“You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” (Luke 11:11-13) But why would anyone want the Holy Spirit? The Lord Jesus didn’t perform any miracles until He was endued with power from the Holy Spirit. Because He was given the power to use His authority in this world, He delegated this authority to us so that we may go about doing good towards others. Understanding the authority and the power you have as a saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Spirit Christian is what we want to talk about today – namely, the Gifts of the Spirit. Our reference is taken from 1st Corinthians Chapter 12, verses 8-11 taken from the New Living Translation
8) To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. 9) The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. 10) He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said.
Let’s take these gifts one by one so you may understand them and recognize them when you are in the presence of the working of the Holy Spirit.
From 1st Corinthians 12, verse 8 “Wise Advice.” The King James Version calls this Spirit the word of wisdom. This is a word concerning your affairs from the present time to a point of time in the future. This is when god uses someone to see into your future. They tell you of actions are going to take to receive what you were hoping and/or praying for. These actions are going to happen just because of the direction you have been taking. An example of this is taken from the Book of Luke, Chapter 5. Jesus borrowed a boat from Simon (Peter) to teach some people from the boat. After Jesus used Simon, as His custom is, He wanted to reward Simon. So he directed Simon towards his reward by speaking a word of wisdom. The interchange went like this:
One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.” “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! (Luke 5:1-6) Previously when the fishermen were fishing they caught nothing. That’s why they were cleaning their nets. When operating by the Word of God, you must ignore circumstances but at His word, believe
Also from verse 8, we have the message of special knowledge. The King James Version calls it the word of knowledge. The Word of Knowledge tells of circumstances that happened to you from now to sometime in the past. It opens up your awareness of God’s presence in your situation so that God can give you a greater revelation of something you were seeking answers to. Remember, the person giving the message is only the messenger, a willing vessel to be used by God and not to be glorified. Only the Lord God deserves all the glory. Praise the Lord! Once God has your attention, He can order your steps (Psalms 37:23). Let’s take the example of the Word of Knowledge from John Chapter 4. Here Jesus was about to bless this woman without violating the (chain of command) order of God. So He called for the woman’s husband in order to bestow the blessing. The interchange went like this.
So he left Judea and returned to Galilee. He had to go through Samaria on the way. Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?” Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.” “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her. “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”
Jesus needed something from the Samaratan women. He needed a drink of water. For her helping Jesus, Jesus was going to give her everlasting life and the gift of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus spoke the Word of Knowledge to her concerning her past five husbands, it opened up her ears to hear that Jesus was the Messiah. That was enough for the woman to evangelize her whole village (John 4:28-29).
From 1st Corinthians 12, verse 9, we have: “Great faith.” The King James Version calls it Faith. We all have been given the measure of faith (Romans 12:3) It’s up to the individual to exercise his faith in order to build it up. Faith is like a muscle. The more you work it, the greater it becomes. I started believing God for little things like a parking place close to the front door of the clinic for my pregnant (ex) wife. Over time, not only was I getting parking places close to the front door, I was getting parking places in front of the clinic with money still in the meter. God is good! That was an example of exercising and making faith grow. Great faith is taking the Word of God at face value and believing that the Word will do what it was sent to do. Let’s look at first, Matthew Chapter 8:8-10, 13
When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment. When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.
Jesus was going to the centurion’s house to lay hands on his servant to heal him. We all have that ability to lay hands on the sick and expect them to be healed (Mark 16:18) But this centurion understood authority. He was a boss and daily gave orders to people and expected them to carry out those actions. Well, faith is your servant. You have been given authority to overcome all the powers of the enemy (Luke 10:19) in order to do whatever is necessary to set the oppressed free. Great faith can speak the word only and know that they have the corresponding actions. (Psalms 107:20)
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:L17-18 NIV)
The Lord God will support whatever it takes to accomplish that.
Also in verse 9 is the gifts of healing. Let’s look at an old testament story with Elisha healing Naaman.
“Go and visit the prophet,” the king of Aram told him. “I will send a letter of introduction for you to take to the king of Israel.” So Naaman started out, carrying as gifts 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and ten sets of clothing. The letter to the king of Israel said: “With this letter I present my servant Naaman. I want you to heal him of his leprosy.” When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes in dismay and said, “This man sends me a leper to heal! Am I God, that I can give life and take it away? I can see that he’s just trying to pick a fight with me.” But when Elisha, the man of God, heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes in dismay, he sent this message to him: “Why are you so upset? Send Naaman to me, and he will learn that there is a true prophet here in Israel.” So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha’s house. But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.”
Elisha didn’t have to go lay hands on Naaman. Instead, he spoke the word through the gift of healing. AS with everything you want to receive from God, you have to put action to your faith. If Naaman didn’t go to the river to wash seven times like the prophet said, he would not have received his healing.
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-26 ESV)
From 1st Corinthians 12, verse 10 we have the power to perform miracles. The King James Version calls it: “The working of miracles.” What goes on everyday in American seems like nothing to us but go overseas and the same things that we consider mundane are thought of as miracles to those overseas. It seems that their expectant levels for God to perform miracles are set on a higher level of belief than most Americans. I read other ministers and their ministries going overseas and testifying of miracles that take place over there. Nothing short of limbs (legs, feet, hands, fingers, toes, etc) being restored, blind eyes being opened, death ears opened, people getting out of wheelchairs, etc. All things are possible to those who believe. (Mark 9:23) Keeping with the flow of this content, a miracle was performed when the Lord God parted the Red Sea: “And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go [back] by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry [land], and the waters were divided.” (Exodus 14:21)
Also from verse 10 is the gift of prophecy. We are not to confuse prophecy and being a Prophet. Prophecy is the ability to speak words from God to an individual believer. Normally it is a confirmation of what they already have received or contemplated through prayer or meditation. Words prophesied to an individual or group will strengthen, encourage or comforts them. (1 Cor 14:22) As the vessel God uses to prophesy, We can’t say whatever we want. We must speak only what God puts in our mouthes.” It’s like being the bearer of the blessing or the warning sent from God. Prophecy, however, is for the benefit of believers, not unbelievers. I will speak of the office of the Prophet when I cover the different diversities of the Spirit.
Another gift outlined in verse 10 is distinguishing between spirits. King James Version calls it discerning of spirits. God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24) We were made after the image of God first Spirit, then soul, then body. God is good. There are also evil spirits in the world that inhabits us to do us harm. Having the gift of discerning of spirits allow one to see into the spiritual world. God allows some to see angels from time to time as well as demons. Each are spirits. The greater cause of this gift is taken from Luke 7:21 And in that same hour he cured many of [their] infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many [that were] blind he gave sight.
From verse 10, there is also given the ability to speak in unknown languages and the ability to interpret what is being said. The King James Version calls it speaking in [divers] kinds of tongues and interpretation of tongues. In 1st Corinthians 14, it states that: “For he that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth [him]; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.” This is your heavenly language that the devil can’t decipher. It is personal communication between you and God. Since you don’t know what you are saying because you are speaking in mysteries, sometimes it’s good to claim it: “I believe I receive it” and give it an “AMEN.” Having the gift of divers kinds of tongues and the interpretation uses a heavenly language to speak words from God to those present. For example, let’s look at 2 Chronicals Chapter 5:12-14. Solomon just built the temple and the Ark of the Covenant was brought to rest there.
All the Levites who were musicians—Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun and their sons and relatives—stood on the east side of the altar, dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres. They were accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets. The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: “He is good; his love endures forever.” Then the temple of the LORD was filled with the cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the temple of God.
It usually happens at that point when someone from the crowd will speak in tongues a message from God, then someone or the same person interprets it. It is an awesome environment of praise and worship.
Finally From 1st Corinthians Chapter 12, verse 11 states 11) It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have. So it’s never earned by position in a church or brought with money. God is the only one who decides whom He shall use to display His Gifts of the Spirit. I hope this was helpful to you. Praise the Lord!