THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT
We now turn our attention to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the enablings of the Spirit. Jesus said,
It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you (John 16:7).
And again, He said,
The works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father (John 14:12).
Jesus went to His Father to send us another comforter, that we might be able to do the works that He did, and even greater works than He did. We can interpret this either qualitatively or quantitatively. It is through the operation of the Holy Spirit within us that we are enabled to do His works. And they are called the gifts, the manifestations, or the appearings of the Spirit.
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will
(I Cor. 12:7-11).
The manifestations, or the appearings, of the Spirit are given to every man to profit withal. The bestowal of the gifts of the Spirit depend upon the goodness of the giver. However, the expression of the fruit of the Spirit depends upon the goodness of the individual. If you are an individual living in relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, His nature, His character is produced in you and expressed through you by the Holy Spirit. But the gifts of the Spirit are not based upon one's spirituality. They are premised upon the goodness of God.
On the first day of January, 1941, I went to a little church and began to pray; on the eighteenth of March, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit; and on the third of April, I preached my first revival sermon. I received a ministry gift. How spiritual was I? Who knows? However, God did not give me a gift because I was spiritual; God gave me a gift because He was a good God. How mature was I? How spiritual? I don't know. But God gave me a gift. So a gift depends on the goodness of the giver. But whatever fruit, whatever Christlikeness I express in my life is the result of over 50 years of living in union with Christ.
Sometimes we think that when the Holy Spirit manifests a spiritual gift, it must be a extraordinary experience. However, it dawned on me one day that gifts of the Spirit were being manifest through me. The Spirit whispered, "A word of wisdom or a word of knowledge often manifests itself through you, and you are not conscious of my presence." So, even though we may think that the Spirit does not manifest any spiritual gifts in our lives, we can be sure that the Spirit of God has manifested a word of wisdom, a word of knowledge, faith, a gift of healing, a miracle for someone, and we were not aware of it. These gifts do not have to come through some supernatural phenomenon; they are part of the everyday experience of the Spirit-filled child of God. The Holy Spirit manifests them. The Spirit does it.
People define the gifts of the Spirit in various ways. Some list all of the ministry gifts and the spiritual gifts as gifts of the Spirit. Others classify them into various functional categories. Also, there has been a discussion about whether the gifts are in the church, in the Spirit, or in the individual. The answer is "Yes." The gifts are the property of the Spirit, they are manifest in the church, and they are manifest through the individual. But they are different from the ministry gifts of Christ. The ministry gifts that are given by the Lord Jesus Christ are offices set in the church. The manifestations of the Spirit are not offices set in the church. The Spirit may manifest one of His gifts through anyone at any time. They are manifest according to His sovereign will for a specific purpose at a specific time. However, Jesus sets certain people as teachers in certain churches. He calls certain people to be pastors of certain churches. If I went to your church, took your pastor by the hand and told him that I was going to be pastor of the church that morning, especially until after the offering was taken, what he would say? He would probably say, "I think not. I am set in this church as pastor." However, if I went to your church and told the pastor that the Lord had given me a spiritual gift for the church, he might allow me to minister the gift to the congregation. The manifestations of the Spirit appear and disappear, but the ministry gifts of Christ are settled in the church.
I have classified the gifts into three categories: The gifts of knowledge, the gifts of power, and the gifts of utterance.
THE GIFTS OF KNOWLEDGE
A WORD OF WISDOM
The gift of a word of wisdom is not a gift of wisdom, it is a word of wisdom given which one speaks by the Spirit. If one has an I.Q. of 70; he may speak by the Spirit with the wisdom of a genius. However, after he has spoken, his I.Q. is still 70. He may have learned something, but his IQ did not change. He spoke a word of wisdom as the Spirit gave him utterance. What is a word of wisdom? A word of wisdom is a word given by the Spirit that solves a problem, or answers a question, or enables one to give an expression of his faith.
GIVE TO CAESAR (Matthew 22:16:22)
What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?...Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's (Matt. 22:17-21).
The Pharisees came to the Lord Jesus Christ and asked, "Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar?" Jesus asked them to show Him a coin. He asked them whose image was on it. They said that Caesar's image was on it. Jesus responded that they should give to Caesar that which belonged to Caesar and give to God that which belongs to God. After that, they did not want to ask Him any more questions. Jesus gave them an answer through a word of wisdom: "Give that which belongs to Caesar [his coin] to him." And since you bear the image of God, give yourself to God. Jesus answered their question by a word of wisdom, and they marvelled at His words.
WHAT SHALL THE GENTILES DO? (Acts 15:1-31)
In the 15th chapter of Acts we are told that the church met together to determine what to do about the Gentiles who were being converted. What kind of lifestyle would they require of the Gentile church? Would they bind the ten commandments on the Gentiles? Would they make them keep the Jewish dietary laws? Must the Gentiles be circumcised and keep the law of Moses? What about the Sabbath Day? After much debate, James said,
Wherefore, my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood (Acts 15:19-20).
The leaders accepted James' word and sent letters to the churches saying, "For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things" (Acts 15:28). The Gentiles were not to be bound by the ten commandments, Jewish traditions, or other teachings of the Jewish religion. Rather they were to observe only these four necessary things. This was a word of wisdom. The Spirit of God gave James a word of wisdom.
THE SPIRIT OF GOD WILL GIVE YOU WHAT TO SPEAK (Mark 13:11)
Jesus admonished his disciples to take no thought about what they would say when they were brought before rulers, for it would not be they who should speak but the Holy Spirit. He also said, "For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist" (Luke 21:15). This is graphically illustrated in the experience of Stephen in his disputation with the Libertines
And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spoke" (Acts 6:8-15).
ASK THE LITTLE BOY
When Oral Roberts attended the World Congress on Evangelism at the invitation of his friend Billy Graham, a native pastor asked him a question. A family in his church had brought a sick child to him, put the child in his hands and said, "Pray for our little boy." He told Oral Roberts that his church taught that the day of miracles was over. He was taught that he should not pray for people to be healed. Then he said, "I prayed for the little boy and God healed him. Brother Roberts did I do the right thing?" Oral Roberts started to give him a
theological answer, but the Holy Spirit checked him, and he said, "Why don't you ask the little boy?"
A word of wisdom is a gift of the Spirit that will provide the solution to a problem, give the answer to a question, or inspire a verbal defense of one's faith.
A WORD OF KNOWLEDGE
A word of knowledge is simply a knowing. A knowing. It is almost like seeing a television screen. You know what is in the past, in the present, or in the future.
NATHANIEL UNDER THE FIG TREE (John 1:45-51)
When Jesus met Nathaniel, he said, "Before that Philip called thee, when thou was under the fig tree, I saw thee." A word of knowledge. He knew that Nathaniel was under the fig tree. He saw him there.
CATCH A FISH (Matt. 17:24-27)
When Peter was confronted by the tax collectors about paying tribute, Jesus knew that he was troubled and said,
Lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook [not even a baited hook?], and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee (Matt. 17:27).
How did Jesus know that there was a fish with money in its mouth that would bite an empty hook? He was given a word of knowledge. He knew the fish would be there through a word of knowledge.
AGABUS THE PROPHET (Acts 11:27-30) (Acts 21:10-13)
Oral Roberts teaches that a prophecy is more confirmational than directional. At Antioch,
As they [prophets] ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them (Acts 13:2).
And later at Antioch, Judas and Silas,
being prophets, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them (Acts 15:32).
Sometimes, a prophet will speak a word of knowledge. In one instance, Agabus, the prophet,
signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar (Acts 11:28).
On another occasion,
He took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle (Acts 21:11).
The Spirit spoke a word of knowledge by the prophet. Sometimes the prophet speaks with a word of knowledge; sometimes he prophesies without it. But when Agabus gave those two prophecies, he spoke with a word of knowledge. He knew Paul would be bound in chains, and he knew there would be a drought in Jerusalem, just as if he saw it happening.
ELISHA THE PROPHET (II Kings 5:1-27)
When Elisha healed Naaman the leper, Naaman offered Elisha "a blessing" which Elisha refused. But Gahazi, Elisha's servant, thought that he should receive something. When Naaman drove off, the servant of Elisha went after him and told him that two young men of the sons of the prophets had come and He would like to have a talent of silver and two changes of raiment for them. Naaman gave him more than he asked. When Gehazi returned, Elisha asked him where he had been. He said, "Thy servant went no whither." Elisha answered, "Went not my heart with thee?" Elisha knew exactly what he had done. How? The Spirit gave him a word of knowledge. Elisha then told Gehazi, through a word knowledge, that the "leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out of his presence a leper as white as snow"
(II Kings 5:27).
A WORD OF KNOWLEDGE IN HEALING (Acts 14:6-11)
Many times a word of knowledge is manifest in conjunction with a gift of healing. At Lystra, Paul saw a man who had been a cripple from birth among those listening to him speak. Through a word of knowledge Paul perceived that he had faith to be healed and said to him, "Stand upright on thy feet." The man leaped to his feet and began to walk (Acts 14:6-11). Often, when Richard Roberts is ministering, the Spirit gives him a word of knowledge concerning the physical needs of the people in order to encourage them in their faith so they may receive the gift of healing that God has for them.
BUY THE LAND
In California, in 1961, Oral Roberts, phoned his associate in Tulsa and instructed him to go and buy the land for the university that day. His associate said, "The man won't sell it." Oral Roberts said, "Go today." The associate went to the man's house and inquired about purchasing the land. The man said that he and his wife had decided the night before to sell the property. How did Oral Roberts know which was the day to buy the land, after they had tried for months to purchase it? The Spirit had spoken a word of knowledge.
DISCERNING OF SPIRITS
The third gift in the category of knowing is that of discerning of spirits. There are three kinds of spirits: the Spirit of God, the spirit of Satan, and the spirit of man. Sometimes things are of God. Sometimes things are of Satan. Sometimes things are of the spirit of man. Often we blame God or Satan when it is really the human spirit that is causing a situation. Perhaps, part of the reason for the confusion in the Corinthian Church was that they were following the human spirit. Paul does not tell them that they do not have the Spirit of God, nor does He tell them that the devil is at fault. Rather he says,
I could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ" (I Cor. 3:1).
He could not talk unto them as unto men, but as unto mere babes. They were following their human spirit. They were doing what they wanted to do, instead of allowing the Spirit of God to use them for God's glory and in God's purpose. Therefore, we need a discerning of spirits to know what kind of spirit--God's, man's, or evil--is influencing a situation.
A DEAF AND DUMB SPIRIT (Mark 9:17-27)
As Jesus descended from the Mount of Transfiguration, a man brought his son to Jesus for deliverance from a spirit which would cast him into the fire, then cast him into the water. Jesus healed the boy by casting a deaf and dumb spirit out of the child. Not all convulsions are caused by spirits. Some are caused by organic or physical problems. However, there are some convulsions that are caused by spirits. We need the discerning of spirits to know if a spirit is causing the problem and to know what kind of spirit it is. How many of us would believe that a deaf and dumb spirit was causing that young man's infirmity? Jesus did, because He discerned the spirit.
LEGION AT THE TOMBS (Mark 5:1-20)
When Jesus met the man at the tombs in the country of the Gadarenes, He knew that an unclean spirit was tormenting the man. He made that spirit give his name, which was Legion, for there were many spirits in the man. After all of the spirits were cast out of the man, they entered a herd of swine, causing them to run into the sea and drown. Through discerning of spirits, a Christian may know the number and names of the evil spirits that are tormenting an individual.
GET BEHIND ME SATAN (Mark 8:27-33)
When Jesus began to speak of His rejection and death, Peter began to rebuke Him. Jesus said to Peter, "Get thee behind me, Satan...for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men." Peter was disturbed because Jesus was talking about going to Jerusalem to die. However, Jesus discerned that Peter was being influenced by the wrong spirit, and He rebuked him for it.
The challenging part of this incident is that Peter had just received his greatest revelation of Jesus saying, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God." Yet, within a few minutes, he was rebuked by Jesus and told, "Get behind me Satan." We need to be able to discern the spirits so we know which things are of God. God may give you a great vision, but if you are not sensitive to the Spirit of God, the devil may influence the way in which you carry out that vision and hinder the work of God. If you start in the Spirit, you cannot be made perfect by the flesh. If you begin a work in the Spirit, you have to complete it in the Spirit.
These, then, are the gifts of knowledge: a word of wisdom, by which you speak a solution to a problem, give an answer to a perplexing question, or give an insight into a situation; a word of knowledge by which you are able to have a knowledge of things, either past or present or future; and the discerning of spirits, the ability to know whether the Spirit of God, or Satan, or the human spirit is the motivating power.
THE GIFTS OF POWER
THE GIFT OF FAITH
The gifts of power are faith, working of miracles, and gifts of healings. Since "Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6)," God has given two ways of producing faith in our hearts: faith as a fruit of the Spirit and faith as a gift of the Spirit. Faith is both a fruit of the Spirit and a gift of the Spirit. Faith as fruit of the Spirit is faith in process. Even as fruit develops and matures, so faith grows. Faith as a fruit is faith in process:
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:12).
As you read the word, as you speak the word, as you live the word, as you act the word, faith comes. When faith matures, a knowing is present, and your miracle is accomplished (see a discussion of faith as fruit under the "Fruit of the Spirit").
Faith as a gift, however, is faith as an act, an event. You do not do anything to receive it. As you are going through the routine things of life, faith is dropped in your heart by the Spirit. This is faith as a gift. The Holy Spirit gives it. The end result is the same. In other words, whether the knowing that you have in your heart is the result of faith as a gift or faith as fruit makes no difference, because it is faith. It is the "substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1). There is a knowing in your heart. That knowing can be developed as a fruit as you abide in Jesus Christ and His word abides in you; or the Spirit of God can just drop it in your heart out of the clear blue sky as a gift of faith.
ABRAHAM, THE FATHER OF FAITH
The best example of a man receiving a gift of faith is Abraham, father of faith. When Abram was 86 years old, God spoke to him and said,
Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be (Gen. 15:5).
Years later, when Abram was 99 years old, God spoke to him again about his children:
Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee" (Gen. 17:5).
Paul sets forth the faith of Abraham:
(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken. So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through un-belief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being full persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform (Rom. 4:17-21).
Abraham believed God, and he went around praising God and saying, "I am the father of many nations." He would enter a city and the Chamber of Commerce would ask, "What is your name?" He would answer, "My name is Abraham. I am the father of many nations." They would reply, "Oh, great, where are your children?" Abraham would say, "I don't have any." Then the conversation would be repeated, "What did you say your name was?" "My name is Abraham; I am the father of many nations." "And where are your children?" "I don't have any kids, but I am the father of many nations." As the neighbors look over the backyard fence at him, they are even more puzzled. Abraham is standing out there with Sarah, stroking his beard, and he is counting stars and saying, "Sarah, look at them: Kids, Kids, Kids." The neighbors wondered about them, but of course, the neighbors realized that they were harmless, just senile. You would not necessarily have to institutionalize anybody just for going around talking about kids. One day, though, the Lord appeared and set the day for the blessed event. Upon hearing this, Sarah laughed. This is the way faith came to Abraham. God dropped faith into his heart. He believed in the God who calls "those things which be not as though they were"; "he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief"; and he "against hope believed in hope" that he might become the father of many nations. God had spoken, and Abraham believed God. He went around praising God, and God brought it to pass. That is the gift of faith--faith to receive from God.
GIFTS OF HEALINGS
The terms "gifts" and "healings" are plurals. If someone says that he has the "gift of healing," he would be suggesting that he could heal every illness or everybody. On the other hand, for one to say that he had "gifts of healings" leads to various interpretations of this manifestation of the Spirit: 1) a person may have more success in bringing healing for one type of illness than for others; 2) the Spirit may impart a specific gift of healing for a specific illness at a specific time; or 3) a person may bring healing for the same illness in a variety of ways. For instance, Jesus used various methods in the healing of blindness: He touched eyes (Matt. 9:27-31), He spit in eyes (Mark 8:22-26), He spoke the word over eyes (Luke 18:35-43), and He told one man to wash in the pool after He had spit on the ground, made a mudball, and placed it on the man's eyes (John 9:1-41).
One of the major concerns about the gifts of the Spirit, especially the "gifts of healings," is that we want to make a method out of the means by which the Spirit manifests Himself. The different ways that Jesus healed the blind could give rise to a variety of doctrines of healing. We could organize the "Spit in the Eye School," the "Wash in the Pool School," or the "Speak the Word School." People would then join a school, embrace the doctrine as THE truth, and teach that method as the ONLY way God can perform a healing. However, we cannot reduce God to a method; He is a person. He has a variety of ways of meeting the needs of His children. There are many ways to be healed; therefore, the Spirit bestows "gifts of healings." God through His Spirit will manifest the particular gift of healing for someone in need through any one of His children.
WORKING OF MIRACLES
The Greek phrase for "working of miracles" is in the plural. Literally, it means "(energemata dunameon--operations of works of power)" Even as there is no gift of healing, which would enable a person to heal everyone, so there is no gift bestowing the power to work miracles at will. The Spirit may move on anyone to manifest a work of power in a certain situation.
There are many opinions about the gift of working miracles, even as there are about the gifts of healings. Some place healings in the people realm and miracles in the natural realm, calling a miracle any activity that is contrary to the natural course of things. Miracles have to do with inanimate objects: the changing of the natural course of events or the overriding of the laws of nature. For example: Jesus turns the water into wine (John 2:1-11); Jesus feeds the five thousand men and their wives and children with five loaves and two fishes (Matt. 14:15-21); Paul speaks blindness upon Elymas, the sorcerer (Acts 13:7-11); Paul shakes off the serpent which had fastened upon his hand and is not harmed (Acts 28:3-6); or Paul and Silas are set free from prison by an earthquake (Acts 16:22-34). These are operations of works of power.
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