x405........Gifts of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit of God--the third member of the trinity--is spoken of throughout the Bible. He is the presence of God in the earth since the time of Jesus ascension into heaven. The unique manifestations of the Holy Spirit, which began at the day of pentecost, are spoken of and demonstrated throughout the new testament. But there are three chapters of the Bible--1Corinthians 12-14--which speak in detail about the function of these gifts within the new covenant church. This Bible study is simply going to search through these 3 chapters and highlight certain aspects which the Bible teaches. We pray this study will challenge you to read and study these chapters for yourself.

Chapter 12

1* ¶ Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. (1 Corinthtians 12:1)

This first verse tells us that it is possible to be ignorant of these Spiritual gifts. They are important for Christians to know of, understand, and function in.

4* Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5* And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6* And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)

There are different gifts and ministries ("adminsitrations"--Greek: diakoneo--most often trandlated as simply "ministry")--all from the Holy Spirit---and these gifts operate in all of us. It is God the Holy Spirit within all of us which works these gifts in all of us.

7* But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. (1 Corinthians 12:7)

This verse clearly tells us that these manifestations are given to everyone, in order to benefit all of us. We could therefore say, that we will not receive all that God has for us, unless and until the Spirit is made manifest in "every man". These Spirit gifts are not just special gifts for a chosen few, but rather they are meant to be central to the operation of the new covenant church.

8* For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9* To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11* But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. (1 Corinthians 12:8-11)

The next verses list the gifts of the Spirit. But notice that once again it is stressed that the Spirit gives these gifts to "every man" as He will. If you have been born again, and have received the Holy Spirit, you are gifted in one or more of these ways. You have the Biblical right to function in these gifts, as the Holy Spirit leads you. Many times in the new testament--the church is compared to a "body" in which every member has a function (compare these chapters with Romans chapter 12, and Ephesians chapter 4). We see clearly that the operation of the gifts of the Spirit are for every member of the the body of Christ, each working together in each ones particular gift.

(We should never be afraid of expressing what the Holy Spirit tells us--since it is His word, and it is meant to benefit our brothers and sisters in Christ!--the operation of the church within the common homes of Christians was and is the perfect place for all to express the Spritual gifts--as well as the real, true, humble gifts of ministry)

Now as we read through these chapters we can see that the Bible tells us that some of the gifts are more valuable than others. And it tells us that we ought to seek after the greater gifts...

31* But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. (1 Corinthians 12:31)

The Bible tells us in this verse that we ought to covet! Now, wait a minute--didn't God say "thou shalt not covet? Well, the thing we ought to covet is the Spiritual gift of prophecy! These gifts are things that we ought to seek after and desire--since they are God operating through us---this is what we are told to covet! It is not personal ambition to desire Spiritual gifting--it is the command of God!

Chapter 13

The next chapter of the Bible is one which every Christian ought to read every day. It tells us that the way we must operate as Christians is through the power of love. We can have all the gifts in the world--but if they do not work through "agape" the all forgiving, unconditional love of God-- they are useless. Love is greater than all the gifts of the Spirit and all the gifts of ministry and always will be.

Chapter 14

1* ¶ Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. (1 Corinthians 14:1)

So once again we are told to follow after the love of God--but also we should "desire" the "charisma"--the Spirit gifts. Chapter 14 of the book of 1corinthians is the place in the Bible which gives the clearest doctrine on how we ought to conduct ourselves when we meet together.

26* ¶ How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

Once again it is stressed that "every one of you" can have the Spirit speak though you. It will come out in differing ways

WE want to encourage you to read all of these chapters carefully for yourself. Unfortunately, some of the verses in this part of the Bible have often been quoted out of context. 1Corinthians 14 gives us guidelines for operating the gifts of the Spirit in an "orderly" fashion. But it cannot be stressed enough--Gods order is that every Christians has the right--in fact the necessity--to operate and function in the gifts of the Holy Spirit as well as the gifts of ministry!

For example--this is an often quoted verse from this section of the Bible....

33* For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (1corinthians 14:33)

This might lead us to believe that only one or two "correct" people should be allowed to speak out in the church. When we read this verse out of context, we might take it to mean that God wants most of us to be quiet and without function in our meetings. Or perhaps that only a few have the gifts of prophecy--(the gift to speaking the word of God). But look back 2 verses.....

31* For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. (1corinthians 14:31)

Studying these verse in context gives us the full message. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are for every one of us to use--to help every one of us. Within the context of the church, we are to use these gifts in an orderly fashion--basically we should speak one at a time and have the courtesy which comes from the love of God which is in our hearts.

The biggest hindrance to the gifts of the Holy Spirit is our tradition of meeting in large numbers, one day a week, in a set format which predetermines who will "be allowed" to speak.

These instructions in the Bible were written to people who were meeting on a daily basis (but not everyone every day!!) in small groups in their homes. They were following the apostolic method that Jesus had demostrated. They got together--as often as possible, wherever possible ("wherever 2 or 3 are gathered in may name...")--they prayed in the Spirit--they gave allowance for the Holy Spirit to speak through anyone. They all understood who they were in God--that they were prophets and teachers etc. And when God spoke in this small group, they quickly and immediately carried out His commands...

"Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus."
(Acts 13:1-4, KJV).