Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gifts of the Spirit

      Have you ever wondered why many churches don't talk about the gifts of the Spirit?  I have.  It seems to me they are not preaching the full gospel and are in danger of falling into the category of "having a form of godliness but denying the power" that II Tim. 3:5 speaks of and warns us to stay away from, if they don't include the fact that Jesus died not only to make a way for us to go to Heaven, but also to give us His Holy Spirit to live in us here on earth.  The Holy Spirit manifests in us in different ways and at different times as "gifts of the Spirit."  In 1 Cor. 12, Paul says, 7 "Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 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. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines."  

Paul goes on to say in verse 27 "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 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. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts."

       Obviously Paul believes the gifts of the Spirit are for the church.  He continues speaking of gifts of the Spirit in chapters 13 and 14 of 1 Corinthians.  He ends chapter 14 with these words, 39 "Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way."  I believe that people are going to begin to flock to those churches who believe and preach the whole gospel because as times get even worse God will be their only hope.  People are looking for a power greater than themselves.  They see that if the supernatural is not welcomed then our religion becomes "something we can do for ourselves"--having a form of godliness but denying the power. 

     All the gifts are important to the Body of Christ.  We are in need of hope which comes from demonstrations of power through the operation of the gifts of the Spirit.  We live in discouraging and frightening times which we are constantly reminded of by the media as they bombard us daily with bad news.  Right now, though, I am particularly interested in learning more about prophecy which is given for the encouragement, edification and comfort of the Body. As Dale Gentry says," Just one word from the Lord can change your life forever." How needed this gift is today!  That's one reason we went to the conference at the Wabash Valley International House of Prayer last weekend with Joni Ames.  There we heard some incredible stories of how prophecy worked to change the lives of those she ministered to.  I will share a couple of them with you tomorrow.


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