This Sunday I looked at some the the gifts of the Spirit as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12.
Our church is Pentecostal by type. The Pentecostals are the largest section of the global Christian church, and the fastest growing, numbering over 600 million.
Some would claim that Pentecostalism started at the beginning of the 20th century but most now would say it is a strand of Christianity that has always existed from the beginning of the Christ’s church but came to the fore in the 20th C.
A feature of Pentecostal belief is an understanding and experience of the Holy Spirit, his gifts and the baptism in that same spirit. It is time I spoke about these things again so over the next three weeks I will speak on:
- An introduction to the Spirit Gifts
- Gifts of the Holy Spirit
- Holy Spirit Baptism
1 Cor 12:7-11
The Gifts of the Spirit as listed in v7-11
We live in great days, the days of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit throughout the nations.
Acts 2: 16,17 “this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people …”
Gifts or Fruit (Gal 5:33)? Both!
These gifts for the church will cease when the perfect comes (1 Cor 13:8). The perfect has not yet come (v12 Second Coming).
This list of Paul’s is not so we may tick off the ones we have collected. It is not so we can categorize the supernatural. It is so we shall have guidance, and know what to aspire to.
I don’t see this as a definitive list as others are mentioned elsewhere in scripture. I see this as one attempt of Paul, not to list, but to describe various types.
Wisdom – word of.
Ability to SPEAK wisdom as a gift of the Spirit. Not the general wisdom we can seek from God (James 1:5, 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.)
Some of the teachers of the law responded, Well said, teacher! And no-one dared to ask him any more questions.
3 Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them
4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.
5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
- Contending for the faith
- In government of the church
- In difficult situations
Knowledge – word of
There is uncertainty whether this is again the speaking or impartation to another person or whether someone gets knowledge about something from God. This time it is information rather than wisdom.
After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’
Faith – gift of
Not faith in God nor saving faith, but a gift of faith. Not an attitude of mind to strain ourselves into, but a GIFT.
Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third storey and was picked up dead. Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. Don’t be alarmed, he said. He’s alive!
Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.
Discerning of spirits
Not discernment of persons, which would be a critics charter.
What is meant by “spirit”? Is it an inner perspective, or outer influence?
Lk 9:51-56 NKJB
Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, 52 and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”
55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village.
Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. Never, Lord! he said. This shall never happen to you! Jesus turned and said to Peter, Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.
Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.
17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.
18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned round and said to the spirit, In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her! At that moment the spirit left her.
Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.
Then Peter said, Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?
Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God. When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land? Yes, she said, that is the price. Peter said to her, How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also. At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
Gifts of Healing (see v10, 28, 30)
Books have been written on this topic alone!
V28 is plural “healings”.
Not the prayer of faith as in James 5:14
Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
Theories in attempts to understand:
- A person has a gift for particular diseases? Such a view is not supported by scripture or practice.
- The gift resides upon the gifted and they can exercise the gift at any time? Again, no evidence in the text.
To be expected in the context of proclamation. So gifts are distributed as God wills.
We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
The key thing is the presence of God’s power, the Holy Spirit, not the presence of a gifted person.
See Lk 5:17
One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick.
Miracles – working of (v10, 28, 30)
Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live. But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects.
They travelled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus,
7 who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God.
8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith.
9 Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said,
10 You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?
11 Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun. Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand.
12 When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.
Acts 8:9-19 (especially verse 13)
Now for some time a man named Simon had practised sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, This man is the divine power known as the Great Power.
They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic. But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptised, both men and women.
Simon himself believed and was baptised. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptised into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.
I ran out of time last week so I will continue here where I left off next week