Friday, December 26, 2008

Gifts - A Great Time to Receive

This blog is not about Christmas, even though it was just yesterday that we enjoyed family, friends, food, more food and gifts! Today's blog is aimed at the believer. It may be beneficial for leaders, but it is for the average Christian wondering what they might do to serve God in a Supernatural way.

For many years, I heave heard that spiritual gifts were contained in three passages of the Bible. 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4:11 and Romans 12. I am going to gracefully disagree with lumping them all together. I believe that each list has a distinct purpose in serving God, and the Body of Christ. For this blog, I am going to focus on just the ones listed here:

1 Corinthians 12:7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 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 gives them to each one, just as he determines."

One of my pet peeves in the church, is people that say they believe in something ("Oh its in the Bible."), but can't seem to tell you much about what they believe. This type of behavior would be expected from a baby Christian. But I have run across this with pastors and leaders too. Worse, they are trying to convince someone else to believe it!

When it comes to gifting the church, we can't just decide that we'll only recognize one or two of them. Here, Paul lists nine, which are available to every true believer. I am not going to discuss the criteria, but let me simply say that if you never see the fruit of these gifts, then you should check out your theology with God. These gifts should be fairly common in your day-to-day life... along with the fruit of the Spirit outlined in Galatians 5:22.

Because I have never met a minister that could give an example of each of the nine gifts given in this verse, I am going to to do it now.

-1 Message (word) of wisdom - Luke 20:19-26 Here Jesus is potentially trapped between religion and politics. He is asked about paying taxes and giving to the work of God. He said to them, "Then give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." It goes on to say they were astonished! This same gift, the word of wisdom, astonishes the Pharisees again in the account of the woman taken in adultery, found in John 7. The word of wisdom always provides an astonishing understanding of a situation.

-2 Message (word) of knowledge - John 4:4-42 - Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at the well during the midday. Why? She was an outcast or she would have been drawing water with the other woman early in the morning. Jesus receives a word of knowledge about her saying, "for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband." It is certain this got her attention; to such a degree that she told the men in town. The word of knowledge is knowing of a past event or fact. It is primarily used to get the attention of the listener, giving credibility to additional information. We often see it used to identify someone that a healing is about to follow.

-3 Faith (word of faith) - Mark 10:52 Jesus told him, "Go. Your faith has made you well." At once the man could see again, and he began to follow Jesus down the road. The word of faith is not a word of knowledge or prophesy, but it is similar. This supernatural faith allows a person to believe God for a miracle or healing and receive it. It is not something that is conjured up in the emotions, but real faith that believes that which is not seen. It is the "knowingness" that God will move on your behalf, or someone else's. Most of the examples in the Bible are tied to healing, such as the woman with the issue of blood Luke 8:40-48, or the Centurion. But we cannot limit our faith to only healing.

-4 Gifts of healing - The Bible is filled with many healings too numerous to list. There is an important footnote to healing, and this is that it is plural. My sense is that certain people have gifting for certain types of healing. It could be for physical healing, emotional healing, the breaking of curses or the casting out of demons. Each one has it's place in the Body of Christ. The realm of healing is so diverse that one person is rarely anointed to heal every kind of disease and sickness. It is certainly possible, but my experience is that some seem to be wonderful with physical healing, and others with emotional healing, while others concentrate on kicking the demonic to the street.

-5 Miraculous powers - John 2: 1-11 Jesus turned the water into wine. Pretty spectacular don't you think? And he went on to multiply the loaves and fishes too. It is interesting to note that miracles are not healing. These are supernatural events that take place outside of the human body.

-6 Prophecy - Act 21:7-14 Paul was in Ceasaria and received a prophesy about his incarceration in Jerusalem. Again, there are many instances of prophesy (knowing the future), but I like this one because it is believers acting as Jesus would.

-7 Distinguishing between spirits - Acts 16:18 - Paul was followed around by a demon possessed girl, and after some time, he decided to deal with it directly. It is not prudent to cast out every demon you come across. More importantly, this is distinguishing between spirits. It is knowing when something that looks good is bad, and also seeing God at work in horrifying and terrible situations.

-8 Speaking in different kinds of tongues (languages) - Some say that the day of Pentecost was this. I will respectfully disagree. I believe that was a miracle simply because the speakers did not need interpretation. In the book of Acts some were baptized in the spirit and began to speak in tongues and other prophesied. This gift is really a prophecy in another language, which during a service should rightfully be interpreted.

-9 Interpretation of tongues (languages) - these last gift actually does not have Biblical example. We do know this gifts exists, because it is, A) part of the list, and B) there are instructions for using it in 1 Corinthians chapter 14.

There are many teachings on these gifts, and how you use and receive them. Here is where I stand. I think they are available to every true believer that desires them. And most often they seem to operate through those that have experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit. You can debate how one is baptized in the Holy Spirit for the rest of eternity, but I would rather see you ask God for wisdom, and start desiring these gifts, both of which are commanded in the Bible.

I do not think all believers use all 9 gifts on a regular basis. Remember, we are a body, and God is smart enough not to give every mission to the same man or woman. He has designed it so that we rely on each other.

There are two schools of thought, one is that these gifts are a one time "grace-let" sent from God through you; a vessel, to use in your personal ministry. I also subscribe to the fact that a certain person has been imparted one of more of these gifts, and will operate in a few or them on a very regular basis.

I believe that it is rare for a believer to have all nine gifts. Again, I have heard this, but not seen the fruit of it. The Bible does say that we can all prophesy, so that in addition to one or more of the others is more probably the norm.

I have written on this subject before in much broader terms, you can read that HERE.

Happy Holidays!


Carol Adams said...

Good stuff David. I get confused as to what gift the Lord may be using me in. It's not that big a deal that I know, but its great to being used.
I tend to get pictures in my mind. Recently I took part in my church's Holy Spirit conference-The Current.
It was my first time prophesying over people I did not know. My partner was more experienced. She amazed me at times that what she said was so true for the people's lives.
I had something for each person and some of it was confirmed by them.
With people I know it seems easier. I often get practical stuff for people from the Lord. Like they should drink water.
With my immediate family it gets harder because I am so involved with them. And its hard to tell what is from God and what is from me.
I have known with my daughter what would happen with her recent job situations over the past few months. She did not want to hear about it, so I did not say anything. But afterwards I mentioned it and she received it then.
David, what can we as believers do to grow these gift in us ? And even more important to have the fruits of the Spirit grow in our lives ?
Some believers focus so much on the gifts but forget about the fruit. What's your take on this ?
Carol in Cinci.

David said...

Carol, thanks for commenting. My take is always the same. We must grow in love Galatians 5:22, and in our gifting. Small groups are often the best place for "practicing" our gift. What I don't see is much in the way of mentoring, and the Vineyard tends to be into "picture" prophetic which doesn't fit everyone. It appears to fit you. But there are 8 other gifts, and we need to see them in action too.

If you look at the list, you'll see that we have 3 power gifts, miracles, faith and healing. We have 3 revelatory gifts, wisdom, knowledge, and discerning of spirits. Then we have 3 spoken gifts interpretation of tongues, tongues, and prophecy. Each one is needed. We can't just have on group.

We can't make people receive a word from us. What is best is to work through a group where we are accountable. Getting is right, once in awhile is not very uplifting. We need to be taught, be accountable and be faithful. With our family, it is better that we send the word through someone else with more credibility. It is the long way around, but better for the relationship in the long run.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the mentoring part is a problem because it is generally not taking place.
Some that are leaders who believe in the gifts tend to focus on things that concern me. Kind of like seeing angels around every corner,light shows while soaking in the Spirit, etc.
I'm sure you know about what happened with the revival in Florida. At first it sounded o.k. but what concerned me was that I did not think there was an emphasis on repentance. I think that is a big part of revival-Christians repenting and unbelievers repenting and entering the kingdom.
It concerns me that Christians follow the current movement and person leading it.
I think and hope that a lot of people learned some important things over what happened in Florida and will be more cautious.
I'm not condemning the people who ran it and we know accountability was a problem.
So, what do you think ?

dsjohndrow said...

I can see your concern about things in the church. Especially with Lakeland. I am sure that God was in it having watched the feeds and read the testimonies. Apparently we haven't learned the needed lessons of character. But I can't say for sure, I wasn't there, and I am not God. And I can't judge it.

Here is what I do know. We need both fathering (coaching of sorts) and mentoring in the church. If you have read my other blogs, you know that I believe in matrix mentoring, that is always training someone for your position in the church-- like Elijah and Elisha-- but for all ministries and jobs. It is broader than that, but that is the essence of the thinking.

I have recently met a leader that said, I probably can't teach you anything, but I sure can encourage you and walk with you. In just a few short weeks, I feel value in my local church. I doubt they have someone that can mentor me in all my areas of gifting, but feeling valued is a big deal. I will recommend that others go to this church too.

Regarding revival and renewal, I don't think that any one revival had it all together. Having studied most of them in the last 2000 years, each one shows a different facet of God-- from salvation to healing, to prophecy to the apostolic. We may prefer one over the other, based on personal style and belief, but God is always bigger. God is the one that sets the emphasis. I am sure that there are folks that came out of each one that became real doers of the word and shook things up!

Marg said...

David, I really, REALLY like this article. I got a lot out of reading it!

I love how you've put an actual Biblical example to (almost) all of the nine spiritual manifestations of 1 Corinthians 11.

My personal experience has been that I receive the ability to operate with one of these spiritual manifestations when God wants me to do something about a certain situation at a particular point in time. At other times the manifestation-gift seems dormant. I have no control on when or where I receive these manifestations

Because of my experience, I see the manifestations in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 as different from the spiritual gifts mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament.

I say this because I believe that I have one or two other spiritual gifts/abilities that stay with me all the time; I can draw on these abilities daily if needed.

In case that was all a bit garbled, let me reiterate: I distinguish between the manifestations of 1 Corinthians 11 - which the Spirit gives as he determines (for, I believe, particular situations) - and the spiritual gifts (ministies and abilities) mentioned elsewhere in the NT.

Marg said...

You might be interested in one of my articles on "speaking in tongues".

Andrea York said...

Hmm, I believe that I have EVERY spiritual blessing (including the gifts) in Christ Jesus (Eph 1:3), although I don't operate in all the gifts, all the time.

Matthew 10 and Luke 10, Jesus said to heal the sick, cleanse the leper, raise the dead and cast out demons. His command was to all his disciples, about 70 at the time. Then Paul differentiates them as gifts - to rule out confusion in my own mind, I live by faith that when the gift is necessary, it will be manifest and I don't have to wonder, "Do I have that gift or not?"

The gifts I use more frequently are words of knowledge, prophecy, interpretation (particularly of dreams), healing, faith and wisdom. And I pray in tongues but I don't believe that is the same gift that Paul is speaking about.

My weakest gift is discerning spirits, although I surround myself with people who are strong in that gift. For example, I was with a friend and we were taking care of some business at her home. I told her I would pray, but she would need to tell me when it was finished. In that way, we need each other.

Dinner is calling and I have to go; hoping there is more chatting tonight.

Thyiela said...

What is a "true believer"

Matthew Johndrow said...

I guess my question is this: Is there a difference between the manifestation of the Spirit in a corporate setting, and the manifestation of the Spirit in a non corporate setting?

The reason I ask, is that I have thought that Paul was mainly giving instructions to the Corinthians for when they gathered together. For example, in 1 Cor 14:27, Paul says, "In anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret."

So I think there is a difference in the manifestation corporately, and outside the church.

What do you think?

Also, about prophesy-what do you consider it? I am of the understanding that it is hearing from God. Yes, there are prophets, but shouldn't all believers be "prophetic," ie, able to hear, and hear from the Lord?

If that is the case, then don't visions, dreams, impressions and things like that count as prophesy?

Cindy Allen, Founder said...

David, this is probably the best article that I've read on gifts.

I also appreciate the knowledge that you have of the culture of Samaritan woman.



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