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Often we are confused concerning the gifts of the Spirit, especially the gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10. Questions still linger: Are all the gifts for today? Or, were some of them only for the time of the apostles? And, if they are for today, what does the exercise of these gifts look like? How are they manifested in the church today?
In order to understand the truth behind these questions, we must begin with a simple, seven letter word: another. There are two Greek words translated “another” in this passage. The first is allos, which means “another of the same kind.” And then there is heteros, which means “another of a different kind.” Now, look at the passage in question:
1 Corinthians 12:8-10 – For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another (allos) the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another (heteros) faith by the same Spirit, to another (allos) gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another (allos) the working of miracles, to another (allos) prophecy, to another (allos) discerning of spirits, to another (heteros) different kinds of tongues, to another (allos) the interpretation of tongues.
Now we have three groups of gifts each divided by the word heteros – or “another of a different kind.”
Word of wisdom
Word of Knowledge
Gifts of Healings
Working of Miracles
Discerning of Spirits
Different kinds of tongues
Interpretation of tongues
Do you see how logically the Lord has presented this confusing passage about the gifts of the Spirit? Do you see what He is trying to teach us? If you want to know more, then keep listening.
When we look at the warnings from the Lord found in the first chapter of Proverbs, we are naturally drawn to the almost prophetic words of Forrest Gump.
“Stupid is as stupid does.”
To put it in the words of Solomon:
“How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?” – Proverbs 1:22.
Or, “How long, you simple (foolish, simpleminded, stupid, naive, moronic) ones, will you love simplicity (what is foolish, simpleminded, stupid, naive, moronic)?”
Great question. But what is the object of this question? What exactly are the stupid ones loving stupidly? What can we learn about the wisdom of God from what is being said here? If you want to know more, then keep listening.
In our study on Spiritual gifts, the question before us is this: Why does the Holy Spirit give us His gifts? What’s the point? How does giving us gifts, that we don’t believe we have, benefit Him?
The answer is found in 1 Corinthians 12:7. Here it says: But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.
Got that. But what does this verse really mean?
The word manifestation means “expression, to make visible or observable.” Think about that. The “expression” of the Holy Spirit, or the way the Holy Spirit expresses Himself is “given to each one for the profit of all.” Or, the way the Holy Spirit makes Himself “visible or observable” is by the gifts He gives to “each one for the profit of all.”
Do you see how important these gifts actually are? And what specific gifts are we talking about?
To continue in context: for to one is given the (1) word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the (2) word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another (3) faith by the same Spirit, to another (4) gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the (5) working of miracles, to another (6) prophecy, to another (7) discerning of spirits, to another (8) different kinds of tongues, to another the (9) interpretation of tongues – 1 Cor. 12:8-10.
And this is only the beginning. There is so much more to learn. Are you interested? Then keep listening.
In the final few words in his first letter to the church at Thessalonica, the apostle Paul leaves them with some heartfelt, bullet-point warnings and admonitions that speak to living in the Kingdom. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 he said,
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.
If you look closer, you will see this is another classic, life-changing if / then passage. If we do the first three, then we won’t experience the last. Or, if we don’t do the first three, then the last, quenching the Spirit, is ours as a consequence of the first three. And who in their right mind wants to willingly quench the Spirit of God in our life. But there is so much more to be found here. Interested? Then keep listening.
This truth is never more apparent than at the crucifixion of Jesus. There, at the foot of His cross, standing faithful with their Lord, we find several women and only one disciple, the one characterized as the disciple “whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23). We see Mary the mother of Jesus, and her sister, Salome, the mother of James and John and the wife of Zebedee. We see Mary the wife of Clopas who, along with Mary Magdalene, kept vigil at the tomb (Matt. 27:61) and was one of the women who tried to persuade the disciples that Jesus was alive (Luke 24:10). We also see a larger group of women, possibly as many as a dozen, standing together “at a distance” from the cross (Luke 23:49).
But what we don’t see are the bold, self-confident men who pledged their very lives to Christ just a few hours earlier. Nowhere is Peter, the “even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” (Matt. 26:35) disciple. Andrew, James, Matthew and the others disciples are conspicuously absent. AWOL. Scattered like dry leaves in an October wind.
The men are gone. These bastions of courage and determination fled like frightened children while the women stood faithful with their Lord to the end. Why was that? What was it about the quality of love and devotion found in these women that propelled them to such courage when the men, who should lead in that area, drifted off into the landscape? What does this show us about true faith and devotion? What does this show us about the love of women and the apparent apathy of men? And how can that change our lives today?
We all assume we are totally objective when it comes to things in the Scriptures. But nothing could be further from the truth.
We often believe, not what the Scriptures say, but what we’ve been taught they say and why – all confirmed by our experience. In essence, the main reason we, as Bible-believing Christians, do not believe in the miraculous gifts of the Spirit is simply this: We have not seen nor experienced them. And our theological traditions support our lack of belief in them.
These are the top three reasons much of the church in the West refuses to believe in the more miraculous gifts of the Spirit.
One, we have not personally seen nor experienced New Testament quality miracles in our Christian lives.
Two, we don’t see New Testament quality miracles in the later history of the church and they are not part of our theological traditions.
Three, we are repulsed by the misuse of those who claim to possess New Testament quality gifts of the Spirit in contemporary churches and healing movements.
But none of these are based on Scripture. They are based on personal experience. Do you want to know the truth? Then keep listening.
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“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.”