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Darlene

Romans 12:6

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Heavenly Father,

 

This morning I have been feeling Your presence so strong...feeling a drive to get into Your Word. It's still a little surprising to me to have this drive again after not having it for so many months, but I appreciate it. It feels good, feels right because I need Your Word so desperately.

 

I sit here and think of so many things I can talk to You about, but I just feel a little quiet about all the things going on around me, and in other peoples lives. I know that Your eye is upon all these important details and that You are at work, even now. I know that even if I don't voice the actual words, that what lies in my heart is intimately known by You, and that, in and of itself, is enough.

 

Let Your glory shine Father, through each of Your children. Let the Truth of Who You really are cause the scales to fall from all our lives. May the blindness that only allows us to see through that glass dimly be washed clean through the blood of Your Son Jesus, with a supernatural and holy 'windex' lol cause that is Your will for all our lives...that we know You for Who You really are, and not the distortions of the enemy.

 

Teach us Father, exactly who we are in Christ...make that birthing an intimate fact in our hearts because it is You, and only You, that will get us through the days ahead.

 

Oh Father, it feels so good to be back in Your Word. I do love You so very, very much.

 

In Jesus Name I pray,

 

 

6. And having gifts differing according to the grace that was given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of our faith;

 

Watchman Nee comments on a few words in verse 6, and writes:

 

"gifts": "The gifts are received according to the grace given to us and are a result of our experience of the grace of Christ. This grace is God in Christ as the divine element coming into our being to be our life for our enjoyment. When this grace comes into us, it brings with it the element of certain spiritual skills and abilities, which, accompanying our growth in life, develop into the gifts in life that we may function in the Body of Christ to serve God. The gifts in life here are different from the gifts mentioned in Eph. 4:8, which refer to the gifted persons given by Christ in His ascension to His Body for its building up. The gifts in life here are also different from the miraculous gifts mentioned in 1 Cor. 12 and 14. The gifts in life are developed by the growth in life and by the transformation in life mentioned in v. 2, out of the inward, initial gifts mentioned in 1 Cor. 1:7."

 

"prophecy": " To prophesy is to speak for God and to speak forth God under His direct revelation. Prediction may be included in prophecy, but it is not the main aspect of the prophecy mentioned here. Prophesying brings in God's revelation for the building up of the church, the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 14:4b). These three — prophecy, teaching (v. 7), and exhortation (v. 8) — are related and coordinate with one another. The one who prophesies speaks what he has received as a direct revelation from God. The one who teaches instructs others, not based on direct revelation but based on what the prophets have spoken. He who exhorts does so according to both the direct speaking under God's revelation and the teaching that is according to this revelation. These three kinds of speaking are for the building up of the Body. They minister the life supply to the saints that they may grow together by God's word."

 

The rvbv writes, "And having gifts, different according to the grace that was given unto us - For each believer there is some particular "gift," to be bestowed by the already indwelling Spirit, (as those yielding themselves to God find) to make each believer a direct benefit to the Body of Christ: "To each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit to profit (the whole Body) withal, . . . the Spirit dividng to each one severally even as He will." The various gifts are bestowed by the Spirit for "ministration" to the Lord Jesus, and the "working" in each case is by God Himself. Read I Corinthians 12:4 to 11.

 

Now, these differing gifts are "according to the grace that was given unto us." In Romans 12:3 Paul speaks by the apostolic grace given unto him, and to each believer there is also an individual differing "grace," given to each for the particular service to which God calls him. In accordance with this "grace," there is, therefore, a "gift," by the indwelling Spirit. (This is not the gift of the person of the Spirit, but is a gift communicated by the already given Spirit.) (Of course, it will be to many, as it was to the author, a startling revelation, that the Spirit is ready to engift each believer for Divinely appointed service! Those mentioned as "unlearned" in I Corinthians 14:23 were evidently believers, but ungifted; or, as Alford says, "plain believers", persons unacquainted with the gifts of I Corinthians 12.) For the receiving and using of these gifts, there is necessary the element of faith, which is bestowed by God in exact accordance with the gift given each one. The bestowal is called, "the grace that was given to us." (Alford well says, "The measure of faith, the gift of God, is the receptive faculty for all spiritual gifts; which are, therefore, not to be boasted of, nor pushed beyond their province, but humbly exercised within their own limits.") It will not do to say, if we find ourselves not in possession of certain gifts, "They are not for us: they belonged only to the 'Early Church.'" This is a three-fold presumption! 1. It is excusing our own low state; and worse: 2. It is blaming the result of the failure of the Church upon God, - and awful thing! 3. It is setting up the present man-dependent, man-sufficient state of things as superior to the days when the Holy Spirit of God was known in power.

 

It is true that God, in His infinite grace, accepted, at the hands of the Jews, at the end of the 70 years' captivity, the temple of Zerubbabel, saying: "Build the house, and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified." It is true that our Lord called that temple (though built in its grandeur by Herod, the Edomite - descendant of Esau, not Jacob!) "My Father's house," and "My house," for he had not yet finally deserted it, (as he did at last in Matthew 23:38). But the Jews of our Lord's day gloried in that temple: though there was in it neither the Ark of the Covenant nor the Shechinah Presence of Jehovah. The glory had departed; but the Jews forgot all this, just as many Christians today, though often quite "Bible students," - practically forget or ignore the immediate Presence of the Holy Ghost, with His all-necessary gifts: saying, "These belonged to the 'early days'; but we have the written Word now, and do not need the gifts, as did the Early Church."

 

And this self-sufficiency is leading, has led, to the same form of truth-without-power, that the Jews had in Christ's day.

 

We are not hereby saying, Let us bring back these gifts. But we are pleading for the self-judgment and abasement before God that recognizes our real state. The outward Church today is Laodicean, "wretched, poor, miserable, blind, naked" - and knows it not! And the Philadelphian remnant have only "a little strength." Let us be honest! We have substituted for the mighty operations amongst us of the Holy Ghost, the pitiful "soulical" training of men. We look to men to train, to "prepare" preachers, and teachers, and "leaders," for a heavenly company, the Church, among whom the Holy Ghost Himself dwells as Administrator. Let us not dare to claim that the Holy Ghost is no longer willing to work in power amongst us. Because, for Him to do so is God's plan! Indeed, He is so working where not hindered. Let us confess the truth. Our powerlessness is because of unbelief, - the inheritance of the sins of our fathers, the inheritance of a grieved Spirit. It may be true that He does not work as He once did; but let us admit two things: we dare not say, He isnot willing so to work; and, we dare not say, It is God's plan that He does not! We can only say, We have sinned! So did Daniel (Dan. 9). So did Ezra (Ezra 9). So did they of Nehemiah's day (Neh. 9). Our days are days of failure, just like those. Nor will it do, (as with so many enlightened saints), merely to "see and judge the failure of the professed Church" and gather in the name of the Lord, and remember His death in the breaking of bread every Lord's day. All this is good. But we must judge ourselves if we do not have real power amongst us. And the power of the Spirit, in a day of apostasy like this, will bring us into a deep burden over the state of things, and into prayer, such as the great men of God made in the three great chapters to which we have just referred!

 

-Whether prophecy [let us prophesy] according to the proportion of our faith - Paul's exhortation, as we shall see, is here devoted to the believer's exercising any gifts "according to the proportion" of his God-given confidence, or "faith," in the exercise of it: not over-estimating himself, but soberly estimating, and thus proceeding. (It is taken for granted, of course, that all are fully willing to exercise any gift; and will not, through unbelief or false humility, hold back therefrom.) ("An apostle was sent direct, as an architect, authorized by Christ to build His Church. Apostles were authorized, on the part of Christ, to found and to build, and to establish rules in His Church. In this sense there are no longer apostles.

 

"But it appears to me, that in a lower sense, there may be apostles and prophets in all ages. Barnabas is termed an apostle. Junius and Andronicus are called apostles, and it is said of them that they were 'of note amongst the apostles' (Rom. 16:7); so that there are others who were not named.

 

"As regard the revelation of God, it is complete; as regards any authority to found the Church it no longer exists: neither the twelve nor Paul have had any successors. The foundation cannot be twice laid. But one may act under an extraordinary responsibility as sent by God. We may cite as examples, without pretending to justify all that they did, a Luther, a Calvin, a Zwingli, and perhaps others. So for prophets; although there be no new revelations of truth, there may be, as proceeding from God Himself, a power of applying to the circumstances of the church, or of the world, truths hidden in the Word; such as, in practice, might render the ministry prophetic. Moreover all those who expressed the mind of God 'to edification' were called prophets, or at least, 'prophesied'.

 

"Prophets, who were associated with apostles as the foundation, because they revealed the mind of God, may, it appears to me, in a subordinate sense, be believed to exist, - those who not merely teach and explain ordinary and profitable doctrine, - but who by a special energy of the Spirit can unfold and communicate the mind of Christ to the Church where it is ignorant of it (though that mind be treasured up in the Scripture) - can bring truths, hidden previously from the knowledge of the Church, in the power of the testimony of the Spirit of God, to bear on the present circumstances of the Church and future prospects of the world, and thus be practically prophets (though there be no new facts revealed, but all are really in the Word already), and thus be a direct blessing and gift of Christ to the Church for its emergency and need, though the Word be strictly adhered to, but without which the Church would not have had the power of that word" (Darby).)

 

We can easily see in a Luther or a Calvin, in the sixteenth century, in a Bunyan in the seventeenth century; in a Wesley in the eighteenth, in a Moody in the nineteenth, such apostolic operation. Wesley spoke from God to all England, as did Luther to Germany. Moody, we know, was first an evangelist, loving and reaching the lost. But God, who is sovereign, gave him spiritual authority in the consciences of Christians throughout the whole world. We know what debt under God all those who have the truth today owe to Darby, through whom God recovered more truth belonging to the Church of God, than through any other man since Paul, and whose writings are today the greatest treasure of truth and safeguard against error known to instructed believers. Such men had more than an evangelist's or teacher's gift. There was spiritual authority they themselves did not seek, attending their ministry. This fact discerning believers, - those free from tradition's bias, readily see and gladly admit. Paul defines the prophetic gift in I Corinthians 14:3: "He that prophesieth speaketh unto men edification, and comfort, and consolation." New Testament prophets and apostles laid the foundation of the Church, - the prophets speaking directly by inspiration from God. But while the early apostles and prophets had their peculiar ministry in a foundational way, yet both gifts remain in the Church (see Eph. 4:11-13) along with evangelists, pastors and teachers. Now since the prophet speaks under the moving of the Spirit, he is to do so "according to His faith." Dean Alford makes the evident distinction, "The prophet spoke under immediate inspiration; the teacher (didaskalos), under inspiration working by the secondary instruments of his will and reason and rhetorical power." We have ourselves sometimes heard those speaking in "testimony" or "praise-meetings" whose words were not, properly speaking, teaching; but yet entered in the power of the Spirit directly into the heart of the hearers, edifying, exhorting, and consoling, - a high ministry indeed, though in the "secondary character" of it, as compared to the words of the early apostles and prophets. Such an one could, of course, speak profitably only when speaking in the Spirit, and thus, "in proportion to his faith."

 

The remarkable foot-note from J.N. Darby, is a frank and explicitly plain statement of truth. Mr. D. repeats over and over (seven times, at least, in the pages from which our excerpts are taken - Coll. Writ. I, 350; III, 217-9) that the written Word is complete. No honest heart, however, knowing history, can fail to admit that God has, in mercy, raised up, from time to time, men who have administered His Word in such apostolical and prophetic power. That He will again do so, we do not doubt. For there is an ever-recurring need of these gifts. Probably, a constant need!"

 

 

Heavenly Father,

 

What more needs to be said. As usual, after doing one of these studies, I'm most often left feeling full...needing to absorb what I've just typed and read because it is so rich.

 

May Your tender mercies flow over all who read this study this day. May their hearts be touched by the contrast of Your glory and power...blended with Your mercy and love.

 

I love You.

 

 

In Jesus Name I pray,

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