2000-05-27 - Spiritual Gifts
Spiritual Gifts, Part 4
1 Corinthians 12:4-11 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are diversities of ministrations, and the same Lord. And there are diversities of workings, but the same God, who worketh all things in all. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit to profit withal. For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom; and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit: to another faith, in the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, in the one Spirit; and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; and to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one severally even as he will.
The Holy spirit conferred these gifts upon certain ones in the early church by the laying on of hands. These gifts were bestowed upon those who were already born again, for special services. There is a vast difference between ordinary and extraordinary gifts. We learn from Acts chapters 8 & 9 that the apostles laid their hands upon certain ones that were already saved, imparting the Holy Spirit to them for the purpose of providing special power to them for service. No one but an apostle ever conferred the Holy Spirit upon another.
In 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, each person of the Trinity is involved in the matter of underwriting spiritual gifts: the Holy Spirit verse 4; Jesus Christ verse 5; God the Father verse 6. Please note that in Matthew 28:19, Ephesians 4:4-6 and Hebrews 9:14 the members of the Godhead-as to their order-are spoken of interchangeably, indicating perfect equality among them.
The "manifestation of the Spirit" in this special way is given "to profit withal"- for the good of all concerned according to 1 Corinthians 12:7. The endowments and coordination of these gifts are described in verses 8-10. "For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom; and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same spirit (verse 8). There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom: knowledge is the accumulation of facts; wisdom is the ability to correlate and apply these facts a useful way. Let us keep in mind that people in the early church were raw recruits, needing special help. They had only the Old Testament scriptures-no complete Bible, as we have it today.
"To another faith in the same Spirit..." ( verse 9). According to Romans 10:17 "So belief cometh of hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ." Here (in 1 Corinthians 2:9) however, Paul is speaking about one of the special gifts that the Holy Spirit confers. Faith is one of the permanent gifts
according to 1 Corinthians 13:13. Paul used three terms to describe faith:
"... And to another the gifts of healings, in one Spirit" (verse 9). There are those today who speak of having the "gift of healing." If they have this gift then they have something that is not mentioned in the scripture from genesis to Revelation. There is a vast difference between "the gift of healing" and the "gifts of healings." Paul, for example, had the "gifts of healings." That is, on certain occasions-when it was God's will to do so, the Spirit worked through him to heal a man or a woman, or to raise someone to life from the dead, etc. However Paul did not have the permanent gift of healing people. In Acts 28:7-10 we are told that Paul, having been shipwrecked on the island of Melita, healed the father of the chief of the island. Other people then came with their illnesses, but they were "cured" (received treatment-Greek translation) by Luke the Physician, who administered medicine according to the science of that day. See also 2 Timothy 4:19-20 where Paul left Trophimus at Melitus due to sickness.
"And to another workings of miracles..." (verse 10). Here again the plural number is to be noted. Those who had the gift of "workings of miracles" were not of their own will to work miracles. On occasion, God gave them the power and the ability to perform various kinds of miracles, but at other times that power was withdrawn.
"...and to another prophesy..." (verse 10) Prophets were spokesmen for the Almighty. They had the ability to teach about things that were past, present, or future. There were no trained, educated men in the early church, therefore God himself imparted to certain ones the ability to perfect the Body of Christ.
"...and to another the discerning of spirits..." (verse 10) It was very important in the early church as it is today, to know what spirit is working in and through a person. In having the complete Bible, we of today have an advantage over those of the early church. There are certain persons today who by the use of Satanic power, can foretell things in the future as we noted in last weeks devotional.
" ... to another diverse kinds of tongues..." (verse 10) Power was given to the apostles, and to certain others upon whom they laid their hands, to speak in languages other than those they already knew.
"...and to another the interpretation of tongues..." (verse 10) The gift of tongues (to speak in a foreign language to those needing salvation) was never to be exercised in the church unless someone possessing the gift of "interpretation of tongues" was present. The purpose being that all present in the meeting might be edified; also as a safeguard against falsification, it provided a check on the one who was speaking the foreign language." But all these worketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one severally even as he will" (verse 11). God the Father and the Son are seen to be of one mind with Holy Spirit in having sovereignly selected various ones to be recipients of these spiritual gifts.
Next week we will discuss the Unity of the Body of Christ
In His Service,