When Jesus was ready to return to His Father in heaven, He promised to send the Holy Spirit to empower His disciples, His body, the church for service and ministry to establish His kingdom here on earth (Acts 1:4-5, 8; 2:1-4). Last week we saw that the baptism with the Holy Spirit is for all believers and is a gift (Acts 2:38-39). The gifts He gives are for the profit of all and are to bless others in the service of Christ.
The Holy Spirit comes upon us to bring the fullness of God, supernatural praying, and the power to put us over in life (Ephesians 3:19 – 20; Acts 1:8). He is the power source, and we need to cooperate with Him and be led by Him. The power of God is made available to us, and the supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit can then operate through us as He wills. We receive His power by faith whether we feel it or not ( 2 Corinthians 5:7).
Through receiving the baptism with the Holy Spirit, we are availing ourselves of the gift of the Holy Spirit and the gifts He gives for advancing God’s Kingdom. We are not to be ignorant of spiritual gifts, and they will always exalt Jesus as Lord when the Holy Spirit is giving utterance (1 Corinthians 12:1-3). The gifts of the Spirit aren’t gifts in the sense that the believer owns and operates the gift whenever he wants to. These gifts belong to the Holy Spirit, who manifests them through individual believers as He wills.
The Holy Spirit is the giver of both natural and spiritual gifts (Genesis 1:26; Job 33:4; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11). The Spirit can take the natural gifts and talents we were created with (i.e., for music, art, leadership, building, speaking, etc.), reveal them, direct them for His Glory and cause them to reach their full potential (e.g., Exodus 31:3-6). We are created in God’s image and have different gifts and abilities that we are accountable for using to reflect His glory (Matthew 25:14-30; 2 Timothy 1:6).
There are nine spiritual gifts He distributes to each one individually as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Hebrews 2:4). A gift is free, and we don’t have to earn it; just open it and receive it! Jesus gave us the fullness of all He is and has as a gift through the cross of Calvary. We can also receive the fullness of the in-filling of the Holy Spirit and His gifts. He is in you, and His gifts are in Him. When you have the Holy Spirit, you have God’s divine nature in you through your re-born spirit. He gives us these gifts as believers for the profit of all (1 Corinthians 12:7), and we are to use these gifts in love (1 Corinthians 13:1-2).
The gifts from the Holy Spirit are grace gifts and are received by grace through faith, just like all the other gifts from God. He gives gifts so we can be a blessing to others, but they do not represent the maturity of a believer. We are to use these gifts in the Spirit and not in the flesh. Therefore, we must allow the Lord to develop our character so that we can use these gifts appropriately. They are available to every believer through the baptism with the Holy Spirit; however, we must wait upon the unction and direction of the Holy Spirit for the manifestation of these spiritual gifts. We don’t decide our gifts; we discover them (1 Corinthians 12:11). Praise and worship, and teaching and preaching of the Word bring the manifestation of the Holy Spirit more readily.
There is a difference between ministry gifts and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Ministry gifts are those people given to the body of Christ who Jesus called to stand in the fivefold ministry (Ephesians 4:8; 11-12) and are specially equipped with gifts of the Spirit to fulfill their office or function in the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27-30).
In both Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 12, Paul mentions the “apostle,” “prophet,” and “teacher” as those in the fivefold ministry offices. Paul includes the ministry of helps because they assist in a supportive role to those called to the fivefold ministry. The gifts of “miracles” and “gifts of healings” indicate a ministry gift – the office of the evangelist (Acts 8:5-7; 21:8). Also, the ministry or the office of the pastor is not listed in these passages either, as such. However, we see it through the office of governments/administrations, which indicates the pastoral office because the pastor is the head of a church. As such, he “governs” or shepherds the local body.
Now, let’s look into the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit from 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. We will discuss them after separating them into three categories for easier understanding.
Three Discerning Gifts (Knowing or Revelation)
Word of Wisdom
The gift of the word of wisdom is a supernatural gift from the Holy Spirit. It is not natural, or general wisdom that handles the affairs of life (James 1:5), can’t be learned and comes by revelation only. It provides instructions or is an answer or solution for a particular problem within the plan, will, and purpose of God. It speaks to the future and can be manifested through the vehicle of prophecy, a vision or dream or with the word of knowledge (i.e., Genesis 6:13-18; 19:29: 45:5-8; Acts 8:26-29; 9:10-16; 21:12-14; 27:10, 23, 24; Revelation 1:10-20). It may be conditional based on obedience and acted upon by faith.
The word of wisdom is the best gift of all as well as the best gift of the three revelation gifts because it brings divine revelation about the divine plan and purpose of God!
Word of Knowledge
The gift of the word of knowledge is when the Holy Spirit allows you to know something you didn’t learn by natural means. It is a supernatural revelation of specific facts about people, places or things in the mind of God when He wants us to know at a particular time something in the present or past (i.e., 1 Samuel 9:20; 10:2; 1 Kings 19:18; 2 Kings 5:26; 6:26; John 4:7-26; Acts 5:1-3; 9:10-12; 10:9-19; Revelation 1:10-20). It is also supernaturally manifested through a vision, dream, an angel, gift of prophecy, or interpretation of tongues. It brings access to the mind of God with the intent of releasing the power of God. Other gifts are usually partnered with it to release God’s plan fully, i.e., gifts of healings to bring healing or deliverance; gift of the word of wisdom to provide strategy and instruction or gift of prophecy speaking to salvation, restoration, and destiny.
There are different expressions of the gift of the word of knowledge, i.e., 1) Spoken – sound; the Lord speaks His thoughts into our heart, and we speak what we hear. It is the most common and easiest to develop. 2) Sight – God shows you things that were, that are, and are to come through pictures, dreams, trances, visions, etc. It is a visual image of what the Lord is doing or about to do, and 3) Similitude (likeness) and symbols – i.e., pictures or writing in clouds, etc. Symbols are relative to their context and how the Lord deals with us.
Discerning of spirits
The discerning of spirits is when the Holy Spirit reveals what spirit is at work behind a supernatural manifestation, whether it is divine, demonic, or human. It applies only to spirits. Not all supernatural manifestations are demonstrations from the Spirit of God. It means to perceive by seeing, hearing, or knowing in the realm of spirits by the revelation of the Holy Spirit through spiritual eyes and ears (2 Kings 6:17). He can also reveal to you the motivation of the heart.
- Good – Similitude (resemblance, likeness) of God (Exodus 33:20-23; Isaiah 6:1); Vision of Risen Christ; Holy Spirit (seven Spirits of God before the throne of God); God’s angels
- Bad – Devil, demons, and evil spirits, i.e., familiar spirits who are familiar with people, and they can pass on information about one person to another; divination, witchcraft, etc.
- Human – motives of the heart (good or evil tendencies); the motivation behind the scenes (Acts 5:1-10)
It is not a spiritual mind reading, psychological insight, or mental penetration (in-depth perception or insight; deep understanding of an idea or situation). It is not the power to discern faults, and character of people, i.e., faultfinding or to uncover human failures. We are to walk in love and grace. There isn’t a gift of discernment only a gift of discerning of spirits. Discerning of spirits is the supernatural insight into the spirit world given to believers only. It is not the same as discernment, which is the ability to judge well or an insight into something, and this is not exclusive to the believer. What some people call discernment because they know something by the Spirit of God may be a word of knowledge or known by the inward witness.
What is Biblical discernment? If we know the Word of God and we are walking in the Spirit, we will have an inward witness if someone is operating by a wrong spirit. We also know others by their fruit (Matthew 7:16). The Holy Spirit, who lives on the inside of us in our spirit, will warn us, but we must be sensitive to Him, to listen and hear His voice. We discern by the Word and the Spirit (Hebrews 4:12; Romans 8:14). We can develop discernment (1 Corinthians 2:14; 1 Kings 3:9; Hebrews 5:14; Philippians 1:9-11).
We discern through our spiritual senses, just like we have physical senses. We have five spiritual senses, just like we have physical senses, i.e., seeing, hearing, smell, taste, and touch/feeling that will help us discern spirits (Hebrews 5:14; 2 Corinthians 4:18; Ephesians 1:17-18). Once we discern something, we need to ask the Lord what does He want to say or have us do.
It is important to remember that whenever or however, the Holy Spirit shows us something about another person, we are not to judge them (Matthew 7:1-2; James 4:11). We should ask Him what we should do with the information and then follow His leading. Sometimes it is just to intercede for that person or situation, or it may be to do spiritual warfare by using the authority Christ has given us by casting out demons (Luke 10:19; Mark 16:17). The Holy Spirit gives all His gifts as He wills. If a believer tries to operate these gifts by their will, it can open them up to satanic deception and a wrong spirit, i.e., divination, etc.
In summary, when any revelation comes by the unction of the Holy Spirit, it is always a word of wisdom, a word of knowledge, or discerning of spirits. The word of wisdom and word of knowledge applies to people, places, and things whereas, discerning of spirits applies only to spirits. These are the only three gifts of revelation listed in the Bible. Pause and pay attention to what the Holy Spirit is revealing to you. It is vital to pray and pursue Him until you get the full revelation. Everything within the realm of knowledge, no matter if it is human, divine, or satanic, natural or supernatural, or past, present, or future, comes within the range of one of these three revelation gifts.
Three Declarative Gifts (Speaking)
Prophecy is the most important of these three vocal gifts. It is a message from God of edification (to build up), exhortation (a calling nearer to God, an invitation), and comfort to men given to edify the church by a person in a known language (1 Corinthians 14:3-4). It is the expressed thoughts of God (accessing the heart, mind, and voice of God). The Hebrew meaning of prophecy is to flow forth, i.e., to bubble forth like a fountain, to let drop, or to lift up. In Greek, it means to speak for another, i.e., God. It is an inspired utterance that does not come from our reasoning processes and intellect.
A simple prophecy does not include revelation or fore-telling (prediction). Fore-telling may come from a person in the office of a prophet through the vehicle of prophecy. A prophet is called to the five-fold ministry as a preacher or teacher of the Word and have two of the three revelation gifts plus prophecy operating in their life and ministry continually. Old Testament prophecy by prophets was essentially fore-telling. The New Testament shifts strongly to forth-telling.
There are four dimensions or levels of prophecy. 1) The spirit of prophecy bears witness to Jesus through the Word and testimony (Revelation 19:10). If you have ever shared a text with scripture, or given testimony to what Jesus has done in your life, it is the spirit of prophecy. If He did it once, He could do it again! It will manifest during worship to God in Spirit and truth (John 4:24). The Word of the Lord can bubble up in us or fall upon us during worship. The Word testifies or reveals Jesus and carries the spirit of prophecy. Any believer can yield to it speaking the Word of the Lord (Numbers 11:29; Acts 2:14 – 18). It is limited to the revealed Word of truth. The more a believer meditates and knows the Word of God, the easier it will be to prophesy.
2) The gift of prophecy comes from a deep well through the baptism with the Holy Spirit. We can stir it up (2 Timothy 1:6) or yield to the spirit of prophecy and speak out from the additional strength of this gift as well. There are levels of strength of the gift depending upon the measure of grace received by the person who has the gift (1 Corinthians 14:3). Those not called to be prophets should stay within the limits of edification, exhortation, and comfort. Those who go beyond their level of grace without additional equipping will bring confusion to the body of Christ. Prophets who are recognized by leadership have the authority to speak beyond that limit.
3) Office of the Prophet – a person God has chosen to be His Word. God has put prophets in the church (1 Corinthians 12:28). It is the highest level of prophecy with the most assertive utterance because they speak by the spirit of prophecy, the gift of prophecy, and also strength out of the office of the prophet (the grace to speak messages beyond words of edification, exhortation, and comfort). They prophesy with more authority than other believers who are not prophets. Their prophecies can carry revelation, direction, correction, confirmation, impartation, and activation. They minister to a broader scope of needs, and their reach is full and thorough. They have an anointing by grace to speak higher, more comprehensive, and in more in-depth ways (Romans 12:4-8).
4) Dreams and visions.
We can all prophesy (Acts 2:16–18), and we are to desire this gift (1 Corinthians 14:1-5, 39). God wouldn’t tell us to want it if we couldn’t have it! Although we can all prophesy, yet not all are prophets.
Let two or three prophets speak and let the others judge. But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one that all may learn and all may be encouraged. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. 1 Corinthians 14:29 – 33 (NKJV)
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 – 21 (NKJV)
How to give and receive a word of prophecy
We must know the source and discern the voice of God. We must be careful about how we listen. (2 Samuel 7:1-15; 1 Samuel 16:6, 7), i.e., God – “test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (1 John 4:1), Self – “I did not speak to them, but they prophesied” (Jeremiah 23:21), Satan – “this is the spirit of antichrist” (1 John 4:3).
The proper interpretation is a must. We must partner with the Holy Spirit. Actual words have been judged as false because of wrong interpretation (see Acts 10:9-17; 16:10; 1 Peter 1:1; Daniel 8:15; Genesis 40:12). Sometimes our human emotions can taint our interpretation. The correct application is paramount. Interpretation determines how it will be applied (Compare Acts 21:10 and Acts 20:23).
How do we appropriate the promise? By faith – Hebrews 4:2; having the right soil – Luke 8:4 and diligence in seeking the Lord – Daniel 9. Sometimes conditions must be met for the promise to come to pass (2 Chronicles 7:14), and there is a matter of God’s timing (Habakkuk 2:3). We must listen and discern properly. We cannot assume that the prophetic person is always in the “prophetic mode” at all times, and every time they speak (1 Samuel 7:1-15).
The gift of prophecy is the best gift of the three gifts of utterance because it is complete in and of itself and it brings edification, exhortation, and comfort to the body of Christ
Different Kinds of Tongues
The gift of different kinds of tongues is the most prominent of the vocal gifts and is crucial because it is the door into the supernatural. It is the supernatural utterance by the Holy Spirit in languages (whether heavenly or human) never learned nor understood by the speaker nor necessarily understood by the hearer. It has nothing to do with linguistic ability, nor with the mind or the intellect of man. It is a vocal miracle of the Holy Spirit. It is the initial evidence when people experience the in-filling or baptism with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4).
When we speak in tongues, we’re not talking to men but to God; however, in the spirit, we are saying mysteries and magnifying God. The utterance of tongues in a public assembly is the most frequently manifested gift of the Spirit. Different kinds of tongues and interpretation of tongues are distinctive to the Church Age and are therefore more in operation. Public use of the gift of speaking in tongues must be interpreted and edifies the church.
There is a misunderstanding of this gift. Some question if tongues have been done away with based on 1 Corinthians 13:8-10; however, knowledge hasn’t vanished away; prophecies have not failed or ceased to exist; therefore, tongues haven’t either. Heaven is perfect, and it is there we won’t need tongues.
Some believe that not all believers can speak with tongues based on the following verse: Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 1 Corinthians 12:30 (NKJV). But here Paul is talking about ministry gifts of people who stand in the five fold-ministry we spoke about earlier in this blog (1 Corinthians 12:27-28; Ephesians 4:11-12). Not everyone will have these gifts to the same degree of use.
Tongues are primarily a devotional gift to be used in our prayer life for praising and worshiping God, for speaking mysteries to God and for building ourselves up. We should use it continually for the rest of our lives! There is also a public side to speaking in tongues. The church is edified when someone speaks in tongues, and there is an interpretation, which is equivalent to prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:5).
Speaking with other tongues in our prayer language keeps us continually aware of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence, which will affect the way we think and live. Praying in tongues edifies or builds us up and refreshes us (1 Corinthians 14:4; Jude 20; Isaiah 28:11-12). Speaking in tongues to yourself and God is a means of keeping yourself free from the contamination of the ungodly and profane elements of the world (1 Corinthians 14:28). It also eliminates the possibility of selfishness entering into our prayer life because it is the Holy Spirit praying God’s perfect will through us (Romans 8:26).
Praying in tongues provides a way to pray for things that no one thinks to pray about, is not aware of, or our natural mind does not know of concerning a matter. Speaking and praying in tongues stimulates faith and helps us learn how to trust God more fully (Jude 20). We may pray in tongues to give thanks to God. It is the best way to thank God, but in the presence of people who are unlearned in spiritual things, you should also pray with your understanding or interpret the tongues for their edification (1 Corinthians 14:15 – 17). Remember, it is our spirit that is praying, not our mind.
God will not use every believer in a public utterance in tongues, for that is a gift that the Holy Spirit gives as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:11).
Interpretation of Tongues
The purpose of the gift of interpretation of tongues is to provide understanding to the hearers in the church when there is an utterance in tongues, so the church receives edification. It is a supernatural understanding of the general gist of the message spoken in tongues. It is not a direct translation and must accompany tongues spoken publicly in the church (1 Corinthians 14:27). In public ministry, two or three people may speak in an unknown tongue in order, and one is to interpret (1 Corinthians 14:26-28, 40). The person who speaks in tongues may also be the one to interpret. No one should speak in tongues in a public assembly if there is no one to interpret. The Holy Spirit will let you know. Unbelievers who are present may be convinced of the reality of the presence of God and often causes them to turn to God and to be saved (1 Corinthians 14:22).
When the Holy Spirit manifests the gift of tongues and interpretation of tongues, the utterance will be edifying, inspiring, and a blessing. We need to make sure that we are in tune with the Holy Spirit so we can judge it correctly to receive it.
We can also ask for this gift of interpretation of tongues for our devotional prayers as well (1 Corinthians 14:13-15).
Three Dynamic Power Gifts – (many times working together)
Gifts of Healings
Gifts of Healings are the supernatural manifestation of the healing of sickness and disease without any natural source or means (medicine or science); i.e., divine healing by laying on of hands; anointing of oil; speaking a word, etc. Its purpose is to deliver the sick and destroy the works of the devil in the human body. It occurs through a unique manifestation of the Spirit from one person to another person in need. It is separate from people healed directly by believing God for themselves through faith in His Word.
We see it more prevalent in the New Testament, as seen in the healing ministry of Jesus. Jesus ministered as a man anointed with the Holy Spirit without measure (John 3:34), and He healed every manner of sickness and disease (Acts 10:38).
Working of Miracles
Working of miracles is instantaneous, and divine creative acts of power flowing through a person not explicable by natural or scientific laws. It is a supernatural intervention in the ordinary course of nature and is not related to healing only, i.e., feeding of the 5,000 with two loaves and five fish (Matthew 14:13-21); turning water into wine (John 2:1-11); dividing of a river with a cloth mantle (2 Kings 2:14); delivering God’s people from Egypt and dividing the Red Sea until they passed over (Exodus 7-14), etc. Generally speaking, we call things miracles which are not specifically because they are events that occur in the ordinary course of nature, whether in the natural or supernatural realm, i.e., the birth of a child or the new birth in salvation.
Gift of Faith
All gifts of the Spirit operate by ordinary faith – a person must step out in faith and yield to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. This gift of the Spirit is called “special faith” or “wonder-working faith.” It is a supernatural manifestation of the Holy Spirit given to a believer so that he might passively receive miracles. The gift of faith has a duration, or is sustained until what was spoken or desired by God or man comes to pass; it is a process. It is distinct from the working of miracles that actively works or performs a miracle, but both gifts produce miracles.
The gift of faith is beyond general or saving faith (Ephesians 2:8; Mark 9:23; 11:24). Nor is it the same faith or faithfulness that is a fruit of the Spirit that comes after salvation and grows in the life of a Christian to establish him in godly spiritual character (Galatians 5:22). Fruit of the Spirit produces character, whereas the gifts of the Spirit are for power.
It works together with other gifts, i.e., to raise the dead and cast out demons. In raising the dead it takes 1) supernatural faith (gift of extraordinary faith) to call someone’s spirit back after it has left the body, 2) the working of miracles (because the body would have begun to deteriorate, and 3) gifts of healings because the person would die again without healing! In casting out demons, it requires discerning of spirits and or the gift of the word of knowledge, as well as the gift of faith.
In closing, we see evidence of the gifts of the Holy Spirit occurring in both the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon people only, e.g., prophets, kings, priests, etc. He didn’t dwell inside until salvation was available after Christ’s death and resurrection. The Holy Spirit comes upon believers now through the baptism with the Holy Spirit to manifest His fullness and power. Also, the gifts of tongues and interpretation of tongues began with the New Testament church on the Day of Pentecost and have not ceased. The gift of prophecy in the Old Testament was fore-telling concerning the children of Israel and Christ. Jesus Christ fulfilled all of the prophecies concerning Him. Prophecy in the New Testament and Church Age is mostly forth-telling.
Let the Holy Spirit know you are available to be used to minister to others with His gifts. Stir up the gifts that He has given to you and follow His leading. The best gift is what is needed at that time!
Prepare yourself for Pentecost that is coming on May 31, 2020. Ask the Lord how to prepare for it. We are waiting on Him as we see Him as our risen Lord and praying together. We have had a divine set up to bring the body of Christ into the unity of harmonious agreement during this time, just like the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are One! We can all agree that He is Lord. We choose to focus on Him and heaven and not be distracted by our differences or what we want to happen! Abundant Blessings! Great days ahead!