THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT
(Heb 2:4) . . . gifts of the Holy Spirit . . .
Everybody loves to receive a gift. On your birthday, at Christmas, or just about anytime the excitement never runs out when a gift is given. You feel special. You feel important and honored. You feel like someone cares. It makes your day. It brightens your spirits. And the experience is even more meaningful when you open the gift and it’s just what you needed! Well, did you know the Lord has gifts for you? Gifts that are just what you need to serve Him effectively? They’re called the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:8-10). There are nine of them so let’s open them up one at a time and have a look:
WORD OF WISDOM - The ability to apply God’s wisdom to a specific situation or problem. The Spirit gives the right words to say for the right decision to be made or course of action to be taken. Solomon and the debated baby (1 Kings 3:16-28); Jesus and the tax question (Luke 20:22-26); the choosing of deacons (Acts 6); the question of the Gentiles keeping the law (Acts 15).
WORD OF KNOWLEDGE - Information given to us supernaturally, knowledge of things that we could not know through natural acquisition or study. Elijah and the king of Syria (2 Kings 6:8-12; Jesus and Nathaniel (John 1:45-51), the woman at the well (John 4); Peter and Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:3).
FAITH - An unusual measure of trust in God beyond that normally exercised. Jesus’ teaching of faith (Mark 11:22-24); Peter and John and lame man (Acts 3:1-8, 16); Paul and the lame man from Lystra (Acts 14:8-10). Faith is God-given (Eph. 2:8).
GIFTS OF HEALINGS - Refers to supernatural healing without human aid; it is a special gift to pray for specific physical problems (see Mat 10:1). Observed in Jesus’ numerous healings in the gospels and the apostles in the book of Acts.
WORKING OF MIRACLES - When God does something supernaturally (humanly impossible) that we can’t explain. Moses and the Red Sea (Exo 14); Jesus turns water into wine (John 2), and raises Lazarus (John 11); Paul raises Eutychus from the dead (Acts 20:7-10); signs and wonders (Heb 2:4); salvation and the transformed life of a believer (2 Cor. 5:17).
PROPHECY - A specific word of God to His people for exhortation, edification, and comfort (1 Cor 14:3). Jesus’ constant gift (John 6:63); Agabus (Acts 11:27-30); prophets in the Antioch church (Acts 13:1-2); the use of the gift in the Corinthian church (1 Cor 14); Timothy’s gift imparted by prophecy and the laying on of hands by the elders (1 Tim 4:14). May be given in the context of forth-telling or fore-telling. Sources can be through Bible preaching/teaching or speaking out in a believer’s gathering or one-on-one in a casual, supernaturally-natural way.
DISCERNING OF SPIRITS - The ability to distinguish the Spirit of God from the deception of Satan in people and in situations (2 Cor 11:14-15; 1 John 4:1). Jesus and Judas (John 6:64); Philip and Simon of Samaria (Acts 8); Paul and Barnabas and Bar-Jesus (Elymas) in Cyprus (Acts 13:6-11); Paul and the possessed girl of Ephesus (Acts 19).
DIFFERENT KINDS OF TONGUES - The ability to speak in an unknown language, through the agency of the Holy Spirit. Predicted by Jesus (Mark 16:17); day of Pentecost (Acts 2), Cornelius’ household (Acts 10), the Ephesian believers (Acts 19). For the enhancing of our prayer life (1 Cor 14:4; Rom 8:26; Jude 1:20) and for the edifying of the church (1 Cor 14:12).
INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES - The ability to interpret an unknown language expressed in the assembly so all may be edified (1 Cor 14:27). The interpretation will be praise to God (Acts 2:11; 1 Cor. 14:16-17) and not prophesy.
Are these gifts of the Holy Spirit for believers today? You bet! When you are baptized (immersed) with the Holy Spirit these gifts will then be available to you as you need them to minister God’s love and power to others. That means you’ll be enjoying the Spirit’s gift-giving for a long, long time!