Sunday, March 15, 2020

Faith & Practice

Rom. 1 - 11 = the foundations of our faith  (doctrine)
Rom. 12 - 16 = the practice of our faith  (application)

"Faith & Practice" - what we should do - practice
                               why we should to it - doctrine, believs - knowledge of why we do what we do.

'Specific practices' begins with (1)  self-assessment
                                               (2)  Spiritual gifts

Rom. 12:3-8
Broken Down:
Rom. 12:3 ..... 'by the grace given me".... = Apostolic Office and Authority - talks about how God gave him these.
".... I say to every one of you..." = applicable to ALL Christians!!!

#1)  Don't be high-minded - PROUD!!
      ie  think more of 'self than should.
From online dictionary:
PRIDE = (1)  a feeling or deep pleasure derived from one's own achievements, or qualities, or possessions  (that are widely admired)
               (2)  confidence, self respect - as expressed by members of a group; based on a shared identity, culture, experience  Example:  proud to be American, Okie, etc.  (Dictionary illustration = LGBT pride!!!)
               (3)  conciousness of one's own dignity
And, lastly!!  (4)  the quality of having an excessively high opinion of oneself or one's importance.

Interesting!  Put last in dictionary definition, BUT Bible never uses it in a Positive sense!!

Old English = PRUD - an exaggerated opinion of oneself;  pride and disdain
Listed as 1 of 7 deadly sins.
The sin that caused the fall of Satan!

On one hand, there is clearly a place for Positive Pride
However, many, serious warnings in scripture on the danger of "think more highly of 'self than ought!"

#2.  Assess yourself with Sober-Judgment!
Sound, proper, realistic - Contrast the # of beers = ______!  1 = witty, 2 = charming, 3 = tough, 4 or more = invincible.

#3.  (pastor's paraphrase) measure yourself....taking into account....what God has (graciously) given you!  

Point:  IF you have achieved, acquired, accomplished ... THEN it is largely due to what God has GIVEN you!!
Examples:  ball player, business owner, family, citizenship, etc.
1 Cor. 4:7

"This does NOT Downplay ... hard work, self-discipline, self-development
Merely Recognizes the Sourse of Abilities, opportunities, etc.
ie:  the Raw Materials of a successful life!!

Augustine (on Pride) - "the love of one's own excellence"
instead of ... the appreciation of one's giftedness!!
Example:  Paul - 1 Cor. 15:9-10

(interestingly) Paul starts "practical application" with Self-Assessment and goes immediately to Spiritual gifts!!

Definition  (Spiritual Gifts) =  Spiritually enhanced abilities by the Holy Spirit to do God's work.
Rom. 12:4-8 with 1 Cor. 12:1, 4-7, 11, 27

2 primary points of the passage = (1)   measure yourself properly
                                                   (2)  Use your gifts accordingly

Some Additional observations from these 2 passages:
If you are a Christian ....
#1.  You are gifted!! - every individual

#2.  You are gifted according to God's wisdom - s He determines.  you don't get to choose.  
       Add:   (a)  And your personality  (temperament)
       but ... (b)  NOT according to your Preference!!

#3.  Your gift is a GIFT!!  graciously given without merit!!  - we do not earn it or choose it!

#4.  It is to be Used!!  to benefit others
                                  to develop the body  (church)
                                  to promote the Kingdom

NOTE:  your gift probably won't be spectacular!!!  Example:  problems in Corinth.  Spectacular gifts often lead to pride.

NOTE:  Your gift will be in accordance with (a) God's Wisdom, (b) your temperament, AND  (c)  the Body's Need!!
Which means ... IF called to a particular church and IF not using your gift ... THEN the Body suffers that's partly your fault!!

Also means ... IF the body suffers.... You (as a member) Suffer!!

#5,  The Scriptural lists are (probably) NOT inclusive.  example:  gifts test

#6.  You don't need to know your spiritual gifts to exercise those gifts - doing what comes natural ... within the parameters of scripture!!

#7.  When you exercise your gifts ... God USES YOU!!!   1 Pet. 4:10

Closing Scripture:  Heb. 13: 20-21


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