Welcome to Expound, our verse by verse study of God's word. Our goal is to expand your knowledge of the truth of God by explaining the word of God in a way that is interactive, enjoyable, and congregational.
Turn in your bibles, please, to the book of 1 Corinthians 12 but also a marker at Acts chapter 8. Can we pray? Lord, we've already prayed. We've already talked to you in our worship. We've sung these songs to you, and we've told you that we love you. And we do.
But Father, now we just want to acknowledge our need when it comes to understanding spiritual truth. We don't presume that just because we've gone to school or we're good students or we can take notes or we've been a Christian a long time that we know everything there is to know or that we're just going to automatically understand. We need your Spirit to help us. And we just want to pray at the beginning and give our bodies to you as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable, which is our reasonable service, pray that you direct us and teach us. In Jesus's name, amen.
So once upon a time, there was this things called a space shuttle. It's funny that I have to say that. But a few years ago, that whole program was stopped.
But the space shuttle would launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Now, get this. The space shuttle weighed 4 and 1/2 million pounds. I just want you to think of that number. It weighed 4 and 1/2 million pounds.
Now, how on earth are you going to be able to get 4 and 1/2 million pounds from Earth far enough into outer space for it to make an orbit? Power. You need power to do that, right? You need an enormous amount of power.
In fact, they tell us you needed seven million pounds of thrust. That's what the rockets produced that pushed that space shuttle from Earth upward, seven million pounds of thrust. That's power.
OK, now think of this. How much power does it take to create the universe? How much power does it take to maintain the galaxies, the solar system, et cetera?
How much power does it take to save a soul? How much power does it take for God to use people like you and me? The answers to all those questions are, it takes an enormous amount of power.
But we're talking about God's power. He has power in spades. He has power on reserve. God rules the universe with His feet up. It's not like, that was a hard day at work. God is all powerful.
We've been talking about the Holy Spirit. And there were two people standing at the foot of Niagara Falls in New York in the Canadian border, and they were looking at Niagara Falls. And there was a man who was a local, and he pointed to the water coming down, and he said, that is the greatest unused power in the universe. His friend next to him, a believer, said, no, it's not. The Holy Spirit of God is the greatest unused power in the universe.
He hit on something. He hit on the fact that God is powerful. God wants to give us His power to live the Christian life. We've been talking about that the last couple of weeks.
But so often it's unused. We don't tap into it. Now, the Holy Spirit is far more than a power. He is a person. That's what we discovered in our very first study. The Holy Spirit is a person.
He has personality traits. He is described with personal pronouns. And he's not just a person. He's a divine person. He is God himself. He is the third member of the triune God, the Trinity.
And we discussed that the Holy Spirit is a divine person who has come to help us, if you remember that study. He is called the paracletes, the counselor, comforter, literally means "one who is called alongside to help us." So the Holy Spirit is a divine person who has come to help.
And just reviewing a little bit-- Jesus said that he would send the Holy Spirit who would be another helper-- that is, one just like Jesus was to the disciples. We have a helper. We-- God's people, God's church-- we have a helper, like the helper the disciples had in Jesus Christ. I just want you to keep that in mind.
And if you could just drill that deep into your heart and live that way every day. "I have a helper. I have a helper. I have a helper." And He's as good and powerful a helper as Jesus was to those disciples when He walked the earth.
Now, we discovered something last week in week two, that the Holy Spirit comes after us to save us, right? He is with us. He's the one that convicts us of sin. As Jesus said, the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment-- of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness because I go to the Father and you see me no more; of judgment because the ruler of this world is judge. So the Holy Spirit comes after us to save us.
But, also the Holy Spirit comes inside of us to sanctify us when He abides in us and He is that ever present helper. Now, when the Holy Spirit comes inside of us, he doesn't just-- and I just have to touch on this, because we are big in the Western culture of modern society to talk about a personal relationship with Christ. I'm all for a personal relationship with Christ.
But you know, that is translated in our minds, in a lot of American Christian minds, as a personal, private relationship. It's my own deal. I have my own thing going on with God. It may be different than yours. Don't judge me, man, because here's my own personal, private relationship.
I'm sorry. You don't get to have a private relationship. Yes, you can have a personal relationship with God, but you don't get to lead a private life, because according to the New Testament, the Holy Spirit of God baptizes you into the body of Christ. That's what the church is all about. We are meant to live in a community with accountability.
So the Holy Spirit comes after us to save us. He comes inside of us to sanctify us. By one spirit, Paul said, you've all been baptized into one body.
And that's important that we realize all these truths I've just said so far, because unless there is that which is above us, we will soon give in to that which is around us. The world is very powerful in and of itself. Satan is powerful. And the means he uses to dissuade people from believing in Jesus Christ, to keep us apart from Christ, is very, very powerful, these forces at work.
So unless we realize and know and enter into a relationship with that which is above us, the Holy Spirit, we will soon yield and succumb to that which is around us. So the Holy Spirit comes after us to save us. He comes inside of us to sanctify us.
But if you remember, last week-- and I just feel like I need to repeat this for some-- we asked a question-- is that all there is? Is that all there is? And by the way, that would be enough. If God just saved you, period, that would be enough. Say, that would be enough.
That would be enough.
Thank you. It would be enough. It's like, yeah, God just saved me from hell. That's it. Well, that's a lot. That's enough.
But we asked the question, is that all there is? Am I just saved, and I go to church? I'm a part of a church, but is that all of God's plan? And we answered, no, it's not.
Yes, you are baptized by the spirit into one body. But I contend you should be filled with this spirit. You should be filled with the spirit. And we discovered that at Pentecost, the early church was both baptized with the Spirit, by the Spirit in the body of Christ but also filled with the Spirit, and things happened as a result.
So the Holy Spirit comes after us to save us. He comes inside of us to sanctify us. And the third component-- He comes upon us to supercharge us. He comes on us to give us his empowering. He has something he wants us to do, a task he wants us to perform.
And you remember we touched on John 7, where Jesus said, "Whoever believes in me out of his innermost being will flow rivers of living water." And John said this-- "He spoke concerning His Holy Spirit, which was not yet given."
Years ago, there was a man named Norman Grubb, who wrote a book called The Deep Things of God. And before he died, I got to meet him. I got to attend a lecture by him. He came here to Albuquerque.
And in his book The Deep Things of God, Norman Grubb said that man's greatest capacity is that of a vessel. Man's greatest capacity is that of a vessel, that God has created man with the capacity to contain God, right? That's pretty amazing.
2 Corinthians 4-- "We have this treasure in earthen vessels." It's a great concept. It's a great thought.
However, in making that statement, I believe Grubb came short. I don't think man's greatest capacity is to be a vessel. I think man's greatest capacity is to be a channel from which the Holy Spirit flows into us but then out from us, as Jesus said, like torrents of living waters.
You see, we can bottle him up and have things in our theological package just down pat. And yes, I have Christ. Yes, I have the Holy Spirit. Yes, I'm satisfied in Jesus. Whoop-dee-doo. We're glad you're satisfied.
But the Holy Spirit was not given so that you could splash around in your little living water swimming pool but rather so that your life could be a channel to get that living water out to other people so it would flow from you, through you, and from you. So I would just say that if you can't say that your life is overflowing and flowing out, that God has a deeper work that he wants to do in you, a deeper work. We talked last week about firm faith versus flowing faith, the power of the Spirit to refresh others.
Now, we did also touch on something, and I'm taking things we've said, and I'm expanding a little bit before we get into our text. But I mentioned last time that there was one baptism but many fillings, one baptism by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ but that there were many fillings, that the early church was filled and then filled again. Paul was filled and then filled again.
We read that it happened over and over again, and it was a command given in Ephesians 5-- "Be being filled with the Holy Spirit." Be constantly, ongoingly-- I don't even know if that's a word. But keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Now, there is a semantic issue, and people will have arguments over semantics, because I even noted that the term "the baptism of the Spirit" is never found in the Bible, although the baptism with the Spirit and the baptism by the Spirit is. And so some people will object to the term. Well, you can't use the term, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Well, OK, I get that, and I'd like to be technically correct.
But I'll just put it this way. If whatever you want to call it means being immersed by, soaked in, saturated by, controlled by the Spirit so that it's flowing out of my life, I want that. I'm for that. I want that dynamic-- remember the word "dunamis," power. I want that dynamic of the spirit of God empowering my life to love and to serve people.
So in Acts chapter 8-- and we're going to go more in depth when we go to Acts, but I just want to touch on a few things on the way over to 1 Corinthians. But in Acts chapter 8, I just want to take you quickly down to verse 14. Now, when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.
I'll catch you up really quick. A guy named Philip went to Samaria, preached the gospel. A lot of people got saved. A lot of people got saved. Like, a revival broke out. So that's what this is all about.
Verse 15-- Peter and John come, who when they had come down to Sumeria area, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, "for as yet he had fallen"-- what? What's the word? Upon. That's that proposition we mentioned last time.
There was "para," with. There was "en," in. And there was "api," and that is upon. That's the same proposition here.
For it says, "For as yet, he had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit."
So Philip goes there. He preaches. Many believe. Many are baptized.
The Holy Spirit immediately begins to indwell them. He is in them. What happened when Peter and John come? The Holy Spirit-- and the key word is "upon." The Holy Spirit is upon them, empowering them in the sense of Acts chapter 1 verse 8. Acts Chapter 1, verse 8, that text we covered more in depth last time.
Now, go over to chapter 19. And again, we're going to be plowing through this anyway. So I just wanted to highlight a couple things.
Acts chapter 19, verse 1. "And it happened while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephasus. And finding some disciples, he said to them, did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?
So they said to him, we have not so much as heard whether there is the Holy Spirit. And he said to them, into what then were you baptized? And so they said into John's baptism. This is John the Baptist."
So Apollos is preaching to them what he had heard John the Baptist say. But remember, if he's preaching John's baptism, John promised, I baptize with water, but one is coming after me mightier than I who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. So they had heard of it in that context. They had heard of the Holy Spirit. They hadn't heard that He had come yet.
And Paul said, "John indeed baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on him who would come after him-- that is, on Jesus Christ. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon"--
Notice that word again. You could actually trace that through the book of Acts. It would be a fascinating study. "Came upon them. And they spoke with tongues, and they prophesied."
Now, I just want to say quickly that some interpret this passage as meaning by the time Paul gets there, he discovers Apollos had preached, but they weren't saved yet. They weren't saved. They didn't really understand the gospel until Paul got there. So the people there didn't understand the finished work of Jesus Christ that Paul goes on to explain, so they're not saved. And so Paul has to make sure they're are saved and then baptize them again.
Others, however, see this differently, that they already were saved. But Paul comes there, and Paul must have noticed that there's something lacking in their faith, perhaps a dynamic that he knew they could be at, and he discovered that they were not. They were weak, and they were unempowered.
But nonetheless, I just want to introduce this thought to you. And by reading Acts chapter 19, we've discovered two gifts that are mentioned, the gift of tongues and the gift of prophecy. Now, I have to say that I'm not here to teach on that tonight. It took me 30 weeks of a year, 30 weeks, to teach through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. And I covered each gift per week.
Actually, I did it sometimes two weeks. So you know my style. It takes me a little longer than most. So it took me two weeks to just talk about the gift of tongues and how it's used and the purpose for it. Another week on the gift of the interpretation of tongues. Another week on prophecy and all the way through. So it took me 30 weeks to do that.
So I'm just summing things up tonight. This is a three-part series after all. But I want you to turn now to 1 Corinthians chapter 12, where we are introduced more in depth to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. And I just want to touch on them so that you're aware of them. You can then ask God what to do with that after that or talk to one of us about that.
1 Corinthians 12 verse 1-- "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant. You know that you were Gentiles carried away to these dumb idols." Now, "dumb" means unable to speak, but I just like that translation. I kind of see it as a double entendre, "these dumb idols."
"However, you were led. Therefore, I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed. And no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
There are diversities of gifts. but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all."
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all. Now, notice in verse 1, the term "spiritual gifts." Now, concerning spiritual gifts, "pneumatikon" is the Greek word. Two words in English, spiritual gifts. One word in Greek, "pneumatikon."
You've heard of a pneumatic tool, a pneumatic drill, a pneumatic tire. It's from "pneuma," the Greek word for "wind" or "breath" or "spirit." "Pneumatikon" is literally "spirituals." So listen to the literal translation.
Now, concerning spirituals brother, I don't want you to be ignorant. That term pneumatikon can refer either to spiritual matters or spiritual people. And in this case he's referring, because he lists the gifts of the Spirit and calls them by that, that he's referring here to spiritual gifts.
But isn't it interesting-- I find it-- that Paul says, I don't want you to be ignorant about this? Now, I've discovered that whenever Paul says that, he says that because that is an area of great ignorance. And I've always found it fascinating that the two areas that Paul the Apostle spoke about not being ignorant about are the two areas most Christians are ignorant about. One is spiritual gifts, and the other is the coming of the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4-- "I don't want you to be ignorant about the falling asleep of brothers and the coming of the Lord." But I've always found it interesting that when it comes to eschatology, last things, the coming of Christ, there's just a lot of haziness and spiritual ignorance as well as spiritual gifts.
Now, you'll notice that word, by the way, "ignorant"-- it's the word "agnaeo." You want to just have a little fun? Let's all say that together. "Agnaeo."
That means "without knowledge", literally, or without understanding, speaks of somebody who doesn't know something. We get our word "agnostic" from this word. I mean somebody who is uninformed, without information.
I want you to be informed. I don't want you to continue as a church to be uninformed about these things. So he goes into a lengthy discussion in Chapter 12, partly in chapter 13, in depth in chapter 14 on spiritual gifts.
Now, spiritual gifts are mentioned in these verses as you go on. Verse 8-- "For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit; to another, the word of knowledge through the same Spirit; to another, faith by the same Spirit; to another, gifts of healings by the same Spirit; to another, working of miracles; to another, prophecy; to another, discerning of spirits; to another, different kinds of tongues; to another, the interpretation of tongues. But one in the same Spirit works all these things distributing to each one individually as he wills."
Do you remember in our first study on the Holy Spirit a couple of weeks ago, and I mentioned last week the idea of cessationism, right? A cessationist is somebody who believes that the working of the Holy Spirit as seen in the book of Acts in the early church has ceased. It is stopped.
That was for that time period only. That time period is over. God doesn't do those things anymore. And so these gifts, the gifts of the Spirit even mentioned here, are not for today. And they're even honestly afraid to broach the subject.
I watched some people-- when it comes to spiritual gifts, even spiritual leaders, even some pastors-- they just sort of get a little bit nervous and move around a little bit, and it's like eww-- they're just afraid. And they'll even say, I'm afraid to open myself up to that stuff 'cause I never know what could happen. If I open myself up to that, I might, like, start talking weird.
Like, let's say I'm in a bank, and all of a sudden I start speaking in tongues. I've had people like worry that they're going to lose control somewhere. Being filled with the Spirit is never about losing control. It's always about letting Him control you more and more.
Now, the premise for this idea, that God worked in a way but doesn't work that way anymore, is called dispensationalism. And I adhere to dispensationalism, sort of, in a bit. I'm a mild dispensationalist. And I agree with certain things.
But there's a scripture in Hebrews chapter 1 verse 1 and 2 that says, "God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in times past to our fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by his own son, whom he made or appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds." But that little phrase in the first verse-- "God in various times and in various ways spoke"-- that is the foundational premise of dispensationalism. A dispensation is a time period.
So a dispensational class, theology class, would talk about the edenic dispensation, or the time period in the Garden of Eden, that God was working a certain way in the Garden of Eden, and he stopped working that way. And then after that there was the antediluvian time period or dispensation before the flood. Then after that, there was a postdiluvian dispensation or time era. After that, there was the mosaic or the law, where God worked through the law.
We come to the New Testament, and we have the ecclesiastical dispensation. These are some big words. This is theology course. And they'll say, well, God works in different ways at different times.
Now, I agree with that. I agree with that in principle. But now then they'll take the church age, and they'll divide it up by saying, well, you have the apostolic age and then the post-apostolic age. That's the age we're in, OK?
The apostolic age, the early church. The apostles were running around. Paul was one of them.
But that age is over, and these gifts are done. They're over. They ceased.
Now, how did they come up with that? Upon what do they base that thinking? Well, I'll read it to you. 1 Corinthians 13. You're there. You could look at.
Verse 8 through 10. He says, "Love never fails, but whether there are prophecies, they will fail. Whether there are tongues, they will cease. Whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part. We prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part will be done away with."
Now, here's how they interpret that. Tongues, prophecy, all these gifts were for the time period before the collecting of the full body of the scriptures, the canon of scripture. Once we have the full canon of New Testament scripture, all of those gifts, which were like crutches until we had the full Bible-- All those gifts now are done. They were for that apostolic period only, and they now cease.
Now, that is a poor exigencies of that text. And here's how I know. Because even a very hyper-dispensationist told me so, a hyper-dispensationalist who wrote a study Bible and wrote commentaries, Dr. Rorie. Some of you have a Ryrie Study Bible. We'll say that this text does not refer to the full canon of scripture but the coming of Jesus Christ.
By its context and wording, that which is perfect isn't a reference to the Bible. There's no mention of that at all. It's a reference to the coming of Christ again. And until he comes, we need these gifts.
Because if you say, well, tongues will cease once we have the Bible, it also says knowledge will vanish. Has knowledge vanished? No, I think we still need that.
So it's not a consistent exigesis if you make that interpretation. It's not just for the apostolic age. My personal belief? The gifts of the Spirit are for every single era of church history, including our own. And so I believe in the exercise of the gifts of the Spirit.
Moreover, the Holy Spirit was called by Jesus-- an interesting turn. He called it "the promise of my Father." He said, "When the promise of my Father has come"-- he referred to the Holy Spirit sometimes as the promise of the Father.
Well, in the book of Acts, chapter 2, on the day of Pentecost and there was the speaking in tongues in the day of Pentecost and the Jerusalemites heard, and they're freaking out, understandably so-- Peter preaches the gospel to them, but he says, these men are not drunk as you suppose. It's only 9:00 in the morning, and he quotes Joel, and he talks about the fulfillment of scripture.
But this is what he said after the Holy Spirit came upon the 120 in the upper room. He said, "Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. And you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
Now, listen to what he says about that. "For the promise is to you and to your children"-- keep listening-- "and to all those who are afar off, as many as the Lord, our God shall call," close quote.
Question-- are you afar off from that text? Yes, you are. You're 2,000 years removed. But did God call you? Yes, he did. So the promise is for you.
Now, I'll have to make a note about something. Whenever you bring up spiritual gifts or decide to have these kind of sessions or open it up to the gifts of the Spirit, which we're going to do in the hub afterwards with an afterglow, people are worried about abuses. And I got to tell you something. There will be abuses, because there are always a few people who are going [PANTING]-- I can't wait. I'm going to get in there. Wait till they hear me. They're just kind of looking for an opportunity to do something that may or may not necessarily be lead of the Holy Spirit. And so there are going to be abuses.
Also, when we learn something new to practice something new, we may fall and make mistakes, and that's OK. That's how we learn. I hope that you will step out and learn how to get your spiritual footing in some of these areas.
So there will be abuses. However, I can't say this with a deeper heart, and I couldn't say it too many times-- you should never be afraid of the Holy Spirit. There are people-- oh, don't talk about the Holy Spirit. Yeah, weird stuff I get that. But the real Holy Spirit? You never have to be afraid of Him.
And you should never be afraid of anything God would want to give you or do in your life. You should never be afraid of that. If it's from the Lord, just eat it up. Enjoy it. Receive. Walk it. Work with it.
OK, real quickly, what are spiritual gifts? Spiritual gifts, in short, are spiritual capacities. They're spiritual endowments, spiritual capabilities.
Now, I brought with me a Bible here called the Amplified Bible, because you're supposed to plug it into an amplifier, and it gets really loud. No, I'm just kidding. It takes concepts and words and expands them to help you get the fuller meaning.
So just let me read this section to you of the gifts of the Spirit, beginning in verse 7 of 1 Corinthians 12, Amplified Bible. "But to each one is given the manifestation of the Holy Spirit-- that is, the evidence, the spiritual illumination of the Spirit for good and profit. To one is given in and through the Holy Spirit the power to speak a message of wisdom and to another, the power to express a word of knowledge and understanding according to the same Holy Spirit; to another, wonder working faith by the same Holy Spirit; to another, extraordinary powers of healing by the one Spirit; to another, the working of miracles; to another, prophetic insight-- that is, the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose; to another, the ability to discern and distinguish between the utterances of true spirits and false ones; to another, various kinds of unknown tongues; and to another, the ability to interpret such tongues." That's from the Amplified Bible.
Now, spiritual gifts are not the same as spiritual fruit, OK? I don't want you to confuse those. It says in Galatians, the fruit of the Spirit is not tongues and prophesy but love, joy, peace, long suffering. He gives a list of things that comprise that fruit of the Spirit. Fruit of the Spirit and gifts of the Spirit are different.
Fruit deals with spiritual characteristics-- that is, what one is in the Lord. Gifts deal with spiritual capabilities, what one does for the Lord. Fruit develops gradually. It takes time to have fruit. You don't plant an apple tree, water it one day-- OK, come on. I'm watching. It doesn't happen. It takes time.
However, spiritual gifts are received instantly. You may learn them and work with them and hone the gift, but it's a gift from God. Like any gift, it is just given, and you receive it. Fruit is produced widely, or pervasively would be a better term. Gifts are bestowed selectively.
Let me give you an example. Patience is for all of us. All believers should be patient believers. God wants to work that in every Christian.
But not everyone is given the gift of prophecy. That's selective. God has a gift for you or a few gifts for you, but those are given selectively.
So spiritual gifts are not the same as spiritual fruit. Something else-- spiritual gifts are not the same as natural talents. You might be good in art. You might be good in mathematics or music. Or you might have mechanical aptitude.
That's a part of common grace. All humans-- all humans that's available to. Believers and unbelievers play piano. I've heard some heathen music that's just really good. It's a gift from God. It's a natural talent from God.
So when it comes to these things, like playing piano or painting or having an aptitude with languages, that's natural talent. Talents are present from natural birth, and they grow with the environment. They're honed by the environment. That's talents.
Gifts come from the new birth, also honed and developed by a spiritual environment and over time. I think it's good-- and I think the Lord works this way-- when we develop our talents to interface with our spiritual gifts. Example, if you have a great voice, a great soothing voice, it's great when that is paired, say, with the gift of encouragement. It works well.
Or another example-- a man who is a visionary-- that's a talent-- is often somebody who will be given the gift of faith. The talent and gift pair well together. You might have a knack to speak. That's a talent. That could be coupled with the gift of teaching or the gift of evangelism. Of course, that's up to the Lord, but you might have that talent also paired with the gift.
Something else I need to say about this. The lack of natural aptitude does not disqualify you. You cannot say, I don't have any of those gifts. You can't say that because you do. It says everyone is given one.
It might lay dormant. You haven't stepped out to exercise yet. But you can't say, I'm disqualified because I'm not talented.
Look at Moses, the dude who couldn't speak. The guy who said, I'm a man of uncircumcised lips. I can't talk to people. God says, OK, watch what happens when I give you a gift. Even though that's opposed to your natural talent, you're going to be a spokesperson for God's glory.
OK, verse 7, 1 Corinthians 12-- "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all." Go down to verse 11. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as he wills.
Make note of a few things. Number one, they're given, not earned. Notice the word "given." The manifestation of the Spirit is given. They're called gifts. You don't earn a gift. You receive a gift.
So these are gifts. They're given. They're not earned. Jesus is the head. It's his body, right? He gets to tell members of his body, the cells of his body what to do.
So picture it this way. In the body of Christ, Jesus is the head. The Holy Spirit is like the nervous system conveying to each cell, each member, each part what their role is to be for it to be a healthy body. You see, I bring this up and I'm showing it in the text because sometimes people see ministry or they hear somebody do ministry, whether it's music or teaching, and they go, I want to do that. That looks awfully exciting. I want to have people listen to me when I talk or when I sing or when I play or when I do this, so that's what I want to do. That's a nice aspiration, but if you are not gifted by God to do that you are destined for miserable failure.
You have to make sure that you are given a gift-- and this is why I always tell people who want to be pastors and they go to seminary to learn stuff-- is, make sure that God has given you a gift of teaching. Before you find out how the gift of teaching can have knowledge added to it, make sure that it is a Spirit given thing and that you're gifted to do it. If you're not in the place God wants you or never intended you to be, you'll be frustrated. You'll want to quit.
Quickest way to spiritual frustration-- try to do some God hadn't called you to do. So they're gifts. They're not earned.
You know what that means? That means whatever gift God gives you, do that. Enjoy that. Operate in that.
It's not like, well, if I'm really good at the gift of prophecy, could I have the gift of teaching? That's like an elbow saying, if I'm really good elbow, could I work my way up to an eyeball? No, just stay in elbow. Just do that.
They're gifts. They're given. They're not earned. Second thing to make a note of-- gifts are not the goal. They have a goal. But the gifts themselves are not the goal. They're just the gateway to the goal.
And what is the real goal? Edification. Edification.
Verse 7-- "The manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one watches for the profit of all." Gifts are not given for you to go on a spiritual hideaway and get all blessed and personally edify. There's only one exception to this that I can think of, and that is the gift of tongues, because Paul said, "He who speaks in an unknown tongue edifies himself." That's the only exception.
But the gifts are generally given for the profit of all. So keep that in mind. Enough said.
Third thing-- they're available to all believers. Verse 7-- "The manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all." God has not only called you. The Holy Spirit not only lives within you. But I believe there are gifts of the Spirit employed when you are filled with the Spirit, which comes by asking Him to do that.
Jesus said, "If you being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" So you present yourself. You ask him. And you step out in faith. But I believe it's available to all believers.
Having said that, I think there's an awful lot of believers whose gifts lay dormant, because they're not being filled with the Spirit. Well, how do you get filled with the Spirit? I just said. You present your bodies-- Romans chapter 12-- as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, which is your reasonable service.
What happens? You get transformed by the renewing of your mind. You just ask him. You present yourself. You ask him.
And then when you ask him, you know what you're supposed to do? Believe that he answered you. Because that's according to God's will that you ask. He said to do it. So he said, if you pray and you pray according to God's will, then you have it. So James says, "Pray in faith, nothing wavering."
Real quick question-- how many spiritual gifts are there? Again, I'm just touching. I'm just barely scratching the surface.
How many are there? Anybody know? I just thought I'd throw it out, just see if-- this is open class now. Any guesses? Nobody wants to guess. I'll get the, I think I know, but I'll get it wrong.
Some say 22. Some say 18. Let me give it to you really quickly. When you look at all of the New Testament texts that speak about spiritual gifts, you get a conglomeration.
For example, 1 Corinthians 12 has 13 gifts that are mentioned. Versus 8 through 10-- nine are mentioned-- word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, tongues, interpretation. That's nine.
You go down to verse 28 through 30. It adds four more gifts-- apostleship, teaching, helps, administration. But there are two other lists in the Bible. In Romans chapter 12 verse 7, it mentions prophecy, ministering, probably a reference of the gift of helps, teaching, exhortation, giving, ruling, or the gift of governments, probably, and the gift of mercy. There are four new ones in that list.
Ephesians chapter 4-- there are 5 gifts listed-- apostleship, prophecy, evangelism, pasturing, teaching. So it's hard to exactly say. There's probably around 18 to 22 spiritual gifts. Well, shouldn't we be sure? Don't think it's important.
What I like is the Holy Spirit may give you one or two or three or 10 and work your personality with that. And it's like a snowflake, man. You are so unique and different in the way your gift mix is put together. You might really be big on mercy but not on another thing, but that still might be a component of it. It might be a part of it.
Now, really quickly-- for those who claim the gifts of the Spirit were just for the early church and ceased once we got the full Bible, I believe you're fighting two lines of argument against you-- number one, the biblical argument, the pure linguistic, exegetical argument from scripture. Also, you are fighting that constant testimony of church history. Because if that's true that spiritual gifts ceased, that means that the post-apostolic era should have absolutely no record of any spiritual gifts, right?
OK, Ignatius, who lived between 35 AD and 100 AD personally gave words of prophecy. Justin Martyr, second century Christian apologist from AD 100 to 165 AD said, and I quote, "It is possible now to see among us men and women who possess the gifts of the Spirit of God," close quote. Irenaeus, AD 130 to 200, spoke of prophecies, healings, tongues uttered in his day.
And he said, and I quote, "Others still heal the sick by laying their hands upon them, and they are made whole. Yea, moreover, as I have said, even the dead have been raised up and remain among us for many years," close quote.
Tertullian of Carthage, AD 160 to 215 AD, wrote a seven volume work on the movement of the Holy Spirit, including spiritual gifts. And he said, one sentence-- "For seeing that we acknowledge spiritual charismata," or gifts-- "we too have merited the attainment of the prophetic gift." And he, Tertullian, defended and encouraged the speaking of tongues.
Cyril of Jerusalem, 310 AD the 386 AD, thought it was not impossible for baptismal candidates to prophesy once they came out of the water, judging from his experience. Augustine, 354 to 430 AD, in his book, The City of God-- he wrote The City of God after seeing many miracles. He said, quote, "What am I to do? I am so pressed by the promise of finishing that I cannot record all the miracles that I know," close quote.
Let me just scoot it forward to John Wesley, 1750 AD, and I'm quoting-- "The grand reason why the miraculous gifts were soon withdrawn"-- that is, withdrawn from the churches-- "was not only that faith and holiness were well-nigh lost but that dry, formal, orthodox men began then to ridicule whatever gifts they had not themselves and decry them all as evil madness or imposture," close quote. So I just wanted to show you, just in brief, the testimony of scripture and the testimony of church history.
Will there be abuses? Yes. Yes, there have been. There will be. Because as long as you don't have the information, if you are agnosco, agnostic without the information, you can act--
Listen, I remember reading an article about somebody who climbed a flagpole naked because they said the Holy Spirit told them to do so. So will there be abuses? Uh, yeah, that's one. But that does not negate the legitimate working of the Holy Spirit. So don't be afraid of Him.
John Lloyd Ogilvie, who was once the chaplain for the United States Senate said, sadly, many Christians settle for only 2/3 of God. Hear those words. Don't be the kind of person who goes, yeah, I'm about the Father and the Son. Just don't give me that Holy Ghost stuff. That's part of the deal. Jesus promised he would come as a helper. And you need His help.
So in a few minutes, I'm going to pray. In just a few moments, I'm going to pray. The communion board's going to come up. I'm going to pass out the elements, continue in worship. We're going to close the service, and we're going to have an afterglow.
What is an afterglow? It's a believers' meeting. As Jason described a little while ago, we're going to wait on God for his moving via spiritual gifts.
Why do we call it an afterglow? Well, it's sort of an interesting background with that term. Remember Moses said, Lord, let me see your glory. And God said, you can't. You'll fry. You'll die. You can't see my glory. You just can't handle it.
But he said, I'm going to pass by you, OK? And he said, I'm going to make oh my goodness pass before you. And so it recorded that that happened, that the goodness of the Lord passed by Moses, whatever that means.
But after that event with the Lord, that Moses on his face had an afterglow. His face glowed from that experience. And not even seeing the full glory of God, he just lingered in that moment.
And so the idea, the thought comes from that event. And interestingly, Paul the Apostle refers to that event of Moses. And in the New Testament Paul says, "We are also transformed from glory to glory by the same Spirit."
So it's sort of a loose term to describe an encounter with God by the exercising of gifts among those believers. So what we're going to just have to do is go over, and if you want to, go up to the elders or the pastors and just say, I want you to lay your hands on me and pray for me that I receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, the filling of the Holy Spirit. The gifts will be released, and even in that setting, you might see and hear some wonderful words of encouragement, prophecies, tongues and interpretation. And they'll all be evaluated by leadership, and they'll be done decently and in order.
And don't you love that text, by the way-- "Let all things be done decently and in order." That verse has two parts. And a lot of people, the only part I know is that second part-- decency and in order.
The other says, let all things be done. Let all things be done. He's referring to spiritual gifts. Let all things be done. Don't quench the Spirit, but let them be done decently and in order.
So it's our hope that you'll be thirsty for that and that God would open up new avenues and do a deep and wonderful work in your life. And well, I've been filled with the Spirit. Well, like I said, I leak. I don't know about you, but I need more and more, and I pray that a lot. And I prayed that God would fill me with His Spirit before I got up to teach. And I pray that every single day. And for unique situations, I feel the empowering of the Spirit.
Let's pray. Father, thank you for the gift, singular, of your Holy Spirit, the person of the Spirit of God. And thank you, Lord for those enablements, those capacities, those endowments that He gives specifically for the edification of the church and for the power He gives to be bold in our witness to the world. We pray that you will fill us and that you will use us. In Jesus's name, amen.
For more resources from Calvary Albuquerque and Skip Heitzig visit calvaryabq.org.