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Modified from Irving L.
Jensen's excellent work "Jensen's
Survey of the NT"
Under Grace - Part 4
by Dr. Wayne A.
at verse 6 of Romans chapter 12: "And since we have gifts that differ
according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly."
You and I have to present ourselves and let God renovate our minds to
allow Him to bring us to a fresh understanding of what the church is all
about. It is not an organization. It is an organism. It is a body. It is
not just local, although there are local churches in Scripture, it is
world-wide. My gift is not just for the church I pastor, but for the whole
body of Christ. Your gift is not just for your church, but for the whole
body of Christ. We have to allow God to empower us and lead us in our
gifts in the proportion of faith that He has given to us. The measure of
faith there means that He has given each of us the ability to trust Him in
the proportion of gifts that He has given to us. As we do that, much joy
is brought to us and Godís character is manifested through us.
Now you can imagine if we all had the same gift. Thank God we donít. Thank
God we donít all have the same personality. That would bore you to tears.
We are all different. We are unique. I think of the Peanutís cartoon when
Linus was feeling bad. One of the other characters came up to him and
said, "Listen, you are like a snowflake. God has never made a snowflake
like another snowflake." You can never compare yourself to anybody. You
are fearfully and wonderfully made. Thatís a beautiful picture of how each
one of us are a part of a world-wide body of Christ.
When you start seeing it that way, the organization sort of slips over to
one side, and the organism rises to the surface.
A man recently came to me in a meeting that I was doing and said,
"Preacher, I hear what you are saying, but you have to have organization.
You have to have the by-laws and the Constitution. You have got to have a
charter. You have to be legal. You have got to have business meetings. You
have to have organization." What are those people who say those kinds of
things so adamantly defending? If somebody defends the organization more
than they defend the organism, then it is obvious that he has not gotten
that realization, that renewed mind. Because when you put the organization
first, it is always people at the expense of the organism. An organism by
its own necessity will organize itself. Organization certainly is there.
The Spirit does things decently and in order, but you donít put the
organization first. You put the organism first.
But only a renewed mind can even comprehend what I have just said. It is a
relationship we have to God. It is a relationship we have to each other.
We minister to one another out of the specific unique gifts God has given
to us. These gifts are only for inside the church body. Outside the church
body we are commanded to do every single one of the gifts. We have the
Giver of the gifts living in us. I am commanded to show mercy. I am
commanded to serve. Those who are gifted in those areas help all of us to
do what we are commanded to do much more gracefully.
You see, we need one another. It is not one of these things that says,
"Well, I donít have the gift of serving. So the chairs need to be set up,
get somebody with the gift of serving. I am going home." That is not what
he is saying. Get yourself up there and help put those chairs up. You may
not be gifted to do that, but you are commanded to do that. You have to
constantly keep the balance in your mind.
The gifts are for the function of the body. It is to minister to one
another. First Corinthians 12:7 gives the ground rules of all the gifts.
It says, "For each one is given the manifestation to profit with all." In
the Greek it leaves it open. Every person in the body of Christ is to
profit from the giftedness of the body. Therefore, we donít teach the sign
gifts. We teach the service gifts. Sign gifts edify the individual.
Service gifts edify the body. That is what he is talking about. That is
what is mentioned in Romans 12. You donít find sign gifts in Romans 12.
We donít teach the sign gifts. We teach the service gifts. We have our
view towards that, and they are written very plainly. It is in the
Constitution and by-laws, and we have our doctrinal statement concerning
where we stand on gifts. In so many churches you donít know where they
are. They are so fussy, they never say anything. "He that points in every
direction points in no direction." So we had a stand. But we teach the
service gifts. Why? Because the gifts are to profit the whole body. The
service gifts do that. The speaking and service gifts do that.
A man came to me one year and asked me a question. He asked me, "Wayne,
when does the church become a church?" That is a good question. I wanted
to say, "Well, when you are chartered, when you have a constitution and
by-laws, when you are legally recognized, etc." Somehow that didnít seem
to answer the question, and I knew it would not.
What makes a church a church? It began to dawn on me that since the church
is a body, then that church is not a functioning church unless the gifts
within that church are functioning so that the character of Jesus Christ
is manifested through the people who are gifted in that body and to where
Jesus is getting the glory, not the people.
This is an appropriate word for the church. I think it is important for
us. Come to the Word. What is the church? What is the church? It is not an
organization like you know an organization. I am not the CEO. The elders
are not a Board of Directors. You are not stockholders in this church. We
are all by the grace of God in the body of Christ. We are localized in the
sense that there are local churches. You see them all through the New
Testament. But the local church is simply a miniature picture of what the
whole body of Christ is to be. If you are a believer you are gifted. God
wants your gift used in the body somehow, whether officially or
unofficially. God will use you when you present your body and renew your
mind and are willing to let Jesus be Jesus in your life. He will manifest
Himself through you one way. He will manifest Himself through me another
way. All of us are uniquely different. When you put it all together, you
see the character of Jesus living on this earth in the bodies of the
people He has delivered and rescued from themselves.
In Romans 12:6 Paul begins to list the gifts. The reason I like Romans 12
is because I think it is the purest list of gifts in the New Testament.
Now I know some people disagree with that. I think in 1 Corinthians 12 he
is not teaching gifts specifically, but he is teaching the diversity of
the body. He doesnít seek to make a complete list in
1Corinthians 12. It
is a whole different subject in
1Corinthians 12 than what you find in
Romans 12. In Ephesians 4 he is talking about the offices. He is talking
about the gifted men. In 1 Peter he talks about the gifts of serving and
speaking, but he mentions the gift of hospitality. I am not one of these
who takes every time the word "gift" is mentioned and makes a list and
says, "There are 19. There are 21 different gifts." I donít go that route.
I think Romans 12 is the purest teaching on gifts you have in the New
There are seven categories of them. Thatís not a bad number. I think these
seven are the categories where we are all somehow fitted. You may be
fitted differently and certainly you will be, but these are the seven
categories of gifts. I think it is so pure in line of the teaching of what
Paul is bringing out. Letís look at them.
First of all he mentions in verse 6, prophecy. He says, "And since we have
gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise
them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his
faith;..." Now the word "prophecy" is the word propheteia. It comes from
the word prophetes, which comes from pro, before, and phemi, to tell. It
means to foretell. You can certainly understand that in the early church.
There were prophets just as there were in the Old Testament. Remember,
they did not have the full counsel of the Word of God. It was a prophet
who went to Paul and warned him of pain and discomfort when he got over to
Jerusalem. So it can mean foretell. But I believe in our day and the
purpose of what the church is all about, it means something else. The word
there means, forth tell or to tell forth, to declare the revelation of God
through His Word.
The reason I believe that is so significant is that the office is
mentioned in Ephesians 2:20. I think it is very important that you see
that not only that the gift is there, but the man is there. I am running a
little ahead of myself. I want you to first of all see that. There is the
difference between the gift and between the office. Now letís do that
first and we will go back to that in a moment. The gift is what we are
talking about. The office is found in
Ephesians 2:20, "Having been built
upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself
being the corner stone." The prophets are relegated to the very foundation
of the church along with the apostles. They have no successors. But the
gift is what we are talking about: the gift of preaching. The reason I
think it is is because of its restriction.
Look at verse 6 again. It says, "if prophecy, according to the proportion
of his faith." The word "proportion" is the word analogia. It is the word
from which we get the word "analogy." It means the right relation to
something. Now that something could be taken two ways. First of all you
could say it is in relationship to his faith, as it is translated there in
Romans 12:6 in the New American Standard. It says, "if prophecy, according
to the proportion of his faith." If you took it that way it would be mean
that when you prophesy you do it within the confines of your ability to
trust God, within the realm of your faith, the measure of faith that God
has given to you. But I disagree with that. There is no "his" there. There
is no pronoun there. It is "the", the definite article.
To me what he is saying is, if you prophesy, it has got to be absolutely
related to the Word of God. You cannot step outside the counsel of God. So
in forth telling, what you have here with the gift of prophecy is the gift
of preaching. That is what he is talking about. He is talking about people
who preach the revelation of God through His Word. The restriction is in
what the Word of God says. We are talking about the gift now, not
necessarily the man or the office. We are talking about the gift. The gift
of prophecy is the ability to preach, to declare, to tell forth, the Word
You say, "Now, Wayne, wait a minute. What is the difference then in a
preacher and a teacher? I mean, you are going to have teaching come up in
a moment. What is the difference in a person with prophecy and a person
with teaching?" Here is my personal definition. With teaching, as we will
see in a moment, it is geared a different way. It is geared to
clarification. But with preaching, it is geared more to confrontation. It
is still the Word of God. It has to be the Word of God. It has to be
properly taught, properly studied and properly brought out. But it is more
to confront somebody with it.
If you will study it, it is no coincidence to me that the word "prophecy"
is geared and comes from the word "prophet". If you will study the
prophets in Scripture, they were the ones who took the counsel of God,
what God had said, and put it right in the face of the people, stirring
them to have to make a decision concerning what God had said. Whereas, a
teacher does not go that route. His motivation is not to confront you with
it. His motivation is to clarify what he has studied to make sure you
understand it. So the gift of prophecy then to me is the gift of
preaching. However you look at that, let the Word of God be the authority,
not what Wayne says about it. But in my study, that is what I believe. The
gift of the prophecy is the gift of preaching, the telling forth, the
declaring of the Word of God. And oh, how we need that.
It doesnít have to be in the pulpit. It can be in many ways. I know many
people who have the gift of prophecy, the gift of taking Godís Word and
just putting it right in front of somebody and confronting them with truth
is all about.
The second gift he mentions here is the gift of serving. In verse 7 it
says, "if service, in his serving." The Greek word for "serving" is
diakonia. It comes from the word diakonos. It means menial and practical
service. It is the word from which we get the word "deacon." It is the
word from which we get the word "ministry."
In fact, if I understand the word, the word "deacon" was never translated
from diakonos. Back when the Scriptures were translated into English, the
church in power at that time had deacons who had positions of power. The
translators knew what the word meant. It means, "Here, your tea glass is
empty. Can I give you another glass of tea? Is there anything else I can
do for you?" That is all the word has ever meant. It is not a position of
honor. It is a position of service. But they took the word and said, "You
know, we canít translate that because if we do, we are coming against the
very office that is held high in our denomination, religion. And so,
therefore, we are going to change it. We are just going to transliterate
it." When you transliterate a word, you make a word out of a word. So
diakonos became deacon, whatever that is supposed to mean.
Can you imagine the revolution that could happen in churches if deacons
could understand they are in a position of service, not in a position of
honor and power, when they begin to simply take on the extra arm that
others donít have to serve the people within the church? That is where the
word comes from. The word "ministry" comes from the very same word.
So when you talk about serving, it is a person who seeks supernaturally to
meet the practical needs of others. It does not necessarily ever have to
be seen. It is a person who finds his innermost joy out of meeting the
needs of others. Paul says, "if service, in his serving." Now it is
apparent to me that this gift, as others, is given in the proportion of
faith that is measured out to the individual. That means there may be
hundreds of people with the gift of serving. Each one of them will serve
in a different way. They wonít all do the same or look alike, but they
will all have the same motivation.
In your serving, you may have a smaller piece of the pie, therefore, you
donít have as broad a gift as others have. Or you may have a bigger piece.
But the Holy Spirit of God is the one who leads you and motivates you in
your serving. Serving is what causes you to want to function in the body
of Christ. You want to do the things that are practical and meet the
practical needs of others. But a need does not justify a call. That is why
you have got to remember, God is the author of these gifts and He is the
one who directs them and moves them within a person. We are all uniquely
gifted differently. Paul says it will be in the proportion of faith and
direction that God gives to you. It wonít always be the same.
There are three prepositions that we bring out from time to time and I
want to bring that out. Ek is a preposition that means motion out of. Eis
is preposition that means motion into, and en is the preposition that
means remaining in something. That is the word used here. "if service, in
his serving." Remaining in that which God has given, remaining in that
which God is directing in your life. It may not be what others is, but it
is the motivation of your heart and the motivation of your life.
Well, thirdly Paul mentions teaching. In verse 7 he says, "if service, in
his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching." That is the word
didasko. Again, here is the distinction between the gift and the office.
There is the gift of teaching, just like there is the gift of the prophet,
the gift of the teacher. There is the gift of teaching and then there is
the gifted teacher.
Ephesians 4:11 says, "And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets,
and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers." So we see the
office, but that is not what we are talking about in Romans 12. We are
talking about the gift of teaching. The teacher was appointed in biblical
times, but when it comes to the gift of teaching, anyone can have the gift
of teaching. It is the ability to clarify truth. I know many people who
have the purest gift of teaching, but they cannot apply. I mean, they
canít take it out of the heavens and put it down to where people live. You
walk away saying, "Whoa! That is so clear." But as you walk away you are
also thinking, "Well, what does it mean to me?" They really are not
strongly gifted in bringing it down here.
The gift of prophecy and the gift of teaching in prophecy takes that same
clarification of truth and confronts a person, puts it right in his face
and that person is stirred and moved to do something about it. The gift of
teaching is totally satisfied if you walk away having clearly understood.
It is: clarifying truth, observation, interpretation, application, very
careful to be detailed in content. That doesnít mean the gift of prophecy
is not gifted in content, but he takes that content and confronts folks
with it. That is his motivation. It is different here.
Some people preach and teach as they preach. I mean, that can work
together. It doesnít mean that you canít have both of those gifts. But the
gift of teaching is the ability to clarify truth to others. A mother can
teach her children and does. Older women teaching the younger women. It
can be manifested in many ways.
When I was taping with Dr. Spiros Zodhiates years ago, I found out how we
both really need each other. There were days in which he was explaining
something to me, he so lost me I had to have a Websterís Dictionary to
understand his vocabulary. But when he worked with me long enough I saw
it. And once I saw it, I began to say back to him, "Brother Spiros, do you
mean this can relate here in my life and here and here and here?" He would
say, "Well, I never thought about that." He told me one day, "Wayne, I
appreciate your gift." I was thinking, "Why would he appreciate my gift as
gifted as he is?" He said, "You help me apply what I have learned to
clarify. You help me bring it down to my own level, to my own life."
We need each other, folks. If you are listening to one person all the time
and that is what you are building your life on, be real careful because
that person does not have it all together. That person is uniquely gifted
in the body of Christ, but they may not have the gift perhaps that would
round that out or bring it around another way. Just get in the Word of God
for yourself and see what it says. That is the clear thing.
Well, we have prophecy or preaching, serving and teaching. Then he says,
"exhortation" in verse 8. He says, "or he who exhorts, in his
exhortation." The word "exhorts" there is the word parakaleo; para means
to motion alongside, and kaleo means to call; to call alongside, motion
alongside. It is the gift that means to comfort or to encourage. It is a
gift of coming alongside someone to comfort them or to help them with
Now listen, this is a true love gift. The Holy Spirit is called "The
Comforter", the same word, in
John 14:16. The person with the gift of
exhortation is the person in the body of Christ who just simply wants to
come alongside somebody who is having difficulty with counsel, with
comfort. It always involves instruction. This is not somebody who comes by
and just pats you on the back. This is a spiritual gift directly
associated with the Word of God. It is somebody who wants to come along
beside you and comfort you and counsel you and give you practical ways in
which you can take the Word and put it into your life. It is not really a
pulpit gift as much as it is an individual gift out in the body, a
one-on-one type of gift.
Here is where your counselors come from. I thank God for people with this
gift which is manifested in that way. Some people say when they hear me
preach that I have the gift of exhortation. Well, if I do, it is in the
sense that I take the whole congregation and make them one person, build
my own case and then answer my question before I finish preaching. I have
done that a lot. I will say, "Well, you say," or "He said." You didnít say
and he didnít say. I am building a case. I take it on as if I am in a
conversation with somebody.
My counseling is not in a room somewhere one on one. That is not the
proportion of faith that God has given to me. That is not the motivation
of my heart. That doesnít mean I donít do it. But that is not the
motivating drive of my life. The motivating drive of my life is in the
pulpit. It is to take the Word of God, to bring it alongside you as a
whole and to help you practically learn how to live it, to confront you
with it, to teach you with it.
I guess they are all involved somehow. But exhortation is very, very
important. It is a love gift. It is the same heartbeat as the person with
the gift of mercy. The difference is mercy shows what its heartbeat is by
what it does. Exhortation shows its heartbeat by what it says. A person
with exhortation wonít spend a whole lot of time doing something for you
in that sense of the word, but he will spend a lot of time with you
sharing with you the counsel of the Word of God, making it practical to
help you in your walk with God.
There are many forms and sizes and shapes of exhortation, just like there
are different people in the body of Christ. The motivation is the same.
But each one of you who has that gift has been given a certain slice. You
want to just stay within that. God will move you and motivate you in that
Well, prophecy, serving, teaching, exhortation, and then Paul mentions
giving. I like giving. That is a good gift to talk about. Romans 12:8
reads, "or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with
liberality." Now it is interesting to me that the restriction of the gifts
sort of change here. Preaching is restricted to the Word of God. The gift
of serving is restricted to the proportion of faith given, to the leading
of God in the individualís life. The same with teaching, the same with
exhortation. But giving is restricted to liberality. Now the word "giving"
means to give with good intentions, for the good will of somebody else.
But the word "liberality" doesnít mean liberality as we see it. I can see
why they translated it that way. Let me explain it.
The word for "he who gives" is metadidomi. Meta at the front of the word
expresses an association with something or someone. Obviously, the person
who is the recipient of the gift. Liberality is the word haplotes. It
means not to have a double motive. It involves sincerity and purity of
motive. So you have "giving" being not just didomi, but metadidomi, which
means you are associated with the person you are giving to. Then you have
the word liberality, which is the word haplotes. It is the word that means
not liberality but sincerity. In other words, a person with the gift of
giving is a person who gives, but he gives with no double motive at all.
He gives out of sincerity. There are no strings attached to his giving.
You see, we are living in a day when money is power. Some people, even in
churches, will use their money as leverage to get something done they want
to get done. They will stop their giving if they donít like something in
the church and start designating it to something else. They use their
money as a way of sending a signal that they are displeased. Well, they
donít understand the counsel of the Word of God. First of all, when you
give, you donít give to the church, you give to God. Whatever the church
does with it is between them and God. God will take care of that. You see,
we have to get that on our minds first. Whenever you give, you are not
giving to the church. You are giving to the Lord Jesus Christ in the
specific way His Holy Spirit directs you to give. Now, if you are not
doing that, keep on giving, we need the money, but I mean you are not
doing it right. True giving is not giving to the church, it is giving to
I hear people all the time saying, "Well, I ought to just take my money
and go to another church." Well, help yourself. God can take care of His
people. When you give, you give to the Lord.
A person with the gift of giving has that purity of motive. It is
wonderful. No strings attached at all. He is constantly giving as the Holy
Spirit of God. Now listen, God not only gives the gift of giving, but God,
I believe in my study, gives the gifts that are to be given. In other
words, if you have the gift of giving but have nothing to give, I am
wondering about this. You see, a lot of people have been very successful
in life and they personally think that is their money.
I was reading the other day about one of the professional athletes. This
guy is getting $17 million to wear dirty football pants and to run around
out on the field! A guy who has that money will think somehow he deserves
that, if he is not careful. He will say, "Well, I will give a token to
charity and help these people out. I will buy seats for them in the
The Word of God says that one day he is going to stand before the Great
Giver and he is going to answer for what he did with what the Great Giver
chose to allow him to have on this earth. It may not be down here, folks.
There is a reckoning day coming. You do know that, donít you? Why would
God give you the ability to make it if He hadnít given you the gift to
give it? "Well, Wayne, you are just pumping your own horn." No, I am
teaching Romans 12, the gift of giving. It is something that God gives. It
is not man orchestrated, it is God orchestrated. So the gift of giving
never has strings. It has a purity of motive.
I want to give you an illustration how these gifts work together. To me,
it is the best illustration we could possibly look at because it talks
about having a party. Letís say you have a party. Seven people show up at
that party. Each one of them is gifted differently, as we have looked at.
We havenít looked at all the gifts, but letís say all the gifts are
represented. Letís just say there is one uninvited guest and that is a
baby that nobody could find a babysitter for. That little baby is sitting
in a high chair at the same table these other seven are sitting at, having
a wonderful time eating a big and wonderful meal. Right in the middle of
the meal, in about 30 seconds, that little baby wrecks the whole evening.
I mean, he knocks the plates off, breaks them, takes the spaghetti bowl
and turns it upside down on his head. He has food in his hair, ears and
all over them. There is a mess on the floor. The baby is throwing stuff
and squalling and screaming.
Now watch. If every person at that table is controlled by the Holy Spirit
of God, what is going to take place? The gift of serving jumps up. "Give
me a broom, give me a mop. I will clean this mess up." The gift of mercy
runs over to the baby. "Oh, bless its heart. Donít you all fuss at this
little child. It is okay. It is going to be alright. Yes, yes. Let me
clean your little cheeks." The gift of teaching: "Now let me clarify for
you as to exactly why this happens. I have been studying you for a long
time. If you look at how children act at tables, children have been
sitting at tables for a long time. First of all, I think it is because
they are children." They communicate. The gift of exhortation: "Let me
give you five steps in how to help this child not do this again. Step
number one, donít feed it. No. Step number two." Five steps, always giving
practical advice. The gift of giving: "Oh, donít sweat it. Here is $20,
buy another plate." And you begin to go around. The gift of leading:
"Okay, you do this, you do that, you do this and you do that." He stands
up and just takes charge. The gift of prophecy, that is the mother: "Why
did you do this? You know you did it!" Every mother has the gift of
All of the gifts begin to function. What happens in the church when you
put this into a relationship which God has gifted us to do in service?
Listen, the greatest freedom we can all have is if you will set me free to
be the person God has gifted me to be, and I will set you free to be the
congregation God has gifted you to be. I will keep from putting you under
guilt if you will keep from putting it on me. Letís just let Jesus be
glorified in the midst of it. If you wonít compare me to other preachers,
I wonít compare you to other congregations. "Does it work both ways?" Uh
huh. We will just let the Holy Spirit of God do what He has designed to
do. He will be the one who manifests the gift through you.
Jesus will get the glory, none of us. He is still alive, folks. He is on
this earth. You say, "He is in heaven with the Father." Yes, but His
Spirit is alive and well on this earth in the hearts and lives of
believers. "Well, I donít see Him." Well, just start looking around. Start
with yourself. Present your body, renew your mind, be willing and watch
how God will manifest the character of the very Christ who saved you as He
begins to produce through you a gift of serving or whatever it is. They
will all be service. But a different gift. When you put them all together,
what you are going to do is not see me or you, but you see Jesus who lives
When I think of my son, I think of that tall lanky body. He is a man. I
see God working in him in ways that challenge me. It convicts me as his
father. When I think of Stephen, I think of his body. But you know what
impresses me about that is that a body is only important because of the
entity that lives in it. My Mama and my Daddy and my Grandparents are all
in a grave in Virginia. I never go there. Why? They are not there. Their
bodies are there. But the body doesnít mean anything if there is no life
Christ has a body, doesnít He, on this earth? What is important about it?
The body? No. The entity that lives in it. When you look at the church,
you ought to see Him. You wonít see it the same in every church because
everybody is gifted differently, motivated many times the same way, but so
diverse in the way they will express their gifts.
You know, I think this is just so appropriate, at the very hour that we
are in as a church, to come back to basics, folks. What did you think the
church was? It is the body of Christ. Not an organization, not man-made.
It canít be controlled by man and never was. You donít push it and you
donít pull it. It is Christ living in the hearts and lives of believers by
grace, manifesting His character through specific gifts in diverse people