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Saturday, September 30, 2017

9-30-2017          Gifts of the Spirit - a New Twist?

1 Corinthians 12:1-13

Now, brothers, concerning Spiritual gifts, I don’t want you ignorant.  Once, being Gentiles, you were once led astray by dumb idols. 

Therefore, I want you to understand that no man calls Jesus accursed when speaking by the Spirit and yet no man can call Jesus Lord except by the Holy Ghost. 

Now there are different gifts, but it is by the same Spirit.  And even though they are for different services, they come by the same Lord.  They operate differently, but it is God who works through each of them.

The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit everyone else.

By the Spirit one is given the word of Wisdom, another the word of knowledge, each by the same Spirit.  Another receives faith by the same Spirit and another gifts of healing.  Another receives the working of miracles and another prophecy.  Another receives the discerning of spirits and another different tongues (not acquired naturally), while another the interpretation of tongues

But all these work by the same Spirit, as He divides to each man, individually, as He will.
The body is one, but has many members, but all the members of that body are still one, also as (we are) in Christ.

We are baptized into one body, whether Jew or Gentile, free or bond and we are all made (created) to drink into one Spirit. 

For years I’ve had certain concepts about the “Gifts of the Spirit” and, for the most part, those concepts were good, but incomplete.  Father has opened my heart to a deeper understanding of what the gifts actually are and how they ‘should’ operate. 

Like myself, I’ve known others who have grabbed hold of certain concepts, when we were young in the Lord, of what we thought were indeed biblical truths and dug our heels in when others came in contrary to what we ‘knew’.

Praise the Lord, for those of you who were introduced to the fuller concepts of the Holy Ghost from the time you were first saved.  I venture to say you also, most likely, had someone guiding you on (PTL).

Back in January 2017, I did a teaching in “Gifts and Anointing” and I thought I had a pretty good handle on things back them.  Well enough to do a respectable teaching.  None of my brothers and sisters challenged me back then, not that I was wrong with anything was said, it was just incomplete.
Father has used Kenneth Hagin to open my eyes to a lot of “spiritual things’ recently, so I thank Father for opening my eyes. 

As we see in 1 Corinthians 12:1-13, there are nine spiritual gifts listed.  Now, understand, there are talents (eg. singing, speaking, writing, leadership and other skills) which are also gifts from God, but those gifts are given without repentance.  We don’t have to be saved to have a good singing voice and so forth, but God gives them to us as He wills. The gifts we’re talking about here, though, are Holy Spirit given and driven.  Ergo, the “gifts of the Spirit”.  Now understand that any gift God gives, is given to magnify and glorify His name whether we use it that way nor not actually becomes our choice.

Mr. Hagin breaks the nine gifts into three categories: revelation, power gifts (action) and utterance (speaking).  Revelation includes the word of knowledge, word of wisdom and discerning of spirits.  The power gifts are faith, working of miracles and gifts of healing.  And lastly, the gifts of utterance are prophecy, different tongues and interpretation of tongues.

Paul tells us to covet the best gifts (1 Corinth. 12:31), that it desire them, for there is a ‘key’ gift in each group.  With the group of revelation both the word of knowledge and discerning of spirits are most dependent upon the word of wisdom.  Wisdom reveals how to use God given knowledge and enables us to distinguish the spirits.

Faith is primary with the power gifts because working miracles and gifts of healing are dependent upon our believing God can and will do what we ask.

Prophecy is prime in utterance because it edifies or builds up individuals or the church.   We can prophesy to ourselves or someone else and is usually spoken in the language we know so those who hear it are edified.  But when prophecy or anything is spoken in our heavenly, spiritual language, no one is edified unless there is someone to interpret the word.

Let’s take a look at each of the nine gifts and see how God has intended for them to work for us.  Remember, as we go through the list, the Holy Ghost gives each gift to us individually as He sees fit.  Some gifts may work together, but not necessarily.  But the gifts are given so each of us can help those around us to strengthen and grow in Christ Jesus.

The word of knowledge is basically divine revelation of information or facts, whether past or present, about someone or something but it does not predict future events.  Divine revelation means we don’t have access to the knowledge before the Holy Ghost reveals it to us.  Jesus uses this with the woman at the well (John 4:5-25).  Another example is God sending Ananias to Damascus so Paul can regain his sight (Acts 9:10-12).  Word of knowledge comes in the Old Testament as we see with Samuel telling Saul where his donkeys were (1 Sam. 9:3-20).  The word of knowledge is regularly used for is to purify, comfort, elate (bring joy), recover, reveal or glorify Jesus.

The word of wisdom reveals what God intends to do in a given situation and this would be for a present or future event, whether near or far.  The Holy Ghost reveals the deep things of God (1 Corinth. 2:10).  God reveals to Noah the world’s impending doom (Gen. 6:1-22) and the angel telling Paul that the ship would be lost but all lives would be spared (Acts 27:20-24) are examples as though they give facts, they speak to events which hadn’t yet occurred whereas the word of knowledge speaks to something that has already occurred or is happening ‘now’.

The discerning of spirits is one where Father showed me I had more to understand.  For openers, I always considered this to be the “gift of discernment”.  Discernment is being able to make a right decision about something, which road to take, which shirt to wear, which don’t require heavenly intervention, but wouldn’t preclude it.  But Father said to me “Listen up!”  The gift is “discerning of spirits”, not just discernment.  The discerning of spirits is just that, being able to see what spirit is involved in a situation.  Either of three spirits can be involved:  The Holy Spirit, a demonic spirit or our own human spirit may be getting in the way of what we are experiencing.  This gift shows us, by revelation through the Holy Ghost, which type of spirit is involved and even what specific spirit may be involved, which just might come in handy when casting out demons.  Or whether we should just shut up, sit down and let the Holy Ghost go to work so we don’t mess things up. 

Faith comes by the hearing of the word (Romans 10:17) and with this faith we believe God can and will do things, even ‘save’ us.  We trust Him to be true to His word.  But the “gift of faith” carries us beyond just belief so we can put that faith into action.  What does James tell us?  “Show me your faith without works and I’ll show you my faith through my works (James 2:18).  Doing is more than just believing.  Father endows us with the power (via the Holy Ghost) to put that faith into action.  We don’t ‘just believe’.  We put the pedal to the metal and get moving.

If we don’t have faith, don’t even consider working miracles.  Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6)) so we surely need a supernatural dose of the Holy Ghost to perform any miracle.  So what is a miracle?  Something that cannot be accomplished through natural sources, whether non-existent or not available.  Have you ever prayed that a raging storm would stop – and shortly after, it did?  Some may argue that you just had good timing, but it is also true that God performed a miracle by honoring your prayer.  The Holy Ghost moved upon the face of the waters during creation (Gen. 1:2) so what makes us think He’s still not doing it?

The gift of healing, again, is something God does outside the ‘natural’ realm.  Where doctors and hospitals are not available or perhaps a cure is yet non-existent in our world.  So the Holy Ghost needs to step in and perform a work beyond medical science or availability.  This is not ‘just’ the prayer of faith where we ask God to heal, but where we take action on God’s behalf by laying on of hands as well as speaking to the situation.  We know God’s Spirit inhabits our praises (Psalms 22:3) so we can be confident He also inhabits our prayerfully, faithful actions.  The gift of healing is the Holy Ghost working through our obedience to accomplish Father’s will.

I like how Kenneth Hagin explains the gift of prophecy.  He says it is not a “foretelling” of future events but a “forth-telling”.  In other words, it just doesn’t attempt to predict a future event but speaks, under guidance of the Holy Ghost, what God intendeds to happen.  I say intended because what would have happened had Paul ignored Agabus’ prophecy that the owner of the girdle would be bound (Acts 21:10-11)?  Who knows?  For Paul was determined to go to Jerusalem and was bound and eventually shipped off to Rome, and remember, Jesus said Paul had to be a witness in Rome (Acts 23:11).  The gift of prophecy is “not” fortune telling but a speaking by the revelation of the Holy Ghost of things that are designed to happen.  As I suggested, Paul could have taken another direction after the prophecy to avoid arrest, but who knows, something might have occurred and he still would have ended up arrested, in Jerusalem, and eventually off to Rome.  OR, the last few chapters in the book of Acts may have had to be rewritten.

Now, there are two realms of prophecy, simple and operating under the gift prophecy.  Simple prophecy is a word that edifies, exhorts or comforts.  No ‘earth shattering event’, just simple encouragement for the church.  “God’s got plans for you” or “Blessing are coming your way”, etc.
The gift of prophecy will usually work along with one or more of the revelation gifts, making it compounded with at least one other gift.  It will also get into more specifics than simple “go get ‘em tiger” prophecy.  Go back and read the account of Paul and Agabus.  That was specific and was only information that only the Holy Ghost could have revealed.

The speaking in tongues is perhaps one of the more familiar gifts of the spirit.  It is surrounded with mystery, controversy it is the gift most needed for self-edification, building ourselves up in the Holy Ghost (Jude 20). 

Speaking in tongues is speaking in a God-given language which helps us to communicate with Father more effectively.  It is a New Testament anomaly.  There is no evidence of speaking with tongues before the disciples in the upper room in Jerusalem (Acts 2:1-3) and, as with the disciples, is the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost.  The Holy Ghost gives us utterance when we speak in tongues though we initiate the action.  He speaks the mysteries of God (1 Corinth. 2:10) to our spirit and helps our infirmities and helps us to pray when we don’t know how (Romans 8:26-27).  When we use our prayer language regularly, it helps us walk closer with the Lord (1 Corinth. 2:11-12) as He helps us to magnify and glorify our Lord.  

 On the personal level, the praying in tongues edifies the individual.  It is intended to build ‘me’ up and even though it can be used publicly, Paul give us some guidelines in 2 Corinthians chapter 14.  The big thing to remember in public use is that God is not the author of confusion, so things should be done in order because edification of the body is the bottom line.  And the Holy Ghost is till the author whether in private or public.

The interpretation of tongues is just what it says, an interpretation, not a translation.  This is why a prophetic tongue may be given and the interpretation may be shorter or longer when presented.  This is true whether in private or in group, your prayer closet or at church.  The interpretation is given so hearers may receive an understanding for edification of what the tongues were conveying.  Why be bothered with the interpretation?  The Apostle Paul tells us that when we pray, we should pray with understanding (1 Corinth. 14:15-17) especially in church so all would be edified.  However, when it is just the Lord and me, I still ask for understanding so I will have an idea what for what I’ve just prayed.  And even so, the Holy Ghost is the one who reveals that interpretation.

So, the Gifts of the Spirit are given by the Holy Ghost, as He sees fit, for edification of the church.  There are many gifts so there are many ways in which the church, or the individual, can be edified.  We have to yield to the Holy Ghost (try speaking in tongues without opening your mouth) and follow His direction.  The gifts may be manifested at a personal level or in a whole congregation for our benefit or a group’s, but God will always get the glory.


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