Today as promised we will be looking at the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Jesus left His followers with a responsibility to extend the Gospel message to the ends of the earth. The power of the Holy Spirit would help them fulfill this task. Part of this "power" of the Holy Spirit was special gifts which the Holy Spirit gives believers to equip them to minister effectively.
These spiritual gifts are not the same as natural talents. Natural talents and abilities are given at the time of physical birth and/or developed by natural efforts during the course of a lifetime. They can be used to minister in the church, but are different than spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts come from the Holy Spirit, and each gift has a purpose.
To equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. (Ephesians 4:12-15)
This passage reveals spiritual gifts are for:
-Perfecting of the saints.
-Promoting the work of the ministry.
-Edifying Christ and the church.
The end objectives of these gifts are that we will:
-Be united in the faith.
-Develop our knowledge of Christ.
-Develop in perfection, with Christ as our model.
-Become stable, not deceived by false doctrines.
-Mature spiritually in Christ.
I have to stop and say that I am only going by what Scripture tells me. I have no personal or denominational agenda here. Some churches claim that all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not for modern believers. They teach that some of the powerful gifts like miracles and speaking in other tongues were only for the early Church. The answer to their objection is this: The Lord gave ministry gifts to accomplish certain purposes in the church. He will not withdraw any of these gifts without the purposes being accomplished. Are all our churches in unity? Do we have full knowledge of Christ? Are we all walking in perfection, stable, and mature? Have we stopped false doctrines from penetrating our churches? The answer to these questions is "no.” All the purposes of the ministry gifts have not been fulfilled. For this reason, all the gifts which God gave to accomplish these objectives are still operative today.
The Bible also says that the "gifts and callings of God are without repentance" (Romans 11:29). That means God will not change His mind and take back a gift or a calling He has given. The Holy Spirit gives each believer at least one spiritual gift (I Peter 4:10; Ephesians 4:7, I Corinthians 12:7). It is important for us to discover and use our spiritual gift in the church and I don't just mean in the church building, I mean in as true believers. The discovery of your spiritual gifts and develop the fruit of the Spirit is important in order to function effectively in the Body of Christ, and I hope to speak on that topic another day.
The Holy Spirit develops in the life of the believer qualities which the Bible calls "spiritual fruit.” The fruit of the Holy Spirit refers to the nature of the Holy Spirit being evident in the life of a believer. God desires that all the fruit be evident in the life of each Christian. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23) The development of these qualities is another important function of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.
There are Biblical guidelines for receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Repent and be baptized, this will put you in a position of spiritual receptiveness. Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)
Believe in your heart that receiving baptism in the Holy Spirit is for you. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call. (Acts 2:39)
Desire the Holy Spirit in your life. On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. (John 7:37-39)
The Holy Spirit has already been given. It was given to the Church on the Day of Pentecost. Realize that because it is a gift, you can do nothing to earn it. He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.(Galatians 3:14) Begin to praise and thank God for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Never be afraid to speak the language of the Spirit as you are praising and worshiping God.
Speaking in Tongues is an important part of being baptized in the Holy Spirit. Of all the times Scripture mentions being baptized in the Holy Spirit the only sign that appears in all of them is the speaking in tongues. As you praise Him audibly you will first experience stammering lips. If you want to be baptized in the Holy Spirit then you need to yield to the Holy Spirit and He will speak through you words foreign to your understanding. This is the sign of Holy Spirit baptism. Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues God will speak to this people. (Isaiah 28:11) All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:4)