This is an example of partial content of our small group meetings . . .
1. Paul's Exhoration: "Having gifts . . . let us use them."
--Differing gifts. See verse 4b.
--According to the grace given to us. See verse 3b. See 1 Cor 15:10 "By the grace of God I am what I am."
2. Examples of God's grace gifts are found in verses 6-8.
--Paul's Examples include 2 categories of gifts--speaking gifts and serving gifts. Speaking gifts: prophecy, teaching, exhortation; Service gifts: serving, giving, leading (administration), mercy.
Prophecy. See 1 Cor 14:3, 24-25 for the purpose of the gift of prophecy, or speaking forth the truth of God's Word. Warning: See Deuteronomy 18:20-22 and Jeremiah 23:9-40 for God's statements re: false prophets.
Teaching. This involves teaching to others what the Scripture says. The person with this grace gift is able to identify the main points of a given text of Scripture and accurately convey its meaning to others. James Montgomery Boice considered this gift "the preeminent gift of pastors" (Romans, Vol 4, 1586). Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Corinthians 12:28 list apostles, prophets, and teachers as separate gifts given to the Church. Charles Hodge explained their differences, “The point of distinction between them [prophets] and the apostles, considered as religious teachers, appears to have been that the inspiration of the apostles was abiding, they were the infallible and authoritative messengers of Christ; whereas the inspiration of the prophets was occasional and transient. The latter differed from the teachers, inasmuch as these were not necessarily inspired, but taught to others what they themselves had learned from the Scriptures or from inspired men” (Romans, 389).
Exhortation: The Greek term, parakalon, is the same word used by Paul in Rom 12:1, and the same word describing the Holy Spirit and His ministry in John 14-16. The word means to come alongside in order to encourage or comfort one to do something. This gift is important and needed. If God has given you this gift, use it as a force for comfort and encouragement to everyone else! Charles Hodge described the difference between teaching and exhortation, “Teaching is addressed to the understanding; exhortation to the conscience and feelings” (Romans, 392). Geoffrey B. Wilson noted, “These must always go together , for if teaching gives exhortation its content, exhortation gives teaching its force” (Romans, 202).
Serving. EXP: This is the Greek word from which we get the English word deacon--diakones. It is sometimes translated as "ministry." Though it could refer to the ministry of the Word, here we should think of the term in broad terms. We all have the responsibility to do this, but those who are specifically gifted for this must set the pace. We should be patient with one another, look for ways to meet one another’s needs, avoid being condescending and judgmental in non-constructive ways. Because we are united in Christ in one Body, ministry to one another is ministry to the Body of Christ—and we all benefit. APP: The ESV says “in our serving”; the NIV says, “If it is serving, let him serve.” We need those with this gift to be exemplary to all of us. SDG. ILL: Acts 6:1-7. READ.
Generosity. EXP: The Greek metadidous means to give, to share with someone. It is to be done in sincerity, generously, liberally. “It refers to openhanded and openhearted giving out of compassion and a singleness of purpose, not from ambition” (Rogers and Rogers, 339). APP: We are all to give. But if God has gifted you with the resources and the heart to give, do it with simplicity and do it faithfully for the glory of God and the upbuilding of the Body.
Administration/Leading. EXP: proistamenos—to preside. With zeal. With diligence and not negligence (Wilson, 202). Consider what it means that the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to call for zeal in leadership, not passivity. APP: If you have leadership or responsibility over any particular aspect of this local church, do it diligently! ILL: 1 Cor. 10:31—“do all for the glory of God.”
Mercy. EXP: eleon—probably refers to those who are caring for the sick or vulnerable or aged. This gift is characterized by cheerfulness. What a kind instruction from our Lord! APP: If you are gifted for merciful care of those who are suffering, do not do so out of duty but in kindness and cheerfulness—we get our word hilarious from the Greek word used here. Bring joy to this ministry!
1. Do you believe you are gifted to speak? To serve? Which of Paul's examples of grace gifts do you have?
2. Are you speaking? Serving?
3. Do you take particular joy or feel particularly compelled to speak or serve in the ministry of DRBC?
4. Are you regularly reading your Bible? Praying? Are you in a group that intentionally includes accountability?
5. Have you ever completed a spiritual gifts inventory or any tool designed to help you identify and understand your gift(s)?
6. Does the Lord want one or two members of the Body of Christ to be active for His glory? Or does He intend for every member to perform a function according to the grace/faith that He has granted? Are you active in ministry? How?