How you can Benefit the Church

Group

When God saves His people, He does not leave them in isolation. Rather, He places them into the body of Christ and they are to participate with the other members. The members of the church are not all the same. God has designed the church in such a way that it consists of people from different backgrounds, ages and personalities. This beautiful reality is seen in where the focus is on spiritual gifts. John Murray summarises this passage by saying,

 

“In this section Paul is going to address the differences between believers – differences which God in His sovereign providence and distributions of His grace has caused to exist”[1].

 

As God’s people present their bodies to God as a living sacrifice, this will manifest itself in such a way that it benefits the whole church. If this is going to take place, we need to know that healthy body life occurs when there is: humility of mind (), unity of members () and diversity of gifts ().

 

HUMILITY OF MIND ()
When it comes to your place and practice in the church, how should you view yourself? Paul makes it clear that you ought not to have a high view of yourself (a). Instead, we ought to measure our abilities against God’s gracious provision of giftedness (b). We will never serve effectively in the body of Christ if our starting point is not one of humility.

 

UNITY OF MEMBERS ()
In addition to having a right understanding of ourselves, we must always have a right understanding of the entire church. Using the human body as an analogy, Paul makes the point that a body will have many parts with different functions, yet it is a single body (). In the same way the church — which consists of many members — is united in Christ (). How does this help with effective body life? Negatively, it would be a disaster if a part from the human body operated independent from the rest, so it would be a disaster if this happens in the church. Positively, when the individual parts of the human body operate in harmony there is healthy function.

 

DIVERSITY OF GIFTS ()
The third thing to know about healthy body life in the church is the diversity of gifts. Not everyone in the church is the same, and God has made it this way by design. Understanding the diversity of gifts by sovereign allotment, the members of the church are to use what God has given them for the effective operation of the body. In Paul lists 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is important to note that while you may be gifted in certain areas, don’t use that as an excuse to neglect obedience because it is not your “gift”. Most of these gifts are in the form of commands for all believers throughout the Scriptures.

 

Prophecy
The word “prophecy” literally means, “to speak forth”. A prophet was one who received direct revelation from God and communicated it. Prophecy involved both foretelling and forth telling and functioned as a foundational aspect to the early church (cf. ). Prophecy was to be in perfect harmony with God’s Word. A contemporary application of this gift would be the importance of faithfully communicating God’s Word according to Scripture (cf. b).

Service
The gift of “service” is practical gift that it broad in its application. It simply means, “to serve” and it is from this word where the term “deacon”. The gift of service is not limited to deacons and is seen in a variety of practical ways in the life of a church (helping, meals, setting up, cleaning etc.).

Teaching
The one who teaches, in his teaching…” (). The gift of “teaching” refers to the ability to communicate the Word of God in such a way that it is made clear. Pastors and elders ought to have the gift of teaching (cf. ; ) however it is not limited to them.

Exhortation
The one who exhorts, in his exhortation…” (). The word “exhorts” literally means, “to call alongside”. This is this ability to skillfully encourage God’s people to obey and apply the Scripture. An excellent example of the gift of exhortation was Barnabas ().

Giving
The one who contributes, in generosity…” (). The gift of giving refers to the ability to provide practical resources to those in need. This is to be done with sincerity and generosity.

Leading
The one who leads, with zeal…” (). The word “leads” is also used in the NT to describe the task of church leaders (). However, this gift is not limited to elders and deacons. This leadership is to be carried out “with zeal” indicating the serious responsibility.

Mercy
The one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness” (). This is the gift of sensitively caring for those struggling or suffering. It is to be done in such a way that it is not seen as a mere duty.

 

What is your giftedness? One of the most effective ways to discover your giftedness is to give yourself wholly to God (), be humble () and start being faithful in the church (). The area of your giftedness will soon become clear. This is how we benefit the church to God’s glory.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function,

so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;

if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching;

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,

Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

36 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus,

the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive,

1 Timothy 3:5

for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?

1 Timothy 3:12

12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well.

1 Timothy 5:17

17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.

the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Published by

Andrew Courtis

Andrew Courtis

ANDREW - Serves as Pastor of Hills Bible Church. I am married to Dianne and we have three children (Kate, Emma and Jack). I was born and raised in Melbourne, moved to Adelaide to undertake theological studies (BMin.), and have completed additional studies with the Australian College of Theology (MATh.). I have served in pastoral ministry in both Melbourne and Sydney and am a qualified school teacher. I am committed to expository preaching and making the word of God known and understood.