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I am the Pastor/Teacher of Rivers of Joy Baptist Church in Minford, Ohio since August 2008.  I am married to Charity since June 14, 1969.  I have four grown children.   Having served in the local church for over forty years as Pastor/Teacher, Asso., Youth Pastor, Minister of Education, Building Upkeep, Camp Director, Sunday School Teacher, etc. Also I have worked in the public place for as many years as I have preached. Charity and her sister are co owner of Union Mills Conf. (Bakery) in West Portsmouth Ohio

Spiritual Gifts Study Part Twoi

SPIRITUAL GIFTS STUDY PART TWO

They estimate that maximally people are using the maximum amount of their brain are functioning at about eleven percent of their brain capacity.
That means there's another 89 percent that isn't even being used.
And so when we say, well, we understand the limitations of the human mind or when we give certain tests to people and assume that that therefore gives us the final word on how much capacity they have, we're really far from being right.
The human mind has tremendous capacity beyond what we attain. And a lot of that has to do with our approach to life .

But in a spiritual dimension the same thing is true. You have many Christians who are trying to define their gift while only having about an 11 percent performance capacity to translate, to figure out what it is. And if the truth were known, if they ever came to Romans 12:1 and 2 and lived out that life, they would probably totally redefine their gift because they would begin to see it in its fullness.
And I think a lot of folks have trouble trying to figure out what their gift and ministry is because they've never gone through Romans 12:1 and 2, right? So they're struggling with a very limited amount of data to deal with. So we start by the dedication of self. And if you weren't here last week, you need to get that tape and think that one through.
the greatest saints in the church's history,
I mean, you go to the bookstore and you buy their biographies. And I buy their biographies and I read them and I pour over them. And I've done it since I was a kid. And I read the stories of these great men of God, great saints who changed the course of the world, who impacted the history of the church, who won, you know, cities and nations and continents for Christ and who build great institutions and great churches and schools and wrote great books. And you read about them and you remember them and you honor them and you assume that they're in another category, that they're way out there somewhere.
And the truth of the matter is, the difference is they learned the meaning and the value of Romans 12:1 and 2. They learned to live that way.
Now having begun there, let's enter in to verse 3. We said we want to commit ourselves and that's the key to being effective in our service. Our usefulness now depends on three things.
proper attitude,
proper relationship,
proper service.
We have to have the right attitude,
the right communication between God and you or relationships,
and the right service to be best or greatest possible useful to God.
Now what is the proper attitude?
What is the attitude in the heart of one who is totally given over to God?
It's an attitude of humility.. This is introduced in verse 3. "For I say through the grace given unto me to every man that is among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think but to think soberly as according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."
For, he says, and the "for" there is a transition, only the dedication spoken of in verses 1 and 2 can lead to this proper attitude.
 
In other words, he's really moving through to service. The whole issue here is if you have, verse 6, the gift of prophecy then prophesy. If you have the gift of ministry, then minister...the gift of teaching, then teach...the gift of exhortation, then exhort...the gift of giving, do it with liberality.
Whatever it is, if you have it, do it. All he's trying to do is work his way up to service. Service begins with dedication for dedication is behind humility. The right attitude is the result of a self-surrender. If I've given everything I am to God, then I'm nothing left. That's the attitude of humility. It flows out of selfless abandonment to the will of God.
Now to make his point he warns against the wrong attitude. I say through the grace given unto me, I love that statement, the grace given unto him.
 
What kind of grace is he talking about?
Well, he's not talking about saving grace, although he did receive that. That was experienced by all believers. All of us has received in Christ saving grace, no question about that. That's not what he has in mind.
It is the grace specifically that called him to be an Apostle. It is the grace of God that ordained him to a position of authority, the position of an Apostle.
He had received from God the call to preach. He had received from God the Apostleship as Christ Himself had come to him and confronted him and called him into the ministry. He repeats this over and over again. So he was an Apostle by grace. And that's what he's saying. I'm saying this to you through grace given to me.
Now why didn't he say I'm saying this to you as an Apostle of Jesus Christ? The answer is, in a verse on humility you don't pull rank. That's the point.
So what he says is, look, I want to pull rank but I want you to know that my rank has nothing to do with me, it has to do with God's...what?...God's grace.
What is that to say? That's to say this is authoritative. I'm saying to you, I'm saying it as an Apostle by grace but I'm saying it as an Apostle with authority...here it comes...not to every one of you...rather, we need to look at that phrase...to every one that is among you, nobody gets off the hook, all professed Christians at Rome in the church and all professed Christians anywhere...I'm saying to all of you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think but to think soberly. Now that is an absolutely marvelous statement...marvelous statement. It's an unforgettable statement.
 
There is a Greek verb "to think," it's the verb phroneo.
He uses a form of it four times in that one statement...four times the root of the verb he uses is phroneo. Another way to translate it would be this, I say through the grace given unto me, and this will bring out the four uses of the word,
to every man that is among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think but to think with sober thinking.
Four times.
Or, not to be high-minded, above that which he ought to be minded, but to be so minded as to be sober minded.
Or to say it another way, not to over estimate one's self beyond a true estimate but to estimate one's self with a proper estimate.
Now that's a fairly clear, I hope. But what does it mean to think soberly?.
It means to be in one's right mind. You see, conceit is treated as a form of insanity.
If you don't think about yourself the way you ought to think, you're insane, you're out of your mind.
if you're living an illusion about who you really are and what your capability really is and what your gifts are, if you're living out an illusion, you're insane. You need to think soberly. You need to be in your right mind.
So, we are warned not to over-estimate, to think proudly. And this is the sin of exaggeration.
He says, I'm telling you, don't think more highly than you ought to think.
Don't over-estimate your value.
Don't over-estimate your gifts.
Don't think you're the world's next leading evangelist if you're not.
Don't over-estimate yourself.
There's a very ugly sin contained in overstated self-esteem.
And the Bible says the Lord hates a proud heart.
And Peter writing in 1 Peter, really talking to people who were in leadership, says be clothed with humility for God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble, humble yourselves therefore unto the mighty hand of God, He'll exalt you in His own time.
So, it is basic to the text that he says don't have an exaggerated opinion of your abilities.
Don't have an exaggerated opinion of your gifts, but rather than thinking more highly, think soberly,
the word for wise, think wisely, think sanely, think rightly, be in your right mind, don't think too high...now watch this one...but don't think...what?...too low, think right.
 
Don't go around saying, "O, I am a worm." And when somebody says, "Man, you can really minister." "O, it was...it's nothing, it's absolutely nothing...O, I'm nothing, I am abased." That is a mild form of bragging. You want somebody to say, "O, you're wonderful...you're wonderful," and inside you're saying...keep it up, I love it, I love it, see. Don't think too high, but think high, not just too high, be in your right mind. Recognize your limits. Keep a proper measure of your gifts.
We're not trying to advocate some kind of silly false humility. But it is pretty silly to think you're something when you're nothing. Galatians 6:3 says, "If a man thinks himself to be something when he's nothing, he deceives himself."
 
So, you know, one of the things you want to learn in your area of spiritual gifts is this, don't have an exaggerated opinion of what you can do of your gifts. Think realistically, wisely.
There's no room for exaggerated self-esteem, whether it comes in boastfulness...I'm one of the greatest...you know, and you can found your own Bible college with your own name and all of that.
 
Don't have an exaggerated opinion of yourself. On the other hand, don't come along with all that false modesty that says I'm nothing, I'm a worm. And you really want people to build you up. Both of those are unacceptable.