GIFTS AND POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
by Paul Walker
"Quench not the Spirit"
The miraculous work of the Holy Spirit has been in action since the creation, when God said, "Let there be light". It's through the Spirit that God's creative power is manifested. Nowadays, when the work of divine redemption represents the counterpart of the work of creation, the same Holy Spirit appears as the carrier of the gifts and redemptive power. His initial work manifested itself alongside the Word of God (to confirm its truth and promise) with the declaration of the gospel of Jesus, the light of the world. The author of this study has pastored one of the historic Pentecostal churches of America for some thirty years and uses his pedagogical gifts in this examination of how God makes his gifts and power flow through human vehicles who are willing to serve him.
- Prophecy about the gift of tongues (Is. 28:11,12)
Isaiah prophesied about the spiritual experience of speaking in known and unknown tongues.
Paul said that Isaiah's prediction about speaking in tongues, known and unknown, was a prophecy that is fulfilled in the Church.
- The Person of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16,17)
The Holy Spirit possesses all the attributes of a person.
The Holy Spirit, who acts as a helper to the Church, is not impersonal, but has all the characteristics of a person.
- Baptism of the Holy Spirit: historical examples (Acts 2:4)
The book of Acts relates cases of people who were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Acts offers us antecedants to the filling or baptism of the Holy Spirit.
- Tongues as a sign (Acts 10:46)
Tongues function as a sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit.
The experience of "glossolalia" functions as a sign of the interior presence of the Holy Spirit, and makes the believer a living and strong testimony.
- Receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:2)
This passage poses the question of receiving the Holy Spirit after having believed in Christ.
Even when it's recognized that the Holy Spirit works in each believer and in various ministries of the church. this question moves us, "Have you received it?"
- Names and symbols of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:2,9,15)
The Holy Spirit is given various names and symbols in the Scriptures.
In the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit is given various names and is represented through different symbols. In this chapter, he is referred to as the Spirit of life (v. 2), the Spirit of GOD (v. 9), and the Spirit of adoption (v. 15).
- The Father's gifts to you (Rom. 12:6-8)
Available gifts for ministering to the needs of the body of Christ and for the increase of the testimony of faith.
The gifts are placed in the Church to minister to the body where they are needed most. This passage is about the gifts of the Father, measured out to each person to be able to carry his purpose for our life.
- Gifts that the Holy Spirit offers (I Cor. 12:8-10,28)
Available gifts to minister to the needs of the body of Christ and to extend the testimony of the faith.
It's important that we don't forget to distinguish between the gifts given by each member of the Deity. Discovering the gifts that the Father has given us, shouldn't replace our sincere desire to seek the gifts of the Holy Spirit listed here, dispensed by Him, throughout the Church.
- Gifts that Christ gives (Eph. 4:11)
Available gifts to minister to the needs of the body of Christ and to extend the testimony of the faith.
Distinguishing between the gifts of Romans 12:6-8 (from the Father), the gifts of I Cor. 12:8-10 (from the Holy Spirit), and the gifts mentioned here, explicitly given by Christ the Son (v. 8), is fundamental to understanding the total reach of the spiritual gifts.
- Love: the basic ingredient (I Cor. 13:1)
Love is the foundation of all the gifts; leaders should check whether the basis of the use of the gifts is love.
As love is the foundation for all the gifts, that spirit of love is the factor that marks us for the biblical exercise of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Thus, those in authority should "prove the spirits", to assure themselves that those who exercise spiritual gifts are truly motivated "by love".
- Limits to the use of the gift of tongues (I Cor. 13:1)
Speaking in tongues should be limited to a sequence of two or three manifestations at the most.
In a group gathering, the use of the gift of tongues, and its respective interpretation afterward should be limited to the participation of two or three, at most. Although there are surely some for whom this is an inflexible number, others consider it a flexible guide to maintain balance between the service and worship.
- A call to character (Gal. 5:22,23)
Being filled with the Holy Spirit calls us to strengthen our character along with the charismatic activity.
Being filled with the Spirit affects the character as much as the charismatic activity. The fruit of the Holy Spirit must grow in all areas of our life, in the same measure that his gifts are manifested through us.
- Benefits of prayer in the Spirit (Jude 20)
The practice of "tongues" in private devotion is for personal edification.
A benefit of the private and devotional practice of "speaking in tongues" is personal edification. The multiple benefits of prayer with or in the Holy Spirit is being able to study them alongside other aspects of his activity in human lives.
- The Pentecostal and Charismatic context (I Cor. 14:1-40)
Love is the foundation of the gifts; integrity is the key to their sacred preservation.
This text establishes the gifts of the spirit on the unique and sure foundation of love, and sets integrity up as the key to preserving the sacredness of the sanctuary and the dignity of the worship service. This passage offers directions for controlling and guiding the services in the pentecostal and charismatic contexts.
The Pentecostal Revival at the beginning of the 20th century and Charismatic awakening that began fifty years later, without a doubt, constituted one of the most innovative and sensational spiritual transformations in history. But when we investigate these phenomena we should ask:
1) Why has this occurred? 2) What impact has it had? and 3) How should spiritual integrity be maintained?
WHY HAS THIS OCCURED?
In the first place, because the need was evident for the renewal of the Christian mission and purpose in the church and between its members.
Second, in view of this need for renewal, a decisive move had been made on the part of sincere Christians who wanted to recover the power of the Holy Spirit that transformed and energized the lives of the first Christians. A manifestation of the Holy Spirit has emerged from this movement, accompanied by Speaking in Tongues among the believers of all the great denominations, which shows that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not a denomination or movement, but an experience that brings with it the abundance of spiritual power for a more effective service.
In the third place, this manifestation of the Holy Spirit has bound together the principle currents of Protestantism and the traditional pentecostal movement to the ways of worship in the 1st century of the Church, through that which has been correctly called the Charismatic Movement (derived from the Greek "charismata", a term used, for example, in I Corinthians 12:4 and 30 to refer to the gifts of the Holy Spirit).
WHAT IMPACT HAS IT HAD?
From this renewal arises the question, "What really happened when the Church received these gifts? To attempt an answer, the biblical fundamentals, the traditional context, and the contemporary witnesses should be taken into account.
The Scriptures are Fulfilled
In the first place, the Bible declared in an unequivocal way, "Be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18). An analysis of the Greek word translated, "be filled" reveals to us that it is in the present tense, which indicates that this is a blessing that we should experience and enjoy now. The action, of which the verb is an imperative (mandatory)leaves no options for the perceptive disciple. However, as the verb is in the passive voice, there is no doubt that being filled with the Spirit is not a thing that the Christian obtains by his own effort, but something which is done for you, and to which you should submit yourself. For that reason, the Scripture offers a God-centered view of being filled with the Spirit, an experience in which on High reaches down and the Christian becomes united with Him in intimate communion.
THE PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WORKS
In the second place, the Bible reveals that the Person of the Holy Spirit has been the primary agent regarding the ministry of the word throughout the ages. Scripture clearly states that the Godhead works co-equally, co-eternally, and in coexistence, as a unity. But it has also been suggested, certainly, that we should consider this unity with our eyes on the special function of each one of the persons of the Trinity: The Father is the executive, the Son is the Architect, and the Holy Spirit is the Contractor.
So, the Scriptures show us the Holy Spirit assumed the unique form of the following people: 1) As author of the Old Testament (II Sam 23:2, Is. 59:21; Jer. 1:9; II Tim. 3:15-17; II Pet. 1:21) and the New Testament (John 14:25,26; I Cor. 2:13; I Thes. 4:15; Rev. 1:10,11, 2:7) 2) As the one who anointed people of the Old Testament, the Scriptures mention no less than 16 leaders of Israel who were anointed by the Holy spirit: Joseph (Gen. 41:38); Moses (Num. 27:18); Othniel (Judges 3:10); Gideon (Judges 6:34); Jeptha (Judges 11:20); Samson (Judges 14:6,19; 15:14,15); Saul (I Sam. 10:10; 11:6); David (I Sam. 16:13); Elijah (I Kings 8:12; II Kings 2:16); Elisha (II Kings 2:15); Azariah (II Chron. 15:1); Zechariah (II Chron. 2:20 - not the correct reference, but I haven't found the correct one); Ezekiel (Ez. 2:2); Daniel (Dan. 4:9; 5:11; 6:3); Micah (Mic. 3:8.
So, the Holy Spirit, as contractor, anointed the prophets of the Old Testament, like Isaiah and Joel, in order to write his prophecies about the day when the Spirit would be shed, and his gifts spread, along with all those of the Church (Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:17-21). In Isaiah 28:11 and 12, God used Isaiah to tell Judah that he would give a lesson in a form that would not please him, and that he would give knowledge through strange languages in view of their unbelief. Centuries later, the apostle Paul extended the sense of this passage to the gift of speaking in tongues in the church (I Cor. 14:21,22). This sign was able to be manifested in tongues that were known or unknown to human beings (compare I Cor. 14 with Acts 2:1-11; 10:45,46).
In all these aspects, we see the Holy Spirit as someone who works in the Church with a definite personality, as a person given to the Church to guarantee that the ministry of Christ crucified be continually proclaimed and verified. The Holy Spirit, then, has all the characteristics of one person:
- He has knowledge (Rom.8:27), will (I Cor. 12:11), and feelings (Eph. 4:30).
- He participates in revelation (II Pet. 1:21), teaching (John 14:26), testimony (Acts 10:15), intercession (Rom. 8:26), exhortation (Rev. 2:7), the Commission (Acts 16:6,7) and affirmation (John 15:26).
- He connects with human beings. He can be saddened (Eph. 4:30), He can be lied to (Acts 5:3), and blasphemed (Matt. 12:31,32).
- The Holy Spirit possesses the attributes of divinity: He is eternal (Heb. 9:14), omnipresent (Psa. 139:7-10), omnipotent (Luke 1:35), and omniscient (I Cor. 2:10,11).
- He is spoken of as Spirit of God, Spirit of Christ, Consoler, Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit of promise, Spirit of truth, Spirit of grace, Spirit of life, Spirit of adoption, Spirit of holiness.
- He is symbolized by fire (Acts 2:1,2), wind (Acts 2:1,2), water (John 7:37-39), a seal (Eph. 1:13), oil (Acts 10:38), and a dove (John 1:32).
All of this reveals a part of the Holy Spirit's vast sphere of action in the Old Testament and the contemporary Church.
THE EVENTS THAT ACTS TELL US ABOUT ARE BEING REDISCOVERED AND APPLIED
In the third place, the book of Acts relates five tales of people who received the fullness, the filling or baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4; 8:14-25; 9:17-20; 10:44-48; 19:1-7). Five factors are manifested in these tales: 1) Those present experience the irresistible presence of God. 2) There is an evident transformation in the life and testimony of the disciples who were filled. 3) That experience gives a great impetus to the growth of the Church, "And always, in the temple and the houses, they did not cease to teach and preach of Jesus Christ" (Acts 5:42). 4) The immediate evidence in three of the five narratives were glossolalia, "Because they heard that they spoke in tongues" (Acts 10:46). (glossolalea is a term derived from the Greek "glossa" ["tongue"] and laleo ["to speak"]) 5) The essential intention of that experience was to offer a powerful testimony (Acts 1:8) and a more profound dimension of the Christian commitment to give fruits of goodness, righteousness and truth (Eph. 5:19), gratitude (Eph. 5:20), humility (Eph. 5:21), love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (Gal. 5:22,23).
All these things put together demonstrate that which the actual pentecostal-charismatic revival is experiencing through the Holy Spirit that works in the Church. The problem is that, too often, it is misinterpreted or misapplied, for the lack of an understanding of the biblical concept of "tongues" and the role of the gifts of the Spirit. Although there are various theological and ethical points of view between some members of the new pentecostal-charismatic movement, the practice of "speaking in tongues" in prayer and worship, along with the acceptance and satisfaction of the role that the gifts of the Holy Spirit occupy in its midst, it constitutes a link that unites everyone.. So, to completely understand this phenomenon, it's necessary to take into account the Charismatic point of view in that which refers to the interpretation and applications of the powerful manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts, applying the controls that are taught in I Corinthians 12-14.
HOW CAN SPIRITUAL INTEGRITY BE MAINTAINED?
TO ESTABLISH OUR PERSPECTIVE
In the first place, the Pentecostal or Charismatic considers the baptism of the Holy Spirit an experience that follows Christian conversion; something that happens through a process of complete submission to the Spirit that fills and guides us. We agree that the Holy Spirit works in each believer and in the various ministries of the Church. Even so, each believer should answer the question of Acts 19:2, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?"
We should examine two expressions here:
- It is understood that, to speak of the "baptism of the Holy Spirit", the traditional pentecostal-charismatic movement doesn't refer to that Baptism of the Holy Spirit that conversion brings about, through which the believer is integrated into the Body of Christ through faith in his redemptive work on the cross (I Cor. 12:13). However, no biblical charismatic sees the Christian who is not Charismatic as "less saved" or less spiritual than he. The baptism with or in the Holy Spirit (John 1:33; Acts 1:5) was and will be lead by the Lord Jesus in order to be "received" (John 20:22; Acts 1:8) as a "gift" that he had granted after his ascension (John 7:39; Acts 2:38,39). Nevertheless, if someone prefers to reject this terminology, we maintain that to experience the abundance of the Spirit in the spirit of unity is more important than to create divisions among ourselves or to diminish our passion for receiving his abundance because of differences in theological terms or practices.
- When you speak of the process of "completely surrendering to the Spirit", the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement does not mean: (a) mental passiveness, or (b) a state of self-induced hypnosis or "trance". Instead, this terminology alludes to a conscious and fervent pursuit of God. The mind remains active, worshipping Jesus Christ, he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit (John 1:33). The excitement grows while the love of God is sown in our hearts (Rom. 5:5). He will be a physical participant while we worship and praise him, lifting the voice in prayer (Acts 4:24) or the hands to worship (Psa. 63:1-5).
THE TWO-FOLD FUNCTION OF SPEAKING IN TONGUES
In relation with those who have "received" the gift of speaking in tongues, the Bible describes two basic functions. It should serve for personal edification and public exhortation.
In the experience of the Baptism with or in the Holy Spirit, "tongues" fulfill the role of a sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Jesus prophesied that they would come as a sign (Mark 16:17), Paul referred to them as a sign (I Cor. 14:22) and Peter saw them as a gift/sign that confirmed the validity of the Gentile's experience of the Holy Spirit (compare Acts 10:44-46 with 11:16,17 and 15:7-9). Hence, that to speak in tongues should be a suitable and expected sign that confirms the full presence of the Spirit and offers a vigorous living testimony to the believer. It is not considered a requirement in order to obtain the abundance of the Spirit, but an indication of what it has yielded.
Tongues and Personal Edification
In the first place, "speaking in tongues" is a private subject, that concerns self-edification (I Cor. 14:2-4). Glossolalia is the devotional practice of the believer in the most intimate moments of his communication with God, under the impetus of the Holy Spirit. This "devotional" experience should also be put into practice by collective agreement, in meetings of groups where there are no unbelievers or uninformed believers present. (I Cor. 14:23). In accordance with this, the following principles about speaking in tongues are proposed:
- Speaking in tongues under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is the only spiritual gift that is identified with the Church of Jesus Christ. There is evidence of the other gifts, miracles, and spiritual manifestations in Old Testament times, before the day of Pentecost. This new phenomenon is manifested originally in the Church, it's identified with the Church in a unique way, and was ordained by God for the Church I Cor. 12:28; 14:21).
- Speaking in tongues represents the fulfillment of the prophecies of Isaiah and Jesus. Compare Isaiah 28:11 with I Corinthians 14:21, and Mark 16:17 with Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6; I Corinthians 14:5,14-18,39.
- Speaking in tongues is a proof of the resurrection and glorification of Jesus Christ (John 16:7; Acts 2:26).
- Speaking in tongues is an evidence of the baptism in or with the Holy Spirit.
- Speaking in tongues is a spiritual gift for personal edification (I Cor. 14:4; Jude 20).
- Speaking in tongues is a gift for the spiritual edification of the Church, when it's accompanied with the interpretation of what is spoken (I Cor. 14:5).
- Speaking in tongues is a spiritual gift for communication with God in moments of private devotion (I Cor. 14:15).
- Speaking in tongues is a way through which the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in prayer (Rom. 8:26; I Cor. 14:14; Eph. 6:18).
- Speaking in tongues is a spiritual way to rejoice (I Cor. 14:15; Eph. 5:18,19).
- The application that Paul made of Isaiah's prophecy indicates that Speaking in tongues also serves to "rest" or "refresh" (Is. 28:12; I Cor. 14:21).
- Tongues are manifested after the preaching of the Word of God, and confirm it (Mark 16:17 and 20; I Cor. 14:22).
Tongues Serve for Public Exhortation
Returning to the second function of "tongues" - public exhortation - I Corinthians 14 provides the gifts of the Spirit with the firm foundation of love (I Cor. 14:1). The public use of "tongues" also demands that we observe a set of norms as the key to maintain order in our communities and places of worship. After accepting that there have been some who have abused this gift, and have boasted unfairly of it, we should recognize that this can be converted into a vital and valuable part of the worship service, when it is used correctly for the edification of the body of Christ (I Cor. 14:1).
Nevertheless, the sincere believer, who is filled with the Holy Spirit, is not solely occupied with this gift, because he sees in it only one of the many gifts given for the Church to reach "fullness"; hence he does not participate in the worship service or fellowship with others with the sole purpose of speaking in tongues. Such an intention would be a sign of immaturity, vanity and idolatry. On the contrary, sincere believers gather together to worship God and be prepared for every good work through the teaching of the Word (II Tim. 3:16,17). Consequently, the believer who is perceptive to the teachings of Scripture recognizes the following recommendations made in the New Testament about spiritual gifts:
- Speaking in "tongues" is only edifying in public meetings when interpreted; he who speaks in tongues in worship should pray for interpretation, and if it doesn't follow, keep silent, unless he knows someone with the gift of interpretation is present. (I Cor.14;5,28)
- The Spirit is manifested only for edification; therefore, whenever it is truly present, all is found in order and no one feels shame or is perturbed (I Cor. 14:26,40).
- "The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets" (I Cor. 14:32). Everybody who is truly filled by the Spirit is able to exercise self-control; hence confusion can and should be avoided in order for decency and unity to prevail (I Cor. 14:40).
- The foundation for all the gifts is love. Love, not the experience of a gift, is that which describes those who use spiritual gifts. In this way, in the administration of spiritual authority in the local congregation, the Word demands that we judge (I Cor. 14:29) in order to confirm that those in possession of gifts pursue "love" and that they try the "spiritual gifts".
- The author and giver of the gifts is the Holy Spirit, who distributes them according to his will; therefore, no gift is changed into an exclusive possession of a believer for his personal edification or for boasting. On the contrary, the gifts are dispensed to the Church to be used by it for the mutual edification of the believers (I Cor. 12:1-11) and as a means of extending its ministry.
- The use of the gift of tongues should be limited to a series of two or three manifestations at the most (I Cor. 14:27). Although many maintain that this is a very rigid standard, others consider it a guide for maintaining balance in the worship service. In practice, the Holy Spirit is rarely moved beyond these limits; however, on occasions, for special reasons and necessities, it is possible to produce more than a sequence of two or three appropriately spaced manifestations in a given worship service. The main guideline is the following: "but do all decently and with order" (I Cor. 14:40).
Moving beyond the fullness of the Spirit, it's important to understand the impact of the gifts on life and the testimony of the Church.
The experience of the fullness of the Spirit represents something more than "speaking in tongues". In reality, it is to enter into possession of the fullness of the gifts and fruit of the Spirit, as is described in the New Testament (I Cor. 12:7-11; Gal. 5:22,23). We also embrace, in a broad sense, the use of the gifts of God for spiritual edification as it is mentioned in Romans 12:3-8 and Ephesians 4:7-12.
The Greek word "charisma" (sing.) or "charismata" (plural) is used to designate the spiritual gifts, and in accordance with a more technical terminology, "gifts of holy grace". In Ephesians 4:11-13, the words "dorea" and "doma" are also used to designate the gifts, describing them as aptitudes that "equip" us for personal service in the kingdom of God. Also, the word "pneumatika", used in I Corinthians 12:1, is used to describe the gifts as "things of the Spirit". The point is, that each one of these terms reveals the current meaning of the supernatural action of the Spirit in our lives, in which it prepares us to grow in grace and the service of the kingdom. To this end, we are called to seek the "greater gifts" (I Cor. 12:31). Therefore overcome passivity, and ardently seek how to work the gifts, and most of all, the proper attitude to have about them from a biblical point of view.
Therefore, to speak of the gifts never implies that anyone has exclusive rights to them. The gifts are given to the Church as resources to be used where it is necessary, to minister to the body of Christ. That is to say, that not all believers possess the same gifts. On the contrary, the Holy Spirit is the author and giver of the gifts so that the expressions of the worship service and the kingdom have integrity.
THE GIFTS OF THE DIVINITY
Many consider useful, the clarification of the specific functions that each person of the Trinity holds in the dispensation of the gifts to humanity. In its origins, naturally, we owe our existence, human life, to the Father (Gen. 2:7; Heb. 12:9), who also handed over his only begotten Son as the Redeemer of mankind (John 3:16). From the point of view of redemption, Jesus is the giver of eternal life (John 5:38-40; 10:27,28). He gave his life and spilled his blood to be the creditor of this privilege (John 10:17,18; Eph. 5:25-27). Moreover, the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:17,33) in order to advance the work of redemption through the ministry of worship, the teaching of the Church and evangelization.
Romans 12:3-8 describes a list of gifts given by God as Father, which seem to be identified with "basic motivations", that is, inherent inclinations of each person, according to the qualities that the Creator gave them from birth. Although only seven categories are mentioned, to observe them, let's go to a few individuals who can be described with only one gift. It is more common to encounter a combination of various gifts, with different characteristics for each present gift to a certain degree, while at times one is the dominant trait in each person. It would be erroneous to think that one fulfills the biblical calling to "seek the best gifts" (I Cor. 12:31), if it is limited to developing one or more of the gifts of the Creator, mentioned in these categories. These gifts, that God gives us to take our place in his creation, are the foundation.
In the second place, in I Corinthians 12:7-11, the new gifts of the Holy Spirit are related. Its purpose is specific: to benefit the body of the Church. ("benefit", from the Greek "sumphero", means "to reunite, benefit, favor", that which occurs while the collective life of the body is strengthened and expanded through its evangelistic ministry). These new gifts are at the disposal of each one of the believers, but it's the Holy Spirit who distributes them (I Cor. 12:11). A passive attitude should not be adopted concerning them, but desire and seek them actively (I Cor. 13:1; 14:1).
In the third place, the gifts given by the Son of God constitute the foundation that guarantees that the first two categories of gifts are used for the body of the Church. Ephesians 4:7-16 does not only indicate these gifts, that Christ gives to the Church according to his will. The ministry of the leaders is to "equip" the body of Christ, helping each person:
- To understand the place the Creator has reserved for them, in accordance with the qualities which they have been given, and the possibilities that salvation offers them now to realize the divine purpose in their lives; and
- In order to receive the power of the Holy Spirit, and begin to respond to the gifts that each believer receives in order to expand his innate talents for the sake of bringing his redemptive ministry to a head, to edify the Church and evangelize the world.
In the light of the preceding, we examine the following clearly identified categories of gifts: those dispensed by the Father (Rom. 12:6-8), the Son (Eph. 4:11) and the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 12:8-10). If the analysis goes well beyond the gifts mentioned here, and gives the structure of the gifts of the Divinity to whom we have already referred, the following general outline can help us in two ways. Firstly, it helps us identify the different roles and work of the persons of the Trinity in our perfecting. Secondly, it contributes so that we do not mistake our innate qualities in life, and in service to God with our conscious pursuit of the fullness of the power and resources of the Holy Spirit to serve and minister in the Church.
ROMANS 12:3-8: The Gifts of the Father (basic purposes and motivations of life)
- GIFT OF PROPHECY
- Speaking with frankness and vision, especially when done under the inspiration of the Spirit of God (Joel 2:28)
- showing courage in morality and an unbreakable commitment to worthy values.
- Influencing those who are in our sphere of action with a positive spirit of social and spiritual justice. NOTE: As the three categories of gifts -those of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - involve "prophetic aspects", it's necessary to make some distinctions. In the 1st category (Rom. 12), that which is general stands out; that level of the gift of prophecy reaches each believer ("all flesh"). The "gift of prophecy" dispensed by the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 12), refers to supernatural inspiration, until the point where speaking in tongues and its interpretation is included in this category (I Cor. 14:5). The gift of the office of prophet, given by Christ to the Church through individual ministries, constitutes another expression of the gift of prophecy; those who hold it should fulfill such requirements of the Old Testament about the trustworthiness of the message as well as those of the New Testament about the standards of life and character required to be exercised by the spiritual leader
- GIFT OF SERVICE
- Ministering and serving lovingly, all those who are in need.
- Ministering in such a way as corresponds to the work and office of a deacon.
- GIFT OF TEACHING
- Supernatural ability to explain and apply the truths received from God for the Church.
- Presupposes the study and inspiration of the spirit that allows the teacher to clearly present divine truth to the people of God.
- Considered different than the activity of a prophet, who speaks directly in God's name.
- GIFT OF EXHORTATION
- Literally means, calling to someone to encourage him about something.
- In a wider sense, it is equivalent to supplicating, consoling, or instructing (Acts 4:36; Heb. 10:25).
- GIFT OF SHARING
- Its essential significance is giving in a spirit of generosity.
- From a technical point of view, it refers to those who provide resources to those who do not have them.
- This gift should be exercised liberally, without ostentation or boasting (II Cor. 1:12; 8:2; 9:11,13).
- GIFT OF LEADING
- Alludes to someone who is "placed at the front in some activity".
- He embraces model action, supervision, and direction of the Holy Spirit over the body of Christ.
- Leadership should be exercised with diligence.
- GIFT OF HAVING MERCY
- Identifying with the suffering of others.
- Establishing understanding, respectful, and sincere relationships with others.
- In order to be effective, this gift should be exercised with kindness and joy, not as an obligation.
I COR. 12:8-10;28: The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
- WORD OF WISDOM
- Supernatural revelation of the divine plan and will.
- Power received from on high to resolve a problem, going to it with spiritual intuition.
- Sense of Divine direction
- Being guided by the Spirit in order to act appropriately in determined circumstances.
- Correctly applied knowledge; wisdom interacts with knowledge and discernment.
- WORD OF KNOWLEDGE
- Supernatural revelation of the divine plan and will.
- Supernatural vision or understanding of circumstances or of a collection of evidence through revelation; that is to say, without any human aid, thanks only to divine help.
- Implies a more profound and wider comprehension of the revelation of God.
- Entails moral wisdom to correctly live and relate with others.
- Requires objective comprehension about divine things in human affairs.
- Can also allude to the knowledge of God or of the things that pertain to God as related in the New Testament.
- Supernatural ability to believe in God without any reservations.
- Supernatural ability to fight off unbelief.
- Supernatural ability to confront adverse circumstances, trusting in the message of God and his Word.
- Internal conviction to obey an urgent calling from on high.
- GIFTS OF HEALING
- Alludes to healing obtained supernaturally, without human aid.
- Can include the application of human therapies and cures under divine guidance.
- Does not exclude the use of innate gifts which we receive from God.
- GIFT OF MIRACLES
- Supernatural power to counteract human or evil demonic forces.
- literally means deployment of power that goes beyond that which is natural.
- Operates along with the gifts of faith and healing to exercise authority over sin, Satan, infirmity, and the forces that cause hindrances in this world
- GIFT OF PROPHECY
- Inspired divine prediction and anointed declaration.
- Supernatural proclamation in a known language.
- Manifestation of the spirit of God, not of the intellect.
- Should be held and practiced by all who are filled with the Holy spirit.
- This gift puts intellect, faith, and volition into action, but its use is not based on intellect. It constitutes the proclamation of a message from the Spirit of God.
- DISCERNMENT OF SPIRITS
- Supernatural power to detect the spiritual world and know its activity.
- Implies the possession of spiritual vision to supernaturally reveal the will and plans of the enemy and his forces.
- DIFFERENT TYPES OF TONGUES
- Supernatural expressions not known by the one speaking: these languages can exist on Earth, coming from ancient cultures, or "unknown" in the sense that they are a means of communication inspired by the Holy Spirit (Is. 28:11; Mark 16:17; Acts 2:4; 10:44-48; 19:1-7; I Cor.12:10,28-31; 13:1-3; 14:2,4-22,26-31).
- Serves as evidence and a sign of the fullness and action of the Holy Spirit.
- INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES
- Supernatural power that allows one to reveal the significance of tongues.
- It functions, not as an operation of the human mind, but of the mind of the Spirit.
- It doesn't constitute a translation (he who interprets never understands the tongue that he is interpreting), but a declaration of its significance.
- Its exercise is a miraculous and supernatural phenomenon, which occurs with the gifts of speaking in tongues, and prophecy.
EPHESIANS 4:11 (also I Cor. 12:28): The Gifts of the Son (to equip the body of the Church and facilitate its mission)
- In apostolic days, a select chosen group was brought together to bring the ministry of Christ to a head; it included the task, assigned to a few, of completing the canon of the Sacred Scriptures.
- It implies holding a special identification of leadership assigned by Christ.
- Functions as a messenger or envoy of God.
- In our age, it refers to those who possess an outstanding apostolic spirit, make an outstanding contribution to the expansion of the work of the Church, open new missionary fields and supervise the principal organs of the body of Christ.
- A spiritually mature voice, carrier of a special divine message directed to the Church or the world.
- A person who, on certain occasions, receives the gift of foreseeing future events.
- Basically refers to a special gift of preaching or testimony that leads unbelievers to the experience of salvation.
- From the functional point of view, the gift of evangelization contributes to the establishment of new works, while pastors and teachers are occupied then with organizing and sustaining.
- Essentially, the gift of evangelism contributes to making converts and bringing them together physically and spiritually in the body of Christ.
- The word "pastor" is derived from a root that means "defender".
- Implies the function of nourishing, teaching, and caring for the spiritual needs of the body that a pastor/teacher practices.
- MISSIONARY (Some include "apostle" and "evangelist" in this category)
- Implies developing a plan to make evangelism known to the whole world (Rom. 1:16)
- Gives an example of the humility necessary for following the calling to go to remote regions and confront unknown situations.
- Connotes an internal compulsion to lead the whole world to an understanding of the message of Christ.
- Literally means, to love, do good or help others joyfully.
- Illustrates Peter's idea about one of the two categories of gifts: 1) Teaching and 2) Ministering (I Pet. 4:10,11).
- It was manifested in lavish care to believers and workers who came to visit to worship, labor and form part of the body of Christ.
- It is exemplified in the teachings of Christ about the righteousness of God (Matt. 25:35,40).
- CELIBACY (Matt. 19:10; I Cor. 7:7-9,27; I Tim. 4:3; Rev. 14:4)
- The Bible considers marriage something honorable ordained by God; and a necessity of each individual.
- Implies a special gift, that frees the individual of those obligations, pressures, and preoccupations of daily life, allowing one to dedicate all his attention to the work of the Lord.
- MARTYRDOM (I Pet. 4:12,13)
- It is exemplified in the spirit of Stephen.
- It is fulfilled in the attitude of Paul(II Tim. 4:6-8)
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