“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” – Titus 3:5 (NIV)
Last week we indicated that there are eleven ministries of the Holy Spirit and started with His
ministry concerning the spiritual gifts. We ended on “not using the gifts in love” and said that
those who are blessed with gifts often abuse it and that only eternity will reveal the number of
men in the ministry who should never have been there.
We continue our study this week on the Holy Spirit ministry concerning the spiritual gifts as
- THE NUMBER OF THE SPIRITUAL GIFTS.
In three main passages, the Apostle Paul lists eighteen separate spiritual gifts for us. These passages are: Romans 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-7; Ephesians 4:11.
- THE NATURE OF THE SPIRITUAL GIFTS
It would seem that these eighteen gifts can be placed into two basic categories, the permanent stationary gifts and the temporary sign gifts.
- THE DESCRIPTION OF THE SPIRITUAL GIFTS
- The Seven Temporary Sign Gifts. These would include the gifts of apostleship,
prophecy, miracles, healing, tongues, interpretation of tongues, and knowledge.
At this point it is relevant to ask by what right do we designate the sign gifts as temporary in duration. The answer is found in the miraculous nature of the gift itself. Imagine yourself to be a spokesman sent from God some twenty centuries ago, before most of the New Testament was written. You have a message from the Lord. But how can your listeners be sure you are not one more false prophet among the many of the day? One dramatic indication of your genuineness would be the ability to perform miraculous signs. Note the following verses which bring this out. “He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” – John 3:2. “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.” – John 20:30 “I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done” – Romans 15:18. “I persevered in demonstrating among you the marks of a true apostle, including signs, wonders and miracles.” – 2 Cor. 12:12. “God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” – Heb. 2:4
The sign gifts were given primarily to validate the authority of the Saviour and His apostles prior to the writing of the New Testament. Afterwards, this miraculous proof was no longer needed, for the Scriptures themselves reveal the true from the false.
(1) THE GIFT OF APOSTLESHIP
A reference to certain men called by Christ Himself and endued with special power to function as the official “charter members” of the newly organized church. “ So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,” – Eph. 4:11. “And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.” – 1 Cor. 12:28
(a) Apostolic Requirements. One must have seen the resurrected Christ. “Beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” – Acts 1:22. “Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord?“ – 1 Cor. 9:1.
(b) Apostolic Number. The total number of the early apostles was not limited to twelve – Luke 6:13; Acts 1:26; 14:14; Romans 1:1; 11:13; Gal. 1:19; 1 Cor. 9:1; 15:7; 2 Cor. 11:5; 12:12.
(2) THE GIFT OF PROPHECY
“to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing
between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.” – 1 Cor. 12:10. “ Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” “During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.)” – Acts 11:27-28. “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 Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.” – Acts 21:10-11
(3) THE GIFT OF MIRACLES
A supernatural ability to perform those events outside and beyond the realm of nature; the ability to set aside for a time the regular laws of nature. “And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.” – 1 Cor. 12:28
(4) THE GIFT OF HEALING
A supernatural ability to cue human ills, whether of physical, mental, or demonic origin. “to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,” And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.” “Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.” – 1 Cor. 12:9, 28,30.
- The purpose of the gift of healing. As in the case of miracles, this gift was apparently given to attest to the authority and power of the one doing the healing.
- The limitation of the gift of healing. Christ did not heal all those He encountered –
Luke 4:25-27; John 5:3-9.
Paul was limited in his healing abilities as seen in his own affliction – 2 Cor. 12:7-10.
As seen in the case of Epaphroditus – Phil. 2:26-27
As seen in the case of Timothy – 1 Tim. 5:23
As seen in the case of Trophimus – 2 Tim 4:20.
(5) THE GIFT OF TONGUES
“to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.” – 1 Cor. 12:10.
“Until the completion of the New Testament God used the gift of tongues to act as a sign to the unbeliever (both Jew and Gentile) and as a means to edify the believer. “Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church.” – 1 Cor. 4:22
(6) THE GIFT OF THE INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES
1 Cor. 12:10 This is the supernatural ability to clarify and interpret those messages uttered in an unknown language.
(7) THE GIFT OF KNOWLEDGE
The supernatural ability to receive by revelation and transmit by inspiration, a portion of the Word of God. “To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,” – 1 Cor. 12 8
To be continued!
Source: Wilmington’s Guide to the Bible
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