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What's My Function

Romans: The Righteous Shall Live By Faith  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  43:59
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Romans: The Righteous Shall Live By Faith/ Service;Ministry; Humility; Pride; Body of Christ; Church: Leadership; Church: Fellowship and Unity.

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Romans 12:3–8 ESV
3 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. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 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.
INTRODUCTION
1. In our text, we find Paul expressing several principles concerning the church...
a. Christians are one body in Christ
b. As one body, we are individually members of one another
c. The members do not have the same function
d. We should serve in whatever function God has given us ability
2. The last two principles often cause one to ask...
a. “What is my function in the body of Christ?”
b. “How do I determine what function(s) I have?”
3. It may help to compare it to choosing a vocation...
a. There are principles used in determining one’s aptitude and vocational direction
b. These principles may help one determine what our functions might be in the body of Christ
[For example, when people contemplate career choices, one thing they do is acquaint themselves with job descriptions. So let’s...]

I. EXAMINE THE FUNCTIONS

A. PROPHECY (Preaching)...

1. The Greek word propheteia is defined as “the speaking forth of the mind counsel of God” - Vine’s
2. Originally, this referred to the gift of the Spirit by which one was inspired to reveal God’s truth
3. Today, the service most akin to prophecy is preaching
a. Where one proclaims the counsel of God as already revealed
b. By expounding upon the Word of God, not through direct inspiration

B. MINISTRY (Serving)...

1. The Greek word diakonia means “to serve”
2. It is often used to describe any sort of service
a. E.g., the service offered by Timothy - 2 Ti 4:5
2 Timothy 4:5 ESV
5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
b. E.g., the service offered by Phoebe - Ro 16:1-2
Romans 16:1–2 ESV
1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, 2 that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.
3. In a more official capacity, it is used to describe those qualified and appointed to serve as deacons (diakonos)

C. TEACHING (Instructing)...

1. Involves instructing others of the Word of God
2. There are variations of this function
a. Private teaching - e.g., Ac 18:26
Acts 18:26 ESV
26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.
b. Older women teaching the younger women - Ti 2:4
Titus 2:4 ESV
4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children,
c. Teaching in more formal sense, which not all were to do - cf. James 3:1
James 3:1 ESV
1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

D. EXHORTING (Building up)...

1. The ability to build up and strengthen others
2. Some may do this publicly (e.g., preachers, teachers) - e.g., Barnabas
3. Others may be adept to it more privately and daily - He 3:12-13
Hebrews 3:12–13 ESV
12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

E. GIVING (Sharing)...

1. Some people find themselves abundantly blessed
2. I.e., God has given them “seed for sowing fruits of righteousness” - cf. 2 Co 9:8-11
2 Corinthians 9:8–11 ESV
8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” 10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.
3. Thus it is within their ability and responsibility to give and bless others - 1 Ti 6:17-19
1 Timothy 6:17–19 ESV
17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

F. LEADING (Shepherding)...

1. This certainly includes the work of elders (pastors, overseers) - cf. Ac 20:17,28; 1 Pe 5:1-2
Acts 20:17 ESV
17 Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him.
Acts 20:28 ESV
28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
1 Peter 5:1–2 ESV
1 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;
2. They have the responsibility of watching out for our souls - He 13:17
3. They must meet specific qualifications to serve in this function - cf. 1 Ti 3:1-7; Ti 1:5-9

G. SHOWING MERCY (Loving)...

1. Perhaps this service is best illustrated in Mt 25:35-36
Matthew 25:35–36 ESV
35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
2. Can involve visiting the sick, the dying, the bereaved; ministering to those in prison, etc.
[I doubt Paul’s list is meant to be exhaustive; but it illustrates that there is a great variety of functions in the body of Christ. With an understanding of the options of service available, how do we know which one(s) we may be best suited for? Those in career counseling would suggest that one...]

II. EXPLORE THE OPPORTUNITIES

A. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES...

1. E.g., training programs offered in teaching, preaching, evangelism, etc.
2. E.g., experienced brethren (going with them as they fulfilled their service; “job shadowing”)
3. Even if you prove not to have the potential for a certain work, you gain understanding and appreciation for what others do

B. TRY SERVING IN ALL AREAS OPEN TO YOU...

1. Be willing to try everything you can
2. You may have a talent you did not know you had!
3. You may find yourself to have many talents!

C. DON’T GIVE UP AFTER THE FIRST FEW TRIES...

1. Failures may be due to inexperience, not lack of potential
2. Only with time and many efforts can we know what might be our forte
[As you explore the opportunities given you, be open to advice and counsel from others...]

III. INQUIRE FOR ADVICE

A. OTHERS ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE OBJECTIVE...

1. Pride can get in the way - cf. Ro 12:3
Romans 12:3 ESV
3 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.
2. Others may see our strengths and weaknesses more clearly
3. They may see where weaknesses are due to inability and not inexperience

B. ESPECIALLY MATURE CHRISTIANS...

1. Such as elders
a. Who must be multi-talented men of experience
b. Part of their role as elders
2. Other older Christians are often very helpful

CONCLUSION

1. The more diligent one can be to...
a. Examine the functions of service in the body of Christ
b. Explore the opportunities to learn and serve in the different functions
c. Inquire for advice from others
-- The sooner one should be able to discern what is their function in the body of Christ
2. Then the challenge becomes one of being diligent in utilizing our function...
a. As Paul admonishes his readers in our text - cf. Ro 12:6-8
Romans 12:6–8 ESV
6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 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.
b. As Peter admonishes his readers in his epistle - cf. 1 Pe 4:10-11
1 Peter 4:10–11 ESV
10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Brethren, there is much work to do. Let us be diligent to do it “with the ability God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ...” - 1 Pe 4:11

Function comes from God’s Plan of Salvation

Hear

Romans 10:17 ESV
17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Acts 16:32 ESV
32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.

Believe

Acts 16:31 ESV
31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Repent

Acts 17:30 ESV
30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,

Confess

Matthew 10:32–33 ESV
32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

Be Baptized

Acts 16:33 ESV
33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family.

Remain Faithful

1 Corinthians 10:12 ESV
12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.
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