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What about The Gifts of the Holy Spirit?

A Priority

One of our priorities as a church is to help each one of us to discover, develop, and use our God given abilities and gifts in order to serve him and his church in both spiritual and practical ways. Serving one another through love in action.

Abilities and Gifts fall into three categories

In the New Testament we can find three lists of abilities and gifts:

1: Our God given Spiritual Abilities. See Romans 12:6-8

2: The Holy Spirit's Supernatural Gifts. See 1Corinthians 12:8-10.

3: Christ's Ministry Gifts. See Ephesians 4:11.

As you discover and use your God given Spiritual Abilities (No.1), you will need the supernatural tools for the job (No.2) - the Gifts of the Holy Spirit listed in 1Corinthians 12:8-10. It is these Gifts that we are dealing with here.


The Context for these Gifts

What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church (1Corinthians 14:26). St. Paul makes two points in this verse that are vital to our understanding the Gifts of the Holy Spirit:

1: 'Everyone has'. There are no elitist groups in the Kingdom of God. The Gifts are available to everyone who is filled with the Holy Spirit. Paul says: Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good (1Corinthians 12:7).

2: The context for their use. Paul always mentions gifts in the context of the Church. - THE BODY OF CHRIST - and the gifts of the Holy Spirit are no exception to this. The fact is - God has a purpose for his Church and has gifted her in order that this purpose be fulfilled. We must desire spiritual gifts - for the good of the church and its ministry.


Love is the Key

When we get a vision of the church as the body of Christ functioning together, the Abilities and Gifts God has given us find their true purpose. This is where love plays its part because love is the motivation for Christian service.

Ministering the Gifts of the Holy Spirit outside this context can only come from self interest. This is what Paul has in mind in 1Corinthians 13:1-3:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is the motivation for the gifts - love for God's Church, its leaders, people and ministry; and God has gifted his people for this purpose. Serving the Body is serving to please Jesus.


The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

The spiritual abilities mentioned in Romans 12:6-8 we receive at conversion, but the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are gifts we must seek following our conversion. Paul says we're to earnestly desire the best gifts (1Corinthians 12:31). This doesn't mean that some are better than others but that we should seek those gifts that are best for the task in hand, and which are going to enhance the effectiveness of the spiritual ability(ies) God has given us.


There are nine Gifts of the Holy Spirit and they can be divided into three groups as follows. We list them with a short explanation:

1: Gifts of Inspiration

These are divinely inspired utterances that serve to edify, exhort, or comfort the church (1Corinthians 14:3). They are:

(a): Prophecy. The ability to convey a special message from God

that is in the language of both speaker and hearer.

(b): Tongues. This is the ability to speak a message from God in a language never learned (not to be confused with the prayer language given to every spirit filled Christian. See 1Corinthians 14:2,4).

(c): Interpretation of tongues. This is the ability to supernaturally interpret a message in tongues.

2: Gifts of Revelation

This is knowledge received from God that is beyond our natural ability to know or understand. They are:

(a): Word of Wisdom. A supernatural revelation of the mind and purpose of God showing how to respond in a given situation.

(b): Word of Knowledge. A supernatural revelation given by the Holy Spirit concerning a given situation.

(c): Discerning of Spirits. The ability to discern the source of a supernatural manifestation, and what is the spirit behind any activity or behaviour - whether it be God, the Devil, or purely human.

3: Gifts of Power

This is the supernatural intervention of God on behalf of man. They are:

(a): Gift of Faith. The supernatural ability to sustain steadfast trust in God and believe for the impossible.

(b): Gifts of Healing. Supernatural manifestations of the healing power of God, ministered by the Holy Spirit, through one individual to another.

(c): Working of Miracles. The supernatural ability to suspend the laws of nature and bring God's power to bear upon situations where natural means fail.


And then...

Once we are aware of our basic spiritual ability(ies), and we further enlarge and expand our ministries through the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, then the matter of the third group of gifts - those listed in Ephesians 4:11 - belong to the prerogative of the Lord Jesus Christ. We become these, not on the basis of our asking but according to his own sovereign purpose and design.


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