Romans 12:3-8 Ours to Do: Love One Another

The Text

Romans 12:3-8 (CSB)
3 For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one.

4 Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function,

5 in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another.

6 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts: If prophecy, use it according to the proportion of one’s faith;

7 if service, use it in service; if teaching, in teaching;

8 if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness.

The Introduction

When I said that Paul had many commands for us to do, I was not kidding. See what God has done in Romans 1-11 and now go and do (12-16). But what I cannot overemphasize is the order of what just happened: God does, we respond.

God saves. Let us worship.

God has changed us from the inside out. Let us think differently.

Now, let us reflect on this passage: God loves, let us love one another.

1 John 4:7–8 (CSB) Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

How do we do this? There are nearly infinite ways of showing the love of God towards others. And the others in this, I cannot overstate based on the crystal clarity of our Lord Jesus in his parable on the Good Samaritan:

Luke 10:36–37 (CSB) “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” “The one who showed mercy to him,” he said. Then Jesus told him, “Go and do the same.”

Go and give mercy--not because this other person is your friend. Go and give mercy to everyone because God has given you great mercy. Not only to be thankful but to be empowered to give the same mercy to others in the way he has given it to you.

Our God

3bI tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think.

Love One Another: Don't Think of Yourself Too Highly

Let's start from the jump: humble yourself. For:

James 4:6–10 (CSB) But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says: God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Friends, we see in the word of God that you have done nothing but receive the favor and grace of God. You have not done anything to earn so you cannot boast.

James in this passage is reflecting what Paul is and will be saying throughout the rest of Romans: humble yourself, don't think of yourself more highly than you ought to and love one another.

With all the personality tests and even tests on the gifts of the Spirit, in the end, where is the focus? The attention starts to focus in on ourselves and not on, whom? God.

Let me put it like this: how many of us worry less and do less overthinking and stumble less when we focus more on ourselves. Nobody does. And the real evil: become so enthrall with yourself, you start to believe that this your world and everything and everyone revolves around you.

Navel-gazing and narcissistic tendencies have you looking at yourself who is hopeless and weak to save yourself and away from the only God who is infinite in might, glory and worth.

My friends, let me give you grace: easier said than done. We all do it. But God gives grace. God is so good and holy and righteous and he saw that we were made from dust. He cares for you and he loves you so much that he sent his only begotten Son.

Rejoice in that and be glad.

3cInstead, think sensibly

Love One Another: Think Sensibly

Romans 12:2 (CSB) Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

Hebrews 5:13–14 (CSB) Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature—for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil.

Did I not tell you that this last third of Romans is going to be a lot of commands? This is not a check list. This is a get to do.

What is thinking sensibly?

1 Corinthians 1:22–23 (CSB) For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles.

Again, we are not going to seek signs and wonders. We are not going to lean on the philosophy of the age. We will preach Christ and him crucified. Gospel living--that is resting in what Christ has done for us--is not an add-on to your lives in addition to family and work and even church. God is our focus because what Christ has done and by the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. Through that and from that is our lives. We get to worship to God, we get to extend grace to others and even our spouse and kids at all times--nonstop. Why? Has God ever ceased giving you grace since the moment you were born? Nope! And he will never stop giving you grace.

This is thinking sensibly. Not according to news outlets. Not according to social media. Not according to what your family thinks what is good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

How do we do this? It is only from God to us. It is only his grace and in due time.

Hebrews 5 into 6 states it best:

Hebrews 6:1-3 (CSB) Therefore, leaving the elementary teaching about Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.

Remember last chapter? How do we renew our mind? How do we discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God? How do we think sensibly? Do so if God permits.

James 1:5 (CSB) If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

God permits and yet he gives generously. What would it look like for you to pray to God and ask him for his wisdom? In help to think sensibly everyday. Hear from him in his word that is now been made complete.

Think about this: the people of God who lived before the invention of the printing press were utterly dependent on the preached word of God for them. If they wanted to hear from God, someone had to give them a word. Then God, in his kindness and goodness, decides to give us his complete word--the Holy Bible. And you and me can give each other words of God that speaks into our situation and turns our affections towards God. And then, together, as family, we arrive every Sunday to hear the preached word of God. Isn't that good news? See what God has done for us.

If you grew up Charismatic straining to hear the internal voice of God. Despair no more. I remember sitting in a Bible Study led by an elder. The elder was perplexed because he admitted, "I have never heard the inner voice of God. No matter how hard I tried." In that perplexity and slight despair, he started off the following phrase, "In the word of God says...". Stop right there. Sir, don't despair. You have the word of God. Remember how Christ described the Scriptures? The mouth of God. You have the voice of God. It is right there in your hands at all times--the words of Christ.

Here's another way to think sensibly:

3dGod has distributed a measure of faith to each one.

Love One Another: God Gives Faith

Ephesians 2:8–9 (CSB) For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast.

Romans 1:17 (CSB) For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.

Listen, we are not here to try to figure this out on our own. If our salvation is outside ourselves, our new heart is outside ourselves, His Spirit dwells within that is not from us, his grace is sufficient and complete and perfect and not ourselves, then let us relax and rejoice that God has given us a measure of faith. How much? That we believe and trust in his Son, Jesus Christ.

Mark 9:24 (CSB) Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

How does Christ respond when we go to him with our unbelief and doubt even though we have little faith?

Mark 9:25 (CSB) When Jesus saw that a crowd was running toward the house, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You deaf and mute spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”

God will respond in grace and give us all because he gave us Christ. Ask for more faith. God will give more faith. Let me ask you this? What do you want to do with that more faith? You might need a truckload of wisdom and grace. God will give that too.

Trust in him. He provides for everything we really need--not just the things we think we need and want. >4a Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function,

Love One Another: Christ is the Head of Us

1 Corinthians 12:12 (CSB) For just as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

Ephesians 4:15–16 (CSB) Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

1 Corinthians 12:19-27 (CSB) If all were a single part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Christ is the head of us. He is our chief. He is our Lord. In the same way that the head controls and governs the body, so too that Christ is the head of the body. We make up the body of Christ. We are the eyes, feet, mouth, ears, and hands. But we don't call it eyes, feet, mouth, ears, and hands. We call these parts: the members of the church.

5 in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another.

Love One Another: We Belong to One Another

If we are called to love one another, then we belong to one another. The world might do its best to love each other but that is where the similarities begin and end there. The world does not belong to one another. We, as the church, belong to one another. And out of the belonging, because of what Christ has done, we get to not only love each other but love our neighbors in the world.

In our ministry and love in that, think of the grace of God and think of us belonging to one another. From there, love each other.

Our Response

6 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts: If prophecy, use it according to the proportion of one’s faith;

7 if service, use it in service; if teaching, in teaching;

8 if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness.

Love One Another: This is Ministry

These are gifts of the Spirit. Paul has laid out a list similar to 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4. But by no means these are it. Holy Spirit is infinite and he gives infinite gifts. You might be asking yourself, "Does he give the gift of being rich--because I want that." That is provision of God and God provides for the good and evil, the just and unjust just the same.

So keeping in mind that this is not a definite list, I don't want to skip over and assuming that everybody knows what these are.


1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 (CSB) Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast to what is good. Avoid every kind of evil.

Prophecy is not predicting or foretelling the future-- that is new age and witchcraft and occult.

Prophecy in the Bible is the preaching of the Word of God. Full stop. Prophecy prophesied either the coming of the Messiah or because he has lived, died, rose again, and ascended to heaven, this is what he has done for you and me.

Instead, at the very most, in any year of our Lord, prophecy is the preaching of the Word of God.

I am going to sidebar here for a second. I grew up Charismatic. And with most denominations and movements of God, we unfortunately carry on and act like everybody there knows what is going on when in fact nobody knows whats going on and we like to pretend we know what is going on. That is a culture of the church.

I have heard all of my life "prophetic words" but I have never had anybody explain it to me.

When I heard prophetic words and they attempt to "tell the future" or encourage specifically to go in a certain direction, it is right 50% of the time. That is not good prophecy. One, it was hit and miss. And two, it had nothing to do with the risen Christ.

Prophecy in our day and age is the preaching of the Word of God. And you might say to yourself, "I have no desire to preach the word of God--therefore, I must not have this gift." Let us not confine prophecy to a sermon given. Let me ask you, do you know even a little bit of the word of God. And if you were to hear someone's struggle or request, could you bring that word to them in form of an encouraging word? That is prophecy.

Charismatic, don't despair in hopes that you are getting the prophetic words correctly. Pray that you get the word of God correctly. Those who are not Charismatic, guess what? Same applies to you.

Charismatics or Cessationists alike, know the word as much as God has given you grace for and then encourage one another with his words.

Romans 10:17 (CSB) Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

Praise be to God.

Proportion of one's faith

You just have to have more faith. What if you don't? Then you must really not be saved.


The gulf between the unbeliever and the ones with the smallest faith is abysmally infinite. However, there is no gap between the ones with the smallest faith and the arms and the heart of the loving Savior.

Charles Spurgeon. Morning and Evening. 2018. p. 32.

Take comfort--whatever faith God has given you is more than enough to home the Triune God in your heart and soul and mind. You don't have a little bit of an infinite God.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (CSB) He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

God has made you and me with eternity in our hearts. That why we are so prone to idol worship--trying to take finite things to fill an infinite hole. Only thing that can fill eternity is an infinite God.

The little faith that God has granted you has you possessing the whole infinite God.

Service in service, teaching in teaching, exhorting in exhortation

In line with prophecy and preaching, these gifts are usually done by the leaders of the church. Paul reminds in a parallel passage:

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (CSB) Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to recognize those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.

1 Timothy 5:17 (CSB) The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.

For the sake of making sure I cover my basis and at the sake of being Captain Obvious, Paul is wanting to make sure that we, as the church body, are putting people in place with their gifts and not putting people in place in spite of the of their gifts. Those who serve, let them serve. Those who teach and having been proven trustworthy, let them teach. It would rather odd for us to not let teachers teach, exhorters exhort or preachers preach. Yet, sometimes, for the sake of church growth, we can miss the mark of what the church is--the manifold wisdom of God on display, for:

Ephesians 3:10 (CSB) God’s purpose was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.

The shepherds are just to trying to take care of everyone that they will put in a body where a body is needed. That is fast growth and that is not necessarily good growth. I am contributing the following term to my dear pastor, Jeremiah Hurt (Reforming Truth Church, Lexington, KY): "slow church". In other words, church is slow, normal, ordinary and gracious. Yep, that is not want gets the likes and that is not what sells the books. But it a testimony of God's work in his people and that work is always slow not fast, hard not easy, and extraordinary yet not flash-in-a-pan. This work in his church and in his people is a lifetime and it is so good.

Getting people to serve in service, teach in teaching, exhort in exhortation, and preach in preaching might be the slow path but it is the good path and the path that God has provided.

Giving with generosity

2 Corinthians 9:7 (CSB) Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Listen, church needs givers--big and small. It does not matter. Whatever you can give, give. But if you want give, do so cheerfully.

Now, I wish I live in a time and place where I could leave it at that and move on. But I am a child who grew up in prosperity not-gospel. So let me be explicit: ask God for wisdom in stewarding his provision to you and your family. If you can give, give joyfully because of what God has provide. But if you are single mom with three kids, and lights are getting cut off tomorrow and payday is not until the day after--how about don't give. Instead, pray to God and ask your brothers and sisters to help you out. Give us the chance to love you because God has loved us first. Amen.

Leading with diligence

ESV says, "lead with zeal." Some translations say, "work hard at it." Leaders lead and they do so with diligence. John 21 calls us to love, care, and feed his sheep. But doing those things for his people won't be easy: there are people's hearts and souls you are caring for. Depend on the Spirit of God to help you to do this well.

Mercy, with cheerfulness

We often think that people who are needing the most mercy is in the most dire of straits. The are in the worst predicament. So too is our lost souls before the Triune God--we are weak sinners in need of a great Savior.

And there is a call for weeping with those who weep. But if we can extend mercy,do so with cheerfulness? Why? How much does God rejoice in getting to extend mercies and grace to those who need it, for:

Luke 15:7 (CSB) I tell you that in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.


Zephaniah 3:17 (CSB) The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy; he will be quiet in his love; he will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.

God has more joy in being merciful to those who need mercy. When we get an opportunity to be merciful, let us rejoice and be glad unto God who has given us the most mercy.

Those are tall items. Those are not easy things to do--to do so and to do them well and with a glad heart?

How can we do any of these things?

Go back to the beginning of today's passage:

3a For by the grace given to me

Love One Another: For By the Grace That Was Given to Me

1 Peter 4:10 (CSB) Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

1 Timothy 1:12–14 (CSB) I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me, because he considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry—even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I received mercy because I acted out of ignorance in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

My friend, we cannot do this perfect, perfectly well, or even well. I grew up in churches where we were to do all things with a spirit of excellence--which is more burden on the people of God that God himself didn't even give. You and I are commanded to do these things but we cannot do so without the grace of God alone.

Be in the grace of God. Receive his mercies everyday. Love God and go and love others.