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For the SIH devotional on this subject:
“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:4)
After coming to an understanding of the basic definition of a “spiritual gift”, we now need to examine each of the different types of spiritual gifts that God has given to man.
There are three basic types of spiritual gifts given to the Lord’s local churches:
1. Gifted Men – These are men, used by God to serve the Lord as a part of the ministry of His local assemblies.
2. Accrediting Gifts – These are the gifts whose main purpose is to establish and accredit His Word and place of worship. A secondary purpose of these gifts is to minister to others within the context of local church ministries.
3. Ministering Gifts – These are the gifts whose main purpose is to testify of Christ and His Word through the ministries of His local assemblies.
We will continue our study of the accrediting gifts by looking at begin studying the Accrediting Gifts that involve SUPERNATURAL PROCLAMATION OF THE TRUTH.
Accrediting Gifts (Sign Gifts)
In our last lesson we began to take a look at the gift of “diverse kinds of tongues” that are found in the division of accrediting gifts involving the SUPERNATURAL PROCLAMATION OF THE TRUTH. In particular, we looked at the first time that the gift of tongues was exercised on the Day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2:1-24…
1. The gift was given to the local church at Jerusalem, not to believers in general (vs 1)
2. The gift was given following the local assembly being baptized IN the Spirit (not BY the Spirit) (vs 2)
3. The gift was given following the Spirit filling the church members (vs 4)
4. The gift had a visible manifestation: tongues of fire sitting on their heads (vs 3);
5. The gift had an audible manifestation: speaking in other human languages that were unknown to the speakers but known to the hearers (vs 4-11)
6. The Word of God was used to clearly explain what had taken place amid the confusion (vs 12-21)
7. The message proclaimed through the gift of tongues was proclaiming the wonderful works of their God…. His message of salvation and all that He had done for them. (vs 11-24)
Following this event, when the Bible speaks of the gift of tongues, it simply mentions the gift without a lengthy description of what we have just learned. This principle can be used with many different teachings of the Bible. This principle of Biblical interpretation is described as “The Law Of First Mention”. This principle states that “the very first time a word, doctrine or other teaching is mentioned in the Bible, usually, the Scriptures gives that word, doctrine or teaching its most complete description and meaning.” This is the case with the gift of tongues. This first reference to it has given us the detailed description of the gift which is to be applied throughout all of the other Biblical mentions of the gift.
The “Gift Of Diverse Kinds Of Tongues” Resulting From Laying On Of Apostles’ Hands: The Church At Ephesus; The Samaritan Church
Not only did the gift of tongues take place following the baptism in the Spirit of the church at Jerusalem (Jewish local assembly) and the church in the house of Cornelius (Gentile local assembly), but it also given to local assemblies through the laying on of the apostles’ hands. We can see this taking place in Acts 19:1-7 (Ephesus local assembly) and also it is implied to have taken place in Acts 8:14-25 (local assembly at Samaria).
This will be our study for this lesson (Acts 19:1-7 and 8:14-25)…
Vs 1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
During Paul’s travels, he arrives at Ephesus and finds those who were followers of Jesus.
Vs 2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
Paul then asked them if they had “received the Holy Ghost” since they believed. By this question, Paul was not asking them if they had been indwelled by the Holy Ghost. Every believer in Christ receives the indwelling Spirit AT SALVATION (Romans 8:9, Ephesians 1:13-14). Keep in mind, Paul said “since you believed”. This tells us Paul recognized them as true believers and, therefore, he recognized they had already received the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Paul’s question was referring to them receiving the empowering ministry of the Holy Ghost in the midst of their group. They answered that they had not even heard of the existence of the Holy Ghost. (The implied answer to Paul’s question was “No, we have not received the empowering ministry of the Holy Ghost among us.) This implied to Paul that they had not yet been formed into a local assembly.
Vs 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
Paul’s next question involved their baptism. Keep in mind their baptism, would be the first step to them entering into a local assembly. If their baptism was not Scriptural, or if it was non-existent, they would not be a legitimate local assembly.
They responded that their baptism was “unto John’s baptism”. In other words, they had experienced a legitimate baptism that was administered by John the Baptist. We know John’s baptism was a Scriptural baptism because we are told he was “sent by God” (John 1:6) and Jesus, Himself, submitted to his baptism (Matthew 3:13-17). If John’s baptism was not valid, Christ would have never submitted to it.
Vs 4-5 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Paul then recounts for them the nature of the Scriptural baptism that they had received. This would reinforce in their minds that they were legitimately baptized in the name of Christ.
Paul’s two sentence quote begins with “John verily baptized …” and ends with “…they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus”. This is a very important point:
When we are told “When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”…
1. IT IS NOT SAYING THAT THE BELIEVERS AT EPHESUS WERE RE-BAPTIZED BY PAUL.
2. This sentence is continuation of the quotation of Paul. In this second sentence of his teaching, he is recounting to the Ephesus believers that those who received John’s baptism were baptized in the name of Jesus. In other words, he was reaffirming the validity of John’s baptism which they had previously received.
Vs 6-7 And when Paul had laid [his] hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve.
Once Paul had affirmed the validity of their baptism, he then recognized that they were prepared to become a local church. He then forms them into a church by the laying on his hands. This resulted in the Holy Ghost being given to empower their assembly. The receipt of the Holy Spirit by their assembly was shown by the exercise of the gift of tongues (both the visible and audible aspects as seen in Acts 2:) and the gift of prophesy. Both of these not only enabled the local assembly to minister but it also accredited their assembly as an authorized assembly for worship and a container of divine truth.
In our next example of the laying on of the Apostles’ hands resulting in tongues speaking, the tongues speaking is implied not actually stated…
Vs 14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
When the Apostles heard that Samaria had heard the Word and accepted the message by faith, they sent to Samaria two Apostles to continue their instruction and establish a local assembly there.
Vs 15-16 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
The two visiting Apostles prayed for this group of believers that they might “receive the Holy Ghost” (empowered by the Spirit as an assembly) see Acts 19:2 for more details about this phrase.
(Up to this point in time, the Holy Spirit had not “fallen upon” their assembly (speaking of the Spirit coming upon them displayed by tongues of fire as in Acts 2:).
Why did they pray for this? The Apostles recognized that these believers were properly prepared for church membership… they had been baptized in water in the name of Christ which, along with salvation, is the prerequisite needed for church formation and membership. Once the Apostles established that these believers had been properly prepared for to become a local assembly, they prayed for the assembly to be established and empowered.
Vs 17 Then laid they [their] hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
The Apostles then laid their hands upon the group of believers bringing the assembly into existence. This resulted in the empowering of the assembly by the Holy Ghost which came upon them (implied is the indication of this coming by tongues of fire and speaking of tongues.) Clearly, what took place in this assembly is the same type of manifestation as that of the Ephesian assembly that we have just seen in Acts 19:. Both of these accounts (Acts 19: and Acts 8: align themselves with the demonstration of the Spirit’s presence and empowering as seen in the Acts 2: Pentecost event.)
Vs 18-19 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
When Simon visibly saw … the Greek word translated “ saw” speaks of visibly examining closely. In other words, Simon studied with his eyes the visible proof of the Spirit coming upon the members of the assembly (the tongues of fire).
When he saw this display of the Spirit’s power, he offered to pay money for the ability to bestow this miraculous gift upon others.
Simon desired the ability to bestow this gift upon others for his own personal benefit. Perhaps he desired it to gain fame and recognition or, perhaps, for financial benefit. Also his thinking that this ability could be purchased with money, demeaned the very spiritual nature and divine purpose of the gift, making it a simple carnal, business venture.
These two issues clearly showed the nature of his request and the intent of his heart in this matter. It was obvious that Simon’s fleshly desire for the gift flowed from spiritual blindness, selfishness and greed.
Vs 20-23 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and [in] the bond of iniquity.
Peter then addresses this request made by Simon. Based upon Simon’s request, through the gift of discerning of spirits, Peter perceived that:
1. “Thy money perish with thee” – Simon was headed for total ruin and ultimate destruction
2. “Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter:” – Simon had no claim upon this ability for three reasons:
a. this ability was only possessed by those who held the office of Apostle.
b. Simon’s motives were sinful.
c. Simon as a lost individual who was not the servant of the Lord, nor member of his church.
3. “for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.” – His motives were sinful.
4. “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness,” – He was in dire need of repentance – this sin that could easily snowball and grow worse
5. “and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.” – He needed to pray for forgiveness from the Lord
6. “I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness” – He was a lost man drowning in poisonous acid of sin
7. “and [in] the bond of iniquity.” – He was a slave in servitude of injustice and wickedness
Vs 24 Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
At this point, Simon appears to heed the warnings given to him by Peter and asks for Peter to prayerfully intervene on his behalf. We are not told of his conversion, nor of any fruits of repentance being shown by him.
Perhaps he was genuinely saved and the Bible simply does not record the event, or perhaps he is only showing a worldly, carnal type of repentance that did not result in salvation nor a changed life (2 Corinthians 7:9-11). One point that brings his desire for prayer to be questioned is the motive for his request… “that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.” It appears that he only wanted to escape the punishment of his sin, with no sorrow that he has sinned against the Lord and His local church. This would seem to imply a carnal type of repentance.
Vs 25 And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.
The Apostles continue to teach the Word of the Lord to this newly formed church and then preached the Word to many villages on the way back to Jerusalem.
We now must take a quick look at Acts 9:10-19 …
10) And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I [am here], Lord.
11) And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for [one] called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
12) And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting [his] hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
13) Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
14) And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
15) But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
16) For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
17) And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, [even] Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
18) And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
19) And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.
This event is not the same type of event as we were looking at in Acts 19: and Acts 8:. Please note the following comparison:
|TEXT||THE BESTOWER||THE RECIPIENT||THE RESULT||PURPOSE|
|NOTE THE SIMILARITIES…||APOSTLES…||LOCAL ASSEMBLIES…||RECEPTION AND MANIFESTATION…||TO ESTABLISH AND EMPOWER…|
|Acts 19:1-7||Paul||Church at Ephesus||Reception: Of SpiritManifestation: Tongues & Prophecy||To establish / empower local church|
|Acts 8:14-25||John and Peter||Church at Samaria||Reception: Of SpiritManifestation: Tongues||To establish / empower local church|
|COMPARE TO…||NOT APOSTLES…||NOT LOCAL ASSEMBLIES…||NO RECEPTION NOR MANIFESTATION…||NO ESTABLISHING NOR EMPOWERING …|
|Acts 9:10-19||Ananias, a disciple||Saul (Paul), an individual||Restoration Of Health“Filling” Of The Spirit||To physically heal & prepare Saul for great service and suffering.|
(Notes On Above Table:
1. As you can clearly see, in every category there are distinct similarities between the events found in Acts 19: and Acts 8: and distinct differences with the event found in Acts 9:. Acts 9: cannot be equated with the events of Acts 19: and 8:.
2. The meaning of the phrase “Filling of the Spirit” will be covered in great detail later in our study. But for now, the basic idea of Spirit “filling” is the Lord taking control of every aspect of one’s being. This is a far cry from a local assembly “receiving” the Spirit to establish and empower the assembly.)
3. Many times those “filled with the Spirit” did not speak in tongues – Lk 1:15, 1:67, 4:1, Acts 4:8, 4:31, 7:55, 11:24
Please notice with the completion of this study in Acts 19: and Acts 8:, we have now seen every time in the Bible that the gift of tongues is exercised…
Please notice that in both the above events (Acts 19: and Acts 8:)
1. The receipt of the Holy Spirit was to a local church to empower them for ministry, NOT TO AN INDIVIDUAL
2. The receipt of the Holy Spirit resulted from the laying on of the hands of the Apostles.
3. The 2 aspects (tongues of fire and speaking in unknown human tongues) of the gift of tongues were present in both cases, specifically mentioned in one and implied in the other.
When we put this together with our previous studies when tongues were exercised (Acts 2:, Acts 10:-11:) please notice that:
1. The receipt of the Holy Spirit only applies to the local assemblies. NEVER an individual.
2. The receipt of the Holy Spirit can take place following:
a. the local assembly being baptized in the Holy Spirit or
b. the laying on of hands of the Apostles.
NEVER are they received by individuals, nor part from baptism in the Spirit or laying on of hands of Apostles.
3. The gift of tongues always includes:
a. both the visual aspect (tongues of fire) and
b. the audible aspect (speaking in human tongues unknown to the speaker)
Is this the “gift” of tongues that we see being exercised in today’s time? None of the above three basic principles are seen in today’s “tongues gift”.
In our next study, we will look at Paul’s instructions on how the gift of tongues should be exercised in the Lord’s local churches.
Accrediting Gifts (Sign Gifts)
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
The “Gift Of Diverse Kinds Of Tongues” Received By the laying on of the Apostles hands.
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (Romans 8:9)
In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer [it to be so] now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Matthew 3:13-17)
There was a man sent from God, whose name [was] John. (John 1:6)
Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, [what] clearing of yourselves, yea, [what] indignation, yea, [what] fear, yea, [what] vehement desire, yea, [what] zeal, yea, [what] revenge! In all [things] ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. (2 Corinthians 7:9-11)
The Receipt Of Spiritual Gifts In The Church In The House Of Cornelius…
Acts 10:44-46a – While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.
For the SIH Bible study on this subject:
For The First Installment Of Our Spiritual Gifts Series:
Spiritual Gifts: What Is A Spiritual Gift? (Part #1)
“Now concerning spiritual [gifts], brethren, I would not have you ignorant.” (1 Corinthians 12:1)
This verse is the beginning of a three chapter section of Scripture that addresses the subject of “spiritual gifts”. Why does Paul write at such length concerning this subject? It is obvious from what is written that the church at Corinth had many misunderstandings about spiritual gifts which led to their misuse.
In spite of these many misunderstandings, Paul’s clearly explains that “concerning spiritual [gifts], brethren, I would not have you ignorant”. He was determined to give the church at Corinth much needed information clearly explaining the identity, purpose and longevity of these gifts. In doing so, he was giving to the Corinth church the opportunity to be educated in these gifts which would allow them to exercise their God-given gifts in a way that would be pleasing to the Lord.
There can be much fault found with the church at Corinth which was, probably, the most carnal church in existence at that time. But one thing we must always remember… It is because of the church’s ignorant abuse of these gifts that we have these wonderful teachings concerning spiritual gifts which can be used for our edification. Our Lord is so great He was able to turn their ignorance and misuse of gifts for our good and His glory.
Much, but not all, of our study on spiritual gifts will be derived from these three chapters in the book of 1 Corinthians. Not only will we be sharing the teachings of Paul and others on this subject, but we will also share his motive for this study…. “Now concerning spiritual [gifts], brethren, I would not have you ignorant.” Our greatest desire for this study is that we all may come to a better understanding of spiritual gifts and their proper place in the local assembly before, and after, the completion of the Word of God.
A Spiritual Gift Defined
Throughout this study the word commonly translated “gift” is the Greek word “charisma”. It is from this word that we get the phrase “charismatic”. So what is the definition of “charisma”?
“Charisma” refers to:
1. a “free gift”
2. an “undeserved gift”
3. a “gift of grace”
4. a “gift given out of kindness and mercy”
The idea behind “charisma” is God giving us a gift that we DO NOT DESERVE, and WE CANNOT GAIN OF OUR OWN MERIT OR EFFORTS. It is given to us as a favor, or as an act of mercy done on behalf of the unworthy.
n 2 Corinthians 8:4-6, we find a clear reference to this principle…
“Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and [take upon us] the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And [this they did], not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.” (2 Corinthians 8:4-6)
Here, we find the word “charis” (the root of charisma) translated in two different ways. In verse 4, we find it translated by the word “gift”, while in vs 6, we find it translated by the word “grace”. In the context of these passages, we find Paul speaking of love offerings received from the churches at Macedonia to be distributed by the Apostles to the poor of Jerusalem. These love offerings were gifts given as an act of grace. The churches at Macedonia were not obligated to give them, and the poor of Jerusalem did not deserve them. They truly were “gifts of grace” bestowed upon the poor from the churches of Macedonia.
We Are Not To Seek To Obtain A Specific Spiritual Gift
Please note in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11:
1. The Lord exercises His power in many different ways –
“And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.” (“operations” – mighty workings)
2. The Lord has different areas of service in which we are to serve Him –
“And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.” (“administrations” – service, waiting on tables)
3. The Lord sovereignly dispenses to His servants differing gifts to enable them to fulfill their calling –
“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.”
“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” (to profit withal” – to benefit collectively – to profit entire local church not just gifted person)
“But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” (“severally as he will” – individually as he decides.)
From all of this, we learn that a spiritual gift is nothing that can be earned, nor gained by our efforts. It is not a matter of “becoming good enough” to receive any specific gift. They are sovereignly distributed by the Lord for the good of the local assembly in which they were to be exercised. These gifts are given by grace to those who do not deserve them, nor can be gained through any effort of man. It is not in our place to attempt to dictate to the Lord what gift is best for us to possess. It is totally up to Him based upon the needs of the assembly. Therefore we are not to seek to obtain any specific gift. We are to be content with whatever gift(s) He chooses to graciously bestow upon us.
However, in 1 Corinthians 12:31, 1 Corinthians 14:1, and 1 Corinthians 14:12 the terms “covet earnestly”, “desire” and “zealous” are used to describe the attitude Christians should possess concerning spiritual gifts. Each of these phrases/words are translated from the same Greek root word “zelos”. What does “zelos’ mean in these passages? To understand one of the usages of “zelos” in God’s Word we need to look at two other passages where its meaning is made clear…
“This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.” (Acts 18:25)
“Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;” (Romans 12:11)
In these verses, “zelos” is translated by the term “fervent” and, in both cases, it is not speaking of a desire to OBTAIN but it is speaking of a desire to USE what is previously received from the Lord.
We can see that the word “zelos” can be describing what our attitude should be concerning a gift we have already received. It is a desire to use the best gift to profit the local assembly for any given situation.
1. “But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” (1 Corinthians 12:31)…
We are being told that when the local church has a specific spiritual need, we are to look at the gifts we have been given by God and seek to use the gift that will meet the current needs of the assembly. All of God’s gifts are equally good but each is “best” to be exercised when it is the gift needed the most by the local assembly.
2. “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual [gifts], but rather that ye may prophesy.” (1 Corinthians 14:1)…
1 Corinthians 14:1, in the current condition of the Corinth church, they could best benefit from the gift of prophecy to instruct them more fully in the ways of the Lord. In this instance, the use of the other spiritual gifts would not be as much of a benefit to them (1 Corinthians 14:1-5). Therefore, they were to desire for the proper gift to be exercised in the assembly, which, in this case, was the gift of prophecy.
3. “Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual [gifts], seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.” (1 Corinthians 14:12)…
This verse clearly explains that the gift they should desire to exercise should be the gift that will give the most benefit to the local church at Corinth. These gifts are not given to bring attention to oneself, nor for other personal gain. The Christian is to always exercise his God-given gifts with a spirit of selflessness exercising his gifts for the good of the assembly.
Every Gift is Meant To Be Exercised Within A Local Assembly
Various gifts of the Spirit were included in the context of the Great Commission, which is a set of responsibilities that the Lord has given to His local assemblies…
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:15-18)
This helps us to understand that the exercise of these gifts were a responsibility of members of the local assembly and were given to them for their benefit. All of the spiritual gifts are given to us for the purpose of use and edification of the local assemblies which are, individually, the body of Christ…
“… But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where [were] the body? But now [are they] many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those [members] of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely [parts] have more abundant comeliness. For our comely [parts] have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that [part] which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but [that] the members should have the same care one for another… And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. [Are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers? [are] all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-31; see also Romans 12:3-8 and Ephesians 4:10-16)
If we do not recognize the needs of our local assembly (and therefore do not exercise our gifts when needed) or, if we are not a member of the assembly that the Lord would have us to join, the assembly is harmed through our lack of action. Also, if we selfishly exercise gifts that are not needed by the assembly, the assembly is harmed as well.
Possession of our gift(s) is a great blessing, but along with it comes a great responsibility of stewardship as well.
The Difference Between Talents, Fruits and Gifts Of The Spirit:
The following table helps us to understand the difference between the talents, fruits and gifts we are given by God through the Spirit’s intervention…
|Type Of Gift||Texts||Gifted Person||Evidenced From||Nature Of Gift||Types Received|
|Physical Talent||Matthew 4:18-20||Mankind||Physical Birth||Natural (Physical)||Various(Lord’s Discretion)|
|Fruit Of The Spirit||Galatians 5:22-24||Saved||Spiritual Birth||Natural (Spiritual)||All|
|Spiritual Gift (Charisma)||Romans 12:4-81 Corinthians 12:8-11Ephesians 4:11-121 Peter 4:8-9 etc.||Saved||Lord’s Intervention||Supernatural (Spiritual)||Various(Lord’s Discretion)|
Notes on above chart:
This chart is given to quickly illustrate there is a distinct difference between the “Spiritual Gifts”, which is the theme of this Bible study, and the “Fruits of the Spirit” and “Physical Talents” all of which are given by God to man. The individual points in this outline will be covered in much greater detail during the course of our studies.
At this stage of our study, please simply understand that when we speak of the “Spiritual Gifts” they differ greatly in many areas from “Fruits of The Spirit” or “Talents”. These three are not to be confused. (Note: One area of similarity between the three is that all three are given through God’s grace and all three are to be used in our service to Him.)
In our next study, we will begin to look at the different types of Spiritual Gifts given to man.
Additional Information (Verses Referred To In This Study):
A Spiritual Gift Defined
We Are Not To Seek To Obtain A Specific Spiritual Gift
Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-11)
“Follow after charity, and desire spiritual [gifts], but rather that ye may prophesy. 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. But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men [to] edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater [is] he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.” (1 Corinthians 14:1-5)
“Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual [gifts], seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.” (1 Corinthians 14:12)
Every Gift is Meant To Be Exercised Within A Local Assembly
“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body [were] an eye, where [were] the hearing? If the whole [were] hearing, where [were] the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where [were] the body? But now [are they] many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those [members] of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely [parts] have more abundant comeliness. For our comely [parts] have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that [part] which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but [that] the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. [Are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers? [are] all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-31)
“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, [let us prophesy] according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, [let us wait] on [our] ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, [let him do it] with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.”
“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:7-16)
The Difference Between Talents, Fruits and Gifts Of The Spirit:
“And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left [their] nets, and followed him.” (Matthew 4:18-20)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” (Galatians 5:22-24)
“For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, [let us prophesy] according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, [let us wait] on [our] ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, [let him do it] with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Romans 12:4-8)
“For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” (1 Corinthians 12:8-11)
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11-12)
“As every man hath received the gift, [even so] minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, [let him speak] as the oracles of God; if any man minister, [let him do it] as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10-11)
In preparation of the upcoming SIH Bible Study Series “Spiritual Gifts” we are offering a free study guide for this series…
It is available in two formats for easy viewing:
(Click the following links for easy downloading)
A New 20 Part Series On “Spiritual Gifts”:
This series will concentrate on presenting, in an understandable way, Bible teaching on this very important, and sometimes controversial subject.
Please feel free to join us every Saturday this Spring and Summer (April thru August) for this Biblically based teaching.
Is God Pleased With The Worship In Our Church?…
Pastor John MacArthur on a Grace To You television broadcast