Gifts of the Spirit

Gifts of the Spirit

discerning of spirits


Audio version

  • 1Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
  • 2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.

Jesus told the church to go into the entire world and preach the gospel and teach them all things whatsoever He commanded us to teach and do. He said to heal the sick, cast out devils and preach the kingdom of God is at hand and that God has commanded everyone to repent in order to be part of that kingdom.

The gospel is to be preached to the entire world. What is the gospel? It is the message of salvation by grace through the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross. It is the message that we must repent or turn away from sin and turn to Christ in order to obtain salvation.

In order to do all that Jesus instructed us to do, we have to have what we call the baptism in the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost. If we fail to seek Him for these things, we will not be going forth in the power that the believers need to do all He said to do.

He doesn't give commandments and then not equip us to do what He commands. Firstly every gift is given to the body of believers for the purpose of spreading the gospel. The sign gifts give accent to what we are saying is true. It was badly needed in the days when the earth was full of idolatry and false religion. It is still needed today as we see all these things flooding back into the world. The gifts of the Spirit are given to teach new converts, disciple the body of believers, and they are a witness that God is real and still with us today. They also are a witness that Jesus died, was buried and rose from the dead and is now at the right hand of the Father in heaven. In other words they confirm the word we are preaching and teaching.

The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. That means He made these available to His followers and He never once took them back and said they were not needed any longer. When that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away with. That which is perfect is either the literal 2nd coming of Jesus or else it is when every person has been saved from sin, living for Jesus, every person is healed from all disease, every person had come into the fullness of God that he or she could possibly be, every person is perfected in the faith. In other words the gifts will not be needed if every single person on the planet has received the fullness of God and do not need any teaching, preaching, further knowledge, wisdom healing etc. 

The gifts of the spirit were given after Jesus came so who is more perfect than Jesus as far as one who walked upon the earth? Jesus was taken away and He sent the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has to be here until Jesus returns in person and sets up that which is perfect. Until every single individual upon the face of the earth is saved from sin and in no danger or returning to darkness, we will need every gift of the spirit that is available. The gifts of the spirit would disappear only if the Holy Spirit was removed.

The written word is indeed infallible and a gift of God. However, the written would is not what is spoken of as being "When that which is perfect shall come". The written word is given so that we have a foundation in which to judge whether or not any message of prophecy, interpretation of tongues, preaching, teaching, signs and wonders is from God.

The Holy Spirit never contradicts the written word. It confirms the word. If a sign or wonder does not confirm the written word, do not believe it. I will say that again. If a sign, wonder, miracle, utterance, prophecy, preaching, teaching does not confirm the word already given to us, we do not have to accept it.

Jesus said that signs shall follow them that believe and also that signs follow confirming the word. God gave enough equipment to His followers so that we are not to abide in darkness and go back into the same sins and darkness that Jesus saved us out of. In Paul's day all the nations surrounding Israel were in the spiritual darkness of false religion and idolatry.

They were led astray by false teachers, false religions and much darkness. Since the gospel has been preached we have seen light going into a dark world. We do not see much idolatry as we did then but we do see that it is making a comeback. Could it be that the church has laid aside once again the gifts of the spirit like they did in the days after the death of the apostles?

Without the Holy Spirit, we will return to the darkness of the Middle Ages when the Holy Spirit was ignored or suppressed in the church of that day. We need every gift that God gives or else we will not be able to discern the false from the real. Idolatry should never be able to return to the church but it has in many places.

Because of misuse and abuse of spiritual gifts, because of counterfeits and people getting in the flesh, some may start to shy away from the gifts that will keep them from being deceived and help all to worship God in spirit and in truth. In other words throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

  • 1Corinthians 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

A person can mimic someone saying that Jesus is accursed or mimic someone saying that Jesus is Lord but someone speaking by the Holy Spirit cannot call Jesus accused. No one can say that Jesus is Lord and really declare it to be the truth except by the Holy Spirit.

  • 1Corinthians 12:4 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.

It is a work of God not man when we operate under the anointing and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

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

First of all we must not make the mistake of getting spiritual gifts mixed up with natural talents or abilities that we are born with or with those tendencies that we are inclined to be good at as we develop and grow into adults. Those too come from God but are given to people whether or not they have been born again by the spirit.

Spiritual gifts are all together different. Although God uses individuals who may be spiritually available or what we call "prayed up" and not spiritually asleep, these gifts are given to the body of believers who have formerly been saved by the blood of Christ and filled with the spirit.

They are primarily for the spreading of the gospel and bringing souls to Jesus Christ, they are used for edifying the body of Christ and confirming the already written word of God which is to be preached and taught.

They are never given to anyone so that we can get up and tell everyone we have the gift of "such and such" so that we can exalt ourselves above everyone else and be looked upon as a super spiritual person. We have nothing that everyone among us can have if they seek God and ask for it.

The mistake some make is this: They assume if God wants them to have a certain gift, He will just give it and they don't have to seek. If we do not have to seek for these things, why does Paul say in 1 Corinthians 14 to seek earnestly the best gifts.

We need to do more praying as a body earnestly seeking as a corporate body the best gifts to be put into us as a body. God sees and knows our needs and what is good for us as a local body of believers. We need to see Him to pour out His spirit and bring the gifts that are needed for this local fellowship that we have here. We can pray for other believers of course but we canít really seek on their behalf, they have to do it. We must seek for this locality that we have the opportunity to be part of. He is not just going to pour out gifts upon us if we have the attitude that we couldn't care less whether or not anything spiritual is accomplished.

These gifts are given to the body to profit spiritually. Itís very important that we get this part. So many have messed this up and have caused many non-Pentecostal denominations to think we are not right. It is not given for a side show; to individuals for their own profit, fame or prestige. It is given to edify the local body in which we find ourselves in. We may be used of God outside the local church such as hospital visits, home visitation, witnesses to the lost etc. but that is still functioning within the local body.

People that are used to ministering the gifts as the spirit directs are in no way more spiritual, better or higher up than other members who have not yet been used by the Holy Spirit as least not visibly. We have nothing that anyone else, great or small cannot receive. It is not "ours", it still belongs to God who gave them to us. We are to consider ourselves vessels and ministers of the spirit, not objects to be idolized above anyone else.

For an example of what I mean. We have a building here that we set aside to worship God and learn more of God in this local building. It is considered our place of worship. It doesnít belong to just me or just the local pastor. It belongs to all of us. This is how the gifts work. They are for the whole body of Christ and not just one or two individuals.

Although we have a building here sometimes only one or two may show up to worship. That is how it works with the gifts of the spirit. It could be only one or two are in tune with the spirit and have been praying, continually in touch with God and willing to be available to the Holy Spirit. If we all sat around watching TV and never seek the face of God, I doubt if the Holy Spirit can move on us to do anything.

That may be why we usually only see certain individuals who are used in the gifts of the spirit. It really is not meant to be that way. We all should be seeking God and be willing to allow His spirit to fill us and then use us as the Holy Spirit leads, not according to our will.

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