Ephesians 4:7-16: Spiritual gifts – summary of permanent gifts, part 3.
Thursday December 23, 2021
Just a couple of more things to say about the gift of exhortation and we’ll move on and complete the story of spiritual gifts. Listen and know that you are on your way to losing yourself in Christ. It’s going to take time, a long time, and others are going to help you along the way. Be patient and find the path of enjoying the ride even though you are not quite what you need to be to fulfill all that God has blessed you with.
“Exhortation” – paraklesis = literally a person called to one’s side. Exhortation, consolation, comfort.
he who exhorts, in his exhortation;
All of us are called to do this for one another, and how very valuable it is to have another believer draw near in order to help us find comfort and consolation when we are on the verge of despair. We are to do so for our loved ones and our enemies.
“Some are given special gift in this work, enabling them to lead Christians into the active realization of the will of God.” [Walvoord, The Holy Spirit]
“The gift of exhortation is the divine ability to get people to apply the truth.” [Fruchtenbaum, God the Holy Spirit]
Their points on realizing and applying God’s will are important because this gift is not for the purpose of making people feel good or better, though they will. We can lie to people or flatter them and get them to feel better. But this gift, being a gift from God, is for helping a believer who is struggling to find comfort in God on his or her own. It may be emotion or forgetfulness, or even sin that is causing them not to see the light of the truth that would restore peace to their soul. Perhaps they haven’t lost their peace just yet, but they are in a situation where that potential exists, and God sends His comforter preemptively.
God is our comforter, just like He is our teacher, minister, leader, mercy, giver, wisdom, and faith; but He uses others to help us see the ultimate in Him.
Notice in this Psalm, in vs. 4 that the person has no one on his right.
Psa 142 Maskil of David, when he was in the cave.
1 I cry aloud with my voice to the Lord;
I make supplication with my voice to the Lord.
2 I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare my trouble before Him.
3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,
Thou didst know my path.
In the way where I walk
They have hidden a trap for me.
4 Look to the right and see;
For there is no one who regards me;
There is no escape for me;
No one cares for my soul.
David did have those who encouraged him, but at times there was no one and he was forced to find comfort in God on his own. God will sometimes send divine comfort through another of His servants, and that comforter will lead you comfort in God. At other times there will be no one to help, and in God’s perfect timing, He is showing you how to boldly approach His throne on your own.
The person with the gift of encouragement has a divine ability to see the real and foundational issue at stake and gently reveals that to the one they draw near to.
Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. 3 For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached Thee fell upon Me."
All of us are to do this. Some must have a gift to do this. They do not have more insight than others into the truth, it is just that they can spot those in need of encouragement and they have a gift to reveal the truth that needs to be applied.
We should add, before leaving this particular gift, that exhortation or comfort can also be revealed in advice, counsel, and warning.
We mean being at the ready to give counsel when it is needed (I stress – when it is needed). This is the advice to an adolescent to watch his step, or to one who has slidden or is sliding away from the faith to be careful. This gift can provide truth in the form of advice, counsel, testimony, method, and what is needed and when.
Showing mercy: eleeo = showing kindness and concern for someone in need. To have sympathy with the misery of another. Exercise with cheerfulness.
This is the final gift listed in Rom 12:8.
he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
The adjective is used on 2Co 9:7 for the cheerful giver that God desires. These are the only two places where the word is used. It is the Greek word hilaros from which we get the English “hilarious.”
Mercy is God’s response to our weakness, sins, shortcomings, and failures.
The showing of mercy is not only for failure in sin, it is also for weakness in limitation that is not related to sin – the poor, the outcast, the neglected, the sick, the helpless.
A person in need of mercy receives their mercy from God, but sometimes they neglect to seek it, or are blinded in some way from the throne of grace that supplies mercy in abundance. So then, just like exhortation, the goal is not just to make them feel better, but to help them to see in the truth of the word of God that God is merciful, meaning that in the face of their sins and failures and shortcomings, God is ever present to help in time of need. All of us know how important it is to draw near to God in times of failure rather than drawing away from Him, but it is inevitable that we sometimes will. Along comes a believer with the gift of mercy to in essence take us by the hand and cheerfully help us to boldly approach the throne of God, a throne of grace and mercy.
Imagine a saddened and broken hearted sibling being taken by the hand by a happy brother or sister and led in joy to their father’s presence where the joyful one knows that nothing but grace and mercy exists, and the broken one is mended and her heart is turned to joy like her sister’s and the gracious father is pleased.
“The gods of the Greek religious system did not convey mercy upon men, so there is not Greek term which adequately represents the concept of divine mercy as seen in the Bible.” [Complete Biblical Library]
The most common Hebrew term for eleos is chesed (covenant faithfulness or faithful love).
When the religious leaders questioned the disciples about Jesus’ decision to frequently eat with tax gatherers and sinners, Jesus responded by quoting Hos 6:6, “God desires mercy rather than sacrifice.”
In imitation of God, we are to show compassion toward our fellow man as exemplified by Jesus during His earthly ministry and by the Trinity throughout history.
People often want to categorize mercy and grace, when they are very similar. However, we can look at grace as the undeserved goodness that God shows men, while mercy reveals God’s pity and compassion towards men. Some state rightly that grace should come first and then mercy for without grace there would be no mercy. But then again, God is not chronological. In my view, grace and mercy come together and always will because they are a part of the essence of God.
Giving (Rom 12:8): a gift for committing earthly possessions to the Lord for His use with single-minded liberality.
he who gives, with liberality;
“gives” – metadidomi = literally “with giving.” Impart or share.
“liberality” – haplotes = simplicity, single-minded, generous giving.
Didomi is the general verb to give. It can have various prefixes that give it nuance; such as with (meta), or from, over, alongside, or before.
Haplotes originally meant single in mind or purpose as opposed to double minded. It could also mean simple minded in a negative sense. It still meant single at the time of the NT. Jesus used it to say, “If your eye is clear (single), your whole body will be full of light.” Single minded in a cause came to mean generous giving in some contexts. Either single minded or liberal applies in relation to giving.
The Bible has a great deal to say about our material prosperity and our property. Under grace we are to realize that everything we have belongs to the Lord.
The believer submitted to the Lord and thus maturing will discover that the art of giving is in itself a gift from the Lord.
Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. 7 Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; 9 as it is written,
"He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor,
His righteousness abides forever."
10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; 11 you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.
Of course, we have to give without thought of getting something in return, or, as one writer threatens, God is going to take His tithe one way or another as He gave the land of Israel its sabbath years’ rest despite the fact that the people refused it.
Our Lord said that when we give, our left hand should not know what the right hand is doing. This idiom means that we are not to calculate or even imagine anything other than the love of the virtue of giving.