophet is a spokesman for God, declaring the word of the Lord. In the Old Testament, anyone speaking with divine authority -- whether with reference to the past, the present, or the future -- was termed a prophet [10](Exodus 7:1). Prediction may be involved, but it is not a necessary element of prophecy. In the early church, writes Hodge, the prophets were “men who spoke under the immediate influence of the Spirit of God, and delivered some divine communication relative to doctrinal truths, to present duty, to future events, as the case may be.” Their ministry is preserved for us in the New Testament. There can be no inspired, prophetic additions to the body of Christian doctrine today since faith has been once for all delivered to the saints (see Jude 3). Thus a prophet today is simply one who declares the mind of God as it has been revealed in the Bible.

All modern prophecy that is true is nothing more than the republication of Christ’s message—the proclamation and expounding of truth already revealed in Scripture. 

Those of us who have the gift of prophecy should prophesy in proportion to our faith. This may mean “according to the rule or norm of the faith”—that is, in accordance with the doctrines of the Christian faith as they are found in the Scriptures. Or it may mean “according to the proportion of our faith”—that is, to the extent that God gives us faith.

What is the believer to do with his gift? Since the members of the body of Christ have gifts which differ, each of us is to use his gift in the way that God intends. If our gift is prophecy, let us prophesy. Prophecy is the gift of inspired utterance [11](I Corinthians 14:1). This activity is to be done according to the proportion of faith or in harmony with that which has already been spoken by God.

Prophecy, literally speaking, is “forth-telling;” It consists of revealing the mind of the Lord. Predictive prophecy is only one kind of prophecy. With the completion of the canon of Scripture prophecy passed away—“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part” (1 Corinthians 13:8, 9). Predictive prophecy has ceased and the teacher has taken the place of the prophet; that is the significant change evidenced in [12]2 Peter 2:1. The message of the prophet was a direct revelation of the mind of God for the occasion; the message of the teacher is gathered from the completed revelation contained in the Scriptures.

_________________verse 6 notes__________________
[10](Exodus 7:1) “And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.” Moses wondered why the mighty Pharaoh would listen to such a poor speaker as he. The Lord’s answer was that Moses stood before Pharaoh as a representative of God. Moses would speak to Aaron, and Aaron would convey the message to Pharaoh.
[11](I Corinthians 14:1) “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.” Christians should pursue love, and this will mean that they will always be trying to serve others. They should also earnestly desire spiritual gifts for their assembly. While it is true that gifts are distributed by the Spirit as He wishes, it is also true that we can ask for gifts that will be of greatest value in the local fellowship. That is why Paul suggests that the gift of prophecy is eminently desirable. 
[12](2 Peter 2:1) But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

 

7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering:
Ministry means service of any kind; Martha ministered to Jesus when He came to Bethany [13](Luke 10:40). The person who has the gift of ministry has a servant-heart. He sees opportunities to be of service and seizes them. The term is used in religion to denote the service which is rendered to Christ as the Master. It is applied to all classes of ministers in the New Testament, and signifies their being the servants of Christ; and it is used particularly to designate that class who were called deacons in the Bible, that is, those who were responsible for the care of the poor, who provided for the sick, and who watched over the external matters of the church. In the following places it is used to denote the ministry, or service, which Paul and the other apostles rendered in their public work, Acts 1:17,25; Acts 6:4, 12:25, 20:24, 21:19, Romans 11:13, 15:31, 2 Corinthians 5:18, 6:3, Ephesians 4:12; 1 Timothy 1:12. In a few places this word is used to denote the office which the deacons fulfilled, Acts 6:1, 11:29, 1 Corinthians 16:15, 2 Corinthians 11:8. The word deacon is most commonly used to denote the office which was performed in providing for the poor, and administering the alms of the church. It is not easy to say in what sense it is used here. I am inclined to believe that Paul did not refer to deacons, but to those engaged in the office of the ministry of the word; whose business it was to serve the churches through preaching, and in this way their service can be distinguished from "prophesying," "teaching," and "exhorting."

or he that teacheth, on teaching;
Here the words teaching and teacheth denotes those who instruct, or communicate knowledge. It is clear that it is used to denote a class of persons different, in some respects, from those who prophesied and from those who exhorted (encouraged). But, what this difference consisted of is not clear. Teachers are mentioned in the New Testament in the category next to the prophets ([14]Acts 13:1, [15]1 Corinthians 12:28, 29, [16]Ephesians 4:11). Perhaps the difference between the prophets, the ministers, the teachers, and the exhorters, was this—that the first spoke by inspiration; the second engaged in all the functions of the ministry, including the administration of the sacraments; the teachers were employed simply in communicating instruction, teaching the doctrines of religion, but without assuming the office of ministers; and the fourth exhorted, or entreated, or encouraged Christians to lead a holy life, without making it a particular subject to teach, and without pretending to administer the ordinances of religion. The fact that teachers are so often mentioned in the New Testament shows that they were a class by themselves. In most churches today, Sunday-school teachers are appointed, whose main business is to instruct the children and the unlearned in the doctrines of the Christian religion. It is an office of great importance to the church, and they should be hard-working, constant, and diligent in their teaching; and should feel that their office is of great importance in the church of God; and remember that this is God’s arrangement, designed to promote the edification of His people.
Whatever our gift is, we should give ourselves to it wholeheartedly.

__________________verse 7 notes_____________________
[13](Luke 10:40) But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 
[14](Acts 13:1) “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers…” A church had been formed in Antioch. Instead of having one man designated as the minister or pastor, this assembly had a plurality of gifts. Specifically, there were at least five prophets and teachers. A prophet was a man specially gifted by the Holy Spirit to receive revelations directly from God and to preach them to others. In a real sense, the prophets were mouthpieces for the Lord, and could often foretell coming events. Teachers were men to whom the Holy Spirit had given the ability to expound or explain the Word of God to others in a simple and understandable manner.
[15](1 Corinthians 12:28-29)
And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
[16](Ephesians 4:11) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;


8 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.

Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation:
These words exhorteth, and exhortation means to invite, exhort, and to comfort; and they designate one who urges others to perform the practical duties, of religion, as distinct from one who teaches its doctrines. He that exhorteth is one who presents the warnings and the promises of God, to excite men to discharge their duty as designed by God. It is clear that there were persons who were recognized as engaging especially in this duty, and who were known by this designation, as distinguished from prophets and teachers. There is no doubt about it, that it may still be expedient, in many times and places, to have persons designated to this work. In most churches this duty is now blended with the other offices of the ministry.

Since all preaching, whether by apostles, prophets, or teachers, was followed up by exhortation ([17]Acts 11:23, [18]Acts14:22, [19[ACTS 15:32 ), many think that there was probably no distinct class of officers called exhorters; but since the apostle is speaking of gifts as well as officers, his direction is, that he who had the gift of teaching, should teach; and that he who had a gift for exhortation, should be content to exhort.

he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity;
The subject is the person whose job it was to distribute what he has been given for the benefit of the church body; and probably, designates him who distributed the alms of the church, or him who was the deacon of the congregation; and the word rendered giveth may denote one who distributes that which has been committed to him for that purpose, as well as one who gives out of his private assets. Seeing that the apostle is speaking here of offices in the church, the former is evidently that which is intended. It was considered an important matter among the early Christians to give liberally of their substance to support the poor, and provide for the needy (Acts 2:44-47, 4:34-37, 5:1-11, Galatians 2:10, Romans 15:26, 2 Corinthians 8:8, 9:2,12). And so it became necessary to appoint persons over these contributions, which would be primarily charged with the management of them, and who would see that they were properly distributed [20](Acts 6:1-6 ). That's why it became necessary to appoint persons over these contributions, who should be chiefly charged with the management of them, and who would see that they were properly distributed. These were the persons who were dubbed deacons; “Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre…Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well” (1 Timothy 3:8).
 The instruction is that giving must be done simply. The word simplicity is used in a similar sense to denote singleness, honesty of aim, purity, integrity, without any mixture of a base, selfish, or sinister end. It requires a favor to be bestowed without the expectation of receiving something in return; without partiality; but actuated only by the desire to bestow them in the best possible manner in order to promote the object for which they were given, [21]2 Corinthians 8:2 , [22]2 Corinthians 9:11,13.  It is plain that when property was entrusted to them, there would be danger that they might be tempted to employ it for selfish and sinister ends, to promote their influence and prosperity; and hence the apostle exhorted them to do it with a single aim to the object for which it was given. Paul knew very well that there was nothing more tempting than the possession of wealth, even though it was given to help others. And this exhortation is applicable not only to the deacons of the churches, but to all who in this day of Christian benevolence are entrusted with money to advance the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.

he that ruleth, with diligence;
The gift of leading is almost certainly connected with the work of elders (and perhaps also deacons) in a local church. The elder is an undershepherd who stands out in front of the flock and leads with care and diligence (with earnest purpose). In 1 Thessalonians 5:12, the subject is ministers in general, who are over you and labor among you: "And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you.” Here, Paul urges the saints to respect and obey their spiritual guides. In 1 Timothy 3:4, 5, 12, Paul applies the work of a ruler to the head of a family, or one who diligently and faithfully performs the duty of a father: "One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)…Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.” 1 Timothy 5:17, applies the work of a ruler to "elders" in the church: "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.” Titus 3:8, 14, uses the concept of being a ruler or leader in a different sense; there it is translated, "This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men…And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.” The idea is to “maintain good works.” The prevailing sense of the word, therefore, is to rule, to preside over, or to have the management of. But, it is a matter of controversy, and it is not easy to determine, who it is referring to and what their duty is. What is clear, however, is that there is the idea of ruling, as in a family, or of presiding, as in a church business meeting; and either of these ideas would convey all that is implied in the original word. “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” (1 Corinthians 12:28).

he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
The gift of mercy is the supernatural capacity and talent of aiding those who are in distress. Those who have this gift should exercise it with cheerfulness. Of course, we should all show mercy and do it cheerfully.

A Christian lady once said, “When my mother became old and needed someone to care for her, my husband and I invited her to come and live with us. I did all I could to make her comfortable. I cooked for her, did her washing, took her out in the car, and generally cared for all her needs. But while I was going through the motions outwardly, I was unhappy inside. Subconsciously I resented the interruption of our usual schedule. Sometimes my mother would say to me, ‘You never smile anymore. Why don’t you ever smile?’ You see, I was showing mercy, but I wasn’t doing it with cheerfulness.”

Prior to this, the apostle had said, “He that giveth, let him do it with simplicity,” which had reference to the care of the poor, and this instruction relates to the care of the sick and afflicted. These were the two great areas of the deacons’ duties. The former was to be discharged with honesty, this with cheerfulness, and kindness; feeling it is "more blessed to give than to receive," and to help than be helped.

The importance of this direction to those in this situation is apparent. Nothing tends to enhance the value of personal caring for the sick and afflicted as much as a kind and cheerful disposition. If a mild, amiable, cheerful, and patient disposition is needed anywhere, it is near a sick bed and when administering to the wants of those who are suffering. And whenever we may be called to do such a service, we should remember that this is indispensable. If resentment, or impatience, or anxiety is discovered in us, it will bother those whom we seek to benefit, embitter their feelings, and make our services of comparatively little value. The needy and sick, the feeble and the aged, have enough to bear without the impatience and harshness of professed friends. It may be added, that the example of the Lord Jesus Christ is the brightest which the world has seen. Though constantly surrounded by the needy and the sick, yet he was always kind, and gentle, and mild.  The example of the Good Samaritan is also another instance of what is intended by the Lord’s teaching on helping others. “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). This direction is particularly applicable to a physician.

There may be a problem surface for those who help the poor: the poor are often both wicked and worthless: and, if those who are called to minister to them as stewards, overseers, etc., do not take care, they will get their hearts hardened due to the frequent proofs they will have of deception, lying, idleness, etc. And for that reason, so many of those who have been called to minister to the poor in churches, businesses such as Goodwill, and religious societies, when they come to retirement find that many of their moral feelings have been considerably blunted; and perhaps the only reward they get for their services is a hard-hearted disposition. If whatever is done in this way is not done unto the Lord, it can never be done with cheerfulness.

______________verse 8 notes_________________

[17](Acts 11:23) Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord
[18](Acts 14:22)
Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
[19](Acts 15:32) And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.

[20](Acts 6:1-6) And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.
[21](2 Corinthians 8:2)
“How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.”
[22](2 Corinthians 9:11,13) Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God…Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men;

 

SUMMARY


We have here an account of the establishment, the offices, and the duties of the different members of the Christian church. What it amounts to is, that we should discharge with fidelity the duties which belong to us in the sphere of life in which we are placed; and not despise the rank which God has assigned to us; not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to; but to do our part well, according to the position we are placed in, and the talents with which we are endowed. If this were done, it would put an end to discontent, ambition, and strife, and would produce the blessings of universal peace and order.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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