2000-05-20 - Understanding Spiritual Gifts
Spiritual Gifts, Part 3
Two Sources of Power
1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts brethren, I would not have you ignorant
Paul's desire was for the Christians who were located in the Grecian city of Corinth to know the truth about spiritual gifts.
There are two sources of power in the world-the power of God and the power of Satan. The Corinthian believers were new recruits to Christianity. They had been converted to Christ from a sensual, heathenistic system of idol worship.
1 Corinthians 12:2 Ye know that when ye were Gentiles ye were led away unto those dumb idols, howsoever ye might led.
It is impossible to comprehend the full spiritual impact of Pauls message to the Corinthians on spiritual gifts, unless it is understood that before their conversion these people at the church at Corinth had been dominated and controlled by spiritual forces of Satan. Proof of this fact is found in Psalm 106:34-38 and 1 Corinthians 10:19-21 where idolatry is associated with demonism. The source behind all idolatry is Satan and his demons.
The Corinthians were no longer "Gentiles" but were members of the Church of God. After Christianity was preached abroad, Paul categorized the world into four groups; the Jews, Greeks or Gentiles and the Church of God (1 Corinthians 12:32). Christians were looked upon as belonging to anther race.
Every born again Christian is indwelt by the Spirit of God Romans 8:9 "But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
Therefore these Corinthian believers had been set free from the power of Satan and now were under the power of the Holy Spirit.
Testing the Sources of Power
1 Corinthians 12:3 Wherefore I make known unto you, that no man speaking in the Spirit of God saith, Jesus is anathema (accursed); and no man can say, Jesus is Lord, but in the Holy Spirit.
There is a simple, twofold question that forms the criteria for determining the genuineness of a stranger, or anyone else who evidenced supernatural power and came into contact with the early church. Let us clearly keep in mind that the only ones whom had been given supernatural gifts were the apostles and those upon whom the apostles had laid their hands - Acts 8:9-24 and Acts 19:1-7.
The God-given test (and valid for today) in determining whether spiritual gifts are genuine, is to ask the one evidencing this power-and while he is under the source of this power- these two questions: "Is Jesus anathema (accursed)?" "Is Jesus Lord?" Paul says " … that no man speaking in the spirit of God saith, Jesus is anathema … " No genuine servant of God would announce Jesus as being accursed. The individual who manifests supernatural power is to be put to the test concerning Jesus. He must testify to the Biblical account of Jesus Christ; as to His virgin birth, miracles, death, burial, bodily resurrection and His coming again according to scriptures. If he answers that Jesus is anathema, his power source is Satan. If he answers under the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus is Lord, the source of his power is genuine, being of the Holy Spirit.
An ExampleA doctor and head of a Biblical ministry related this experience that took place in Chicago many years ago. His wife had been praying with a group of women meeting in each others homes for prayer. When the time came to meet in one particular home, all were very conscience of peculiar interruptions; there was an uncanny sense of being unable to pray in the Spirit. This spiritual oppression occurred each time they met there and resulted in unfruitful prayer. Later it was discovered that the house had been the home of a spiritualist medium. The matter was discussed and they discontinued meeting there.
At about the same time one of the ladies in this group met the mother of a young man who claimed to have supernatural gifts. Since the doctor had recently given the women a study on spiritualism, he was asked to meet with the young man to determine the source of his abilities.
The doctor and a friend agreed to meet with the young man. Upon arriving at his home, the young mans mother answered the door and explained to them that even though her son had not met them, he described them in detail to her before they arrived. The doctor and his friend spoke to the young man and asked him about his belief in Jesus Christ. He immediately answered that he had a wonderful relationship with the Lord. Then the young man told the doctor that his brother who had been dead for some years would like to speak to him. The young man's countenance changed and his eyes rolled back. He spoke in the doctor's brother's voice and told him of several childhood experiences that he and his brother had shared. He also predicted the doctor's wife's severe illness. The doctor then asked the man if he believed that Jesus Christ was born of the virgin Mary, as recorded in Matthew; that he went to the cross according to the four gospels; that he was buried and rose again. " Is he Lord or is he accursed?" The young man began to curse and blaspheme the Lord. When actually tested, he confirmed the fact that, "… no man can say Jesus is Lord but in the Holy Spirit."
Two Other TestsTwo similar tests are provided in 1 John 4:1-6, the apostle John gives the tests for "false prophets;" in 2 John 7:11 he furnishes a test for determining other types of "deceivers".
We hope that you will continue to join us in our study of Spiritual Gifts.Next week we will discuss the various gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.
In His Service,