Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Spiritual Gifts Glorify God

But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

Jesus left His followers with the responsibility to extend the Gospel message to the ends of the earth. The power of the Holy Spirit would help them fulfill this task:
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.  (Mark 16:15-20)

Jesus did not leave His followers with such a great responsibility without giving us the ability to fulfill the challenge. Spiritual gifts are supernatural abilities given by the Holy Spirit to empower believers to be effective witnesses of the Gospel.

The subject of spiritual gifts was one on which Apostle Paul taught in the early church. He said:

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. (I Corinthians 12:1)

The word "spiritual" means "characterized or controlled by the Holy Spirit". A "gift" is something freely given from one person to another. A spiritual gift is a supernatural ability given by the Holy Spirit to a believer to minister as part of the Body of Christ.

There is a difference between the "gift" of the Holy Spirit and "gifts" of the Holy Spirit. The "gift" of the Holy Spirit occurred at Pentecost (Acts 2) when the Holy Spirit came in answer to the promise of Jesus:

And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter...Even the Spirit of truth...  (John 14:16-17a)

The "gift" of the Holy Spirit has already been given in answer to this promise.

"Gifts" of the Holy Spirit are supernatural abilities the Holy Spirit gives believers to enable effective ministry:

And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. (Luke 16:20)

Because every believer has at least one spiritual gift, we each have a responsibility to discover and use our gift.

You will not be judged by how many spiritual gifts you have. You will be judged by your faithfulness to use the spiritual gift or gifts you have been given. The parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 confirms this truth.

There are many spiritual gifts, but no believer has all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit:

Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?  Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? (1 Corinthians 12:29-30)

A person may have more than one gift, but no one has all the gifts of the Spirit. If he did, then he would have no need of others in the Body of Christ.

A spiritual gift from God can be abused. To "abuse" a gift means to not use it properly. You can abuse spiritual gifts by:

Ö     Not using gifts given to you:

Apostle Paul told Timothy:

Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. (1 Timothy 4:14)

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. (2 Timothy 1:6)

Ö     Attempting to use gifts not given to you:

While ministering in Samaria, Peter and John met a man named Simon who wanted to have the powerful gifts he saw demonstrated. Simon offered money to obtain these abilities. Peter said:

Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter... (Acts 8:20-21)

Spiritual gifts come from the Holy Spirit. They cannot be obtained by any other method. You cannot just decide you want to have or use a certain spiritual gift. The Holy Spirit must give it to you.

On another occasion, seven sons of the chief of the priests saw the miracles of the Apostle Paul and tried to use this gift to cast out evil spirits:

And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?
And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them and overcame them, and prevailed against them so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. (Acts 19:15-16)

It can be dangerous to try to operate a gift without the Holy Spirit's anointing.

Ö     Not using the gifts properly:

In 1 Corinthians 12-14 Paul deals with proper use of spiritual gifts. To summarize, he states:

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace...Let all things be done decently and in order.  (I Corinthians 14:33,40)

God is not the author of confusion. Where there is confusion the gifts are not being used correctly. Spiritual gifts can also be improperly used when you manipulate people, gain wealth, or use them for your own selfish satisfaction rather than in ministry to others.

The guidelines for use of gifts which Paul gives in I Corinthians 12-14 prevent confusion.

Ö     Glorifying your gift:

When you "glorify" your gift, you consider it more special than other gifts. You begin to see the gift as greater than the Giver.

Regardless of which gift we may have, one is not to be esteemed above the other; each one glorifies God in it's own unique way.

 (Biblical Studies)



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