Questions for Littles: Through what does Paul speak in v3? What does he tell us not to do? How does he tell us to think? What has God dealt to each of us a measure of? What do we, as many members, form all together (v4-5)? Of whom are we members (end of v5)? What gifts are listed in v6-13? For each one, consider whether it is a gift that only some believers have, or whether it is a gift that all believers have (parents will have to do and explain this for you).In this week’s Epistle reading, we continue to hear about what it means to be a living sacrifice. One thing it means is to realize that whatever our circumstances in God’s providence, we are to employ what we are and what have in service of other Christians.
The apostle puts this most strongly when he says that we are members of one another. God has given him grace to be writing the book of Romans. This is not some great attribute or accomplishment of Paul’s. It is the grace of God!
In fact, it is a grace of God that is not for Paul himself. Notice that he keeps saying “we” … “we” … “we” … Paul feels obligated to them that whatever God is doing in him and through him is really for the sake of the church.
That’s true here as well. Notice though that these gifts are not all “superpowers,” but many of them are things that we are all commanded to do: serving, encouraging, giving, showing mercy, loving, hating evil, clinging to good, kind affection, preferring others to ourselves, etc., etc.
This is the first great lesson of being a living sacrifice: we do not exist for ourselves. Our circumstances are for the church. Our experiences are for the church. Our obediences are for the church.
“Spiritual gifts” means that we do not belong to ourselves. We are a gift to one another. Scripture simply doesn’t recognize lone-ranger or private Christians. The reason why we must practice formal church membership—not just in taking vows but especially in keeping them—is because the Bible teaches that God saves us into church membership.
In what circumstances do you find yourself? How can you serve the body?