Hey everybody, this is Zenon Thornton, one of the newest elders here at Bethel
Did you know that God has given each of us gifts and abilities? Our job is to both discover these gifts, and put them to action, as part of the larger “Body” of Christ, the church.
Let’s jump right into today’s Bible text, Romans 12 verses 6-13 and use the “Hear” method to Highlight, Explain, Apply and Respond. I’ll be using the New Living Translation.
New Living Translation
6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, [a] and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. [b] 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
Some highlights for me in these verses are the idea of “gifts'' or abilities. We are all given them, and we have the ability to do them well. Each of us is unique in the makeup of our gifts. And these gifts are part of the larger Body of Christ, that is His Church, believers in Christ. Our individual gifts are part of the collective “Whole”, the body.
As with gifts in real life these are “things” we have that are “given to others” for that is what a “gift” is. The gift has value or is put into action when it is “given away''. If it is “held” or kept to ourselves it is not of much value.
There are some specific gifts listed in verses 6 thru 8. Prophesy, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leadership, and love. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all gifts, spiritual or otherwise, but an example of abilities that God has given us. And with each listed gift the exhortation is to use it!
I also see in these verses of scripture 2 parts. One is the listing of gifts in verses 6-8. Then in verses 9-13 it appears to take one of those gifts, namely Love, and dig into what it looks like to fully use this gift or as is says in verse 9 “Don’t just pretend to Love others. Really love them.”
What does it look like to “really” use this God-Given gift of love? It looks like verses 9-13… hating what is wrong, holding tight to what is good, loving with genuine affection, taking delight in honoring each other. Not being lazy, but working hard to serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoicing in our confident hope (Jesus), being patient in trouble and praying. When people are in need, being ready to help them. Being eager to practice hospitality. That is LOVE. Not doing these things is not really love, it is only “pretending” to love.
I think of the verse 1 John 3:18 “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.”
So “pretending to love” means not putting love into action.
And that’s the application I get from these verses. Put your gifts into action, that is the function of “we” The Body of Christ. Using our many gifts in action to serve believes in Jesus and the rest of the world.