For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Authority Given By Grace,

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, (Rom 12:3)

Paul here writes with a level of authority in this passage;

For I say, …., to every man that is among you,

to every person that is a part of the Church in Rome” “to all who would read this letter amongst all the churches to which this letter is sent”

We know that the letters did not remain in only the church to which it was sent, we know it not only historically but also biblically;

Colossians 4:16 says: And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.

Historically we know because fragments of the New Testament were found in multiple nations around the world, therefore we know that the Bible is the most copied and circulated book of all history. 

It was sent to churches and the volumes that were in those churches were painstakingly copied and those copies were sent to other such Churches. 

Many people use the idea of “Chinese whispers” to reject the Bible’s authenticity and accuracy, forgetting that it was copied by people who believe they were handling the very words of God. 

And if the Jews of old were any example to us, we know that the books of the Bible had the strictest regulations in their respective handling.

I don’t want to digress far, but in Jerusalem there is housed in a building called “The Shine of The Book” where a complete copy of the Book of Isaiah is found. It was discovered in 1948 as part of the Dead Sea scrolls discovery.

It is dated between the 2nd and 3rd Century BC. Prior to its discovery the oldest copy of Isaiah was more than 1000 years younger, approximately 900AD.

When the two volumes were compared, it was more accurate that fine Gold, With only a few spelling derivations. 

Paul wrote to “Every man” (and woman).

And he wrote with an authority that was GIVEN to him;

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, 

It was not an EARNED authority, it was not an authority he had worked for, it was not an authority voted through a ballot system, it was not one he had taken by force, it was through the grace given unto me!


For I saythrough the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, 


Well if there was ever a word in the Bible that has ever caused perplexity in the minds of Pastors it would be the word “Grace”. 

No word in the New Testament has puzzled Pastors more than this word, and this morning you and I are going to consider just one element of its scope and that is how it is presented here in Romans 12:3.

For I saythrough the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, 

Turn forward to Romans 15:15

15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

Forward again to 1 Cor 3:10

10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

Forward again to Chapter 15 of this same letter;

1 Cor 15:10

10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

We are beginning to get a picture of this “Grace” Paul here speaks of.. It seems evident it was something that was given to him, “bestowed upon” him, 

  • that it was not worked for
  • it was not earned, 
  • not granted by others 
  • and not stolen, it seems given to him directly of God.

Turn forward two books to Ephesians 3:2 and lets see if we can put the understanding of what Grace is referred to in Romans 12:3;

If ye have heard of the dispensation (Allowance, indulgence, privilege) of the grace of Godwhich is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a ministeraccording to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his powerUnto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

What wonderful clarity is found when we compare the scriptures with scripture. 

This “Grace” Paul refers to as being given to him was that compelling motivation given to him to preach the Gospel of Christ to all people. 

Paul writes in 1 Cor 9:16;

16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

Beloved, both the DESIRE and the ABILITY was given to Paul to preach and to write WITH AUTHORITY.

It was not of himself and as such he had NOTHING TO BOAST OF!

Is our salvation any different?

Can you boast of heavens attainment because you deserved it? Were you ever Holy as God is Holy?

Beloved the Bible speaks of each one of us as were by nature the Children of Wrath (Eph 2:3) and even vessels of wrath fitted to destruction (Romans 9:22).

NO, It is “by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph 2:8)

If by grace, then it is not of works!


And if By Grace It is Not Works

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, 

not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think

Incredible isn’t it, Paul tells you first of all that all that he has (his salvation and the authority from which he writes), was given to him and not earned by him, and therefore he himself has nothing to boast about.

Now he commands humility in the hearts of those who read this epistle’

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, 

not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think

Last week I mentioned to you that the Bible rarely ever commands that which is already natural to us. 

  • It does not tell us to love ourselves because we naturally do love ourselves, 
  • but it does command us to Love God and keep his commandments….so too here;

For I say, …, to every man that is among you, 

not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think

Paul commands humility in man because there is a pride nature in man;


Paul testifies first of all that he himself has nothing to boast of because the authority from which he writes is through the grace given unto me. Therefore, as an example set before them, Paul does not himself think more highly that he ought to think because all he has was given him.

And then he spends the next few verses confirming that the “gifts” given them were exactly that, unearned gifts with which they were to exercise WITH HUMILITY, and not as if they were somehow entitled to them.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, 

not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think

If these gifts are given by God’s grace, then it was not of works; you had not earned them, you were given them. 

If so, be sure not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think.

Far too many people love to exalt themselves, far too many people lift themselves up in pride to convince the world that they are something.

Far too many people think of themselves so highly that even the slightest perceived deviation against them causes no end of anxiety and even anger.

People HATE being told they are less than what they think themselves to be.

It’s one of the reasons why the Gospel is so difficult to receive, it literally crushes peoples desired perception of themselves

Almost all people think they deserve heaven rather than hell, or;

They believe Heaven is earned and they just have to do enough, they think of themselves more highly than they ought to think!

But it is;

by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast

If you are the recipient of a gift, why do you boast as if it was not received but earned?

Turn to 1 Corinthians 4:6-7

And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. 

For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

What is fascinating is that there were men who conquered nations in history past that think it was all their doing. 

The Bible gives quite a different account.

Turn to Isaiah 10:12

We have an inside account given to us of the pride of the King of Assyria who think that it was by his strength and wisdom he was as successful as he was. Completely ignorant that it was God who went before him and used him as HIS OWN TOOL.

Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks. 13 For he saith, By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man14 And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped. 15 Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.

King Nebuchadnezzar made the exact same mistake in Daniel 4 saying; “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” (Dan 4:30).

The result of which led him to insanity and driven from men until he learned “that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will” (Dan 4:32)

It all began however in Satan, who was created in Beauty, who’s music was made in him and who’s brightness and color clothed him. 

Through his pride he fell. 

Rather than glory in God who made him perfect in beauty, he gloried in himself. 

Pride was the cause of Satan’s fall, he was truly the first of all Gods creatures who THOUGHT OF HIMSELF MORE HIGHLY THAT HE OUGHT TO THINK. 

If what we have is given by grace, then it is not of works. If God has given you a gift, do not think of yourself more highly that you ought to think.

Humility is the recognition that you were created by God for his good pleasure;

On the one had this should truly lift us up with wonderful joy in the understanding that we have a value and purpose that was specially created in before we were born and then knit together in the womb. 

On that hand we should indeed rejoice that we were thought of so lovingly by our creator;

But on the other hand, we should humble ourselves when we begin to think we are more than what we are.;

 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, 

not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think

And if not works, it is a gift

but to think soberly, 

Thinking soberly is thinking clearly and right. 

It is giving consideration of that which we know is true and then bringing a conclusion forward that helps us think correctly about ourselves.

Paul goes on in this chapter speaking of the gifts we are given, and I will speak to this next week,but be sure to note that no matter what gifts you have been given it is not for any good that is in you, it is a GIFT and it was given by God’s GRACE, it was not earned, it was not an entitlement, it is a gift.

The first gift that precedes them all is the gift of eternal life given to all who believe the Gospel.

If there is a place where you want to think soberly IT IS HERE!

If there is ANYTHING IN LIFE to which you should do ALL YOU CAN to think correctly it is the matter of eternity.

My friends I know that it is a difficult subject, please, I understand that it is uncomfortable for many, but we are not speaking of your feelings being hurt, we are speaking of your eternity being damned.

If there is one thing that you want to know the truth about it is the matter of WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO ME WHEN I DIE!



It is not good saying, “well I’ll find out when I die!” when you have been told by God before you die.

Its madness to say, “I’ll find out if the power is live AFTER I cut the red wire”.

“I’ll know whether or not I can swim after I jump in”

You’ve seen the testing station in an Irish match factory? ‘This one works, this one works, this one works!’


BELOVED, if you wait till you die before you know what happens when you die, you have exhausted all hope of living!

If there is ANY MATTER in your life for which you should think soberly, it is the matter concerning what will happen to me when I die. The ancient world preoccupied themselves with nothing less in all cultures.

If there is one item for which you should be most humble, it is not assuming it will all “pan out” for you at death.

It is not assuming everything will be ok.

The Gift of Salvation is NOT earned, and to some people that is the greatest stumbling block. 

The Idea that you are to “save yourself” does not come from thinking soberly, it comes from thinking more highly of yourself than you ought to think.

It comes from thinking the height and holiness of God is just a matter of degree. In other words, it is measurable and therefore attainable.

  • Buddhism teaches of the levels of attainment that are needed to be reached before nirvana.
  • Roman Catholicism teaches of levels of the levels of work that you must do to ensure….not heaven beloved, but less time in the make believe of purgatory.
  • Islam teaches of the struggle, and all that need to be done in this life in the hope that maybe, the god of the Quran will permit you entry. But seeing that the one worshipped by Muslims is capricious and unknowable, you are still at his mercy no matter what you do.

In Fact, The only way to assure yourself of heaven, is to die killing Christians and Jews.

  • Jehovah’s witnesses and Mormons need to knock on doors, 
  • Calvinists are either chosen or not, 
  • Pentecostals are just confused 
  • and Arminains need to work harder;

To none of the above is Salvation a gift and given by grace to all who believe the Gospel.

THINK SOBERLY, if it is not of works, as the Bible teaches, then it is a gift.

This is true of Salvation; this is true of the gifts the Lord bestows on those he has wonderfully saved.

Humility begins ON OUR KNEES

And no man has stood taller when on his knees before God


And If a gift, then their distribution is ordained.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Any of you who have ever been fans of David Attenboroughs famous nature documentaries must have been absolutely amazed at the wisdom you have witness in the smallest of animals and the things that they accomplished.

We have men in this Church who are apiarists, they keep and harvest honey from bees and the things I have learned from them respecting the wisdom of these bees and the things they do, is amazing.

We have a relatively small elm tree in our back yard, it has never had many leaves on it, each year since we have been there the leaves that came up have been damaged by the Elm Leaf Beatle. Nevertheless, last year and this year our tree has somehow attracted a bird building a nest. The nest is crude with only a few sticks making it look completely unsafe for any chick.

In contrast, there is a bird called the Common Tailor Bird, this bird chooses a tree with broad, strong green leaves and, using the silk thread of spiders webs or fine cotton thread, she weaves the leaves together in exactly the same way as we would tailor a garment, and forms a strong cup in the most secure position of the tree. 

The father then fills the cup with feathers and fur to insulate it and the nest is made  comfortable. Mother birds then goes back to her sewing with installing a roof to her nest to keep the nest dry.

 How do they know to do that? Did they do an apprenticeship? Where did they get that wisdom?

Turn to the book of Job 39:13, and lets consider the Ostrich.

This is Elihu speaking, he was the wise young man who heard all the error of both Job as well as Job’s friends and he addresses Job for his LACK of humility. 

Job justified himself rather than God and had essentially said that he was more just than God because he believed himself dealt too harshly.

But Elihu gives us an insight into God imparting wisdom, or the lack thereof, to creatures.

13 Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich? 14 Which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in dust, 15 And forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them. 16 She is hardened against her young ones, as though they were not hers: her labour is in vain without fear; 17 Because God hath deprived her of wisdom, neither hath he imparted to her understanding. 18 What time she lifteth up herself on high, she scorneth the horse and his rider.

We like the idea that we have earned something rather than that God had distributed to all people that which he has ordained.

We like to think we are good at something because we earned it rather than because we were given the ability

But we also think somehow that because it was given to us that this also means we are not responsible. But this too is not thinking soberly.

There is a place in every city in which those who were given the most beautiful voices never sang to the Lord.

There is a place in every city where those gifted with wisdom to ponder the most profound levels of science, never picked up a magnifying glass or wrote a thesis.

There is a place in every city where there were books never written, inventions never built, and nations never wisely governed.

This place is called a cemetery.

In this place are found multitudes of people who were given the greatest of gifts but NEVER EXCERSISED THEM. And consequently, were never rewarded for using that which God had given. 

In the cemetery is found the greatest concentration of wasted potential in the world; 

In the cemetery is found people given gifts by God who wasted their lives with dreams, drugs or depravity.

The Bible condemns the lazy dreamer saying  “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.” (Prov 13:4)

These are gifted lives that are wasted in vain pursuits and take NO ADVANTAGE of the life that has been given them.

Many of us have software in our computers that, if we used it to its capacity could produce incredible things.

But those who will not use the gifts God has given them are like people who might have been given the most elaborate and expensive drawing program and used it only to create a few shapes or lines.

Try looking through Gods eyes for a moment and imagine a person you have created with the greatest potential who is not even willing to get out of bed an hour earlier to read his Bible to learn what God created them for.

Proverbs 26:14 says As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed.

And then there are those who just give excuses, too busy they say, too tired they say, I was dropped on my head when I was small, I’m lame on my feet, blind in one eye, born on the wrong side of the tracks, underprivileged, the wrong sex, I’m too young.

  • How do our excuses fair when compared to the young baby who contracted Scarlet Fever at less than two years of age, and became both Blind and Deaf, she described her life as living “at sea in a dense fog”. But Helen Keller went on to become a Teacher, author and political activist. Regardless of her politics, her life had excuses she thought unworthy of employment.
  • One young boys family was “born on the wrong side of the tracks” who’s father could not afford to keep him at school past the age of ten years, but that did not stop Benjamin Franklin from determining to educate himself and become a leading writer, printer, philosopher, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activiststatesman, and diplomat.
  • This girl was born to a peasant family in Southwest France, she was poor, small and worst of all she was born the wrong sex. Tucking her hair into her helmet she looked like a boy and joined the French in their one hundred years war against the English, her endeavours inspired the French until England had captured the legendary Joan of Arc, and she was finally burnt at the stake at the tender age of 19 years.
  • Too young could certainly have been the claim of William Pitt, at the tender age of 24 years; never in its long history did Great Britain have a prime minister so young. Though the media mocked him for his youth saying the Kingdom of England is trusted to a school boys care, his government lasted 17 years from 1783 to 1801 and then again in 1804 until his early death in 1806.

We hear of these people, not so much for their perceived greatness, but more because of their rarity. Every single person in the world is born with ability but it’s a great sorrow to see so few have employed them.

  • Franklin Roosevelt was struck with Polio and became lame on his feet from age 39, but that did not stop him from being the longest serving President in the history of the United States, he was elected four times, it was actually because of him that the law was changed to limit presidential terms to two.

These are people who lived without excuses

The God who saved your soul has given to you gifts, not to boast about them, but to use them to the fullest of your abilities.

There is nothing about your life that is insignificant or without purpose, and if the Lord has saved you from sin and you remain alive this day with your life held in his hands, its stands to reason that there is a purpose for which you remain. 

  • Boastings are futile, but the responsibility and joy is ALL YOURS;
  • And the pleasure is the Lord’s, “well done my good and faithful servant

Your choice is either to add yourself to the number that fills our cemeteries, or use the gifts God has given you without excuse.

Beloved, please, think soberly, you are not here wasting space, there is purpose to your life, seek the Lord to discover it and live your life to fulfill it.


We have spoken of Grace and the gifts that accompany it to fulfill the work that Lord has created you for. But the most inexplicable Grace and the greatest gift of all is everlasting life.

Romans 6:23 simply says; “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Twenty very simple words that, if any person in the world would not think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but think soberly, will understand the entirety of the Gospel.

It seems that what we have is an understanding through this text that HUMILITY is the prerequisite both to obtaining everlasting life and to living that life to the glory of God.

It seems so reasonable to me that if Pride was the precursor to the Devils demise, it should be humility that restores our relationship.


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