Examining the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

When we live in a relationship with the Holy Spirit. As the Spirit activates, captivates, and motivates our lives, he can do anything he desires with us.

The Holy Spirit does specific things with his followers for the benefit of everyone.

A unified and gifted church will reveal God’s character to a world that needs to experience his love.

1 Corinthians 12.27-31Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues.

Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?

But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.

What are the gifts of the Holy Spirit?

(1) Apostles – Some teachers limit “apostles” to people who saw the resurrected Jesus in bodily form.

They believe that the role of the apostle ended in the first century. Paul, along with the eleven original disciples meet this strict definition of “apostle.”

Another view sees an apostle as someone who plants the church in an area where the gospel has never been heard.

Missionaries to regions of the world that do not know Jesus fit this definition of an “apostle.”

I feel the second definition is best. Rudy Ross expands on the second definition and you can hear his thoughts on our YouTube video today.

(2) Prophets – A prophet is someone who knows the will of God and speaks it. Jeremiah defines the role of a prophet with these words.

For who has stood in the council of the Lord
so as to see and to hear his word?
Who has given heed to his word so as to proclaim it?
(Jeremiah 23.18)

But if they had stood in my council,
then they would have proclaimed my words to my people,
and they would have turned them from their evil way,
and from the evil of their doings.
(Jeremiah 23.22)

Prophets live close enough to God that they see and hear his word. They proclaim God’s word to turn people back to God.

On the other hand, false prophets do not live in an obedient relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Jeremiah says, “They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord.

They keep saying to those who despise the word of the Lord, “It shall be well with you”; and to all who stubbornly follow their own stubborn hearts, they say, “No calamity shall come upon you” (Jeremiah 23.16b-17).

The consistent message of a false prophet is that people can remain rebellious to God and somehow still receive God’s well-being.

A prophet needs to be activated, captivated, and motivated by the Holy Spirit. Thus, they will stand in the council of the Lord to see and hear and speak his word.

(3) Teachers – In the Great Commission, Jesus commanded his followers to teach people to obey all of his commands.

Matthew 28.19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

And teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

James counseled would-be teachers with these words: “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness” (James 3.1).

Just as false prophets speak self-willed visions, teachers can infect God’s message with destructive opinions of their own.

John answers potential teaching errors.

1 John 2.27As for you, the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and so you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, abide in him.

The “anointing” is another way to describe the work of the Holy Spirit.

When we align our lives with the Holy Spirit, he will grant us a teaching gift that will benefit the church and the world.

(4) Deeds of Power – In the early 1990’s a prayer gathering filled the largest arena in Cali Columbia.

The spiritual power of united prayer was so profound that some people were healed by doing nothing more than coming into the arena.

One thousand people gave their lives to Christ at a meeting where prayer, not preaching, was focused.

I met the organizer of that prayer meeting in 1995. It was obvious to everyone around him that he had the gift of deeds of power, stemming from his obedient relationship with the Holy Spirit.

(4) Healing – As I type this article, I believe that the gift of healing has been granted to me.

Two weeks ago, I received a total knee replacement. God did not spare me the surgery, but I think I experienced the gift of healing. Why?

My therapist remarked to me that I am doing better than 95% of all persons who have had knee replacement surgery.

I account that fact to the many people who exercised their gift of healing for my sake. I deeply appreciate your prayers and believe God has used you to help me.

Bill Beachy was a World War II medical doctor, who quit the practice of medicine to begin praying for the sick. Bill is the Chaplain Emeritus of St. Luke’s Hospital on the Plaza.

Bill conducted healing services around the world as a minister in the Episcopal Church. He was a great man of prayer and fully yielded to the Holy Spirit.

When we are surrendered to the direction and power of the Spirit, he can do anything he wants through us – including healing.

More Tomorrow

I wrote yesterday that camera failure eliminated the discussion of each spiritual gift between Rudy Ross and me. We did have camera failure, but my statement yesterday was a mental failure on my part.

The YouTube videos today and tomorrow will cover the spiritual gifts that are mentioned in this passage.

Please email your prayer request to bsprad49@gmail.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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