Romans 12:3-8 / Many Members, Many Functions (Sermon notes and Audio)

Posted on June 6, 2014


This is the fiftieth in a series of verse-by-verse expositions of the book of Romans. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the morning of June 1, 2014. This message deals with the fact that God calls different people to different functions, and properly discerning what is or is not a spiritual gift. This post contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes and a study outline. Please note that the sermon notes are not a full transcript.

AUDIO – Listen Now:


Rom 12_3-8




Romans 12:3-8

v. 3:
This verse is dealing with the believer’s “self-esteem” in relation to spiritual gifts.

Regardless of your gift, you are not to think of yourself more highly than you should.

That causes arrogance, pride, and division.

No one is any more special or important than another, nor are they any less so.

This is humility, and one who has mastered this will be neither conceited nor have an inferiority complex.

The believer is to think “soberly,” be in the right (sound) state of mind.

The will of God (v. 2) is identical for all believers in respect to their call for a holy life and complete dedication.

But God’s will for each individual, with respect to special service in the church may be very diverse.

Each Christian must know what his spiritual gifts are and what ministry (or ministries) he is to have in the local church.

Is there some measure by which a person can determine his or her position with respect to spiritual gifts?

Paul answers by pointing to “the measure of faith.”

“Faith” is subjective rather than objective.

One’s faith should provide the basis for a true evaluation of oneself.

The basis of our faith is, of course, Jesus Christ.

What we know of Christ and His will is dependent upon what is revealed in the Bible.

Therefore, we should always seek Scripture when evaluating spiritual gifts.

Many errors have been made by failing to adequately and objectively consult the Bible.

It is not wrong for a Christian to recognize gifts in his own life and in the lives of others.

What is wrong is the tendency to have a false evaluation of ourselves.

Nothing causes more damage in a church than a believer who overrates himself and tries to perform a ministry that he cannot do. (Sometimes the opposite is true, and people undervalue themselves. Both attitudes are wrong.)

vv. 4-5:
Paul uses the concept of the human body to teach how Christians should live and work together.

Just as the parts of the body function under the direction of the brain, so Christians are to work together under the command and authority of Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:12-19

Ephesians 4:1-6

v. 6:
God has given everyone at least one gift, and they are to be used to the glory of God.

We need to understand that the word prophesy in the New Testament can be used in two different ways.

One is what we commonly think of when we consider prophecy, which is the prediction of the future, or a new revelation from God.

This gift of prophecy no longer exists. The Bible makes it clear that it is complete, and not to be added to.

Revelation 22:18

There are no modern day Elijah’s, Daniel’s, Isaiah’s or Ezekial’s. They are no longer needed.

There is no indication that Paul is affirming or confirming the continuance of that particular gift.

The other (very common) usage, is that of expounding on established Biblical truths. It is what we call (in today’s world) preaching, and that gift still exists.

1 Corinthians 14:3

This gift that Paul is referring to, is that gift related to preaching God’s Word.

There are many out there today, who would call themselves prophets.

They’ll claim to have a “word from God”, some new revelation.

They’ll claim that it’s just as valid as anything recorded in the Bible.

You can rest assured that any such person is a fraud.

(i.e. Pope, the 13 apostles of the Mormon church)

Even more disturbing, is that these charlatans seem to thrive among some charismatic circles, where spiritual gifts are greatly emphasized.

Some have over emphasized certain gifts as proof of ones faith, but the real proof we should be seeking is love.

It is the more excellent way.

1 Corinthians 12:31

1 Corinthians 13:8

vv. 7-8:
The church is one body, and all the members have different functions. Each believer has a different gift.

God has bestowed these gifts so the local body can grow in a balanced way.

The gifts that we have came because of God’s grace. They must be accepted and exercised by faith.

While we may not always see the result of our ministry, the Lord sees it and He blesses.

Whatever gift we have must be dedicated to God and used for the good of the whole church.

It is tragic when any one gift is emphasized in a local church beyond all the other gifts.

1 Corinthians 12:29–31

Gifts are given for the benefit of the entire church, they should be used to build each other up.

1 Corinthians 12:7

Spiritual gifts are tools to build with, not toys to play with or weapons to fight [each other] with.

They should build us up, not tear us apart.

We should be happy and content with the gift(s) that God has given us, and not desire someone else’s.

Nor should we desire a gift that God will not give.

Gifts from God are gifts of the Spirit, and should produce the fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22–23

God gives us gifts so we can build up his church.

To use them effectively, we must:

  1. realize that all gifts and abilities come from God
  2. understand that not everyone has the same gifts.
  3. dedicate our gifts to God’s service and not to our personal success
  4. be willing to utilize our gifts wholeheartedly, not holding back anything from God’s service.

The manifestation of any gift should be love, and the glorification of God.

There should be no self-edification.

Our role is to be faithful and to seek ways to serve others with what Christ has given us.

Posted in: Sermons