Gifts of the Holy Spirit
The gifts of the Holy Spirit contain a big role in the spiritual life of the believer. There are said to be seven gifts to around eighteen gifts of the Spirit to be brought upon those who believe in God. Each denomination has a certain gift that they focus on more then others. As Pentecostals believe that speaking in tongues is the ultimate gifts and thats what shows that a person has been filled with the Spirit, Mennonites dont focus on speaking in tongues at all. Each Gift of the Spirit has a certain use and person in the life of the believer. Some believers often confuse gifts of the Spirit with other things and get confused on when they have been filled with the Holy Spirit. No matter how spectacular, or miraculous, some of these gifts may be, not one of them can compare with the greatest spiritual gift of all – the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is a very personal gift received by individuals upon repentance and baptism, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38). Those who receive God’s Spirit are His offspring, “And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18). And fellow-heirs with Christ, “… if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint–heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:17). The Holy Spirit enables man to understand spiritual concepts, “However, as it is written: What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard and what no human mind has conceived the things God has prepared for those who love him these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.” (I Corinthians 2:9-12). “The definition of spiritual gifts by the respected Greek lexicographer Thayer is as good as any. ‘Extrodinary powers, distinguishing certain Christians and enabling them to serve the church of Christ, the reception of which is due to the power of divine grace operating in their souls bu the Holy Spirit.” (Gangel, Kenneth O. Unwrap Your Spiritual Gifts. Page 8.)
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Most of the prophets were required to prophesy harsh judgments against evil leaders who rebelled against God. In the face of angry words and looks the young prophet Jeremiah was assigned to condemn kings of his own nation as well as the kings of enemy nations. He was empowered to go boldly before them and prophesy their demise. Elijah dramatically called down fire from heaven. Both Elijah and Elisha restored life to dead children and Daniel had the ability to interpret prophetic dreams. These are only a few example of how God’s people were equipped with spiritual gifts to do what was required of them. When Jesus Christ performed miracles and healed the sick he attracted attention and thousands heard his message (Acts 2:22). His ability to perform such signs and wonders come from his Father. He said, “I can of mine own self do nothing:” (John 5:19, 30). He was also able to impart those gifts to his disciples, “And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.”(Matthew 10:1). Their spiritual gifts enabled them to preach God’s message, “And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” (verses 7-8). Many were empowered, “After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come… …And heal the sick that are therein,” (Luke 10:1-9). Just before he died Christ implied that believers in ages to come would also receive power to witness for him, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
There are said to be eighteen different gifts of the Holy Spirit. “The definition of spiritual gifts by the respected Greek lexicographer Thayer is as good as any. Extraordinary powers, distinguishing certain Christians and anabling them to serve the church of Christ, the reception of which is due to the power of diving grace operating in their souls by the Holy Spirit” (Gangel, Kenneth O. Unwrap Your Spiritual Gifts. Page 80) Service is one, these people are called the helpers and enjoy serving in ministry, serving others or just practical service to the community. Next is the gift or speaking prophecy. The people with this gift can basically fortell the future by visions or thoughts brought to them by the Lord. Teaching is another gift, which entails just having the gift of being able to teach people. Number four, encouraging people, having exhortation, or they are comforters and can stimulate the faith of others by being able to encourage peole and lifting their spirits. Contributing or generosity, another gift that helps lifts peoples spirit if they need something they give an excess amount of anything no matter the cost to them. Leadership is a gift that lots tend to receive, this gift helps people lead groups or people in any way. Showing mercy could be a gift that would tag along with contributing, people that show mercy often give help, show pity and show kindness. Wisdom is probably a gift that most people wish they could have so they make the right decisions but this gift explains itself in its title, just haveing the word of wisdom. The gift of kowledge and wisdom do go hand in hand but knowldge brings the insight and ability to speak intelligently to those who need the word of knowledge.
Faith is said to be a gift but, to have a gift you must have faith in God, but it could entail having faith in oneself and others. Gifts of healing is having the power to cure any disease or pain that anyone has. Miraculous power probably clumps itself pretty close to healing too because to have miracuous power a person would work miracles in peoples lives and have supernatural powers. To distinguish spirit is also another gift of the Holy Spirit. Speaking in tongues which is focused greatly upon in Pentecostal churches is a said to be important gift which is speaking in other languages that one has never learned before. While one has the gift of speaking in tongues another usually near the person speaking in tongues has the gift of interpretation of tongues. This person can tell the meaning of the language that the tongues is being spoken in. Three of the last gifts are apostles, evangelist and pastor-teachers. Apostles assume and excercise general leadership over a number of churches. Evangelists basically do missionary work in a sense they spread the word of God everywhere they go. Lastly, pastor-teachers have the power to guide and teach people. (Holdcroft, Thomas L. The Holy Spirit: A Pentecostal Interpretation. Page 141-142.) Lots of Christians contain at least one of these spiritual gifts but some people tend to confuse them other things.
One of the problems that existed in the Corinthian congregation that Paul had to correct was a pre-occupation some had with the gift of tongues. Paul pointed out that the most desirable spiritual gifts are those that edify the congregation (I Corinthians 14:3 and 31). And he considered tongues to be the least of the gifts because its use did not serve that purpose unless an interpreter was present. God has involved everyone in the body through spiritual gifts to ensure the harmonious operation of the congregation. But not everyone can be apostles, prophets or teachers, nor is everyone able to perform miracles, or heal (I Corinthians 12:4-6 and 28-31). There is nothing wrong in desiring spiritual gifts, but developing the fruit of God’s Spirit, especially love, should take precedence. With a foundation of love the spiritual tools that God has given us can be used in the right attitude, “But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (I Corinthians 12:31 to 13:2)
The Fruit of the Spirit is one of the four things that people tend to confuse the gifts of the Spirit with. The four things that the gifts of the Spirit are confused with are natural talents, fruits of the Spirit, Christian roles and counterfeit gifts. (Wagner, Peter C. Your Spiritual Gifts. Page 81-95.) The Fruits of the Spirit often confused because there are so many and do sound like spiritual gifts. The Fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, kindeness, goodness, gentleness and self control. “It id improper to speak of the ‘gift of love,’ if by gift we mean that love should be seen as a spiritual gift from God ans should be regarded. ‘We love [God] because He first loved us’ (1 John 4:19). But love is not a charisma in the sense that God gives it to some members of the Body, but no to others.” (Wagner, Peter C. Your Spiritual Gifts. Page 83.) Natural talents are those abilities that are simply inherited from one’s parents and nurtured in the context of one’s family. Everyone knows people who are talented and come from a long line of family members who share the same talent. If one member of such a family does NOT possess that talent, they typically will say something like, ‘I didn’t get the (insert talent here) gene”. Natural talents are just that: ‘natural’! They can be attributed to the natural genetic material that exists within all of us and is passed down from generation to generation. Spiritual gifts, on the other hand, come directly from the Spirit of God; that’s why they are called ‘gifts’ in the first place! The “Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” Natural talents are imparted at our natural birth; spiritual gifts are given when a person are born again. This is something that often gets confused with spiritual gifts. Christian Roles such as discipling people and just being a general kind person, get mixed up with spiritual gifts because people would think that they have the gift of evangelism or the gift of servant-hood when in fact they are doing things that God has called every Christian to do. Lastly, the fourth thing that people don’t understand and get confused with is counterfeit gifts which are gifts that resemble are disguise themselves as spiritual gifts but are actually gifts made by Satan.
“The ultimate task of the Holy Spirit is to plant the confession ‘Jesus is Lord’ at the center of every man’s being.” (MacGorman, Jack W. The Gifts of the Spirit. Page 2.) There are six significant use of the spiritual gifts. One, gifts are given to fulfill specific needs. the gifts are to equip humans to take their place in serving God and they are tools to strengthen and extend the church. Secondly, gifts are retained by being used. So everyone must use them to have them or keep them as our own gifts. Paul exhorts Timothy to use his gifts saying “do not neglect your gift” (1 Timothy 4:14) The meek and also the extrovert should use spiritual gifts regularly. It doesn’t matter if a person is the type to keep to themselves or if they are obnoxiously extroverted everyone must use their gift as often as possible. If a person were not to use a gift that someone gave us they would be saddened by it and that is the same with god, if someone doesn’t use their gifts God gave them, then there would be no point of having that gift in the first place. Three is that gifts are only one of God’s methods to be close to us. One may have the message of wisdom but in 1 Corinthians 12:8 it says “if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God….and it will be given to him.” Fourth, gifts are given primarily to benefit the church.
They serve as an important safe guard. and are not for personal advantage but for the benefit of life and ministry of the church as a corporate whale. Number five is that gifts continue to reside in the deity. They are not imparted, conferred or bestowed; they are given. A spiritual gift is God the Holy Spirit at work, acting through a human channel. Lastly, number six, chosen humans are His channels. One consistently manifests a gift because he or she consistently remains in contact with the Giver. The Spirit makes His choice, and other things being equal, as long as the believer responds favorably, the Spirit continues to use the channel.(Holdcroft, Thomas L. The Holy Spirit, A Pentecostal Interpretation. Page 180.) These uses of the spiritual gifts are mandatory for God to show the gifts and make them act through one’s life.
The spiritual gifts are not genetically transmitted, they are not talents, they are not private or secret. They are Holy Spirit’s free graces, innumerable, powerful, tailored-made for every one so that he/she is a functional part of Body of Christ to make it healthy and vibrant. Everyone needs them not only inside of the Church but outside, in families and in the world. They are instruments, not ornaments. Interestingly enough, the distribution of the spiritual gifts is always based on the needs of the organizations where they should be used and varies according to the times and the specific needs. As a person learns to recognize and use them, Joy, Love and Peace begin to reign. So it is always crucial that everyone recognizes his/her spiritual gifts for the good of all. So to recognize if a person has a spiritual gift they must pray and ask God if this is what He has given to them and if this is what is planned for them. Having spiritual gifts is a blessing, it means God wants to give an extra gift on top of His sacrifice for our sins. He wants everyone to be able to serve the world He came down to save. God has made a plan for everyone in this world and they only get it if they have chosen to have the Holy Spirit live inside them everyday and except the spiritual gifts that He gives to those who except Him.
Holdcroft, Thomas L. The Holy Spirit, A Pentecostal Interpretation. Page 141-141,178-180 Gangel, Kenneth O. Unwrap Your Spiritual Gifts. Page 7-9
Walvoord, John F. The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts. Page 16-34 MacGorman, Jack W. The Gifts of the Spirit. Page 2. Wagner, Peter C. Your Spiritual Gifts. Page 81-95.