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Sermon #3308

Gifts in the Church

A Sermon on Romans 12:3-5


Romans 12:3-5 ESV KJV
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. For as in one body we have many …

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Sermon Description

Spiritual gifts have been a matter of controversy in the church since the beginning of Christianity. How quickly the body of Christ forgets the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit in the distribution of the gifts. From this error arises all manner of sin and abuse of gifts given by God. In sermon on Romans 12:3–5 titled “Gifts in the Church,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones addresses two particular follies the church falls into when it forgets the sovereignty of the Spirit and the diversity of the gifts. On the one hand, he says, the Christian thinks more highly of themselves than they ought. Following the apostle Paul, he demonstrates how the Scriptures teach humility and particularly the most profound demonstrations of humility in the example of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul’s call for the church to think is key as this connects with his previous teaching on the renewal of the mind. On the other hand, Christians can underestimate the importance of any gift. There are two equal dangers, warns Dr. Lloyd-Jones, to overestimate a gift, becoming puffed up, or to despise another gift and thus denigrate the Spirit’s work. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones teaches on the gifts in the church, a topic in which Christians consistently need clarity and direction.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul is addressing issues that have arisen regarding the exercising of gifts in the church. He lays down two principles: all that Christians have is by grace, and the church is the body of Christ.

  2. Paul speaks with authority, but it is not his own - it is the result of grace. The distinction between clergy and laity came later - in the NT all Christians have a common position, though some exercise certain functions.

  3. Paul says "through the grace given to me" - this applies to all, not just leaders. All Christians have faith and gifts from God.

  4. The phrase "the measure of faith" does not refer to justifying faith or the gift of faith - it refers to the particular gift each Christian receives through faith. The Holy Spirit gives different gifts as he wills.

  5. God has given each Christian a measure of faith and a gift. We are not meant to all be the same or do the same things. The gifts vary in character, kind and importance.

  6. How we think of ourselves should be determined by the fact that God gives the gifts. We should not think too highly of ourselves, but think soberly and rationally. Conceit is a form of insanity.

  7. We should look at the gifts objectively and impersonally, not subjectively. We should never overestimate or underestimate any gift, whether in ourselves or others. All gifts are from God.

  8. We have nothing that we did not receive. We deserve to receive nothing. It is a privilege to have any gift at all.

The Book of Romans

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.