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Romans 12 Amplified Bible (AMP) 12 I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. 3 For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him. 4 For as in one physical body we have many parts (organs, members) and all of these parts do not have the same function or use, 5 So we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another [mutually dependent on one another]. 6 Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them: [He whose gift is] prophecy, [let him prophesy] according to the proportion of his faith; 7 [He whose gift is] practical service, let him give himself to serving; he who teaches, to his teaching; 8 He who exhorts (encourages), to his exhortation; he who contributes, let him do it in simplicity and liberality; he who gives aid and superintends, with zeal and singleness of mind; he who does acts of mercy, with genuine cheerfulness and joyful eagerness. 9 [Let your] love be sincere (a real thing); hate what is evil [loathe all ungodliness, turn in horror from wickedness], but hold fast to that which is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another. 11 Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord. 12 Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of God’s people [sharing in the necessities of the saints]; pursue the practice of hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you [who are cruel in their attitude toward you]; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief]. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty (snobbish, high-minded, exclusive), but readily adjust yourself to [people, things] and give yourselves to humble tasks. Never overestimate yourself or be wise in your own conceits. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is honest and proper and noble [aiming to be above reproach] in the sight of everyone. 18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for [God’s] wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay (requite), says the Lord. 20 But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head. 21 Do not let yourself be overcome by evil, but overcome (master) evil with good. What Paul is trying to tell us in this passage is we need each other as much as we need Christ. We are not an island of our own but we are part of a body and just like a human body we are crippled when all the parts are not functioning. 1 Corinthians 12-12 says The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. 14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? 18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” Have you ever asked what is my purpose in the body of Christ? Well Paul addresses that. 5 So we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another [mutually dependent on one another]. 6 Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them: Gifts, faculties, talents and qualities. God has provided us with supernatural gifts and faculties meaning the ability to do the things he has called us for. Talents that we were naturally born with and qualities that are important for the body. As far as Paul was concerned everyone had a crucial part to play. It might not seem like it nowadays, but we are all supposed to step up and use whatever God has given us whether you were naturally born with it or whether you were supernaturally gifted with it. We are not meant to be benchwarmers. We cannot sit idly by and say God has not revealed my calling. The first thing he mentions here is prophesy. This is not the gift of telling the future but is meant in this context to be an expounder and revealer of the word. If you have that gift you are to do it according to the measure of your faith. In other words don’t reveal or expound things you have no experience with. Places that your faith has not been tested. You can tell the difference when you hear the word preached. When the person is intimate with the subject there is a powerful witness compared to when they are sharing something they have read in a book. It also sets that person up for being a hypocrite because when you don’t live it , you won’t have the power to live by it. Then he talks about the one whose gift is practical service. He mixes these up to show the supernatural and the natural are just as important. Someone has to serve tables so to speak. There is a practical part of ministry like setting up the coffeehouse that has to be done. The story about the greek widows is a perfect example. The disciples were hearing complaints that the greek widows were not being cared for. They said our part in the body is not serving tables. So they elected men for that purpose. Stephen was one of these men. So you see even though he served tables he still was powerfully witnessing. The bible says he worked great signs and wonders among the people. If God has called you to serve, if that is all you have been presented with to do in the body of Christ, then take your place and do it with zeal and be aglow with the spirit. It isn’t a demotion but a place from which God can use you to do mighty things just like Stephen. Next up is teaching and like prophecy, we need to teach according to our faith. Which means not appropriating something we have heard, but meditating on the word until we get the revelation ourself. When God reveals things thru His word and we share them it helps bring light for others to do their own study. We communicate that excitement of revelation and there is an anointing that goes with that. Then we have him who exhorts and encourages. The body needs to be exhorted and encouraged. That’s why we have so many weak and downtrodden in the body. We are supposed to encourage one another and exhort each other to go higher and deeper in the kingdom of God. 1 Thessalonians 3:2 And we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s servant in [spreading] the good news (the Gospel) of Christ, to strengthen and establish and to exhort and comfort and encourage you in your faith, Romans 15:2 Let each one of us make it a practice to please (make happy) his neighbor for his good and for his true welfare, to edify him [to strengthen him and build him up spiritually]. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage (admonish, exhort) one another and edify (strengthen and build up) one another, just as you are doing. I could go on, for there are a lot of scriptures on this. I’m sure there is a reason this is repeated many times in the new testament. Keep it simple say, what the Lord wants and leave it with Him. They might not be encouraged right then but let the Lord work with it. It might take a few different people to encourage them. Just do your part, it’s what God requires of us. You can’t work your way into heaven but there is work to be done in the Kingdom of God. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice to show us by example that it is not all about us. We have a duty now that we are saved and crossed over to help others get there too. Next time you are complaining no one ever encourages you. Ask yourself when is the last time you encouraged someone else? He who contributes, In simplicity and liberality. Once again don’t allow your ego in there. Some people have the talent of making money. Believe it or not that might be your part in the kingdom of God. We live in a time where we expect the government to take care of the poor. But in the disciples time that was not so. They took care of the widows and the orphans. They took up offerings for the jews in Jerusalem, who were so persecuted they had a hard time getting food. There are people in this world who need our help. The christians who are leaving everything behind in Iraq because they won’t renounce their faith. The people in countries that need wells dug because they have no clean water. There is a lot of need even in this country. That is a gift we need to use for the kingdom and just as important in the body as any other part. He who gives aid and superintends with zeal and singleness of mind. I was personally pricked by that one, because superintend means to be responsible for the management or arrangement of (an activity or organization); oversee. I realized that I sometimes let myself be overwhelmed by all the aspects of coffeehouse. Especially keeping up with all the internet stuff. I have to send notices to the cape cod times and put stuff up on facebook and the website. I have to e-mail people every week and make sure I use the recordings that are made here and download them to my computer. It’s very time consuming. But guess what? It is what God gave me to do. So I have to do it with zeal and singleness of mind. If God has put you in charge of something no matter how big or small it is your job to oversee it with zeal and singleness of mind. We need all these things working together for a healthy body. COFFEEHOUSE EXAMPLE Then finally we have he who does acts of mercy with genuine cheerfulness and joyful eagerness. Don’t be resentful when you are called to visit someone in the hospital or bring them grocery shopping. Or maybe clean their house because they are ill or bring them a meal. The list can go on forever. We are supposed to be merciful to our brothers and sisters. The bottom line is we may be called to do all these things at one time or another. We are part of a body and we must work together. If not, you are just dead weight that the rest of the body must drag around. We need each other. The next time you feel you are being neglected ask yourself. What is my part and am I doing it? The body needs you.