The Gifts Of the Spirit – No longer part of the Christian life? Perhaps just some Gifts still apply…
Jesus said, “when I return, will I find Faith on the Earth?” (Luke 18:8) What is the “the sin that so easily besets us”? (Hebrews 12:1) I think it is unbelief. The Word tells us that which is not of Faith IS sin. I have been thinking much about the Gifts of the Spirit and what is taught in some churches about them. Many “churches” teach that the Gifts ceased with the completion of the Bible. They say, the completed Bible has brought us to a place where we now see “Face to Face” as Paul spoke of in 1 Corinthians 13:8-13. We must read the whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 13 to fully understand what Paul is saying. When reading the full chapter it is obvious Paul is saying when the Lord returns Gifts will no longer be needed. The “Perfection” that Paul spoke of will be our new Bodies which will be like Jesus — PERFECT! John tells us, “when He shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see Him as He is.” WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM! (John 3:2) Not needing Gifts, Face to Face with the Lord. Woe to them that twist this Chapter and any other part of the Word of God.
It troubles me when churches who profess the Doctrine of Christ, but deny some Gifts and accept others. I accept and believe ALL the Gifts and have seen a many exercised in my Christian walk. Ironically, many of these same churches proceed to give false prophesies (prophesy is a Gift), such as the exact date of Christ’s return, making them both false Prophets and hypocrites! Some Churches fear the exercise of all Gifts due to Satan counterfeiting them, which he does do. However, consider this, why would Satan counterfeit the Gifts if they have ceased or passed away? Have we quenched the Spirit in today’s modern Church? Have we replaced Him with the Commandments/Programs of Men? “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away”! ? (2 Timothy 3:5)
“When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” (Ephesians 4:8)
“God’s gifts and His calling are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29)
Let’s examine why the Lord gave Gifts to the Church. The Holy Spirit is the one who gives the Gifts and the exercise of them to each believer as He wills. The purpose of the Gifts is to edify (lift up) the Church, which is the Body of Christ, to fulfill the “Greater Works” Jesus said we would do (John 14:12). These are not better works than Jesus did, but also are not lesser either. Without the power of the Holy Spirit, through whom all the Gifts are manifested, this would not happen. Paul said he didn’t come with just words to the Church but with the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit!
We are told by Paul to desire earnestly the Gifts, especially Prophesy. The Testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophesy. (Rev. 19:10) This Gift does not violate God’s Word but fulfills it. Paul said if a man came into the Church and someone with the Gift of Prophesy told him the secret things in his life, he would believe in God. Satan tries to counterfeit this Gift through “Fortune Tellers” and others using Witchcraft, but they are never 100% correct as the Word demands.
My belief in the Gifts is based on The Word of God and personal experience. In our corruptible bodies today we are weak, at warfare with sin, doubts, unbelief, and far from perfect. However, the weapons of our warfare are mighty through the Holy Spirit for pulling down Strongholds and everything that exalts itself above God (Satan and his works). (2 Corinthians 10:4)
Pray for ALL the Gifts! Tongues of angels, the gift of prophecy, the gift of healing, knowledge, the gift of giving and faith that can move mountains! Seek to abound for the edification of the Church, doing ALL through Love! “Greater works will you do because I go to The Father.” (John 14:12)
Unfortunately in the Modern Church there is much skepticism. Pray for the Gift of discerning of spirits, for today there are many false preachers/teachers as the Lord Himself warned us. The Word tells us to carefully examine (Judge) when the Word is preached or taught and be careful they don’t make merchandise of you (rip you off, take your money). It would be wonderful to be able to attend a Church that embraces all the Gifts, but I don’t believe we will find a perfect Church in today’s World. The important thing for each believer is to be in the Will of God, led by the Holy Spirit. This could mean being in any Church, maybe one where you may be the only “Light” they see!
You may also be interested in The Gifts of the Holy Spirit by Ron R. Ritchie which has explanations about the Gifts and their use.